Hello! Welcome to yet another of our ‘oh my, we haven’t posted here for ages but we are still working on things, honest’ blogposts. The year seems to be flying by, and Grande Valise have been collectively (all two of us) distracted by various goings on in real life. Alas, this has led us to neglect both this blog and the album that has been in a state of ‘very nearly finished’ for quite some months. We are however slowly getting back to work.
As evidence of this, we thought we’d share a track with you. You’ve Got a Nerve is one of my favourite songs on Minnewater, and was finished just a few days ago. Featuring guitar, organ, and some lovely glockenspiel by Becks, the song was written during a brief obsession with 60s ‘beat’ groups like the Merseybeats, though I’m not sure that comes across in the final product. See what you think:
I’m not entirely sure the awkward fade at the end will survive onto the CD, but we shall see. We have three tracks left to put finishing touches to and then we’ll be looking at getting the album turned into an actual product you can have in your hands. Hopefully.
They say a change is as good as a rest. Well, we’ve had a long rest (was it REALLY April when we last posted? Yikes!) and now we’re thinking a change might be nice too. For a while now we’ve been thinking that the music we’ve been making recently has changed in tone from what we considered the ‘original’ Bavarian Country Singers & Comrades ‘sound’ to be. This feeling became more pronounced during our recent revisit to Belgium and so we’ve decided, for this project at least, to rename ourselves. BCSaC is not being retired, I think our next batch of songs will be the older ‘Bavarian’ tracks, and we’ll still be posting our stuff on this blog, but for the moment we’d like to announce our new name: Grande Valise
Yes, we know what it means in French, but pack your ‘big suitcase’ and join us for our soon to be completed album! The album’s still going to be called Minnewater after the so called “Lake of Love” in Bruges and is so close to being finished now we could almost give you all a massive hug!
Anywho, we thought you might enjoy a little ‘taster’ of what we’ve been up to. You may remember, back in the distant mists of time, we started this blog with a song called Slow Burn. Well, that song is going to be on the album (albeit in slightly remixed form) and at one point I had the idea to put it up as a pre-album digital single. After having this idea, I thought a ‘b-side’ might be fun and jokingly suggested writing a song called Burn Slow as a sort of answer song. The joke didn’t stay funny for too long though and I actually did write the song. Starting as a mainly acoustic track, we’ve worked it up to be something much more layered. I’ve added electric guitars and drums, whilst Becks has put down some creepy violin, organ and a beautifully melodic bassline. In fact, we’ve ended up liking the end result so much that the ‘single’ idea has gone out the window and this is now an album track. So, here’s the first official posting of a song by Grande Valise…
As you can see, we’ve started using SoundCloud so you can stream the track a little more easily, but if you’d still like to download the track and listen offline, simply right click and save as using the link below!!
So the sun’s been making a very welcome appearance this weekend, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. We hope you’ve had time to get out and enjoy it. For our part, we spent part of Saturday having a delightful stroll through part of Cannock Chase. You can check out a few photos we took on our way below.
Finding myself at a loose end today whilst Becks was at work, I decided to make a little instrumental track. It’s called A Walk On The Chase in honour of our lovely day out. Mainly made to try out our new mini MIDI keyboard and awesome Wurlitzer app, it features me messing around on keys, glock, guitar, drums, handclaps and some whistles and ooohs.
Feel free to listen, download and comment, but as always consider giving something to a charity of your choice in return.
Well, there always has to be a Debbie Downer, doesn’t there? While we’re enjoying some glorious weather and after Pand uploaded his lovely cover of ‘Here Comes the Sun’, I do feel like I’m about to bring y’all down. And I apologise for that. But we appear to have gathered some momentum, albeit for recording other people’s songs rather than our own, and I didn’t want to let that grind to a halt. So last weekend I had a go at recording a version of a Magnetic Fields song, ‘I Don’t Believe in the Sun’, a beautifully morose song that has only one minor chord (unless I’m playing it wrong!).
You can listen for yourself here and if you can, please do try to donate to the NSPCC or to a good cause of your choice, whether you enjoy it or not!
You can probably tell it didn’t take all that long to record this lil cover. I’ve always disliked recording and the soul it can suck from a song, so you shouldn’t be surprised that the track was built up around a master track of both guitar (such as it is) and vocals, a very ‘play-and-record’ kind of approach that I’m most comfy with. Added to that was a second track of vocals, some harmonies here and there and finally some hastily cobbled together squeeze-box. But I hope you like it nonetheless.
