Smoke Fairies

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Smoke Fairies
Smoke Fairies.JPG
Jessica Davies (left) Katherine Blamire (right)
Background information
Origin Chichester, England
Genres Alternative, indie rock, folk rock
Years active 2006–present
Associated acts Jack White, Laura Marling, Mark Lanegan, Richard Hawley, Brian Ferry, PJ Harvey, Dawes, Blitzen Trapper, Rasputina
Website smokefairies.com
Members Katherine Blamire
Jessica Davies

Smoke Fairies is a British dream pop duo comprising Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies.[1]

History[edit]

Blamire and Davies met at school in Sussex during the late 1990s. They spent 2002 in New Orleans, where they absorbed American blues music.[2] When they returned to England they discovered British folk music at the Sidmouth Folk Week Festival while working as car park attendants.[3] They later settled in Vancouver, Canada, for a year before returning to London to start performing.[4]

In 2007, Smoke Fairies toured the UK in support of Bryan Ferry and the following year they released their debut single, "Living with Ghosts", on Music for Heroes.[5] Richard Hawley was an early supporter of the act, saying they were "frankly the best thing I have heard in years".[6] They supported Hawley on his True Love’s Gutter Tour of the UK in October 2009.[7]

In December 2009, Smoke Fairies became the first UK act to release a single on Jack White's label Third Man Records.[8] The double A-side single, "Gastown" / "River Song", was produced by Jack White who also played guitar and drums. Smoke Fairies performed at the 2010 South by South West (SXSW) festival in Texas[9] and supported Laura Marling on a month-long tour of the United States.[10]

They signed to V2 Records/Cooperative Music and released their debut album Through Low Light and Trees in September 2010,[11] latterly self-released in the United States in June 2011 via Year Seven Records.[12] The album was produced by long-term PJ Harvey collaborator Head and recorded at Sawmills Studio in Cornwall, United Kingdom.[12]

To promote the album the band was invited to record a live session for Marc Riley on BBC Radio 6.[13] And invited back for another session a few months later.[14] The duo also recorded a live session with their band for John Kennedy’s "X-Posure" on XFM.[15] In November 2010, Smoke Fairies’ recording of Neil Young's "Alabama" appeared on a special Mojo album to mark the approaching fortieth anniversary of Young's Harvest LP.[16]

The band embarked on its first headline tour of the UK – a sell-out – in January–February 2011[17] and performed at several festivals that summer, including Primavera Sound in Barcelona.[18] Before heading to the United States in June 2011 to perform at North by Northeast Festival and their own headline shows, returning again in August 2011 Jessica & Katherine toured the U.S. with Rasputina.[19] Smoke Fairies again returned to the US in October to play support for Blitzen Trapper and Dawes making their second coast-to-coast tour of the year.[20]

Smoke Fairies' follow-up album, Blood Speaks, was released on 21 May 2012,[21] again with a delayed release in the US of 23 April 2013.[22] Again produced by Head Blood Speaks was this time recorded in West London’s Eastcote Studio and is inspired by London and by travelling.[23]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Strange the Things (Concentrated / Concentrated People, 6 August 2007)[24]
    • Track listing
      1. "Dinner Plate"
      2. "Smoke Filled Room"
      3. "Always In the Back"
      4. "Catching Leaves"
      5. "Wedding Gown"
      6. "Cold Wind"
      7. "Strange the Things"
      8. "Good Day To Be Alive"
      9. "I'll Move On"
      10. "You Can't"
      11. "Running Alongside a Train"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[25]
BBC Music favourable[26]
NME 7/10[27]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[28]
  • Through Low Light and Trees (UK: V2 / Cooperative Music, 6 September 2010. U.S.: Year Seven Records, June 2011)[29]
    • Track listing
      1. "Summer Fades"
      2. "Devil in my Mind"
      3. "Hotel Room"
      4. "Dragon"
      5. "Erie Lackawanna"
      6. "Strange Moon Rising"
      7. "Morning Blues"
      8. "Storm Song"
      9. "Blue Skies Fall"
      10. "Feeling Is Turning Blue"
      11. "After the Rain"
Also pressed as a limited edition on clear vinyl, available on the bands' US tour and via website. Initial edition of 250 followed by subsequent repress.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[30]
Pitchfork 7.2/10[31]
  • Blood Speaks (V2 records, 21 May 2012)[21]
    • Track listing
      1. "Let Me Know"
      2. "Awake"
      3. "The Three of Us"
      4. "Daylight"
      5. "Blood Speaks"
      6. "Take Me Down When You Go"
      7. "Feel It Coming Near"
      8. "Hideaway"
      9. "Version of the Future"
      10. "Film Reel"
  • Smoke Fairies (Full Time Hobby, 14 April 2014)[32]
    • Track listing
      1. "We've Seen Birds"
      2. "Eclipse Them All"
      3. "Shadow Inversions"
      4. "Hope Is Religion"
      5. "Waiting For Something To Begin"
      6. "Your Own Silent Movie"
      7. "Misty Versions"
      8. "Drinks and Dancing"
      9. "Koto"
      10. "Want It Forever"
      11. "The Very Last Time"
      12. "Are You Crazy"

Compilations[edit]

