Posts Tagged ‘Rough Trade Records’

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With an elegant, nuanced and emotionally affecting singing style (Cerys Matthews described her as having a voice that can “trickle back over centuries”) Josienne Clarke has frequently been compared to the great Sandy Denny, but present too are elements of Nina Simone and Gillian Welch; all three are important influences on her work.

In recent years, Josienne has supported the great Richard Thompson on a dream-come-true tour of the UK and opened for the legendary Robert Plant across Europe, as well as performing at some of the UK’s best-loved festivals, including Latitude, Larmer Tree and End Of The Road. She also found herself in demand as a writer and broadcaster, contributing to Standard Issue magazine and appearing on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb to discuss her pet subject melancholy, alongside poet Simon Armitage.

Original track from Josienne’s latest album ‘In All Weather’.

Josienne Clarke

Back in September Josienne Clarke released her excellent single, “If I Didn’t Mind”, It’s stripped back and raw, be warned: there is a powerful emotional punch to this album. As an account of a life laid bare, there are also some remarkably tender moments – and some joyous ones too. “In All Weather” is undoubtedly an artistic triumph, and certainly Josienne’s most assured work to date.

The first taste of her debut album, “In All Weather”. With the album now out this week Josienne has shared the latest taste of it, the pleasingly titled, “Slender, Sad and Sentimental”.

Discussing the track, Josienne has suggested it’s a somewhat cerebral affair, “I was writing about writing a catchy single in the style of a catchy single. I’ve possibly hit peak self-reference!” Self-referential or not, there’s an undeniable catchiness to elements of the track, the chorus combining Josienne’s impressive, Martha Ffion-like vocal style, with a bass-line Girl Ray would be proud of. Yet there’s a restraint to the song’s pop tendencies too, just as it threatens to slip into purest-pop, it makes a detour into a melancholic folk breakdown or a minimal keyboard line. Slender, Sad And Sentimental never quite commits to being a full blown pop song, and is all the more intriguing for it.

Josienne provides vocals and sparse acoustic and electric guitar throughout the album, joined by Elliott Galvin on piano, jazz drummer Dave Hamblett and renowned Scottish harpist Mary Ann Kennedy. Additional guitar and bass is provided by Sonny Johns, who also co-produced the album with Josienne.

She writes, ‘I exiled myself, moved to an island, literally and metaphorically, broke up with everything but songwriting. To re-make myself, to learn to let it all go in peace.’ Personal and professional relationships cast aside – along with a physical relocation away from London to be isolated on the Isle of Bute – provides a powerful backdrop to the songs. And reveals that the themes of separation, independence, determination, dissolution and reawakening are not solely metaphorical…

In All Weather is out November 8th via Rough Trade Records.

New Jersey band Pinegrove has announced that their new album “Marigold” will be released on January 17th, 2020, via Rough Trade Records. This announcement comes paired with the release of new song “Phase,” the second song released from the album following the album’s first single “Moment,” .

“Phase” has that now-signature urgent and emotional Pinegrove sound, packing a lot in it’s 2 1/2-minute runtime. Evan Stephens Hall wrote the song about those times you’re desperately trying to sleep but you can’t because your mind is racing with different ideas and anxieties.

The official music video captures this idea in a humorous fashion, which was directed by Colin Read. Find it posted below, along with the Marigold tracklist and some newly announced tour dates.

we’re also real psyched to report that we are working with Rough Trade Records! they’ve been terrific to work with so far & it’s an honor to be on their roster. may we also say! our tour is coming up—beginning, in fact, next week! we’ll be playing this song “moment” & perhaps some other new ones out there on the dusty trail.

