Electrelane

Electrelane

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Electrelane are a British all-female indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

 band, formed in Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

 in 1998 by Verity Susman and Emma Gaze. The band comprised Susman, Gaze, Mia Clarke
Mia Clarke
Mia Clarke is a guitarist and backing vocalist from the British alternative rock band Electrelane. She was born in Brighton, England and following a short period living in the Czech Republic moved to Chicago, United States in 2008....

, and Ros Murray. Their music draws from wide range of influences including Neu!
Neu!
Neu! was a German band formed by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early 1970s...

, Stereolab
Stereolab
Stereolab are an alternative music band formed in 1990 in London, England. The band originally comprised songwriting team Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier , both of whom remained at the helm across many lineup changes...

, Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth is an American alternative rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. The current lineup consists of Thurston Moore , Kim Gordon , Lee Ranaldo , Steve Shelley , and Mark Ibold .In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City...

, and The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited...

. Although the band has strong feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 and political views in their personal lives, they generally preferred to not communicate that directly to their fans or through their music; one exception is their inclusion of the protest song
Protest song
A protest song is a song which is associated with a movement for social change and hence part of the broader category of topical songs . It may be folk, classical, or commercial in genre...

 "The Partisan
The Partisan
"The Partisan" is a song about the French Resistance in World War II. The song was written in 1943 in London by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie...

," which they began playing while on tour in the United States during the months preceding the 2004 Presidential election. The band, when playing live, had a reputation for a focused and thrilling show that minimized audience interaction and rarely included more than one encore
Encore (concert)
An encore is an additional performance added to the end of a concert, from the French "encore", which means "again", "some more"; multiple encores are not uncommon. Encores originated spontaneously, when audiences would continue to applaud and demand additional performance from the artist after the...

.

Early years (1998–August 2000)


The band recorded their first single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

, "Film Music," and released it in January 2000 on the Skint Records
Skint Records
Skint Records is a Brighton based dance music record label owned by JC Reid, Tim Jeffery and Damian Harris. It was created as a sublabel of Loaded Records, also founded by Reid and Jeffery...

 off-shoot label Indenial. They released another single ("Le Song") with Fierce Panda
Fierce Panda Records
Fierce Panda Records is a London-based independent record label, with its first release in February 1994. It also produced a small number of releases that year by now famous artists such as Ash, The Bluetones, Baby Bird and Supergrass...

 before creating their own label, Let's Rock!, with distribution by 3MV. The first two singles they released were "Gabriel" and "Blue Straggler" and in fall of 2000 they began work on their debut album. During this period, they had a number of personnel changes. The original bassist was Tracy Houdek, who left the band due to a pregnancy. She was briefly replaced by Rupert Noble until Rachel Dalley signed on. Original guitarist Debbie Ball was replaced by Mia Clarke
Mia Clarke
Mia Clarke is a guitarist and backing vocalist from the British alternative rock band Electrelane. She was born in Brighton, England and following a short period living in the Czech Republic moved to Chicago, United States in 2008....

.

Rock It to the Moon (September 2000–March 2003)


Their debut album, Rock It to the Moon
Rock It to the Moon
Rock It to the Moon is the debut album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on compact disc in the UK in 2001 by Let's Rock!, and issued by Mr. Lady Records in the US in 2002. Too Pure, the record label Electrelane signed with for their follow up album, The Power Out , reissued Rock...

, was released in April 2001 through Mr. Lady Records
Mr. Lady Records
Mr. Lady Records was a San Francisco-based lesbian-feminist independent record label and video art distributor. Artists on the label included Le Tigre and The Butchies. OutSmart magazine noted that Mr...

. Although Electrelane started off as a traditional band with vocals, this album was mostly instrumental
Instrumental
An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics or singing, although it might include some non-articulate vocal input; the music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments....

. Verity Susman explained, "Way way back, when we first started, we always had a lot of singing. But it never worked that well. When we did instrumental it was always more interesting. More completely we felt like we were doing something good, while the songs with the singing ended up quite bog-standard, boring, not very interesting." NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

 rated the album an 8 out of 10, saying Rock It to the Moon was "just the way a debut album should be... utterly focused [and] stripped of all extraneous flab."

The Power Out (April 2003–November 2004)


Electrelane brought in renowned producer
Record producer
A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job is to oversee and manage the recording of an artist's music...

 Steve Albini
Steve Albini
Steven Frank Albini is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, audio engineer and music journalist. He was a member of Big Black, Rapeman, and Flour, and is currently a member of Shellac...

 to record their second album, The Power Out
The Power Out
The Power Out is the second album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on compact disc and vinyl in 2004 by Too Pure. It was recorded in Chicago, Illinois in early 2003 by Steve Albini. The album's lead single, "On Parade" was a hit on college radio...

