Photos

Day 4: 28 July 2009 – Sheffield

We wake up nice and hungover this morning. We go scare up some breakfast and then get ready to head out.

We have a gig in Sheffield tonight, with Pete Green, who we met at Indietracks.

The prospect of being in Def Leppard’s home town has us rather excited.

Nick and I are both obsessed with certain Def Leppard songs, and more so with the VH1 made-for-TV Def Leppard movie, which is completely brilliant. Its only rival in our hearts is the Beach Boys made for TV movie. The person who plays Brian Wilson grossly exaggerates his tics, and is perpetually “tripping out” on screen, twitching and saying things like, “Whoa!!! I’m covered in… [twitch, twitch]…SPIDERSSSS!”

Once in Sheffield we go to the club, which is very cute. Pete and some other friends, Marianthi and Kara are there. And they’ve cooked us food and brought it to the club. Pete gifts us each a bottle of a special kind of Sheffield condiment that looks like steak sauce. I love presents, and this one is extra special.

The show goes well–our second of the tour. Already, we’re getting tighter.

I bond with Marianthi and learn that she is a true pop fanatic, and sort of an institution in the British indiepop scene.

Yoshi makes friends with a cat named Guinness. (Yoshi is the cat whisperer–it’s really strange how cats gravitate to him). This makes his day.

yoshi + guiness

After the show, we all go out for curry. I get tandoori chicken wings, because, well, I always get chicken wings.

Full and happy, we say goodbye to all of our new friends.

We’re all a bit wobbly, laughing our way down a narrow street and then all of a sudden we see a cat. Guinness is following us. Unbelievable.

Day 3: 27 July 2009 – Liverpool

Today is a day off. It feels weird to have a day off after only one show. But I try to focus on the positive: we are on our first European tour, with a vast expanse of rock potential ahead.

Lawrence and John have kindly planned a day full of sightseeing for us.

As we’re driving through the countryside, we see a quaint hand-painted sign for a cafe called Nostalgia. This is the kind of place I always want to stop, but there’s never time, or the person driving wants McDonald’s instead or whatever. But miraculously, Lawrence turns off! We head down a gravel road and pass a backpacker with messy hair and stubble and these dead eyes, like a shark’s. He stares into the car, his mouth hanging open.

“That is a zombie,” I announce to the car. “Seriously. This looks just like 28 days later. Oh fuck!”

Nick chimes in that any second, an entire army of zombies will come hurtling over the hill. The hair on my arms stands on end.

We pull up to a beautiful little farm. There is a curly-haired three legged dog guarding the cafe. I miss my dogs so i give her lots of love. We enter the most beautiful tea room, with embroidered linens and fine hand painted china. We get breakfast and talk leisurely. We resolve that we’ll begin snorting cocaine off of hookers’ asses in earnest, just as soon as we finish our tea and scones.

Next, we make Lawrence pull over at a creepy little church and cemetery. We take some goth band photos and I admire the moss.

Then we go to visit the Eyam Plague village, a village that was cut off from the rest of the world once the plague broke out among its residents. There are signs in front of several houses announcing exactly when each of the families died of the plague.

One charming house has the special distinction of being officially called Plague House. I remember how mortified I was by my dad’s Volkswagen bus when i was an adolescent. Imagine how awful it would be to say, “Oh my house is the one at the end of the road — the one with the big sign that says… uh…Plague House.”

We pause at a sweets shop and I make the disappointing realization that the band Dolly Mixture is named after a type of candy.

Dolly Mixtures

Next stop, Liverpool. We go to Anfield where Nick bows down to the glory of Liverpool FC, his favorite club. Then we see a bunch of Beatles-ey stuff as John keeps insisting that they were a shit band. I’m not sure if he’s joking or not.

Nicholas at Anfield

Then we meet new friends, Will from Flamingo 50 and Sarah from Town Bike, and proceed to have way too much to drink. To add some drama to the evening’s proceedings, I start wagering with John about the mating rituals happening across the bar–exactly how long will it take the group of boys to approach the group of girls, etc. I swiftly relieve him of two pounds.

Heather wins a bet

When we can drink no more, we go outside and encounter a girl staggering down the street eating a pizza.

“Pizza,” Yoshi says, perking up. “I want pizza.”

The girl stops in her tracks. She shrieks, “WAIT! Are you Americans?!?! I love Americans!!!”

