Archive for the ‘The Black Swans’ 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
SHOWS • Centro-matic, Jerry David DeCicca (Black Swans), Monahans, Phosphorescent, Will Johnson, Adam Remnant (Southeast Engine), Emily Rodgers, Shearwater
Lot of Misra shows on the horizon. Offerings from Centro-matic, Jerry David DeCicca (Black Swans), Monahans, Phosphorescent, Will Johnson, Adam Remnant (Southeast Engine), Emily Rodgers, and Shearwater. Dig the atmospheres via the Misra Tour page.
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.
Jerry DeCicca, the phenomenal songwriter behind The Black Swans, is prepping a new record under the name “Jerry David DeCicca.” The album will feature Spooner Oldham, Will Oldham, Kelley Deal and more.
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!
Ohio’s own Joel Oliphint recently wrote a phenomenal Pitchfork feature on Columbus’ famed Mus-I-col Recording Studio. Mus-I-col (est. 1964) is where our beloved Black Swans recorded their most recent album Occasion for Song. In doing so, the band joined a long line of greats who have recorded at the legendary studio. The article features a Black Swans song, quotes from Black Swans frontman Jerry DeCicca, as well as quotes from Ohio friends Bela Koe-Krompecher (Anyway Records), Adam Elliott (Times New Viking), and much more. Writer Joel Oliphint was also the longtime editor of Donewaiting – Ohio’s main independent music blog. GOhio!
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to all! Above is the “I Have A Dream” speech in full. Not to proselytize, but watching this is infinitely more important than some TV show or sporting event or this week’s new music release or whatever.
Also, below is a picture of Misra artists R. Ring and The Black Swans at MLK’s house. It was taken on a tour they took together in 2012.
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!
Misra’s Holiday Sale will be wrapping up by year’s end. In celebration of a phenomenal 2012, everything is 20% off over at the Misra store.
- February 14: Shearwater’s Winged Life is issued on LP for the first time. The record features songs by SW frontman Jonathan Meiburg and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. Shearwater then embarks on tours with St. Vincent, Dinosaur Jr. and more.
- February 14: Bears’ Greater Lakes is released. Grandma helped distribute the release and it’s praised by NPR Song of the Day, AP, Cleveland Scene, and many more.
- February 28: Water Liars’ debut Phantom Limb is met with great praise from A.V. Club, Daytrotter, No Depression, VICE, NPR Song of the Day, and more.
- March 15: Misra heads to SXSW 2012 with a showcase featuring R. Ring (The Breeders’ Kelley Deal & Ampline’s Mike Montgomery), Palomar, The Black Swans, Southeast Engine, Seryn, and Water Liars. The event is a wonderful success.
- July 31: The Black Swans’ Occasion for Song is released. It is met with phenomenal praise viaPitchfork, MOJO, Paste, MAGNET, AllMusic, Dusted, and many more. The band heads on tour with WHY? soon after.
- July 31: Southeast Engine’s Canaanville EP is released. Canaanville is a 4-song appendix EP to the band’s widely-hailed Canary album. For a baby release, it is met with great praise fromDaytrotter, PopMatters, A.V. Club, and more. The band heads to Pickathon soon after.
- October 31: R. Ring – a new band comprised of The Breeders’ Kelley Deal & Ampline’s Mike Montgomery – release their debut “Fallout & Fire” b/w “SEE” 7″ on Misra. It is met with wild attention from Pitchfork, SPIN, Stereogum, VICE, and many more.
- November 13: Holopaw’s “Golden Sparklers” b/w “Yearling’s Darlings” is released. The 7″ single is the predecessor to Paw’s absolutely breathtaking Academy Songs, Volume I (out January 15, 2013). Pitchfork debuts the A-Side and Under the Radar debuts the B-Side.
Noel Murray and the wonderful folks at The Onion A.V. Club placed both Water Liars and Southeast Engine in their 40 Great Songs of 2012 List. In addition, the popular music blog Captain’s Dead placed Water Liars’ Phantom Limb in their Best of 2012 list. That’s not to mention The Black Swans’ listing as #11 in American Songwriter’s Top 50 Songs of 2012… and more…