#astrid2016

Willie

Last week saw astrid launch our FB page and kind of make things a bit more official. Between the first announcement last month and the page going live last week we’ve been really overwhelmed by the reaction we’ve had from the news. It makes us feel really good about having decided to make this new record. Seriously unexpected!

Gareth

Gareth was in L.A a couple of weeks ago and I got the chance to hang out with him for a bit but we really spent more time catching up than talking shop. We’ll get to all that shop talk soon enough but for right now we know that most of the recording will take place here in Los Angeles this November somewhere around the 2nd – 16th.

Charlie

Another two demos were handed in this last week also, ‘Something That You Need’ and ‘Over The Hill’ which is taking us to just over 20 new tracks. Willie and I decided just to keep turning them out till November. I’m really excited by a lot of these new songs and see the album taking shape already. The majority of songs sit somewhere between ‘Strange Weather Lately’ and the ‘Modes of Transport’ EP.

ASTRID cherry-cherry-CD

Our management are starting to look at putting things in place for next year and a lot of our old friends and team are back on board to help out. It’s safe to say at this point that there will be a run of UK dates somewhere closer to next Summer. Thank you so much to everyone who has messaged us, posted and shared any astrid related info. It’s a really exciting time right now and it’s been so nice to reconnect with old friends and fans who share our excitement, the updates will keep coming as they unfold.

Charlie

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Devil’s Pulpit Video Premiere

Today the video for ‘The Devil’s Pulpit’ from my side project Charlie Clark & The Majestic 12 got it’s premiere on Altsounds.com. The video was shot and directed by Xia Magnus and art directed by my wife, Michelle Mondragon who made the lovely assortment of cakes you see getting destroyed.

This single is out now on Manimal Vinyl and is available on itunes with limited edition 7″ vinyl and follow up single coming out very soon!

MJ12_Devils Pulpit_Digital Cover

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NEW ASTRID ALBUM 2016

Astrid-Its-True-389148

After an 11 year hiatus, lots of therapy and one mystical walk along Gress beach in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, I’m happy to announce that astrid will be reforming later this year to record a new full length album. Willie, Gareth and I have been in talks trying to figure out all the logistics but recording will start this November here in Los Angeles.

Astrid-Redground-247958

So far Willie and I have sent each other around 6 songs each and we’ll continue to write until recording starts. All I can say so far is fans of our early EP’s and first record (Strange Weather Lately) won’t be disappointed. We certainly were never big enough to cash in on any reunion so we’re doing this because the songs are good and it feels like the right time to do this. I’m hoping that recording it here in L.A will sprinkle some sunshine on new songs like ‘Poison Reaction’ and ‘A Little Understanding’.

Astrid-One_in_four-Back-

We hope to follow this up with a handful of UK shows next year so more news on this as it develops but I for one couldn’t be happier that this is moving forward.

Charlie x

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Release News

MJ12_Devils Pulpit_Digital Cover

‘The Devil’s Pulpit’ will be released digitally June 26th on Manimal Vinyl. The MJ12 and I will follow that with another release the following month, ‘Sleepwalking’ and 7″ vinyl of both tracks will hit the stores shortly after that.

Photography by Sharlene Durfey

Photography by Sharlene Durfey

You can pre-order the single on itunes by clicking itunes pre-order.

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Broken Arrow News

After handing everything over for the MJ-12 release on Manimal this Summer it was time to get back to working on Broken Arrow with Brandi Emma. We’ve been meeting up with Paul Wilson (Producer/Guitar) and now have 3 songs nearly complete, we tracked all the rest of the songs with Eric McCann and now just need to add vocals and other sounds to the remaining songs. It’s only taken a year! It’s been a long process with Broken Arrow but Brandi and I have definitely figured out how we want this project to sound and we wanted our song choices for this record to be solid and cohesive so we actually wrote some new material as we went along on this journey. It’s been a trip, Brandi and I have developed a strong writing partnership and we’re both really excited for people to hear what we’ve spent the last year working on.

