Elegy

A house with the floorboards buckled and the sconces blackened with dust. Spider webs in the corners and the windows cracking. A series of regrets.

The lead track. As we moved from live takes to overdubbing to mixing to mastering, “Elegy” just seemed to stand as a frame for ‘The Apothecary EP.’ And it goes back a ways in different forms.

I was listening to Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time” and holed up on the 7th floor. I scratched it out on one of those sleepless nights and I found it the next day. One of the last songs I wrote on piano and certainly the only keeper of the bunch. This song slowly revealed itself. First the verses. Sometime later, a chorus. Then I made a cassette tape demo of a bunch of songs under the name ‘Transluscent Things Are Valuable Too…’ and I realized that it needed a bridge. Then, finally, it had that quality of walking through a desolate place.

There was no heat in the Creamery Studio in February when we did the live track, which still is the bulk of the arrangement. We had to turn on the space heater between takes. This was the first song of the session and one of the first takes of the song. The vocals are as they were: huddled near the microphone. There were no vocal overdubs.

Credit is due to Joe Lops for a Telecaster-imbued backdrop that I couldn’t have concocted; Adam Blake for a brilliant drum part; and Quinn McCarthy for keeping that barn sound intact.

It seems to meander to a boardwalk on the 2nd verse. Some stores boarded up. The territory of the loners, the prowlers, the outcasts, the only ones who claim it as theirs. Maybe a card game played by the light of a barrel fire.

Only the snowfall brings a kind of peace, though even that is marred by loss. But somehow the physical decay is comforting compared to other kinds of decay.

LELAND SUNDRIES CONCOCTS ‘THE APOTHECARY EP,’ OUT OCT. 5 ON L’ECHIQUIER RECORDS

BROOKLYN INDIE-AMERICANA PROJECT MAKES ITS RECORDED DEBUT

BOSTON PHOENIX: “THE BAND MEETS LOU REED”

Brooklyn indie-Americana music project Leland Sundries will transport listeners to ‘The Apothecary EP’ October 5 on upstart label L’Echiquier Records. Leland Sundries is lead by resonator and harmonica-playing songwriter Nick Loss-Eaton. Leland Sundries has been compared to James McMurtry, Richard Buckner, AA Bondy, Elvis Perkins, Son Volt, and Silver Jews. Chuck Prophet has called Leland Sundries’ music “great wordsmith stuff.”

‘The Apothecary EP’ was recorded at the Creamery studio, under the Pulaski Bridge on the Brooklyn-Queens border and instrumentation includes resonator guitar, banjo, accordion, vintage synthesizer, slide guitar, and Rhodes. Laura Minor, who xlr8r compared to Lucinda Williams, appears on guest vocals on the EP’s wistful closing waltz.

The project has played in eight states in its year-long existence, sometimes in electric garage band guise and sometimes as a resonator and harmonica show, garnering press buzz along the way:

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.”

Time Out New York called the music “oddball storytelling with a lo-fi country sensibility.”

Bostonist.com said, “The band has been described as Lou Reed fronting Cracker and we love the laid-back grooves and scratchy vocals.”

Albany Times-Union praised Leland Sundries’ songs as “dark and mysterious.”

Elephant Whale blog called the music “blues Americana with a touch of indie rock sarcasm.”

Leland Sundries will tour the east coast this fall. The EP will be released via TuneCore.

1. Elegy
2. High On The Plains
3. Hey Self-Defeater
4. The Main In The Giant Russian Overcoat
5. Oh My Sweet Cantankerous Baby

Blog Love From ElephantWhale

From ElephantWhale:

Leland Sundries is the mostly solo project of New York based Nick Loss-Eaton. He is re-branding Nashville’s original blues Americana with a touch of indie rock sarcasm.

Although he isn’t the first person to use a resonator guitar (see “Bon Iver”), it is a refreshing sound in a landscape of bands utilizing the same 3 piece set over and over. Leland Sundries has also been known to use a 2 string Cigar Box Guitar made in Memphis, giving his New York audiences the chance to experience something that few city kids even realize exists. Loss-Eaton also uses a megaphone-harmonica set up which captures the vintage-recording-scratchy echo that defines the original Americana sound for modern audiences.

