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Distant Correspondent. Music for hangovers.

14 May

I’m sure a fair few of you will know the feeling… The early morning alarm wakes you up after the night before, your brain and tongue feel like a deflated football and there’s a fully fit team putting the proverbial boot in.

Hit the snooze button, even though you know another ten minutes in bed isn’t going to make any difference and only adds to the contemplation of the disastrous day ahead.

Jumping up, as you are now running late, the shower might put a positive dent in this feeling. Think again! 8 + pints of ‘something’ that you can still taste and feel isn’t going to be shifted by a stream of tepid water and cheap shower gel.

By the time you have arrived at your place of work, you wonder how the hell you even managed to crawl in and out of bed. A glance at the clock makes that the fact that you have another 7 hours of the working day left totally unbearable.

Right, it’s time for action, coffee and music. This is where Distant Correspondent came in.

On this particular day music was the only thing that could save me and this is where I searched for a cure for the previous night’s antics.

Meanwhile Back in Communist Russia were one of my favourite bands from the early 2000’s and were my band for lazy days of contemplation, (and were what I was listening to on this particularly painful day) after a night of heavy indulgence, MBICR mixed guitar, electronics and female spoken word and created something that was part Arab Strap part Life Without Buildings before both bands existed.

After searching online for what the guys and girl from MBICR were up to at present, the name Distant Correspondent kept popping up. I read a few bits about the band and knew from the write ups that this would be a project that I would like and needed on this day.

I nipped over to Spotify to see what was available by DC and was pleased to see that the band had release a self –titled album in 2013.

dc111111

The band consists of  David Obuchowski (Goes Cube), Michael Lengel, Edith Frost and  Emily Gray (Meanwhile Back in Communist Russia). The music is written via the internet as the musicians live on differing continents – You now know where the name comes from.

Anyway, where were we? OK I was about to hit play. ‘Listen’ the first track on the album took me where I needed to be. My hangover took a back seat and was no longer the focus of my previously jaded attention. Guitars drenched in reverb and delay, ice cool ethereal vocals and dreamy textures were the perfect start.

dist

Track three on the album ‘Cyclone’ blew me and my cobwebbed head away completely. Reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins and a slowed down version of DIf Juz, I could imagine Distant Correspondent being a perfect band for the 4AD label.

This self-titled release is music to get joyously lost in. It’s not the most diverse release I have ever heard but the album works wonderfully as a whole. Reverb and delay are the primary features but DC succinctly splash small nuances throughout the songs and the less is more approach fits perfectly here.

Emily Gray’s spoken word pieces float in and out of the songs and this is another area that DC has utilized to perfection. I had always adored her voice, it’s the sort of voice that whispered into your ear, sends shivers down your spine and makes headphones a must for this album.

Some of the songs do pick up the tempo; ’Summit’ is a prime example of this, Gray is on top form and so are the band. This is the musical equivalent of reading a secret diary and feeling waves of empathy for the author’s troubles. ‘Summit’ is a stunning track and one that I have had on repeat along with the whole album for days now

By the end of the first full play of the album, all my thoughts and feelings connect to my inebriation and its after effects were a thing of the past and the only way I could keep them at bay was to hit play and listen to this album again and again.

Trust me, the album sounds even better without the added hangover but in case of emergency it’s the CD cabinet and not the medicine cabinet I will be reaching for after one of those nights in the future, DC are the musical equivalent of pain killers and re-hydration – Very comforting and refreshing.

Here we have an interview with David and Michael from the band.

So, how are you?

David: Pretty good, pretty good.
Michael: Great!

What are the band up to currently?

David: Well, we’re doing a lot of recording right now. My wife and I recently had a baby girl, and so that put our live stuff on hold for a bit. But all this time at home has allowed me to put all my focus back into writing.

Michael: Yes, recording, recording, recording. We’re in the early stages on several new songs I think we’re all pretty excited about. After our fall tour and a bunch of Denver shows, there’s definitely a reflection of the live dynamics we’re drawing from in these new songs.

dcpic

Have you played or do you plan to play any gigs?

David: Ah well, we actually went on a national tour this past fall in support of our album. Emily even came over from the UK to be a part of it. It was a lot of fun playing nearly every night, drinking beer in a different town every night, and all of us Americans speaking to Emily in our best English accents. We played a slew of shows when we got home from that tour. But as I said, my wife and I just had a baby so we’re spending our time recording and writing right now. Though, I expect we’ll be back at it come summer.

Michael: It’s funny, when you’re in one stage of the process how you can yearn for the other… when you’re touring you start to get fidgety, wanting to write and record; when you’re recording, you can’t wait to play the songs live. We’ll have shows coming in the summer, but for now, speaking for myself at least, just trying to be present and enjoy developing these new songs.

