Clawhammer

by Bannerman

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about

"Bannerman make you realise once again that not only can he/they not be easily pushed into a box, but that sense of the unexpected is exactly what gets you in...and keeps you there...When this album isn't song-noir it is luminescent. Rare stuff." - Graham Reid, elsewhere.co.nz

Bannerman's third record begins like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Taking a cue from the oeuvre of composer Ernest Gold, first track, Another Light, puts you at the edge of a windy cliff top. Something is stalking behind you. Below is a raging ocean. Will you descend and take your chances or turn and confront the faceless spirit that wants to steal your thoughts? Whatever you decide, the next 49 minutes will be a journey not forgotten.

Clawhammer is not just another showcase for Richie Setford's songwriting - this is a band album. The players have now been together in the rehearsal room and on the live scene for over 18 months and it shows. Gang vocals, string arrangements, animated solos and a fat old rhythm section are a testament to their camaraderie and to the hours spent honing their parts. The eleven tracks on offer here have a cohesion and freshness that improves on debut album The Dusty Dream Hole and 2011's Dearly Departed.

First single, There Is a Lesson, is an urgent, headlong self-analysis about the trials of intimacy. Andromeda is a gently dark, string led throb. Echoes safely drones along in an understated, epic way and the title track creates a climbing tension from hushed beginnings. It's the showpiece of the album and the inspiration for the embroidered cover art, created by award winning film maker and artist Monica de Alwis. Angela Keoghan, who took out the Tui for best cover art in 2012 (Dearly Departed), is back on board to design the layout of the package.

The album was recorded at The Lab in Auckland, with Tui award winning engineer Olly Harmer. Unlike the previous records, Clawhammer was tracked live with all songs overdubbed and completed in a whirlwind three days. Recording under these self-imposed time restraints captured a vital energy that never had the chance to become lost in production. The musicians embraced every minute and surprisingly, the process never felt rushed. What you hear is a well prepped band making decisions in the moment; walking a tightrope with a crazed grin. Richie was joined in the studio by Cass Basil, Cole Goodley, Finn and Tam Scholes and Siobhanne Thompson, with appearances from Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins) and Alice Crowe (Farah Loux).

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released June 21, 2013

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about

Bannerman Berlin, Germany

Bannerman Richie Setford, Ben Anderson, Erez Frank, Magnus Bang-Olsen and Oliver Emmitt.

The music has a compelling and dynamic structure; they can be quietly dramatic, sweeping, disarming and melancholic. A sweet + sad undercurrent with enough groove to get your sway on.

They've supported Tiny Ruins, The Magic Numbers, Shovels & Rope, Anais Mitchell + Lawrence Arabia. New material in 2016.
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Track Name: Another Light
When the bats leave their tower and all my thoughts sour
I will build me a well
In the sands, in the sighs, under black forest skies
These are not innocent times
I've left my courage behind, heaving in the shadows

With this body I bridle, with this mind I defile
I leave my image behind
And mark the year that I died, walking in the shadows

A crystal warning, the hours crawling
White Chinese powder won't leave me alone
All bloody hounded, I watch astounded
The insect's jaws as they open and close

You will find when the way is hard in life
You will find when the earth is cold at night
You will find when the world is old and idle
You will find another light
Track Name: Nothing Is Forgiven
Why'd you do it?
We were happy as we were, at least I was
Nothing's forgiven
We have brought this on ourselves
And I'm not happy

Now it's over, all of this is over
There are bullets in the shed
We're well equipped
Eat all the animals
I've been looking for a calf to wrestle with
Point the finger, here comes the finger
Wagging like a giant buddha, from Monkey
Sweep up the knowledge, empty all the knowledge
Out and into all the ships, sailing for the storm

From the mountains we come and the enemies fall
We are leaders now
The seats of our masters, now ours to ignore

What's for dinner?
We were eating from the sea, I wasn't finished
You were banished, I thought you'd vanished
We have brought this on ourselves
And I'm not happy

Call the scientists, all of the scientists
When will we get off this rock?
We're working on it
Burn your assets, all of your taxes
I've been searching for the skull of Mr Pomeroy
Mindless doubters, all of us are doubters
When the evidence is death and your looking at it
Nobody's out there, ain't nobody out there
Sound reverberating, drums reverberating
Echoes on echoes on echoes...
Track Name: I'm the Wrong Man
My neighbour’s up all night
And what’s worse, I can hear him thinking
Why can’t I bring you to mind?
And what was, what was

I wonder what you’re doing?

