Marionette
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Marionette

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Rock Avant-garde

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"N/A Top 17 Songs"

(Nathan McGlothlin – co-editor, was gracious enough to list us in such esteemed company as Air, the Arcade Fire, Spoon, St. Vincent, and the New Pornographers.)

Top Songs:
"once upon a time"-pocket symphony --air
"headup"-walls --apparat
"atlas"-mirrored --battles
"and the swimming"-in the vines --castanets
"been there all the time"-beyond --dinosaur jr
"blood fountain"-impale golden --hornhorseback

(US!)"alice"-you are here--marionette

"stitch me up"-my ion truss--minus story
"take pills"-person pitch--panda bear
"songs of nationalfreedom"-dressed up for the let down --richard swift
"you got yr cherry bomb"-ga ga ga ga ga--spoon
"your lips are red"-marry me--st. vincent
"intervention"-neon bible--the arcade fire
"again & again"-the bird & the bee--the bird & the bee
"mutiny, i promised you"-challengers--the new pornographers
"the cap'm"-the else--they might be giants
"janice says"-lovers--un deux trois - N/A Magazine


"Live Review: Richmond Times Dispatch"

Andrew Cothern
Good food, good tunes, good bros
Andrew Cothern
Marionette. LuLu’s. I died and went to Heaven.
Marionette performed an amazing show last night as usual. And there was even free food. Well, a $5 cover. But a show and lots of good food for a mere $5 is stupid not to pass up. LuLu’s plans on having a Sunday night performance with free food once a month. Absolutely brilliant idea. Especially if they keep making their excellent food and keep bringing in sweet bands.
As for Marionette, it’s one thing to say that a band never disappoints in performing a show. It’s another thing entirely to say that they blow you away every single time.
Go.
See.
Marionette.
You’re missing out on something truly amazing if you don’t see them
- Richmond Times Dispatch (MashUp)


""You Are Here EP" RVA Magazine Review"

"There comes a time in every metal head's life when they
are successfully turned on to something a bit quieter. Ever
since I heard the American Analog Set over a decade ago,
my musical tastes have grown exponentially wider. In 2007,
Marionette should be the band that broadens horizons.
With six members and a truckload of traditional instru-
ments, Marionette packs layer upon layer of sound in every
second of their 6 song EP You Are Here (including the
instrumental opener). At first, their sweet indie-pop seems
dark and contemplative, especially with a lyric such as
"Happiness will never last..." But, as their moniker
suggests, Marionette will also help lift you up with their
warm, sunny melodies and offer some brutally honest
advice on how to find your way - "And through the fires of
affliction you will learn to warm your hands by the bridges
you have burned..."
If you haven't already, now is the time."
- Mike Rutz, - Mike Rutz


"That One Song..."

Marionette, “Facing You”
by Mike Rutz

It’s always been a challenge to pin down Marionette’s sound. Its debut EP, “You Are Here,” sailed through indie-rock, folk, French pop and post-punk with ease. “I told a girl it was pop the other day,” says drummer and lead singer Kevin Cornell, and she was like “‘Fppppst, I don’t want to listen to that.’ So, we’re a rock band.”
After a lineup makeover left Cornell and keyboardist Marshall O’Leary as the only original members, Marionette renewed its emphasis on song writing. On the first full-length album, “Facing You,” the five-piece band finds its own voice within the history of rock music. Guitarist Adam Rose explains, “Think about all of the things that have come out of rock ’n’ roll -- psychedelia, incorporating noise, big guitars, soft parts, alt-country. There are all these little subsegments of rock and I think we borrow from a lot of them.” Marionette sprinkles in horns, strings and musical hubcaps.
With former Broken Hips member Tom Brickman on bass and dual vocals now sung by percussionist Kerri Helsley, Marionette has a lot of range for a rock band.

