James Levy and the Blood Red Rose
"Levy's baritone brings a velvety richness to string-drenched songs
about infidelity and betrayal, while Pierce proves a distinctive foil.
These are beautiful songs with a murderous heart." Uncut Magazine
"[A]n absolute beauty. A match made in music heaven. . . .On songs
such as Give Me Happiness, Hung To Dry and Holy Water, they create
music that sounds somehow preordained. Buy this now." – Sunday Times
"James Levy has always had the deep-set dulcet croon for the job, but
now has the right songs, setting and sound – and in Allison Pierce,
the right sparring partner. . . by turns dark, playful, smoldering and
joyful. . . [a] sublime record." – BBC
Heavenly Recordings and Cooperative Music announce the US release of
James Levy and The Blood Red Rose's Pray To Be Free. Produced by
Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman and arranged by Levy and composer /
multi-instrumentalist Sammy Oatts, the album has received critical
acclaim in the European press (four star reviews in Q, MOJO, Uncut, El
Pais) and extensive radio play with songs playlisted on BBC 6 Music,
XFM and Radio 1 Belgium. After a series of appearances in the UK,
Paris and Berlin, including radio sessions on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music,
James and Allison return home for the US release.
The "sock n' soul" sound of Pray To Be Free is a logical next step in
the career of the Vermont-born Levy, who first arrived in New York in
the mid-2000s and quickly became part of the burgeoning anti-folk and
downtown NYC rock scene.
His first record, Rotten Love (One Little Indian), with the band LEVY,
was included in the NME's recent list of the "Best 100 Albums You've
Never Heard" (courtesy of Maccabees' guitarist Hugo White).
"Glorious" - the title track from the second LEVY album - was a
breakout hit for the Pierces on their UK gold-certified 2011 album You
& I (Polydor), also produced by Guy Berryman.
The relationship between Levy and Allison was borne out of those early
New York City days. When Allison saw James perform at Sidewalk Café,
she knew that she had to sing with him. Over the years, the pair
worked on a series of songs, but their individual careers kept them
from making a record. When Allison and her sister Catherine were
recording You & I with Guy Berryman at Electric Lady Studios, Allison
invited James to the studio. James and Guy connected and when Guy
heard James' songs and the initial demos that he and Allison had
recorded, he was hooked.
Berryman "immediately fell in love with the sound of their voices
together." To Guy, the album "documents romance in all its guises;
dark, twisted, hopeful and joyful. The sounds, drawing upon classic
arrangements from the 50's and 60's, are melodic and lush and are
hopefully a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by urban
Levy seized upon the opportunity to work with Berryman and record a
full length album featuring songs he had written with Allison's voice
in mind ("Sneak Into My Room," "Hung To Dry," "Pray To Be Free").
These songs sit alongside others chosen by Guy from Levy's extensive
Also included on the album is the Pierce-penned "Cry Myself To Sleep"
and album closer, "Precious Age of 13," half-sung by Levy in Hebrew
with words that come from a passage he memorized for his Bar Mitzvah.
("I wanted to write a song like Gainsbourg," Levy says, "but I
couldn't sing in French, so I sing in Hebrew instead.")
The release is the latest in an eventful year for the UK label
Heavenly Recordings and its founder Jeff Barrett, who have scored
recent hits with TOY and Stealing Sheep, as well as being the UK home
to bands like The Head and The Heart, Sea of Bees, Saint Etienne, The
Doves and The Soft Pack.
Daniel Ahearn & The Jones
DA+J bring love songs to life. Daniel Ahearn and Mindy Jones recently finished recording their debut record with the enigmatic producer Mocky (Feist/Jamie Lidell) and have started to resurface from their year underground writing and recording: the result is music ranging from swooning heart break to anthemic outbursts of electro infused folk rock. Clearly on their own channel DA+J, the debut record 'Sirens' will be released in spring of 2013.