July 22, 2006

O! New & unreleased songs from Damien Rice

I absolutely love Ireland’s unofficial Ambassador of Melancholy Damien Rice and his 2003 release O. There is so much beauty, longing, and sadness wrapped up into those songs. Rice has a way of constructing these haunting & languid melodies, incorporating evocative strings to have as potent of a voice as his own. And, for the record, “The Blower’s Daughter” is the best 3am song ever ever written. (Oh, Wayne Rooney likes it too)

So, recently when a friend shared five new/unreleased songs from Damien Rice, I was excited to hear some new material which might be on his sophomore album (very tentatively rumored to be called “Childish” and out in December, according to Rice at a recent concert). Details on the new album are super sketch at this point, but Q Magazine did report that the song “Cross-eyed Bear” (which Rice contributed to the Help: A Day In The Life compilation) is a taste of new material and the direction he is going for the second album. These other five tracks will also give you a sense of what’s he’s been up to.

Accidental Babies – Damien Rice
A popular and notable addition to many of his recent live shows (this version is from a June 2005 Paris show @ Le Trianon); a gut-wrenching piece about love & loss that I can’t stop listening to. This is the age-old breakup song wherein the singer wonders about everything his lover is doing with her new guy (“Do you brush your teeth before you kiss? Do you miss my smell? Do you really feel alive without me? If so, be free. If not, leave him for me – before one of us has accidental babies.”)

Toffee Pop (live) – Damien Rice
A mid-tempo number, beginning with furious acoustic guitar and a tapping foot as the sole percussion. A more playful song which I take to be about falling in love (or lust or something in between): “Lollipop licking with Lola sticking like toffee to my teeth / Wait, watch, gravitate.” This was first heard with Juniper, Damien’s earlier band with guys who are now in Bell X1.

Then Go (live) – Lisa Hannigan & Damien Rice
This is another Juniper song, this version featuring Lisa Hannigan handling the lead vocals with Rice coming in with harmonies. Haunting and somber, as her voice always is. The lyric “Did your mother have you easily?” reminds me of the Ryan Adams lyric (which I find sweet, though others would argue it is creepy): “I would have held your mother’s hand on the day that you were born.”

Sand (radio broadcast version) – Damien Rice
A simple song of happy love, of a growing conviction that you are with the right person. “My love, my life, my work, my time / I give them all to you / Your hand in mine we walk, we talk in rhyme / We go the whole night through.”

Baby Sister (radio broadcast version) – Damien Rice
Another older unreleased song, Rice addresses grittier subject matter with this ode to escaping domestic violence. “Baby sister, keep drinking / Or he’ll hit you / He’ll bleach your eyes / So be a good girl / Just for the night / And run, run…”

As a bonus, I’ve long found this hidden track from “O” to be quietly devastating, but it doesn’t fit on a Christmas mix because, well, it only shares the melody of the Christmas carol and none of the calmness, brightness or peace. The a cappella vocals are all by the lovely 24-year-old Lisa Hannigan, who accompanies Rice on many of his songs.

Silent Night – Lisa Hannigan & Damien Rice

If the above links quit working, as they have been wont to do lately, here is a temporary YouSendIt link of all the songs in a zip file here.

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  • No problem Heather…I was mad about Damien for a while and sought out anything I could get my hands on. Turns out there are a tons of unreleased tracks on the net. He’s been playing the ones on your blog and countless others at gigs for years now, with the exception of Accidental Babies…and now that I think of it, actually may be a little more than a year old…can’t remember.

    There is a lot of speculation by his core fanbase as to what will end up on the CD because these songs go way back. The 2nd album has supposedly been finished for ages. I hope it’s a little of the new and old..not just the old.

    susana — July 22, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

  • He really has done a bunch of non-album stuff…for awhile I thought he was pulling a Rufus Wainwright in making singles all over the place, mainly soundtracks. Can’t wait for the new album though.

    Michael — July 22, 2006 @ 11:08 pm

  • thanks for the heads up. what about blowers daughter 2? love that one

    Anonymous — July 22, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

  • lonelily!!!!!!!!!!!!

    nateslost — July 23, 2006 @ 3:41 am

  • thanks for the links to these!!!

