Category Archives: Slow Club

NEWS! Lots of it.


Check out ‘Mukraker’ by Conveyor–mark my words, you’ll be hearing a lot from them in 2012.

If I covered all the music news that I’ve found interesting over the past week, I’d be writing this post for three days straight. It’s been nutty. So here are some snippets.

King Charles releases Mississippi Isabel EP
At long last, I can listen to a version of ‘Ivory Road’ that wasn’t recorded in the back of a London taxicab (although I adore that one too). The king’s EP is available on iTunes and Amazon, and features:

1. Bam Bam
2. Love Lust
3. Ivory Road
4. Mississippi Isabel

Andrew Bird reveals Break It Yourself tracklist:
I’m stoked to see Andrew Bird and Laura Marling in April–and if that tour prospect isn’t juicy enough already, those tickets come with a digital download of the new album and two live EPs. Check those tour dates out here, and the tracklist for Break It Yourself is below.

01. Desperation Breeds…
02. Polynation
03. Danse Caribe
04. Give it Away
05. Eyeoneye
06. Lazy Projector
07. Near Death Experience Experience
08. Behind the Barn
09. Lusitania
10. Orpheo Looks Back
11. Sifters
12. Fatal Shore
13. Hole in the Ocean Floor
14. Belles

Three Blind Wolves release video for ‘Echo On the Night Train’
These guys need to be better known–they’re phenomenal. I’m happy just closing my eyes and listening to ‘Echo On the Night Train’, but a video (almost) always makes things better.

Slow Club announce US tour
I’m particularly excited about this one, because it means I finally get to catch this duo live when they hit SF’s Brick and Mortar in March.

FEBRUARY
14 – Washington, DC – DC9
15 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
16 – Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House
17 – Boston, MA – TT The Bears
18 – Montreal, QC – Casa Del Popolo
19 – Toronto, ON – Rivoli
21 – Pontiac, MI – The Pike Room
22 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

MARCH
06 – Vancouver, BC – Media Club
07 – Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
08 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
10 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall
11 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
12 – San Diego, CA – Casbah

SXSW 2012 dates TBA

Laura Marling discusses her poem and website for The Beast here
Laura has posted a poem on the-bea.st; it’s inspired by the album and narrated by Gil from Old Crow Medicine Show. Read about her multimedia process and inspiration in the interview above.

Eugene McGuinness releases free download and trailer for ‘Thunderbolt’
Though we’re still waiting on a release date for Eugene McGuinness’s upcoming album, at least he’s given us another taste of the new material. You can grab the track here and watch the trailer below.

Summer Camp hits LA, NY, and DC on upcoming tour
I’m bummed that they’re not stopping in San Francisco, but you can catch Summer Camp at the following dates:

02/06 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
02/07 – Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands Gallery
02/09 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
02/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo

And finally…. if you’ve been on Mars and haven’t caught the Coachella lineup yet, click here. Or, for heat-averse San Franciscans like me, check out the Bay Area’s Fauxchella dates.

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The Leisure Society Performs for Last.fm’s Pop Up Session


    The Leisure Society, whose album Into the Murky Water would make my albums of the year list if I were going to do one, is the latest band to perform for a Last.fm Pop Up Session. The music site partnered with HP this summer for several sessions, including the Slow Club performance in Soho Square below. There’s only one more after the Leisure Society’s Tamesis Dock gig–check out HP’s Facebook for more information.

    AND: completely unrelated but equally awesome, catch this new free download from Bowerbirds over at Listen Before You Buy.

Crazy Week for New-Folk!

As many of you likely know, this is a crazy week for new-folk, English music, and just music in general. It feels like there have been a billion album releases: Laura Marling, St. Vincent, Slow Club, Peggy Sue, Blitzen Trapper, Girls. I’m still working through reviews, but here are a couple I’ve gotten out recently, followed by some news bits and bites.

Slow Club, Paradise (Thank Folk for That)
Slow Club’s debut album, Yeah, So, is indie-pop perfection. It’s just the right mix of sincerity and whimsy; sweet without being cloying, heartfelt without being trite. Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson captured the topsy-turvy spirit of post-adolescence, from bubbly songs about broken hearts to wistful tunes about new relationships. I figured Slow Club’s follow-up would be more of the same: a little older and wiser, perhaps, but full of their signature folk-pop duets. They’d done so well the first time around, I couldn’t think of any reason to tamper with such a charming formula.

I was dead wrong. One spin of Paradise proved that this sophomore effort is not only different, it’s so much better. Rebecca and Charles have moved far beyond adolescence, switching spunky folk for sophisticated pop. Elements of their earlier sound are certainly present, but even those are more mature: think of songs like Hackney Marsh as I Was Unconscious, It Was a Dream, version 2.0. If Yeah, So was the perfect encapsulation of one phase of life, Paradise shows that same lyrical sensibility in this new one. (Read the rest.)

Dawes, Nothing Is Wrong (For Folk’s Sake)
As the only Californian on the For Folk’s Sake writing roster, I felt it was my duty to grab Nothing Is Wrong by Dawes. Not only are they from Malibu, an oceanside haven near Los Angeles, but they sound more Californian than most other bands from the Golden State. The quartet draws inspiration from the Laurel Canyon music scene (which historically includes such musicians as Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, & Nash), and even named their 2009 debut North Hills. Their sophomore effort still gives a nod to their esteemed SoCal heritage, but moves far beyond homage or imitation – Nothing Is Wrong is truly, and magnificently, their own. (Read the rest.)

