Monday, December 14, 2009

WRAPPING UP 2009 with My Sad Captains

My Sad Captains take their time to do things. But they do them properly and with great attention to detail. I first heard and saw them in 2007. And bought the single ‘Bad Decisions’ asking in the same breathe “When’s the album out?”

But it wasn’t until nearly two years later said album came out this year in June on Stolen Recordings. “Here and Elsewhere” is beautifully summed up by Rough Trade Shops: "A delicately wrought blend of male and female vocals, sitting on top of sparkling, jangly guitars, warm organs and a remarkably deft sense of melody. Recalling the bittersweet memories of childhood summers, and the yearning of love and loss, but with a definite sense of joy among the moments of reflection. A melodic indie-pop classic in the making".

Here singer and guitarist Ed Wallis reflects on the last 12 months:

What I/we will remember most about 2009 is...
Going to South By South west was probably all round the best experience. It was good for the band and felt like a bit of validation after all the work we'd put in, and good preparation for the album coming out. And then we just had a really good, slightly mad time, staying in Austin with a really friendly Texan with a foot in both Texan camps: the liberal Austin scene of SXSW and the good ol' boy Southerness that shoots squirrels, drinks whisky and wrestles pigs.
Also, it would be remiss not to send an honourable mention to our album coming out this year. We'd been working on it for a while - the oldest song was probably about 4 years old by the time the record came out - so for it to see the light of day, turn out pretty good, and come out on one of our favourite labels deserves a pat on the back.

What should be forgotten about 2009…
Shooting the video we did for 'A Change of Scenery'. Nick had what was a very good idea: to go out in a boat on a river and have swarms of umbrellas floating by while we were playing. but we did it in January/February, and rain stopped play on a couple of occasions; - the river burst its banks; - and then when we did manage to film it was snowing and incredibly windy and cold, which made for some nice shots but a very disgruntled band.

The best gig we played was...
For me it was the day we came back from SXSW. We had a show at the Macbeth with the excellent and much lamented Plan B magazine: we came back with our peckers up and just felt really confident and so kind of nailed it. Another show that sticks in the mind was supporting Pete and The Pirates at the Borderline - it was a Stolen Recordings night, it was sold out, Pete and the Pirates were brilliant as they always seem to be and we tend respond well to fuller rooms and a bit more pressure.

The best gig I/we saw was...
Deerhunter at the Scala I think. they surprised me: I really love the band but hadn't expected the vastness of it live, nor how engaging Bradford Cox would be. Also, Blur at Hyde Park was pretty fun and emotional.

A record from 2009 that will be still be played in 10 years time?
Cass McCombs has again probably done my favourite record of the past year ["Catacombs"]. I went to see him last year expecting to hear all the 'Dropping the Writ' songs and he played almost entirely new songs, and its rare that someone could do that and you wouldn't mind because they were so good. It was at the Luminaire, you could hear a pin drop and it was one of the best shows i've seen. A lot of the songs I remembered and are on this record, which is spare, intriguing and lovely. The man deserves more props.

Overlooked in 2009?
Apart from Cass, the Sparklehorse/Dangermouse collaboration 'Dark Night of the Soul'. It strikes me as madness that it hasn't been properly released. The songs and production are brilliant, and it's got many of my fave people singing and doing their best work in years - Jason Lytle, The Flaming Lips, James Mercer.

And what can we look forward to from My Sad Captains in 2010?
We are having a break from gigging to properly work on new songs. We've got lots that we haven't had time to flesh out, so are going to concentrate on that rather than playing shows. I'm getting pretty excited about the prospect of making a new record and am feeling good about the direction things are going, so fingers crossed we might get something out by the end of the year, or early 2011.

2011?! We haven’t even got to 2010 yet and that feels an awfully long way away. The only consolation is that when that second album arrives it will no doubt be as lovingly crafted as this year’s record. As well as the album (available here), My Sad Captains also released a six track digital EP available for the bargain price of 79p. Trust me – you need both album and EP.

My Sad Captains
Here and Elsewhere [BUY]

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