SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND?
THE 9th EARL is a recording project comprising musicians Rob van Raak and Craig Mundy who describe their sound as, “diverse, but remaining guitar driven rock ‘n roll.”
And diverse it certainly is. Theirs is the sound of the scorching deserts, of pain, soul-searching, love, a hint of satire, and a backstory so remarkable you’ll question why Netflix haven’t beaten a path to their door to secure the rights to the film of their incredible lives.
Craig and I met a couple decades ago in school,” explained van Raak.
“My mother was a drummer and started teaching me when I was two and Craig was learning bass when I met him. He lived in a caravan out back of his dad’s and we used to get drunk and read books and listen to Led Zeppelin, Floyd and Queen mostly.
“I moved off and played drums in a heap of hopeful original bands that never worked hard enough for my satisfaction, but also met amazing travelling musos from around the world who opened my mind. Did a lot of session drumming, enjoy the studio environment, and learned recording and engineering, specialising in drums.
“Not long after I moved back to the old town in 2017, (Currawarna, Australia), I was working as a motorcycle postman to finance my musical habit and got run over by a car. Crushed real bad, had my chest wall reconstructed with titanium plates and screws, 35 metal bits.”
Their music has drawn comparisons to ‘Pink Floyd,’ and to date the duo have released 21 official music videos with Craig playing lead guitar and bass with Rob on drums, vocals, rhythm guitars and writing of himself in the third person. Nobody else is involved in any aspect of the process except the mastering, which is done professionally.
“We had been recording improv songs mostly on minimal cheap equipment for fun and found ourselves with our first album,” added van Raak. “We were making songs we wanted to hear.
“I liked it, so I went and spent about half a million bucks on more, had builders redo Craig’s house into a recording facility, took over completely.
“Along the way, we released everything, and it has improved. By about the 10th music video it had crossed a quality threshold and I had developed processes that allowed me to have it complete by the time the music is mastered and make a video for every song and now we release a new one every two to four weeks.
“We make music and videos that we want to hear and see. We love to share it, but our names feel insignificant. We don’t identify with it and forget it’s us when we’re listening.
“But we love it and are so proud of our ability to perform it without ever editing or chopping and moving anything. We allow any performance flaws to remain to teach us better for next time.
“Every song is a true story, sometimes funny but always delivered like we mean it, so sometimes it gets by, and we enjoy that as well. Craig has never learned a cover song, but has played for 30 years, what he does is different and a miracle.
“The 9th Earl isn’t a band, it’s just a master drummer, average guitarist/singer/songwriter/engineer and his best friend who looks after him, shredding bass and lead guitar through the nicest instruments on the face of the earth.
“If anyone takes time out to listen to us, I hope they leave with the sense they have experienced something real, honest and different, and something that will stick with them.”
Take that time out today, you’ll be hooked.
T W O
OUT next month, the debut EP from AMPLITUDE & FREQUENCY, a duo consisting of Bob Prince and SD Charlton.
Prince hails from Petaluma, California, and is responsible for all the instrumental work, mixing and mastering with the exception of the drums which were provided by Taylor ‘Chopsticks’ Allum. UK-based Charlton helped arrange the vocals and added harmonies.
“I have been playing music for about 26 years,” said Prince.
“Kirk Hammett was my first influence, and I grew up listening to Nirvana, Sound Garden and bands Like the Butthole Surfers. Soon after I developed a love for the blues, first it was Hendrix and Clapton, then BB King, Muddy Waters and Albert King. I’m also a big fan of Coltrane, Miles Davis, and others like Jaco and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I’ve played primarily in blues band and covers bands live, but I finally decided to pull the trigger and start recording my own music.
Two of the five tracks are instrumentals, but that adds to the EP’s quality – rather than detracting from it.
Lead track ‘You’re Magic’ is four delicious minutes of summer holiday, beach sunshine. The wonderful, subtle guitar riffs, the flawless melodies, providing the perfect elements for one of the songs of the year.
The Latino-esque intro to ‘Urban Frequencies’ vanishes as quickly as it appears, replaced by a Harlem-infused, Hendrix inspired journey to absolute euphoria.
Perhaps ‘Symphony of Dreams’ should have been saved for another day, without doubt the EP’s weakest track, a mix of styles that doesn’t accomplish whatever it intended to achieve, however we’re quickly brought back on track by the two remaining tunes, ‘Heart Strings,’ and ‘Dreamscape (Master.)’
“Typically, when I write song being primarily a guitar player I start off with a guitar and or bass riff and build from there,” adds Prince. “Then I start to lay either bass line or guitar as framework, the vocal pieces I usually come up with when I write the first riff and sometimes it ends up being the chorus, sometimes the verse.”
“Once I have the vocals/melody I’ll send it out to whoever I’m working with – SD Charlton was the partner on this project. What he brought is a singer’s viewpoint that I don’t have and it really made what I did come alive. With the vocals, drums, bass, rhythm guitar complete, I’ll start adding the details, keys and or any MIDI sounds I’m hearing in my head.”
PRESAVE LINK: Urban Frequencies by Amplitude & Frequency – DistroKid
T H R E E
PETE MARLEY’S ‘Marveline’ have just released ‘Important Things’ – which in all honesty can immediately be filed under ‘instantly forgettable.’
The song is Marveline’s first of 2022 and the fourth since the ‘Savoury-Toothed Tiger’ album in 2020.
Marley describes the song as, “A bit of a whimsical love tune with acoustic guitars and a short but tasty guitar solo.”
Whimsical? Yes. Tasty guitar solo? No.
Guitar solo yes, tasty, definitely not. Or if there is, I’ve missed it.
There’s so much traffic out there, so many ‘whimsical love tunes’ that should you choose to travel along that path, my advice would be to bust your balls and hand us something special, something to set you aside from the noise.
At best, it’s a ten a penny song. There are thousands of them out there, and they all sound the same.
‘Important Things’ is now available on Bandcamp and the usual streaming services.
F O U R
NEW YORK’S finest purveyor of sublime, chilled, lo-fi, LOOPS & LOOPS continue to maintain their extraordinarily high standards as listeners to their latest five-track EP will heartily testify.
“The EP is pretty heavily influenced from the epic album by ‘Boards of Canada,’ Music Has the Right to Children,” said the mastermind behind Loops & Loops, Pete Bogolub.
“I took a random page from my journal where I described a day. I made that into a micro-journey of an average day for me. So, it has elements of being uplifting to feelings of isolation. Some of it is kind of fun, some of it is kind of dark, but it’s also perfect for a chill Friday, as the sun sets.”
(Want to appear in a future edition of ‘Something For The Weekend?’ Get in touch, tell us why, and we’ll see what we can do.)