Saturday 27th March 2010
Yorkshire House, Parliament Street, Lancaster LA1 1DB,
OoR23 – 27th March – Starless & Bible Black+Table+Homemade Lemonade
Buy tickets here:
STARLESS & BIBLE BLACK (Manchester)
New album “Shape Of The Shape” available now on Static Caravan (UK & France) and Locust Music (rest of world).
Shape Of The Shape Reviews
“If The Old Grey Whistle Test could ever return to our screens, Starless & Bible Black would be the house band…..russet coloured portraits of ’70s folk rock, bleached and spacey.” Music OMH
“The record is so intimate you can feel it’s breath on your cheek – subtle, moving and powerful. This could go head to head with Cate Le Bon for the award of best gothic folk album of the year.” Art Rocker
“Singer Helene Gautier channels Sandy Denny over Cortez The Killer period Neil Young. Like a haunted stroll across the moor…..the more mind blown fringes suit them well.” Mojo
“A confident striding into different pastures, combining very different styles into compelling interplays. A majestically effortless mix of folk, country rock and hippy psychedelia. You may well be in love.” Bearded Magazine
“Heavenly vocals, immaculate chords and fabulous songs, all eight of them on the verge of an evergreen status.” Penny Black Music
“This melding of talents is essentially timeless and it demands attention; this is a record to be savoured on those dark winter’s evenings.” Music Fix
“It is indulgent, it is hedonistic, it is bacchanalian, it is beautiful….an exceptional album.” Americana UK
“Heavyweight in quality but fluid and expansive in execution, Shape Of The Shape is epically beautiful.” Wears The Trousers
“Moving effortlessly between jazz, rock, country and cosmic indie vibes. Quite simply stunning.” Selby Times
“Starry, atmospheric elements that build into insistent, unshakable songs. It’s hard to imagine we’ll hear a more rewarding modern folk rock oriented album than this one for quite a while.” Dusty Groove
“A gorgeous voice, filling the spaces between exquisite guitar arpeggios, spindly riffs, brief and fluid solo passages, and the occasional power chord with analog-synth parts that alternate from spaced-out to warmly gurgling.” Chicago Reader
Debut Album Reviews
“Full-blooded revivalists of bold 70’s folk rock eclecticism……from bare acoustic ballads to Pentangle style rambling and bitter sweet harmonies…… stamping their own personality on their material.” Wire Magazine
“This Manchester-based group is responsible for one of the year’s best folkie songs” New York Times
“… songs informed by Appalachian folk, downtempo jazz, Middle English pastoralism, and smoky continental balladry. They perform each of their stylistic shifts with an effortless agility, resulting in a collection that captivates primarily through its graceful, almost nonchalant simplicity.” Pitchfork
“Folk strains, art songs, and electronic atmospherics combine for a beguiling blend in the debut by this Manchester band.” Amazon.com
“Starless and Bible Black’s music feels absolutely effortless, born out of thin air. It’s like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval singing through a curtain of opium smoke and fireflies, only a whole lot more awesome.” Harp Magazine
“Starless engage the tropes of antique folk and folk revival through a rigorously formal songwriting approach…… the green, reserved air of the heath and the Arctic Circle, serious and hard.” Dusted Magazine
“Those songs are built like trellises: finger-picked guitar, banjo, glockenspiel, winds, and brushed skins augmented by carefully placed electronic glitches and synth washes. Gautier can sound wraith-like or husky, like Francoiz Breut channeling Sandy Denny.” Allmusic .com
“ What really sets Starless apart from the average acoustic-based warblers are Helene Gautier’s vocals, notably her airy high notes, throaty alto and French (her native tongue)-via-Manchester accent.” CMJ
“Starless & Bible Black se permettent même d’errer vers des teintes plus sombres et gothiques comme seuls le Velvet Underground ou Nico savaient en apposer sur les murs de leur cave.” Rock & Folk Magazine, France
“Le groupe publie en cette fin d’année un album se situant dans la droite lignée des ambiances de Sixteen Horsepower, Led Zeppelin (lorsque Jimmy page et ses acolytes avaient opéré un retour aux sources folk), voire des maîtres Nick Drake ou Bert Jansch.” Popnews, France
“This apparent bouquet of contrasts is the sonic essence of Starless & Bible Black, a blissful, down-tempo conundrum that maintains a pastoral presence” Glide Magazine
“Distilled sunlight, perfume bottles on an aunt’s dresser, driving south, unplanned friends’ jams, certain bookstores on cold afternoons, and the raking of leaves.” Poly Revenge
Moving on from their well-received eponymous debut, Starless & Bible Black have drawn together the sounds of ‘70s Topanga Canyon country-rock, ‘80s Mancunian jangle, and space-age psychedelic drones to make this dynamic, warm and woodsy second album. Gone are the dulcimers and banjos of the first record, replaced by an electrifying wall of Telecaster and Moog, and standing in the centre of this bold, widescreen sound resides the earthy and husky voice.