28-Mar-20 Dublin, Ireland @ The Grand Social
30-Mar-20 Glasgow, UK @ SWG3 TV Studio
31-Mar-20 Manchester, UK @ Academy 2
01-Apr-20 Bristol, UK @ SWX
02-Apr-20 London, UK @ Electric Ballroom

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The voice and the space between the words are unmistakably Josienne Clarke. ‘Things I Didn’t Need’ is a powerfully brittle love song. The arrangements of all the songs are barer than the chamber folk of SEEDLINGS ALL, Josienne’s stunning 2018 duo album with Ben Walker. There is room to hear every emotional syllable and nuance with voice, strummed electric guitar and some atmospherics to make the whole thing crackle. The effect is hypnotic, giving weight and power to every word.

Expect to hear these tracks soundtracking poignant moments in arty TV dramas soon. ‘Season And Time’ features a beautiful picked acoustic and Clarke’s wonderfully melancholic voice with some wonderful lyrics. ‘Never Lie’ adds some atmospheric textures and layers to Josienne’s fine voice and guitar, building a wonderful soundscape. Three tracks, individually sublime, also act as a starter, hinting at the rich treasures and sounds on Josienne Clarke’s forthcoming album that she describes as filled with misery, anger and a, longing for better.

Opening lines can be so crucial to a song, the way they set a mood, create a scene and instantly plant the listener squarely in the centre of proceedings. “You’ve got your problems but I’m the one that needs to change”, is how Josienne Clarke’s new single, If I Didn’t Mind, greets you. Instantly thrusting you into the centre of a failing relationship, a row so instantly real you feel like you’re going to be ducking flying plates and pulling your hands out of the ways of slammed doors. The track is lifted from Josienne’s upcoming debut album, In All Weather, a record about pulling yourself out and starting again, “I exiled myself, moved to an island, metaphorically and literally; broke up with everything but songwriting, to re-make myself and learn to let it all go in peace”.

Built around a fluttering bass-line, and rolling drum beat, most of the track’s melody is carried by Josienne’s vocal. Throughout there’s a calmness and a strength to the delivery, that doesn’t disguise the hurt underneath, almost if Josienne is steadying herself determined to make her point. Discussing the album as a whole, Josienne has suggested In All Weather is, “a manifesto of how to leave and how to change”, a series of songs about breaking-up and crucially about moving on, on this evidence one enthusiastic writers claim that these are, “the best break-up songs since Blood on the Tracks”, might actually have some legs.

In All Weather is out November 8th via Rough Trade Records.

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In All Weather is a new collection of songs, in which she goes it alone;  musically, as this is her first solo record, and in her own life, laid bare and played out in the leave-it-all-behind-and-start-anew nature of the lyrics.

“Learning to sail in all weather, the line from which the album title comes, is what we are all trying to do,” Josienne explains. “To right ourselves when things feel turbulent and uncertain. How to correct your course and stay true to the things you believe and need and let all the rest go.” Fans of Josienne Clarke’s previous melancholic chamber-folk duo will recognise her uniquely sorrowful and jewel-like vocal style. But these new songs were sung and played by Josienne in the manner they’ve always been written; emotionally raw, immediate and unvarnished. Gone are the duo’s grandiose arrangements; Josienne accompanies herself on pared-back acoustic and electric guitar throughout. She’s joined on the record by experimental piano prodigy Elliott Galvin, innovative jazz drummer Dave Hamblett, celebrated Scottish harpist Mary Ann Kennedy and guitarist/bassist Sonny Johns (best known for his work with Fatoumata Diawara & Polar Bear) who co-produced the record with Josienne at Watercolour Studios in Fort William, Scotland.

Singer and songwriter, BBC Folk Award winner. Committed harbinger of melancholy. “Sings like a haunted angel”

Taken from Josienne Clarke’s forthcoming solo album ‘In All Weather’, out 8th November.

The Talkies is Girl Band’s follow-up album to their ground breaking 2015 debut “Holding Hands with Jamie”. The Talkies is living, breathing, in a continual state of metamorphosis. It encompasses everything there is to love about Girl Band while simultaneously causing an exciting level of discomfort. The moaning and sawing guitars, atonal blankets of sound, abstractive lyrical repetition, chugging snare and ascending / descending snakes and ladders noise-rock guitar deliver something that is so distinctively Girl Band. The album opens to unsteady breathing. Slow at first, unwanted and out of time. Breathing shallows and discomfort deepens over the sustained heartbeat of a soon to be familiar A chord. This is Dara’s breath, this is his panic, a momentary, one-off lapse of control recorded and transmuted into a rhythmic, off-beat moment of disquiet to unlock Girl Band’s crucial yet quietly anticipated second album: The Talkies.

