December 16, 2013

Introducing The Gloaming & other Irish announcements

The holidays & another year's end always brings to mind fresh beginnings. Our latest signing, The Gloaming, recalls Brassland's own beginnings while plotting some new paths. Without further adieu enjoy a free introduction to the group by way of this Bandcamp download of one of their first live shows.

If that's enough to convince you to help this music make its way in the world, go ahead & pre-order the album right now:
- ITUNES (download)
- BANDCAMP (download)
- BRASSLAND STORE (compact disc)
Digital copies will be delivered on or before January 21 and physical copies by February 11.

Still on the fence? Initially introduced to us by one of our core collaborators, Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), we're happy to introduce The Gloaming to you via this preview of Moment to Moment, an hour-long documentary about the project set for broadcast on Irish national network RTÉ in early 2014.

The Gloaming is one of many new musical endeavors Thomas has busied himself with while his Doveman identity rests. Featuring a who's who of contemporary Irish musicians, it's an outgrowth of his long relationship with Ireland's musical traditions, starting with a kind of childhood mentorship under the tutelage of The Gloaming's principle Martin Hayes, and extending to Thomas's recent production work with singer-songwriter Glen Hansard. You can consult the band's bio for more detail, but suffice it to say this picture of young Thomas & a not-as-young but younger-than-he-is-today Martin was not accomplished with the help of Instagram filters.

Speaking of long relationships, Brassland's Éire connections are running real deep right now. Superfans may note The Gloaming doc was produced by the same folks at South Wind Blows who invited label co-founder Aaron Dessner to curate an episode of their Other Voices program at the end of 2012. And, just as we're proud to be bringing a new force in Irish music to America, we're equally proud to announce our label will soon be bringing a new/old force in American music to Ireland.

Brassland has been invited to curate a series of concerts at the National Concert Hall of Ireland in Dublin around this time next year. The first date has been announced for December 13, 2014. Presented under the name "Megafaun and Fight The Big Bull present Sounds of the South featuring Justin Vernon and Frazey Ford," it is an evening of songs collected by folklorist Alan Lomax and recreated, reinterpreted & reimagined by the musicians named in the evening's (sorta unwieldly) title. For some of you, this should already be enough to "click onward" & "add to cart." Don't let us slow you down...


More descriptively, Sounds of the South presents hymns, blues and folk ballads captured by Lomax in 1959 during a two month trip through Virginia, the Mississippi Delta and the Georgia Sea Islands. It was developed for our friends at Duke Performances, later presented at Bryce Dessner's MusicNOW festival in Cincinnati, and rarely seen since then. Except on the internet like so:

One of the things we love most about it is the way it unites an entire extended family of younger American musician together on stage. Most of them are based in the American Southeast: North Carolina's uncategorizable Megafaun, Virginia jazz collective Fight the Big Bull, Frazey Ford of the Be Good Tanyas and, oh yeah, that guy from Bon Iver. Mr. Justin Vernon not only gives the night some ticket-shifting curb appeal, he's a perfect example of a fellow who values his larger musical community as much as he does his own gravitational pull as a star. Apparently he's also noticed the popularity of cat pics on the internet.

We'll take you out with some blabbage about these developments from label co-founder Alec Hanley Bemis:

"It feels so right to be working with a group like The Gloaming in North America, and returning the favor by bringing an American take on musical tradition abroad. The invitation to the NCH in Dublin follows hot on the heels of recent Brassland presentations at Adelaide Festival and Haldern Pop, and indicates that there is more interest than ever in our notion of what music can be.

"Let me take you back a bit... One of the movements that excited us all when we founded Brassland in 2001 was post-rock and the unexpected popularity of mostly instrumental music. Sigur Rós and Tortoise were at the height of their powers; Tortoise-associates the Sea & Cake were one of a few contemporary musical inspirations all five members of The National shared; and groups like Godspeed! You Black Emperor gave us visions that a group like Clogs might be a breakout success. Farther afield, the unexpected crossover success of the Buena Vista Social Club showed us that instrumental prowess and a goal of exposing largely unheard traditional music was not just a recipe for obscurity.

"Essentially, the world the Brassland label was born into regarded synthesis over purity, the combination of old and new, and musical communities over individual stars. We've helped nurture these ideas continuously since we started this thing—and what's so inspiring about The Gloaming and our burgeoning connection to Ireland is how it pushes these ideas into new & unexpected directions.

"Don't get me wrong. Brassland still loves us some slow-burning, anthemic indie rock, and very soon we'll be announcing some new releases in that vein. But right now we're glorying in the fact that our take on musical tradition has endured, and that music can be forward thinking, make no concessions to current trends or fashion, and still make its way around the world and back again."

More about The Gloaming | More news stories for The Gloaming