|The Kingsbury Manx — Bronze Age (2013)|
The Kingsbury Manx — Bronze Age
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Album release: March 5, 2013
Record Label: Redeye Label
01. Weird Beard & Black Wolf (4:11)
02. Future Hunter (3:03)
03. Handsprings (4:20)
04. In The Catacombs (3:57)
05. How Things Are Done (6:25)
06. Glass Eye (4:31)
07. Lyon (3:14)
08. Solely Bavaria (3:31)
09. Concubine (2:35)
10. Custer's Last (5:24)
11. Ashes To Lashes (Tailspins) (3:57)
The Kingsbury Manx are:
• Clarque Blomquist - bass, drums, vocals, various
• Paul Finn - keys, vocals, various
• Ryan Richardson - bass, drums, vocals, various
• William Taylor - guitars, vocals, various
• Kenneth Stephenson (guitar/vocals)
• Scott Myers (bass/keyboards)
• Clarque Blomquist Composer
• Paul Finn Composer
• The Kingsbury Manx Primary Artist
• Ryan Richardson Composer
• Bill Taylor Composer
Odessa Records: http://www.odessarecords.com
Amazon.com Editorial Reviews:
• The Kingsbury Manx return after three years with their sixth album, pushing their unique blend of folk-pop melodicism farther out into the reaches of psychedelia and even '70s prog rock territory. ''Bronze Age'' is their most diverse record yet, striking a nice balance of uptempo rockers soaked with Mini-Moog and effects-drenched guitars (''Future Hunter'', ''In the Catacombs'', ''Custer's Last''), alongside the more acoustic based ballads augmented by the warmth of trumpets (''Handsprings'') and strings (''Glass Eye''). Their sound has gone wide-screen yet still focuses on the plaintive vocals and fragile melodies of main songwriter Bill Taylor. The beautiful packaging features the paintings of M. Scott Myers, whose stark Iceland paintings series perfectly captures the feelings of universal loneliness and longing evoked within these 11 songs.
Review by Tim Sendra (Editor rating: ****)
• For over a decade, Kingsbury Manx have been a reliable, if slow moving, source of fine American music that draws from country, folk, classic rock, psych, and many different strains of alternative rock to come up with a sound that is rich and relaxed, with really strong songs and nuanced performances. Taking four years between albums seems to work out well for them; 2009's Ascenseur Ouvert! was maybe their best album up to that point, 2013's Bronze Age is just as good. Mixing up layered neo-psych songs like "Custer's Last" and "In the Catacombs"; bubbling midtempo songs that would make Wilco circa Summerteeth jealous ("Handsprings," "Glass Eye"); surging indie rockers ("Future Hunter"), and cleverly arranged front porch ballads like "Weird Beard & Black Wolf," the record has a ton of variety, but the good-natured grace and unassuming charm of the group come through strongly throughout. It's not the kind of record that will knock you over the head with huge choruses and the thrill-a-minute approach; it's more like the kind that eases into your memory, carving out a nice and warm little corner to curl up in peacefully. A few of the songs make a case for something more, like the epic-sounding, slow-burning centerpiece "How Things Are Done," or the very hooky, uptempo "Solely Bavaria," but mostly what impresses is the totality of the album and the feeling of warmth it leaves you with as the last notes fade away. Kingsbury Manx may have missed their moment, if they ever had one, but anyone who's stuck with them will be glad they are still delivering albums as good and rewarding as this. See you in 2017, guys.
• Un bel album au charme évident, tres agréable a l'écoute.
Biography by Nathan Bush
• The Kingsbury Manx emerged in 1999 from the same North Carolina indie rock scene that spawned the Archers of Loaf and Superchunk before them. Bandmembers Ken Stephenson (guitar/vocals), Bill Taylor (guitar/vocals), Ryan Richardson (drums/vocals), and Scott Myers (bass/keyboards) attended middle school together in Greensboro before going separate ways during their college years. Stephenson and Myers enrolled in creative writing studies at Wilmington while Taylor and Richardson both landed at UNC, Chapel Hill. During visits back home, the quartet began writing and recording the music for a demo. The band's break came when Overcoat Recordings owner (and former Thrill Jockey employee) Howard Greynolds heard the tape and agreed to fund their debut.
