Book Club
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Book Club

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Folk Country

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Aug
05
Book Club @ Flicker Theater & Bar

Athens, Georgia, USA

Athens, Georgia, USA

Aug
04
Book Club @ The Earl

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Music

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Every once in a while an album comes along and with one listen I fall in love. 'Ghost' by Book Club is the newest addition to my favorite albums and I can not stop listening to it. Book Club hails from Atlanta, GA and is made up of members from other bands including Oryx & Crake which is also in my current playlist. Book Club's motto is "More Folk than Most Folk" and 'Ghost' definitely lives up to that. However, there is so much more to this album than folk, from stunning vocals to captivating instrumentals. What I like about Book Club is the quality of their work and they aren't trying to be trendy. They are their own and 'Ghost' is a timeless masterpiece that I know I will listen to and never forget about. I feel myself relating to so many of the tunes and also being drawn into the stories that are portrayed throughout the album. This album will make you feel, make you hurt, make you rejoice, and even make you dance.

The song that drew my attention the most on first listen was "I Can't Dance with Just Your Ghost". It's so beautifully written with the pedal steel guitar softly weaving in and out that makes you feel the hurt in the lyrics. "I loved to dance with you the most, but I can’t dance just with your ghost" and my absolute favorite line: "Music is my open wound, the hurt that makes me think of you" This song focuses mainly on the male lead vocals of Robbie Horlick while my next favorite song "Ain't Gonna Drink No More" showcases Leigh Anne Masquarrie's flawless vocals but has catchy bass notes and the most beautiful cello work of Matt Jarrard as well. "Going To Jail Blues" is another gem that I am drawn into the story and the lyrics: "It’s too overwhelming sometimes to seek the truth, it’s easier sometimes to seek a truth you can use" Last but certainly not least the final track on the album "Not Much for Chit Chat" is a song I can definitely relate to because there are times when I would rather be left alone then try to participate in small talk. The straight forward lyrics in combination with the cello and pedal steel guitar make this song simple yet breathtaking.

I've highlighted many reasons why 'Ghost' is a classic in my book but take a listen below and revel in its beauty. I have only listened to this album digitally but I did not hesitate to pre-order the limited edition vinyl which I can not wait to hear! Book Club is throwing a LP Release Party in Atlanta on 8/4 and Athens on 8/5 which I highly recommend being at one or both dates. - Promisingchord.com


Ghost, the debut record from Robbie Horlick’s new project Book Club, comes out next week (August 2). With Book Club, Horlick has put away the indie rock of Cassavetes in favour of a forthright folk approach, enlisting the aid of local talents such as Oryx & Crake‘s Matt Jarrard and vocalist Leigh Anne Macquarrie. The result is a heart-felt and beautifully crafted collection of ten songs that is not only Horlick’s most remarkable release to date, but also one of the best records that will come out of Atlanta this year. - Ohmpark.com (by Davy Minor)


Atlanta-based indie-folk quintet, Book Club’s LP, Ghost, hardly sounds like a debut CD. One would think that an album with this kind of musicianship could only come from a band during a very precise and exhaustive recording process in the middle of their career. But in reality, the band was only formed a year ago, and recorded this album in only four days in an Atlanta studio. The result is a soulful and fine demonstration of folk, pop, and classical music, coupled with captivating lyrics that read more like poetry and fiction than folk or pop songs.

Book Club plans to release the ten song album on August 2, though the album is currently streaming on the band’s website. The band is comprised of Robbie Horlick (of Cassavetes), vocalist Leigh Anne Masquarrie, cellist Matt Jarrard (of Oryx & Crake), bassist Lee Goldenberg, and percussionist Joseph War.

“It seemed easier to bring these stripped down songs to different group of people and have them construct their own parts,” singer/guitarist and lyricist Robbie Horlick said. “I liked the idea of just playing the nylon acoustic guitar in a band, and have always been really interested in Oryx & Crake. And I really wanted to sing with Leigh Anne. Having a female voice in the band is something I’ve always found interesting. It all just seemed like a natural flow of things coming together with those home demos.”

