The Basement to release The Basement EP
If you do not know who The Basement is, it's probably because you're not in Europe. The Basement is the new rage from the UK, poised to break the domestic market with their unique line of Irish, blues-tinted indie rock. Mike Crossey, who contributed to the Arctic Monkeys' sensation, picks up another production credit for The Basement's debut release. Since recently finishing a tour of France with M. Ward, The Basement is now turning its focus to the States and planning to bring their catchy amalgam of modern indie-rock aesthetic and the old feel of Irish bar ditties. Simply put, instead of just listening to the music, you'll feel compelled to sing-along with a large group of friends. So go ahead and learn the lyrics now-- because you're sure to hear them at your favorite watering-hole (or home stereo) soon.
Artist: The Basement
Title: The Basement EP
Release date: 01/23/07
Label: Zealous Records
Buy at: Amazon
Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs
The Basement launched amid a mass of praise from the UK's leading music press and with Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs set for a US release, Americans will get a taste of what NME predicted "will sail way beyond all other pretenders". The Basement name came as a nod to Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues because, as singer / guitarist / songwriter John Mullin says, "the place we were living and rehearsing in was like a basement and Mark (McCausland - guitarist) used to take the piss out of me because of the line in the song that says 'Johnny's in The Basement'. So it stuck." Illicit Hugs was produced by fellow Irishman Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, The Zutons). On it, you can hear a band at the height of its powers - like the Flying Burrito Brothers with hips, like Van Morrison letting loose with some back-street white-boy soul shouting in his essential Them years.
The Basement launched amid a mass of praise from the UK's leading music press. Early singles wetted a feverant appetite and the Irish four piece went into the studio to record their heavily anticipated debut. After literally years in the studio, The Basement officially announced their arrival in July of 2006 with the release of Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs. Now set for a North American release via Zealous Records in March, Americans will get a taste of what NME predicted "will sail way beyond all other pretenders ".
Several years ago, before they were called The Basement, John Mullin, (singer, guitarist and songwriter), Mark McCausland (lead guitar) and Declan McManus (drums) got together in their hometown of Omagh, knowing they wanted to do something with music. "We decided to decamp to Liverpool the first chance we got," says Mullin. "There was no real mystical reason for Liverpool. It was the first place we hit land after Ireland." It was a fortuitous place to settle. Within a few months, they met bassist Graeme Hassall and began to rehearse day and night. Living in "a proper shit-hole" (their flat, not the city), they started to make a name on Liverpool's rich, rising scene. They were soon discovered by Alan Wills who signed them to his Deltasonic label. The Basement name came as a nod to Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues because, as Mullin says, "the place we were living and rehearsing in was like a basement and Mark used to take the piss out of me because of the line in the song that says 'Johnny's in The Basement'. So it stuck." Early on, the band released "Medicine Day", the first real sign of their vast potential. A furious, jangly, pre-Beatles piece of melodic pop, topped with Mullin's throaty, distinctive voice it was a brilliant calling card. It piqued interest and left many baying for more. They followed this with "Do You Think You're Movin' On" and then The Basement went away to work on the album.
On recording the album Mullin explains, "I was never comfortable with the idea of walking into the studio with some guy you've never met and the clock's on and you've got to make magic". "It was more about finding a situation that was comfortable for us." Producing the album was fellow Irishman Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Dead 60's, The Zutons) at Liverpool's Motor Museum Studios. Since work started on the record, two entire albums worth of songs have been scrapped. "It wasn't because anyone thought they weren't good enough. We wanted the album to be the best it could possibly be, for us to be proud of it." To give themselves a musical education of a different kind, the band spent four months travelling around Ireland and playing in pubs with old men who they freely admit "were far better musicians than us." Once they'd reached their final evolution, and with hundreds more songs under their belts, The Basement re-entered the studio. This time, it took a mere three weeks to record the finished article.
You can hear a band at the height of their powers on Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs. Like the Flying Burrito Brothers with hips, like Van Morrison letting loose with some back-street white-boy soul shouting in his early, essential Them years.
Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs is a crafted debut that already sounds like a living and breathing classic. Mullin builds simple, captivating songs about the people you meet and the things you read and see. This is not a break-up album, but it's certainly an album that feels as though it's lived and been battered a bit. "But it's never in the me's and you's and I's," says Mullin simply.
Mullin is a frontman other bands would kill for. With hooded eyes and furrowed brow, he has a possessed Irish air that suggests much more going on than he'll ever tell you. And he's talking himself down. His lyrics are not just some cut-and-paste job, some smart observations on life; he has Shane MacGowan's ability to turn the mundane into high, poignant art.
This is just the start of The Basement. This is a record with rare depth, with a wonderful melancholic air and an urgent bounce - a record that demanded to be written. In a few months you'll wonder how you ever got along without The Basement.
"The Basement EP" by The Basement - release date: 01/23/07..