INTERVIEW: Rickie Lee Jones

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RICKIE’S STILL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC

Rickie Lee Jones, she of the long and diverse career that began back in the late 70s with that single Chuck E’s In Love, is still passionate about music and her achievements, as she explains to Chris Familton.

Beginning at the start of her career in Hollywood, odd jobs, a chance encounter with Tom Waits and her demo tape brought her to the attention of Lenny Waronker, producer and executive at Warner Bros. Records, who beat out other labels to sign her and launch her career.

“It was a dream at the time because before that I was just trying to pay the rent. I had a boyfriend at the time who was in school and he encouraged me to go out and play and make money to pay the rent. That helped me get started. It was hard, I was homeless for a lot of the time and and I had nothing to fall back on. When it happened it happened very quickly. At the time I was 23 I wrote Chuck E’s In Love and The Last Chance Texaco and I was on an unemployment benefit. Then one year later I was in a studio and recording an album. Once I decided in my mind to do it, it took about a year to sixteen months,” recalls Jones. “To be able to devote oneself to it is really helpful in gaining early success,” she says, before adding “that success, who doesn’t want that? But it comes with a lot of baggage.”

Jones’ most recent album, The Other Side Of Desire, was her first in a decade and was released independently after a crowdfunding campaign; making it a world apart from her experiences with major labels in the 70s and 80s heyday.

“It feels good not to have any pressure from an outside person to meet their expectations. The thing I had going when I was first signed was they were the best label in the world, they had the best A&R and they just loved music. They dropped you if you didn’t sell records but they didn’t sign you and then drop you straight away, they tried to develop artists and they kept them on the label,” she explains. “I was spoilt by that and know what it’s like to be on a label run by a company that loves its business more than business, that loves music and artists and doesn’t try to make them act like business people. We live in a time where artists act like business people, they talk about the bottom line and their brand. They talk about the brand of Beyonce and the brand of Madonna, this is shameful in the arts. It shows the whole process is corrupted.” says Jones, a tone of disillusionment creeping into her voice.

Jones sounds like she’s in a great place musically and personally as she looks to the future and what it may hold for her. “I am writing and I’m finishing a book which should be out around Christmas. I’m having fun right now performing and I can feel people engaged in ways that I didn’t feel before. I’ve accepted my place in music and I like that I’ve lasted this long and I just want to keep working on it. When I stand in front of an audience I know exactly who I am and that is a great gift.”

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now

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Hot on the heels of her collaborative album with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop backs it up with a new solo album that dives deeper into her experimental songwriting, drawing on folk, indie and art pop.

The songs here are minimal, skeletal even. Simple percussive elements, at one point just the keys of a typewriter, form the basis for hypnotic melodies and lyrical concerns that often draw on themes of empowerment, seizing one’s destiny and the moment.

It’s Hoop’s sense of musical adventure and experimental lean, yet not at the expense of a strong song, that lends comparison to St Vincent and a more organic Bjork. Endlessly catchy and boldly creative, Memories Are Now is a thrilling escape from the doldrums.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Mac DeMarco Announces New LP ‘This Old Dog’

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Mac DeMarco recently upped and relocated to LA from Queens, NY and the transition to a new city had a slowing effect on his writing and recording process this time around. He sat with the songs a while and then stripped them back to acoustic guitar, drum machine and synth, giving the new album much more of a laidback (is that possible) and skeletal sound.

This Old Dog is out on May 5th via Captured Tracks/Remote Control Records. Check out the first two singles below.

  1. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

    1. My Old Man
    2. This Old Dog
    3. Baby You’re Out
    4. For the First Time
    5. One Another
    6. Still Beating
    7. Sister
    8. Dreams From Yesterday
    9. A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes
    10. One More Love Song
    11. On the Level
    12. Moonlight on the River
    13. Watching Him Fade Away

NEW MUSIC: Quivers – Pigeons

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Originally hailing from Hobart Tasmania, Quivers are now based in Melbourne and have a new cassette/download album out called We’ll Go Riding on the Hearses. Their bio name-checks Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, The Triffids, The Chills, Twerps and Courtney Barnett which is a mighty fine barrel of sounds from which to draw from in our opinion. On the first single Pigeons they nail a swaying melancholic jangle, all bittersweet and wistful. A great first taste of the album.

“All my best friends are a little broken, all the best people are.”

Live Shows:

  • Saturday 10th September @ The Grand Poobah, Melbourne + Heart Beach, The Out of Towners.
  • Saturday 17th September @ The Pinnacle, Melbourne + Tall Shores & Oscar Lush
  • Saturday 1st October @ Tokyo Sing Song, Sydney
  • Saturday 22nd October @ Post Office Hotel, Melbourne

NEW MUSIC: The Lemon Twigs – These Words

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The Lemon Twigs are the brothers Brian (19) and Michael (17) D’Addario from Long Island who I came across online a month or two ago. They caught my attention with this song These Words and another single As Long As We’re Together. Madcap technicolour pop sounds by the pair who write and play everything on their recordings.

I’ve been digging the glam, baroque-pop sound of others like Kyle Craft of late and these guys definitely fall into the same camp (excuse the pun). Awesome 60s production (by Jonathan Rado of Foxygen) on their stuff too. Drums up front and natural sounding and plenty of over-the-top flavours in the mix.

The Lemon Twigs are set to release their debut LP Do Hollywood on October 14th via 4AD/Remote Control Records here in Australia. Hopefully if it gets traction we’ll get to see them out here for some shows. I reckon they’d be a blast live.

NEW MUSIC: The Tambourine Girls – The Tambourine Girl

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The Tambourine Girls feature 3 ex-members of Sydney band Deep Sea Arcade who are now forging their own winding path through the outer reaches of garage-pop and psychedelia.

They’ve just released the catchy and near-eponymous new single ‘The Tambourine Girl’, with the clip below.

Recorded with producer Tim Whitten (Powderfinger, The Go-Betweens, Hoodoo Gurus), the song itself is captivating, evocative in its execution encompassing the mythology of the muse, a subject woven through carefully as well as the very fabric of pop culture as a whole. Twiggy. Marilyn Munroe. Christie Brinkley. And The Tambourine Girl. “She dances and I follow and when I wake up I am empty, so I fill myself up and do it all again.”

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