For an album that sounds at first like an “acoustic record,” it dawns on you with each listen that there might be something much larger going on here. And there is, as it’s hard not to appreciate Book Club’s use of cello, banjo, guitar, glockenspiel, pedal steel, melodica, saxophone, and percussion. Ghost is a fine instrumental album in itself, yet the fusion of the dynamic male/female duet vocal performances by Horlick and Masquarrie, and the intelligent lyrical content, makes this one of the most gratifying local releases of the year.

Lyrically, the album is rich. Songs like “Praying Sound” and “Meal of Dreams” provide a lush amount of concrete imagery and storytelling allowing listeners to empathize deeply with all the songs’ characters. However, the lyrics on Ghost are abstract and universal enough to allow listeners to have their own personal relationship with the songs. True, there is a hint of longing and sadness to the album. But upon further review, the songs seem more like bold statements of resilience during darker times, as opposed to a surrendering toward that sadness. The characters are seemingly unwilling to give up whatever it is they are seeking or fighting for: a lover, a memory, an emotion, or a personal belief.

“I never sit around and write garage songs,” Horlick said. “For every Black Lips, there are a hundred other bands that don’t have that spark – I go with whatever comes out of me at the time inspirationally. We have a diverse scene in Atlanta, and everyone forgives you of your own differences from trends. Not trying to cater to anything has actually helped me a lot.”

Perhaps it’s not just coincidence that the band is called Book Club. Horlick reads a lot, from old detective novels (Horlick himself is a defense attorney and seems to draw on personal experience on “Going To Jail Blues”), to Russian literature. Regardless, the band seems to rely heavily on what inspires them personally as to what is popular.

“I try to say that we are like Lou Reed and Nico if they were raised in the South. I don’t know if that’s a fair comparison, or it’s just because Lean is blonde.” Horlick says with a small chuckle.

And there it is: Horlick seems to talk the same way he sings and writes-he’s honest, yet not totally revealing. He’s funny, but you’re not sure if the jokes on you or not. And that’s a good thing, as Book Club doesn’t seem like the kind of band that wants to spoon feed their listeners. The mysterious quality of this band lends itself to making their songs that much more interesting.

True, the band has many influences. It would be easy to say that a female/male duo, acoustic indie-folk thing sounds like other bands, after only reading a one sentence description of a band on a blog. But Book Club looks far beyond trends unlike so many indie folk groups popping up in the last few years, and seems to find inspiration from much more traditional, mature places: Appalachian folk music (A Thousand Words”), classic chamber music (“Meal of Dream”), Woody Guthrie (“Going To Jail Blues”), and even gospel blues music (“Ain’t Gonna Drink No More”), among others. In the end, Book Club stands alone as its own unique, cohesive style. Ghost is a deeply melodic and well-produced release from a new band that sounds like it’s been playing together for years. One can only hope that with more time comes more albums that continue to inspire both the band and their listeners.

For more information on Book Club, their new album, or their upcoming CD Release show August 4th at The EARL, visit http://bookclubtheband.com/.

Dave Daniels - Strangerthan.org (by Dave Daniels)


Just about halfway through Ghost, the debut album from Atlanta singer/guitarist Robbie Horlick's latest musical offering, Book Club, he sings, "Music is supposed to heal, to act as heat, to mend and seal/But music is my open wound, the hurt that makes me think of you." It's a heartbreaking admission, one that wholly accentuates the unsettled feelings of vulnerability that breathe life into the new album of lovers' woe. Desolation, boredom, loneliness and doubt push each of the album's 10 tracks along, but Horlick's voice always brings with it a glimmer of hope, keeping oblivion at bay.

While mulling over his songwriting during an interview over the phone, Horlick humbly brushes off the gravity of his lyrics. "I'm just trying to make simple and honest songs," he says. But such modesty undermines the darkness that's hangs in the air long after the song "I Can't Dance Just With Your Ghost" has faded into fellow vocalist Leigh Anne Macquarrie's desecrated promises on "Ain't Gonna Drink No More."

Existential turmoil is only one of the album's strengths. Ghost sticks to classic form, drawing inspiration from folk, country and pop sounds that sidestep the indie folk clichés. The album's nebulous sound could have been captured in 1961 or 2011, and the tension that swells within the album's weary boy-girl tales is as timeless as the gap between Adam and Eve.

