Archive for the ‘occasion for song’ tag
Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of Noel Sayre’s passing. A luminary in the Ohio underground, Noel played violin for our beloved Black Swans. He also performed with the West Virginia and Portsmouth Symphony orchestras and worked as a guitar and violin teacher. Sayre was in a swimming accident on July 1, 2008. After going on life support, he passed away on July 3, 2008.
Sayre’s old friend and bandmate Jerry DeCicca (Black Swans front-man) wrote an entire album about the event. Please read the album’s bio below and listen to “Portsmouth, Ohio” [here]. The haunting song “chronicles the day Noel Sayre died in a swimming pool accident, with a journalistic eye and no sentimentality, taking the listener from the diving board to the I.C.U. to chicken salad sandwiches on the 4th of July. The swimming pool is featured on the album’s cover.” American Songwriter placed The Black Swans’ “Portsmouth, Ohio” at #11 on their Top 50 Songs of 2012 list.
The Black Swans Occasion for Song (MSR064)
The Black Swans’ Occasion for Song, their 5th full-length, is a messy long-haul of emotions dealing with the death of founding member and violinist Noel Sayre, and the aftermath of memory, shock, and loss it created. It recalls lessons learned in 9th grade Health class — DABDA (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance). Without a textbook, however, The Black Swans are not so orderly. The guitars and banjo and vocals and drums and bass sound out dark thoughts, sad thoughts, silly thoughts, angry thoughts, and buckets of depression almost all at once. This is an album about loss, death, and trying to get to the acceptance at the end of grief.
The record begins with “Basket of Light” where DeCicca sings “I took a trip where the sun never sits/ but I’ve come back for a few more moments of joy”. It may be the album’s most hopeful personal moment.
The third track, “Portsmouth, Ohio,” chronicles the day Noel Sayre died in a swimming pool accident, with a journalistic eye and no sentimentality, taking the listener from the diving board to the I.C.U. to chicken salad sandwiches on the 4th of July. The swimming pool is featured on the album’s cover.
“Daily Affirmation” and “Fickle and Faded,” the album’s most light-hearted songs, feature the dry humor and playfulness in words and notes the Black Swans are known for whereas “Mask from Memory” may be oddest track the band has ever recorded. It imagines the singer creating a paper mache mask of his deceased friend to see the world through his eyes.
In the coda of the album’s closer, “Bad Day,” DeCicca sings, “Sometimes the occasion for song/ Is filled with reasons that are all wrong/ Don’t sing along” like he can barely get out of bed. But the harmonica, where the violin belongs, sounds as hopeful as it does forlorn.
Occasion for Song was recorded straight to analog in August 2010 in Columbus, Ohio at the famed Mus-i-col Recording Studio (see Numero Group’s Capsoul and Prix label reissues) by Adam Smith (CDR label head, Times New Viking engineer) and mixed at Tangerine Studios by Ben Vehorn (Modest Mouse, Love as Laughter).
The Black Swans’ last record, Don’t Blame the Stars, released in May 2011 on Misra Records, Pitchfork called “gorgeous sounding” and Paste beamed “singular and strong”.
Those compliments are even truer here. Occasion for Song is the sound of a band coming to terms with its grief and the junk it brings. Gorgeous, raw, strange, and sincere.
1. Basket of Light
2. Bound to Be
3. Portsmouth, Ohio
4. Somewhere Else
5. Daily Affirmation
6. JD’s Blues
7. Where Are You Tonight?
8. Mask from Memory
9. Work Song
10. Shake Me Up
11. Fickle and Faded
12. Bad Dream
Jerry DeCicca: vocals, harmonica, guitar
Tyler “Turkeyfoot” Evans: banjo
Canaan Faulkner: bass, piano
Chris Forbes: electric guitar, nylon string guitar, tenor guitar
Keith Hanlon: drums, percussion
Jon Beard: B3 organ
Congratulations to The Black Swans on their 2x LP, 180 gram, double gatefold Occasion for Song Record Store Day release. We should have mentioned this on RSD, however, it’s been a wildly hectic time here in Dayton as we attempt to rally behind one of the city’s at-risk historic structures.
Anyway, it’s so exciting to see O4S on vinyl! Above is a picture of the release. There *may* still be one left at your local record store. Only 500 were pressed, so you better act fast.
The Black Swans “Occasion for Song” – Deluxe, Double Gatefold, 180 Gram, 2x LP Record Store Day 2013 Release
That’s right, a deluxe, double gatefold, 180 gram, 2x LP pressing of The Black Swans’ fantastic Occasion for Song (Misra; 2012) will be available on Record Store Day 2013 (April 20). This phenomenal package is limited to 500 copies and will be available at *record stores only.* Get on it and make sure to support your local record store!
Also, do make sure to check out the brand new Pitchfork feature on Mus-I-col – the legendary Columbus recording studio where The Black Swans recorded Occasion for Song. Black Swans’ frontman Jerry DeCicca is interviewed for the piece and “Portsmouth, Ohio” off Occasion for Song is highlighted. It’s a wonderful and important read!
