Archive for March, 2007

Ralfe Band

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

VÖ: 13.04.2007
Label: Talitres
Vertrieb: Rough Trade

Moon will rise, moon will fall
Moon will rise and fall but no-one sees me crawl
Along your darkened hall
In your room amidst the gloom
I can see geraniums are all in bloom
While you sleep in the afternoon

So begins Albatross Waltz, the debut single that introduced the wonderful, surreal world of Ralfe Band. Their twisted folk ruminations conjure up a dreamlike land that Terry Gilliam would be proud of.

“It´s difficult to know what they´ve been listening to” said John Peel playing Ralfe Band on his show in 2004, but if you imagine the gifted offspring of The Beta Band (circa The Three Eps), The Kinks, Will Oldham and Yann Tiersen the picture should be coming into focus. “I´m inspired by a real mismash of stuff” explains Oly Ralfe, “Dylan”¦Tom Waits”¦early Beck”¦eastern European folk, film music”¦Captain Beefheart, Eric Satie, “¦painting”¦”

Such as scattered explanation goes partway to describing the marvellous confusion of the Ralfe Band sound. Their intruiguing tangle of folk-tinged music absords Eastern European and American influences whilst retaining a unique character that is undeniably English. Debut album Swords takes you on a jumble sale journey through ever changing moods, atmospheric instrumentals and songs. It gives us tales of curious lands, vivid characters and strange predicaments, from dying kings and broken swords to murderous accountants and thieving wives.

Oly´s fervent imagination has given us the kind of vivid characters and stories in the tradition of Edward Gorey, Cervantes and Rudyard Kipling. “Strange souls in strange places” provides much of the narrative, with nature, in a myriad of forms, playing a key role. “The songs for me are often sad and comic at the same time, like life” Oly explains, a sentiment he successfully conveys as he underpins the humour in his songs with an honesty and gentle melancholy, ensuring that the sublime is never far from ridiculous. The instrumentals, a highlight of the band´s live shows, are also about creating an atmosphere, one it´s easy to lose yourself in as the music builds to a dizzying crescendo.

From Women Of Japn´s lifting waltz time melody, through the shuffling beats of Broken Teeth Song to the eerie free association of Bruno Mindhorn, Ralfe Band utilise guitar, piano, accordion, viola, mandolin, percussion and anything else he hand. Songs are peppered with coughs, cowbells and barking dogs, giving a wonderfully experimental feel to their music.

“We like the homemade approach to recording,” explains recording partner and mutlit-instrumentalist Andrew Mitchell. “Imagination in melody and production is important to us”¦we´re into using odd sounds, playing antiquated instruments”¦throwing in an odd bleep or tick”¦that kind of thing.”

“I´ve been writing songs for years, but the bulk of the album was produced when Mitchell got back from teaching English in Japan” explains Oly. “I visited him out there and tried unsuccessfully to learn traditional paper folding. We found we shared similar musical influences and a plan was hatched to work together on his return”. Back in South London the pair pooled their collective material and found they had the basis for an album. With the help of Oly´s flatmate John Greswell on viola and mandolin, Oly and Mitchell set about recording in Oly´s home studio, playing most of instruments themselves and co-producing the album with John´s help.

This homespun ethic extends to the bands videos and artwork too, with Oly directing the video for the single Fifteen Hundred Years ““ a black and white silent movie featuring three of the band ““ and providing all the illustrations for the artwork. Visualizing the band´s music plays an important role in “creating a complete world from what we do”, explains Oly.

And so, get ready to luxuriate in the quaint lunacy of Ralfe Band as they transport you to an alternate musical dimension.

Skint. Under exclusive licence to Talitres

” a whiskey-soured folk trip, from east to west”¦Ralfe´s moon-eyed beauty is simply the work of one vivid imagination.”
MOJO ****
” Ralfe Band have delivered one of the most arresting debuts of year”.
Music Week
“chaotic and quirlky”¦a law-unto-itself blend”¦Works for me.”
The Independent On Sunday ****
“Ralfe Band are a brilliant new band who play psychopathic folk-waltz music”¦epic and peculiar and catchy as hell”.
J. Barrat (The Mighty Boosh) in Metro

Bitte schickt mir die Belegexemplare zu…Danke!

MELODYCAT, Denise Mayer, Schieferstr.16, 65388 Bärstadt, 0174/1774147,

The Frank And Walters 2007

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

A Renewed Interest In Happiness
VÖ Album: 13.04.2007
Label: fifa records
Vertrieb: broken silence

“˜You deserve to be happy´ ““ The Frank And Walters (2006)

Firmly buried in the “where are they now” pile and with even their mums”˜ love officially downgraded to mild tolerance, the Frank And Walters began the latest attempt to escape from obscurity in the most humble of surroundings; a friends barn. They will probably tell you it was all about the vibe but don’t believe the lying bastards. They were broke!!! The brink had arrived and they had tumbled over it unceremoniously. The fact that no-one had noticed only served to give them another gripe to add to their already bursting folder of world weary tales. The expectation was that they would return with an album full of “we used to be great” and “if only people would listen” songs – WRONG!

Somehow they managed to drag themselves out of the mire, duped some poor eejit to part with his hard earned cash and made an album full of joyous melodies, soaring chorus’s, ringing guitars, uplifting stories of life, love, loss and hope. An album so infectious that I can’t sleep for “Fight”, “Country Boy” or “Miles and Miles” swirling around my brain like a bee around honey. I’m constantly drawn back to the CD player; “Come On”, “You Are The Greatest”, “Keep The Faith” – I’m the fly and they are the shit! I shouldn’t even be telling you this, I think they´re langers”¦.

