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Operator

The first single off our upcoming record Red.

It’s been
seven months since
I heard my baby
on the phone

Cradling
the receiver
listening to the
dialtone

Operator get me Caroline
I gotta talk with my baby tonight
I promised her that it would be all right
Operator get me Caroline

Every
bone in my body
wants to only
be with you

But I
get no answer
just the answer
ing machine

Operator get me Caroline
I gotta talk with my baby tonight
I promised her that it would be all right
Operator get me Caroline

Oh my
darling Carrie
you’re so very
far from me

Oh my
darling Carrie
only sixteen
months old

Operator get me Caroline
I gotta talk with my baby tonight
I promised everything would be all right
Operator get me Caroline



Kyle Evans – Tenor Vocals, Optigan, Wurlitzer, Electric Guitar, Tape Loops
Aviva Jaye – Alto Vocals
Steve Sasso – Tenor Vocals, Banjo, Tambourine
Josh Grove – Electric Guitar
Jason Mattis – Bass
Shareef Taher – Drums
Jeffrey Young – Violin
Emily Price – Cello

Recorded and mixed by Chris D. Butler at Butler Recording, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY
Additional Engineering: Garrett Frierson
Mastering: Carl Saff
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16 Sep – Lox – Bremen, DE

This was a super fun show because Drew was back in tow, and it ended up being the start of a truly ridiculous evening.

  • The place had a large projection of jellyfish on the walls behind us, which was maintained for the entire show. It was completely mesmerizing, and made all of our ocean songs have a little more kick.
  • Remember the Liam Neeson dude from the previous evening? He was back!!! And we learned his secret identity! He’s not going to kill us at all – he’s a driver with the promotion group attached with Songs and Whispers and is just a quiet dude. But his response (or lack thereof) the night before clearly didn’t translate into a critical dismissal, as he was present. And we’re not going to die! Sweet.
  • The sanitized version of what happened later in the evening:
    • Jason pole danced. He is quite graceful.
    • At the best bar in Bremen the band sang “Age of Aquarius” at such a drunken volume that a group of Germans came up afterwards and asked politely if we were part of a traveling theatre group.
    • We chased a train down at 5 in the morning to get home.
The rest of it, well, if you were there you know (and have hopefully destroyed all photographic evidence). Echo Bloom live at Lox
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Windy's Jam

15 Sep – Lilie – Bremen, DE

  • So remember that dude from the last show in Verden named Windy? Imagine an everyman around town, ready with a bike and a raspberry compote for anything that life might throw at him. He showed up at the gig in Bremen to say hi and brought homemade jam for us! In addition to being one of the sweetest gestures, it was DAMN TASTY.
  • Between sets we engaged in an impromptu #chainie and took turns sitting in the back of a trailer parked outside the venue. Our intern minders for the evening thought we were – unique.
  • A dude came to the show who just sat at the bar the entire time and stared us down. No smiles, no real applause, he just looked like he was going to go all Liam Neeson in Taken and be like “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” So I as talking to Steve and Steve had no idea who the dude was, and he just left after the show, so who knows – maybe our days in Germany are numbered.
Live at Lilie - Bremen, DE
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15 Sep – Bürgur und Sozialcentrum Huchting – Bremen, DE

We were 50/50 on the Bürgur und Sozialcentrum Huchting being either a bus stop or a hamburger restaurant, but it turned out to be a beautiful YMCA-like venue that was having a community festival the afternoon we were in town. We played the end of it, and had a nice crowd in a huge beautiful room. Things about this show:

  • The ceiling of the venue was decorated in constellations, and at one point during the show somebody accidentally turned on the lights and we found out that each light was positioned as a star. We all immediately began pointing out constellations until they turned off the lights and we continued with the show.
  • Drew’s merch setup is so much better than ours. At least than ours WAS. But her Mom made it for her. That’s right DREW DAVIS’S MOM MADE HER MERCH CASE. But she still totally showed us up (as evidenced by the pictures).
  • The room was huge and had a big light setup, but there wasn’t anyone there to run it. So we took it on ourselves. Jason left about two songs into Drew’s set and started randomly plugging things in up in the balcony. Within about five minutes he had six or seven lights of all different colors pointed at the stage – it was pretty awesome.
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IMG_3235