"It's about building out from folk form," says Horlick, the former vocalist, frontman and main songwriter behind the now-defunct indie pop act Cassavetes, who devoted himself to the project when three-fourths of Cassavetes' final lineup went on to form local stoner-rock monster Wizard Smoke. "Cassavetes was just one kind of music that comes out of me," he says. "I wanted to flesh out some of the folkier songs I'd written, explore new instrumentation and harmony without any rules."

Such a radical switching of gears from his previous pop excursions emerged as an exercise in restraint. "There's only so much that a nylon-stringed guitar can do. In an inverse way, it keeps you on your toes when you don't have a bunch of effects pedals to play with."

All of these elements are woven together in an impressive departure from his previous group's second and final album, Faja Blues. Never had Horlick's songwriting hinted at the demons he was keeping at bay, nor did it evoke his heady obsessions with desperation and deliverance that give Ghost such a brooding, primitive shine. Now, paired with Macquarrie (their relationship is strictly musical) and a lineup featuring Matt Jarrard of Oryx and Crake (cello), Lee Goldenberg (bass), and Joseph War (percussion and banjo), Book Club's songs reveal layers of troubling experiences.

Horlick's nostalgia for the better times belies a sense that something has gone horribly awry on Ghost. As he and Macquarrie's respective characters harmonize on morality in "Praying Sound," their words mirror each other, even as their voices create a dichotomy. Horlick's delivery is imbued with remorse; but when Macquarrie sings the same words she sounds wiser and world-weary, offering a warning of things to come if he doesn't change his ways.

But not all of the songs are sung in first-person. "Going to Jail Blues," for example, starts off as a courtroom tale, but as it unfolds it's clear that it could easily be a metaphor about relationships. Delivered in second-person, the "you" serves as the narrators' internal dialogue, allowing them to distance themselves from the song's emotional range.

Ghost draws to a close with an ambiguous number, "Not Much For Chit Chat." On the surface, the song is a dreary back-and-forth between two partners that have nothing to talk about. Both Horlick and Macquarrie stretch their voices to impressively languid limits, but their "I can't help it if I'm bored" banter has many layers. Do they have nothing in common anymore, or are they so close that their communication transcends words? Either way, it's a touching exchange that wraps up both misery and hopefulness with simple, haunting closure. Whether such uncertainty was intended or not, it's a dynamic that can't easily be brushed off as each tale lingers long after the album is over. - Creative Loafing Atlanta (by Chad Radford)


Discography

LP - "Ghost" - Released August 2, 2011
EP - "Live on AM1690" - Released October 2011
EP - "Shapes On The Water" - Released November 12, 2012

Photos

Bio

Atlanta's Book Club, an indie folk septet (featuring members of Cassavetes and Oryx & Crake), re-imagines the classic marriage between him & her vocals and carefully crafted orchestration by transforming their heritage into sound unbound by history. Their new 5-song EP, Shapes On The Water, showcases the band's sweetly-sung coed harmonies nestled into thoughtful arrangements. The songs blend classic influences like Cash, Petty, Dylan, and Reed, with a country, pop, and indie spin. Singer-songwriter Robbie Horlick strums a nylon-stringed acoustic, leading the 7-piece band through his honest tales of love and heartache, with an interpretation as modern as it is hauntingly timeless.

Shapes On The Water, Book Club's sophomore release, picks up where 2011's full-length Ghost left off, capturing the band's songwriting, musicianship, and arrangements at their finest, yet expanding its' sonic and thematic horizons. These 5 songs demonstrate the band's spectrum - from sparse to full, tempered to twang. Double bass and brushes on a snare provide a backbeat to Horlick's folk tales, giving the vocals room to breathe and carry the cello, violin, pedal steel, banjo, melodica and glockenspiel as they moan woefully one minute and soar gleefully the next. Book Club's tunes are reverent and referential, yet fascinatingly fresh. They are not reinventing the wheel, but perhaps taking us back to a time when you might find one made out of wood. Book Club may be "more folk than most folk", but popular music rides shotgun in their vehicle.

Band Members