How would you describe your sound?

David: We have a running joke in the band that we’re “trans-Atlantic dreamwave.” For some reason every piece of press that came out when we were on tour used that phrase. We couldn’t escape it. I guess I’d actually describe our sound as being a kind of dreamy, lush post-punk. We try to put tension and dynamics and hooks into all the songs (which is where the post-punk comes from), but then really try to fill it out as much as possible with layers and melody.

Michael: Yeah, “trans-Atlantic dreamwave” has kinda stuck…

dcvocals

What are your musical influences?

David: I mean, as the guy who plays and writes the guitar parts, I think I’m probably wearing a lot of my influences on my sleeve: Cocteau Twins, Smiths, Slowdive, One Last Wish, Kate Bush. But then, I’ve also been playing metal for a very long time, so that still factors into it. So there’s some Russian Circles, Pelican, Isis influences happening for me, too. I’ll let everyone else tell you what their influences are.

Michael: Rhythmically, I draw from Boards of Canada who for me, bring an impressive simplicity but intense groove to their beats. Liars, Fly Pan Am and some older stuff like Scott Walker’s huge sounds from Scott 1, 2, 3 and 4, Harumi which is Japanese psych from the 60s… These don’t really show in our sound per se, but what I love about each of these is that balance of relative simplicity with invention that adds a dimension of intrigue rhythmically.

What was the last album you listened to?

David: As I type this, the last album I listened to was Suzanne Vega’s first LP.

Michael: Echo Lake’s LP, Wild Peace. Absolutely delicious.

I noticed a love of delay and reverb on the album, where did this influence come from?

David: I think the obvious answer, again, is to look at the Cocteaus and Slowdive and Smiths. But from a practical perspective, the answer is probably just as much about the metal bands I’ve toured with (in my band Goes Cube). Goes Cube has always had a big Quicksand, Helmet post-hardcore influence mixed with more straight-up thrashy/grindy/driving stuff like Napalm Death. But between listening to Hydra Head bands (like Isis) and touring with bands like Dub Trio and East of the Wall, I was amazed at the textures that could be created with delay even in the heaviest, most brutal music. So with both Goes Cube and Distant Correspondent, I’ve been a little more interested in that. But with Distant Correspondent, I’m also adding chorus to the delay, which gives it that sort of shameless shoegazey/new wave British sound, which I love. There was a moment early in the record process where I played a chord and it sounded kind of like the guitars in “Headmaster’s Ritual,” and I decided “that’s it!”

If you had to chose one of your own songs for our listeners to hear, which would it be?

David: “Shatter” seems to be a big favorite. And I do love that song. I also love “Summit.” But then, I’ve always felt like “Forward” could be a real kind of “single.” I don’t recommend it as the ONE song everyone should hear, but I think “Department” is one of my favorite songs on the record, though I think it’s probably most people’s least favorite. I didn’t really give you a straight answer, did I? Oh well, I can’t decide.

Michael: “Say” and “Clay” I think are two songs that show a bit of our ability to create a dreamy soundscape that also has a driving element.

Anything else you would like to add.

David: Yes, we had a UK-only single come out on Static Caravan Recordings. It got really good press. We have an amazing British member (Emily Gray, who used to be the vocalist for Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia, a band I’ve been obsessed with for well over a decade now). Point is: We really want to come tour the UK. Aren’t there any booking agents and/or promoters who want to help us out? We practically ARE a UK band. I mean, you should hear our accents!

Michael: I think Emily would confirm our accents are immaculate.

https://www.facebook.com/distantcorr

https://twitter.com/distantcorr

http://oldflamerecords.bandcamp.com/album/distant-correspondent-distant-correspondent

 

 

Casuals Live. Post gig feature and trailer.

28 Nov

On the 10/11/2012 The Garage Highbury, one of the Mean Fiddler’s most prestigious venues, played host to the Casuals Live event. To say there was expectation in the air is an understatement. Vivid Riot Promotions and best-selling author and award-winning documentary maker Cass Pennant spent six weeks planning, promoting and organising this event, which was the very first of its kind.

A page from the gig programme

Bringing together four bands from across the UK, with four different styles, everyone at this event had one thing in common – A connection to the football casual scene and a love of music. A scene where music, clothing and diversity are always in abundance, this was the perfect combination for a gig with a difference.

As soon as the doors opened, the beer was flowing and the conversations were buzzing. The expectancy was electric and as DJ Dan Nolan span the first tunes of his DJ set, the smiles on everyone’s’ faces told a thousand stories. There were people from different football clubs, different walks of life and with very differing tastes but with thing uniting everybody– A love for culture on many different levels.