Following arguably the sweetest vocal melody lead singer Dara Kiely has ever sung on record, his voice momentarily offers an ominous hint before sharply metamorphosing into a feral and incomprehensible bark at the climax of “Laggard”. His distressed calls of “What a total cod” are the brutal culmination of a track that feverishly toys with volume, and turbulently snakes through wailing, siren-like guitars; piercing rimshot rhythms; and furious blasts of percussion and bass.

The impact of these sudden sonic shifts are greatly enhanced by Girl Band’s emphasis on groove, atmosphere and patience on The TalkiesIt allows the four-piece to consistently beguile and wrong-foot their audience. Consequently, it makes The Talkies a rather disconcerting listen, as one never truly knows what to expect next from the four-piece. “Salmon of Knowledge”, for example, swells with noise and pained screams before reverting back to a soft groove. Lead single, “Shoulderblades” contorts itself through varying passages of tumultuous noise, as Kiely’s barbed howls are later framed by disquieting demands for silence.

Whilst several tracks tease the listener and build tension without ever truly releasing the pressure valve, others viciously combust. “Prefab Castle” gently builds with a glitched riff before fracturing itself into multiple nightmarish motifs. Technically reminiscent of a cinematic fast-cut, these motifs rapidly cycle and then reconstitute themselves into a devastating techno—inspired groove. Similarly, “Going Norway”, spontaneously accelerates with a vocal melody akin to “Pears For Lunch” from Girl Band’s debut, Holding Hands with Jamie.The humorous “Couch Combover” also finds Kiely manically erupting, declaring that a figure “Gave birth to a fax machine” amongst chaotic guitars.

The production greatly adds to the atmosphere conjured on the The Talkies. Inspired by Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere” and the backwards dialogue of Twin Peaks’ infamous red-room sequences, “Aibohphobia” constructs a dense soundscape of palindromes and reversed instrumentation, which later obliterates itself with coarse rumbling bass.

Furthermore, the splicing of multiple recordings from the different rooms of Ballintubbert House, where Girl Band recorded the majority of their second record, thrusts the listener within the heart of the stately home. The sonics allow the listener to metaphorically voyage through its corridors, while the band perform the record as if they were performance artists within an exhibition. Instruments and vocals organically move from striking intimacy to distant and ambient, creating a unique world for the listener to explore.

For example, the excellent “Caveat” initially finds Kiely’s vocals up-close and clear. There is an intense sense of intimacy and one can imagine standing directly in front of Kiely and feeling his breath as he drawls, “Scale electric/Vampyroteuthis”. As we then explore the bowels of Ballintubbert House, Kiely’s vocals become distant and almost lost within the mix. His screams repurpose themselves as haunting reverberations through the corridors of the stately home, as we reposition ourselves to witness drummer Adam Faulkner furiously striking hi-hats to piercing effect.

There is a juxtaposition to be found within The Talkieswhich makes it a fascinating listen. Thematically and sonically, the Irish quartet’s second record is a coherent record, but it is also persistently engulfed by the psychopathology and sequelae of psychosis – a state where one can (dependent on the severity of the psychosis) present as entirely incoherent.

With pronouns purposefully avoided, Kiely placed emphasis on the weight of words and sounds, when assembling the lyrics for the twelve tracks found on The TalkiesThis device warps words to the point of unfamiliarity and language to the point of abstraction. Yet, whether intentional or not, Kiely’s lyrics mirror the psychiatric phenomenon of formal thought disorder. The words when visualised resemble word salad and over the course of the record there is evidence of neologisms (“guilloti-eenager” in “Laggard”); clang associations (“Mechanical Boil, Ball, Boil, Bull, Ball” in “Going Norway”); and perseveration of language (the repeated “Y in the Byrds” found in “Salmon of Knowledge”).

