Mar 2014 - Snoozecontrol.be, Belfast, new song titles & more.
During March a bunch of new songs were written, maybe about ten or so. I'll tell you a bit more about them in this blog. Otherwise, there are new features on unquietnights.com, but starting first with some Belgian press...
» S N O O Z E C O N T R O L . B E
Snoozecontrol (Belgium) reviewed our current album "21st Century Redemption Songs". Various Dutchies on our facebook page say it's favourable...
"...21st Century Redemption Songs klinkt gepolijst en haast perfect mooi. Het lijkt ons bijna onwaarschijnlijk dat het hier over een debuut gaat. Het lang bezig zijn aan de songs heeft blijkbaar zijn vruchten afgeworpen. Een zachtmoedige vaak zalvende stem, twinkelende gitaren en keyboard of lekker loos gaande drums, het is allemaal terug te vinden op deze plaat. Ook wat opbouw betreft is 21ste Century Redemptio Songs een shot in de roos..."
Read the full review here.
» B L O G T I M E L I N E
Something I wanted to do on the new website was to have all the monthly blogs since I started doing them in November 2010 compiled in a timeline format which allows anyone to read back and see from where we came from. In the process of migrating all the old entries onto the new site, the one from September 2011 caught my attention.
That was the month we had mastered "Someone's Love on Drugs" & "Shoulda Said Something" and streamed them in the blog. Turned out to be a useful time because they each got us on BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music for the first times. Necessary and important in allowing us to do most of the things we've done since then and be to be taken seriously by some parts of the music industry. I'm looking forward to having more months like this and being able to release a lot more music.
In the end it's the songs, a few in particular, which have moved us forward. Most bands achieve this by spending money on PR, radio plugging, videos and so on, or their record labels / benevolent parents do. We haven't been able to do any of that, so anywhere we go (figuratively or physically) is off the back of the songs.
Don't have either of those songs? Click the download arrow on these...
» M O R E A B O U T T H E N E X T A L B U M : C I T I E S
I wrote in the last blog about the fact that the next album is tied together by the cities that seem to keep appearing in the writing of the songs. Last month I wrote a bit about London, now a mention for one of the world's most underrated cities...
» B E L F A S T
I grew up about 20 minutes away, so it was my first experience of a capital city. Used to go pretty regularly on the bus or train to visit Session Music and touch their real Fender guitars, and sit in front of their Steinway before being asked to leave. One time I got a ride home in a police Land Rover when my grandparents car was stolen, and I remember attending the re-opening of the Grand Opera House after it was bombed in 1993.
Obviously until I was about twelve in 1998, the country was in civil war. We hadn't gotten a paramilitary ceasefire, which was a word on our news every day. That's not to say it has always been peaceful since, it hasn't, but it was a defining moment that meant some things could at least start happening again. Bands would tour Belfast again, after being largely absent, British chain stores would come over, and we got some new concert venues like The Waterfront and The Odyssey Arena.
At least a few of the new songs are set in Belfast. Some of the references are more subtle and might not be picked up on with the first listen. There's one called "More Than These Eyes" which I'm not putting pressure on to get loads of radio play, so I'm going to let it run a bit longer and be more expansive. It's been cathartic to write and is about some parts of my life spent in Northern Ireland. Then there are other songs which are extremely specific and detail orientated, like "Don't Wanna Kill For Religion", which is about one of a few times I was evacuated from a building during a bomb alert, at a time when many of them were fatal. Sometimes we would've just ordered food and then have to get up and run out of the building. The band have already played it live a bunch of times live, and I've played it solo in Dublin & Belfast in the summer. Wanna make a great recording out of it, and it should be one of the next songs to get the final master. The lyrics are here, if you want to take a read.
A few of the songs on 21st Century Redemption Songs were about things that happened in Belfast. Particularly "We Were The Ones", which was some kind of recollection of people I used to see in places like the downstairs bar of The Empire. It's probably the most famous of the music (& comedy) venues in Ireland. Since early 2003 I've played it a lot in different bands, including a few times in my first band with Rodger. Later I used to hang around with a bunch of people downstairs and at gigs upstairs. We'd talk about touring and the sacrifices of having this type of alternate lifestyle. The difficulty in getting paid. Relationships. Should you have another job? When do you stop having one? Which cities and venues are good? From remembering some of those moments I got a few lines that made it into "We Were The Ones". Seems though that the writing of the new material is coming to reflect my home city more this time around.
» B E E N L I S T E N I N G T O . . .
I was slightly late to hearing "Psychedelic Pill" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, considering how much I love them. It was out in 2012 and Experience Due were asking me about it on their show in the summer, but I was only qualified to extol the virtues of "Le Noise" from 2010. I've had "Psychedelic Pill" on repeat in recent weeks though. Mostly very long songs/jams, but in the case on Neil Young that appeals to me.
The Hold Steady! have a new record out. They're one of my favourite bands, especially from any that have emerged in the last 10 years. They changed producers for "Teeth Dreams" to a guy who did some good stuff with the Foo Fighters. So far I like it, the guitars & drums sound great and the ratio of great songs is about the same as the 5 albums before. Favourite tracks: "The Ambassador" & "Wait a While".