Stunning harmonies, subtle time signature changes, and superb arrangements are the hallmarks of this Calgary trio. Meshing intricate rhythms with cello, piano and guitar, Raleigh are as much ear candy as head candy - thoughtful and emotive but utterly engaging. Unafraid of both straight-up pop hooks, folk traditions and complex song structure, this is a band uniquely shaping their own space in pop and roots music.
Raleigh spent the better part of September 2012 in studio Hotel2Tango recording their new full length with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, GY!BE, Handsome Furs...) and Greg Smith. News for the release of this record is TBA.
Raleigh’s debut LP, New Times in Black and White, has taken the band on a handful of Canadian tours, including showcases at the Calgary Folk Festival, NXNE, Sled Island, and the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival. New Times in Black and White was also recognized by the Calgary Herald as one of the top local releases of 2011. Since the conception of the band in 2010, other highlight performances include opening slots for the Books, Dan Mangan, and Cold Specks.
“Unlike so many bands that prefer a softer voice and hushed tones, the results speak volumes.” - (the Calgary Herald)
"Raleigh create beautifully layered songs that are as delicate as they are sophisticated. Tight vocal harmonies interweave and counterpoint with instrumental arrangements that sound far larger than their lineup might indicate. Geiger and Anaïs’ lyrics are both literate and accessible, creating an entire storybook world where characters are well rounded and familiar, traveling through settings that are all their own." - (Beatroute Magazine, May 2011)
"Without question, the indie/folk anthems Raleigh pen are beautiful, but they aren’t suffocated by their own preciousness. Jazzy numbers like “Marrow” and slow burners like the LP closer, “Savant” are laced with quirky transitions and Waits like percussion clanks. Unlike so many bands that prefer a softer voice and hushed tones, the results speak volumes." - (Herohill)
“Cello, guitar and drums, melded into a sound solid enough to make them stand out from the pack.” - (The Wounded Jukebox)
"A More Thoughtful, Elegant Indie: Raleigh released its debut album, a wondrous opus with original musical motifs in droves. Clea Anaïs, Brock Geiger, and Matt Doherty blend cello, guitar, and drums to create little gems of aural and literary pulchritude." - (the Voice Magazine)
"A soothing listen from start to finish, Raleigh’s “New Times in Black and White” reflects both the down to earth attitude of the band as well as the lofty musical intricacies the group is willing to tackle." - (Around in Sound)
"Refracted through their personal lens, Raleigh inhabit a shape-shifting capacity. Doherty, a deep-pocketed drummer, helps flesh things out as he gathers momentum like a locomotive while Geiger’s guitar bursts over Anaïs piano notes that drop like rain. There’s something in their music that draws you near, makes you still a moment. Silent, perhaps, and observant. A Frankenstein of their own making, maybe. Made up of available parts and pieces as its palpable genius works, plays, and stirs." - (Discorder Magazine)
Clea Anaïs - keys, Cello, Vocal
Matt Doherty - Drums
Brock Geiger - Bass, Guitar, Vocal
"New Times in Black and White" - Release May 24, 2011 - [ CD / Digital ]
'Heartstrings' : Clea Anaïs (Released November, 2009)
'Invitation' : Brock Geiger (Released July, 2009)
TransCanada Alberta Music Series
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“The trio's music brings to mind flights of fancy and road trips through the mountains. Sweet melodi...“The trio's music brings to mind flights of fancy and road trips through the mountains. Sweet melodies and light orchestration from Anaïs coupled with Geiger’s plucky folk, equals a musical delight.” – TransCanada Alberta Music Series – February 2010.
"Cello, guitar and drums, melded into a sound solid enough to make them stand out from the pack."