The job of opening Casuals Live went to Southend’s Plastic Youth. “Animal Style’ fizzed from the PA system and from the offset PY had people swaying to their brand of powerful literate Shoegaze. It was only a short set from PY but with the three songs they played, they certainly left their mark on the crowd. ‘Death Row’ finished a set with well-honed perfection. Job done and the event was well under way.

When it came to picking a band that lived and breathed the Casual scene, second band on the night, Reading’s Violet Class were a perfect choice. These lads live and breathe football culture. Kitted out in all the right clobber and Reading season ticket holders, they certainly looked the part but would their music be as smart as they looked?

Violet Class – Sound Check

Any questions about this bands music were answered after the band’s opener charged into life. ‘Socks on Shoes’ had hints of Ride and The La’s but also made you think, fuck, these boys have something special. The dancing at the front of the stage also put to bed any doubts that people would be standing still tonight – I only say that, because I fancied a boogie myself.

As the first chords of ‘Six Penny Step’ were strummed on the guitar the crowd broke out into rabid applause, this was a song that a lot of people were familiar with and were waiting for. Violet Class delivered the perfect rendition of the song and did themselves and their fans proud, whilst winning over of a whole host of new admirers along the way. Smart and to the point, Violet Class are going places.

Cass, gig programme, Section 60 and a Blue Collar.

As the beer carried on flowing and the DJ Dan Nolan continued to spin the tracks, every single person in the audience was now in full motion and had their dancing shoes on. I spoke to people who had travelled from as far away as Scotland and Dorset and many other places that showed how much dedication interest this event had created.

By the time The Blue Collars took to the stage, the area in front of the stage was now packed. “Alright, we’re The Blue Collars, from Stoke.” I actually thought that the buzz in the air couldn’t get anymore electric but I was very wrong. ‘This Old Town’ has had over 6000 views on You Tube and the prospect of hearing this popular song first was the best way for TBC to kick off. As soon as the song ended, applause rang out across the whole venue and people started pushing even closer to the front of the stage. The audience just wanted to feel a part of everything that was going on and The Blue Collars were more than happy to welcome them with open arms.

The Blue Collars

Melodic, angry and thought provoking are some of the words I would use to describe TBC but seriously, you have to see this band live to get the full range of emotions and intensity. They have the songs, the banter and the confidence to go very far and by the time they finished an exhilarating version of ‘Agree to Disagree’ the crowd were going crazy. Cass Pennant took to the microphone, “That was heavy duty or what?” The roar from the crowd was deafening and the sound of the whole audience singing, “Blue, Blue Collars” was cue for an encore. The Blue Collars closed their set with ‘The Dance One’ and front stage was a mass of jumping and clapping bodies. They came, they conquered. Enough said. Not bad for a support band, eh?

I actually felt sorry for Sheffield’s Section 60. I thought, how the fuck are they going to follow what has gone before them. I have been a fan of this band for some time and could tell straight away that they were here to do the business. “They have to raise the bar after The Blue Collars”, announced Cass Pennant and the boys came out in fighting mood and looked as smart as fuck.

Section 60 live.

‘Gunslingers’ the first tack in S60’s set has a bass line that gets into the very soul of you and could make a snail on valium stand to attention. The boys were back in London town and this time they are taking no prisoners.

When it comes to anthems, S60 walk with the likes of The Verve, Puressence and Oasis and they stand just as tall. Having one band that can move a crowd would have been incredible butting having four is testament of the young talent that is emerging from all over the UK and S60 stand at the forefront of this.

Section 60 and a full house.

‘The North Will Rise Again’ saw S60 bring the roof down. Anthemic, poetic and fucking ballsy, this track represents S60 perfectly. A performance this good only comes from years of practice and bundles of talent. A perfect end to a perfect night.

Cass Pennant, looked moved as he took to the microphone and announced that the whole thing had blown him away. I have to echo this sentiment. If you ask anyone who was at Casuals Live they will tell you that it was “A very special night to remember.”

Cass Pennant bringing the evening to a close.

Here is a you tube video that captures Casuals Live in all its glory.

Before I end this piece I would like to say a few thanks to people that made the night happen and also made it very special.

Thanks to our sponsors 80’s Casuals Classics and Peaceful Hooligan. Also to the following people – Jeff, Dan Nolan, Helen T, Jake, Nick S, Dave R, Mick Habeshaw Robinson, Jim Benner, Gemma, Mean Fiddler, Alex T, Vicky, Casual Way of Life, Jela, Kul Britannia, Street Sounds magazine Distant Echo, Cal, Clarkie, Dave E, Kate, all the bands on the night, and everyone who shared our event online and of course to every single one of you that came to the gig on the night. This will not be the last of this… Vivid Riot Promotions and Cass Pennant.

