Have featured Birds of Chicago and the bands central players JT Nero and Allison Russell several times on Beat Surrender, they have toured extensively over the last few years with a collaborative band of musicians in support of their eponymous 2012 release and solo recordings, amongst the tour stops the band played at Chicago’s Space City in June of last year with a full band – Christopher Merrill (bass), Drew Lindsay (piano / accordion / vocals), Dan Abu-Absi (electric guitar / mandolin / vocals), Chris Neal (organ), Nick Chmabers (drums), JT Nero (vocals / guitar) and Allison Russell (vocals / clarinet / banjo / ukulele / guitar) – the whole show was recorded for posterity and is now available on CD and download.
The seventeen track album perfectly captures the essence of the band and the outstanding vocal talents of JT and Allison who’s music encapsulates the full spectrum of the ‘Americana’ genre, if you’d like to get a first hand experience then Birds of Chicago are touring as a four piece band in the UK and Ireland during April and May, Allison and JT wil be joined by Joe Faulhaber (guitar) & Will Waghorn (drums, percussion) for the dates – there maybe an extra member of the band with them too as the couple welcomed their first child, Ida Maeve Robertson Lindsay, into the world on Dec 30th last year and if the vocal genes are passed on that girl is going to have one hell of voice in the years to come.
Birds of Chicago – Trampoline
Birds of Chicago ∙ UK & Ireland Tour ∙ April-May 2014
APRIL – UK
Thurs 24 Portsmouth The Square Tower
Fri 25 Whitstable The Royal Native Oyster Stores
Sat 26 Lewes The Elephant & Castle
Sun 27 Birmingham The Kitchen Garden Café
Tues 29 Hempstead, nr. Saffron Walden The Bluebell Inn
Weds 30 London Green Note
MAY – Ireland & N. Ireland
Fri 2 Dundalk Vantastival
Sat 3 Enniskillen Ardhowen Theatre
Mon 5 Dingle, Co. Kerry McCarthy’s Bar, Féile na Bealtaine Music & Arts Festival
Thurs 8 Clonmel, Co. Tipperary Raheen House Hotel
Fri 9 Galway Monroe’s co-headline with Liam Ó Maonlaí
Sat 10 Ballybofey, Co. Donegal Balor Arts Centre
Sun 11 Dublin Whelan’s
Mon 12 Ballymore Eustace Mick Murphy’s
Tues 13 Kildare Cunningham’s
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Featured the band Swaying Wires from Turku in Finland on Beat Surrender back in February on the release of their excellent single Fear of Flying – now the band have released their debut album from which the single was lifted, Some Blue Sky is out now on CD / DL from Battle Worldwide Recordings.
The single was a good marker for the album which delivers more of the same, which is no bad thing – centring it’s sound around the delicate and expressive vocals of the project founder member Tina Kärkinen who widened the scope of her original idea into a full band collaborative with Nicklas Hägen, Sami Lehtonen and Jussi Virkkumaa – together they’ve created a solid collection of atmospheric indie-folk with some interesting instrumentation and melodies playing off the lyrics.
Without doubt one of the finest exponents of alt-country to come from these fair isles The Redlands Palomino Company are back with a new album Broken Carelessly which will be released through Clubhouse Records and available from 14 April 2014, the album is the bands fourth release and follows on from 2011’s Don’t Fade which was a big hit here at Beat Surrender, personally I’ve been excited for this release since hearing about it last year and I’m pleased to report the new one is every bit as good as the band’s previous outings – in fact I’d say it just about comes out on top in a head-to-head as their best yet.
The band ‘fronted’ by wife and husband Hannah (guitar vocals) and Alex Elton-Wall (guitar vocals) with Dan Tilbury (drums), Rain (bass) and Dave Rothon (pedal steel) recorded the album over a over a six day period in an old Methodist Chapel in the Gloucestershire countryside, with most of the tracks nailed within a couple of takes, the intimacy of the recording environment affecting the whole process and allowing the band to flow and capture the essence of their live shows – here’s Hannah an Dan Tilbury describing their experiences during the recording.
Hannah – “This was easily the most relaxed we have been making an album. The whole process was fun, and it was just a joy to play and record music with my friends. We had no external pressures, and were able to just play the way we wanted to, when we wanted to. It helped that we didn’t have an outside producer and engineers around, and we were able to capture the sound of the band in a way that we haven’t been able to before. In the week we were recording, the band were all staying at home with me and Alex, and there was a real sense of camaraderie! We felt like a proper gang! Various friends also popped by to help us out with recording and drinking here and there during the week, so it just felt like a bit of a party.”
Dan – “We wanted to capture the way the band sound when we play live – something that can often be completely lost in a ‘proper’ recording studio, with everyone playing separately and with endless overdubs – and the Chapel was the perfect place to do this. Many of the songs were completely new to us when we recorded them, and we wanted this album to capture a unique snapshot in time, and not be something that took months and months to record and that we endlessly added to and mixed and remixed over time”.
The band kick things of in style with opener In These Lines that opens out with a build to a trademark hook and is wonderfully accented by Hannah’s vocal and the pedal steel, track two lifts the tempo with Alex taking lead and Hannah joining him with one of my favourites up next the wonderful Everything I’m Not that keeps up the pace but with the lead switching back to Hannah whose voice never sounded so affecting – and with apologies to Alex it’s her lead vocals that really excel on the album, though Alex more than holds up his side of the bargain and it is of course the switching and interplay element that makes the album so engaging with Alex’s handling of the production making the very best of this.
The title track Broken Carelessly is up next a song which fittingly builds the track around the horse breed at the centre of the bands name, next up the band hit the ‘country’ switch and boom-chicka-boom there’s way through Don’t Ever Let Me Down with some bittersweet pedal steel carrying the melody, up next comes a track written by the purveyor of said pedal steel with echoes of The Byrds and Alex taking the lead on Dave’s song She Can Live Without You , the mood softens and the tempo is reigned-in to a different type of reflection on the next pair of track’s Scattered Earth and Perfect Forever reinforcing the fact the band are no one trick genre pony, in fact the next pair of tracks attest to this as we hear the band jumping from the rootsy bar-room Floorboard George with Alex on lead vocal to the albums least typical TRPC song the gorgeous Swim, here’s Hannah on the recording.
“A few days before we started the sessions I wrote a new song which I couldn’t really imagine being a Redlands song. It’s a slow and dark story about the power of a river and a fear of drowning. I strummed it acoustically to the band in the studio and asked Dan to somehow capture the tumbling roar of the river in the choruses with the drums. It has turned out to be my favourite track on the album because it just ‘happened’ organically and I think perfectly creates an atmosphere to compliment the lyrics.”
The album ends with the excellent Band Song a track that finds the band reflecting on their musical journey;
“Oh why do I still try, why am I standing here tonight? It’s because the pedal steel still makes me want to cry”.
The song reflects back to one of their earliest recordings and live favourite Doin’ It For the Country, in this pairing they’ve created a tour de force encore and there’s no doubt that not only are they still doing it for Neil Young, Crazy Horse and GP and they’re still doing it for me.
The Redlands Palomino Company – The Big Freeze