Posts Tagged ‘Ian Felice’

It’s been just under three years since the last album from The Felice Brothers. It was the end, in a lot of ways, of their under-the-radar career. They’ve been dragged into the mainstream, somewhat, by their musical collaborations with Conor Oberst. On Salutations they beefed up the solo piano tunes from Conor’s Ruminations while bringing the heat on songs like “Napalm.” Their fanbase opened up after people saw them opening for and backing up Oberst at shows.

Internally a lot has changed as well. Ian put out a great solo record in 2017 and played some solo shows. Jimmy has lost a lot of weight and looks healthier than ever. The biggest change might be their surrounding cast, which has completely changed. Greg Farley and Josh Rawson are gone, replaced by drummer Will Lawrence and bassist Jesske Hume. This change has come with a fresh take on their musical style that finds its home on Undress.

A couple things stand out right away, even if you’ve only heard the singles that have been released over the past couple months. One, this is their most overtly political album to date. And two, Undress is easily their most accessible record, attracting new fans that haven’t heard of them previously. Some of their weirdness has been set aside to coax the most emotional and intellectual resonance from the tracks. For better or worse, this is their shot at making a record that sells as well as they’ve deserved for a long time.

The production on Undress, done with the help of Jeremy Backofen, is pristine. The harmonies soar and the instruments, from accordion to piano to guitar, all come through perfectly. You can feel the passion and intensity moving from song to song through the album even on the first listen, which isn’t always true on Felice Brothers records.

The singles released really push the new sound, but deeper cuts on the album show that they haven’t totally left the old ways behind. On “Days Of The Years” Ian reminds us of what brought people into their fan base many years ago. It’s his sincere delivery that first made me take a harder listen when their self-titled record came out over a decade ago, and it keeps me interested here.

Despite a new sound, new members, and loftier goals, The Felice Brothers are still the same band at it’s core. Ian and Jimmy are making music for the lost and the forgotten, but that music is reaching more people than ever. In this age of disconnection I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise. And despite Undress featuring a lot about the horrible place we find ourselves in as a society, I think it is also the most hopeful thing they’ve put out so far in their career.

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Cut live to tape with very little overdubbing, “Undress” was recorded in the late summer of 2018 in Germantown, New York. Band members Ian Felice, James Felice, Will Lawrence (drums) and Jesske Hume (bass) teamed up with producer Jeremy Backofen to record their most personal and reflective album to date.

“Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” says songwriter Ian Felice. “It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days, there are a lot of storms blooming on the horizon and a lot of chaos that permeates our lives. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.”

Undress follows the band’s 2016 album Life In The Dark, and finds the group in a very different place three years later. Between personnel changes, families growing and the political landscape, the result is a tighter, more-paired down release. “Every song is a story,” said James Felice. “On this album everything was a bit more thoughtful, including the arrangements, the sonic quality and the harmonies.” 

releases May 3rd , 2019 Yep Roc Records

After three long years, an announcement of a new album from the Felice Brothers.

“Undress” was recorded in the late summer of 2018 in Germantown, New York. “Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” says songwriter Ian Felice. “It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days, there are a lot of storms blooming on the horizon and a lot of chaos that permeates our lives. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.”

Undress follows the band’s 2016 album Life In The Dark, and finds the group in a very different place three years later. Between personnel changes, families growing and the political landscape, the result is a tighter, more-paired down release. “Every song is a story,” said James Felice. “On this album everything was a bit more thoughtful, including the arrangements, the sonic quality and the harmonies.”

The Felice Brothers are long standing faves. Their wonderful blend of storytelling, lyrical genius and ramshackle Americana began in 2006, playing subway platforms and sidewalks in NYC and they have gone on to release nine albums of original songs and to tour extensively throughout the world. The new album is out on Yep Roc Records on the 3rd May.

The title track from the upcoming record, Undress, out May 3rd on Yep Roc Records.

Ian Felice

In The Kingdom Of Dreams is the debut solo album from Ian Felice, the lead singer and songwriter of The Felice Brothers. It will be released via Loose Music on 25th August 2017. The album was recorded in Ian’s childhood home of Palenville NY, with his brother Simone Felice on production duties. Simone produced and co-wrote recent hit albums from The Lumineers and Bat For Lashes. On the album, Ian was joined by the original Felice Brothers line-up of James Felice on keys, Simone Felice on drums and Josh Rawson on bass. Listen to the first song from the record below – the title track “In The Kingdom Of Dreams”.

Ian has been the lead singer and songwriter for The Felice Brothers for over a decade. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains he moved to New York when he was 18 to study art and soon after began writing songs and performing with his brothers Simone and James. The Felice Brothers was conceived in 2006 after the recording of Iantown, a 10 song album of Ian’s first songs recorded in one night in January of 2006. In the weeks and months that followed, The Felice Brothers began playing bars, restaurants and busking street corners and subways, joined by their friends Josh Rawson on bass and Greg Farley on the fiddle. They continue to play and work as a band after 12 years of prolific song writing and performance and the creation of some 9 albums of original material.
In The Kingdom of Dreams is a collection of songs Ian wrote in 2016 and recorded over the course of 4 days in February of 2017, with his brother Simone at the helm. As Ian explains:-

“When I began writing the songs that would become In The Kingdom Of My Dreams many were based on memories of my past but not necessarily all literal or in a logical sequence. I became interested in the pull between reality and unreality and also in how time affects memory. By the end of 2016 I was run down from touring America, riding out the storm of political mania and juggling a few personal dilemmas (including the revelation that I would soon be a father). The Kingdom Of Dreams became a place where I could escape from the numbing flood of data that permeates modern life and try to unravel pieces of my past, rearrange memories with dreams or lines from my imagination and construct something that functioned outside the limits of reality. Many of the songs deal with childhood memories of Palenville and its people, like the song “In Memoriam” which is partly about the death of my stepfather when I was 8, “Water Street” that confronts my fears of becoming a father, or “21st Century” that deals with mental illness and politics on a more universal level. It only seemed right that I should make the album there, along the green banks of the Katterskill Creek and with my brother Simone as producer. The result is a pretty reflective record that hopefully blows some cobwebs from the window of my psyche. Many of the things that I was writing at the time didn’t work as songs and so I published a companion book of poetry, Hotel Swampland.”

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In The Kingdom Of Dreams will be released on 25th August 2017 via Loose Music, available on CD, heavyweight vinyl and as a download. Ian’s book of poetry is available from ianfelice.com, along with a selection of related paintings.