Noah and the Whale

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Noah and the Whale
Origin Twickenham, London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Indie folk, indie rock, indie pop, folk rock, bluegrass, folk, anti-folk, alternative rock, neo-progressive rock, harsh noise [1]
Years active 2006–present
Labels Young & Lost Club, Cherrytree, Vertigo, Mercury
Associated acts Laura Marling, Emmy the Great, Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Little Mammoths
Members Charlie Fink
Tom Hobden
Matt "Urby Whale" Owens
Fred Abbott
Michael Petulla
Past members Doug Fink
Laura Marling

Noah and the Whale are an English rock band from Twickenham, London, England formed in 2006.[2] The band consists of Charlie Fink (vocals, guitar), Tom Hobden (Violin/keys), Matt "Urby Whale" Owens (bass guitar), Fred Abbott (guitar/keys), and Michael Petulla (drums). Doug Fink (drums), the brother of lead singer Charlie, and Laura Marling (backing vocals) are past members of the band.


Early years and Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down (2006–2008)[edit]

The band released their debut album, entitled Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, on 11 August 2008. The album peaked at Number 5 on the official UK Albums Chart and has received mostly positive reviews.[3] The album featured a brass accompaniment, provided by Jon Carvell (trombone) and Sam Kinrade (trumpet). The band’s original line up also included Laura Marling who featured as backing vocals on the first album and performed with the band as much as her solo touring schedule allowed. In mid-2008, Marling left the band several months after the album’s release, however, she continued to collaborate with band member Tom Hobden, who played fiddle on her 2010 album I Speak Because I Can.[4]

After the departure of Marling, Emmy the Great sang with the band for a short period of time, as well as Lillie Flynn (sister of singer Johnny Flynn) and Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club filling the role of female vocalist during tours.

The First Days of Spring (2009)[edit]

From January 2009 onwards, the band started work on their second full-length LP, entitled The First Days of Spring. Along with the album release, Charlie Fink wrote and directed a film that runs the entire length of the album, also entitled The First Days of Spring. Fink decided not to feature female backing vocals on their second LP due to the painful but inspiring departure of Laura Marling to pursue a solo career. Her separation from the band did however inspire a change from their traditional sound, signaling a new direction in the band's music and lyrics. The album was released on 31 August 2009, a little over a year after their debut. Three days prior to the release Doug Fink, brother of lead singer Charlie, announced he would be leaving the band to pursue a career in medicine. At the same time Fred Abbott joined the band on second guitar/piano and Doug was temporarily replaced by former Pull Tiger Tail drummer Jack Hamson.

"The First Days of Spring" was the first single release from the album and was made available for download from the band's website,[5] while the first official single entitled "Blue Skies" was released on 24 August 2009 after the song received its first airplay on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 evening show earlier in the summer.[6] The band then embarked on an extensive tour which included playing at the 2009 Reading and Leeds Festivals on the main stage, as well as a variety of other venues.

On 30 September 2009, BBC News reported that the band's equipment including guitars, bass instruments and their drum kit, were stolen from a car park near the Club Academy in Manchester, England.[7] The theft occurred on the night of 29 September 2009. The equipment was recovered in late December 2009.[8]

Their song, "Give a Little Love" was used in an episode of Cougar Town titled "Here Comes My Girl" which first aired on 25 November 2009. The single "Blue Skies" was also used in an episode of One Tree Hill titled "Some Roads Lead Nowhere" which first aired on 7 December 2009. The song was also used in an advertisement for the critically acclaimed film The Descendants.

The First Days of Spring has been met with very positive reviews, showing more critical acclaim than their previous release. NME called the album "immense" and gave it a strong 9/10, whilst The Times awarded the album a full five stars. Towards the end of 2009 The Guardian newspaper put it at number 7 in their top albums of 2009. The Times newspaper put the album at number 9, and was also in Amazon's top albums of 2009.