"Cello, guitar and drums, melded into a sound solid enough to make them stand out from the pack."
folk pop trio merges old with new
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Brock Geiger (guitar/vocals), Clea Anaïs (cello/piano/vocals) and Matt Doherty (drums), the three th...Brock Geiger (guitar/vocals), Clea Anaïs (cello/piano/vocals) and Matt Doherty (drums), the three that make up the quirky folk-pop outfit, Raleigh, create beautifully layered songs that are as delicate as they are sophisticated. Tight vocal harmonies interweave and counterpoint with instrumental arrangements that sound far larger than their lineup might indicate. Geiger and Anaïs’ lyrics are both literate and accessible, creating an entire storybook world where characters are well rounded and familiar, traveling through settings that are all their own.
It is no surprise that Raleigh are able to achieve such a close relationship with the music they produce. The trio first got together around 2009, though Geiger and Anaïs had known each other for a long time before and had even contributed to each others’ solo projects. The band was finalized when Doherty saw them open for The Books at Broken City, visualized exactly what his position would be within the band and offered them one of his newly minted business cards.
“I think, more than anything, we learn from each other,” says Geiger of the unlikely pairing. Doherty also plays in the aggressive math rock outfit This City Defects, a whole world, it seems, away from the pensive folk-pop stylings of Raleigh. “Matt usually hits the drums as hard as he can, so he plays a little quieter with us. And we get to play with different time signatures and dynamics. It works, in a weird way.”
Geiger and Anaïs first met when they were performing at the Devonian Gardens. I t was Geiger’s full range and lush vocals that first drew Anaïs to him.
“I love listening to Brock sing. If anything caught my attention, it was his great voice,” enthuses Anaïs. “I got really excited to work with him. He kind of has a similar thoughtfulness about the music [as I do].”
“We enjoy the same aesthetics: paying attention to the small things, the small things that make the big moments. I think that’s what drew us to each other,” expands Geiger.
On their newest album, Raleigh, New Times in Black and White, out May 28, the interplay between Geiger and Anaïs is as evident as ever. Doherty fills the sound out, providing a clear rhythmic base upon which the rest of Raleigh begin to tell their own tales. The album is arranged in such a way that it flows almost seamlessly from start to finish, though Geiger and Anaïs stress there’s no overarching concept that governs the record.
“We both wrote portions of the album, no one wrote the whole thing,” says Anaïs, “and we didn’t premeditate what our lyrics would be about, or anything.”
Continues Geiger, “We wanted it to have arrangement continuity, song to song, so it still feels like a trio but bulked up. I think maybe that we have the ability to accomplish that live, too, build the three-piece up to something larger. It was nice to hear that translated to the recording.”
The strength of the songs is evident in the work as a whole. Raleigh made sure to hone their craft live before committing them to wax, ensuring both that they could still perform the enormous songs as a three-piece and that they were natural outgrowths of their evolution as a band. The clean and crisp recordings were captured by David Kean at Audities Recording, who brought his knowledge and experience to an eager-to-learn band.
“He has a history with more traditional kinds of genres, so I think it was interesting for him to work with us on our more modern, kind of Grizzly Bear, aesthetic,” explains Anaïs. “[New Times in Black and White is] kind of like a storybook. There are a lot of things happening. I hope people enjoy the journey.”
new album dropped
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It seems like it’s becoming an epidemic - Calgary’s Raleigh had their van broken into while in Toron...It seems like it’s becoming an epidemic - Calgary’s Raleigh had their van broken into while in Toronto during their current tour. Fortunately they had their instruments with them, but they ended up losing a four-year tour diary, a box of their CD’s, two Mac’s, and luggage (in fact, one member of the band had nothing left but the clothes he was wearing).
But you know us prairie denizens – we are born troopers, roll with the punches, rock with the guitars, etc., etc. So the band rages on, playing intriguingly dynamic and cerebral indie pop, complete with a cello of all things, and the interplay between the two vocalists (male/female) is really something to hear and experience.
And Edmontonians will get their chance, as Raleigh is set to play New City on June 9, in support of their newest album “New Times In Black and White”, which was released to the world yesterday. They also have some other dates in the region – the full itinerary follows a link to stream their song “Drip” (which is where the quote above is from).
