Posts Tagged ‘The Felice Brothers’

Daily Dose: The Felice Brothers, "Special Announcement"

New York folk-rockers The Felice Brothers recently announced their first album in three years, “Undress”, arriving May 3rd through Yep Roc Records. They’re back with another song “Special Announcement,” the third single from the record, It follows previously released singles “Poor Blind Birds” and “Undress.” Listen to “Special Announcement” below.

The song, which directly and cleverly targets financial corruption, is quick to acknowledge the absurdity of our modern politics and the role money plays in them with the lyric “I’m saving up my money to be president.” Songwriter Ian Felice imagines a world without financial interests, without the “Stock Exchange” and the “Federal Reserve.” His plans include more than a few shake-ups: “I can promise you this: Charlie Parker on the $10 bill.” Felice sings this satire over energetic keys and cheerful chords, but don’t let the song’s upbeat nature fool you—it’s an expressed exasperation with the crookedness at play in American politics.

“This song should feel like you’re reading the Financial Times in a motel at the edge of reality,” Felice says. “You feel very frustrated by the corrupting power of money in politics, and a piano’s cloud-like chords are hovering over a terrace.”

Undress is the band’s seventh album, following 2016’s Life in the Dark. For this record, the band deviated slightly from more personal lyrics and turned their focus to writing about modern mayhems, of which, as we know, there are many.

“Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” Felice says. “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.”

From the new album – Undress

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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.

It’s just been announced that Conor Oberst is working with the Felice Brothers band again on a new (sort of) album. Salutations is going to be 7 new tracks, plus all the songs from Ruminations done with a full band instead of solo. Earlier they released the first new track, “Napalm,” as well as their version of  “A Little Uncanny.”

“Napalm” is, in my opinion, one of the most electrifying track’s Oberst has released since “Roosevelt Room” appeared on Outer South. There’s a little twang in the vocals on some lyrics, and since Ian Felice isn’t focused on singing he’s free to go wild on lead guitar. Salutations also features Oberst’s Monsters Of Folk bandmate Jim James and drummer Jim Keltner.

“Napalm” by Conor Oberst and The Felice Brothers

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.

Conor Oberst is streaming new album ‘Salutations’

This album is a companion piece to 2016’s “Ruminations”. When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo with just vocals, piano, guitar and harmonica, he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. But in the midst of putting together that band – upstate New York’s The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) – the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form.

“Salutations” so soon after is a surprise release. After the previous “Ruminations” 10-track album written and recorded by Conor Oberst in the cold confines of Omaha, Nebraska which came out last year, the news that a second album, with full-band arrangements of those same 10 songs plus seven more, would be released this year was an unexpected bonus. Featuring the contributions of The Felice Brothers and Jim Keltner, it promised a new treatment of some of Oberst’s most raw compositions. The result is a fulsome new release, markedly different from its 2016 cousin.

If nothing else, Salutations is a fascinating look at the changes that come from collaboration and evolution in a studio setting versus the isolation in which these songs were born. Instead of relying solely on piano, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, Conor Oberst and company employ accordions, organs, strings (of both the orchestral and fiddle varieties), and ethereal sound collage elements to build up these tracks and give them a more unique new character.

In place of sparse confessionals, Oberst offers amblers, anthems, and torch songs. The first track of the album, “Too Late to Fixate”, announces Salutations as such – a slow groove with his trademark combination of wry humor, self-pity, and world-weary reflection. The album’s new additions tend to be its more raucous ones, approaching a Southern rock vibe in songs like “Napalm” and “Anytime Soon”. Despite those rollicking numbers, much of Salutations moves at a slower pace, with the addition of percussion and string-accompaniment often turning Oberst into a crooner see: “Rain Follows the Plough”. The record has an overall jam band quality, but it’s one to sway and swoon to, with clean electric guitars and steady ballads.

 The themes are recognizable to anyone familiar with Oberst’s prior work. There is a particular focus on the peculiar nature of celebrity, most notably “It’s a Little Uncanny” and “You Loved Him Once”. Oberst seems captivated by how people in the public eye have a strange hold over the rest of us in ways that can affect the lives of both those adoring and adored.

The album also presents Conor Oberst struggling with his own mortality. Health issues, including a diagnosis of a cyst in his brain, originally prompted the singer to step back from a planned tour and pour his worries onto the page. The echoes of that remain on Salutations in songs like “Tachycardia” and “Counting Sheep” with lyrics like “everything ends, everything has to.” Oberst seems to be contemplating his own end, trying to reassure himself about both the meaning and inevitability of it.

