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Day 2: 26 July 2009 – Indietracks

We wake at 9:30 even though we barely slept on the plane and went to bed at around 3:30 last night. For some reason (most likely immutable math) one can never get enough sleep on tour, even if one isn’t partying.

We get a traditional English breakfast at the Travel Center by our hotel. I’m game for most any kind of food, but I have to say, English breakfast is one of the few “exotic” foods I’ve never warmed to. Still, I keep trying, and it’s fun to be eating this meal halfway across the world with virtual strangers.

We drive to the festival and without the jet lag haze, its even more apparent how completely awesome Indietracks is. There is an antique train that choogles around the property, with bands playing on it. Another stage is in an old church. Another is inside a big maintenance shed, and the last is outside, like the big stage of any festival, but somehow more charming.

Heather on train

I recognize people from yesterday, which makes me realize that this festival isn’t that big and it’s certainly not impersonal– it’s just a bunch of people gathered together to enjoy music and each other’s company.

We are slotted to play at 2PM. Nick and I decide to get whiskeys, even though drinking straight whiskey at 1 PM seems perverse. But like an athlete, I have strange superstitions about performance. I have to drink one whiskey, neat, before going on stage, no matter what. For this tour i have also purchased a talisman — a ring of power, matte black metal studded with rhinestones. I believe that this ring contains magical rocking properties that will possess me whenever I place it on my finger. Out of respect for the ring, I have vowed to only wear it onstage, so as not to squander its power on mundane activities.

We take the stage and what can I say? People watch, they sing along, I don’t trip, Yoshi keeps a steady barrage of drum brutality, Nick rocks out. We have succeeded, and I feel pretty confident that we’ll only get better over the next couple of weeks.

For the rest of the day, we enjoy the festival, meeting a bunch of great people and watching some amazing bands, including Art Brut and Teenage Fanclub. Then, at the very end of the night, it turns into a dance party and we all go apeshit.

I am sad to leave this little musical utopia in the countryside.

Leaving Indietracks

Day 1: 25 July 2009 – NYC-London-Derbyshire

Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting the tour diary entries from our tour — the ones i couldn’t get enough stable internet access to post at the time.

Day 1 7/25/09

Before Nick and I head out to the airport, I make him wait for me to get my nails done, which he finds mildly annoying. On the subway ride to the airport, a woman is taking up an enormous amount of space with all of her bags. My bag gets snagged on hers, but she won’t bother to move it. She just stares at me, like i’m a gnat buzzing around. She then opens a packet of heat-and-serve lentils and proceeds to eat it right there on the filthy subway, licking each finger many times as she eats. She is all dressed up, which is hard to reconcile with the lentils from a packet. I’m still mad about the bags, so i start to send telepathic messages, willing her to spill on the lap of her white satin floral dress. I send the messages very strongly, chanting “spill, spill” in y head. Soon, a big dollop of lentils falls on her lap. She swipes it up with a finger and sucks the finger clean.

I lean into Nick and say, “I made her do that.”

We’re booked on the red eye to London and we get to Newark airport too late for any restaurants to be open. We get Jamba Juice, knowing that this will be the first of many meals skipped over the next few weeks.

The flight is fairly uneventful. I sleep most of the way, but every time i open my eyes, Nick is staring straight ahead. Not sleeping, not watching TV. Just staring. I worry that he knows something I don’t.

At Heathrow, we clear customs and then look for our label gentleman, John, who will be picking us up. We find him and he’s with another gentleman, Lawrence, who John says will be driving us. It should be noted here that I let Nick make most of the tour preparations. I have remained blissfully, perhaps stupidly unaware of much of our situation. This means that most of the details of our tour will be total surprises. Like the wondrous fact that someone will be driving us around for a week in England.

We pile into the Jetta wagon they’ve rented and they show me my keyboard for the week, an ancient looking contraption called the Bunny One. I can’t wait to hear how this thing sounds. IT will either be brilliant or ungodly. But beggars can’t be choosers.

We drive for a couple of hours to the site of the festival that will be only our second show ever with this line up, the trio. Oh, and since Yoshi has been touring with Still Flyin’, we haven’t practiced in 2 months. To say i am nervous is a gross understatement.

Indietracks day 1

The festival, Indietracks, is held at a defunct train depot in the English countryside. There are tons of indiekids wandering around, and a terrific line-up to fill the day. We wander around drinking beers and watching bands. Nick and I worry about how Yoshi is going to find us — he’s coming separately, and we suddenly realize that none of us have cellphones that work. It seems totally hopeless, but as Nick is napping in the Jetta, listening to the distant strains of Camera Obscura from the big stage, he hears a voice yelling his name. He pops his head up and spot Yoshi, along with his band mates Wyatt and Maria, striding towards the car.

As the sun goes down, we watch the music and feels so lucky to be at this festival, reunited, among all of these great people who love music so much.

I go sleep in the car while everyone else parties. About 2 AM they converge on the car. They’re all a little loopy, and we head back to the hotel.