Style: Tell us about that one song…
Cornell: “Facing You” is the title track to our new record and probably the most representative of the band. It also has the most going on. We have Toby Whitaker and Bob Miller from Bio Ritmo playing horns on that song and Steve Presley of the Oregon Hill Funk All Stars playing sax. It’s a big anthemic song like we’ve been doing recently.
Rose: The song also sets the tone musically for the rest of the album. I think it’s really raw sounding, with a lot of muscle behind it. During the recording, a lot of the colors came out with the horn section. I think it plays well with the psychedelic aspects of the album -- a stripped down bass-drums-piano song that has a strut to it. It reminds me of the Stones or PJ Harvey, mixed with giant colorful choruses that have a lot going on.
Cornell: It’s all about the existential crisis. When you hear it, it sounds almost like I’m talking to somebody. But I thought of it more as me looking at myself in the mirror and asking “What am I doing?” It’s that existential angst, which is a predominant theme, along with escape, in a lot of the songs. There’s a little bit of subtle sarcasm in the chorus, which says “everything is gonna be all right.” Then, I go back to the crisis, then, everything’s gonna be all right. I end up summing it up by saying to myself, “everything you think is completely legit.”
O’Leary: That’s one of the ones we weren’t torturing ourselves over lyrics on.
Rose: The way we got to the lyrics on this album was pretty cool. Kevin is an amazing fake lyric singer. When we’re working on songs musically, he starts singing melodies. He has a rhythm to them and they almost suggest words, but when we’re playing, it’s hard to know if they’re real words or not.
Cornell: There were a couple of songs I gave to Kerri and she deciphered what I was saying, but I wasn’t saying anything. I would have half of something and Kerri would help finish it.
Rose: She’d put mood lighting on to chill out and then she’d come up with these lyrics that were these amazing poems, all based on Kevin going “gibba, gibba, gibba.”
Cornell: She’d bring ideas and we would sit down to pick through what made sense and try to keep with a theme. Usually, I have a basic concept of what I wanted to say, but then that’s one clear line out of 25 of me speaking in tongues.
Rose: For some of the newer songs we’ve been working on, we’re doing the same kind of thing. We’re playing and Kevin is singing a melody and all of sudden there’s words attached to it. Kerri has one line, then Kevin has one line.
Cornell: The whole process is changing, it’s become very organic. I’m excited about the next thing we do.
What is one thing you think would help improve the Richmond music scene?
Cornell: I’ve met a lot of bands where I’ll talk to them and they give the cold shoulder. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not like a sporting event. I’ll go up to people and tell them how much I liked their show, sincerely, and then ask them to collaborate on something. I wish there was more of that happening. A lot more support of everyone versus a competition.
That’s what was cool about using Bob and Toby and Steve on the record. We didn’t really know these guys, we knew of them. We just called to see if they could do it and they did. It was such an easy process and it created community. Elizabeth Jaffe from Richmond Symphony was also a shot in the dark. We asked our friend Prabir (Mehta) who works for the symphony and he suggested we try her out. She was totally gung-ho and did a kick-ass job.
Rose: We didn’t know her at all and she offered her own ideas for the song. Same thing with Josh (Quarles) of Jonathan Vassar’s band, who plays cello on some songs. Once we asked them to play on the recording, when we went with hat in hand, everybody was like “Yeah, sure!” But it can be hard, - http://www.styleweekly.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications::Artic


"Live Review: Our Goblin's Market"

“Marionette” droned, patted, and vibrated the room with
long melodic serenades of flutes, violins, pianos, guitars,
and drums. The band moved from one instrument to
another as if they were sampling the appetizer menu at the
restaurant, trying to savor every last hint of pleasure. The
experience of being in that little converted southern dining
room with patched silver mirrors, ragged and faded carpet,
old brass poking and prodding out from the walls and
chairs that should have a sign attached saying do not sit left
me hanging between many different worlds. I was in a
crossover between time, place, personal history and music.
-Vaughn Garland - Vaughn Garland


""You Are Here EP" Bootleg Magazine Review"

From the gentle, prodding opening of ‘Tricycles,’ to the soaring melody of ‘Alice,’ Richmond, VA’s Marionette have released a reflective and stunning EP entitled You are Here, six tracks in which the band traverses beautifully somber moods with uplifting singing and poignant lyrics.

While an album cover is generally a way to grab one’s attention, You are Here does that and more. With a quaint image of men in coats cheering an aged bi-plane soaring above a grass thick field with patches of flowers, it emboldens the eye with hope and a feeling of triumph.

‘Alice’ may be the album’s signature song. Lead vocalist Kevin Cornell sings, “While you race around the earth from year to year/Don’t get stuck on the reasons you are here/And disappear” and “Someday you’ll be free/of all this cruelty/ Someday you will see/A better place to be” at the song’s end. Cornell’s voice is warm and soaring, seemingly from the ether of the past, unearthly with subtle traces of modernity. The song is laced is with punching bass notes, sporadic drumming and fortified guitar parts - strumming and punctuated.

