Neil was invited into the BBC Radio Manchester studio, to review some new tracks for the Introducing Manchester show. You can listen back to the show, and Neil discussing what Carousel Clouds have been up to lately, here:
Listen to Carousel Clouds introducing themselves to Dave Sweetmore on his Revolution 96.2FM show, below. The feature, followed by an airing of Grace (Look No Further) is 38m50s into the show.
More info on Dave’s show on The Rev can be found here.
Grace (Look No Further) will be released on 14th September, via Ranch Records. The single contains the tracks below, and will be available as digital download, on a name-your-price basis (including £zero), from the Carousel Clouds shop.
- Grace (Look No Further)
- Blood Red Sky (Marlon Brando Mix)
Following the 2017 debut single ‘Invisible Lines’ – which Steve Lamacq labelled “entrancing” on BBC 6Music, and Tom Robinson called a “three-and-a-half-minute epic” on the same station – came the 2018 Carousel Clouds debut long-player Tales of Coincidence, an album recorded with three bassists, and yet without a note of bass played throughout the record…
On ‘Grace (Look No Further)’, the Salford band echo the lyrical theme in the music, changing moods sweeping through its near-200 seconds, their signature haunting shoegaze-psych sound intact.
Grace (Look No Further)
“We’re proud of the whole record, but from a songwriting perspective I am personally pleased that, on Grace, we tried to match the lyrics to the music in a way I haven’t done before, to the extent that an actual heartbeat is used for they rhythm at one stage. Hopefully, the subject matter dovetails perfectly with the sounds we are making, changing moods accordingly, including repetition, monotony, hope and euphoria. We think it does, anyway! Similar to The Torment, it is almost like two songs bolted together, with multiple time signatures and no traditional chorus – obviously, this is the next single…!”
Thoughts on Grace (Look No Further), which Neil discussed with Even The Stars.
Blood Red Sky (Marlon Brando Mix)
“Way before Carousel Clouds existed, Ben asked me to add a vocal line to a piece he had written. He had the title, but no lyrics or melody, and emailed me the track. It sounded great as an instrumental, an ambient electronica.”
Neil discussing the origins of Blood Red Sky with Even The Stars. The version now available with this single is one of those early compositions of the track.
Carousel Clouds + James Holt + Lindsay Munroe + Neil Wright
Tuesday, 21st August 2018
The Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, Manchester
Tickets £3 advance, £5 on the door
Ticket Link: TicketSource
7.00pm Doors Open
7.45pm Neil Wright
8.30pm Lindsay Munroe
9.15pm James Holt
10.00pm Carousel Clouds
“Entrancing” – Steve Lamacq, on Carousel Clouds
“Fresh and exciting to listen to” – Brian Eno, on James Holt
Lindsay Munroe‘s EP One Day Will Break is about to sell out, and is a favourite with BBC Introducing in Manchester
Rare solo set from Neil Wright, Dutch Uncles guitarist and former (52) Teenagers and Alpha Machine frontman.
Spotify playlist containing all four acts performing: Spotify Playlist
Neil spoke to the Even The Stars website, to provide a track-by-track run through of Tales of Coincidence, the debut album by Carousel Clouds.
Starts & Ends
We selected this as the opening track because the title seemed quite appropriate, but also because this was in many ways the start of how Carousel Clouds sounds, with the drone-y keys and feedback, and lots of vocal harmonies. When this song was written, it laid a path for the direction to take the band and sound – moving from an acoustic sound and a smaller number of people being involved, to adding keys, drums, guitars, harmonies, and more people to hop on and off the carousel! The shoegaze-y build-up in the intro gives a good indication as to what’s to come on the record.
A ghost story. I went on one of those ghost tours. It was entertaining, but also quite interesting to watch unfold. The song explores the thoughts and ideas of ghosts; people’s fondness or fear of them. The drone-y sounds mentioned when Starts & Ends was written seemed to lend itself to this song both musically and lyrically, with feedback always to me sounding quite spooky, and pounding toms like an incessant warning.
Three of the five of us who recorded the album are bass players (Tam with LIINES, Dickon with Bone-Box and loads of different acts, myself with Optional Wallace and Monroe Hips), but there is not a single note of bass on the whole record. When I demoed this track, I couldn’t settle on a bass line, so just put a low-octave organ on and held down the root note, to fill out the low-end. It sounded loads better, and so set the blueprint for the ‘bass-players-but-no-bass’ approach to the record.
