Greetings and welcome to the first ever Blaa Blaa Blaa (interview) segment. To shuffle things along, the Lamb was excited to have a blaa blaa moment with Spooklyland, an outstandingly talented artist from Sydney that we urge you to listen to. But first, we take a listen to the stunning new EP. Youll be hearing a lot more from him, trust us.
Album Title_ Rock and Roll Weakling EP
Label_ Monday Records
Genre_ Indie, Blues, Alt. Rock
Moments Of_ Neil Young, Tallest Man On Earth, Nick Cave
Stand Out_ Silly Fucking Thing
Spookyland – AKA Marcus Gordon and his band – are like nothing you have heard before. Ranging between moments of trembling sweetness to guttural snarls, Gordon shows off a surprisingly large range of emotion and musical talent within such a small output of four songs, and for a mere 22 year old to boot. Not much can be said from listening to this band that can be understood without listening yourself; Spookyland has the rare talent of giving every listener something different to take away. So listen in for yourself, and take your little piece of Spookyland away; it’s their gift to you.
If there is one artists to watch in the future, it’s this guy. Already compared to the likes of Bob Dylan and Nick Cave, Spookyland has the depth and emotion that I wouldn’t have imagined could be possible in an EP. A beautiful mish-mash of pop, rock and blues, the EP is a homage to Spookyland’s influences but without the mimicry. Instead, the result is poetically searing lyrics and emotionally charged music – songs that can only come from the depths of an original individual.
The EP opens with the wail of a harmonica; the first track, Rock and Roll Weakling is a marching salute to Neil Young; a solid opening that ticks the boxes of a blues anthem – tambourine? Check. A lazy tempo that rolls around your brain? Check. Slightly vague lyrics of the down-and-out? Check. Sit back and enjoy, it only gets better from here.
Full and menacing, Blood in the Rain rips and snarls its way into your ears. A comparison to Cave is certainly welcome here; definitely a homage to that growling disdain we know so well from the king of contempt. Listening to his previous 2010 EP Killin’ One Bird With Two Stones it is clear that this rollicking, dangerous blues is a comfortable genre for Spookyland. Yet in the last four years, something in the music has changed; matured maybe? Leant less on influences and struck out on an original sound, though Tallest Man On Earth, Bob Dylan and co are all still in there – just taking a back seat.
The real winner is Silly Fucking Thing, beautiful in its vulnerability and heart-breaking in its sincerity. Gordon, as the band turns down the tempo, turns up the shoegaze, again demonstrating their amazing range of vocal and musical talent. And the recently released video clip is just as sad, vulnerable and personal as the song itself – Gordon’s face paint as the Spookyland image I found particularly interesting; a strange morbid Bowie, Lady Gaga gone wrong – very simple and very effective.
The one drawback of this EP is that it’s too short – it leaves you hungry for more. As the last strains of Adventure Song fade out, there is an empty feeling like someone important has just left the room. Hopefully you come back with more soon Spookyland, I’m missing you already.
Not only did I have the honour of reviewing Rock And Roll Weakling this week, but I also managed to ask some lamby questions to Marcus Gordon himself. The 22 year old is based in Sydney, and has just played a bunch of launches and gigs in the area – but no announcements as yet for more live dates. Although it was via email, I was fan-girling something shocking, you think he can feel those vibes through the internet? If he did, he was very polite indeed.
Hi Marcus, Thanks for taking the time to do this, you must be pretty busy with all this hype surrounding the EP - very much deserved hype!
First off, can you tell us a bit about Spookyland?
MG: About seven years ago I started writing songs under the name as a solo act. There was an off wave or two of recognition, a semi official release about four years ago. We became a band a few years ago and it’s only just starting to formulate into something that will function enough for things to steadily manifest. Really happy about it.
Where in the world is Spookyland? What is the vibe like there?
MG: Surviving childhood imagination, influenced by adult concepts.
Give us 3 words to describe your sound.
MG: Australia, Australia, Australia.
All music-making is personal to a point, but yours especially comes across as
almost painfully lived; very raw and vulnerable. Where do you draw your
MG: I don’t think there’s any argument for comparing pain. We’ve all experienced it in shocking ways, I guess it’s all about how aware you allow yourself to be of it. Writing songs is that funny war between liberation and foot shooting.
The physical identity of Spookyland is unique. Can you tell us more about its
MG: It began with David Bowie. I’d wear make up at home and take pictures of myself- align them with some dodgy demos on myspace. I haven’t really thought about where SL’s identity ended up, what it’s become or becoming.
With a great EP under your belt you are already likened to Bob Dylan and Nick
Cave – does that sit comfortably with you?
MG: I don’t think a comparison is something to be proud of. It’s no feat. You know, you’re influenced by these people, so on some level you’re bound to sound like them, aesthetically. It’s useful though, in a promotional sense, would ‘folk’ give anyone an idea on what they were about to click? It frustrates me a little bit though, that people cry Dylan when one song is published vs. like 500 songs and half a century of hard work.
If you could roam free in a field anywhere in the world, where would that field
MG: One full of cattle, rescued from torture and slaughter.
Each week we review a handful of New Borns (new album releases), what New
Born are you listening at the moment?
MG: Not so new, but I’ve been really enjoying Kirin J Callinan’s ‘Embracism’.
So what can we expect from a Spookyland live experience? When can we
see you play?
MG: It’s something that’s going to expand a whole lot as time goes. Right now we’re just trying to move energy. I think it’s more traditional rock and roll then some people would guess. We try to include the whole E.P.
To keep up with tour dates and releases for Spookyland, jump onto Spookylands’ band page at Monday Records.