13 Sep – Liekedeeler, Verden, DE

Liekedeeler is a restaurant in Verden, which is a wonderful independent town of its own (when we suggested at one point that it was a suburb of Bremen, people got all huffy). The restaurant server some *really* good food, and we got to play with some blocks beforehand. Show highlights:

  • We found a hedgehog near the venue, and our bassist Jason (a friend to all animals) immediately tried to go make friends. Personally, I think hedgehogs are super cute (they can roll up into a little ball! Look at their little faces!) but when we told the S&W staff about it, they were horrified. To Germans, that would be like the New York equivalent of petting a pestilence-laden pigeon.
  • We got to meet a real friend on the tour, Windy, who recorded the show for us (and was just an all-around great guy – immediately after we met him we all had that Association song in our heads for the rest of the trip). He played the recording of our performance on his radio show, and then we proceeded to see him all around town. He is a man of action – a man of hair – a man of jam.
Note – in case you’ve never been exposed to that earworm:

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12 Sep – Heimathursch, Köln, DE

Ah, Heimathursch! The name means something like “local heroes” in German, and it was hands down my favorite gig of the tour. We had a rapt audience, played really well, had a wonderful time with the staff (who rock) and had a completely ridiculous evening afterwards. High points:

  • The venue is covered with weird 20′s-era German kitsch stuff – lots of antlers. Jason played with a set of antlers basically up his armpit for the entire show, and ROCKED it.
  • The cathedral in Köln looks like a spaceship. It’s one of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve ever seen – and it has a window done by Gerhard Richter! We are indeed clever monkeys.
  • After the show we:
    • Drove all of our stuff back to the hotel we were staying at for the evening and walked everything back up four flights of stairs (this came to be an organizing part of every evening).
    • Partied with a local roller derby team (who were quite impressed we were from Brooklyn and immediately started asking us roller derby trivia)
    • Drank a truly regrettable amount of Jagermeister at a 90′s themed dance party/rave. We danced our tails off – there is video proof somewhere.
  • In line at said dance party we met a dude who introduced us to a concept of his own creation called “chainie”. The idea is this – you take a picture of somebody, then you get in the picture with the first person, and a third person takes the picture of you two. Then that person hands the camera off to another person and gets in the picture. And so on. The goal is to then look at the chain of pictures that result and marvel at how you can get strangers to do truly ridiculous things if you hand them a camera. We ended up getting one that evening with all of the bouncers of this club, who I’m sure thought it was completely stupid. But it was awesome.
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11 Sep – Grammatikoff, Duisburg DE

This was the first night in a three evening road trip, which we didn’t realize would turn into a completely fucking crazy adventure. And it was our first show with Jason, who was newly passported, and able to get into the country. So we were at full power, and pumped.

Duisburg is kind of like the Pittsburgh of Germany – an industrial suburb outside of Köln. The venue we were at was pretty stunning – we were in the back room of this restaurant, with really atmospheric lighting and a big beautiful stage. Things about this show:

  • We blew out the power for the entire room about an hour before the show because the voltage converter we brought was a complete piece of crap. Aviva had no way of playing the keyboard without a converter that would give it American-style power, so the electrician that was working for the venue went downstairs and, I shit you not, made a plug for the keyboard that would work. Also – an electrician for the venue? Crazy. It was awesome.
  • We got a request that evening for one of our own songs, which gave me a smile so big on my face they’ll have to jackhammer it off my corpse when I die. Really lovely people at the venue.
  • We stayed at a friend of Songs and Whispers named Ketan, who let us all sleep on his floor. Jetlag was really hitting Jason then (and to a lesser extent everyone else) so we were totally wiped out. Steve though had mastered the art of sleeping in a foreign situation, and came prepared (as documented herein).
Live
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Echo Bloom at Zollhaus

