Tag Archive | "The Pernice Brothers"

Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine and Ours

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Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine and Ours

Posted on 24 February 2014 by Dorian

By the time Joe Pernice’s band of brothers got round to releasing this, their third album, the music community had started to lose interested. Originally mainly promoted by the alt-country press they had made it pretty plain that they weren’t going to sound like his previous band The Scud Mountain Boys. They weren’t even going to have the big string sections that had received such plaudits on their previous outings, I  still remember the dissapointed expression on the face of the person who sold me the CD.

yours mine ours

In fact this album is clearly in just as much thrall to UK 80s indie bands as it is with Teenage Fanclub, country music or any of their other previous influences. Brilliantly written by Joe Pernice, with some career best guitar work by Peyton Pinkerton (more on him later) this may well be the best album the band produced. More than that it might be one of the best guitar pop albums of the 2000s.

The album opens with the fuzzy guitar pop blast of ‘Weakest Shade of Blue’, a proper “should have been a top ten hit” contender, complete with joyous vocal harmonies and sparkling guitar melody. From there on in it is a blast of songs of such consistent quality that the relative obscurity of the band is mystifying on listening today.

The beauty of Pernice’s work is the mismatch of music and lyrics, tonally at least. A generally upbeat sound is a deliberate disguise for the predominantly downbeat lyrics here. That isn’t to say that this is a sad listen, Pernice is too sophisticated a songwriter for that, and he is possessed of enough wit and warmth to carry the sadness.

New Order are an obvious influence on a couple of places on this album, most notably on, arguably the best track here, ‘Sometimes I Remember’. Peyton Pinkerton is a brilliant guitarist, from his early work with New Radiant Storm King through the Pernice Brothers up to his debut solo album he released last year, his playing has been some of the best on record. His work on ‘Sometimes I Remember’ is just perfect, managing to bridge the gap between 21st century American pop music and the Factory Records circa 1983. Almost as good is ‘Number Two’ where the subdued vocals and piano is punctuated with some pretty fierce fret work.

All in all this is one of those records that you can come back to again  and again and it will sound as fresh and as timeless as the first time you played it. The best slice of 1980s UK indie influenced 21st century Americana you’ve never heard, Probably.

By Dorian Rogers

This review was inspired when I revisited Joe Pernice’s back catalogue after seeing The New Mendicants and listening to their debut album. I’d recommend pretty much anything he has recorded, with great songs across his career. Listen to a Spotify playlist of some of his best tracks here.

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The New Mendicants – Into the Lime

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The New Mendicants – Into the Lime

Posted on 24 January 2014 by Dorian

The New Mendicants are a harmony-pop supergroup of sorts formed in Toronto by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub/Jonny), Joe Pernice (Scud Mountain Boys/Pernice Brothers) and drummer Mike Belitsky (The Sadies). It will be no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of any of their bands to hear that Into the Lime is a string of melodic pop gems with beautifully sung vocal harmonies.

The New Mendicants - Into the Lime

Most of the songs are soft, tuneful and filled with sparkling guitars and bitter-sweet lyrics. A couple of the tracks were submitted (and rejected) for a film version of Nick Hornby’s ‘A Long Way Down’ so suicide (specifically by jumping) is a recurring theme. It is hard to pick out the best of these tracks as the quality is so high throughout the 10 song 30 minute run, but ‘Follow You Down’ and ‘Out of the Lime’ would be my playlist picks after my first few listens. These are such pleasurable, soft and subtle songs, the kind of thing that leaves you sad and smiling at the same time, that you want to play them again as soon as they finish.

It isn’t an entirely subdued affair, ‘Shouting Match’ is a more fuzzed up effort and the albums closer ‘Lifelike Hair’ (sung I assume by Belitsky) has a raucous 60’s garage sound that is like nothing else on the album. It is a slightly odd choice, but coming at the end it doesn’t disturb the flow of the album and adds a different texture.

Fans of Norman Blake coming to this album may be initially dissapointed as Pernice handles the bulk of the lead vocals on the album (and I suspect wrote more of the songs here). However, Blake’s sound is all over the record. His harmony work is wonderful, the playing and arrangements have his stamp and it truly sounds like a partnership. His lead vocal, on a beautiful version of Sandy Denny’s ‘By the Time it Gets Dark’, is one of the highlights of the album.

The New Mendicants

I was lucky enough to see the band play live last night in Camden’s Dingwalls and feel the need to incorporate a short live write-up into this album review. The live incarnation is a slightly different proposition to the album, with just Blake and Pernice on stage and only acoustic guitars (plus some glockenspiel) being played.

The set is a mixture of album tracks, covers and songs by the duo’s various bands being played to a small but attentive crowd. Lead vocals switch between the two and songwriting is tossed back and forth throughout the set. It is as relaxed and proficient a performance as you’ll be likely to see this year with even the mistakes (a fumbled glockenspiel solo) handled like it is all part of the show. The banter is engaging also, with Norman’s noisy tapping foot and Joe’s professed unfamiliarity with Norman’s work being recurrent jokes through the night.

The new songs sound great live and the chance to hear The Scud Mountain Boy’s ‘Grudge Fuck’ and Teenage Fanclub classic ‘Everything Flows’ played by the duo is pretty magical stuff.

They still have a couple of UK dates left to play, so if you are in Dublin tonight or Glasgow tomorrow I urge you to see them play, and why not pick up a copy of the album while you’re there?

9/10 (10/10 for the live performance)

By Dorian Rogers

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The New Mendicants Plan UK and Ireland Tour

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The New Mendicants Plan UK and Ireland Tour

Posted on 24 June 2013 by Joe

Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake is back to his collaborative tricks again, this time teaming up with Joe Pernice, of The Pernice Brothers, and Mike Belisky, The Sadies’ drummer. This newly created trio is called The New Mendicants and formed in Toronto, where Norman Blake moved to last year.

Joe Pernice (l), Norman Blake (r)

Joe Pernice (l), Norman Blake (r)

This month they are touring the UK and Ireland with dates at:

7th           Dublin, Whelans

8th           Cambridge, Cambridge Portland Arms

9th           Bristol, Colston Hall 2

10th         London, The Lexington

11th         Nottingham, The Glee

12th         Birmingham, The Glee

13th         Manchester, Deaf Institute

14th         Hebden Bridge, Trades Club

15th         Glasgow, Mono

Also released this month is their debut EP Australia 2013, which contains an INXS cover as well as versions of Teenage Fanclub’s ‘I Don’t Want Control Of You’ and The Pernice Brothers ‘Amazing Glow’. An album is pencilled in for a 2014 release..

This latest collaboration for Blake follows his  2011 partnership with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci’s Euros Childs, under the name Jonny.

Watch out in early July for our review of their Bristol performance.

by Joe Lepper

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