And The Beat Goes On: Brandon Krebs - Diet Cig - Long Distance Relationship - The William Shakes - Johnny Flynn

Brandon Krebs - Alarm Pheromones.

Background - “Avant-garde pop for everybody, filled with romantically gloomy soul voyages” is the best way to shorthand the windswept ache of Brandon Krebs’ widescreen rock. “Making records for me is a therapeutic process almost,” Seattle songwriter/musician/producer Brandon Krebs explains. “It's my favorite thing in the world.”

Krebs has decided to go with creating under his own name for new album Refuge In Exile, due out in mid-March. A deliberate change up from the heavy guitar-rock of his last release Tethered to A Piece of Falling Sky (recorded under previous moniker Stranded Sullivan), Refuge In Exile’s instantly breathtaking sweep and rhythmically undulating hooks challenge its title’s reveal of how it was made intimately and mindfully in an uncertain two-year period of the artist’s life.

The nine-song full-length will be released both digitally and on vinyl. Krebs says it comes from an urgently transitional period in which he did a lot of soul-searching and self-reflecting. “I have moved every December for four years and it has definitely shaped this record.” There are themes varying from the struggle of such change, being thrust into awkward situations; feeling self-imprisonment and then having to move on; grappling with technology the way we all are these days. “I guess I would say Refuge in Exile is about the struggle to be myself and live the life I want to live instead of one you’re taught to want and pursue and its inherent struggles and loses and or compromises.” Bandcamp here and facebook here.

'Alarm Pheromones' gives some idea of what the album is about, but only some. Brandon Krebs explores different musical approaches and packs in some considerable variety across the nine songs. Keeping the listener in expectation of what's next is fine, as long as the quality is there, and with this album that's a positive yes.


Diet Cig - Tummy Ache.

Background - Diet Cig are happy to announce the forthcoming release of their hugely anticipated debut album. Entitled Swear I'm Good At This the album will be released on April 7th via Frenchkiss Records. On Friday the band shared the first single off the album - the highly infectious "Tummy Ache."

The band, who are well-known for their energetic and bombastic live shows, will be touring the world in support of Swear I'm Good At This and the first tour is announced today as well.  It kicks off April 5 in New Haven, CT at Bar and concludes May 8 at The Catalyst Atrium in Santa Cruz, CA.  Diet Cig will play two shows in one night at Brooklyn's Baby's All Right on April 7 and The Echo in Los Angeles, on May 4. Further, the band will play a handful of pre-release dates including at set at this year's Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco on February 22 and shows during SXSW. The complete list of dates below and tickets go on sale tomorrow, January 13.

Diet Cig is Alex Luciano (guitar and vocals) and Noah Bowman (drums).  The two have been playing music together ever since Luciano interrupted the set of Bowman's other band for a lighter. The New York duo have since released the infectious, 2015 Over Easy EP that introduced consistent sing-a-long lyrics with thrashing drums and strums that never held back.

Swear I'm Good At This accumulates Diet Cig's tenacity for crafting life-affirming, relatable tales with a gutsy heart at their core. Luciano has the ability to write lyrics that are both vulnerable and badass, perfecting a storm of emotive reflection that creates a vision of a sweaty, pumped-up room screaming these lines in unison. Diet Cig make it okay to be the hot mess that you are. Website here and Facebook here.

'Tummy Ache' mixes melodic vocals with some powerful rock, that at times is a wall of potent sound. The song is catchy whilst retaining some natural raw energy throughout. 


Long Distance Relationship - Wanting To Fly.

Background - From the home of innovative new sounds - Nub Music comes the new album by 'The Long Distance Relationship'.  The long Distance Relationship was born as a concept right after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Designed as a musical collective to record the songs of New Orleanian Dave Baker, the group pulls from former bandmates and many other talented musicians from far and wide. Dave culled together a lifetime’s worth of songs to become the self-titled, ten song debut album. Loss, death, optimism, infidelity, love, inevitability, emotional numbness: These are all themes that surface on this collection of songs. 

A multi-instrumentalist, Dave plays bass, keys, accordion, and guitar. A musical jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, these performances by him and others serve the song to their psychedelic-tinged, drone-ish, harmony-laden, hooked end. When fellow musicians are discussing the songs, performers such as Beck, Beach Boys, Elliott Smith, XTC, Kinks, Hollies, early Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett, Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane and others get thrown around in casual conversation.

Dave played with multiple bands since landing in Asheville, NC. Most notably, The Steves and Pick Your Switch. He currently plays bass and sings in Fritz Beer and The Crooked Beat. The Album release will include guest musicians Chris Carter (Alarm Clock Conspiracy), Dorsey Parker (Dorsey’s Big Benefit Band, Velvet Truckstop, Artimus Pyle Band), Bill Kopp (Orgatroid, Glampas), Ken Jones (Fifty Year Flood, Mountain Song Guitars) and Louly Peacock. Facebook here.

