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Thursday, March 13 • 7:30pm - 8:00pm
Jacob Golden

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Jacob Golden – “I try and play the guitar like Nina Simone played the piano – with fear and respect.” There are moments whilst watching a Jacob Golden live performance when time appears to stand still and nothing else seems to matter. Amazingly, this feeling is often replicated when listening to Jacob’s second album Revenge Songs; the clatter of eternity is shut down and the quiet exactitude of the here and now is somehow more relevant, more poignant, than the moment prior to the needle hitting the spot. Candidly, Jacob reveals that it was important to him that the recording itself felt emotional. “I wanted to make a warm sounding record and I didn't have a budget so I had to be very creative, “he says. “It was a two-fold process: the capturing of the main performances of me playing and singing happened in a very live way in all sorts of different places; then came the layering, the harmonies and little sounds that glue the whole thing together. I mixed the album on my laptop and fed the sounds through guitar amps and old speakers to get the vibe right. I wanted to make something that worked well in headphones, a sort of paranoid blissed-out, sad and slightly stoned lullaby.” Jacob approaches music from an emotional place and is obsessed with finding beautiful sounding spaces to record in – like old buildings and car parks. He found that taking pieces of recordings made in several different spaces lent a real character to the songs and that there was something immediate and beautiful about capturing an idea when it hits and wherever he happened to be. He reveals that he recorded Zero Integrity – the song that ushers Revenge Songs to a close - quickly with only one microphone and that, just as he started the song, an ambulance drove by the house making “a real racket”. Naturally, Jacob kept recording and when he listened back to the tape he realised that it completely set the mood of the song and that he would have to keep it as there’d be no way of recreating that moment. Revenge Songs is packed with integrity and more than its fair share of intrigue. Forthcoming single Out Come The Wolves is a breathtakingly acute pop song that seems to inhabit some kind of lost-future landscape peopled by the ghosts of Zager and Evans (In The Year 2525) and The Mamas and Papas. Indeed, Jacob’s microcosmic/ macrocosmic take on the American Bubble is all but impenetrable: “Out come the wolves/the hunting of our great American idols/but the ants will march until their Queen/has come god damn downtown James Brown - what’s taken you so long/your kids are starving” although another line “the weeping wall of music sings but radio has lost that loving feeling” implies an innocent daydream has become a kind of nightmare. Another track, Pretend, features the repetitive refrain “If I Had a Hammer was my mother’s favourite song” lain over the top of a hauntingly primitive Beatles-esque guitar. (Golden has revealed that the Peter Paul and Mary version of this song was indeed his mother’s favourite.) Yet another song, On A Saturday, features the infectious closing refrain: “I want to sit and watch the girls in Soho Square, I fell in love so many times just sitting there.” And yes, that’s one of those moments when time stands still. Jacob reveals that the driving force of his music is his attempt to rise above his circumstances. "I know revenge sounds like a negative concept,” he says, “but for me it represents the idea of accepting your inner struggle, standing tall in the face of doubt and failure.” His songs are intimate confessionals - “little catastrophes” - that chart his traumatic childhood as a single child who was orphaned by the age of 16. He lived with his mother (who converted the garage connected to their house into an apartment for battered women) in Sacramento, then, when she died, with the father he had never known, only for him to die when Jacob reached 16. Jacob subsequently fled to England, signed to Rough Trade (with his band Birthday) and then released the solo album Hallelujah World before becoming disillusioned with the whole process and relocating to Portland, Oregon. Shine A Light documents this period somewhat - "The record company had pushed for a hard, hard sell but I couldn't check out from the roach motel" as does another song, Bluebird - not on Revenge Songs - that Jacob performs live on a regular basis. Jacob wrote most of the material for Revenge Songs after he moved to Portland to pursue regular employment. "I was getting hung up on the career thing,” he says, “but the distance and perspective of Portland was an inspiration, and it made me realise that a musician is what I naturally am." It was here he discovered “a great underground folk scene with bands playing in houses, people drinking wine and having a bit of community” and here too that he hit on the idea of a living room tour. “I've never really liked playing in dark stinky rock clubs”, he says. “I'm much more interested in sharing an experience with people then being on a stage.” Last year Jacob toured the UK both conventionally and in response to requests from fans to perform in their homes. It may not have been the quickest, easiest or most profitable way to reach the public but as Jacob points out: “You make an unbelievable life-long connection with those people.” The acclaim for Revenge Songs has been immediate and universal - the Sunday Times called it “a stunning debut and a must-buy” and the Evening Standard “a towering achievement” whilst MOJO called it “the most gorgeous break-up record since Beck’s Sea Change” and CLASH “arguably the work of the greatest singer-songwriter of the current generation”. This must come as an enormous relief to a man who admits he wrote the words to I’m Your Man whilst “half-asleep” - ha! – but it is also an acknowledgement that Revenge Songs – that “handmade Pet Sounds for the cut and paste generation” – is a truly wondrous piece of work. Revenge Songs is out now on Echo.
http://2008.sxsw.com/music/showcases/band/64813.html

Thursday March 13, 2008 7:30pm - 8:00pm
Club de Ville 900 Red River St

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