Last performance before going on indefinite hiatus
|Origin||Brighton, East Sussex, England|
|Years active||1998–2007, 2011|
|Labels||Too Pure, Beggars Banquet|
|Past members||Tracy Houdek
|Farfisa, clarinet, saxophone|
Electrelane were a British indie rock band, formed in Brighton in 1998 by Verity Susman and Emma Gaze. The band comprised Susman, Gaze, Mia Clarke, and Ros Murray. Their music drew from wide range of influences including Neu!, Stereolab, Sonic Youth, and The Velvet Underground. Although the band had strong feminist and political views in their personal lives, they generally preferred to not communicate that directly to their fans or through their music; one exception is their inclusion of the protest song "The Partisan," which they began playing while on tour in the United States during the months preceding the 2004 Presidential election. The band, when playing live, had a reputation for a focused and thrilling show that minimized audience interaction and rarely included more than one encore.
- 1 History
- 2 Lineup
- 3 Discography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Early years (1998–August 2000)
The band recorded their first single, "Film Music," and released it in January 2000 on the Skint Records off-shoot label Indenial. They released another single ("Le Song") with Fierce Panda before creating their own label, Let's Rock!, with distribution by 3MV. The first two singles they released were "Gabriel" and "Blue Straggler" and in fall of 2000 they began work on their debut album. During this period, they had a number of personnel changes. The original bassist was Tracy Houdek, who left the band due to a pregnancy. She was briefly replaced by Rupert Noble until Rachel Dalley signed on. Original guitarist Debbie Ball was replaced by Mia Clarke.
Rock It to the Moon (September 2000–March 2003)
Their debut album, Rock It to the Moon, was released in April 2001 through Mr. Lady Records. Although Electrelane started off as a traditional band with vocals, this album was mostly instrumental. Verity Susman explained, "Way way back, when we first started, we always had a lot of singing. But it never worked that well. When we did instrumental it was always more interesting. More completely we felt like we were doing something good, while the songs with the singing ended up quite bog-standard, boring, not very interesting." NME rated the album an 8 out of 10, saying Rock It to the Moon was "just the way a debut album should be... utterly focused [and] stripped of all extraneous flab."
The Power Out (April 2003–November 2004)
Electrelane brought in renowned producer Steve Albini to record their second album, The Power Out, while production was still handled by the band. The result was an album that added more vocals and structure to the songs, giving them almost pop-like vibes. It was released on Too Pure in February 2004. The album was widely recognized and praised as critics appreciated the added complexity and vocals on their new work.
Electrelane had not only added vocals to the work, but had transcended conventional expectations by employing a number of techniques. Of the nine songs with vocals, three of them were done in different languages. The album opener "Gone Under Sea" is sung completely in French. The third song, "The Valleys," featuring the vocals of the ensemble Chicago a cappella, had in part sections from Siegfried Sassoon's "A Letter Home." On "Oh Sombra!" the Spanish lyrics are a sonnet by 16th century Catalan poet Juan Boscán Almogáver. On "This Deed" the lyrics are a single line, in German, from Friedrich Nietzsche's Die fröhliche Wissenschaft followed by the exclamation "Hände hoch!" (or "Hands up!"). These touches, as one review put it, "managed to be unique without being a radical departure."
Midway through 2004, Rachel Dalley left the group and was replaced by Ros Murray, an old friend of the group.
Axes (December 2004–May 2006)
For their follow up, the mostly instrumental Axes, Electrelane once again returned to Steve Albini's studio in Chicago. In the first recording session for Axes, the band played through the entire album in one take. This reflected the band's desire to have listeners of the album experience the band's live show. Emma Gaze explained the album was recorded "the way we rehearse and practise: we all stand in a circle and it is very relaxed. Our previous recording experiences have been with the bass in one room, the drums in a different room, the two guitarists in a different room and then the vocals are done afterwards. Obviously it works like that because that is how most bands do it. But we just wanted it to sound more live; there is a different kind of energy that comes from playing in the same room." Verity Susman said that "We see the record as a continuous piece of music, not a collection of songs. It also reflects the way we improvise, moving from one idea to the next without a clear break. It’s also how we play live." The album was released on 9 May 2005 to mixed, but generally positive reviews.
As with The Power Out, Electrelane supported Axes with a global tour. By now they had toured in the UK, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Japan and Australia. They both headlined their own tours and supported tours for The Ex and Le Tigre among others; they had also appeared at festivals such as South by Southwest and the ATP Festival.
No Shouts, No Calls (June 2006–October 2007)
No Shouts, No Calls is Electrelane's fourth studio album, and their first which was entirely digitally recorded and mixed. The group began writing material in Berlin's Planet Roc studios in the summer of 2006, at the height of the World Cup. During that period, the band became fans of the sport, going so far as to rearrange their recording schedules around the event and including a sample of a match between Hertha BSC Berlin and FC Moskva in the song "Five" of their new album.