Last Night on Earth (2010–2012)[edit]

In January 2010, it was announced that Noah and the Whale were heading to the recording studio soon to prepare their third album, for which the band was considering the title Old Joy,[9] Demos for the new album were recorded at Bethnal Green Great Synagogue in London, featuring original drummer Doug Fink, but the band eventually recorded the album in Los Angeles, working with producer Jason Lader. Later, in an interview with the website, lead singer Charlie announced that the album would be called Last Night On Earth. On 3 December 2010 the band released a track from the upcoming album on their official website, titled "Wild Thing". The first official single from the album, "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.", was released on 23 January 2011, peaking at number 14 in the UK Singles Chart. Last Night on Earth was released on 7 March 2011 through Mercury Records. During this period, Michael Petulla, was introduced as the bands new drummer. Bassist Matt Owens and guitarist Fred Abbott auditioned upwards of 100 drummers, after placing an advertisement on Gumtree and eventually narrowed it down to 10, from which point the band rehearsed with each to see which was the best fit. Petulla, the last auditionee of the day, was picked.

Following the commercial success of Last Night on Earth, the band toured extensively, including three separate treks to the United States. "There was a week where we did Japan, Australia, Canada and Chicago in eight days. And I hate flying," remarked Fink.

In 2011 the song "Waiting for My Chance to Come" was used in the series finale for the UK teen drama Skins.[10]

The song "Give It All Back" was released on YouTube on 25 November 2011.

Heart of Nowhere (2013–2014)[edit]

In January 2013, the band announced that they will be releasing a new album, entitled Heart of Nowhere on 6 May 2013, along with a 4 show 'residency' at London's Palace Theatre (24 April 2013 and 5, 12 & 19 May 2013). A short film was also to accompany the new album, written and produced by lead singer Charlie Fink. On 21 March, 7:30 pm the band aired There Will Come a Time on BBC Radio 1. Prior to the albums released, the band released images of several independent record stores where fans could find a tape of the new album. When all the tapes had been found, the band then made the album available for the public to listen to on their website. The albums second single, Lifetime, was released in August 2013. The single was accompanied by a recording of the band performing Daft Punks's Digital Love and a music video created by Fourteen-Nineteen. After the album's release, the band embarked on the "Heart of Nowhere Tour" which included shows in Britain and North America, as well as headlining Wilderness Festival and supporting Vampire Weekend in their UK arena tour during November 2013. On the 22nd of November 2013, the band announced a final date of the tour at the Islington Assembly hall on the 10th of December, a show which mainly consisted of requests from the audience, before taking some time out to work on new material. On the 24th of December 2013, they released a short film titled 'Heart Of Nowhere' as a "way of saying thank you for an amazing 2013." As of Christmas 2014 Noah and the Whale announced that they were going on a short hiatus to work on new material.[11]



  1. ^ Louis (2009-05-01). "On 'World,' Noah and the Whale blow indie scene out of the water - The Bowdoin Orient". Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  2. ^ "Noah and the Whale « Live on 35mm". Valerio Berdini. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  3. ^ Elan, Priya (2008) "Noah and the Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down" (review), The Times, 2 August 2008
  4. ^ "Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can album credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  5. ^ "First Days of Spring information from the band". Noah & the whale. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Noah & The Whale – Blue Skies". idiomag. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  7. ^ "Band devastated by guitar theft". News (The BBC). 30 September 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Stolen band equipment recovered". News (The BBC). 22 December 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hello! First off, sorry for such lengthy…", Noah and the Whale (official World Wide Web log), Jan 2010, I’m toying with the title ‘Old Joy’ at the moment but that will most likely change. .
  10. ^ "Music - Kyle's episode 8 blog". TV shows. E4. 
  11. ^ Noah And The Whale (December 24, 2013). "Stream 'Heart Of Nowhere' the film here now Merry Christmas!!". Noah And The Whale on Facebook. Facebook. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 

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