Tag Archives: ben marwood

Frank Turner Release Compilation Album “The Third Three Years”

We just couldn’t wait for Frank Turner’s newest release, The Third Three Years, so we put together a little playlist of our own featuring some of our favorite performances, collaborations, and covers he’s done in the last three years.

The official Third Three Years will be released on November 24th, through Xtra Mile Recordings. They’ve got some pretty cool pre-order bundles, including art prints, photo books, exclusive tees, CDs, so be sure to check them out before they’re gone!

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“Singalong” – Ben Marwood

Today’s Music Monday tune is a good, old fashioned sing along courtesy of Ben Marwood. Known for his self-deprecating humour and simple chords, this song is sure to get stuck in your head and have you humming along for the rest of the day. Check out the album version of the track above, or a fantastic live version from last year’s 2000 Trees.

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We love Xtra Mile Recordings

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that we here at Lyrically Addicted are big fans of independent British record label, Xtra Mile Recordings. Check out this weeks playlist featuring music from some of our favorite Xtra Mile artists including Against Me!, Beans on Toast, Ben Marwood, To Kill a King, Frank Turner, and more.

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You can also check out our interview with Xtra Mile artist Ben Marwood where he talks about his most recent album, Back Down, and what it was like to tour the US with Frank Turner last summer. Also up on the blog is Cherie’s concert recap from Beans on Toast’s Boston show last month at O’Briens Pub.

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Measuring a Year in Music

by Cherie

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I kicked off the year with a bang, going to see the Vaccines play a headlining show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The Paradise Rock Club is one of my favorite Boston venues, because its just small enough that there’s really no bad spot in the house. The openers for the show were a (relatively) unknown band from Australia named San Cisco. I looked up their music ahead of time and was impressed by their catchy first single, Awkward. San Cisco is group of young kids, just barely out of high school, but they put on a great live set. I was an instant fan after seeing them live. The Vaccines put on a tremendous set as well. Some might criticize Justin’s vocal performance, which was less than perfect, but he puts so much energy into his live sets its hard to not be won over by his passion and enthusiasm.

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Next I got the chance to see English folk artist Benjamin Francis Leftwich play a set for Radio BDC at Naga in Boston. The venue was beautiful, with hanging glass above the bar; but the crowd was less than respectful during the show. Leftwich is a very mellow artist, its just him and his acoustic guitar, and there was a group of obnoxious people over at the bar who were disrespectfully loud throughout his set. He made sure to call them out on it though, causing the rest of us to laugh. I got the chance to meet him after and he truly is a sweet guy.

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Not long after I saw San Cisco open for the Vaccines I was thrilled to hear that the band was coming back through Boston for their first US Headlining Tour. They played Great Scott in Alston, another one of my favorite venues. The support bands were great, and I discovered a great local artist (Steph Barrack) when she opened for the band. My fellow concert goer was more impressed by Chaos Chaos, who won me over with their live vocals but also for having a oboe in their backing band. San Cisco put on a great live set, and we even got to meet the band afterward. The band swung back through one more time in July, and we were there front and center once more. Mark my words, they really are a fantastic band and they have such a bright future ahead of them. It will be fun watching them grow over the years.

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It was a long, hot July, but the hottest day by far was the day I saw Frank Turner in Portland, Maine. There’s no reason the show should have been as hot as it was, the day was actually cool and rainy but for some reason the temperature inside the venue was off the charts. After just a couple of songs Frank was drenched in sweat and joked about it being the hottest show he’d ever done. It was an amazing experience getting to see Frank perform songs off of Tape Deck Heart which is one of my favorite albums of 2013.

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I also got the chance to see the amazing Ben Marwoos, sorry Ben Marwood, open for Frank Turner; which ended up being a more momentous experience then I realized at the time. After every show I go to I try to find the setlist and burn a copy of the setlist onto a CD. I make personalized art work and everything (though its really nothing that special to be honest). When I realized that I probably wasn’t going to find Ben’s setlist on setlist.fm (my usual source for the information), I felt like I was facing a brick wall. On a whim I reached out to Ben via e-mail, not expecting to ever hear back from him. To my surprise he responded almost instantly, revealing that he actually keeps a notebook full of setlists and promptly sent me the information I had asked for. Realizing what a great opportunity I had I immediately thanked him and asked him if he’d be willing to do a short interview for my music blog and he instantly agreed (you can read the article here and the full interview here). It was the first “big scoop” for the blog, and I will always be proud that my first interview was with Ben (seriously, he’s such a talented guy, you should check out his music if you haven’t yet).