Uprooted Music Revue / No Depression have featured The Black Swans’ Occasion for Song and Water Liars’ Phantom Limb in a list titled “Favorite Audio Releases of 2012.” Thanks so much to the wonderful Chris Mateer for his continued support. Make sure to follow Uprooted Music Revue into 2013 and like them on Facebook and Twitter. Get both records for 20% off during Misra’s Holiday Sale!
The Black Swans’ video for “Mask from Memory” debuted on American Songwriter today. Via AS:
“Indie-folk outfit The Black Swans’ latest album Occasion for Song is tinged with the grief of the passing of founding member Noel Sayre. Watch the striking video for the album track “Mask From Memory.”
‘The song is story of process and dreams …. imagining yourself creating a mask of your friend that died to see things through his eyes,’ vocalist/guitarist Jerry DeCicca tells American Songwriter. ‘The mask is the memory you see the world through; the construction is the song’s metaphor for engaging your own thoughts and feelings in hopes of learning something about yourself.’”
Black Swans on Coke Machine Glow • Will Johnson & Patterson Hood Interview One Another on Aquarium Drunkard
The Black Swans were recently featured via Coke Machine Glow. This is added to a long list of outstanding reviews, praise, and features:
- Largehearted Boy
- Consequence of Sound
- No Depression
- MTV Hive and many more
Centro-matic’s Will Johnson & Patterson Hood interviewed one another for Aquarium Drunkard’s Longshot feature. It’s a fun piece and you can read it here.
Oh, stars on high, The Black Swans press keeps rolling in and it’s all been wonderful. In addition to having one of the most read reviews on Pitchfork this past week, along with being featured in Dusted, Paste, PopMatters, AllMusic, Prefix, Largehearted Boy, Blurt, Consequence of Sound, No Depression, and more, Jerry and the boys have now been featured in the September 2012 issue of MOJO! It’s in a feature titled “The MOJO Playlist.”
Check it out there above, pick up a copy at your local bookstore, and go see a show by this phenomenal band (on tour now). They’re guaranteed to fly right over the top of your conservative Aunt Deb’s head and strike a cord with your with-it uncle who loves Kris Kristofferson.
Tonight’s the night! The Black Swans hold their album release at Rumba in Columbus, OH. Also on the bill are Old Hundred & Dolfish – here is the Facebook event for it all. If you’re in the area, do make sure to head out and pick up a copy.
Thanks so much to Mark Richardson, Stephen Deusner, and all at Pitchfork for the wonderful review of The Black Swans’ Occasion for Song. It went up today and it’s just so thoughtful. We couldn’t be more pleased.
“For all its grave intimations, Occasion For Song exhibits a true joy in creating and playing music, in finding the right notes and the right words. It’s a complex, even contradictory record, not just the Black Swans’ best but one of the most incisive and moving mediations on life and the loss of it in recent memory.”
The Black Swans were recently featured in a full-page spread in MAGNET Magazine. Grandma included the full-size piece here, so you can read it all, but do head to your local book store and pick up a copy (Sigur Ros is on the cover).
The band will also head out on tour very soon- starting with an album release show in Columbus, OH at Rumba on Friday, August 24. Dates are still coming in, so do stay tuned via this [link]. After they return from this late summer run, they will open for a substantial Ohio-based act soon after. More on that exciting tour soon!
The Black Swans || Late Summer 2012 Occasion for Song Tour
|08/24/12||Columbus, OH||Rumba||United States|
|Add||Admission: $10 adv. | $12 door. BUY TICKETS|
|08/25/12||Toledo, OH||The Ottawa Tavern||United States|
|Add||Time: 10:00pm. Admission: $5. Age restrictions: 18+.|
|08/26/12||Cleveland, OH||Happy Dog Saloon||United States|
|08/27/12||Pittsburgh, PA||Thunderbird Cafe||United States|
|Add||Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $7. Age restrictions: 21+.|
|08/29/12||New Haven, CT||Cafe Nine||United States|
|08/30/12||Brooklyn, NY||The Rock Shop||United States|
|08/31/12||New York, NY||Mercury Lounge||United States|
|09/01/12||Providence, RI||Fete Lounge||United States|
|Add||Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $8 adv./$10 doors. Age restrictions: All Ages.|
|09/02/12||Philadelphia, PA||St. George’s United Methodist Church||United States|
|Add||Admission: $8 adv. | $10 day of.|
|09/04/12||Washington, D.C.||Sixth and I Historic Synagogue||United States|
|Add||Admission: $10 adv./$12 doors.|
|09/05/12||Charlottesville, VA||Tea Bazaar||United States|
|09/07/12||Lexington, KY||Cosmic Charlie’s||United States|
|09/08/12||Nashville, TN||High Watt||United States|
|09/10/12||Manchester, IN||Fire House||United States|
|09/11/12||Chicago, IL||Empty Bottle||United States|
|Add||Time: 8:30pm. Admission: $8.|
|09/12/12||Bloomington, IN||The Bishop||United States|
|Add||Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $6 adv./$8 doors. Age restrictions: 18+.|
|09/13/12||Cincinnati, OH||MOTR Pub||United States|