We dipped our toe back into the live scene recently with a show at Bar Lubitsch with friends The Out Of Towners and old friend and Broken Arrow collaborator Matt Van Winkle. We followed that with a spot on the Lady Low residency at 3 of Clubs in Hollywood last week (5/12). One of our oldest friends Ryan Fuller aka Fort King also shared this bill and an incredible night was had by all. We’ve been playing out as a trio with Eric McCann on upright bass and Brandi switching between guitar and harmonium. We both felt like this was a really good way to convey the new material with folks. It’s certainly not what to expect on the record as Pablo has given us a very full sound on these recordings but it’s an intimate way to hear these songs. Next up is The Hotel Cafe on June 9th at 9pm. Line up to be announced soon as well as links for tickets.

Last month we got together with filmmaker Xia Magnus to shoot the first Broken Arrow video for ‘Warning Signs’. We shot the majority of this video in Harvard & Stone and a fairly sleazy motel next to it on Hollywood Blvd. We also got some nice footage whilst roaming the streets of Hollywood on a Friday night. We ended up going for a really simplistic vibe for this video.

I’ve been working on several projects this year but I have to say that Broken Arrow has always remained the priority. Brandi and I have worked so hard on the material we’ve written but somewhere along the way the songs took on a life of their own and became something else. It’s partly down to the people we’re working with but it’s also down to the fact we took our time and let the sound develop organically. We both felt so good about the show we played the other night and now feel like it’s the right time to really move forward with Broken Arrow.

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mj-12

CHARLIE CLARK and THE MAJESTIC 12 IMG_7442

The Majestic 12, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S.Truman to facilitate recovery, investigation of alien spacecraft and the development of sonic soundscapes for the masses. Charlie Clark and The Majestic 12 are led by Scottish indie veteran and cat whisperer, Charlie Clark (Astrid, Reindeer Section)

Charlie Clark by Sharlene Durfey

Charlie Clark by Sharlene Durfey

with drummer/singer and undefeated national pie eating champion, Dash Hutton (HAIM)

Dash Hutton by Sharlene Durfey

Dash Hutton by Sharlene Durfey

and bassist/producer and wicker duck enthusiast, Eric McCann (The New Amsterdams).

Eric McCann by Sharlene Durfey

Eric McCann by Sharlene Durfey

Charlie Clark and The Majestic 12 will release their debut single, The Devil’s Pulpit/Sleepwalking on Manimal Vinyl June 26th 2015.

MJ12_Devils Pulpit_Digital Cover

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The Devil’s Pulpit & Sleepwalking

This Summer, Manimal Vinyl will release the first single of a new project I started this year called Charlie Clark and the Majestic 12. It was all a happy, messy, sugar coated accident that happened a little over a month ago…..

Earlier this year I was doing a lot of recording with Broken Arrow, Sugarplum Fairies and I’d finished writing my next solo EP. I had a bunch of new songs that I’d written and demoed up that just didn’t seem to fit anything I was doing but I really dug them and I wanted to get them recorded properly. At some point in January I’d mentioned this to my buddy Dash Hutton who plays drums with HAIM and is also a great singer/songwriter. I wanted to go into the studio with Eric McCann producing and playing bass, so, between the 3 of us I thought we could cover all points. My vibe for these songs was The Byrds meets My Bloody Valentine and to make a record that didn’t break the bank and was pretty spontaneous. I sent Dash the demos and we went in the studio to record a few days later at my friend Miles Senzaki’s place in K-Town, LA, Grandma’s Dojo.

We tracked all the drums and bass for 2 songs at Grandma’s Dojo and then went over to Sugarplum Fairies HQ to start on guitars, organ, vocals and general noise.

Whilst we were in the middle of doing all of this I had reached out to director and filmmaker Xia Magnus who had shot a video for ‘Moment of Fame’ by Sugarplum Fairies. My wife, Michelle Mondragon, had a cool concept for one of these songs and I had a basic concept for the other so I thought we could maybe shoot a video for both these songs.