, while production was still handled by the band. The result was an album that added more vocals and structure to the songs, giving them almost pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

-like vibes. It was released on Too Pure
Too Pure
Too Pure is a London-based independent record label that was formed in 1990 by Richard Roberts and Paul Cox.-History:Too Pure started off as a small experimental label and had built their reputation by releasing primarily alternative/independent music which they felt was being ignored by the major...

 in February 2004. The album was widely recognized and praised as critics appreciated the added complexity and vocals on their new work.

Electrelane had not only added vocals to the work, but had transcended conventional expectations by employing a number of techniques. Of the nine songs with vocals, three of them were done in different languages. The album opener "Gone Under Sea" is sung completely in French. The third song, "The Valleys," featuring the vocals of the ensemble Chicago a cappella
Chicago a cappella (ensemble)
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Chicago a cappella is a classical vocal ensemble. The group is known for its performance of a wide range of musical styles, from medieval and Renaissance music to contemporary classical compositions, jazz, spirituals, and pop....

, had in part sections from Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Loraine Sassoon CBE MC was an English poet, author and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's...

's "A Letter Home." On "Oh Sombra!" the Spanish lyrics are a sonnet by 16th century Catalan
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 poet Juan Boscán Almogáver
Juan Boscán Almogáver
Joan Boscà i Almogàver , was a Catalan poet born about the end of the 15th century.The exact date of birth for Boscà is unclear, but there is a consensus that he was born anywhere between 1487 and 1492. Boscà was born in Barcelona and was one of three children...

. On "This Deed" the lyrics are a single line, in German, from Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

's Die fröhliche Wissenschaft
The Gay Science
The Gay Science is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs...

followed by the exclamation "Hände hoch!" (or "Hands up!"). These touches, as one review put it, "managed to be unique without being a radical departure."

Midway through 2004, Rachel Dalley left the group and was replaced by Ros Murray, an old friend of the group.

Axes (December 2004–May 2006)


For their follow up, the mostly instrumental Axes
Axes (album)
Axes is the third album by English rock group Electrelane.For the mostly instrumental album, Electrelane once again returned to Steve Albini's studio in Chicago. In the first recording session for Axes, the band played through the entire album in one take. This reflected the band's desire to have...

, Electrelane once again returned to Steve Albini's studio in Chicago. In the first recording
Sound recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical or mechanical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording...

 session for Axes, the band played through the entire album in one take. This reflected the band's desire to have listeners of the album experience the band's live show. Emma Gaze explained the album was recorded "the way we rehearse and practise: we all stand in a circle and it is very relaxed. Our previous recording experiences have been with the bass in one room, the drums in a different room, the two guitarists in a different room and then the vocals are done afterwards. Obviously it works like that because that is how most bands do it. But we just wanted it to sound more live; there is a different kind of energy that comes from playing in the same room." Verity Susman said that "We see the record as a continuous piece of music, not a collection of songs. It also reflects the way we improvise, moving from one idea to the next without a clear break. It’s also how we play live." The album was released on 9 May 2005 to mixed, but generally positive reviews.

As with The Power Out, Electrelane supported Axes with a global tour. By now they had toured in the UK, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Japan and Australia. They both headlined their own tours and supported tours for The Ex and Le Tigre
Le Tigre
Le Tigre is an American electroclash band, formed by Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman in 1998. It also featured Sadie Benning from 1998 until 2001, and JD Samson for the rest of the group's run...

 among others; they had also appeared at festivals
Music festival
A music festival is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians, or holiday. They are commonly held outdoors, and are often inclusive of other attractions such as food and merchandise vending machines,...

 such as South by Southwest
South by Southwest
South by Southwest is an Austin, Texas based company dedicated to planning conferences, trade shows, festivals and other events. Their current roster of annual events include: SXSW Music, SXSW Film, SXSW Interactive, SXSWedu, and SXSWeco and take place every spring in Austin, Texas, United States...

 and the ATP Festival
All Tomorrow's Parties (music festival)
All Tomorrow's Parties is a music festival which takes place at Camber Sands holiday camp in East Sussex and Butlin's holiday camp in Minehead, Somerset, England....

.