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August brought one of the biggest concerts of the year. Mumford and Sons had announced a show in Queens, NY and with the help and company of some good friends, I had the chance to go. It was an unbelievable experience. The crowd might have sucked, but the company I was in certainly didn’t. Forest Hills Stadium was an incredible venue, being a converted tennis stadium, and despite the hiccups I hope they finish the restoration project and restore it to a concert venue in the future. I fell in love with the opening band, Bear’s Den, who put on an amazing set despite only having three members. The Vaccines came next, and the highlight from their set was when Winston Marshall, from Mumford and Sons, came out to play guitar on a couple of songs.

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Mumford and Sons themselves were, of course, amazing. Words can’t express my love for this band. They are such a great band, and their songs have helped me through some really hard times. Their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover shows are such an amazing experience; I’m glad I got to experience not just one but two of them. When news broke a few weeks later of their temporary hiatus I was sad, but happy I got to see them twice before they went on break. Rumor has it the boys will be back in the studio in February working on the new album. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t take them as long to write album #3 as it did to write their second album!

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My last concert of 2013 was Noah and the Whale, and what a fitting way to close out the year. This was my second time seeing the band, but this year they were playing the House of Blues; a step up from their last show at the Paradise Rock Club. They blew me away once more. NATW are one of those bands that are made to perform live. Not only did they sound fantastic, but they also dug deep and played songs off their debut album that don’t get played much more. A highlight for me had to be hearing “Mary” played live.

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After the show we stuck around for a little bit hoping to meet the band. We picked a time to hang out until and decided that if they didn’t come out by that point we would give up. It was cold and windy and with our light jackets we were soon freezing. The time came and passed and no band. I didn’t mention the time to my friend, hoping she wouldn’t realize it and we could stick around a little bit longer. Eventually our patience paid off and the band exited the venue. They seemed surprised to see so many people waiting for them, perhaps because of the weather, but they cheerfully stuck around for pictures. They were the band that really introduced me to British indie folk music, and getting the chance to meet them was truly awesome.

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But the biggest highlight of 2013 for me had to be Lyrically Addicted. For years I’d had the idea to start some sort of music project, though the specifics were always vague in my mind as to what exactly that project would entail. In May I finally solidified the idea, creating Lyrically Addicted as a sort of music blog, and inviting two of my closest friends to take part with me. It’s been difficult at times, trying to come up with new ideas for stories and debating the relative merits of various albums that were released this year. The whole thing has been a blast so far, and if you’re reading this right now, thank you so much. Your support (even if it’s just silent support) means a lot to me and the rest of the team. I’m proud to announce that by the end of 2013 we reached 2,023 views!

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Top Albums of 2013

By Cherie

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I run a music blog. I’m practically obligated to write an end of the year list. So here’s my top 15 albums of 2013. You can also listen to a playlist of some of my favorite songs from 2013 (including tracks from artists who didn’t make this list) over on spotify.

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15. Heartthrob – Tegan and Sara

Its hard to believe the Quin sisters have been in the business for almost twenty years. Every album they put out has a completely different style and sound from the one before it, while still managing to stay true to their core values. For their latest album Tegan and Sara tackle a more synth and pop based sound, toning down the guitars and turning up the keyboards. Some might criticize the duo for selling out, but then they would be missing the whole point. It’s an evolution in sound but not a complete departure; an important distinction. It might be a surprising path for them to have taken, but its certainly not a bad one.

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14. If You Leave – Daughter

Truly, one of the most poignant and beautiful albums to come out in 2013. Elena Tonra’s voice is stunning, and its striking to have her voice framed by a backing band, unlike her previous releases. There was a song she had previously released on an EP that was rereleased on this album that came out at a time when I was really struggling with the death of someone close to me. Now I can’t listen to the song “Youth” without thinking of her. The album is dark at times, yet enchantingly so.