It was now the middle of February so we’d finished tracking all the instruments. Dash and I had put down all our vocals and harmonies so we had some rough mixes to help shoot the videos. The first song we tackled was ‘Sleepwalking’. We shot some footage at my apartment where we all met up then went into Harvard & Stone in Hollywood (where I work) and shot the rest there. I wanted something really simple and felt somewhat Californian for this video.

A few days later we got together again with Xia and shot ‘The Devil’s Pulpit’. This was a really fun shoot and I have to give everyone who helped out huge props. My wife did an incredible job of art directing this shoot and put everything together for the set design, basically she took care of this whole shoot. My neighbor Sharlene Durfey snapped the whole shoot and my manager, Lou, was also on set to help out. I won’t give too much away but I will say, it got messy and a little stupid.

copyright Sharlene Durfey

copyright Sharlene Durfey

So, all in all this project went from farm to table in just over a month and The Majestic 12 and I are pretty pleased with how it all turned out. We’re also very excited that our good friends at Manimal Vinyl are working this release and look forward to sharing it with you all. More news soon and actual release date. Stay tuned!

Charlie

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A Majestic Month in Los Angeles

Sugarplum Fairies 1998 record Flake

Sugarplum Fairies 1998 record Flake

January seemed to come and pass in a flash for me this year. After a fairly uneventful (due to sickness) but restful holiday period the New Year got going immediately with a recording session with Sugarplum Fairies (1/4). This record is sounding so incredible and I feel very lucky to have collaborated with Silvia Ryder on our song ‘Bonnie Brae’ which will feature on the album. I’ll post more news about this album as soon as I know where it’s at, though I believe the recording parts are nearly done!

Trevor from Tall Tales

Trevor from Tall Tales

Next up was having a wee cameo in the new Tall Tales and the Silver Lining video for their single “Something To Believe In” from their forthcoming album “Tightropes” which drops Feb 24th on Other Music/Fat Possum records. These boys are dear friends and one of my favorite LA bands right now. This record sounds so beautiful so please check out Tall Tales and fall in love!

Just before Christmas I started working with the Manimal Group who are now managing me, to be specific, a wonderful Scots girl by the name of Lou Marron-Paige is now looking after all my music stuff. I’m super excited about this and have been a big fan of all things Manimal for a long time. I work with several of their label artists at Harvard & Stone where I book and it’s an awesome team of creative people to work with. Exciting times ahead!

Dash with Haim

Dash with Haim

After all this it was back to the studio for me where I did a session at Grandma’s Dojo Studio (1/23) with Eric Mcann (Feel Something Producer) and Dash Hutton from Haim. This is for a 7″ release I have planned in the next couple months. The Devils Pulpit/Sleepwalking 7″ will come out under the name ‘Charlie Clark and the Majestic 12’. These songs were a bit too the left for Broken Arrow and a bit too happy for my next solo EP so I wanted to have total fun with this project and pretty much just make up a band for this release. We had a total blast doing these songs and I’m working on them again tomorrow (2/3) at Sugarplum Fairies HQ with producer Eric McCann. More news on that as we go along.

Now, onto Broken Arrow.

We were back in the studio recording some more backing tracks for our forthcoming record (1/24) then went in with Producer Pablo (Snow Patrol) to finish off the song ‘Promises’ (1/26). Brandi and I are so pleased with how this song turned out and can’t wait to share it with y’all. We team up again with director Paul Orehovec this week to start a 4 day shoot for Warning Signs/Promises so this whole week will be spent putting everything and everyone together for this shoot. It’s our biggest production to date since working with Mr Orehovec so we’re looking forward to seeing the results!!

Citywalk_02

I’m really happy to announce that ‘Grateful’ from my “Feel Something” EP just got picked up for City Walk on KCET and will feature on Episode 4 which airs locally on February 3 on KCET and a few days later nationally on Direct TV and Dish Network.