Raleigh: New Times in Black and White
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You could call it post-folk. Not that Raleigh takes folk concepts past their logical endpoint — it’s...You could call it post-folk. Not that Raleigh takes folk concepts past their logical endpoint — it’s that this local three-piece combines elements of classic songwriting with the telltale signposts most often associated with the Midwest post-rock scene. The 10 songs on New Times in Black revel in epic albeit subdued structure, and whiplash time and tempo changes.
Guitarist Brock Geiger favours intricate finger-plucking and low-key soloing that, coupled with Clea Anaïs’s emotive work on the cello, ensures Raleigh has a clearly defined sound. Geiger’s solo output and Anaïs’s tenure in The Consonant C point to strong song crafting and an ability to offer lush pop-scapes, but together their duet vocals offer something truly special. His voice is warm,hers is sweet, making every note that they share more than just the combination of their voices. Drummer Matt Doherty is also in step, crystallizing songs from behind the kit. Dressing up brilliant minimalism with oblique accents is one thing, but Doherty’s drumming brings resonant tension to New Times in Black.
Whether it’s “Tunnel Vision” dripping with strings and warm indie charm, “Balloon Boy” crackling with restrained energy, or the eerie, elliptical loops of “Murderer,” Raleigh will find respect from dour hipsters, indie kids and aging hippies.
Reviews:: Raleigh New Times In Black And White
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I’ll always have a special place in my heart for anyone associated with The Dudes. Musically, sure t...I’ll always have a special place in my heart for anyone associated with The Dudes. Musically, sure the Calgary outfit can crank up the amps and go wild, but their HPX show a few years ago was legendary. Opening for Two Hours Traffic, The Dudes blew the roof off of The Attic and in the process had immaculately dressed young men and scantily clad females freaking the fuck out. I’m talking signed CDs, encores and it seemed like we were moments away from bras being tossed on stage.
So, when I heard that members of Raleigh – a trio from Calgary – featured members of the The Dudes (not to mention herohill favorite, Woodpigeon), I was all in. Sonically, the bands couldn’t be more different. Raleigh is built on boy/girl vocals, picked and bowed cello and beautiful, subdued melancholy. Refusing to raise above a whisper, Clea Anaïs and Brock Geiger (with solid support from skins man Matt Doherty) live by the underused adage of less is more.
The trio’s debut album, New Times In Black And White, relies on intimacy to deliver sadness. Slow builds let catchy mood pieces like “Tunnel Pieces” and “Drip” seep into open spaces, but that restraint should never be mistaken for complacency. “Murderer” uses simple picks and gentle drum beat to frame the dark tale and honestly, any extra notes would strip the chill from the duet. “Casper” finds the band exploring more chaotic textures behind the lovely female vocals and even “Without Wings”, a song that starts with a Jose Gonzalez influenced ambiance, benefits from the wash of cymbals, strings and rough edges.
Without question, the indie/folk anthems Raleigh pens are beautiful (“Balloon Boy” is nothing more than harmonies, cello and drums but hooks the listener immediately), but they aren’t suffocated by their own preciousness. Jazzy numbers like “Marrow” and slow burners like the LP closer, “Savant” are laced with quirky transitions and Waits like percussion clanks. Unlike so many bands that prefer a softer voice and hushed tones, the results speak volumes.
Chamber folk trio Raleigh an untraditional musical mix
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It’s a good thing the three members of Raleigh don’t believe in bad omens. Three weeks ago, the l...It’s a good thing the three members of Raleigh don’t believe in bad omens.
Three weeks ago, the local chamber folk trio was performing a show in Toronto to support the release of its debut CD New Times In Black and White.
As they were unloading their rented vehicle and taking their gear into the Hogtown venue, they briefly left the tailgate open and unattended assuming — as us simple, honest, trusting Western souls are wont to do — that their belongings would be safe. The result? The theft of a batch of new CDs, some electronics, clothing and personal belongings.
Not really a great way to kick things off as Raleigh sets to build from its local buzz and make its mark on the national music scene, but, then again, guitarist-vocalist Brock Geiger refuses to look at it as something to portend dark things ahead.