Vivid Riot – The Compilation FREE DOWNLOAD

10 Sep

That’s right – Yes, we know were are good people, and that’s why we are giving away our band spanking new compilation for nowt, nish, free. Just click away for 17 tracks of the finest new music.

The album is already causing a stir on-line, with listens into the thousands. 

Plain and simple, we want to highlight music that floats our boats and hopefully can sink the blues. It’s all good clean fun (Well most of it). 

To get your copy or to just have a nose/listen here’s the link –   http://vividriot.bandcamp.com/album/vivid-riot-the-compilation

 

“Adulthood is ok, apart from the bills! “

30 Aug

The Papertiger Sound are by far the best band I have heard this year. They make music for dark Autumn nights and cold sunny Winter mornings.

Acoustic electronica is one way to describe this transatlantic duo but that just wouldn’t go deep enough. The band has the ability to make you yearn for things past but they also make you appreciate what you once held dear but thought you had lost forever.

TPS are the musical equivalent of opening an old photo album that plays palpable songs as each memory comes vividly back to life.

Perfect.

Dan from the band took some time out to answer some questions from us.

Ok, let us start at the beginning. For those readers that are not familiar with the band tell us more.

Kerstin and I met in Leeds in late 2006, and we formed Papertiger Sound shortly after. Kerstin now lives back home in Nova Scotia, Canada and I live in Norfolk, England. We make music over the Internet by sending files to each other and talking on Skype, and release our music through the Auteur Recordings label. Occasionally Kerstin will come to England, or I’ll go to Canada, and we’ll play a show or do a session for the BBC.

Who are you biggest musical influences?

 Kerstin and I share similar influences, like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Bjork, Fourtet, Sparklehorse. But I think we influence each other as much as other bands, which is probably why it works so well.

What are your influences outside of music?

Landscape has always affected how I write. The bit of Norfolk where I’m from, right on the edge of the Fens, in particular. It’s all flat endless fields and big skies. We’re both into David Hockney’s photography too, though I don’t know if that has any real influence on our writing.

What was the first record you ever bought?

It was ‘I started something i couldn’t finish’ by The Smiths, on 7″ vinyl. That video of Morrissey cycling around Salford with his lookalikes is genius. I’m still a big Smiths fan today.

And the last?

I honestly can’t say when i last bought anything new. I’ve recently been ripping all my CD’s to hard drive, so it’s been nice rediscovering music I’d forgotten about, like Ride, Lush, The Cardiacs and The House of Love. It’s a bit like buying it all over again.

I think I would describe TPS as Autumnal acoustic Electronica, similar in feel to bands like Hood, Epic 45 and July Skies. Do you agree with this? And are you a fan of any of these bands.

Yeah, that’s a nice description. Everyone seems to pick up on something different when they hear us, though funnily they all seem to include the words ‘Winter’ and ‘Autumn’ . It’s music for wearing big coats and gloves too I guess !

I’ve seen Hood a few times, and I think we share similar influences, like Bark Psychosis. I was also fan of the 555 label, with bands such as Empress. I’ve never heard of Epic 45 or July Skies, I’ll have to have a listen.

If you had to choose one TPS song to introduce people to the band, which one would you choose?

 ‘Words Escape Me’ maybe. In fact I’d say the whole of the ‘Tiny Robot Love’ EP, which is free to download.

Which current bands do you listen to the most?

I’ve been listening to Friendly Fires and Everything Everything in the car this week. The new Bearsuit album is good too.

I get a feeling that a lot of your music is influenced by feelings of a lost childhood. I don’t mean in a negative sense but a deep yearning for days gone by. Do you miss childhood and what are your fondest memories of that time? Is adulthood all it was cracked up to be?

I like the fuzzy memories I have of childhood, but I don’t really miss being a kid. I remember I used to sit in fields all night with my telescope quite a bit, getting dizzy looking at the stars. And making dens with my friends and running around like a lunatic most of the day! It was all a bit Swallows and Amazons at times. But yeah, I do have that sort of nostalgic melancholy for childhood and it affects our sound. Adulthood is ok, apart from the bills!

Have you got any plans for any live shows or new releases?

We do have new music, but no plans to release anything at the moment. Maybe around Christmas time we’ll release something, we’ll see. As far as playing live, I may do something on my own nearer December, but not as Papertiger Sound.

Right, you are stranded on a desert island. You can have one book, one album, one meal and one drink dropped from a plane to you. Pick them!

 Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, Souvlaki by Slowdive, something Indian for the meal, and Lager.

Ok, I will say a big thank you for taking the time to speak to us and leave you with the final words…

Hello, we’re Papertiger Sound, and it’s been nice to meet you.

http://papertigersound.com/