Shares video for “Blood Drive”
Taken from debut album Ephrata due out on Quiet Arch Records on 5 May
London date on 11 May at Servant Jazz Quarters
Plays The Alternative Escape in Brighton on Friday 19 May
Watch video for “Blood Drive” here:
Tuesday 9th May – Nice and Sleazy – Glasgow
Thursday 11th May – Servant Jazz Quarters – London
Friday 19th May – The Alternative Escape, The Hub (6.15pm) – Brighton
Saturday 13th May – Ursa Minor – Ballycastle
Saturday 27th May – Craft Village – Derry
Thursday 1st June – Bellobar – Dublin
Joshua Burnside‘s anticipated debut Ephrata is finally seeing it’s release this Friday, 5 May via Quiet Arch Records. Following a sold-out launch show in Belfast at the weekend, Burnside is also playing dates in Glasgow and London as well as a slot at The Alternative Escape in Brighton this month.
“Blood Drive” is the second single from Ephrata and the video was premiered via Folk Radio. It was shot on the rugged north coast of Ireland, which is presented as a post-apocalyptic world, where we follow a lone survivor scavenging a bleak and barren landscape to survive. The two antagonists are the anthropomorphic characters Mr Fox and Mr Duck, two bloodied axe welding maniacs, who represent the Orwellian power-hungry, destructive masculinity of many of today’s most powerful politicians. “Blood Drive” and many of the songs on Ephrata deal with apocalyptic themes, as well as those of isolation, technophobia and PTSD, but there is a glimmer of hope that runs throughout, and we are left on an upbeat note when the survivors find comfort together and in the form of an old radio they manage to get working again.
Both rich and sparse, “Blood Drive” showcases Burnside’s skilful fingerpicking and angst-ridden vocals set against a haunting, insistent melody, blending avant-folk with elements of electronica. With nods to both country music and Latin folk, “Blood Drive” explores the distance between the everyday and the apocalyptic: something as routine as having one’s blood taken becomes a crisis, prompting a fight-or-flight anxiety attack and thoughts of the end of the world. Echoes of Jose Gonzalez, The National and Bon Iver are evident, and the song’s simplicity is enhanced by the layering of curious noises such as a TV spluttering in the distance, organs with endless delays, banjos and vocoder.
“Beautifully crafted. The initial opening, with all of its Jose Gonzalez-esque brooding, subtly lifting in to life with a quiver of plucked strings and a shuffling percussion that adds a warm glow to the otherwise icy ether that surrounds it all.” Gold Flake Paint
With nods to both country music and Latin folk, “Blood Drive” explores the distance between the everyday and the apocalyptic: something as routine as having one’s blood taken becomes a crisis, prompting a fight-or-flight anxiety attack and thoughts of the end of the world. Echoes of Jose Gonzalez, The National and Bon Iver are evident, and the song’s simplicity is enhanced by the layering of curious noises such as a TV spluttering in the distance, organs with endless delays, banjos and vocoder.
Burnside releases his debut album Ephrata on 5 May via Quiet Arch Records. Written in a burst of a few weeks whilst living in northern Colombia, the songs on the album deal with a diverse range of themes, from PTSD and technophobia, to larger questions about time, love and death in the modern age. Balanced with a diverse palette of sounds, Burnside deftly blends alt-folk and elements of the Irish folk song tradition with South American and Eastern European influences, whilst introducing synthetic and found-sounds, synths loops and crunching beats to create a stormy world that shifts and swirls perspective like a lingering lucid dream.
In need of a change of scene and creative stimulus, Burnside stayed with his cousin who was living in Colombia for a few months. He had no money when he went out there so he borrowed a small classical guitar and started writing the album. He even played with a local Cumbia group (mixing traditional African dance music with European instrumentation) and soaked up the rhythmic influences, most notably in songs such as “26th Street” (named after the street in Bogota where the political satirist Jaime Garzon was assassinated) and “fightorfight” (featuring guest vocals from Hozier cellist and backing vocalist Alana Henderson).
Burnside’s contemporary influences include bands such as Sun Kil Moon, Dirty Three, The Books and The Microphones, but this year has also found himself listening to a variety of old tapes, with the incongruous mixture of Dick Gaughan, Talking Heads, Toto La Mompasina and The Cure creeping into his own sound.
A multi-instrumentalist, Burnside played most of the sounds on the album but was also joined by a number of collaborators and producers with whom he’s worked with over the past few years, most of whom play for different people and have their own solo projects. These include his brother Connor on drums and percussions, electronic solo artist Rachael Boyd on violin and synths, Clark Phillips on bass and Sarah Martin on trumpet.
Listen to “Blood Drive”
Watch video for “Tunnels Part 2”