Recorded at Bryn Derwen within the wilds of the Snowdonian mountains, and during all night sessions in the relative tranquillity of their local village hall, Shape Of The Shape is an album of contrasting styles, themes and approaches that coheres beautifully into a seamless entity.
We get guided through verses and choruses of swamp rock, gothic bluesy chanson and smoky acoustic ballads, as well as a jazz-folk tinged instrumental – after all the band take their name from the classic 1965 Stan Tracey cut – but the apogee of this collection is the driving drone-choral opus, Les Furies – sung in French, this is a very Gallic observation of after hours culture. And while this album traverses all these different styles, the band never deny the importance of a fine tune and a fine song.
Starless & Bible Black were formed in Manchester in 2005 when Hélène Gautier, guitarist Peter Philipson and synth man Raz Ullah started performing live together and they were soon joined by Paul Blakesley on double bass and Brian Edwards on drums. Drum duties on recent recordings were performed courtesy of Karl Penney, another friend of the band.
Their first record was released in 2006 to unanimous critical acclaim most notably from Pitchfork, Wire, CMJ and The New York Times and a seven-inch single Up With The Orcadian Tide was pressed up in summer 2007. Live shows have included playing alongside Vetiver, James Yorkston, Espers and The Earlies as well as performing at the Green Man and Moseley Folk Festivals.
Shape Of The Shape available on Static Caravan (UK / France) and Locust Music (USA / Europe / Japan) via all good music stores. CD, vinyl and download.
The debut album is available on Locust Music on CD, 180 gram vinyl and download. Locust Music through Cargo (UK).
TABLE (Manchester, Static Caravan/Humble Soul Recordings)
*New Single this week’s Record of the Week @ Piccadilly Records*
Manchester-based six-piece Table are led by songwriter David O’Dowda, who combs together different strands of modern folk music to create something new and wonderful on this, their first seven-inch titled ‘Songs You Can Sing’. A record so strong it takes two decent labels, Humble Soul and Static Caravan to give it the full time partner it requires. The two tracks on this single are sumptuous delights, airy and ornate while being oddly familiar. Marshalled by David, Table waltz through quietly elegant folk-pop with minimal guitar, stately piano and low-key vocals on what sounds like an endearingly sweet single, despite the deceptively barbed tale woven throughout.
If ‘Songs You Can Sing’ is beguilingly understated, then ‘ Most’ is multi-layered and bursting with ideas where electronic and organic sounds collide. It’s a many hued delight which pulls together disparate elements and twists them into a myriad shapes, blurring excitedly before sweeping to a beautiful climax. Music that reaches into you and pulls out your soul, personal and frankly as dangerous as it is fragile. Imagine East River Pipe covering a Richard Hawley penned lullaby and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.
Not to be confused with that bloke from The I.T Crowd (that’s Chris O’Dowd – factual ed), David has supported Peter Gabriel – while playing with Sizer Barker (others members are now Wave Machines) – and appeared on radio with Elbow’s Guy Garvey who says “‘Songs You Can Sing’ is one of those songs that you will want to play to your friends, because it makes you look cool…”. To coincide with the release of the single, a session on Marc Riley’s 6Music show was booked on the strength of the only burn circulated at that time, once again showing how far ahead of the game Riley is nowadays.
Lancaster’s very own based purveyers of live electronically enhanced indie folk meets post-rock:
“Loops, drones and spiralling riffs with mantra-like vocals characterise much of their live set. Crashing waves of guitar under a chant of ‘I can walk on water’ … give way to a bleak early-Factory Records sound updated with electronic effects … reaching an impressive drawn out climax in the explosive ‘Bliss, Ostensibly.’”(Lunecy Review, July 2009).