“I don’t think so,” Geiger says, sipping a coffee on a bench outside of Urban Baker on Edmonton Trail. “We got over it pretty fast. We were having too much fun playing out there. Meh. We’re over it.
“The hard work stuff is what hurts,” he continues, “the five years of tour diaries, and the notes of contacts for media and bookings, that’s the stuff that still lingers.”
It’s doubtful that the loss of a few, important names, numbers and e-mail addresses will stall Raleigh, considering the time they’ve already spent wooing Alberta audiences with their blend of rootsy orchestral material.
And perhaps it’s because of that musical mix, that the untraditional three-piece featuring Geiger, cellist and vocalist Clea Anais, and drummer Matt Doherty, has found a following in both the indie scene while maintaining ties with the more arty and earthy element of the community. For proof, all you have to look at is Raleigh’s upcoming schedule, which not only includes tonight’s release party at Grace Presbyterian Church, but a gig hosting the Saturday jam at the Ship and Anchor, and spots on both the Sled Island and folk fest lineups.
“That’s kind of what we’re excited about, is the dynamic of the project,” Geiger says. “It tiptoes on the folk — we could play a soft seat (theatre) but we have enough juice that we can play a club and not have people call us weak.”
Part of that ability, no doubt, comes from the three members’ diverse backgrounds as well as positions in other local acts. The self-taught Geiger is also a member of local pop rockers The Dudes, and, like the classically trained Anais, who spent time in Woodpigeon and The Consonant C, also part of Dudes offshoot The Dojo Workhorse. Add to the mix the jazz schooled Doherty, who’s also in another pair of projects, including Axis of Conversation, and gigs as a session musician, and you have an endless palette of styles to dip into.
That said, Geieger is quick to point out that despite dividing time between other musical enterprises, Raleigh is the one that represents his true passions.
“Absolutely,” he says. “Playing with The Dudes and Dojo is both extremely fun and rewarding. But in terms of writing output, I’ve never been able to write a rock song. Matt’s the one that can rock, but Clea and I are coming up with the chord progressions and the melodies and this is definitely a little closer to our hearts stylistically. I think we both have a tendency to write slower tempo, folk-based songs . . .
“This is our brainchild.”
New Times In Black and White is a pretty astonishing realization of that vision. Recorded at local studio The Audities Foundation, the album is filled with gorgeous vocal interplay between Geiger and Anais, over canvasses splashed with warm, natural tones and even warmer, welcoming spaces. All of those different elements from the trio’s musical experiences mingle together effortlessly, tied into a tight, complete package with one distinct sound.
“I think we’ve got a definite idea of what we’re trying to achieve but at the same time we don’t like to think we’re limiting ourselves,” Geiger says.
“As a trio it’s very collaborative in the sense that we’re bouncing ideas off of each other and it’s the same three heads on all of the songs. So in that sense, that’s what holds it together to feel like it’s at least semi-focused.”
Now with the album complete and solid hometown support behind them, Geiger says he and the rest of the band are ready to put their other projects on the back burner and turn their full focus on Raleigh.
“It’s nice to have it feel like a real project now. It feels like we can put some weight behind it, and deservedly so.”
And if their success can come even close to matching their ambition and talents, it certainly foretells great things to come.
A More Thoughtful, Elegant Indie
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A More Thoughtful, Elegant Indie “If somebody wants a sheep, that is a proof that one exists.” ...A More Thoughtful, Elegant Indie
“If somebody wants a sheep, that is a proof that one exists.”
Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince.
This last Tuesday, the trio Raleigh released its debut album, a wondrous opus with original musical motifs in droves. Clea Anaïs, Brock Geiger, and Matt Doherty blend cello, guitar, and drums to create little gems of aural and literary pulchritude.
To see their photos you’d assume that they’re merely playful artists, but their music reveals a rigorous artistic discipline.
There is a pattern: glowing seams of music are overlaid by other glowing seams of music until the song reaches a crescendo. The cello adds a poignant, tender serenity informed by heartache. Clea and Brock both have lovely voices and an intuitive singing relationship; these two were born to harmonize together.