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13. San Cisco – San Cisco

Its an impressive debut album, especially when you consider the fact that most of the band members are barely out of high school. Some of the melodies are childish but manage to be completely infectious at the same time. Where the album shines most, however, is in pure potential. Combine pure talent with brilliant live sets and its plain that this young band is only going to continue to improve. If you haven’t already heard of the band, look up their song “Awkward”. After you stop cursing me in a week for getting it stuck in your hear, you’ll thank me. I promise.

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12. Heart of Nowhere – Noah and the Whale

Noah and the Whale have always been one of those bands that are at their best for their live performances. So deciding to record their fourth album live was a natural decision for the band and it certainly paid off. The album is fuller, more vibrant than their previous albums, giving it a more mature sound. Its a more honest and personal album for Fink and for that reason it resonates more deeply with listeners. Many tracks are backed by a lush orchestra in addition to Hobden’s fiddle, creating a sweeping sound that one can perfectly imagine as the soundtrack to a movie (which in fact, it is).

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11. Trouble Will Find Me – The National

Without even noticing it this album has kind of become the soundtrack to my writing. Trouble Will Find Me manages to sound utterly effortless from track to track and is proudly confident without coming across as boastful or contrived. During the recording process the band’s recording studio lost power, and band members found themselves taking part in an impromptu acoustic jam session. Something of that session shows through in the quieter tracks, such as “I Should Live in Salt” and “This is the Last Time.”

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10. Country Mile – Johnny Flynn

A couple of the albums on this list have been recorded live (both Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale have chosen the technique in their latest records), but Johnny Flynn has taken the idea to a different level. Not only are most of the tracks recorded live, but the “final” versions that have made it onto the album are often demos. The rougher and more organic sound to the tracks certainly suits Flynn, who looks at home in a rustic sweater and a guitar in his hands. His lyrics are quaint with the occasional archaic turn of phrase (he is a Shakespearean actor after all). The most compelling track on the album, “Einstein’s Idea” is a lullaby written for Flynn’s two year old son. The lyrics might be a little dense for a two year old, fancy trying to explain the Theory of Relativity to a two year old, but one can easily picture Flynn singing it to his son with its hushed words and muted chords.

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9. Such Hot Blood – The Airborne Toxic Event

Although The Airborne Toxic Event may have largely ditched the orchestral sound in favor of a more pop rock sound, Such Hot Blood manages to be just as catch as the band’s previous two albums. The common themes of the album are familiar as well; love and loss. “Timeless” is a heartfelt anthem that anyone who has ever lost someone close to them can instantly relate to. “Just help me through this moment / after everything I told you / how the weight of their loss is like the weight of the sun / I see their faces near me / I hear their voices calling / it was like their lives were over before they begun” Jollett sings in the bridge. The words have the potential to be cheesy and cliché, but Jollett delivers them with such passion and conviction that one immediately senses the truth in them. “True Love” features a mandolin as the driving instrument, lending a quirky sound to the track. And the tongue in cheek “Elizabeth” provides the perfect ending to the album.

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8. Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend

I’d always been a casual Vampire Weekend fan; I knew the hit songs and I loved their unique music videos, but I never listened to an album start to finish. MVOTC was their first album I really fell in love with. It has a more mature sound than their older stuff, though the lighthearted silliness hasn’t been abandoned either. The album plays around with various sounding styles as well as recording techniques. The first single, “Diane Young” was a perfect representation of what the rest of the album would be like.

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7. Bad Blood – Bastille

Sometimes an album comes along that sounds fantastic recorded, but I hesitate because I wonder how well that sound will translate live. In the case of Bastille, the answer was that they just might sound better live. Group backing vocals help to make the songs sound epic and lush. Though their song Pompeii might have been overplayed on the radio (one of the reasons I am not sorry that I don’t listen to the radio), they have plenty of other songs that are just as good.