In August, Electrelane released Singles, B-Sides & Live, a rarities collection that included a number of live performances as well as original versions of tracks from their debut album.
In September and October, they were in Benton Harbor recording and mixing their album. In November, the band announced on their official website that they had finished recording and had titled their album No Shouts, No Calls. The album was released in on 23 April 2007 in Japan, 3 May 2007 in the USA and 30 April 2007 elsewhere. The first single, titled "To the East," was released on 12 March 2007. The album received generally positive reviews, with Heather Phares of Allmusic calling some songs "among the band's finest work"; detractors included Leonie Cooper of The Guardian, who mentioned the band had a "penchant for turning every tune [into] a proggy wig-out." James Reed of the Boston Globe picked the album as one of the best of 2007.
In May and June 2007 the band toured the United States with Tender Forever and opened for Arcade Fire on several of their shows. For the rest of the summer, they played the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan as well as various festivals in Europe, including La Route du Rock, Summercase, Montreux Jazz Festival and Festival Paredes de Coura.
Indefinite hiatus (November 2007–2010)
In early November 2007, Electrelane posted a message on their website, explaining that they would be on an indefinite hiatus.
"We have decided that the upcoming gigs will be our last for the foreseeable future. After ten years of much fun and hard work, we have realised that we all need a break and time to do other things. This was a tough decision for us to make, but ultimately a positive one. A big thank you to everyone who has come to our shows, put on our shows, and bought our records over the years. It means a lot to us. We're really grateful to have had the opportunity to play gigs all over the world and to meet so many lovely people. This last year has been especially enjoyable and we feel happy about moving on with all these good memories to look back on. At the moment we haven’t made any band plans for the future, but we’re going to have a break and see what happens.
Their "last" show "for the foreseeable future" was on 1 December 2007 in Brighton, England. On 14 December, the band organized a benefit for the Anti-Trafficking Alliance at the Barfly in London. They did not perform, choosing to DJ instead.
Reformed for festivals (2011)
In February 2011, Electrelane posted the following message on their website:
"This summer we're going to play some festivals, including Field Day in London, and a few gigs. We're still confirming everything, so will be announcing dates soon. It's very exciting for us to be playing together again after more than three years, and we're just sorry that we won't be able to make it to the US this time. At the moment our plan is just to play live this summer, so we hope to see you!"
At the time, there were no announced plans for new material.
- Mia Clarke: guitar, backing vocals
- Emma Gaze: drums, (also does most of the artwork for the albums)
- Ros Murray: bass guitar, backing vocals
- Verity Susman: keyboards, guitar, saxophone, clarinet, lead vocals
- Tracey Houdek (1998–1999): bass guitar
- Debbie Ball (1998–2000): guitar, vocals
- Rupert Noble (1999): bass guitar
- Rachel Dalley (1999–2004): bass guitar
Singles and EPs
- 2000: "Film Music"
- 2000: "Gabriel"
- 2001: "Blue Straggler"
- 2002: I Want to Be President EP
- 2003: "On Parade"
- 2004: "This Deed"
- 2007: "To the East"
- 2007: "In Berlin"
- 2006: Singles, B-Sides & Live
- Capper, Beth. "Never Mind The Bollocks...". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Sanneh, Kelefah (2004-04-03). "Singing in Four Languages, Revealing in None". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Dodero, Camille (2007-12-04). "Hugs and Kisses No. 22: Farewell to Electrelane". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Draper, Jimmy (2007-05-10). "Top Live Show: Electrelane". Time Out New York. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Farouky, Jumana (2003). "Electrelane". Under the Radar. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Pattison, Louis (2001-04-18). "Electrelane: Rock it to the Moon". NME. Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- Thomas, Sean (2005-06-23). "Electrelane". tohellwith. Archived from the original on 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Phares, Heather (2004). "The Power Out". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- J., Matthews (2005-09-28). "Electrelane interview on Left of the Dial". Progressive Broadcast Service. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- "Electrelane - Biography". Too Pure. 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-07.[dead link]
- "Electrelane". Broken Spring Review. Retrieved 2006-04-06.
- Pollock, Jesse (2007-03-08). "Electrelane Interview". FecalFace.com. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Phares, Heather (2004). "No Shouts No Calls". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Cooper, Leonie (2007-04-27). "Electrelane, No Shouts No Calls". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Reed, James (2007-12-16). "The Best CDs of 2007". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Thompson, Paul (2007-12-13). "Electrelane Organize Anti-Trafficking Benefit". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- "Electrelane are set to reform for shows this summer, including a slot at this year's Field Day". This is Fake DIY. 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- "The Big Chill 2011 - Electrelane". April 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Electrelane.|
- Electrelane.com - Official band website
- Beggars Group: Electrelane
- Allmusic entry
- Electrelane collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Electrelane interview by ZME Music, 24 July