I've thought it over plenty how I should end this thing. Was thinking about doing a wrap up where I re-charted the dates and covered the whole five weeks in a tidy summary. Also wanted to do something where I included all the stories I forgot—Graeme's love adventures, our days off at Sim's farmhouse in the English countryside, pulling a runner on that Scottish fuck in Glasgow, my quest for sauces, Al and Sam tattooing my hand with cigarette burns, Youthmovies' stories about blowing up cars and branding themselves, James getting stabbed at Dizzee Rascal (great story), the Hell-Fire Caves, the ape dressed as the devil, Danny beating down that asshole in Edinburgh, etc. But that felt too much like a retread.
So, here goes, the best way I can think to end this thing. The credits. Role call. Here's the bands I spent considerable time with on this tour. I love them all.
Youthmovies. These guys and I were together for the whole thing. It was mainly our tour, but we brought some friends and label-mates along. Youthmovies have been my favorite band for a long time. They used to be hardcore as fuck but now they're simmering into this deep-level, jammed-out, heavy prog stage.
Their debut record, Good Nature, is out in March on Drowned in Sound, which was the label that put us together in the first place. (We have a collaborative EP out right now, but this is about them, not me.) Good Nature is the most English thing I've heard in forever. “Archive it Everywhere” is my favorite love song. “Something for the Ghosts” is pure trip-out. “The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor” is going to be a huge radio hit. “If You'd Seen a Battlefield” is the JAM.
If you ever talk to them, ask them about the painting that's going to be a poster in the insert. It's incredible.
Jonquil. Our Try Harder label-mates Jonquil joined us first. After one of their tracks made it on a Wire
magazine comp, their new album Lions has been getting good press all over the planet—and rightly so. (As I write this they're in Europe getting famous. They'd do fucking good in the States as well.) People call Jonquil folk, but they're so much more than that; it's epic, long, psychedelic builders, pop songs that turn into deconstructed summer jams, mini orchestra feel-gooders, trumpet, melodica, double-bass, accordion, violin, etc, etc.
It's kind of shady repping so hard for somebody on the same label as me, conflict of interest and nepotism and all, but I don't care, fuck it. Go listen to Jonquil online somewhere. Find the title track off their record and then listen to the rest. It was a pleasure to play with them every night. And somebody buy their busted-up bus from them. (Warning: it doesn't go very far.)
Blanket. Another label-mate. Blanket is almost painful to watch they're so good. They either get you stoked to get up there and play your set or they make you want to quit altogether. Vicky's singing and lyrics are fucking magnetic. Steven's finger-picked guitar and backup vocals provide the nice, rolling backdrop and make the music what it is. Lawrence's banjo (through pedals), harmonica (played through the head-skin of his banjo), and guitar (slide, bow, pedals) are just pure mood and liquidity.
These guys are the most American-sounding of our tour-mates. I really think they'd kill it stateside. If you get a chance, look for their song “Biblical Hair.” It's my favorite right now.
Eugene McGuinness. After Jonquil left us, we got Eugene. Some people call him the British version of (so and so), some people think he sounds like a weirder (so and so) but I don't see any of it. Instead, he's just a pure joy to watch. Plays acoustic and sings. Pretty simple, but his voice is this wild playful labyrinthine thing that swings all over the place, goes high, dips low, and makes everybody in the room really happy.
Eugene's got a record coming out soon on Domino and, as Al from Youthmovies says, he's gonna be bigger than all of us really soon.
House of Brothers. Andy from House of Brothers was with us for a very short time and I spent that whole week drunk, so my memories are hazy—to say the least. What I do remember is his voice, which was a fine thing, especially when the sound guy put a little reverb on it, and then it was majestic. I also remember his guitar playing, which was nice and subtle and intelligent and didn't sound like most people when they suddenly go from being in a popular rock band (the Murder of Rosa Luxemborg) and turn “folk.” Andy is good stuff; a great artist and a solid real fun person. I can't wait to hear his next record.
So, that's it. That's the tour. Thanks for reading all this.
Adam Gnade's MySpace page
Youthmovies' MySpace page
Jonquil's MySpace page
Blanket's MySpace page
Eugene McGuinness' MySpace page
House of Brothers' MySpace page