Catch Laura Marling performing “The Muse” on New York’s KFUV:

Florence and the Machine have also announced details about their sophomore album, Ceremonials. Here’s the track listing:
‘Only If For The Night’
‘Shake It Out’
‘What The Water Gave Me’
‘Never Let Me Go’
‘Breaking Down’
‘Lover To Lover’
‘Seven Devils’
‘Heartlines’
‘Leave My Body’
‘Spectrum’
‘All This And Heaven Too’
‘What The Water Gave Me’

Peggy Sue have released a video for “Song and Dance” off their new album Acrobats. Though out in the UK as of yesterday, Peggy Sue fans in the US have to wait until October 25th for the Yep Roc release.

Peggy Sue – Song & Dance from Wichita Recordings on Vimeo.

And finally… Summer Camp have released an adorable video for “Better Off Without You”. This is the first video where we actually get a glimpse of Jeremy and Elizabeth, and it’s a charming mix of modern and 80’s footage. And it starts with “Welcome to Condale”, a nod to their fanzine of the same name (and the LA suburb where a lot of their songs take place).

International Markets: The Upside for UK Music

Music royalty orgnization PRS for Music published its annual Adding up the UK music industry report today, presenting dismal figures for 2010. Even live music revenues, which had been on an impressive rise over the past several years, fell 11.8% between 2009 and 2010. UK industry revenues overall fell 4.8%. Yikes.

Is there anything good in a landscape that seems as bleak as London fog? Well, yes. Will Page, the chief economist for PRS for Music, advises in his report that the UK industry should ‘get small’ and ‘get abroad’. The first theme involves “reducing the transaction costs of managing metadata”, which I won’t pretend I understand. I’ll leave that topic for the grown-ups.

The second nugget of wisdom, though, I will happily discuss. The report found that royalties societies in the UK (like PRS for Music) did significantly better than those in the US (like ASCAP) over the 2010 year. Page acknowledges the huge potential for growth in exports, including in emerging markets like Brazil, India, and China. Page writes: “According to the BPI, UK artists’ share of global sales is estimated to be 11.8 percent in 2010, with one-in-ten sales in the US being a UK act and up to one-in-five in markets like Germany and Australia.”

While the report doesn’t talk about folk/new-folk/acoustic music specifically, I’d like to think that some of this growth has to do with the very artists I write about so frequently. While Adele may be queen in terms of sales figures (she was “responsible for almost 10% of all artist albums sold in the first four months of the year”), it shouldn’t be ignored that Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More hit number 2 on the Billboard 200. (And performed at the Grammys. And graced the cover of SPIN.) Their rise to the top is the gift that keeps on giving, through both their exposure-building US tours (bringing along artists like King Charles and Matthew and the Atlas) and the efforts of label/club night Communion. Even buzzy indie rock darlings the Vaccines grew out of the same tiny music establishment in southwest London, Bosun’s Locker (back when Justin Young was Jay Jay Pistolet, and shared a flat with Marcus Mumford).

While other UK folk acts have yet to reach the same status as the waistcoat-wearing Sons, they are certainly on the way. Noah and the Whale grabbed attention for their polished new sound and teaming up with director-photographer Autumn de Wilde on “Life is Life”. Alessi’s Ark made the New York Times at SXSW. Matthew and the Atlas and James Vincent McMorrow recorded for Daytrotter. Emmy the Great’s Virtue got a review in Pitchfork. Slow Club made waves (and Mashable) by debuting new material on Turntable.fm (with Paste magazine).

These are just the things that came to mind, but the fact remains that these artists are much closer to US recognition than they’ve ever been before. I can casually talk about Laura Marling or Johnny Flynn without getting blank stares, and I can buy the Communion compilation in Mojo magazine at an airport. I no longer have to scour Youtube for new-folk material–I can just click on iTunes (or Spotify). Back when I first found this whole ‘scene’, things like the Black Cab Sessions, Bandstand Busking, and even Jeremy Warmsley’s Welcome to Our TV Show (and the later version, Jeremy Warmsley’s New Thing) were about all I had. From my perspective, the rise in popularity since those early days (three-ish years ago) seems massive.

Furthermore, another BPI survey found that 83% of people are proud of the achievements of British music. While I’m sure they were dealing with Brits proper, I’m pretty proud of those achievements, too. For even though these new-folk artists often acknowledge American musical influences, there is something quintessentially and inescapably English (or Scottish, or Irish, depending) about them. So by all means, UK music industry–follow the advice of Mr. Page and ‘get abroad’. I’ll welcome you with open arms.

Slow Club to Debut New Songs On Turntable.fm

Yes, I’m off the grid–I’m actually writing this on my iPhone (hence the lack of any photos, videos, or other fancy objects). But I knew I needed to come out of hiding when I got an email this morning about Slow Club premiering new songs from their upcoming album Paradise (out September 13th)on Turntable.fm. They are the latest (joining people like Ra Ra Riot’s Mathieu Santos) to utilize the emerging, still-in-beta platform.

They’ll be on the site at 2pm EST, playing songs and chatting with fans. Check it out!