The Walkmen – ‘Heaven’
June 4th on Bella Union
Bella Union is excited to announce that the celebrated New York quintet The Walkmen will release their new album, Heaven, on 4th June 2012. The record is the band’s seventh and was produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Band of Horses) whilst Robin Pecknold sings harmonies on two songs on the record.
“We felt like it was time to make a bigger, more generous statement…” When describing The Walkmen’s new album, lead singer Hamilton Leithauser portrays a band hitting maturity, comfortable in its mastery after a decade together.
It’s been ten years since The Walkmen made their debut album, Everybody Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone. Ten years since critics attached them to a New York scene they never wanted to be part of. This spring the band played a series of 10th anniversary shows in the US that demonstrated how far they have outstripped their peers: two sets over two hours, no filler, rapturously received.
The Walkmen are the great New York band of their generation, making the best music of their career and filling their largest venues yet. Their spot at the top of the bill at May’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival, curated by The National, demonstrates the respect in which they are held by the current wave of bands making music in the city.
When renowned producer Phil Ek approached the guys last year asking if they’d like to make a record with him, they travelled to the studio he uses in the woods outside Seattle for the most intense recording sessions they had ever experienced. “There can be something brittle about our sound,” Maroon says. “He made it just a little bit warmer, a little bit stronger. When I play it in my car, it sounds strong, which I love.”
All five members of the band have kids now and if the impact of parenthood is hard to pin down in a single lyric, there is definitely a new openness and emotional honesty to the songs. Most importantly, the old gang mentality has deepened, becoming something worthwhile and lasting. “I’m very proud of what we’ve done. We’ve stayed friends and those friendships have grown,” says Bauer. “We have survival experience and real love that children generate in your life.”
Heaven is a definitive statement of purpose and commitment, from a band at the peak of its powers that is finally winning the recognition it deserves.
Watch the trailer below:
From Rolling Stone:
Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird stopped by the Rolling Stone studio to perform a few numbers from his latest album, Break It Yourself, accompanied only by his violin. After the set, Bird chatted about building a studio in an old barn and recording the new album as casually as possible.
This year August 31st, Bella Union’s day takeover at End of the Road festival, couldn’t come soon enough. It’s practically Christmas for us! We are excited to announce a raft of additional bands performing on our day:
The Acorn, Concrete Knives, Lawrence Arabia, Leif Vollebekk, Marques Toliver, My Sad Captains, Peggy Sue, Still Corners, Van Dyke Parks and Zun Zun Egui
These artists join the following previously confirmed acts:
Alessi’s Ark, Beach House, Cashier No. 9, Dirty Three, Hannah Cohen, I Break Horses, John Grant, Jonathan Wilson, Lanterns on the Lake, The Low Anthem, Midlake, Mountain Man, Our Broken Garden, Poor Moon, Roy Harper and Veronica Falls
Bella Union is curating all stages and all artists across the whole festival on Friday August 31st. Our bookings come in addition to End of the Road’s, who have booked bands such as Grandaddy and Grizzly Bear to perform sets during the rest of the weekend.
Full lineup and tickets here.
This Sunday, April 1st, I Break Horses will perform a headline show at London’s Scala. Support comes from Man Without Country, and tickets are available to buy from ATP here.
In 2011, we were thrilled to release I Break Horses’ debut album Hearts. The band had only played a handful of live dates, including a short December UK tour culminating in a sell out show at London’s Cargo. This Sunday’s show will be their first UK performance since that date and promises to be an awesome show indeed.
*VERY SPECIAL COMPETITION*
We are excited to offer a very special prize to a fan attending Sunday’s show. I Break Horses (amongst many other fantastic artists, including a bunch of Bella bands) will perform at Primavera Festival in Barcelona. We’d love you to have the chance to watch the band again at the festival, so we have a pair of tickets up for grabs. All you have to do is come to the merch table on Sunday and leave your name and contact details on the ‘Primavera’ list, and we’ll draw a name at random and alert the winner on the following Monday. Switswoo, what a great prize!
