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   Saturday, March 22, 2003  
Some band names they just set out to reassure, y'know, to put you right there. Like Winterville, for instance. Or Maplewood. What would you expect of bands with names like that? Warm, soothing sounds; folksy pop with an undertow of twang; stripped floorboards, fresh-brewed fairly-traded beverage of choice, naturalness. And, judging by the mp3s these bands offer up, you'd be pretty much right. reallyrather stumbled across these names in the course of finding out what's become of jangly chamber popsters Champale ('Teenage Fanclub meets the backwoods orchestral arrangements of Lambchop,' as someone else suggested). Their more-than-decent debut Simple days wasn't heard by nearly enough people. They now report that they're "finally laying down tracks for the next record, one that so far features huge contributions from cello..lap steel guitar..trumpet.' Nice, but easy on the brass, guys. Winterville and Maplewood are semi-detached Champale projects. The former has apparently released an album but gives no obvious clue as to how to get hold of it which is a shame since at least a couple of the sample tracks are toothsome slices of country-pop of the right sort - check out Hockey player haircut and Felipe Alou. The ongoingness of Winterville is uncertain but Maplewood would appear to be alive and well and driving up and down Big Sur communing with that West Coast vibe of three decades back. Glistening laidback harmonic pop-rock with giveaway titles like Santa Fe and Indian summer, it's a track called Gemini on the way that appeals most here, a bit like The Tyde but (crucially) without that band's excellently frazzled psych-pop edge...

...and talking of The Tyde, the UK gets first refusal of their new material when Rough Trade Records releases a single, Go ask yer Dad on April 28. The follow-up to ace debut album Once follows in June and will be called...Twice

Amongst the blizzard of SXSW reports Cinncinnati CityBeat's correspondent surely zeroes in on the zenith of those 4 days of rock'n'roll frenzy: ' Near the end of Pedro the Lion's set of tight, un-grandiose songs, [singer David] Bazan, who barely moved at all, asked the crowd in a simple, earnest tone, "Are there any questions at this point?" A fan shouted out "What is the fastest land animal?" to which Bazan responded, "the cheetah."'
'Phew,' as they say...

"It's been a whirlwind couple of years," the Be Good Tanyas' Frazey Ford tells the Vancouver Sun. "I think I'll be spending a lot of time standing back at some point and going, 'What happened? There we were jamming in our living room one day and two years later, there we were, on a huge stage in London." Now back home after promoting the UK release of Chinatown, the Tanyas work the local press:
'Not so long ago, after the Be Good Tanyas had released their Blue Horse debut, they were looking good to a lot of 50-something British men and their wives. The after-tea crowd came in droves, having heard the Vancouver trio's unique country-folk blend on legendary veteran BBC DJ Whispering Bob Harris's show, and fallen hard. It was the first U.K. tour for the BGT, and with their newfound older demographic, they were playing to sold-out audiences. From the start, there was nothing conventional about the Be Good Tanyas. "They'd open the doors and this slide of men in their 50s would pile in with their wives," says Frazey. "It was kind of funny."
Ford isn't sure why they've broken through so swiftly on the other side of the Atlantic, although she thinks it might have something to do with non-commercial interests.
"I don't know. It was just a real lucky thing. I think England is like Canada in a way that they have the BBC, and everybody listens to it. So, if the BBC decides they're going to play you, you can really get the ball rolling quickly and a lot of the DJs there played the album. They actually give a break to people who don't have huge funding for their promotion effort."
'The trio is going to wind up their tour at the end of March so that Ford can take time to have a baby. "I'm doing all right, but I get grumpy. It's not humane to drag a pregnant woman around airport after airport. "It's a lot on the plate," she says, sighing. "I've never been a mom before, and I don't know how it's going to be. It's going to be a huge adjustment. It's not like we're not stopping forever, but there'll be a period of adjusting and figuring out how touring will work."' | Vancouver Sun 20 Mar

Wait, there's more (you know you want it):
'Slouching lazily in chairs in a Toronto restaurant, Samantha Parton and Trish Klein say they're still a bit mystified by their success and the treatment that comes along with it. "I went to go see a friend's band play in a bar and this guy comes up to me and says 'What's somebody of your status doing in a place like this?'" Parton says, wrinkling her face in confusion like she did for the man. "What was he talking about?" Now that the girls are home, they're not expecting -- or seeking -- the star treatment.
"Britain is so instrumental in launching the careers of so many North American artists," Klein says. "They were the first people to appreciate Jimi Hendrix." "In Britain, they really put you up on a pedestal, over here it doesn't feel like that at all," Parton adds. "I feel warm and protected with Canadian audiences."
While Parton tries to sound nonchalant about the rave reviews the band has attracted along the road, it's obvious she's proud of the achievement. "I don't like putting anyone on a pedestal, but it is nice when you've admired someone for many years and then they turn around and tell you they admire what you do. . .It's great,' " she says
"Hang out with Emmylou Harris in Nashville!" Klein interjects'. | Canadian Press 17 Mar

OK, that's enough Tanyas (for this week anyway)...

"Getting dropped by a major label is a badge of honor these days, isn't it?"
LA-based ex-pat country-rockers Minibar, having been 'let go' by Universal after their debut, have signed with indie label Foodchain for release of their follow-up. Fly below the radar is due on June 18. "I don't think it's a huge departure," continues frontman Simon Petty in the LA Times. "Maybe it's a little less alt-country than the first record, if that's how people found that. There are more influences on this album. The harmonies still stack up West Coast-style, but the music nods more to our British roots."

"I could stay in the studio forever and never leave. My wife would just slide tortillas under the door so I wouldn't starve." - John Askew aka Tracker, interviewed...
   posted by SMc at 5:18 AM |