Tell the warden, no warden
You’ve got the wrong man, I’m the wrong man

I live with lice and flies
The slow drag of my imagination
I’ll survive if you’ll survive
We’re not dead, not yet

I imitate you breathing

You didn’t have to come, but I am glad you did
I wanted you to know, it meant something
Track Name: Echoes
Imagine if I had never been born
This man's story had never uncoiled
All of the anguish and all of the joy
Left in the dust and the cracks in the floorboards

And the echoes keep calling

Beyond the toil and the age of the earth
Under this skyline, I've got the outsider's curse
All of the madness and all that I've done
Has been left in the dirt and in the wet of the storm
And I let it come
Track Name: Andromeda
A million lights, staring eyes
Hollow woods, these hollow woods
In nature’s side I reside, diplodia
You needed me to care
I was never there
Still life replied
All the people I let down
Well they’re all gone

One more mistake made in vain
I’ll wait for you, Andromeda
I woke that day fever stained
Calling you, Andromeda
I’m killed every day, every single day
In this water grave
And all I am is another sacrifice not made

No need to be afraid
There’s no need to pray if this Empire ends
All these thoughts I declare to you

Andromeda
Track Name: Making a Still
Making a still
I've been fixing to kill my demons
All of my horrors leaving
In spirits I swill
And even if I get blown away
I'll come back again in style

Making a still
I've been itching to kill my dreaming
Hungry and dry, throat heaving
My whole body a drill
And even if the clouds roll away
I will suffering
For time is digging my hole

They're all leaving town without us
Can we tag along
They're all leaving town without us
Is there something wrong?

Making a still
I've been a long time healing
Seen from behind, receding
Over the hill
And even if the clouds roll away
I will sin again
For time is digging my hole
Track Name: Buffalo Town
I'll get out of this buffalo town
If the drink don't come and drag me down
I'll get out of this buffalo town

I remember how I used to be
There once was a fella looked just like me
I remember how I used to be

And we all can cry together as one
If the body don't die, then there's something wrong
Why stick around if your time has come?

Come seek my shelter there's a storm outside
Here's a place that you can hide
Come seek my shelter there's a storm outside

We've got to carry each other like soldiers do
Carry each other like soldiers do
Come here I want to stand next to you
We've got to carry each other like soldiers do

When my ship comes in I'll linger still
It pleases me to eat my fill
When my ship comes in I'll linger stil
Track Name: Why Live in the City?
I've got a feeling like a sinking stone
I've been in thus blue house too long
I'm a burnout
Woke up smelling of gasoline
They say the motorway sounds just like waves in the sea
But I'm not so sure

Why live in the city when I can lose myself in the stars?
Why live in the city if it's only going to shit on my heart?
I ain't going to sit around and watch things falling apart

Wild living's a good thing
When there's plenty of hooch
And a fire and a bath
Sun up comes and I'm whistling
They say that even in the country you can scrub up clean
If you wisen up, if you're wise enough

Why live in the city when I can amuse myself in the stars?
Why live in the city if it's only gonna shit on my heart?
I ain't gonna sit around and watch things falling apart
Track Name: There Is a Lesson
Don't look in the eyes
There lies a feeling of an old man's soul
Put up your guard
Then be prepared to let the whole thing go
You've got some style
But that won't help me when I'm in your clothes
Why all the trials?
Around my neck I wear a wreath of stone

Wherever there is fear in love then I will surely be
What is wrong with lying naked breathing next to me?
I still make the same mistakes

There is a lesson, there is a lesson to be learned
A lesson, there is a lesson to be learned
But I don't care what the lesson to be learned is
All I want is your attention please

You're easy on the eyes
And I'm aware of all the men you know
I was surprised, yes surprised
With all these people here you still came home
All in good time
That's what I say when I'm not in control
This one is wild, yeah she’s wild
Just walk away and let the whole thing go

I keep walking away
And I've got nothing
Except I'm a little bit older now
And when I turn around you're on top of me
And I've got nothing
Except I'm a little bit older now
And with your arms around me
Track Name: Clawhammer
I always thought I was squeamish
And I was proved right
On the rooftop it stood there pointing
This won’t end well
And as I turned, it was there again

Man dies by living
So it goes
I crossed that faceless spirit
And it took all my thoughts while I was dreaming
I lost every one
Catatonia

Whatever this thing was
It new I would never wake up
And now…

A strange fog wraps my shoulders
And I am beguiled
I move like whores with ribbons
This world is wild
And I was meant to breathe it in under lock and key
So there it is

There are sixteen guards standing over my bed
With a clawhammer, every one
And not a word
Track Name: Don't Go to Sleep, Don't Ever Dream
On the road to see your family
Something was behind us, stalking behind us
All around, the scrub was dying
There was nothing we could see
No creature we could see
It was Christmas and we had savings
From days in the fields
From selling homemade sweets
Every year, your Mother failing
Father’s back had gone
Their overgrown home

Don’t go to sleep
Don’t ever dream

I was tired, you were yawning
We stopped for the night and built a roaring fire
Only faintly, the weeping started
It came from behind us, rising behind us (we shivered in the heat)
As the weeping grew alarming
You turned to me and cried
Now it’s just you and I
On the road to see your family
We learnt your parents died
While hoping we’d arrive