As Nick and I are falling asleep, we hear a knock on the door. Wyatt and Maria need a place to sleep. We offer up our room, and we settle in, all five of us in a tiny hotel room. Another knock comes. It’s the desk person. She says she knows that there are too many people in the room, and that she will give us ten minutes to get the extra people out or she’ll call the police. This is literally a foreign concept to us — that someone would call the police for such an offense. Wyatt and Maria go sleep in the parking lot, and I sleep like crap on the floor, knowing that tomorrow is the moment of truth, when we play the festival and either make our label guy proud or very sorry indeed.

Tour recap: Nicholas

We just got back from two and a half weeks of touring in Europe. Since Heather will be doing basically all of the tour blogging over the next few days, I thought I’d add in my own recap in the form of a song. Not a song I’ve written, but a song written long ago. A song that stands out as one of the finest works in the long tradition of tour songs. Grand Funk Railroad’s ability to capture the the spirit of our first European tour three decades before it even happened is quite remarkable. If you just change the names of all the cities, make the second verse about taking the Liverpool FC museum tour, and the third verse about throwing down at a small tea room in rural Derbyshire, then this is basically a word-for-word account of what happened to us over the last two and a half weeks in Europe. Enjoy.

Back from Europe

We’re back from our European tour. It was completely amazing in every way imaginable. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the shows! We had a really great time and hope to head back to Europe soon.

Heather’s plans of updating the tour blog on a daily basis didn’t exactly work out as we had hoped. This wasn’t for lack of effort (she has pages of notes detailing each day), it was just a matter of not having as much internet time as we’d planned. Since Heather is a tour blog completist, she’ll be updating the blog with stories of the entire tour very soon…it’ll be just like we’re on tour, but two weeks later!

We’ll also be uploading all of the photos we’ve taken over the last few weeks to our flickr page over the next few days. In the meantime, John from Where It’s At Is Where You Are has already uploaded some photos from the English leg of the tour.

New song up now!

strangled_front_web_half

We just posted a new song, “Queen Turner,” to our myspace page. It’s from our new 10″ EP, Strangled Days (available soon from www.wiaiwya.com and Rough Trade). We’ll have copies available at our upcoming European shows. Don’t forget, the tour starts this Sunday (yikes!) at the Indietracks festival in Derbyshire, England.

European tour dates

We’re heading over to Europe at the end of next week to play some shows in England, Sweden, and Germany. We’re very excited to see some new places, and melt some new faces. If we’re in your neighborhood, come out and see us! As usual, we’ll be firing up the old tour blog, so get ready to read about some things you never wanted to know, written about in more detail than you ever thought possible. Watch this space for updates.

Here’s the full list of European gigs:
July 26 : Derbyshire, ENGLAND @ Indietracks Festival
July 28 : Sheffield, ENGLAND @ Red House
July 29 : Chelmsford, ENGLAND @ Bitterscene
July 30 : London, ENGLAND @ Bardens Boudoir
July 31 : Göteborg, SWEDEN @ Parken
August 1 : Malmö, SWEDEN @ Debaser
August 5 : Berlin, GERMANY @ Bang Bang Club
August 7 : Munich, GERMANY @ Astro Cafe
August 8 : Dresden, GERMANY @ Wimp Club

Heather + Shee Bee Gees + Minus 5 + Colin Meloy

Until recently, when Heather wasn’t laying down beats for Eux Autres, she was holding down the high end of some crazy four-part harmonies in The Shee Bee Gees (hands down the best all-girl Bee Gees cover band to ever exist). Sadly, the SBG’s are no longer with us, but we do have a great new track on which the ladies back up Colin Meloy. “It’s Scott Walker’s Fault” is off the forthcoming Minus 5 album, Killingsworth, and features the Decemberists frontman on vocals. Review and mp3 over at Pitchfork.

You’re Alight 7″ pre-order

UPDATE (6/2): The record is officially out today, and thus the pre-order is over. Thanks to everyone who placed an order! There are still some copies left, so get your orders in soon. If mp3s are your thing, the single is now available at all of your favorite online retailers.

We’re very excited to finally start selling the new singles! New 7″ You’re Alight will hit the streets on June 2, but you can order yours now. There are only 250 copies of available, so be sure to get one early. The songs “You’re Alight” and “A Band Undone” are pressed on beautiful clear vinyl, and the silkscreened sleeves were created by San Francisco’s Yellow Owl Workshop. To sweeten the deal, the first 50 pre-orders receive a very special Eux Autres lapel pin. Who doesn’t love lapel pins? We’ve also got another pre-order special going where you can add on a copy of the first Eux Autres single “Partick Nil” for a mere $2.00 extra. All copies of the new 7″ contain a coupon for free mp3 downloads of both songs.

Check out all the artwork below.


7" – $5.00. Select shipping destination




you're alight packaging

you're alight cover

you're alight lapel pin

You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

We’re back in San Francisco after NYC Popfest. The Bell House show was a blast last Saturday! Thanks to everyone who made it out to the show. It was the first gig with Yoshi on drums and it went off without a hitch. Awesome bands. Awesome crowd. Awesome weekend.

We found some recaps of the show for those who weren’t in NYC:
Brooklyn Vegan
Chromewaves
Chromewaves [great photo page here]

And don’t forget SF Popfest this weekend. Should be lots of fun. Three Imaginary Girls has done a SF Popfest preview podcast. Check it out.