    Anonymous — July 23, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  • I think Damien’s new album is probably my most anticipated album of the last few years. I saw him live in Seattle a couple years back and *loved* what he did with his live performance. Especially the abrasive distortion he used. A lot of people (way up in the third balcony, where I was) were walking out. I just keep hoping the new stuff will be as intense as his live show was.

    I have a version of “Then Go” that is labelled as being his old band Juniper, but I don’t know if that’s acurate. It’s only got Damien singing, though.

    Susan M — July 24, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

  • Yo Heather

    Thanks for the Damien Rice. When O dropped back in 2003, a bunch of these songs were available on various websites and then as he got more popular, they were pulled. I’ve got a whole c.d. them of them someplace that’s been tiding me over for his now mythical 2nd album to drop.

    If you search The Hype Machine directory, you can find a cover of “When Doves Cry”.

    Kevin (we're friends on facebook) — July 24, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  • thankx man, absofookinglutely fab!!! :D

    Rudy — July 25, 2006 @ 6:58 am

  • Thanks for posting this stuff Heather. Gotta agree with the posts above — 3 years? I was at a concert in late ’03 or early ’04 where he said the band was about to go into the studio to record the album. That’s a loooong time ago.

    Hope that the length of time, plus the prevalence of older material here, doesn’t indicate writer’s block.

    Or maybe he can write beautiful, sorrowful when he’s got Hollywood starlets in his life.. :^) I know I wouldn’t be able to.

    Steve — July 25, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  • Oops, the word was supposed to be “can’t”. Makes more sense that way.

    Steve — July 25, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  • i recorded that version of toffee pop in a tiny little venue in cobh, co. cork, ireland in october 2001, before “O” was released… i think there was about 8 people there… the gig was unamplified, which i think helps this recording sound so special… normally that track is played much louder, but i prefer it as a simple acoustic song like this… it’s one of my favourite recordings, but i don’t expect any version of the song to be on the new album.

    for all the latest damien rice news, check out my site http://www.eskimofriends.com

    emmett — July 26, 2006 @ 8:58 am

  • feck off who the hell do you think you are posting reviews like youre hotpress.

    [get your facts right]

    Timothy — July 29, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  • There’s an extraordinary amount of misinformation here! “Sand” was not a Juniper track, that is not a studio version nor is it a happy song about growing love! It’s the exact opposite: a song about a man who’s obsessed with a woman who doesn’t love or understand him. You quoted the part where he’s imagining his ideal situation with her. Read the rest of the lyrics!

    “Accidental Babies” isn’t about a breakup. It’s about being “the other man” in an affair. That isn’t the recent version either because

    “Baby Sister” isn’t a studio version either. Like “Sand” it was from a radio show broadcast.

    I highly doubt album two will be called “Childish” although Damo does have a song called that. In fact, there are over 50 songs he’s written which aren’t on “O” and since he’s long said that his second album will be very angry it’s much more likely that it will have songs like “Rootless Tree” “Fool” and “Didn’t Take Long” on it rather than the ones you predict here.

    Anonymous — July 29, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  • That unfinished sentence was meant to be: Triannon isn’t the recent version either because the lyrics in the second verse have changed.

    Anonymous — July 29, 2006 @ 11:00 pm

  • Thanks for the additional information, Anonymous. Someone else had mentioned the mix-up between Sand not being a Juniper song as well, I had forgotten to fix the post. It’s now all corrected. I tried, as I always do, to seek out the most accurate information that I could, but I found these songs difficult to get concrete information on (as I said in the post, super sketch!)

    As for the interpretations about what songs are about, that’s up to me, isn’t it? Just as your interpretation is up to you. So not really misinformation on those counts, just a different point of view. Thanks for sharing yours.

    heather — July 29, 2006 @ 11:04 pm

  • Everything has not been corrected. Let me make this clearer: the Le Trianon version of “Accidental Babies” was not a month ago, it was more that a year ago: June 30th of 2005!

    As for you being able to interpret songs however you want? Actually no. Not if you disregard 90% of what the songwriter has actually written down.

    You’ve presented almost all of this info as fact but you clearly didn’t check your facts first. You likewise made snap judgements about what songs are about without due consideration of all the lyrics.

