Photo from Union Hall, Feb 23, EP release show

Photo by Zach Hinkle

“Apparition”

(This is the first in a series of essays on the songs from the new release ‘The Foundry EP,’ out Tuesday.)

I wrote “Apparition” in a cabin on the Vermont/New Hampshire line over a July 4 weekend. A rough breakup, a bottle of rosé, and that open major-7 chord full of mixed feelings pushed it right along. The narrator is a regretful character who drinks too much and doesn’t quite know where things went wrong. He is consumed by an ex-lover and only half-tries to keep himself together. The images in the lyrics are borrowed from a number of places, most notably a trip to Alaska (“float plane”), Greenpoint, Brooklyn (“O’Neil’s place” being a stand-in for an Irish pub on Franklin), a certain literary Brooklyn-based rock band (“Lucky Mr. Finn”), and a story my mom told me about the river in Cleveland catching fire (“watch the river fire unfurl”).

In the studio, we shot for a T Bone Burnett vibe but it didn’t entirely come together. We’d recorded it in the key of G and realized that the vocals weren’t quite right. We spent a few agonizing nights deciding what to do and then went for it. Then, the band re-did it in G# and it fell into place. It crystallized even further when the talented singer-songwriter Joan Hutcheson came to record background vocals on the bridge and co-producer Quinn McCarthy at the Creamery Studio finalized the arrangement.

Download “Apparition” here.

-Nick

‘The Foundry EP’ Release Show Flyer

New EP

We’re proud to announce the release date for my Brooklyn indie-folk band Leland Sundries’ 2nd release ‘The Foundry EP’ Feb 21, 2012 on L’Echiquier Records. We recorded in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in an old creamery building and I played resonator guitar, banjo, harmonium, harmonica, and vocals. We’re planning touring and videos and I’ll write an essay on each song. This time, we dip into folk darkness (a friend compared it to Nick Cave if he were fronting Bonnie Prince Billy’s band), a sea chantey written after a Brooklyn waterfront fire destroyed part of the Greenpoint waterfront, a tongue-in-cheek rockabilly tune, and some NOLA-inspired ragtime with horn section. – Nick & co.

“Hey Self-Defeater”

(This is the final part of a series of essays on the songs from ‘The Apothecary EP

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OK, first off, we put “Celebration, Florida” (apparently a pre-fab community) into this song well before the Felice Brothers titled their album that. Second of all, we didn’t know about the Mark Mulcahy song (which actually uses the term in the refrain unlike our song).

All of the mid- and early-20th century imagery denotes a guy left behind. His touchstones have aren’t relevant anymore. And who knows if that girl he pines after even thinks of him at all or if she’s moved on. He doesn’t relate to her intellectual pretensions or her sense of hopeful adventurousness. I hope that, like a lot of our music, it asks questions about authenticity of experience in a world of irony; the divisions between people, both real and artificial; and absurdity to the point of existentialism. (I hope.)

This song has undergone different guises from garage rocker to folky ballad. As my friend and sometime tour partner Will Levith has pointed out, the main riff could fit in on a Son Volt record. I had the music well before the lyrics, when I was listening to quite a bit of early Farrar and Tweedy.

An earlier version of the band worked on this one. We had laid it down in the studio with a distorted Stratocaster as the rhythm guitar but that didn’t leave any room to breathe so we stripped it away again. Thank god that we recorded the electric rhythm guitar direct, to kick off the song. I knew this song needed to have layers and new instruments coming and go to keep it afloat, so we added the banjo (on one that barely stays in tune) and I sat on the floor and did about nine overdub takes on the Rhodes, which really ties the whole thing together. Joe Lops created a genius electric guitar part that hangs there in a fog of reverb.

About some of the details in the lyrics:

• The Chanticleer Motor Lodge is a real place in upstate New York, near Lake George, with an amazing ’50s-era sign. I didn’t stay there but did take a picture.
• The frozen turkey comes from Woody Allen’s “Broadway Danny Rose” and I always found it so sad when the main character microwaves his Thanksgiving dinner.
• My friend Alex actually used to own a French car.
• I never saw the world’s largest banjo but I briefly lived a few blocks from the country’s second biggest chair in Aniston, Alabama.
• The curly-haired boy that all the folk-singing girls love came from a combination my thinking of another friend and sometime tour mate, Dan Kaplan; and a New York Pinewood Folk Music Club concert where a young fiddle player stepped out and one could see all the girls sit up a little bit straighter looking at him. It was at church basement in Manhattan and was a memorial for a longtime member and father who passed away.
• Nelson Street is in Greenville, Mississippi and was a center for blues playing and juke joints. It’s largely shuttered now.
• The 2:19 is a reference to “Trouble In Mind,” in which the narrator pledges, “I’m gonna lay me head; on some lonesome railroad line; let the 2:19 train; ease my trouble in mind.”
• “Creole Belle” was a song that I first heard sung in Aniston, Alabama by a marine dropout alcoholic with whom I played cards. He didn’t know a lot of songs but this Mississippi John Hurt classic was one of his favorites. It’s become one of mine too. He had one of those epic southern names but I can’t remember it now.
• Where the ferry used to stop is a reference to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, though there’s a new ferry now. Greenpoint Coffee House (which closed a few years ago) had a copy of the article on the wall about when the ferry stopped running to Greenpoint before World War II.
• Red Hook, Brooklyn has a loading dock with a sign that reads, Welcome to American Stevedoring. I hadn’t heard the term until Gregory Mulkern explained it to me. Seemed like a good profession for this character.

We don’t play this one live anymore but it could be due for a revival at some point.