Equally, I hope it does some justice to gifted songsmith Stephin Merrit of the Magnetic Fields. I’ve recently been getting into the Magnetic Fields, specifically the masterpiece E.E.E.P. upon which this song appears, 69 Love Songs. All this is by way of saying, look it up and listen if you haven’t already; I’m sure you’ll thank me for it ;)
Anyway, enough proselytising. Normal service will be resumed sooooooon! Enjoy the sun :) Bx
As Becks commented on in our last post, we’ve been a bit slack around these parts of late. We’ve been hibernating I suppose, but it feels like time to wipe our eyes and shuffle out of our Winter hiding place. To that end, and with Becky sadly at work this afternoon, I’ve recorded a little cover – and what else would do but the Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun?
So here you are, a couple of hours of afternoon solo work. It’s wonky as all hell, the middle section goes awry slightly (yes, before someone points it out, I did too few “Suuuun, Suuuun, Suuuun”s!!) and it features a toy keyboard my Mum brought home from the charity shop she works in. If you’ve read the blog in the past, you’ll know Becky’s the keyboard player in the family, so please excuse how dodgy the playing of that particular ‘instrument’ is!
Sitting in bed enjoying ’50 Miles of Elbow Room’ on Rhubarb Radio, we’re reminded of the hospitality we were given by the Brave Sons of Elijah Perry on that same show in November. And we realise we still haven’t shared news of what happened during our appearance even though audio evidence of it exists (and in lieu of any actual new recordings, this functions as a nice ‘we’re still alive’ post).
Twas on a cold day in November, the 14th I believe, that we were kindly invited by our pals the Brave Sons to appear on their americana/blues show. Well, obviously, we were the perfect band to appear and really untroubled that we’re neither americana nor blues…
Anyhoo… we joined the Brave Sons and ended up politely hijacking the second half of the show, playing 3 live tracks, one pre-recorded track and a track by one of our influences (after much deliberation, we went for Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s ‘Just to See My Holly Home’). We had some lovely banter and shared one of our favourite soup recipes.
Gotta say, I think we all enjoyed the experience (in spite of overloading the mic during our first song), and this is where I’d link to you to the audio of the show, but sadly, past shows currently aren’t available on the website. However, you can listen to one of the songs we played right here. This is McCarthy, one of my favourite of our songs. Hope you like it :)
Update on new stuff: we’re currently trying to overcome a state of inertia – lots of things to finish off, so something should be up here soon.
Well hello there New Year! Alright alright, we know we’re already heading for February and the smell of fireworks (and your hangover) is long gone, but we got back here eventually. Right? Guys?
I feel bad that yet again we’re offering apologies for not keeping the blog up to date. We didn’t do much over the holiday period, I admit, but there’s plenty on the way I promise. We’re working on the finishing touches for a few songs, and have started work on some new ones. The aim (as ever) is to have enough tracks that we’re pleased with to form an album. This may, or may not, be titled “Minnewater”, after the so called “Lake of Love” in Bruges, which we enjoyed wandering around late last year. More of that another time though…
So, to make up for the lack of activity, I thought I’d post something I found today whilst tidying up my CDs. Before there was a Bavarian Country Singers & Comrades, there was just an Andy, armed with a hulking desktop computer, one of those strange stalk-like computer mics people used to have, and my acoustic guitar. I wrote and recorded quite a few songs, some of which we still play and have recorded, but many we haven’t. Today I found an old CDR of some of these songs that differed from the copy I have on my computer. There are songs on it that I hadn’t heard since the time they were recorded (2002ish perhaps?). They’re very much a curio I suppose. Heavily indebted to, though very far from the standard of, Elliott Smith’s Roman Candle and Self-Titled albums, they’re a pretty mixed bag (the title track even features a rudimentary drum loop and electric guitar!). However, I thought they may be of some interest, so I’ve whacked together a zip file of them and made a quick “cover” for it. Feel free to download and comment, but, as always, maybe go and give a few quid to your chosen charity in return? Ta!
P.S. The download is a mixed bag of .mp3s and .m4as and should include track names and album art. I know iTunes sometimes messes this up, so I’ve included both below :)