• The Kingsbury Manx was released by the label in 2000 to so little fanfare (failing to offer any information about the band or the recording) that it ended up creating a small amount of mystery. Managing to stay independent from any particular scene, the band cultivated a sound simultaneously derivative and original. The influences were timeless (early Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, and the Byrds have all been cited), but they were handled with such loving care and attention to detail that they were rendered largely insignificant. The album became one of the underground indie successes of 2000, landing in the year-end polls of NME (Top 50) and Magnet ("Ten Great Albums Buried in 2000"). A short tour of the U.S. followed in support of Elliott Smith. Let You Down followed in 2001. Its Japanese counterpart release included two bonus tracks, "Dirt and Grime" and "My Shaky Hand."
• In support of the Afternoon Owls EP, which arrived in fall 2003, The Kingsbury Manx toured with the Sea and Cake. Additional shows with Gorky's Zygotic Mynci coincided with the release of the band's third album, Aztec Discipline (2003). This was the first to include new bandmembers keyboardist Paul Finn and bassist/drummer Clarque Blomquist, who took over for the departing Stephenson and Myers.
• In 2004, The Kingsbury Manx started working on tunes for their next album at their practice space (Pine Manor) in Chapel Hill. They traveled up to Michigan to record the tunes at the Key Club studios and, in early 2005, left longtime label Overcoat Recordings to sign with local North Carolina label Yep Roc Records. The band took the Key Club tapes to Chicago, where Wilco member Mikael Jorgensen mixed the album. The result was their 2005 release, The Fast Rise and Fall of the South. After taking a long break, the band returned in 2009 with the album Ascenseur Ouvert!, which was released on Finn's Odessa label. Working at a leisurely pace again, their sixth record, Bronze Age, came out in 2013.
• The Kingsbury Manx (Overcoat Recordings, 2000)
• Let You Down (Overcoat, 2001)
• Afternoon Owls EP (Overcoat, 2003)
• Aztec Discipline (Overcoat, 2003)
• The Fast Rise and Fall of the South (Yep Roc, 2005)
• Ascenseur Ouvert! (Odessa, 2009)
Posted April 17, 2009 by Mike Mineo • One hit wonders are certainly a fascinating concept. An artist with the fortune of executing one brilliant idea can live quite a luxurious lifestyle with minimal work, even if most artists who instead release numerous albums that are all enjoyable often end up barely scraping by. Sure, most of us can agree that the music industry does not reward its inclined occupants based on effort, but what is the deciding factor then? Most of the time, it seems to be based on chance and commercial reception more than anything else, which hinders the ability that independent music has to emit originality and selflessness. The effect may be indirect, but the hordes of artists that compete for the one breakthrough single that earns them a cool million or two inherit an ideology that proves detrimental to the values of artistry in general. Striving for monetary success is an ideal that has been firmly enforced in society, even if its tendency to overlap into business, sports, and the arts has caused aspects like effort, commitment, and morality to lower themselves within the hierarchies of success. Independent music, though, seems to retain selfless intuitions for success. It seems to prevail momentously in the arts, mainly because the results affect its followers on an emotional level.
• Existing within this realm of independent music in a form that is too transparent for their evident talents, The Kingsbury Manx are a fine example of a group that have never been deterred by the allure of cheap ambition. Their four albums, all released this decade, have shown the North Carolina-based quartet to be a band that values consistency just as much as they do radio-friendly accessibility. It would be hard to select any of their four albums as their best, as their lush mixture of throwback pop and country (with tinges of psychedelia and rock) has remained a successful concoction that has never grown tiresome or uninspired on any of The Kingsbury Manx’s releases. • The group’s history is pretty traditional, as they follow a long line of schoolmates-turned-bandmates that met in middle school, separated for a bit in college, and then reunited to infuse their artistic compatibility. For college, the four members all stayed within the boundaries of North Carolina, with half attending UNC-Chapel Hill and the other two studying at Wilmington. Both The Kingsbury Manx’s adoration for their home state and their unintimidating demeanor is indicative on their MySpace, where their celebratory response to UNC’s NCAA win is profiled in a plethora of photos. It looks like the MySpace for a high school sports fan rather than a professional band, but it fits surprisingly well with The Kingsbury Manx’s unpretentiousness and artistic values. More on:
|The Kingsbury Manx — Bronze Age (2013)|