LEEDS (Royston Langdon of Spacehog)
“This work is a reflection of the re-gentrification of places and the real and meaningful memories they leave in their wake. How our own growth, over time, leaves us with a shifted perspective on ourselves. The once familiar now gone, never to come back except through the ghosts of lovers, places, objects.” -- Royston Langdon
LEEDS is Royston Langdon, former lead singer of Spacehog, with a name that's a nod to his hometown and an album, Everything's Dandy, that is a culmination of his 24 years in New York, both in its content and its production.
"I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere on the planet," says Langdon of New York. "I feel like I'm part of the city in a way."
Originally from Leeds, Langdon got his start playing music in the U.K. In 1994, however, he followed his brother Antony to New York and fell for the city immediately. Not long after the move, Spacehog formed. In the fall of 1995, they released the debut album Resident Alien, which spawned the hit single "In the Meantime." Three more albums followed over the next 18 years.
More recently, Langdon has worked on the industry side of music, using his own experiences to help up-and-coming artists. Yet, he remained a musician at heart. Langdon kept his new work fairly private, telling only a few people as he built a new collection of songs
The evolution of Everything's Dandy began two years ago, after Langdon's son moved to London. The changes in Langdon's own life, as well as the changes in the city that has been his home for so long, sparked new ideas.
"They put up these new shops," says Langdon of the urban landscape of New York. "Still, the memory of the kind of experience of that thing remains." He sees a connection between waves of gentrification diminishing the city's creative spirit and his "experience of loss and also growth." In his songs, Langdon writes of this not necessarily with nostalgia in mind, but with a sense of "awe" at how life moves forward.
By fall of 2017, Langdon was ready to solidify those ideas in the studio. He enlisted Bryce Goggin to produce and engineer Everything's Dandy. The two have known each other since Langdon's early days in New York, when he interned at the recording studio where Goggin was head engineer. While Langdon played many of the instruments himself on the album, he enlisted a few longtime friends to play on select cuts, including drummer Parker Kindred (Jeff Buckley) and multi-instrumentalist Timo Ellis (Yoko Ono, Joan as Police Woman). The song "Your Day Will Come" was co-written by Langdon and Rich Robinson of Black Crowes. "What Became of the People" is a songwriting collaboration between Langdon and his brother Antony, who also shot two videos for the album.
Everything's Dandy is set for release on May 4 on vinyl and digital formats.
BIRD STREETS is the musical endeavor of New York songwriter John Brodeur. In need of a creative rebirth after years on the music-industry margins, Brodeur reached out to his friend, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jason Falkner (Beck, Jellyfish), to suggest a collaboration. The album yielded by this pairing is both fresh and familiar--a dynamic collection of introspective indie-rock and power-pop that draws liberally on the music of decades past without being bluntly nostalgic, Brodeur’s voice like an old friend you’re meeting for the first time. The Falkner-produced debut, simply titled Bird Streets, is available worldwide on Omnivore Recordings.
Over a career that’s spanned nearly 20 years, John Brodeur has independently produced and released several solo albums, including 2013’s Little Hopes; fronted rock trios The Suggestions and Maggie Mayday; and worked as a touring and studio musician for scores of acts, including The Morning After Girls, Freedy Johnston, and White Hills.
Recorded in Los Angeles between 2014 and 2016, Bird Streets (the album) is the product of equal measures tenacity and patience. After a series of setbacks derailed touring plans for his last solo album, Brodeur decamped to L.A. for a few months while waiting for a hole to open in Falkner’s schedule. “I basically planned to hang around until Jason had a free afternoon,” he says. “Eventually I wore him down.”
Once they were in Falkner’s studio, the kindred creative spirits hit it off immediately. What started with a song turned into an EP and then into a full-length album. Working during the short gaps between Falkner’s touring and production commitments, with Brodeur shuffling between coasts for studio dates, the pair had to move quickly, arranging and tracking entire songs in a day or two, sharing instrumental duties throughout.
Lyrically, these songs draw heavily on internal conflict--self-doubt, anxiety, depression--with an overarching feeling of wistful resignation rather than blind optimism. These sometimes difficult themes are delivered via unshakable melodies, a dichotomy that recalls the tightrope walked by artists like Elliott Smith and David Bazan.
In album opener “Carry Me,” Brodeur celebrates “new beginnings and bitter ends” over a bright, bristling bed of electric guitars, then laments the end of a friendship that was once “tighter than Steely Dan” in the eminently catchy “Betting On The Sun.” From there the album jumps between
epic power-ballads (“Stop To Breathe”) and British Invasion-flavored power-pop (“Thanks For Calling”), the George Harrison-via-Radiohead melancholy of “Heal” and the grungy jangle of “Until The Crown.” Moments of guitar interplay, tracked simultaneously by the pair, give songs like “Betting on the Sun” and “Stop to Breathe” a live-band energy, even though many of the songs had never been performed prior to being recorded.
Now, after years in the making--and decades on the outside looking in--Bird Streets is giving Brodeur a renewed creative energy, and a shot at reaching a larger audience.
McClain Tini is a New York-based singer/songwriter. who released his sophomore album, 'Detour to Main Street,' in 2017. The album was produced by Kieran Kelly (Sufjan Stevens, Angus & Julia), and features musicians from Passenger and Streets of Laredo. McClain has played many of NYC's iconic venues including Webster Hall Studio and The Bitter End. His musical influences include CSNY and Harry Nilsson.