So, to enter, make sure you a) come to the show on Sunday and b) leave your name and email on the list at the merch stand.
Hope to see you there, and GOOD LUCK! May the force be with you etc etc
Details on the releases below!
The Crown Salesman/So Much Wine
10 inch – Orange vinyl
1. The Crown Salesman
2. So Much Wine
3. Tarrytown Mess
7inch – Blue opaque vinyl
2. Equal Mind
7Inch – White vinyl
1. Primitive Girl
1. The Twist
2. Roll Over Beethoven
Lanterns On The Lake
12 inch – White Vinyl
1. If I’ve Been Unkind (Man Without Country Remix)
2. Ships In The Rain (Laurel Halo Remix)
3. Not Going Back To The Harbour (Dauwd Remix)
4. Ships In The Rain (Sun Glitters Remix)
5. You’re Almost There (Young Montana Remix)
6. Tricks (Damu Remix)
Xiu Xiu/Dirty Beaches
Always/Tu Ne Dis Rien
7 Inch – Olive Green Vinyl
2. Tu Ne Dis Rien
Pity Trials And Tomorrow’s Child
1. Isn’t It A Pity
2. Trials Of Jonathan
3. Tomorrow’s Child
Sorry I made You Cry
12inch – Heavyweight Baby Blue Vinyl
1 Black is the Colour
2 Angel Eyes
3 Where the Boys Are
4 My Funny Valentine
5 For Emily
6 Leavin’ On My Mind
7 You Don’t Know What Love Is
8 I’m Sorry
9 I Fall To Pieces
11 Song To The Siren
VAN DYKE PARKS TO REISSUE THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS IN JUNE 2012
Bella Union are proud to announce the long-awaited reissue of three of the most highly prized and visionary albums from one of the most influential figures of twentieth century music, Van Dyke Parks.
If you don’t know Van Dyke Parks, now is the chance to immerse yourself in a uniquely eclectic and daring landscape. Parks may be best known for penning the lyrics to The Beach Boys’ legendary sixties masterpiece Smile and more recently his arrangements helped shape Joanna Newsom’s epic album Ys. But the true riches of Parks’ talent lies in his first three solo albums, Song Cycle (1968), Discover America (1972) and Clang Of The Yankee Reaper (1975). This trio of acclaimed records defined Americana decades before the term was invented. An expansive Americana that didn’t merely tap the post-war roots in folk and country music that we expect from the genre, but an all-embracing vision that included ragtime, vaudeville, jazz, bluegrass, psychedelia, classical and calypso, unified by a singer-songwriter spirit as much in line with Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson as Park’s collaborator Brian Wilson.
Born in Mississippi in 1943, Parks was extraordinary even as a child, a musical prodigy and actor who later became a session musician, composer, producer, arranger, lyricist, and singer. His own music is as cinematic, fantastical and even phantasmagorical as it is from the heart. Song Cycle was less conventionally pop, in verse-chorus fashion, than Smile; the mood was something like a baroque psychedelic dream filtered through Disney and music hall. Discover America was a major departure, with most songs written by pre-war Calypso musicians from Trinidad & Tobago but given Parks’ highly individual spin. Clang Of The Yankee Reaper further wove New Orleans, classical and pop strains alongside Calypso and Caribbean rhythms.
There have been more albums since, plus film scores, children’s books and arrangements for a dizzying array of talent (including Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and Rufus Wainwright), but the jewels in Parks’ legacy remain those first three albums, slices of musical history both of their time and truly timeless.
Bella Union will release Song Cycle, Discover America and Clang Of The Yankee Reaper in June 2012.
And there’s more! To celebrate the release Van Dyke Parks will make a rare live appearance, performing at the Barbican with full orchestral accompaniment from the Britten Sinfonia and an astounding line-up of special guests to be announced soon. Info below:
Saturday 23 June – LONDON – Barbican (£15 – £25) [buy]