‘Siren’ moves like a slow tango, classical guitar and violin against lengthy, drawn out vocals. Its sway conjures images of dust bowl era America or illicit affairs. Where ‘Alice,’ in industry parlance, may be ‘the single’ the song ‘Some People Say’ may be the band’s ‘Imagine.’ It’s the kind of song that could be tragically misunderstood, given its think-for-yourself mentality. Consider its Neil Young gentleness underneath lyrics “Some people say I have a foolish mind/For leaving it so far behind/And some people say we shouldn’t even try/It’s a waste of time/They go piss away their lives/Finding a warm place to hide/So go piss away your life/And find you a warm place to hide”. Its ability to discern between those who distribute excuses for their inabilities or stuck in denial to those who take the lonely road is inspirational. The song is more than constructive, asking en masses for a return to honesty and reason and for those affected to ignore it and live their own lives – “Some people say they knew it would be this way/Like they see it all the time/Some people think it’s all gonna be okay/Whenever they decide/Now I’ve heard it said if you believe your lies/You won’t know what is right/They will bring you down/They will run you around/They can tear your heart out/I know/I know/But I’ve seen you smile/Though its been awhile/So where did it go?/Only you can know”. It’s personal dissidence and sense of reason is invigorating.

The slow dance lullaby of ‘Come Home’ is the album closer, vocals and guitar alone. The song is embracing, placing the strength and smooth timber of Cornell’s vocals in the forefront. The track is book-ended by studio noise. Listen closely and you can hear someone yell ‘rolling’ in the background and brief clutter at the song’s closing. This subtle quality gives the song additional resonance, placing a listener in the room with the musician, making it more personal than one would expect.

Marionette’s You Are Here is a must. It’s soothing and dreamland feel makes sense of this circus filled world, keeping it reasonable and warm. – Brian Tucker
- Bootleg Magazine


""Facing You" MuzikReviews.com (4 stars)"

Richmond’s own Marionette may not be familiar yet, but they certainly seem to be going in the right direction. The quintet comprised of Kevin Cornell, Marshall O’Leary, Adam Rose, Kerri Helsley, and Tom Brickman self-released their debut album, Facing You, late last year. Based on its 11 tracks, they won’t be releasing their albums on their own very long.

Marionette shows a nice bit of range on Facing You. Most of the tracks tend to be fairly dark and piano driven, but at times they can certainly rock. Check out the first single, “Sound Asleep” for an example of the former, and “Wavering” for the latter. They remind of a few different bands, at times a little like The National (whom they opened for last week), Shearwater, even Jeff Buckley at times. They really show multiple influences across multiple genres.

Facing You is a pretty solid debut. The production is solid for a self-released album. What really pulls it together though is the vocal pairing of Cornell and Helsley. Either would be okay on their own, but together it adds a nice dimension to the songs.

The album really grew on me over a few listens too. It’s certainly not the best for a sunny spring day since its dark and far from uplifting, but in the right setting it’s strong. I would like to hear more of the rock that’s on “Wavering”. It was really my favorite track of the album. I also feel the album could be a little better if the tracks were reordered too. Still, that is a bit of nitpicking.

Marionette is off to a great start here. It will be interesting to see what comes of them with a label behind them. Playing with bands like The National and Xiu Xiu will certainly get them some significant attention as well. I certainly think we’ll all be a lot more familiar with Marionette in the near future.

Hot Tracks: Sound Asleep, The Weather, Wavering


- muzikreviews.com (Author: Kevin Kozel)


"Live Review: Performer Magazine"

http:// - Performer Magazine (Southeast) 12/09


""You Are Here EP" Bootleg Magazine Review"

From the gentle, prodding opening of ‘Tricycles,’ to the soaring melody of ‘Alice,’ Richmond, VA’s Marionette have released a reflective and stunning EP entitled You are Here, six tracks in which the band traverses beautifully somber moods with uplifting singing and poignant lyrics.

While an album cover is generally a way to grab one’s attention, You are Here does that and more. With a quaint image of men in coats cheering an aged bi-plane soaring above a grass thick field with patches of flowers, it emboldens the eye with hope and a feeling of triumph.

‘Alice’ may be the album’s signature song. Lead vocalist Kevin Cornell sings, “While you race around the earth from year to year/Don’t get stuck on the reasons you are here/And disappear” and “Someday you’ll be free/of all this cruelty/ Someday you will see/A better place to be” at the song’s end. Cornell’s voice is warm and soaring, seemingly from the ether of the past, unearthly with subtle traces of modernity. The song is laced is with punching bass notes, sporadic drumming and fortified guitar parts - strumming and punctuated.