Many of these tunes sound like they were written for electronic instruments, and it’s a delight to hear such music interpreted by cello. The cello is a bit of an anomaly in the alternative music world, which is a good thing: although a few bands have used it, its use is not frequent enough to make it cliché or to distract from the soulful quality of the instrument.
There is a wealth of melodic ideas here, many of which are reminiscent of ’60s prog rock and yet sound sparklingly new. And the lyrics are insightful explorations of inner landscapes.
New Times in Black and White
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Some of the most beautiful, enlightening music comes out of places where we least expect it. Frozen ...Some of the most beautiful, enlightening music comes out of places where we least expect it. Frozen under a thick layer of snow and ice for eight months of the year, Calgary is often known as the birthplace of relentless, hard-nosed punk rock. But this kind of preconceived notion is of no use to Clea Anaïs and Brock Geiger, who first discovered each other through the city’s Devonian Gardens after Anaïs heard Geiger singing across a goldfish pond. It was this kind of natural, serendipitous meeting which eventually gave birth to Raleigh, a natural and serendipitous band if ever there was one. Rounded out by Matt Doherty, the trio is ready to present New Times In Black And White, their debut self-released album out on May 24th.
New Times In Black And White is a lush, tasteful listen that draws on the finer elements of earthy folk and chamber pop with delicate melodies that hold the whole thing together. All three members have spent time playing with illustrious company, including Woodpigeon, The Dojo Workhorse and The Dudes, and as evidenced here on the album they have not let this time pass them by. Each and every track is inflicted with the kind of tragic, rolling beauty that calls to mind the effortless grandeur of Fleet Foxes and Broken Social Scene.
'Godspeed’ evokes a certain emotional pain but eventually gives way to a stronger and more potent emotional resonance with a deft, undulating rhythm. ‘Marrow’ is bouncy enough, but never overbearing. ‘Drip’ showcases the band’s ability to make listeners weep with Anaïs and Geiger’s harmonies while ‘Tunnel Vision,’ the album’s stunning and consistently growing opener evokes the thought of the aforementioned park awakening at springtime after months of slumber.
While New Times In Black And White is indeed deep in sonic textures, what remains is how clear and focused the band’s vision is. Nothing is cluttered and nothing is sacrificed. Driven by boy/girl duet vocals with cello, guitar and drum instrumentation, Raleigh have combined their musical upbringings into a truly subjective work of art.
The Wonder Years & Raleigh
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Raleigh: New Times In Black And White Playing this album is, without hyperbole, one of the most e...Raleigh: New Times In Black And White
Playing this album is, without hyperbole, one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I’ve had this year. Sung by alternating male/female leads Brock Geiger and Clea Anais, the Folk-Rock melodies here are haunting, beautiful, endearing and addictive. Poetic lyrics, gentle vocals, rich, minimal instrumentation all combine to make this into an almost-perfect listening experience. Almost perfect, because – you guessed it – there was no metadata on my CD. It gets tiresome manually entering the artist info/album name/track title data onto each song, once I’ve uploaded it from the disc to my music library.
In spite of this overwhelming issue, the album’s beauty, quality and originality requires me to give it an additional bonus point, so the default 2-point penalty for the metadata issue is lessened, a bit. I don’t care – you should be listening to Raleigh. That is all.
Raleigh: New Times In Black And White – 9/10
Review- “New Times in Black and White”- Raleigh
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For just a trio, Raleigh certainly weaves some very complex music on their debut album New Times in ...For just a trio, Raleigh certainly weaves some very complex music on their debut album New Times in Black and White.
The listen can get very intense and very surreal as the band throws compositions at you that include bass, guitar, drums and cello. The last instrument listed there is what really makes this album as enchanting as it is. Oh, and lead singers Clea Anaïs and Brock Geiger share vocal duties fairly equally and beautifully. With Matt Doherty rounding out the pack on drums, the three make a great team.