For me, the cigar box was a sound that I had heard many times, but could never actually identify. Played with some hefty slide and nice backing guitars by Dan Kaplan, the Cigar Box was definitely my favorite surprise at the show. The stand out Leland Sundries song was “Giving Up Redheads” which according to insiders might just be Loss-Eaton’s favorite kind of lady. Touching on the classical theme of love-lost man, Leland Sundries takes the twang-y Americana sound and infuses it with a little bit of classic rock styling and extra energy.

Read on at ElephantWhale.

Image from Parkside Lounge, NYC

Black & white Polaroid by Rachelle Rae House.

Between the Pizzeria & the Ice Cream Parlor (tour reflections while reading Merle Haggard)

Offerings

I thought that Thursday night’s show felt like surfing. It needed constant adjustment, deviating from set lists and agreed song formats and leaving me open to moving the songs where they needed to go. Boston was all about solidifying the show and Northampton about tearing it apart again. Portland or Brattleboro may have been the best show thus far but Northampton had the best moments: changing the melody of “Cantankerous Baby” or stepping out from behind the mic to play resonator to a couple sitting outdoors. I hope the ice cream shop tonight feels like a three ring circus. I intend to do some barking into the megaphone. Saugerties will be about minimizing the production for a bookstore audience and giving the lyrics less of a frame. The week’s almost over and it just began.

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Rest

The people we’ve met have made the trip what it is. Tina dancing within a hula hoop to “Tell Me Mama,” Lonnie playing harmonica along with our set, seeing old friends who mean so much to me in Somerville, Julie and Ian and Rachael welcoming us to Portland, a few people each night looking to discover new music and listening to what we’ve concocted. This is what must be done. We pack up the car every morning, unpack it for every show, and pack it into wherever we sleep each night. Even now sitting in the shade of an oak, I want to get in the car and drive.

Main Streets and Alley Ways

Every town still has its own identity. Brattleboro feels like a hybrid of upstate New York and New England in an old mill town. Northampton gravitates creativity. Portland has a grit to it and a New England heartiness to withstand wind and rain. My old stomping grounds at Vassar College feel foreign but then again, they always felt a bit foreign. But performing on WVKR was a joy, like falling into an old couch. I intended to play 2-3 songs but probably played 5-6, including “Feel Like Going Home,” a song that John Work and Alan Lomax recorded by Muddy Waters in the early ‘40s. From what Dan says, this song is becoming an unexpected audience favorite since it’s my most slide intensive workout.

A Restlessness Undefined

The resonator feels more natural to me every day, the harmonicas like old friends. And these songs seem more and more like offerings to a restless spirit. I’m reading Merle Haggard’s book My House of Memories. He’s one of the great songwriters of all time. His devil-may-care attitude is a guiding spirit behind this trip, where our tour title has felt more and more true. This job joins finesse with sheer will and the undertow is magnetic. Through the prison breaks and freight trains and borrowed cars of his youth, Haggard always seemed to be seeking something but never finding it. His house was in the music itself and he writes of finding such peace while singing a Lefty Frizzell number. When my ambitions get the best of me, his singing reminds me of this.

Leland Sundries tour in the press, on the radio

The tour kicks off tonight in Somerville, MA and we’re
already seeing some press hits.

Tune into Northeast Public Radio / 90.3FM WAMC (Albany, NY) or
http://www.wamc.org/ tomorrow morning at 11:30am to hear Leland
Sundries and Dan Kaplan songs and interview.