10 Sep – Zollhaus, Bremen DE

Zollhaus is a beautiful hostel somewhat near the downtown area in Bremen. Things that happened around this show:

  • We got our first instance of dead tree journalism around this – a writeup in the local paper. It was in German, and we assume it said something like “completely brilliant Brooklyn band poised to rock your asses off”.
  • Everyone in the band was completely distracted when a blindingly beautiful woman walked in about halfway through our first set, and everybody played significantly better after that. So my takehome is this – if you’re better at public speaking when you imagine your entire audience naked, you’re similarly better if you’re playing to a room full of models (even if it’s in your head).
  • We drove the intern Maraike Frederike (who was our minder for the evening, and rocks, and drives a badass motorcycle, and whose name is definitely not Maraike) crazy because we were completely starving and thus REQUIRED food before the show. She must have looked at her watch about thirty times while we were snarfing food down at the mall. Also – German mall food – pretty good!
  • We got our first encore of the tour. That made us feel like seven million dollars, or an equivalent amount of euro.
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9 Sep – Hafen Casino, Bremen DE

The Hafen Casino is a truck-stop/diner in the port area of Bremen abutted by a large tent-like structure (imagine a *very* small circus tent, all painted white). And that night, it was our tent.

I should stop for a minute and express how little most of us knew, in general about Bremen, the tour, and what to expect venue-to-venue. Because all of our scheduling information (and really most everything) was in German it was often really hard to figure out specifically what was going on. From our end, this was part of the adventure – every night was some new unique place filled with lovely people. All to say, we had no idea really what to expect from a place called “Hafen Casino”.

The room was small – perhaps 30 people could fit inside. And as we began to get setup, we had no idea if we weren’t unconvinced our audience would be a couple surly bartenders. But, like almost every night, the place mysteriously filled with people who were nice, genuinely interested in what we were doing, and willing to endure our pathetic attempts at German.

This evening I tried using some different pedals I’d brought, including a TC-Helicon vocal pedal I was really excited about. It takes a guitar signal and vocal signal, and creates harmonized vocals based on the chords you are playing. If you weren’t aware, the electrical systems in Europe and the US run on different voltages, so you need to step down the voltage so American equipment can use them (unless the gear is able to take a variable range of voltage). Unfortunately that TC-Helicon pedal didn’t have that range of flexibility. It lasted for exactly one song that evening, and was then kaput for the rest of the tour, which was too bad. C’est la vie. Or however you say that in German.

Also this was the first evening we met Mona, who rocked! Go Mona!
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8 September – Notes from Germany

Aviva and I are sitting in the Starbucks at the Central Station in Bremen, the only place we can get reliable WiFi (that we, foolish Americans, know of), so I’m going to dash something off real quick-like.

So we’re two shows in (~493 to go) and are reasonably settled in Germany. Traveling without a proper SIM card makes everything seem like 1998. You just have to – wait – for things. But everyone’s incredibly nice and patient with us. I’ve found that Germans have a secret, commonly understood password to let you know they speak English. That password is as follows – if you ask them if they speak English, and they say “a little” they speak FLAWLESS ENGLISH. That’s the password. Or I guess a “pass-phrase”.

Random story from two days ago – we were in Hannover, getting ready to head back after a really fun show at Sofaloft. Aviva went to pick up some food while Josh and I waited near the car, and these four extremely drunk dudes came up to us asking for a lighter. Which we didn’t have. But it sparked a conversation, and they found out we were a touring band. One of the dudes opened the passenger side door, looked at me and slurred “You, singer, sing me a song. Sing me John Denver – Leaving on a Jet Plane”. At which point he lifted up his shift and – I shit you not – dude had the words for the chorus of the song tattooed on his abdomen. So I sang him the song. I mean, you kind of have to in that situation.

Two shows in Bremen today, it’s picking up speed this afternoon!