One of my favourite songs from the album 'Wanting To Fly' certainly has some psychedelic vibes from times gone by, coupled with plenty of fresh originality. In fact despite the above cited musical references, the album has plenty of it's own originality and I would suggest the comparisons really should be seen as a compliment for a fine collection of songs.


The William Shakes - The Fault.

Background - The William Shakes is as much a concept project as it is a band. Written, produced, and fronted by Mark McGettrick, The William Shakes decontextualizes Shakespearean prose to the tune of alternative indie pop. The debut release How Goes The Night? EP explores five Shakespearean characters: Banquo (MacBeth), Helena (All’s Well That Ends Well), Horatio (Hamlet), Cordelia (King Lear), and Cassius (Julius Caesar).

Inspired by David Bowie’s use of the “cut-up” technique for writing lyrics, McGettrick thought it would be fun to test the method on Shakespeare’s words and characters. His “cut-up” process was as follows: Select the character, Isolate their lines, Randomize their lines, Curate into new lyrics, and Compose an original melody. The songs were originally conceived as an acoustic project for the February 2016 RPM Challenge, but he quickly realized they needed the weighty production of a full band.

The William Shakes are thrilled to release their debut single "The Fault" off their upcoming How Goes The Night? EP. "The Fault" is based on the words of Cassius from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Lyrically, McGettrick explores the relationships between fathers and sons and the responsibility they hold to one another regardless of the hand fate deals us.

Completely self-composed and produced, Mark proudly performs guitar, bass VI, bass, percussion, and vocals throughout the How Goes The Night? EP. It also features musical collaborations with New York, Boston, and Los Angeles artists Carrie Ingber, Rob Sistare, Matt Diekmann, and Jason Dunn.

Beyond The William Shakes, Mark McGettrick is a staple artist in Boston’s thriving music scene. Most recently, he was featured playing drums and backing vocals on The Luxury’s 2015 album Bones and Beaten Heart. He has also performed with Seven Sunless Days, Sugarshaped, Chromavoid, and Fade. How Goes The Night? EP is McGettrick’s debut project as The Williams Shakes and is thrilled to see where it takes him. Website here and Facebook here.

'The Fault' typifies the music found on the upcoming EP. It's a mixture of indie pop and rock with the emphasis perhaps on rock, that is uncomplicated and sincere in sound.


Johnny Flynn - Raising The Dead.

Background - Johnny Flynn has shared news of his long awaited fourth album, ‘Sillion’, alongside first single ‘Raising the Dead’. ‘Sillion’ will be released 24th March through Transgressive Records.

‘Sillion’ has grown episodically between Flynn’s commitments to acting, composing, and his young family. It’s an album about the sacredness of man’s endeavour to connect with the earth while separated from it. It’s the sound of Flynn breathing in and breathing out. The titles of Flynn’s records have become a talismanic focus for him over the years, and ‘Sillion’ rings out like a bell, converging unlikely forces — friendship, politics, poetry – to capture the album’s colour and mood as a measure of its times.

‘Sillion’ sees Flynn reunited with David Beauchamp (drums), Adam Beach (bass), Joe Zeitlin (cello), sister Lillie Flynn & Holly Holden (vocals), with guests Cosmo Sheldrake (electronics) and Dave Tattersall on lead guitar for ‘The Landlord’. First single ‘Raising the Dead’, tells of Flynn getting to know his newborn daughter. “My Dad died when I was 18, and that was quite a galvanising experience,” Flynn says, “and there’s often an element of that in anything I’m writing; every big loss that you suffer in life, I think everything comes through the conduit of that. I had a really strong sense of my daughter having elements of my Dad when she came along, and it made me kind of laugh - that cyclical sense, of thinking of my daughter as my Dad.”

A March headline UK tour with his band The Sussex Wit has also been announced, plus solo appearances at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas. Tickets for the UK tour go on sale Wednesday 18th January at 9am. Website here and Facebook here.

Johnny Flynn Live Dates
Tues 14th March-Sat 18th March: SXSW - Austin, Texas
Fri 24th March: Brighton St George’s Church
Sat 25th March: Leeds Church
Sun 26th March: Manchester Gorilla
Mon 27th March: Edinburgh Caves
Tues 28th March: Birmingham O2 Academy 2
Wed 29th March: Bristol Trinity
Fri 31st March: London St John’s Hackney.

It was the intriguing non folksy first few seconds that threw me. 'Raising The Dead' then veers into a beautiful chunky folk song where the vocals and harmonies are eclectic and oh, so moving. Put simply, I love this song.