Only Off the Screen
This song had been around before this band, and was I think the first we tried working on. The song adapted quite quickly to the band’s sound of feedback, psych-keys and some drone, with lots of harmonies. For the recording, Tam and Ben added a do-wop style vocal harmony they’d worked on, whilst Matt was giving it everything on the drums at the outro, which we think works really well. There’s all kinds of other sounds at this stage, we can’t remember exactly what, but Dickon layered everything together brilliantly to bring some cohesion to the chaos.
The Greatest Noise
The last track written for the album, which was written and demoed in a couple of days. A large proportion of the original demo is what you can hear on the final record, which kept the freshness and rawness intact; it was written at a particular time and therefore hopefully captures that moment. A suitable antidote to follow ‘Screen’, and a good point to close part one of the album.
A song in four parts. The Torment came from two things I had been working on, and then placed together. The coda was a completely separate piece Ben had started, which I thought would fit well as well. We then spent hours in the practice room making it into a coherent song. The five of us were never all together at any point during the making of the album, and Dickon hadn’t heard any of this track until he recorded his guitar parts over the top of the rest of the song – he sent it back with his parts on, and we all thought, ‘wow’.
A song comprising of four pieces all stuck together, discussing organised religion, with different time signatures and no conventional chorus – perfect to use as the album’s promo track, at Easter as well! (or commercial suicide… ha)
Blood Red Sky
Way before Carousel Clouds existed, Ben asked me to add a vocal line to a piece he had written. He had the title, but no lyrics or melody, and emailed me the track. It sounded great as an instrumental, an ambient electronica.
I re-demoed it for the record, to fit more with the band’s sound and instrumentation. Then we worked on the dynamics and the time signatures, so it’s taken on a new life. We will have to release the original version at some stage, to hear where it came from. It still sounds great.
Another old song, which had started as an acoustic track, but then seemed to fit with the Carousel Clouds sound, once that had emerged. Probably the most personal song for me to write, lyrically. It’s another song with ghost references, and Tam’s harmony on the chorus really gives that haunting feel. We released this as a single, and the video involved me at various festivals, gigs, parties and even a wedding with tape and assorted items covering my mouth, ie not talking. Luckily the bride and groom were very understanding!
Grace (Look No Further)
We’re proud of the whole record, but from a songwriting perspective I am personally pleased that, on Grace, we tried to match the lyrics to the music in a way I haven’t done before, to the extent that an actual heartbeat is used for they rhythm at one stage. Hopefully, the subject matter dovetails perfectly with the sounds we are making, changing moods accordingly, including repetition, monotony, hope and euphoria. We think it does, anyway! Similar to The Torment, it is almost like two songs bolted together, with multiple time signatures and no traditional chorus – obviously, this is the next single…!
I wrote this the day after the General Election; The lyrics came together quite quickly. Sonically, and lyrically, it is supposed to represent extremes: light and shade, loud and quiet, ending with the crescendo coda. When Tam added her vocal for the outro, there was no set part. We discussed the lyrics and turned the lights off to set the tone, then left her to it. When she finished, Dickon and I turned to each other in stunned silence. In a good way! Not sure where her part came from but it was raw, organic and completely off the cuff – and the perfect climax for the song, and record.
You can hear bits of Starts & Ends woven in, before the album finishes, which we think neatly brings things around and closes the record off.
The album is available to order via Bandcamp.
Carousel Clouds have been invited to perform at the iconic Band on the Wall venue in Manchester, as part of Free Vibes.
Date: 11th May 2018
Venue: Manchester Band on the Wall
Line-up: FEARS CHELLA + TREMORS + METRO VERLAINE + IORA + Shell Zenner DJ
Tickets: Signup for FREE ENTRY with the venue, here
Band on the Wall presents a special edition of Free Vibes, curated with Amazing Radio’s new music champion Shell Zenner. We’ve teamed up with Shell to bring you five of the most exciting artists you need to know. Sign up for free entry and discover new music from the likes of Fears Chella, Tremors, Metro Verlaine, Carousel Clouds and Iora. DJ Shell Zenner will keep the vibes flowing ‘til late!
Fears Chella are an indie-pop/grunge four-piece who recently dropped their killer new single ‘Polaroid’.
Tremors are a Manchester based five-piece playing a unique blend of shoegaze, alternative rock and americana.
“Sunkissed melodies, airbrushed sonics and chiming guitars…the missing link between Laurel Canyon classicism and the current Manc dream-pop scene.” – Manchester Evening News
Metro Verlaine are a French quartet who deliver an ‘electric and romantic’ sound.
Salford’s Carousel Clouds keep their brand of shoegaze firmly rooted in psych and their debut album ‘Tales of Coincidence’ just landed on Ranch Records.
Iora is a Manchester-based electronic-folk artist who employ trip-hop and acoustic elements.