    Opinions are worthless if they’re not informed by examining the facts first. Otherwise, you lose all credibility. If I say “I think Paris, France is the prettiest part of Asia” I can truly believe that all I like but I will sound like an idiot because it proves I don’t actaully know anything about either place.

    Insisting that ‘Sand’ is a happy song just because it’s got an upbeat tempo can only mean you are ignoring just about all of the other lyrics except the very unrepresentative ones which you’ve posted.

    Please explain to me how a song that starts and ends with: “you keep me in a glass jar sealed with a label. You think you know my world? Wake up, young girl.” is about a happy mutual love? To say nothing about this chorus: “I’m not a grain of sand. I don’t care what’s written in your hand.” and “sore, bored and I’m lost, cost, cold”. Sounds like those two are having a real picnic, eh?

    Or a song like “Accidental Babies” is about your classic average breakup rather than infidelity when it blatently states:

    1) that there is “no room for a pardon in a place where no one knows what we have done”.

    2) that “we ignore our others”.

    3) that “we use cushions to cover happy glands in the mild issue of our disgrace”.

    4) The new 2nd verse which makes it even clearer that the two are guilty of cheating: “Our minds pressed and guarded while our flesh disregarded
    the lack of space for the lighthearted in the boom
    that beats our drum.”

    5) Most importantly and obviously: how do you explain the song’s title? If they’ve already broken up then why should either of them be concerned that he might make her pregnant?

    Explain all five of these points with your theory. Does it fit? Nope. So just admit it. A hypothesis that doesn’t stand up to rigorous testing isn’t credible and the same is true of any opinion that is made rashly without consideration of all the necessary facts.

    Anonymous — July 30, 2006 @ 2:22 am

  • Interesting thoughts, Anonymous. You make a strong case and seem to have put a lot of thought into this. Thank you again for sharing.

    heather — July 30, 2006 @ 11:23 am

  • Geez, lighten up anonymous!! You could have polietly sent Heather a message with all your corrections and I’m sure she would have been happy to make change some info, instead you just come across as rude! Talk about a little damo obsessed.

    Anonymous — July 30, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

  • Great post Heather. I’ve been a closet Damien Rice fan for about a year now. Just saw him open for Fiona Apple last month, full of new songs that definitely peaked my interest some more. Look for the torrent of his Mountain Winery show in Saratoga for more new songs (sadly, not a great recording).

    My personal favorite of the new songs doesn’t seem to have a title yet, but includes the line… i wouldn’t want you to want to be wanted by me…

    great blog by the way, all the way around.

    jojoware — July 30, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

  • damien rice with an album? are you serious?! maybe he’s better in webdate_dot_com. he can fuck as many girls as he wants. just don’t sing ever again,damien. you suck.

    averagedrinker — July 31, 2006 @ 7:22 am

  • [...Even though I think his songs are somehow much too romanced for my taste, I must admit that “The Blower’s Daughter” is a nice song. So, for all you Damien Rice fans, the I Am Fuel, You Are Friends blog has some new and unreleased songs of the Irish guy ...]

    mihai — July 31, 2006 @ 10:55 am

  • Cheers for the links.

    Universal Soldier — July 31, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  • Anonymous, are you Damien Rice or do you work for him?? Get a life. You sound pathetic.

    Ernest — August 8, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

  • [Not from that asshole anonymous person above]

    Hey Heather!! I discovered your site just a few days ago and am TOTALLY impressed with what you write, share and your general attitude (even putting up with the jerk above). I really appreciate the time and effort you put into posting the rarities (even though they eventually disappear, from what I can see, how GREAT that people like me can get access to new songs by some of our favorites). I had actually been searching originally for Ray LaMontagne rarities and ended up on your site… even tho those links weren’t working, I was totally excited to see that there is someone other than me that gets so excited about good music– and most of your posters seem to really enjoy it, too.

    Just wanted to say: YOU ROCK!


    Anonymous — September 27, 2006 @ 8:06 am

  • Got the new Lisa Hannigan (sorry!) Damien Rice CD.It’s a goodun. He’s on Jools Holland this weekend BBC2.
    Thanks Heather for making me listen to Leash again.
    Blaskofan x

    Anonymous — November 7, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
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