No Shouts, No Calls (June 2006–October 2007)


No Shouts, No Calls
No Shouts, No Calls
No Shouts, No Calls is the fourth album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on CD and LP in 2007 by Too Pure.No Shouts, No Calls is also their first album to be entirely digitally recorded and mixed. The group began writing material in Berlin's Planet Roc studios in the summer of...

is Electrelane's fourth studio album, and their first which was entirely digitally recorded
Digital recording
In digital recording, digital audio and digital video is directly recorded to a storage device as a stream of discrete numbers, representing the changes in air pressure for audio and chroma and luminance values for video through time, thus making an abstract template for the original sound or...

 and mixed. The group began writing material in Berlin's Planet Roc studios in the summer of 2006, at the height of the World Cup
2006 FIFA World Cup
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six...

. During that period, the band became fans of the sport, going so far as to rearrange their recording schedules around the event and including a sample of a match between Hertha BSC Berlin
Hertha BSC Berlin
Hertha Berliner Sport-Club von 1892, commonly known as Hertha BSC or Hertha Berlin, is a German association football club based in Berlin. A founding member of the German Football Association in Leipzig in 1900, the club has a long history as Berlin's best-supported side...

 and FC Moskva
FC Moskva
This article refers to the Moscow government team formed in 2004. For the predecessors in the Russian Premier League, see FC Torpedo-ZIL and FC Torpedo-Metallurg....

 in the song "Five" of their new album.

In August, Electrelane released Singles, B-Sides & Live
Singles, B-Sides & Live
Singles, B-Sides & Live is a compilation album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on CD in 2006 by Too Pure. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 are from their EP I Want To Be President.-Track listing:...

, a rarities collection that included a number of live performances as well as original versions of tracks from their debut album.

In September and October, they were in Benton Harbor
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Benton Harbor is a city in Berrien County in the U.S. state of Michigan which is located west of Kalamazoo. The population was 10,038 at the 2010 census. It is the lesser populated of the two principal cities included in the Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a...

 recording and mixing their album. In November, the band announced on their official website that they had finished recording and had titled their album No Shouts, No Calls
No Shouts, No Calls
No Shouts, No Calls is the fourth album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on CD and LP in 2007 by Too Pure.No Shouts, No Calls is also their first album to be entirely digitally recorded and mixed. The group began writing material in Berlin's Planet Roc studios in the summer of...

. The album was released in on 23 April 2007 in Japan, 3 May 2007 in the USA and 30 April 2007 elsewhere. The first single, titled "To the East," was released on 12 March 2007. The album received generally positive reviews, with Heather Phares of Allmusic calling some songs "among the band's finest work"; detractors included
Leonie Cooper of The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, who mentioned the band had a "penchant for turning every tune [into] a proggy
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 wig-out." James Reed of the Boston Globe picked the album as one of the best of 2007.

In May and June 2007 the band toured the United States with Tender Forever
Tender forever
Tender Forever is the performing name of musician Melanie Valera. She was born in 1977 in South West France and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Valera has worked on multimedia projects, including collaborations with film maker Ted Passon, artist Nick Lally and producer Christopher Doulgeris...

 and opened for Arcade Fire on several of their shows. For the rest of the summer, they played the Fuji Rock Festival
Fuji Rock Festival
Fuji Rock Festival is an annual rock festival held in Naeba Ski Resort, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The 3 day event, organized by Smash Japan, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan...

 in Japan as well as various festivals
Music festival
A music festival is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians, or holiday. They are commonly held outdoors, and are often inclusive of other attractions such as food and merchandise vending machines,...

 in Europe, including La Route du Rock
La Route du Rock
La Route du Rock is a biannual music festival that occurs in the city of Saint-Malo.Traditionnally the festival was held every year but since 2006, a winter edition is held called collection d 'hiver after the french fashion word. The 20th occurrence of La Route du Rock transpired on the dates of...

, Summercase
Summercase
Summercase was a two-day music festival held simultaneously in Barcelona and Madrid. The schedules were the same but reverted. The line up mainly consists of indie rock, electronic music and indie pop. Hence, the festival tries to blend indie pop, rock music and dance music into one...

, Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival is the best-known music festival in Switzerland and one of the most prestigious in Europe; it is held annually in early July in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva...

 and Festival Paredes de Coura.

Indefinite hiatus (November 2007–2010)


In early November 2007, Electrelane posted a message on their website, explaining that they would be on an indefinite hiatus.


"We have decided that the upcoming gigs will be our last for the foreseeable future. After ten years of much fun and hard work, we have realised that we all need a break and time to do other things. This was a tough decision for us to make, but ultimately a positive one. A big thank you to everyone who has come to our shows, put on our shows, and bought our records over the years. It means a lot to us. We're really grateful to have had the opportunity to play gigs all over the world and to meet so many lovely people. This last year has been especially enjoyable and we feel happy about moving on with all these good memories to look back on. At the moment we haven’t made any band plans for the future, but we’re going to have a break and see what happens.


