Tag Archives: Rue Royale

Dadrockblog albums of 2013

18 Dec

To my ears at least, 2013 has been the best year in ages  album-wise. I can’t count on two hands how many records I’ve bought and thoroughly enjoyed over the past 12 months. Here are ten of them, in alphabetical order no less!

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Ah, how we’d missed those men in motorbike helmets. Their most accomplished and infectious record to date, and the soundtrack of many a summer social gathering. Best tracks: Get Lucky, Doing It Right


Disclosure – Settle

I had the good fortune of seeing the Lawrence-brothers live, supporting Hot Chip, last year and could never have guessed what a massive act they’d become in 2013. Mixing 90’s grooves with garage beats and inspired guest vocalists, I didn’t take much persuasion from my 14-year-old son to buy this. Best tracks: When A Fire Starts To Burn, White Noise.


Dutch Uncles – XO

A band I saw live twice in 2013, this album sinks its angular hooks in deeper every time I listen. It’s arty, it’s melodic and there’s nothing quite else like it. Best tracks: Bellio, Flexxin.


Lord Huron  – Lord Huron

Uncut magazine turned me onto LA-based songwriter Ben Schneider aka Lord Huron. A hint of Springsteen, this is epic string-swept folk with widescreen scope.  Best tracks: Time To Run, She Lit A Fire.


Mogwai – Les Revenants Soundtrack

Those who watched Channel 4’s return-of-the-dead French drama The Returned (Les Revenants) will have noticed the eery soundtrack provided by Scots noiseniks Mogwai. There’s beauty and menace in these, mostly, instrumental tracks and a beautiful cover of gospel standard What Are They Doing In Heaven Today? Best tracks: Special N, What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?


The National – Trouble Will Find Me

I approached this album by Brooklyn’s finest with slight trepidation after disappointment with previous LP High Violet. I shouldn’t have worried, this is The National at their broken, majestic best. Best tracks:  Heavenfaced, Graceless.


Rue Royale – Remedies Ahead

On their third album, Rue Royale made definite steps forward, sonically and lyrically, helped by producer Paul Pilot. 2013 felt like a watermark year for the duo, no more so than their triumphant opening slot for Volcano Choir (more of below) in Amsterdam. Who knows what 2014 could bring? Best tracks: Pull Me Like A String, Try As They Might.


Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

Album number three is Vampire Weekend’s coming of age. Mature lyrics about death and religion bolted to bouncing melodies. Consistently excellent. Best tracks: Diane Young, Everlasting Arms.


Volcano Choir – Repave

A record that crept under the radar when released in September, but a grower with every listen. Fronted by Justin Vernon, Volcano Choir expand where Bon Iver left off, both subtle and majestic. And they blew me away live. Best tracks: Tiderays, Alaskans.


Matthew E White – Big Inner

I’ve been living with this debut by Virginia songwriter and producer White for the past 12 months, and it’s still probably my favourite LP of the year. Layers of gospel, jazz and funk gently build as tracks veer off in wonderful directions.  Soul-food with a serious shuffle. Best tracks: Big Love, Gone Away.


Rue Royale biog update

9 Feb

I recently (re) wrote the biography for Rue Royale. They’re currently gearing up to enter the studio to record their third album.

Having heard some of the new material at a packed gig in Birmingham’s Ort Gallery last week, it’s destined to be their best yet.

Click here to see how fans are funding the record through Kickstarter and to read the biography.

Rue Royale

Rue Royale

12 Plays of Christmas – Day 5 – In The Bleak Midwinter by Rue Royale

18 Dec

Fancy treating yourself to an early Christmas present? For now’t? Then you could do a lot worse than download Rue Royale’s free Christmas EP below.

All three songs are lovely, but the  middle track – a reinterpretation of In The Bleak Midwinter, with it’s pulsing “snow on snow” refrain –  is my favourite (today).  Did I mention you could download it for nothing?