The band even knows how to make long songs worth listening to in their entirety. Songs that stretch to seven minutes are often accused of being grandiose and overinflated, but not here. In fact, the opening track “Tunnel Vision” is actually the longest track but probably the most breathtaking. Shaking strings start off the song before a guitar riff joins in. The drums eventually come in as well, and Geiger starts off the vocals by singing “Move on me like I’m a centipede.” Anaïs then joins in, showcasing her upper vocal range.
The first song should have the listener sufficiently hooked for the rest of the way in. The next song is “Balloon Boy” which conjures up images of 2009's silly publicity stunt. Yet somehow the band manages to make it just as beautiful as their previous song.
“Drip” shows a heavier emphasis on bass and guitar and here Anaïs and Geiger share vocal duties almost completely equally. In “Wordlessness” Anaïs has the song to herself while “Murderer” belong pretty much to Geiger. The former features mostly simple keys and drums and is made even more pleasant by Anaïs’s voice. The latter is much more ominous (as the title probably implied) and Geiger sings as the chorus “I just wanted to be your man/But I think you’ve heard I’m a murderer.” Whether he means murderer literally or figuratively it’s a scary thing to consider.
The rest of the album is just as intricate and unpredictable. Oftentimes you’ll think the song is going to sound the same throughout but those beliefs can be quickly shattered with intermittent strings and melody changes.
Just based on sheer choice of instruments, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a band like Raleigh around elsewhere. So take it upon yourself to visit their Bandcamp page and give New Times in Black and White a try.
Top Tracks: “Tunnel Vision”; “Marrow”
Discorder: Raleigh Review
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Calgary’s Raleigh know the finer points of pop music, both pastoral and precious, and it’s fully evi...Calgary’s Raleigh know the finer points of pop music, both pastoral and precious, and it’s fully evidenced on their debut long player, New Times in Black and White. Admirers of opulent bedroom pop searching for songs both pretty and melancholy can end their search and sip from this refreshing cup of twee.
The hangdog heroes of New Times in Black and White are Clea Anaïs (vocals, cello), Brock Geiger (guitar, bass) and Matt Doherty (drums), who make wistful chamber pop that conjures acts like Camera Obscura and, yes, Belle & Sebastian. Anaïs and Geiger’s beautiful boy/girl back and forth does call to mind Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell markedly on such breezy and poignant ditties as “Without Wings” and “Drip.” The latter a duet as gentle as gossamer, synthesizing ‘60s pop with folk rock most charmingly.
Charming is an apt characterization for Raleigh’s familiar and fecund patch of blue sky. Some of this album may feel a little fabricated, but such is the precious school that Raleigh attends. Could the entire band be knocked down with a feather? Probably, but tracks like “Murderer” and “Godspeed” stray from the twee template enough to allow Geiger to hone in on a more lo-fi indie rock vibe, while his warm vocals suggest a sighing Sam Beam. Anaïs contributes beautifully to these tracks with her ringing, at times almost eerie, cordial cello playing.
There are a lot of standout moments on New Times in Black and White, least of all the deft and au courant lyrics and subject matter. “Balloon Boy” cleverly recounts the Heene family’s 2009 runaway balloon/helium hoax pot-boiler while album opener “Tunnel Vision” instantly enchants with Geiger’s sweet intonation: “You move on me like a centipede.” It’s a stirring avail that is matched time and again on this delicious debut.
Posted on July 4, 2011
Around in Sound with Raleigh
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The opening salvo from Raleigh’s LP album “New Times in Black and White” isn’t bold; rather, it intr...The opening salvo from Raleigh’s LP album “New Times in Black and White” isn’t bold; rather, it introduces itself cautiously, creeping like the centipede from the initial lyrics slinking onto your shoe crawling up your laces. The song “Tunnel Vision” allows the listener to acclimatize itself with newly discovered surroundings built with light guitar work, drumming, and of course - a cello. What the listener finds on “Tunnel Vision” calls attention to further discovery on the rest of the album: A consistent indie folk album that delivers strong song writing and musicianship throughout the course of its 10 song duration. A soothing listen from start to finish, Raleigh’s “New Times in Black and White” reflects both the down to earth attitude of the band as well as the lofty musical intricacies the group is willing to tackle.
