BEAMS

BEAMS

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandFolkRock

As a true collective, the seven-piece ensemble’s sound brings together elements of country, bluegrass, folk, and avant garde to create music that echoes long-dead Appalachian voices while bravely injecting that spirit into 21st century pop.

Biography

Every decade or so, a band comes along that perfectly reflects Toronto’s never-ending quest to honour the legacy of its musical past while breaking new artistic ground. In 2015, that band is Beams. For the past two years, the sound of Beams’ two female voices in harmony, combined with banjo, mandolin, lap steel guitar and singing saw, has carved a niche within Toronto’s alternative folk scene. Now, with its new two-song single, The Gutters and The Glass, Beams has fully tapped into its unlimited potential.

As a true collective, the seven-piece ensemble’s sound brings together elements of country, bluegrass, folk, and avant garde to create music that echoes long-dead Appalachian voices while bravely injecting that spirit into 21st century pop. With the writing of co-front woman Anna Mernieks as its foundation, Beams pushes the boundaries of tradition, at the same time allowing each member space to contribute their distinctive voices toward a greater end. With The Gutters and The Glass, those results are well beyond anything Beams has conceived up to now.

On their own, each song — “The Way We Run” and “Black Shadow” — takes the approach Beams’ employed on its acclaimed 2013 debut album, the Peter J. Moore-produced Just Rivers, to a different level of sonic sophistication, with the array of voices and instrumentation beautifully balanced, and each note perfectly placed. It’s what a great single has always been and should always be—approximately seven completely captivating minutes.

Fittingly, the story behind the making of The Gutters and The Glass embodies the band’s artistic intent. In the fall of 2013, drummer Mike Duffield heard that John McEntire was relocating his SOMA Electronic Music Studio in Chicago. The news prompted Duffield to contact McEntire (known best for his work with Tortoise and The Sea & Cake) to see if it was still possible to schedule a session. Beams managed to secure two days just after the New Year, convinced a Chicago friend to put them up at his apartment, and spent the remaining funds on a van for the daunting mid-winter drive.

The Gutters and The Glass comes barely a year after Beams’ formal arrival in May 2013 with Just Rivers. In her four-star review, NOW’s Julia LeConte described the initial offering as “an album that never repeats itself and is full of unexpected nods and surprise turns – bluegrassy one minute (okay, many minutes), nodding to ‘60s Britrock the next.”

One listen to The Gutters and The Glass will confirm that view and then some. With this single, Beams has set a high standard for its next recording venture, but after this experience, they are sure to live up to it. Enjoy these two songs for the gorgeous documents of two whirlwind days in Chicago that they are, but know that there is also much more to come.

Lyrics

Be My Brother

Written By: Anna Mernieks

I'll sit alone in the corner, three steps away from the border, I'll give you bread and water if you pretend to be my brother, to be my brother.
How long is this life? How long does it take to build a home out of sticks and stones?
How long is this life? How long does it take to build a home out of shoes by the door?
We make rhythm, we keep time with the chopping block, nails and tar
When we’re done building how long will we stay before the wind takes us to another place?
Oh’s
Is it fertile, will it grow, will the lights turn out when we dam the flow?
Is it fertile, will it grow, or will it wilt, or will it wilt by the cold window?
I'll sit alone in the corner, three steps away from the border, I'll give you bread and water if you pretend to

be my brother, to be my brother

How long is this life? How long does it take to step and step through the rocky lake?
To burn a canyon out of this path, to trim the branches out of your face?
When the city spreads its arms, my brother’s blood- it is not mine
But when the city spreads its arms, all of our bodies beat in time

I’ll sit alone in the corner, two steps away from the border, I’ll give you bread and water if you pretend to be my brother.

I'm Not Human

Written By: Anna Mernieks

If the black hole targets me again, I'm not human
and if I'm anonymously ominous to him, it's cause I'm not human

In the snake pipes underneath the drains I'm flowing with the rains
If I were light through your window at night I would fall on you so I could watch you change
into a magical, cartwheeling radical, the kind I found under bathroom light
and under blankets where the snake queen of snake dreams makes sounds like fur rubbing boxes at night

If the black hole targets me again, it's cause a star died
and if I'm anonymously ominous to him, it's cause I know why

on sticky counters, every pound of hers makes a difference to me
and in the orchards the moonlight casts shadows on her thoughts about me
one breath of smoke goes and covers up the apples the fruits from the tree
the silver light makes tinfoil out of cold snow and the ice looks like mirrors from the sea
but just a shadow I be

The Way We Run

Written By: Anna Mernieks

Will, will you sit, sit with me longer than she did?
Will, will you sit, sit with me longer than she did?
and will, will you stay even when I'm turned away?
Cause sometimes there is just, just not much, not much to say
I am sorry if my silence
made you feel like you couldn't talk.

Oh, the sun shone so brightly today,
I wanted so badly to play,
but working part time, working full time, all the time,
we'll never have time for a son
or a girl
'cause this is the way we run:
pushed to the sides with the gutters and the glass by the cars.
I am happy if my blindness keeps me from seeing who you are.

She would be so sad to see
cold, cold rivers have hardened me
learning to walk on the edge of the knife,
too many long nights.

Black Shadow

Written By: Anna Mernieks

My head feels heavy with a tidal wave
My thoughts keep coming like tidal waves
Oh, I was lost, but now I'm saved!
And now it's safe to get lost again.

You walk like you're falling over
and I'm caving under your hand.

Oh! Did you see it?
In the corner of your eye,
a black shadow scooping up the sky.

Something underground has been awoken
It grew as it slept for a very long time
and where will you run when it comes a-rumblin'?
Yeah, there's nowhere to run from your own mind.

You walk like you're falling over
and I'm caving under your hand.

Oh! Did you see it?
In the corner of your eye,
a black shadow scooping up the sky.

Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover)

Written By: Kate Bush

It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
You, it's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh...

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder.
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts.

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?
You, it's you and me.
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
Say, if I only could, oh...

You,
It's you and me,
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh..."

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

If I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems...

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
If I only could, I'd be running up that hill."

Discography

"Be My Brother" - single - Feb 26, 2013
"Just Rivers" - full-length debut - May 14, 2013
"The Gutters and the Glass" - 7" single -Jan 27, 2015
"Running up That Hill (Kate Bush)- June 23, 2015

Set List

Berlin
The Way We Run
Same Old Exit
My Second Time at the Mountains
Be My Brother
Live in the Real World
Pull of the Night
You're an Ocean
Running Up that Hill
Black Shadow