A very big thank you from Brandi and I to Kevin Bronson from Buzzbands LA for spinning ‘Warning Signs’ on his show on KCSN. This is the first radio play we’ve had for Broken Arrow.

The Vaselines

The Vaselines

After a month in the studio and booking/working with 36 different LA bands for Harvard & Stone this January it was time to get a night out and catch up with some old friends. The Vaselines were in town last Wednesday night (1/28) for the last night of their US tour. The Scots were out in full force at The Roxy for this amazing show and we, kind of, had a works night out with Brandi, Pablo, myself and my wife showing the guys round LA afterwards. Always a pleasure seeing these lovely peeps!

Eric McCann and I getting down to business

Eric McCann and I getting down to business

Finally, whilst Brandi and I are shooting the Broken Arrow video/s Eric McCann will be starting work this week tracking bass and drums for “Lemon, Water & Ginger” my next solo EP. This is a lot more cinematic than the last and will feature a whole host of guests this time round, I think nearly 20 or so! My good buddy Joel Patterson (David J/Mark Gardener) is playing drums on this one and hopefully the boys will get wrapped up for me coming in next week and putting down all my parts before the revolving door open for the other guests. More news at the end of Feb…..

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Are You Local?

It seems that 2014, for me anyway, has really been a year for making records, writing songs and collaborating with some super talented local musicians and songwriters here in Los Angeles, the city I proudly call home. It’s been a little frustrating not being able to release anything but I can be an impatient little turd from time to time and nothings ready to come out yet anyway! If I look back over the year that’s past, it’s been one of the most creative and interesting years since I started putting records out. The industry has changed so much from when I first started playing music and dinosaurs roamed the earth. It’s not all bad like people make out. Honestly, when I signed my first deal, everyone you spoke to in the industry would talk about how fucked it was back then (199…something!) and It’s no different now. It does however look bad from the outside. It’s harder for younger musicians, yes, the album is dead, yup, but the whole industry has gone through a crazy digital transformation over the last decade or so and everyone is still trying to figure out how to monetize “the artist”.

The good news is that vinyl sales are stronger than ever, good indie labels are out selling the majors (on some acts that they throw a ton of money at and fail), recording is cost effective and a smart video can go viral instantly creating an audience that hopefully (in theory) a small percentage of those people will actually go and pay money to see that band or artist live. I certainly don’t have the answers on how to make it work nor does anyone else for that matter so the best thing to do is keep writing the best songs you can, making great records and working with a good team of people that share your vision. Punk rockers, indie pop and DIY bands and labels have always had this hard work ethic and complete control over every aspect of their art and it seems like any good band that breaks through these days shares that same belief.

Here in LA there are so many good examples of local labels and companies that nurture new talent and give musicians the chance to have a platform to be heard and actually make physical copies of records, tapes, CD’s and other interesting items to help promote their artists. Burger Records, Manimal Vinyl and Lolipop Records are a few examples of these “companies” that are self-sufficient and work to put on great local live events showcasing their artists and helping them out along the way.

Then, there are also a few local legends and champions of the local scene like Kevin Bronson (Buzzbands LA), Brad Roberts (Feed Your Head), Valida Carrol (KCRW/Desert Nights) and musicians like Joel Jerome (pictured below) who play, produce and support so much of the upcoming talent. Joel Jerome is an L.A. based singer/songwriter/producer who’s former band dios (aka diosmalos), were critically acclaimed psych-pop hailing from the Beach Boys and Redd Kross’ hometown of Hawthorne, California. Joel has become an acclaimed studio producer working with bands ranging from Cherry Glazer to La Sera (ex-Vivian Girls) and has also provided music for Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection (Lifted from Joel’s bio). When I first started working as a booker in LA Joel’s band, Babies on Acid, were one of the first bands I put on at La Cita in DTLA and he is also a regular performer at Harvard & Stone where I book now all these years later.

