A transcontinental get-together in the name of song.
Son of the Velvet Rat
Originally from Southern Austria, Son of the Velvet Rat now live in the Californian desert, four hours from LA. This dramatic relocation is a testament to their love of the brooding, stark and thoughtful end of Americana. The band has been together for over thirteen years and released eight studio albums and a smattering of EPs. They will perform their only UK set at Servant Jazz Quarters in London.
"There’s a band from Austria of all places who we heard here. It’s a husband and wife team called Son of the Velvet Rat. He’s got this great sexy, gravelly voice. He reminds me of that a little bit – this Dylanesque thing. It’s beautiful melodies and sort of this Nick Drake, Mark Lanegan kind of thing. I freaked out when I saw them at this little place called the Hotel Cafe." (Lucinda Williams, stereo subversion)
Son of the Velvet Rat is the project of Austrian Songwriter Georg Altziebler together with his wife Heike Binder on organ and accordion. The couple recently relocated to the California desert, leaving behind an impressive band history with 5 albums to their credit. Their catalogue includes collaborations with luminaries such as Lucinda Williams and former Wilco-drummer Ken Coomer. Peter Jesperson, former producer & manager of The Replacements, put it aptly: "...beautiful and somber music, their lyrics are pure poetry."
The new endeavor finds them commuting between the anonymous wasteland of Los Angeles and the high desert, reinventing their creative sphere in a totally different artistic environment. The sparse instrumentation underlines the insecurity and the doubts but also the adventurousness and the sheer euphoria that goes along with such an effort. It‘s stranger music since it‘s origins lie deep in the cultural heritage of the European folk-noir and chanson tradition. But it certainly strikes a chord in all of us who know about gravity and still like to dance on the tightrope.
Seamus Fogarty released his first album God Damn You Mountain on revered Scottish indie label Fence Records in 2012, hailed by the Irish Times as "one of the best Irish albums of recent years". In September 2015 a new EP Ducks & Drakes was released on Lost Map Records - Fogarty’s first release to feature both his present band mates, Emma Smith and Aram Zarikian. Gideon Coe from BBC6 Music proclaimed the title track to be "one of the songs of the summer". Meanwhile The Guardian singled out his December show in London with Rozi Plain as one of "the music gigs our writers loved most in 2015".
A young man from Southern Austria hanging around L.A., where he recorded his first album with producer Peter Kastner, multi-instrumentalist Critical Jim has the voice of a man twice his size and age (meant as a compliment). His country-tinged songs ooze an air of experience well beyond his years.
Vienna-born, Canterbury-based singer-songwriter, usually associated with Gare du Nord Records stalwarts Rotifer, opens the evening with a few tasters from his forthcoming solo album.