Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Noah and the Whale live radio sessions

My first inkling of Noah and the Whale occurred back at the End of the Road Festival in 2006. Emmy the Great announced herself and backing band – consisting of Jeremy Warmsley and Charlie Fink – as ‘Emmy and the Whale’. This was the first time I set eyes on Charlie, and a fine sight he was, as he picked at an amusing furry bass. The next time I saw him was a month or so later at what must have been one of the first Noah and the Whale performances (he had previously gone under the name Johnny Hatracket!) at an Emmy-curated show at the Luminaire. First impressions were very good. Simple, catchy folk-pop tunes.

Fast-forward another few months and Noah and the Whale and Emmy the Great’s band were one and the same entity, with Emmy taking centre stage for her songs, and Charlie stepping up to the mic for Noah and the Whale tunes. An interesting combination for sure, and one that underlined these artists’ inter-dependency and musical similarities.

But what a difference a year (and a bit) makes. Although that same-band-different-act set up seemed pretty unsustainable to me, it turns out (rumours, rumours) that the parting of the ways between Emmy and Noah wasn’t so amicable. Who knows what’s happened, but it’s a shame if two of London’s premier folk-pop exponents are not on speaking terms. Anyway, for the purposes of this post, in the months since I last saw NATW in January 2007, their star has risen slowly but surely. They’ve established a line-up (which sometimes includes Laura Marling) played a lot of gigs around London and the rest of the country, and landed a major record deal, with an album on the way.

All the best to them. I really hope that they don’t become another forgotten indie band on Universal’s books – they’re too good for that. One thing that the deal does seem to have brought about is a more highly-polished sound. Listen to their new single Shape of my Heart and you’ll hear a fine tune, but something that’s much more pop than folk. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Bands change, sounds evolve, and often this is for the better. I’ll be watching out for Charlie and co – they could be really great as long as they keep their feet on the ground.

This post is really just a long-winded reason to post some radio session tracks I recorded back in January, which Noah and the Whale recorded for both Marc Riley’s BBC 6Music show and John Kennedy’s Xposure on Xfm, including two versions of the same track. Spot the difference!

Download: Noah and the Whale – 2 Bodies 1 Heart (live on BBC 6Music)
Download: Noah and the Whale – If I Die Tonight (live on BBC 6Music)
Download: Noah and the Whale – Jocasta (live on BBC 6Music)
Download: Noah and the Whale – Peaceful (live on BBC 6Music)
Download: Noah and the Whale – Peaceful (live on Xfm)

Buy Shape of my Heart from Rough Trade.


jessicajlee said...

I was wondering what happened there...

I mentioned my appreciation of Emmy to a friend of mine (who's good friends with Tom Fiddle) and then he stopped talking to me/tension arose. I thought, strange?

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Noah and the Whale sucks! I don't wanna be disrespectful, but it's true, it never offers soemthing interesting or informative. it's the kind of show you'd deserve eliminate of this world.

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