I’m not really sure where that rant came from but anyways back to business! So, the Sugarplum Fairies record has started and I’m pleased to say the song I wrote with Silvia Ryder, ‘Bonnie Brae’, will be featured on that record and we also recorded a Jackson C Frank cover that I mentioned in a previous blog. There’s no ETA on the album yet but I will keep y’all posted as things progress.

The debut Broken Arrow record has been a long process but I feel like it’ll be worth the wait. Brandi and I have been trying to narrow down the track list to one we’re both really happy with. We wanted the rest of the songs to sit well with the first single ‘Warning Signs’ which is mixed, mastered and ready to go. Our dear friend, bandmate and producer Paul Wilson (Snow Patrol) has been in Scotland so we recorded more backing tracks with Eric McCann and we’re going to crack on with all these songs throughout the holidays.

I should also mention the fact that we had the incredible Brady Leffler (pictured below) from Gold Star come in to play organ on ‘Warning Signs’ and really helped bring the track to life. All his parts were recorded at Sugarplum Fairies HQ also, so big shout out to Brady and Silvia, thank you both so much!

Finally, pre-production started at Bedrock Studios for my own solo EP planned for next year. Eric McCann (Producer) and Joel Patterson (drums) came into the studio with me to work on drums and bass parts for 7 songs. I have a lot of guests coming in to play on this next EP so I’m really excited to be working with all of these musicians I love and respect and I’m eager to see how it will all sound when it’s put together.

There’s a lot of good things to look forward to in 2015 and in the meantime a big thank you to anyone who has followed this blog, bought a record or come to a show this year. Happy Holidays!

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Silence is Golden

I’ve been very quiet on this site for the last month or so for various reasons. One of which is recording with Broken Arrow and I’ve also been back in the studio writing and recording with Silvia Ryder from Sugarplum Fairies. Silvia and I were so happy with how ‘Moment of Fame‘ turned out from her last record that we are working on a Jackson C Frank cover and hopefully an original collaboration for her next release.

Jackson C Frank

Jackson C Frank

So, Brandi and I were hoping to have the first Broken Arrow single out for the second week of November but we have now moved the release to January 2015. We’re trying to make the most cohesive record we can so we’re recording all the material we have and writing some more new songs as well. The first single is called ‘Warning Signs’ and was engineered by Eric McCann (who did Feel Something) and produced by Paul Wilson from Snow Patrol.

Paul & Brandi hard at work

Paul & Brandi hard at work

We are also getting ready to shoot the video for this single and will be teaming up once again with Paul Orehovec who shot all the videos for my last record. We love working with Paul and his ideas for this video are pretty incredible so more news on that soon. We’ve already done some location scouting and are in the process of putting everything together for the shoot. A very different vibe this time round.

Paul Orehovec, Eric McCann, Me & Brandi on the Don't Let Me down shoot.

Paul Orehovec, Eric McCann, Me & Brandi on the Don’t Let Me down shoot.

I’m pleased to say that the venue I book for here in LA recently won 3 awards in the 2014 LA Weekly Readers Poll including ‘Best Bar with live music’ so I’ve also been very busy with my nights at Harvard & Stone.

Me, Silvia Ryder, Jeff McElroy & KCRW's Valida Carroll at H&S

Me, Silvia Ryder, Jeff McElroy & KCRW’s Valida Carroll at H&S

In regards to my next solo outings, I have the next two EP’s written and ready to be recorded so I’m going to try my best to have both records come out next year. The next EP is called ‘Lemon, Water & Ginger’ and the one to follow that is called ‘A Bridge To Your Idol’. I plan on working with the same team as on ‘Feel Something’ but also will have a lot of new guests on these records. Once I find the time (and money) to get these recorded I will have them come out pretty close together.

Me & Eric

Me & Eric

Finally, the last live show I’m doing this year will be at the Hotel Cafe for their annual ‘HoHotel’ fundraiser. Eric and I will be doing a couple of songs together and I’ll announce the date when the line ups are confirmed. Hope to see some of you there!

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