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6. AM – Arctic Monkeys

2013 will forever be known as the year I finally started listening to the Arctic Monkeys. And believe me, I’ve been kicking myself ever since. AM might just be their best album yet. Its smoother, bolder, and more mature sounding. The band experiments a little with an edgier, hip hop influenced sound that is most obvious on songs like “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”. Turner’s vocals are clearer then ever, with none of the raspyness of previous albums. The best song on the album is actually a throwback from Record Day 2012; R U Mine?. The album delivers hit after hit without a single weeks spot. Looking back at their past albums its amazing to see how far a band of teenagers from Sheffield have come. Even their B-sides wouldn’t sound amiss on the actual album itself and the band has released three paired with three singles off of AM.

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5. Back Down – Ben Marwood

Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a passionate voice, Ben Marwood has often been compared to label mate Frank Turner. I don’t really think that’s a fair comparison, though I love both artists greatly. Ben’s sound is simple; with no backing band (at least at this point in time), its just him and his guitar. But that’s all he needs to draw you in. His songs are brutally honest at times, to the point where he acknowledges his flaws unflinchingly. “I’m past the cusp of thirty and I swear I’m getting fatter by the day” he sings on the cynical track “This Industry Eats Its Young.” But there’s a measure of hope in his songs as well. He’s a man who loves what he does, though it might not be the most profitable profession, and that shows. “If I had a point I don’t know what it was / some days I stand on stage for little reason but because / and though I’ve wasted days you know I won’t take back these nights,” he sings on “We Are No Longer Twenty-Five”.

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4. Birthdays – Keaton Henson

There’s just something about this album that draws a listener in. At first, I was quick to dismiss the album as being too mellow, but the more I listened the more I came to appreciate it. Its true most of the songs are just Henson and his guitar, but the tracks build in intensity, culminating in the heavy double punch of “Kronos” and “Beekeeper.” Most of the lyrics are utterly heartbreaking and are delivered with obvious passion and conviction. The melodies are hauntingly melancholic but beautiful at the same time. One listen and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that Henson is a poet who gets so nervous about performing live that he rarely does so; only playing in small venues and museums from time to time.

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3. Don’t Forget Who You Are – Miles Kane

 Don’t Forget Who You Are is the album that you put on before you go out on a Friday night. Its catchy riffs and upbeat rhythm at time mask darker lyrics, and its only on closer inspection that one would notice the melancholy that threads through various tracks on the album. The overall theme of the album is about being proud of where you’ve come from and never forgetting that; no matter where that might be. Miles has been a member in several successful bands over the years: the Little Flames, The Rascals, and, most famously, the Last Shadow Puppets. But its only as a solo artist that he’s really made a sound of his own and started to realize his full potential. Although his debut album might be considered by some to be his better technical work, Don’t Forget Who You Are is a better representation of his character. Its a very empowering album.

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2. Tape Deck Heart – Frank Turner

There are some artists who just keep getting better and better. With every album they release you think to yourself, “this is it. They can’t possible top this.” And then they do. Frank Turner is one of these artists. Since going solo in 2005 every single record he’s put out has been fantastic, but 2011’s England Keep My Bones was his crowning achievement to that date. I didn’t think it was possible for him to put out a better album. And then Tape Deck Heart was released. I think I’ve said just about all I can say about the album throughout the course of the year, but Tape Deck Heart really is his best album yet. It’s raw and honest and has passion pouring from every note and chord. The slow songs (“Tell Tale Signs” and “Anymore”) will break your heart, but the punk anthems of “Four Simple Words” and “We Shall Not Overcome” will have you dancing around the room belting out the words. Its a typical Frank Turner album that delicately balances highs and lows with both wit and precision. His lyrical ability is at the top of his game as well; look up the lyrics for “Broken Piano” if you have the time (I’d paste it here but there’s not room for me to paste the entire song).

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1. Once I Was an Eagle – Laura Marling

At this point in her career I’m convinced that Laura Marling can do no wrong. For her fourth studio album Marling has ditched her backing band and once more struck out solo. The resulting masterpiece is easily her best work yet and once again affirms her stunning talent. The album is roughly divided up into two parts, separated by the instrumental track named, simply, “Interlude”. The first half is notably darker, and most of it is taken over by the “medley”: four tracks that Marling wrote and polished separately but eventually weaved into what basically amounts to one long song. The tracks are separate songs, however, and are titled individual. Marling often plays the tracks live and individually as well. The dark and haunting first half of the album is perfectly balanced by the second half which is cautiously optimistic. Some fans might wish for a return to her earlier music, but Marling has clearly matured since she released her debut album just six years ago at the age of eighteen. Having recently left England to live in LA, one can only imagine what Marling will do next. I, for one, can’t wait to see.