With the release of “New Times in Black and White” the band Raleigh fits in nicely with that Canadiana staple, one which has produced several proud musical exports over the years. Raleigh is currently based out of Calgary, Alberta and consists of Brock Geiger (guitar/vocals), Clea Anaïs (cello/piano/vocals), and Matt Doherty (drums). Their use of harmonizing female and male vocals remains a catch on the album “New Times in Black”, and the depth of cello undertones holding down much of the bass is both unique and entertaining. Their sound is full, yet raw, consistent, yet diverse. Undoubtedly their music would be entertaining live; as seen through their Southern Souls session (above) Raleigh presents an entirely similar vibe and soundscape with or without a studio.
NEW RELEASES: Black Lips, Raleigh layer on the influences
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Raleigh, a folk trio out of Calgary, released a debut album “New Times in Black and White” on May 24...Raleigh, a folk trio out of Calgary, released a debut album “New Times in Black and White” on May 24. Its 10 tracks are an interesting compendium of sophisticated styles, layered together beautifully with great clarity of focus.
In some ways, the trio could be compared to Rural Alberta Advantage, although tangibly softer and more serene, marginally less refined and just as emotive. Clea Anais and Brock Geiger share lead vocals, though the tracks where Anais sings solo are stronger in general, and the songs where they share harmonies – such as “Drip” – really stand out. Anais also plays the cello on some tracks, which adds yet another dimension, and her voice sounds similar to Sarah McLachlan.
The standout song on the album is likely “Balloon Boy”, with Anais’s cello creating a cacophony of deep vibrations that drive the song through to its end. Anais’s vocals have never sounded better, with the duo sharing the chorus in beautiful unison, ending with an emotive refrain. “Marrow” is also strong even though it’s the poppiest track on the album.
Interview with Raleigh, Who Perform “Tunnel Vision”
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Listen to this track by art-rock-meets-chamber-pop trio from Calgary Alberta, Raleigh. It’s the open...Listen to this track by art-rock-meets-chamber-pop trio from Calgary Alberta, Raleigh. It’s the opening track to their debut album New Times in Black and White; “Tunnel Vision”, an ambitious tune built up centered around the interlocked voices of Clea Anaïs (also on cello and piano) and Brock Geiger (guitar). Drummer Matt Doherty supports the song, and others on the record with dextrous, melodic fills.
The three musicians have created an amalgam of various strains of pop music, with an atmosphere that explores the same sumptuous indie-folk musical continent as Sufjan Stevens mapped on Illinoise. There is temptation to bury them in comparisons to other bands still, ranging from Stars, to Iron & Wine, to Radiohead.
Yet with the vocal chemistry between Anaïs and Geiger, and with the warm and restrained orchestral feel of cello against indie guitar, against jazz-inflected drumming, the band establish their own unique sonic landscape. They leave enough space for the voices to work their magic with melodies that urge the listener on, while also shifting in interesting directions instrumentally and rhythmically at the same time.
I talked to Clea and Brock about finding each other (literally!), about chemistry, and about the one-time event of creating a debut album.
The Delete Bin: According to sources, Clea, you found Brock by following his voice as he performed with a previous band through the Devonian Gardens in Calgary. How did this experience compare to your first collaboration as singers together?
Clea Anaïs: Our first collaborations were actually on each others solo recordings. Our relationship was very courteous and we sang what the other person had in mind. Currently unless we have a very specific intent for a melody, we are more interested in writing our own lyrics and harmonies. We think very differently and that helps to achieve the dissonance and surprise moments of unity.
DB: The interlocking voices and melody lines carried by the two singers is a real standout when it comes to the way this song, “Tunnel Vision” comes off, and is pretty central to the sound of the band in general on the album. It sounds almost choral, like classical singing. What sources did you pull from to get this effect?