We spend the cab ride trying to figure out exactly what would make someone declare that they LOVE Americans — all of them, no exceptions.

We are completely stumped.

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.

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.

Learning to Fly

Nicholas worked a little photoshop magic on some of the lomography photos…


The new fellows you are looking at are Yoshi and Nevada. It’s great to have four people in our band photo for the first time. Now Nick and I won’t argue so much about who looks stupid in what photo. Because now, everyone looks stupid. Kidding.

I bought a rad keyboard last week, and I’m very excited to play out soon–soon as in May, that is.

Speaking of Yoshi, his band Still Flyin’ destroyed SXSW and will be coming my way this weekend (Friday in Brooklyn@Union Hall, Sunday @Cake Shop). If you’re reading this and live in NYC, you should go.

I’m not sure my delicate constitution can handle two Still Flyin’ shows in a row, but I’m looking forward to finding out. I have my Emergen-C packets at the ready. Bring it on, Still Flyin’.

Record pressing, etc.

Lots of things going on, so I thought I’d post a little update…

Recording went really well and we’ve got three new songs on tape. These three songs, along with another new one from a session last fall, will appear on a 7” EP being released by Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records in the UK this summer.

But before that, we’ve got a 7” coming out on May 5. The a-side is called “You’re Alight” with a song called “A Band Undone” on the b-side. The wonderful Yellow Owl Workshop is hard at work on the sleeves, and they look amazing—hand-screened sleeves with clear vinyl. We’re working on a special pre-order package, so watch this space for more info in the coming weeks.

We’ve got shows confirmed for NYC Popfest (5/16 @ The Bell House), SF Popfest (5/24 @ Café Du Nord), and Indietracks (7/24-26 in Derbyshire, England). We’re in the process of setting up some more shows in the UK around Indietracks.

I picked up a new lomography (lomographic?) camera and took some pictures when we were recording in March. See below (more at Flickr)

December 14–San Diego

Yay to seeing my friend Anya. Anya is a band friend, a singer songwriter we met at Mississippi studios in Portland. She is also a dj on a commercial alternative station in San Diego. We have had some long talks, some winey nights, me and Ms. Anya.

She makes us snacks and cookies and then takes us out to dinner. One of the best and most awkward parts of tour is how much at the mercy of other people you are. When they are so gracious and generous—which is almost always–it’s nearly embarrassing. For each of them, they’re extending themselves for one night, but for us, constantly moving, it’s every night that someone really goes out of their way for us—and that’s not even including all the people who show up to see us play. It’s humbling.

The show is our last with Fishboy and I can’t really say goodbye because it’s making me all sad. I think all of the bands are rendezvousing at a tacqueria later, but we end up being the only ones. I’m bummed, but a pound of carnitas helps me through the pain.

December 12–San Francisco

We wake up in Chico and go to record store we like, where last time we bought Bee Gees Odessa on vinyl and a sweet Muppet Show poster. I saw in Seattle that the first season of Muppet show has been released on DVD, so if anyone is trolling for a Xmas gift to get me, then, ahem. In first grade I had a Muppet Show lunchbox, a metal one. On the reverse side was Pigs in Space. This prompted a bratty crossing guard to call me Miss Piggy for the entire year. It probably didn’t help that I have a rather upturned nose.

Our show is at the Rickshaw Stop, a club with unbelievable sound and the nicest soundperson/owner I’ve ever met. His name is Waldo. We are on a bill with familiars—Si Claro, Fishboy, and The Mantles. It is my favorite show of the entire tour. The sound onstage was so clear I almost ask Waldo to turn me down in my monitor.

Fishboy, especially John the drummer, destroy. I catch some of it on camera video. I am technology-impaired, so this seems like a miracle. I keep watching the footage, awestruck. It may as well be an old nickel arcade movie—gadzooks! what’ll they think of next?!

One of our friends, Chris, is obsessed with a bar we walked by earlier, which she has dubbed “The Santa Bar.” All night she keeps entreating us to return to The Santa Bar. I love that stuff, so it’s a given. The bar is terrifying, something out of a Stephen King novel. There are 1000 Santa Claus dolls packed into about 200 square feet. There are Santas on every surface–hanging from the ceiling, encased in glass, revolving on a Santa ferris wheel. The bartender is an unbelievable dick. He clearly doesn’t want us there and keeps hissing about how we’re playing the same fucking songs every fucking person plays: Fleetwood Mac, mostly. But we keep staying, keep singing along with gusto.