‘Siren’ moves like a slow tango, classical guitar and violin against lengthy, drawn out vocals. Its sway conjures images of dust bowl era America or illicit affairs. Where ‘Alice,’ in industry parlance, may be ‘the single’ the song ‘Some People Say’ may be the band’s ‘Imagine.’ It’s the kind of song that could be tragically misunderstood, given its think-for-yourself mentality. Consider its Neil Young gentleness underneath lyrics “Some people say I have a foolish mind/For leaving it so far behind/And some people say we shouldn’t even try/It’s a waste of time/They go piss away their lives/Finding a warm place to hide/So go piss away your life/And find you a warm place to hide”. Its ability to discern between those who distribute excuses for their inabilities or stuck in denial to those who take the lonely road is inspirational. The song is more than constructive, asking en masses for a return to honesty and reason and for those affected to ignore it and live their own lives – “Some people say they knew it would be this way/Like they see it all the time/Some people think it’s all gonna be okay/Whenever they decide/Now I’ve heard it said if you believe your lies/You won’t know what is right/They will bring you down/They will run you around/They can tear your heart out/I know/I know/But I’ve seen you smile/Though its been awhile/So where did it go?/Only you can know”. It’s personal dissidence and sense of reason is invigorating.

The slow dance lullaby of ‘Come Home’ is the album closer, vocals and guitar alone. The song is embracing, placing the strength and smooth timber of Cornell’s vocals in the forefront. The track is book-ended by studio noise. Listen closely and you can hear someone yell ‘rolling’ in the background and brief clutter at the song’s closing. This subtle quality gives the song additional resonance, placing a listener in the room with the musician, making it more personal than one would expect.

Marionette’s You Are Here is a must. It’s soothing and dreamland feel makes sense of this circus filled world, keeping it reasonable and warm. – Brian Tucker
- Bootleg Magazine


""Facing You" Performer Magazine Review"

http:// - Performer Magazine (Author: Brian Tucker)


""Facing You" Performer Magazine Review"

http:// - Performer Magazine (Author: Brian Tucker)


Discography

“Facing You” (2009 CD album)
1. Sound Asleep*
2. Facing You*,**
3. Disappearing Act
4. Orchid
5. Four Voices*
6. Lines
7. The Weather
8. All You Need
9. Wavering*
10. It Was Nice Meeting You*
11. Over The Radio*
*Have received regional radio play
**Featured within Style Weekly Magazine's "That One Song" and The Sounds of Richmond, Vol. III compilation

“You Are Here” (2007 EP)
1. Tricycles*
2. Alice*
3. Siren*
4. Some People Say
5. Your World*,***
6. Come Home*
*Have received regional radio play
*** The commercial theme music for local WRIR radio's "Activate" show.

Photos

Bio

Melding the farthest edges of psychedelia, the ghost beat of Krautrock and subtle ambient touches with raw indie spirit, Richmond, Virginia’s Marionette crafts a truly unique experience that leaves the listener hungry for more. Their sinewy songwriting is remarkably difficult to classify thanks to the group's conscious avoidance of standard rock idioms and it is clear that Marionette is a valuable gem in the underground music scene.

Setting out across the east coast to bring their heartfelt live show to new audiences, Marionette has shared the stage with a decorated list of artists including The National, Tortoise, tUnE-yArDs, The Whigs, Miniature Tigers, Handsome Furs and Hotel Lights. Ever focused on pushing themselves to create and expand past their already genre defying brand of art meets music, the four piece delved deep and entered the studio in May 2011 to record a follow up to their already well received “Facing You.” The soon-to-be completed recordings promise to be a tangle of influences: Personal surrealism, courtesy of Sparklehorse. The multifaceted melodies of Brian Wilson. Disembodied keyboard freak-outs, via early Pink Floyd. Reverent psych redux via the 21st century, similar to Broadcast. Taut ensemble construction that brings to mind the band Magazine. And a breadth and depth somehow redolent of the incomparable Can. It is clear after witnessing the band’s emotional performances, Marionette is comfortable and at home on stage. Larger-than-life video collages made of ephemeral films are projected on the band as the room imperceptibly fills with haze and their insidious rhythms and intertwining melodies seamlessly coalesce into the soundtrack for a fever dream, haunting your brain long after awakening.

As the bold subtlety of their performance mesmerizes the listener and the projections establish innumerable secondary plots, that is the moment when the lights start to move. Forfeiting all but hard work and a love for the music they create, it is clear that what truly separates Marionette from their contemporaries is not flashy pictures or clandestine article, but the ability to ignite and addict a listener with a single chord.

“It took only one listen to be sucked in by their layers of sound…Marionette is the kind of band you know will be discovered by a larger audience, so get out and see them now.” –Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA)

Scored a top ten song in NA Magazine’s Top Ten Songs of 2008 (alongside Air, the Arcade Fire, Spoon, St. Vincent, and the New Pornographers)–NA Magazine (selected by editors)

“With ‘Facing You’, Marionette renews its emphasis on song writing, finding its own voice within the history of rock music.” –Style Weekly (Richmond, VA)