Here are a few other clips that ran:

Boston Phoenix: “Acoustic road warriors Leland Sundries, from NYC, and
Cambridge’s Dan Kaplan are on a tour that ricochets from clubs to
pizza joints to ice-cream parlors to bookstores – which seems apt for
the sprawling character of their warm-but-unpredictable sounds and
indie attitude. “Whiter Shade of Pale” organ rubs against moaning
country steel guitar and French sidewalk-café squeezebox on Kaplan’s
EPs, all of it balanced by his lightly honeyed voice. And on the new
Apothecary (L’echiquier), 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. The two acts are playing
in a duo format at Sally O’Brien’s, 335 Somerville Ave, Somerville | 8
pm | free | 617.666.3589 or www.sallyobriensbar.com.”
http://bit.ly/lsbosphx

Hear “Balancing Act” (Dan Kaplan) and “Elegy” and interviews w/ both
of us on WCAP-AM 980AM: http://www.980wcap.com/blog.php?id=168

Patriot Ledger newspaper feature:
http://www.wickedlocal.com/whitman/fun/entertainment/x968918365/MUSIC-SCENE-Nick-Loss-Eaton-and-Dan-Kaplan-reunite-for-Somerville-gig

Lexington Minuteman feature:
http://www.wickedlocal.com/lexington/news/lifestyle/x1920415865/Lexington-native-to-play-show-in-Somerville

Masslive.com feature:
http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2010/05/leland_sundries_dan_kaplan_to.html

Portland Press Herald live pick:
http://www.pressherald.com/life/go/the-night-is-young_2010-05-13.html

Hope to see you at one of the shows. – LS

Dan Kaplan & Leland Sundries PETAL TO THE METAL tour dates:

May 16 – Sally O’Brien’s – Somerville, Massachusetts
May 17 – Slainte Wine Bar – Portland, Maine
May 19 – Weathervane Music Hall – Brattleboro, Vermont
May 20 – Sam’s Pizzeria – Northampton, Massachusetts
May 21 – Emack & Bolio’s (uptown) – Albany, New York
May 22 – Inquiring Minds Bookstore/Café – Saugerties, New York
May 23 – Parkside Lounge – New York, New York (also w/ Laura Minor,
Just Will, John Henry Olthoff, Art School Dropouts)

petal to the metal tour poster

may 2010 tour

rehearsals in boston

somerville cambridge

Announcing the Petal to the Medal Tour

Brooklyn indie-Americana project Leland Sundries and Boston folk-rocker Dan Kaplan will kick off a tour May 16, exploring New England and New York. The tour will wind up May 23 with a Manhattan show that also features former Hightone Records artist Laura Minor’s first show of 2010 on the bill.

Each act has captured some northeast buzz. Time Out New York has praised Leland Sundries for its “oddball storytelling with a lo-fi country sensibility for a Ween-meets–Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy feel” while Bostonist.com says, “we love the laid-back grooves and scratchy vocals.” The Boston Globe has called Kaplan “a Cambridge folk strummer with a keen ear for pop hooks… Ryan Adams and Wilco-inspired songs should make you nostalgic for something – or someone.”

Dan Kaplan’s debut full length album, ‘Year of the Swallowtail,’ is due out June 11th, 2010 on Folkus Records. Kaplan explores the trial-by-fire themes of love and loss, emotional insecurity and mortality. And with an extensive back catalogue already, including two solo EPs and over 250 songs penned, he’s established himself as a major New England songwriter to watch. Kaplan grew up on Long Island and is now a denizen of Somerville, MA.

Leland Sundries is preparing its debut record, ‘The Apothecary EP’ (L’echiquier Records) for fall 2010 release and the “Roller Derby Queen” single for spring 2011. Leader Nick Loss-Eaton grew up in Lexington, MA and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is a multi-instrumentalist who will be accompanied by a resonator guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar, two-string cigarbox guitar, numerous harmonicas, and a kazoo.

Dan Kaplan & Leland Sundries PETAL TO THE METAL tour dates:

May 16 – Sally O’Brien’s – Somerville, Massachusetts
May 17 – Slainte Wine Bar – Portland, Maine
May 19 – Weathervane Music Hall – Brattleboro, Vermont
May 20 – Sam’s Pizzeria – Northampton, Massachusetts
May 21 – Emack & Bolio’s (downtown) – Albany, New York
May 22 – Inquiring Minds Bookstore/Café – Saugerties, New York
May 23 – Parkside Lounge – New York, New York (also w/ Laura Minor, Will Levith, John Henry Olthoff, Art School Dropouts)

Show tonight in Greenpoint