November 21, 2012

Fuel/Friends Chapel Session #19: Hey Marseilles

There is something colorful and dizzying in the orchestral swoops of Hey Marseilles‘ music. Bookended on either side of the stage with two of the Anderson brothers on cello and viola (two of nine kids, apparently all musical – good job, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson) this Seattle band is fortified with a sparkling range of instruments. Matt Bishop soars at the front of this carnival with words of love and loss and the wide world that’s out there waiting.

There’s a lot of sonic wealth in these songs – especially when those strings dance across your ears. The music of Hey Marseilles is richly thoughtful and expansive. On this collection of songs, they seem to be wrestling with a grownup love and all the commitments that entails; this is one to sit with for a while.

Watch out for their new album coming in March 2013.


There’s a mischievous gleam in this new song, much more than you’d expect from something called “Elegy.” I do not waltz (or two-step, or anything so formal), but I believe this is the song I would like to waltz to if I did. My favorite part of this song comes at the end where everything cuts out but the two Anderson brothers weaving their cello and viola together – it made me draw in my breath and hold it until the measures died away. So good.

Hold Your Head
If the last song was a waltz, this one makes me practically see ballerinas bouncing spry and quick on their toes. It also reminds me of rain, the springtime kind.

True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston)
There is something so open-hearted and earnest in this song, sung as matter-of-fact truth set to music by the reticent Daniel Johnston. I don’t have this kind of faith yet, but I am glad some folks out there do – and this version of the song is all dressed up stunningly.

Looking Back
This is a brand new song that doesn’t seem to exist out there in recorded or video form, so I was especially delighted. On this, I hear chronicles of weariness and peace with past mistakes. “If you’re looking back, that’s all you’ll ever see / when I find my way to you, I know I’ll stay.” This is a song about finding a nest, a haven, a home.


Also, hey: if you download this and like it, please enter your email address in the widget thing for the band, below where it says “Free Download.” That way they can let you know when they are coming through your town — they are lovely, lovely guys and you should be in direct contact with them.

[visuals by Kevin Ihle, and videos for all the songs are on his YouTube page]

September 28, 2012

huge addition to next Monday’s house concert: Field Report

I just almost fell out of my chair when Field Report confirmed to play at my house show next Monday, October 8, with Seattle’s magnificent Hey Marseilles. They’re in town with a day off so WHY NOT. I love both bands so much that my ears might disintegrate into bliss right now, and you should come disintegrate with me.

I first wrote about Field Report after a friend of mine from their record label shot me an advance last March as a personal recommendation, with serious urgency for the understated burn throughout this record. Those days were the season of schizophrenic springtime icestorms, and this is a record of sleet and woodsmoke and fever dreams.

Chris Porterfield was in a Wisconsin band called DeYarmond Edison, along with Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and what would become Megafaun. The Field Report record was made in Bon Iver’s Eau Claire studio, and has a similarly gripping effect to the first Bon Iver record, for me. It settles on me and clings to me, probing “unmapped chambers of hearts.”

This rich and thoughtful record is terrific all the way through (reminding me somehow of the gritty landscape of a Cormac McCarthy novel) but “Fergus Falls,” in particular, is the song I have listened to probably 200+ times, often in the car with the windows up and the volume dial as high as it can go because: THAT CRESCENDO. I had myriad ideas about what the song was about — there’s something distinctively dreamlike about the lyrics, except the kind of dream where you get wrapped in the sheets and try to run but your legs are lead. I recently read a piece in Rolling Stone that described how it was inspired by a pregnant woman he saw at a Milwaukee music festival who was with a guy who “looked like an asshole,” and that she seemed trapped. The song-pieces all fell into place, and lines like “And no one saw my banners, my bruises, my flares, my flags” made quiet sense.

Fergus Falls – Field Report

You can stream the whole Field Report record here, and go buy it right now (it just came out a few weeks ago on Partisan Records – the home of other great artists like Deer Tick, Dolorean, and Middle Brother).