  • Ghosts: A Compilation of A Sides, B Sides and an EP from the Recent Past – 12" marbled-vinyl special edition of 500 (U.S., 453 Music, March 2010) colour special addition Record Store Day pressing copies.
  • Ghosts: A Compilation of A Sides, B Sides and an EP from the Recent Past – marbled-vinyl and CD (UK, 453 Music, 2010)

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Living with Ghosts" / "Troubles" – 7" (Music for Heros, August 2008)
  • Frozen Heart – 7" EP ("Frozen Heart", "Fences", "Morning Light", "We Had Lost Our Minds", "He's Moving On") (Music for Heros, July 2009)
  • "Sunshine" / "When you Grow Old" – 7" (October 2009)
  • "Gastown" / "River Song" – 7" limited edition of 150 on tri-colored vinyl; Texas-sized 8" limited edition (Third Man Records, September 2009)
  • "Hotel Room" / "Human Concerns" – 7" limited edition of 300 (V2 / Cooperative Music) (2010)
  • "Strange Moon Rising" / "Requiem" – 7" limited edition of 500 (V2 / Cooperative Music, 24 January 2011)
  • "Strange Moon Rising" / "Alabama" – 7" limited UK tour edition (V2 / Cooperative Music) (24 Jan 2011)
  • "Hotel Room" / "Strange Moon Rising" – 7" limited edition of 500 on blue-marbled vinyl (453 Music, 16 April 2011, World Record Store Day)
  • "Storm Song" / "Storm Song Demo" – 7" limited edition of 500 (V2 / Cooperative Music, 16 May 2011)

Contributions to anthologies[edit]

  • "Good Man" on Live at the Electroacoustic Club, Vol. 2 (Running Jump Records, 13 November 2006)
  • "Troubles" on What's Kickin'?, Vol. 2 (Stove Pony, 14 May 2007)
  • "Troubles" on Shivering Sands and Scavenging Birds (Thames Delta Recording Co., 14 October 2009)
  • "Alabama" on Harvest Revisited (Promotional CD issued with Mojo Magazine, February 2011)

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Backing vocals on Richard Hawley's False Lights from the Land EP (Mute Records, 7 June 2010)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charlotte Cripps (2014-04-18). "Smoke fairies rekindle their fire: Listen exclusively to their new album - Features - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  2. ^ Helen Martin, "Interview with the Smoke Fairies", Amelia’s Magazine, 15 March 2011.
  3. ^ Phil Udell, "The Smoke Fairies in Conversation", Heineken.
  4. ^ Ben Umstead, "Interview with the Smoke Fairies", Slant Magazine, 18 July 2011.
  5. ^ Moff Gimmers "Review: Smoke Fairies", Electric Roulette, 23 June 2008.
  6. ^ Valerio Berdini, "Smoke Fairies", Live on 35mm. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  7. ^ Matt Hopkinson, "Hawley and Smoke Fairies at the Lyceum, Sheffield", SoundsXP, 10 October 2009.
  8. ^ Chris Mugan, "Folk Heroines' Long Odyssey". The Independent, 20 August 2010.
  9. ^ "What SXSW did for us - Smoke Fairies | M Magazine M magazine: PRS for Music online magazine - PRS for Music Online Magazine". M-magazine.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  10. ^ "US Tour Starts Today…". Laura Marling. 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  11. ^ David Sheppard, "Review: Through Low Light and Trees", BBC, 8 September 2010
  12. ^ a b Kevin O’Donnell, " Jack White Faves Smoke Fairies" Spin, 14 June 2011.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 6 Music - Marc Riley, 07/10/2010". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  14. ^ "BBC Radio 6 Music - Marc Riley, Smoke Fairies". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  15. ^ "Xposure with John Kennedy | Monday to Thursday 10pm to 1am | Radio". XFM. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ Peter Robinson "This Week's New Live Music", The Guardian, 15 January 2011.
  18. ^ [2][dead link]
  19. ^ Brooklyn Vegan, " Smoke Fairies released an LP in the US, playing NXNE, NYC & shows w/ Rasputina (dates)" Brooklyn Vegan, 14 June 2011.
  20. ^ Riley Ubben,Blitzen Trapper and Dawes Announce Tour, Paste (magazine), August 2011.
  21. ^ a b James Christopher Monger (2012-05-21). "Blood Speaks - Smoke Fairies | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  22. ^ "Reviews for Blood Speaks by Smoke Fairies". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  23. ^ Piccadilly Records, " Blood Speaks - Smoke Fairies" Piccadilly Records, 21 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Strange the Things - Smoke Fairies | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  25. ^ Monger, James Christopher. Smoke Fairies Through Low Light and Trees at AllMusic. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  26. ^ Sheppard, David (8 September 2010). "Album review - Smoke Fairies: Through Low Light and Trees". BBC Music. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  27. ^ Webb, Rob (6 September 2010). "Album review - Smoke Fairies: Through Low Light and Trees". New Musical Express. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  28. ^ Horowitz, Steve (22 June 2011). "Album review - Smoke Fairies: Through Low Light and Trees". PopMatters. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  29. ^ James Christopher Monger (2010-09-06). "Through Low Light and Trees - Smoke Fairies | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 
  30. ^ Monger, James Christopher. Smoke Fairies Blood Speaks at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  31. ^ Maddux, Rachael (8 Jun 2012). "Album review - Smoke Fairies: Blood Speaks". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 Jun 2012. 
  32. ^ James Christopher Monger (2014-04-14). "Smoke Fairies - Smoke Fairies | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 

External links[edit]