 

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An Interview with Ben Marwood

by Cherie

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photo by Ben Morse

Fresh off his first US tour supporting Frank Turner, the lovely Ben Marwood agreed to sit down for an interview Lyrically Addicted. The British musician just released his second album in 2013, entitled Back Down.

LA: The first time I heard your music was because I heard you were opening for Frank Turner on his most recent US tour. How did you meet Frank in the first place?

Ben: Me and Frank met wayyyy way back in the mists of time. It feels like a lifetime ago. It was probably only April 2006. From what I remember he was on his first proper tour of the UK since his split from Million Dead and a friend booked me and him on the same bill. We were on a few more bills by chance and then I guess I must have brainwashed the poor guy. He’s really good at keeping in touch so eventually we did more shows together on purpose this time and since then I’ve been hiding in his suitcase every so often. It’s all good fun. He’s one of the most genuine and down-to-earth people you could hope to meet in this industry and he has a lot of incredibly keen fans.

LA: How did the tour go? Were you surprised by the amount of Marwood fans at the shows? Are there any plans for an American invasion any time in the future?

Ben: The tour was astonishing. I was really surprised by how keen everyone was to get down to the shows in time for doors and how far a lot of people traveled. I live on an island where some people complain about having to drive to the next town over to see a show (20, 30 miles), so to meet people who think nothing of driving four, five, six hours in one direction just to catch a gig was an eye-opener. The support was very touching, and as I genuinely had no expectations going into the tour as it was my first in the USA, to have it pan out the way it did was really special. It definitely helps to be out on the road with such a professional and friendly bunch of people. FT’s band and crew are great, Off With Their Heads [main support] were excellent night after night and we also had my hometown hero Ben Morse out there to do photography and video stuff for Frank. It quickly became like a home away from home and it sucked to be over so soon. It’s something I’d like to do again, so I wouldn’t rule out an American invasion in the future, but it won’t happen for a while. Touring your country is, sad to say, probably one of the most expensive things any musician could ever do, so it’s something that needs careful planning and deep pockets. Otherwise I’d be on a plane tomorrow.

LA: Do you get homesick while you’re on tour? If so, is there anything you bring with you on the road to help you be less homesick?

Ben: I’ve always been a bit of a homebody, and whilst mentally I don’t miss home when I’m away, my body does go kinda crazy very quickly. Away from the schedule of day-to-day life, I forget to eat, and I don’t sleep enough, and that takes its toll quite quickly. Before any show, I’m normally a bag of nerves, so after three or four days of not looking after myself I can get pretty ill and whilst as such there’s nothing I can really take with me from home that’ll make me feel better, I know by now that I just need to power through any panic attacks, safe in the knowledge that it’s always fine in the end. And remember to GO TO BED.

LA: Traveling means a lot of down time (stuck in a car, a bus, a train, etc). What do you like to do to fill that time?

Ben: Well, it depends on how you get from show to show. The last tour I did in the UK to launch the album in June, I did the travelling mostly by train. That might sound nuts to someone who lives in a place with no real public transport (Florida, I’m looking at you..) but it’s cheaper than taking a car. When that’s your method of getting around there’s not a lot of downtime, but what time there is I like to listen to music and stare at the scenery. I’d recommend anyone take the train from York to Dundee via Edinburgh. The scenery on the way through is spectacular. Any time that I don’t spend listening to music, though, is normally spent in a daydream. It wasn’t until I sat down the other day and actually really thought about what I do with my time, that I realized I spend at least 50% of any given day thinking about stuff which plain doesn’t exist. I’m a grown man, you know.

LA: What kind of guitar do you play?