Review by Keith Cullen (Setanta Records ““ Frank´s ex label boss)

Press Release

We live in a world that constantly tells us we don´t have what we need and we are not who we should be. It´s a non-stop unavoidable torrent, of comparatives, negatives and superlatives.

“˜A Renewed Interest In Happiness´ by the Frank And Walters, tells us that everything is going to be alright. It is an antidote to the trials and tribulations we all face. Questions and answers beautifully packaged in unforgettably perfect melodies.

The early spring of 2006 saw a little town called Ballyvinny make an entry into the indie-pop history book as The Frank And Walters kicked off the sessions that would eventually become their fifth studio album. True as always to their “˜Brave Indie Warrior´ code, their surroundings came complete with no running water, no heating and no soundproofing. The first ears to hear the record were on the cows that stared curiously in the window of the practice room.

The sessions went well and a team was assembled. Dave Couse came on board as the producer (having previously worked on Grand Parade and indeed EP1 back in ´91). Richard Rainey signed up to mix some tracks. Paul met sound engineer Kieran Lynch while on a train journey from Dublin to Cork and secured him as the recording engineer for the album. Work began in earnest in May.

It quickly became clear that something special was happening. “”¦ songs moulded themselves into complete packages”¦..Fight almost appeared by magic”¦ Country Boy just happened”¦ It got scarier. “¦ Divine intervention is a strong phrase but sometimes it went beyond coincidence..” When they needed a place as a base for the recording, a friends dad suggested a holiday home in Inchadoney, West Cork – an awe inspiring location, perfect for the creative process.

When they needed a gritty location to suit the mood of the songs “Fight” and “Country Boy”, Wheatfield prison offered their services. In fact Paul did the vocal takes in a confined room full of inmates.

In an interview they mentioned that they wanted to record in a church. Offers flooded in. “Keep the Faith” and “Hold On” were cut in an old Church Of Ireland building in Carrig Na Bhearr, Cork City.

“Johnny Cash” needed a rural setting so a fan suggested they go to a house in Coolinarne deep in the Cork/Kerry mountains. The isolated farmhouse, complete with train track proved perfect for the song which was done late at night as a live take.

Rather than tell it all maybe you should listen to the album and let the other tales of life, love, loss and above all hope reveal themselves to you, its a journey well worth taking.

“˜A Renewed Interest In Happiness´ is the Frank And Walters fifth studio album. Released on the anniversary of their 15th year in music, it encapsulates all that we have come to expect and admire from them. It is probably their finest work.

April 3rd in Hamburg, GFrüner Jäger
April 7th in Berlin, Bastard.

Bitte schickt mir die Belegexemplare zu. Vielen Dank!
Denise Mayer
65388 Bärstadt

Shapes + Sizes

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner
VÖ: 18.05.2007
Label: asthmatic kitty records
Vertrieb: Cargo Records

Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner kicks off with a solid rock march ambitious enough to soundtrack the first 10 miles of any road trip. The opening track is one that Shapes and Sizes could very well have penned during their recent 30 kilometer move from Victoria, where the band members met through the city´s vibrant artistic community, to Vancouver.
Initially the Canadian four-piece adopted the familiar singer-songwriter paradigm, but decided to break those parameters by having everyone write and sing. The gamble paid off; S&S concocted the self-titled debut album of bi-polar, stop-and-start songs that pulled listeners onto an emotional ride, and raised ears, hairs and goose bumps at Asthmatic Kitty Records. Anxious to test their brand of experimental pop on the more southernly Americans, Shapes and Sizes went on tour across the States. Somewhere between British Columbia and New York, the band found themselves sharing a rusted van with the songs that would constitute Split Hips, Winning Hips , A Shiner.
Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner hardly sounds Canadian, at least when compared to the recent immigration of crafted pop from the West and Quebec. Fusing Jon Crellin (drums) and Nathan Gage´s (bass) formal musical training with the youthful energy of Caila Thompson-Hannant (keys) and Rory Seydel´s (guitar) R&B background, S&S consistently stretches and questions the musical structure of each song while providing an outsider objectivity by the complicated scope of music from the lower 48.
After extensive touring on their self-titled album, Shapes and Sizes have refined their brand of experimental pop to create a cohesive, demanding and rewarding listen. Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner is proof that Shapes and Sizes aim to please the while not pandering. Imagine a soulful top 40 Thinking Fellers playing songs for the prom.
Lyrically Split Lips is at once celebratory and derogatory; among other things, a peculiar but calculated meditation on naïve nationalism and potent protest (“Victory in War, oh what a bore”). “High Life” focuses on benign habits turned scabrous, and “Alone/Alive” casts an existential strobe on freedom and dependence minus the pretension that usually comes along for the ride.
Split Lip´s harmonious discord is also technical: the brand recorded wit JC/DC Studios (Destroyer, New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara, etc.) and mixed with Asthmatic Kitty´s own Rafter Roberts (Fiery Furnances, The Rapture, The Plot To Blow Up the Eiffel Tower) to forge a pristine decomposition. Don´t try turning it down ““ the overdrive provides the framework for equally aggressive lyrics that combine sensuality, violence, and social critique.
“Pop songs can often feel like variations on the same pattern”¦Shapes and Sizes are able to remix that formula, creating pop tunes that feel just slightly off, and thus become infinitely more interesting.” ““ CMJ

- They shared recently stages with Silver Jews, Frog Eyes, The Thermals, Apples in Stereo, Architecture in Helsinki, and label-mates Castanets.
- They will tour in Germany in late spring.

Bitte schickt mir die Belegexemplare zu. Vielen Dank!

MELODYCAT, Denise Mayer, Schieferstr. 16, 65388 Bärstadt
0174/1774147, 0039 071 2071 561,,