Additionally, the drum-rolls and abrasive screams of “Amygdala” feel apt for a track named after the area of the brain key in the processing of emotion (in particular, fear). Likewise, “Akineton” is the trade-name of Biperiden, a medication used to treat a side-effect commonly associated with anti-psychotics – akathisia (the subjective feeling of inner restlessness). Its racing guitars and fidgeting electronics mimic that restlessness. These shorter tracks therefore are not just filler and augment the possible narrative woven throughout the record.

The Talkies is a devastating and jaw-dropping record that provokes awe and anxiety in equal measure. Although there are elements throughout the record that are ‘quintessentially’ Girl Band, The Talkies builds upon these elements and makes a vast leap sonically and narratively with the aid of unrestrained experimentation. There is a definitive artistic expression found on The Talkies and frankly it should be a late contender for any albums of the decade list.

*blue vinyl available the Rough Trade Records webstore and indie retailers. Numbered and signed postcards, documenting our time recording the album, come free with pre-orders exclusively from the Rough Trade Records webstore

There was a Leeds music scene at the time that revolved around the Leeds University Art Department, and local bands The Gang of Four and The Mekons were doing well. Kelvin had briefly replaced Hugo in The Gang of Four and was recommended to Delta 5 as a drummer. Kelvin and I played in a band in York together so I went along to audition and joined in May 1979.

First release “Mind Your Own Business” / “Now That You’ve Gone” – 1979. The Gang of Four were recording their album, Entertainment, in the WorkHouse in the Old Kent Road and they decided that they could help us out at the same time. We stayed with them on a houseboat on the Thames at Cheney Walk, Chelsea and their manager Rob Warr arranged for us to go in and record whilst they were out at a Madness/Specials gig in Camden.

“You” was supposed to be the first recording but it wasn’t happening so we changed tack and recorded both songs in about 8 to 10 hours. We had only been together a few months and done about 3 or 4 gigs by this time. Rob took the tapes to EMI who were paying for the studio but they passed – no surprise there – so Rob went to Geoff Travis at Rough Trade. Geoff came to see us at The Global Village (later Heaven) and we met him afterwards and agreed to a deal on a handshake.

John Peel was given a pre-release copy and he decided to play it twice that night. The next day we got a call asking if we’d like to do a session for him – yes please!! Then, we were off and running.

“Delta 5” and “Make Up” included on this CD are from that session of February 1980. We recorded a follow-up, “Anticipation” / “You” in February 1980. We were gigging more often at this point and “You” turned out pretty well. More gigging in Europe and the UK; around 1980 – 81, we played quite a bit at The Lyceum in London and shared the bill with The Gang of Four a few times, Echo and the Bunnymen, B52s, Specials, Teardrop Explodes and U2 to name a few. We toured with The Gang of Four and Pere Ubu in 1980.

In September 1980 we did our second Peel session, which included “Triangle,” which is included on this CD. Later in September 1980 we went to the USA.

We played New York and all along the East Coast. Then we went West, and “Shadow,” “Circuit,” and “Journey” are all from a show we did at the Berkeley Square in Berkeley, CA. Back to England in October and we recorded “Try”/ “Colour” with the Bad Manners horn section who we had met at a festival In Finland. In February 1981 we toured Holland and Belgium. In March 81 we signed with the Pre record label in April we went into Rak Studios in St John’s Wood to record an album. Rak was Mickie Most’s studios and The Animals, Hot Chocolate and Sweet had recorded there.

We experimented quite a bit on the album and perhaps we should have just recorded the songs as they were – the session versions included here are more a reflection of how we were live as they were all recorded quickly in one or two takes.

None of us really liked the title of the album but it was a compromise – I think we argued quite a lot back then. We did a UK tour culminating in a headline gig at The Venue London. We even had a horn section including Rico on trombone.