Through the fuller production, however, Oberst softens the blow of these thoughts. There was a bare earnestness to Salutations’ predecessor, a sense in which Oberst was sequestered in his own confessional in Nebraska, pleading his case and wrestling with his demons. In the confines of the studio, the lyrics have the same potency, but Oberst himself is more languid, the instrumentation more amiable than arresting. It turns passages in songs like “A Little Uncanny”, where Oberst sings “I miss poor Robin Williams”, from sad laments into fond remembrances.

But the same ruminative qualities remain on the record. Salutations focuses on the fleeting, fickle nature of just about everything. Success, romance, veneration, discipline, fidelity, and life itself all appear to be phantoms that can never truly be captured or pinned down in Oberst’s estimation , “Salutation”, “Afterthought”. Oberst is seemingly beleaguered by the uncertainty and the march of years, with many songs that mention his finding refuge in various substances, geographic escapes, or more carnal distractions.

In “Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)”, he speaks of finding something “sacred till the end,” after beauty, wealth, and achievement have faded and crumbled. He seems to settle on art as one of those few things that can be pure, that can withstand the panicked paradoxes of the day-to-day and perhaps even death itself .

Oberst strikes the notes of a man trying to find something permanent, beautiful, and unblemished .

It’s just been announced that Conor Oberst is working with the Felice Brothers band again on a new (sort of) album. “Salutations” is going to be 7 new tracks, plus all the songs from “Ruminations” done with a full band instead of solo. Yesterday they released the first new track, “Napalm,” as well as their version of  “A Little Uncanny.” .Created with help from The Felice brothers Jim Keltner , the record will also feature My Morning Jackets Jim James as well as Blake Mills , Gillian Welch and others .

Salutations also features Oberst’s Monsters Of Folk bandmate Jim James and drummer Jim Keltner. The Felice Brothers will join Oberst on tour (seriously must-see live) for dates in Europe as well as a handful in the States.  The album is up for pre-sale through Nonesuch Records.

“Napalm” is, in an electrifying track Conor Oberst has released since “Roosevelt Room” which appeared on Outer South. There’s a little twang in the vocals on some lyrics, and since Ian Felice isn’t focused on singing he’s free to go wild on lead guitar.

Conor Oberst’s “Napalm” from his 2017 album, Salutations.

Felice Brothers 2016

Every Felice Brothers song, in some way or another, has been about the American Dream, the idea of assembling yourself from the castoffs of the past—in their case, Dylan and the Band and Woody Guthrie and every forgotten troubadour with a guitar. On this standout from Life in the Dark, that dream curdles into a feverish nightmare, full of prairie surrealism and allusions to Hiroshima and the murder of labor activist Joe Hill. The inmates, in other words, are running the asylum, if not the entire nation.

Felice Brothers Life in the Dark

With its primal acoustic instrumentation and rugged mountain-man harmonies, the Felice Brothers’ latest album harkens back to the band’s late-Aughties classics like Yonder is the Clock and The Felice Brothers. But this time around, the band’s quirky Americana mythologizing has turned much darker, populated by corporate headaches and consumerist nightmares on songs like “Aerosol Ball,” “Jack At The Asylum,” and “Plunder.” Ian Felice, who sings leads on every track (a first for the group), sets the pace with his dejected stories of american blue collar working-class desperation (“Triumph ’73”) and middle-aged defeat (“Sell the House”). The band’s latest album might be their bleakest, but it’s also their most potent and interesting to date.

These Days there are few things in life that give me cause for celebration, but a new record from The Felice Brothers. The band from the Hudson Valley make music as odd and interesting as it is entertaining. A wonderful live band,

Today the band released a video for their new single, along with a date for their new album Life In The Dark (out June 24th). It’s a fun track, a bit in the vein of “Cherry Licorice” in the kind of impractical lyrics that make more sense the more you listen. The video of archive video pairs well with the song, as you can see for yourself.

The Felice Brothers new album Life In The Dark is out June 24th on Yep Roc Records and is available for preorder now.

The Felice Brothers return to Pawling, NY at Daryl’s House Club on May 12.  prepare to hear some new tunes from the forthcoming Life In The Dark (as well as old favorites).