Ben: I currently have two guitars on the go: my lovely Simon & Patrick GT cutaway and a Saigon DM100e which they essentially gave me to take to the States, the idea of which (getting stuff for free) is crazy and something I’m not used to. It’s a really tough decision choosing between the two as they both have their quirks. The Saigon’s really easy to play all styles on, and the S&P sounds impeccable turned up loud, so I couldn’t part with either of them. I also have a Gibson SG Voodoo for if I need an electric guitar, but sightings of this in public are very rare. Having two acoustic guitars is a new and weird sensation for me – before this summer I’d only owned one acoustic ever, an Art & Lutherie, but that was retired in June after more than a decade of loyal service and now sits in a corner of my house wondering what it did wrong. Chin up, little buddy.

LA: Do you prefer to play acoustically (like you did on the US tour) or is that more of a practical decision?

Ben: I much prefer to play acoustic. It’s how I write all my songs and, for just one guy on a stage, you can fill all frequencies much easier and have it sound much better. Really, playing an electric guitar would only be worthwhile if I was in a rock band and it’s not often that that happens.

LA: Would you mind explaining what the recording process was for your latest album? You said in an interview that it took you something like 18 months from start to finish. Are you happy with the final result?

Ben: I like to think of Back Down as that difficult child that you have to love because otherwise you’d abandon it on someone’s doorstep. Writing it was a nightmare, recording it was like throwing money down a hole but somehow it all came together. About halfway through the writing process I moved into a new flat/apartment (delete per whatever side of the Atlantic you’re reading this on) and found myself surrounded by some of the noisiest people yet, at the same time, people the least tolerant of noise ever. I couldn’t play guitar without invoking some kind of complaint from somewhere so the album writing had to be finished off in my head, without touching the guitar. Add to that, I (maybe foolishly) tried some new recording techniques right at the start that didn’t work, and rather than going “well, that didn’t work” I decided to stick it out. Turns out recording a song is like building a house. What’s on the bottom has to be right, otherwise the whole thing’s going to fall over when you get to the top. Me and Matt (Bew, the poor guy who had to engineer the mess) spent many Saturday mornings poring over takes and tracks making changes here and there, headbutting the walls and going “why, baby Jesus, why?“, but in the end it worked out okay. I’m as proud of Back Down as I am the first album but it was much more stress than it needed to be. But hey, you live and learn. I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve said after every trip to the studio ever, though. Uh oh.

LA: What’s next for you? I saw you just announced a UK tour with several house shows? Any long term plans to come back to the US in the next few years?

Ben: Next for me is to play some shows in the UK in November/December, and then I’m also starting to book more shows in the UK for February to May 2014, at which point I’ll put Back Down to bed and focus on some new things. I couldn’t rule out a third album one day but starting it is the hardest part. I won’t be moving house in the middle of writing next time.

LA: Have you seen any good shows this past year? Any you were upset to have missed?

Ben: I saw a good show this past week, in fact. A couple of days ago I traveled to London where, after many years of waiting, I saw Mountain Goats for the first time at the Union Chapel. I’ve been a massive fan since Sunset Tree (which is, for my money, one of the best albums ever recorded both in terms of its musical field and its narrative/ability to turn a personal tragedy into a tool for recovery) but whenever MG come to this country, I’m always off doing shows elsewhere. Still, I finally got the job done and it was worth the wait. The thing about Mountain Goats is that they’ve been going for, I don’t know, 672 years and they feel under no obligation to play any of their obviously popular stuff, so you go into the show as likely to hear a song from 1995 that was only ever released on cassette as, say, anything from their latest album. Actually I don’t think they played a song from their newest record at all.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to They Might Be Giants in November. Amongst the other great shows I’ve seen in the past year have been the return of Jetplane Landing (a rock band from Northern Ireland recently reunited), and also Colin Meloy of Decemberists who put on a great show at Newport Folk Festival. Who am I kidding, I must have seen loads of great shows this year but my memory is not so good. Basically after the summer I’ve had I go to every show expecting it to be a Frank Turner show. Those shows with FT and Off With Their Heads were some of the best times I could ever have, so I think show of the year probably ends up going to the final night of the tour in Madison, WI. I wish I had a prize to give, but my own personal prize was the look on the server’s face when I walked into a catering outlet at 2pm and asked if they were still doing breakfast. Her face let me know there’s no such thing as a late breakfast in Madison. I had to look down and check I’d remembered to put clothes on.

