Lewis & Clarke (band)
|Lewis & Clarke|
|Origin||Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Genres||Post rock, indie folk|
|Labels||La Société Expéditionnaire|
Lewis & Clarke is the nom-de-plume of Lou Rogai and collaborators. The name references the fellowship and correspondence between C. S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke (not the 19th century explorers). The moniker is also a metaphor for journey on many levels. Rogai is a musician/songwriter as well as founder of La Société Expéditionnaire, a record label "dedicated to exposing the wild and/or fragile music of colleagues".
The music of Lewis & Clarke has been described as new-folk, avant chamber folk, and neo- baroque folk pop, while the first 2003 self-released Bright Light EP represents a reflective, dusty Americana sound. In 2003, MAGNET magazine introduced Rogai as "a gifted newcomer".
Lewis & Clarke's debut full length, Bare Bones and Branches, was released in 2003 by Delboy Records (Belgium). This was supported by a short tour of the Benelux, and the album was met with critical acclaim. A live Lewis & Clarke track surfaced on a compilation issued by PIAS entitled Duyster (a "best of" compilation from Belgian National Radio's program of the same name), along with Joanna Newsom, Mogwai, and Cat Power.
New recordings were initiated with Dave Ulrich, Eve Miller (Rachel's, Matt Pond PA) and Russell Higbee (Man Man). During this process, The US version of Bare Bones and Branches (alternate takes, mixes, tracks and artwork) was released in 2005 by Summersteps Records, the micro-label most noted for their Jandek tribute albums. Jandek himself expressed his approval in a handwritten letter for particular tracks on 'Down in a Mirror Vol. II', including Lewis & Clarke's cover of "Nancy Sings". Bare Bones and Branches (originally released in Fall) is called "The perfect Autumnal album" by the Associated Press, while No Depression cites it as "A whisper of an album, lovely without being precious, moody without being beleaguering.”
In 2006, La Société Expéditionnaire released Live on WPRB as live vinyl-only 12" EP. The recording bridged the gap from past material to Blasts of Holy Birth and set an ambiance including various chimes, vocals, eastern drones, harp, guitar, banjo, piano, percussion, and the voice of Rogai's infant son.
One can begin to identify patterns of Lewis & Clarke as an organic body of work, with Blasts of Holy Birth being a cornerstone in the evolution. Released in May 2007, it dovetails the symbolic nature of spring and birth, and represents themes found in a Taoist text called Secret of the Golden Flower (also the title of the opening track). Pitchfork calls the record "Eight tracks of delicate Beauty" and The Onion's A/V Club notes: "Rogai finally puts the lame-ass freak-folk label to rest by making an album that's as grounded in real life as it is sublimated in ether....Rogai has a gift for speaking plainly while tonguing poetry, and his meditations on life cycles and pastoral philosophy blossom and collapse with organic grace."
Later in 2007, Lewis & Clarke toured the Eastern US as a duo, supporting Bat For Lashes (UK). Lewis & Clarke then closed out the year with a performance at MoMA NYC. They toured as a 5 piece band in the Spring of 2008. In 2009 they released another vinyl EP, Light Time and supported Bat For Lashes in the US once again. 2010 appearances included the Truck America Festival in Big Indian, NY.
Lewis & Clarke's website states the band is currently at work recording a double LP of material expected for release in 2014.
- Bright Light EP 7"/EP (2003 Delboy EU)
- Bare Bones and Branches (2003 Delboy EU /2005 Summersteps US)
- Live on WPRB 12" (2006 La Société Expéditionnaire)
- Blasts of Holy Birth (2007 La Société Expéditionnaire)
- Light Time 12" EP (2009 La Société Expéditionnaire)
- Triumvirate 2xLP (2014 La Société Expéditionnaire)
- "Doc Holiday Was a Phony" (live) - Duyster - (PIAS 2005)
- "Nancy Sings" - Down in a Mirror, A Tribute to Jandek v.2 (Summersteps 2005)
- "Disintegration" - Perfect As Cats: A Tribute to the Cure (Manimal Vinyl, 2009)
- "Changes" - We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie (Manimal Vinyl, 2010)
- "The Seventh Stranger" - Making Patterns Rhyme - A Tribute to Duran Duran (Modern Records / Manimal 2014)