Love, Electrelane"


Their "last" show "for the foreseeable future" was on 1 December 2007 in Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

, England. On 14 December, the band organized a benefit
Benefit concert
A benefit concert or charity concert is a concert, show or gala featuring musicians, comedians, or other performers that is held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis. Such events raise both funds and public awareness to address the cause at...

 for the Anti-Trafficking Alliance at the Barfly
Barfly (club)
Barfly is a chain of live music venues nightclubs in the UK operating as part of the MAMA Group. It has venues in Brighton, London & York. They regularly feature live music. Their club nights tend to feature rock, alternative and independent music...

 in London. They did not perform, choosing to DJ
Disc jockey
A disc jockey, also known as DJ, is a person who selects and plays recorded music for an audience. Originally, "disc" referred to phonograph records, not the later Compact Discs. Today, the term includes all forms of music playback, no matter the medium.There are several types of disc jockeys...

 instead.

Reformed for festivals (2011)


In February 2011, Electrelane posted the following message on their website:

"This summer we're going to play some festivals, including Field Day
Field Day (festival)
Field Day is an outdoor music festival which takes place in Victoria Park in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, organised by events promoter Tom Baker of Eat Your Own Ears. Similar to sister festival Underage, the single day event takes place around early August of each year. Both festivals...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and a few gigs. We're still confirming everything, so will be announcing dates soon. It's very exciting for us to be playing together again after more than three years, and we're just sorry that we won't be able to make it to the US this time. At the moment our plan is just to play live this summer, so we hope to see you!"


During the spring, the band announced they would play the The Big Chill festival
The Big Chill (music festival)
The Big Chill is an annual festival of alternative, dance and chill-out music and comedy, held in the grounds of Eastnor Castle during early August...

 held on the grounds of Eastnor Castle
Eastnor Castle
Eastnor Castle is a 19th century mock castle, two miles from the town of Ledbury in Herefordshire, England, by the village of Eastnor. It was founded by John Cocks, 1st Earl Somers as his stately home and continues to be inhabited by his descendents. Currently in residence is the family of...

, as well as Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

's Theatron Pfingst (Pentecost) Festival.

At the time, there were no announced plans for new material.

Members

  • Mia Clarke
    Mia Clarke
    Mia Clarke is a guitarist and backing vocalist from the British alternative rock band Electrelane. She was born in Brighton, England and following a short period living in the Czech Republic moved to Chicago, United States in 2008....

    : guitar
    Guitar
    The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

    , backing vocals
  • Emma Gaze: drums
    Drum kit
    A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....

    , (also does most of the artwork for the albums)
  • Ros Murray: bass guitar
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    , backing vocals
  • Verity Susman: keyboards
    Keyboard instrument
    A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

    , guitar
    Guitar
    The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

    , saxophone
    Saxophone
    The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

    , clarinet
    Clarinet
    The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

    , lead vocals

Past members

  • Tracey Houdek (1998–1999): bass guitar
  • Debbie Ball (1998–2000): guitar, vocals
  • Rupert Noble (1999): bass guitar
  • Rachel Dalley (1999–2004): bass guitar

Albums

  • 2001: Rock It to the Moon
    Rock It to the Moon
    Rock It to the Moon is the debut album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on compact disc in the UK in 2001 by Let's Rock!, and issued by Mr. Lady Records in the US in 2002. Too Pure, the record label Electrelane signed with for their follow up album, The Power Out , reissued Rock...

  • 2004: The Power Out
    The Power Out
    The Power Out is the second album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on compact disc and vinyl in 2004 by Too Pure. It was recorded in Chicago, Illinois in early 2003 by Steve Albini. The album's lead single, "On Parade" was a hit on college radio...

  • 2005: Axes
    Axes (album)
    Axes is the third album by English rock group Electrelane.For the mostly instrumental album, Electrelane once again returned to Steve Albini's studio in Chicago. In the first recording session for Axes, the band played through the entire album in one take. This reflected the band's desire to have...

  • 2007: No Shouts, No Calls
    No Shouts, No Calls
    No Shouts, No Calls is the fourth album by English rock group Electrelane. It was released on CD and LP in 2007 by Too Pure.No Shouts, No Calls is also their first album to be entirely digitally recorded and mixed. The group began writing material in Berlin's Planet Roc studios in the summer of...


Singles and EPs

  • 2000: "Film Music"
  • 2000: "Gabriel"
  • 2001: "Blue Straggler"
  • 2003: "On Parade"
  • 2004: I Want to Be President EP
  • 2004: "This Deed"
  • 2007: "To the East"
  • 2007: "In Berlin"

External links