September 20, 2012

new house show! Hey Marseilles on October 8th

This just in! I am pleased to announce the newest Fuel/Friends house concert, this one with Hey Marseilles, who make explosive, soaring, colorful songs from the drizzly streets of Seattle. They will be kicking off their extensive fall tour with an intimate show in my community on Monday night, October 8th, and I am thrilled to be hosting them.

The first song of theirs that captured my eardrums was “Rio,” instantly whisking me off to a land peppered by handclaps where, happily, there are “always Brazilian boys to discover”:

Also, check out their NPR Tiny Desk concert to see what the house show might be more like: cozier, more acoustic, fewer video projection screens and sand.

If you can’t make it to my house, here are the rest of their dates! Definitely, definitely go see this tour of they come near you.

with Sea Wolf

Tue-Oct-9 – Denver, CO at Hi-Dive
Thu-Oct-11 – St. Louis, MO at Plush
Fri-Oct-12 – Louisville, KY at Good Time Emporium
Sat-Oct-13 – Cincinnati, OH at Taft Theatre
Sun-Oct-14 – Columbus, OH at The Basement
Mon-Oct-15 – Pittsburgh, PA at Stage AE
Tue-Oct-16 – Asbury Park, NJ at The Saint
Fri-Oct-19 – New York, NY at Le Poisson Rouge (CMJ)
Sat-Oct-20 – Boston, MA at Church Of Boston
Sun-Oct-21 – Philadelphia, PA at North Star Bar
Mon-Oct-22 – Washington, DC at DC9
Tue-Oct-23 – Toledo, OH at Frankie’s Inner City
Wed-Oct-24 – Chicago, IL at Lincoln Hall
Thu-Oct-25 – Milwaukee, WI at Club Garibaldi
Fri-Oct-26 – Minneapolis, MN at Cedar Cultural Center
Mon-Oct-29 – Salt Lake City, UT at Urban Lounge
Tue-Oct-30 – Missoula, MT at The Top Hat
Wed-Oct-31 – Pullman, WA at Bell Tower
Fri-Nov-2 – Vancouver, BC at Electric Owl
Sat-Nov-3 – Portland, OR at Doug Fir Lounge
Mon-Nov-5 – San Francisco, CA at The Independent
Wed-Nov-7 – Santa Cruz, CA at Rio Theatre
Thu-Nov-8 – Fresno, CA at Fulton 55
Fri-Nov-9 – San Diego, CA at The Casbah
Sat-Nov-10 – Los Angeles, CA at El Rey Theater

March 21, 2011

there are always brazilian boys to discover


I’m freshly home from the radiant heat of Austin, feeling simultaneously drained and energized, emptied and full. As I drove home from the airport today on a suddenly warm spring day, all the windows in the car open and the plains wide around me, I played this song on repeat for about an hour (because I do that).

For as many times as I have heard this song, it hit me fresh today; it sums up everything I am feeling right now, a celebration of long days left to breathe and breathe deeply. It explodes with an irrefutable joy, from the opening intricate handclap percussion to the final chimey tones that sound like stars coming out one at a time. The vibrancy of the string section threatens to overwhelm, and the bright golden horn cadences sound like a mariachi band coming to take me away to an adventure.

Borders can’t keep me if Rio will have me.

Rio – Hey Marseilles

Silhouette seasons and faraway reasons are all I have now
borders can’t keep me if Rio will have me, to dance and to drown
take to the harbor like sails to set
sleep for the evening and failed regret
hold on to skylines of pale and cold
clouds on horizons and love to grow old

On the way I will go
where the days left to breathe
are not gone
are still long
I am traveling on

Love is a hazard in lower Manhattan
you cannot escape, and mustn’t be saddened
by men who abandon your eyes for another’s;
there are always Brazilian boys to discover

So set your sights straight now and don’t forget pain
drink ’til the morning becomes yesterday
think of the shorelines you have yet to see
men who will hold you with eyes you believe

Hey Marseilles are from Seattle, and have a superb album out called To Travels and Trunks. I have a huge crush.

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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..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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