Rebecca Thomas’ film “Electrick Children” had its US premiere this week at SXSW; Team Love fans in the audience may have recognized a song or two. Conduits’ song “Top of the Hill” provides the soundtrack for the trailer (above), and the movie also features a cover of The Nerves “Hangin on the Telephone” by Tilly and the Wall/Flowers Forever’s Derek Pressnall.
Out Into the Snow is another challenging and rewarding song-cycle which grows richer from repeated listening. For this outing Joyner has assembled a small group, including Alex McManus (Lambchop, Bright Eyes, The Bruces), Ryan Kennedy, Mike Friedman, Michael Krassner (Boxhead Ensemble), and Chris Deden, as well as background vocals by Sarah Gleason and Pearl Lovejoy Boyd and string arrangements by violinist, Laraine Kaizer. Sounding sometimes like Doug Yule era Velvet Underground (with some Paris 1919 John Cale thrown in for good measure), On the Beach period Neil Young , Happy/Sad era Tim Buckley, and Our Mother the Mountain period Townes Van Zandt, the album is littered with characters in transition, moving toward or away from complicated pasts and futures.
Here you have a man floating away in a dilapidated drunken boat borrowed from Rimbaud. He escapes a past of imagined persecution, only to face deeper problems of self-identity after entering a storm at sea. There are lovers separated by distances difficult to summit. Others survive rocky starts to find peace, acceptance, and the real joy available to those who may have been born to run but now choose to stay and fight. The title tracks seems to be telling a simple story of friendship, but, after a man is called out on a winter night to rescue a friend in need, he goes to bed that night and has strange transformation dreams that lead him to question the direction of his own life. Stepping out into the snow then becomes a metaphor for engagement and risk. Joyner seems to be saying that life is full of these worthwhile struggles, whether they result in sorrow or mirth, pleasant or unpleasant discoveries. Joyner requires the same of himself artistically. Out Into The Snow is full of gorgeous human gestures from well-developed characters rising and falling in overlapping arcs of time. Brazen songwriting, like all great art, challenges even more than it entertains. Team Love is proud to introduce another milestone performance from Simon Joyner, perhaps the greatest songwriter you’ve never heard.
Team Love is proud to announce The Last Laugh the debut album from UK-based Joker’s Daughter, featuring vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Helena Costas. This fresh folk-pop excursion reveals new facets of the renowned artist and producer Danger Mouse, who collaborates with Costas throughout.
Born in London but Greek Cypriot by origin, Helena Costas studied violin from ages 7 to 13, then taught herself guitar and keyboards. As she became an adult, her mission came into focus. She wrote songs relentlessly, learned the art of production, and gained confidence as a performer as she played gigs around London.
Like a cryptic, symbolic dream, the music of Joker’s Daughter feeds on a range of conscious and unconscious influences, from classical violin training to Arthurian legend to a certain fascination with food. The result is haunting, infectious and playful, a rich harvest from a broad psychic landscape.
In 2003, she began sending her home recordings to artist/producer Danger Mouse, a correspondence that continued as his career grew. The two artists discovered a natural affinity, and launched a collaboration, which they dubbed Joker’s Daughter after one of Helena’s many shifting personae.
Joker’s Daughter is a character who gives voice to the darkness and redemption in Helena’s psyche, often with a mischievous flair. Always evolving as a musician and performer, Helena has recently taken up the bouzouki, a traditional instrument played by the muses in ancient Greek myth.
Danger Mouse is a full collaborator at every stage. His verdant production and instrumentation compliments the full spectrum of emotion in Helena’s music, from grief to celebration to happy ambiguity. Together, they make music both timeless and fresh from a strange, uncharted world.
The project also features the horns of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Scott Spillane and the string arrangements of frequent Danger Mouse collaborator Daniele Luppi.