Brock Geiger: Clea and I have been playing/ singing together for nearly 4 years and we’ve seemed to gain an understanding of each others’ voices and how to use them effectively together. The arrangement in “Tunnel Vision”, like the majority of the album is not set up as a lead/ backup parts, which I think creates some unexpected dynamic and movement from voice to voice.
DB: “Tunnel Vision” is a great choice for an opening track, because it builds slowly, sets a tone, and goes off in unexpected directions and with multiple themes. As far as pacing goes, what was your game plan for the whole album with reference to this kind of thing?
BG: With this batch of songs we didn’t consider the order of the album until after the whole thing was recorded. We took a lot of time considering different options with the objective of it sounding as cohesive as possible. When I listen to records, the moments between songs has always stood out to me; those are the moments that hold the potential to take the listener to the next “space” or anticipate what’s coming next.
DB: One of my favourite elements to music on the production side is a sense of musical foreground and background, and I really get that sense with this tune. How much tinkering with the arranging and actual playing of the song was done when you approached the business of recording it, as opposed to playing it live?
CA: Our live performance is essentially the same as the arrangement on the album minus some of the electric bass or keyboard tone. We didn’t have a ton of time to record so we pretty much laid down what we had.
BG: We put a lot of emphasis on how to achieve dynamics with this band. Almost all of the songs on the album were worked out live before getting in to the studio and we approached the recording process to capture the sound of the trio as opposed to laying down something we would have a hard time recreating live.
DB: A band featuring a cello, sort of a traditionally non-rock/pop lead instrument, can often set the tone for the music, with chamber pop being a sort of instant assumption a listener’s ear makes. Yet, your music is very difficult to pigeonhole. How did you resist the gravity of landing on just one musical style with such a characteristic set up instrumentally?
CA: I don’t think we are writing music to fit or belong anywhere with anyone. Raleigh’s songwriting grows from an inward sentiment that ends up being expressed through the lyrical and musical choices we make. Cello, guitar, and drums are the instruments we are most proficient on, but we would love to work with other mediums in the future. We don’t start with a sound and work out the idea, we start with the idea/sentiment and work out the song.
DB: The band is just coming off a tour in support of the album New Times in Black and White. What have you taken away from it when it comes to putting across your songs to an audience?
CA: Because lots of people pigeonhole music, many audiences have an expectation of what a live band should be. Raleigh is a bit discerning, then people who love music begin to enjoy the challenge. The most fun are the people who try to dance in 7. Honestly best lesson learned from Dan Vacon (The Dudes, The Dojo Workhorse), its about the energy and engagement you bring to the audience that defines how good the show will be.
DB: Raleigh is made up of three musicians who have been, and are still, active on the Calgary scene in various musical contexts besides. Yet, Raleigh has been described by you as ‘Our Brainchild’. What was it that first inspired it, and what is the constant that keeps you focused artistically on developing it?
CA: Its easy to get involved in everything and way harder to be disciplined and expose your own work. Raleigh is the brain-child and heart-child because we all write and contribute the sincerity and craziness that goes on in our minds and we are lucky enough to play with others that bring it and respect it too.
For more information about Raleigh, and more music, be sure to check out the Raleigh MySpace page.
Also, consider giving the Raleigh Facebook page a ‘Like’.
The band are playing the Railway Club here in Vancouver, Tuesday evening PST. I’d love to see some of you local cats there!
A Frankenstein of their own making
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Refracted through their personal lens, Raleigh inhabit a shape-shifting capacity. Doherty, a deep-po...Refracted through their personal lens, Raleigh inhabit a shape-shifting capacity. Doherty, a deep-pocketed drummer, helps flesh things out as he gathers momentum like a locomotive while Geiger’s guitar bursts over Anaïs piano notes that drop like rain. There’s something in their music that draws you near, makes you still a moment. Silent, perhaps, and observant. A Frankenstein of their own making, maybe. Made up of available parts and pieces as its palpable genius works, plays, and stirs.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.