Summer Tour In Rearview Mirror; New EP Next

Leland Sundries’ first national tour, a solo acoustic endeavor, took us close to 5,000 miles in June, July, and August. Every night was different and we met some amazing people. It was astonishing, exhausting, surreal, powerful, and hard work. Hugs to everyone who caught one of the shows and to tour-mates Sold Only As Curio, Alex Dupre (aka merch girl), and Ruby Rae. Now we’re back in Brooklyn and hard at work mixing a new EP and a new single for early 2012 release. Hope to hit the road again around then.


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Boston Sat, Philly Sun, DC Mon – Boston Globe pick

Starting a short run of three east coast shows and the Boston Globe picked Saturday’s show as one of their weekly highlights:

“Promising Brooklyn outfit Leland Sundries, which variously means singer-songwriter Nick Loss-Eaton solo or with accompaniment, swathes sparse folk and edgy Americana around Loss-Eaton’s barrel-chested, sounds-like-Lou-Reed vocals. He’s playing solo acoustic in Somerville with fellow-Brooklynite Ruby Rae, who sings songs about swamp things and bad behavior. Aug. 13, 9 p.m. No cover. Sally O’Brien’s. 617-666-3589.”

Updates from the road

Writing from our first national tour, right now in Amarillo, TX. I’ll be updating the Facebook and Twitter pages most often from the road. Just got the first batch of photos up on Facebook. Headed to Lubbock, TX — home of Buddy Holly — in a few.

ON THE HEELS OF DATES WITH TODD SNIDER, LELAND SUNDRIES PREPS FIRST NATIONAL TOUR

“Leland Sundries, a band from New York led by Nick Loss-Eaton, is dedicated to storytelling in a way that recalls Woody Guthrie and his Folkways brethren. [Its] scrappy Americana will get you longing for empty two-lane highways and kudzu-encased back porches.” – The New York Times

Following a run opening for Todd Snider, indie-folk project Leland Sundries is preparing for its first national tour, hitting many towns for the first time. Leland Sundries will perform solo acoustic on the tour with harmonicas and kazoo.

The Brooklyn-based band earned considerable acclaim for its recorded debut, last year’s ‘The Apothecary EP’ (L’Echiquier Records). Jambase called it “one of the freshest debuts in ‘10” while My Old Kentucky Blog pegged it as “what Lou Reed would sound like if he was asked to front Tom Waits’ Mule Variations band… highly recommended to fans of Leonard Cohen.”

The Boston Phoenix said, “Leland Sundries singer/picker Nick Loss-Eaton’s the-Band-meets-Lou-Reed approach mates gnawing electric guitar and old-time acoustic six-string, banjo, and harmonica melodies with dry-witted, drawling, modern-day ennui.”

No Depression remarked, “[The] narratives of bus rides, trains and bars, windmills, roast beef sandwiches and Russian overcoats are penned with a novelist’s eye for detail and delivered in a wry New York baritone.”

Leland Sundries Tour Dates

Wed, June 15 – Brooklyn, NY – Northeast Kingdom
Mon, June 20 – San Diego, CA – Tin Can Ale House
Tue, June 21 – Phoenix, AZ – Carly’s Bistro
Thu, June 23 – Albuquerque – Blackbird Buvette
Sat, June 25 – Lubbock, TX – The Gas Light
Sun, June 26 – Denton, TX – Andy’s
Tue, June 28 – Austin, TX – Cafe Caffeine
Mon, July 04 – New Orleans, LA – Neutral Ground Coffeehouse *
Thu, July 07 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick (w/ Spidereaters) *
Sat, July 09 – Knoxville, TN – Preservation Pub *
Mon, July 11 – Louisa, VA – Twin Oaks *
Tues, July 12 – Baltimore, MD – Dangerous Pies *
Wed, July 13 – Media, PA – 7 Stones *
Tue, July 19 – New York, NY – Parkside Lounge (w/ Joan Hutcheson) *
Sat, August 13 – Somerville, MA – Sally O’Brien’s #
Mon, August 15 – Arlington, VA – Galaxy Hut #

* with Sold Only As Curio
# with Ruby Rae

Well versed in blues, Appalachian, and international folk music, Sold Only As Curio’s Gregory Mulkern performs a musical bazar of original songs and international tunes, calling to mind the music of Doc Boggs, Cab Calloway, and a musical travelogue of tunes born from blood and sweat. The jealous ghosts of murdered lovers, angry circus performers, and the ancient sounds of the Silk Road are all found in Sold Only As Curio’s never-look-away approach to delivering a more robust folk music. Based in Portland, OR, Sold Only As Curio was recently invited to Italy’s International Busker’s Festival and will be touring the American South in Winter 2011-2012. More info on Sold Only As Curio.

Ruby Rae started as the side project of NYC based pop-punk band The Ex-Debutantes in 2010. Her debut release title “Double Feature” could easily be mistaken for a night at the local drive-in when rock’n’roll still flirted with its honky-tonk roots. The songs “It Came from the Swamp” and “Invisible Man” showcase rockabilly inflected instrumentation paired with sinister stories of love and guns. More info on Ruby Rae.

In NYC Show Tmrw, MA Next Wkend, Opening For Todd Snider In June

As we work on our new EP, we’re playing a NYC show tomorrow (Thurs) night at 7pm at Pianos (upstairs). There’s no cover and it’ll be a full band show with electric guitars. Next weekend, we’ll be playing a full band set April 16 at Sally O’Brien’s at 10:30pm. Opening will be our friend Dan Kaplan at 9:30. No cover for that one either so please stop by.

Then, in June, we’ll be opening for one of our heroes, Todd Snider. The shows are June 2 at German House Theatre in Rochester, NY and June 3 at the Tralf in Buffalo, NY. If you don’t know his work, Todd is a genius songwriter who tells incredibly hysterical and bizarre stories.

We’re also booking a big acoustic tour for the summer and we’ll be announcing more about the new EP in the weeks and months to come.