LA: What’s on your mp3 player right now? Any guilty pleasures on there?

Ben: Aha! I can honestly say there are no guilty pleasures currently on my mp3 player. I regularly clear it out and restock it with new stuff – there’s probably only about 50 or 60 songs on there at any one time. Recently I’ve been listening to the new album by my friend Mark McCabe (recommended) and the recent albums from Jetplane Landing and Off With Their Heads. There’ve been some great albums out recently though, including a new one from Jason Isbell which you should all crawl over your own mothers to hear.

LA: If you could do anything else for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Ben: What, like, a collection of things? Or do I have to just pick one? Because to be honest I think if you could only choose one thing to do for all eternity, you’re going to get bored of it. “Oh man, I have to get up and wander around this perfect utopia AGAIN?! Sighhhhh I wish I didn’t choose to abolish Facebook.”

I think I’m going to choose.. actually, you know what? It doesn’t matter. I can do anything, and collections of anythings, as long as I’m at peace with whatever I’m doing. There are people who go out of their way every week to do as much as possible and still get this sense of unease that they’re not doing enough, and next door to me my brother is shouting at people down the internet and shooting zombies and he seems perfectly happy about it.

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You Should Know…Ben Marwood

by Cherie, blog founder

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One of the best things about going to live shows is being introduced to artists that you might not have found otherwise. For Frank Turner fans in the United States that certainly was the case this past summer when Frank brought along an old friend, Ben Marwood, to open up his shows. Ben and Frank are both signed to Xtra Mile Recordings, an independent label in the UK. They first met after Frank split from his band, Million Dead, to pursue a solo career. “A friend booked me and him on the same bill. We were on a few more bills by chance and then I guess I must have brainwashed the poor guy,” Ben jokes. The two struck up a friendship, and have done many shows together since then. They’ve gone on to share the stage at many festivals, including an “Xtra Mile Takeover” at 2000 Trees this past year in Gloucestershire, England.

Standing on stage with just his acoustic guitar, Ben manages to be utterly charming and captivating, if a bit awkward at times. “Well I play until my fingers hurt and grit my teeth through ever word like I’m the only introvert who wants to seize the day,” he sings on one of his most popular songs, “Singalong.” Ben writes his songs with unflinching honesty, admitting flaws in both himself in others in a way that’s like a breath of fresh air. His lyrics are utterly relateable, and he tells it like it is. Ben once stated that he makes “angry folk for enthusiastic people,” which is certainly the best description of his particular brand of indie-folk. All of his songs are catchy and quirky and tend to get stuck in your head for days.

Ben is, at heart, a one man band, and he prefers playing with just an acoustic guitar when given the option. “I much prefer to play acoustic,” he admits. “It’s how I write all my songs and, for just one guy on a stage, you can fill all frequencies much easier and have it sound much better.” Ben’s guitar of choice is his Simon & Patrick GT cutaway but he was also given a Saigon DM100e to take with him when he toured the US. “The idea of which (getting stuff for free) is crazy and something I’m not really used to” Ben confesses, though obviously thrilled with the new addition.

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Ben released his second album in 2013, entitled Back Down. The album itself is a mix of cynicism and optimism, with its message being delivered loudly and confidently by Ben and his acoustic guitar. But recording Back Down wasn’t the easiest of processes, Ben reveals. “I like to think of Back Down as that difficult child that you have to love because otherwise you’d abandon it on someone’s doorstep. Writing it was a nightmare, recording it was like throwing money down a hole but somehow it all came together…I’m as proud of Back Down as I am the first album but it was much more stress then it needed to be.”

As for Ben’s tour schedule for the rest of the year, he plans on further supporting his album with a slew of UK dates (which can be found here). Sadly, Ben has no plans to return to the US anytime soon, though not for lack of interest. “Touring [the US] is, sad to say, probably one of the most expensive things any musician could ever do. Otherwise I’d be on a plane tomorrow.”

For now though, you can check out Ben’s music on iTunes or Spotify.

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