We went back to the USA for a few shows on the East Coast in May and came back to England in June. We recorded “Innocenti,” “Train Song,” “Final Scene” and “Singing The Praises” for a Richard Skinner session in July 1981.

The album came out somtime late in 1981 and we went to Holland in October – I decided it was time to leave when we got back – I think Julz and then Kelvin left and Bethan & Ros made one more single with new personnel before calling it a day in 1982.

The early days were the best and although we did argue a lot, (what band doesn’t!), we also had a lot of laughs – for a couple of years we got to play live and make some records, and then that was enough.

A “must have” best of by this influential 1980’s Leeds, UK group that is still name-checked and covered by current bands.

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‘Bet My Brains’ is the lead single from Starcrawler’s forthcoming album “Devour You”, to be released on October 11th on Rough Trade Records. Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, YYYs, Arctic Monkeys), ‘Bet My Brains’ distills Starcrawler down to its essence with a massive guitar riffs, rollicking drums and a wide screen performance by Singer Arrow de Wilde that illustrates just how ready this band is to explode into the mainstream.

Devour You drops October 11th!! Limited edition version on blood marbled vinyl with a scratch + sniff sleeve available from the Rough Trade Records webstore and indie record shops!

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Girl Band new album The Talkies

Girl Band have announced a new album. The Irish post-punk/noise rock group will release “The Talkies” on September 27th via Rough Trade Records. It’s their first new album in four years, and the first single they’ve released is titled “Shoulderblades,”  The album was recorded at Ballintubbert House, an estate built in the 1700s just outside of Dublin, and produced by bassist Daniel Fox.

“In many ways the idea behind the album was to make an audio representation of the house,” guitarist Alan Duggan said in a press release. The Talkies follows 2015′s Holding Hands With Jamie.

Taken from Girl Band’s second album ‘The Talkies’, out 27th September on Rough Trade Records

November 2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of the release of The Raincoats’ self-titled debut album and the band plan to celebrate with a series of live performances in the UK and at Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht.

“In 1979, The Raincoats helped shape the timeless notion that punk is what you make it to be — an act of raw expression, not any one sound. Their anarchy was poetic. Ana da Silva (vocals, guitar) and Gina Birch (vocals, bass) formed the group in 1977 while they were students at Hornsey College of Art in London. Da Silva and Birch were inspired to make a band after they saw the Slits perform live earlier that year. Birch stated in an interview “It was as if suddenly I was given permission. It never occurred to me that I could be in a band. Girls didn’t do that. But when I saw the Slits doing it, I thought, ‘This is me. This is mine

The group’s debut album ‘The Raincoats’, was released 40 years ago by Rough Trade Records at its radical beginnings, setting a crucial precedent for feminist work within a DIY context. In 1979, the Raincoats weren’t working and three of the four members were living in squats – Vicky Aspinall in Brixton, Gina Birch in Monmouth Road, Bayswater, where the band frequently rehearsed. The squatting culture informed the lifestyle and music of the band with an onus on improvisation and DIY.

the Raincoats became an all female band as they were joined by the Slits’ ex-drummer Palmolive and the classically trained violinist Vicky Aspinall, with this line-up making their live debut at Acklam Hall in London on 4th January 1979. In May 1979 after Rough Trade Records released their first single, “Fairytale in the Supermarket”. Johnny Rotten was an early admirer of the band, and later stated: “The Raincoats offered a completely different way of doing things, as did X-Ray Spex and all the books about punk have failed to realise that these women were involved for no other reason than that they were good and original”. In November 1979, Rough Trade then released the band’s self-titled debut album which received considerable acclaim from the press. Palmolive had left the band in September, shortly before The Raincoats came out, and teenager Ingrid Weiss joined the band on drums

The Raincoats have offered creative and spiritual inspiration for several generations of artists like John Lydon, Kim Gordon, Kurt Cobain, Carrie Brownstein, Bikini Kill, Priests, Angel Olsen.”