Movie-makers and bacon sarnies – get a share of The Good Man

19 May

Last September, Belfast movie-maker Phil Harrison had the pleasure of sleeping in my nine-year-old daughter’s poky, pink-ish bedroom while Rosie crashed with her siblings.

Multi-tasker Phil was on tour DJ-ing for my friend Paul Pilot who’d been performing in Birmingham with my sister and brother-in-law’s band Rue Royale. Suffice to say, the house that night was bursting with creative types, kids and myself.

The following morning, over a bacon and egg sarnie, Phil briefly told me about his latest film project which interwined stories in his homeland and South Africa, where he’d spent time travelling.

Good Man Poster

Fast-forward nine months and plans for that film – The Good Man – are moving apace. You can find out more about it here – but the gist of it is that Manifesto Films are looking for 400 people to invest £150 each in the movie to fund its £60,000 budget. Investors will get a share of the film’s returns of which a portion will also go into a trust for township artists.

If Phil’s last picture – Even Gods – is anything to go by, The Good Man will be worth shelling out for. Even Gods, which won the short film award at this year’s Belfast Film Festival, captures the cafe encounter of a homeless man with his daughter – and the granddaughter he never knew he had – after 13 years apart. Beautifully soundtracked by Tim Millen (ex-Amazing Pilots), it unwinds with a gentle poise which leads to a stirring, poetic finale. You can watch it below…

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Rue Royale biog

22 Feb Rue Royale cover

I’ve just written a new biog(raphy) for Rue Royale which you can view at their website or below. Caught them live at the Yardbird in Birmingham last night and they were on top form.


Rue Royale cover

Like an early 20th-century Elliott from ET (minus the BMX basket/alien), a be-suited man flies through the sky on his bone-shaker bicycle. He’s clutching two clothes lines of flags that spell out ‘Guide To An Escape’.

The cartoon cover art of Rue Royale’s second album perfectly sums up the Anglo-American outfit’s self-propelled adventure.

Driven in every sense of the word, Ruth and Brookln Dekker have amassed 80,000 miles on the road in Europe alone since the release of their first eponymously-titled LP in 2008.

Meanwhile, without the backing of a label or manager, between tours the couple has rustled up a cottage industry at their cozy Nottingham home. Together they’ve printed, snipped, sewed and stuffed 7,500 Rue Royale CDs, including 500 pre-orders for ‘Guide To An Escape’ – carving out a tunnel in the tarmac to their local Post Office.

Fans have also been treated to hand-made Rue Royale knitted goods (how many groups do you know who sport hot water-bottle covers on their merch stand?), bags and clothes. Meanwhile, over in cyber-space, RR have personally nurtured a large Facebook/Twitter following and racked up over 500,000 MySpace plays.

Not bad for a husband and wife songwriting team who, then living in Chicago, only started performing together five years ago, inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, Grandaddy, John Martyn, Jose Gonzalez and Elbow.

‘Guide To An Escape’, which gets its official worldwide release on 3 March, retains the acoustic duo’s hushed, evocative melodies but is richer in sound and wider in scope. It was recorded at home between touring and festival dates in summer 2010, following  experimental sessions with producer Paul Pilot (who mixed the record) in London. The echo loop that lurks on the opening title track and the drum machine exit on “Get Me Standing” hint at the band’s bolder approach.

The album includes recent single “Halfway Blind” which got repeat plays on BBC 6Music by the likes of Gideon Coe and Nemone when released as a limited edition seven inch in January. The song, along with “Blame”, alludes to a struggle to see clearly – figuratively and literally for Brookln who’s legally blind in one eye. ‘Guide To An Escape’ is about self-discovery, embracing the flip-sides of life on the road (“Foreign Night”) and the tussle of uncertainty and hope as dreams are chased (“We’ll Go On Alright”).

After clocking up over 400 shows in the last three years, Rue Royale will continue to build their grass-roots following as they tour ‘Guide To An Escape’, playing many of their biggest venues yet across Europe in March.

It’s all about the journey, not the destination. The adventure is theirs, and yours, for the taking.

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