Mosman Alder
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Mosman Alder

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | MAJOR

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | MAJOR
Band Alternative Rock

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Music

Press


"Mosman Alder - Raisin Heart"

"Mosman Alder, hey? I first noticed this band’s name on the poster for the epic Richard In Your Mind/SPOD gig tonight at the Fans club night at Alhambra (for the Brisbane folks) and thought nothing much of them other than “how did these randoms land the support slot for a relatively high profile gig (at least in the indie/blogging sense).” But then this guy said I should check them, and so I actually went to all the effort to hit up their Myspace page.
And you know what? Turns out they’re pretty good. It shoots for the same kind of grandeur as Arcade Fire and early Doves and actually reaches that level pretty well without falling back on the whole ‘let’s get lots of people to sing loud at once to sound epic’ kinda way. Yeah, they bring some of that in toward the end, but when it works it still works (and when it doesn’t work… well, see that latest Little Red single. WTF is that shit?). Largely, though, the vocals are restricted to a smooth baritone and the song relies on the actual instruments to create crescendos.
Above is ‘Raisin Heart,’ the clear stand out amongst their tracks so far. I won’t go pronouncing these guys as an impending ‘big thing,’ but I can confirm that they have at least one pretty great song with a serving of ‘potential’ on the side. Hopefully they can turn it on tonight and win some more people over." - whothehell.net


"ROCKETSMITHS, MOSMAN ALDER, ROB ROBOT LOFLY HANGAR 30.10.2010"

"Next up a group of six, consisting of three dead priests, two angels of death and Jesus himself on drums take the stage and the crowd gather intently (only on Halloween right?). Mosman Adler start their set of slow melancholic indie tunes in the same vain as bands like The National and Arcade Fire and a steady flow of people come flooding through the rear door to inspect just what this enchanting music is all about. After some, rich, heavily layered gems, the crimson-haired pianist recruits the audience to stand for their next number. What ensues is a cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. As far as drumming songs go, this number is highly regarded as one of the best of all time and all I can say is Jesus nailed it. This is definitely the highlight of the night." - FasterLouder.com


"THE HONEY MONTH / GUINEAFOWL / MOSMAN ALDER THE TROUBADOUR: 24.09.10"

"Mosman Alder take a refined approach to their music that on reflection emphasises their abilities to perform as a unit, rather than as a group of individual musicians. It is not easy to arrange multiple droning instruments into a cohesive whole, including violin and keyboards as well as guitars, but the ease at which they accomplished this was admirable. Singer and guitarist, Valdis Valodze, is a dignified frontman sporting what hipsters would say was an ironic moustache. However, it suits his composed demeanour as he sings with a voice that would suggest a wisdom and depth of thought that belies his youth. The voice adds an elegance and majesty to the songs without striving to overcome the other musicians." - Press Record Online


"THE HONEY MONTH, GUINEAFOWL, MOSMAN ALDER - THE TROUBADOUR: 24.09.10"

"The crowd surges in a pushy arc around Brisbane’s Mosman Alder; most, after one line in with their backs turned, deep in clanking chatter as the band strike up a mournful, staggered metre. Sounding like a lot of Arcade Fire’s everyman ache meets a little of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s prickly apocalyptics, the band’s climbing violin lines inch and slink around frontman’s Valdis Valdoze’s deep-spook vocals. Decidedly proggy, the band have a sound that oscillates with an intelligent, percussive-driven sensibility. Around methodical, melodic ideas, shift repetitious layers of dense syncopation - all tethered to an emotional sound given its weight by some truly glorious piano parts." - Time Off Magazine


"MACHINE TRANSLATIONS, MOSMAN ALDER THE TROUBADOUR: 26.08.10"

"Delivering a polished set at their second show, local frontier prog rockers Mosman Alder open at The Troubadour and stop all chatter with oceanic opener The Farmer. Led by ex-Blue Carousel singer/guitarist Valdis Valodze, whose drawling melodic voice is reminiscent of Orange Juice’s Edwin Collins, the six-piece band plays to its strengths by building a mass of subtle parts which individually advance and retreat. Following bassist Liam Haug’s rubbery bassline into Sunday, drummer Damien Wood sets up kicky interplay while Valoze and guitarist Jackson Muir mesh guitar tones with violinist Robyn Dawson for a new sound, with keyboardist Katarzyna Wiktorski picking out cat-like notes. With Valodze singing the impassioned ballad over the swooning arrangement the band chime in on harmonies until the song breaks free with the violin and keys trailing in its wake. Playing through to newer song Gravity the band increase the tempo with the guitars and keys playing off each other and the other slow burn guitar against mantra-like choruses. After playing the waltz-like These Hands the audience move to the rapidfire-symphonic march of Raisin Heart with the band undulating behind the flickering drums, yearning vocals and keyboard. Closing with Lower Baron Bridge the band release the transfixed audience and set themselves up with burgeoning potential."
- Time Off Magazine


"RICHARD IN YOUR MIND, SPOD, JEFFREY SYLLER, MOSMAN ALDER ALHAMBRA LOUNGE:  23.07.10"

"Starting of one of the more scattered FANS line-ups to be held in some time, Mosman Alder are a charming group with a sound that seems to be becoming very popular within the Brisbane folk scene at the moment. Filling out their guitar-based tunes with some additional keys and violin, the band shows a lot of potential in their relatively short set, at times bearing resemblance to The National and to a lesser degree Broken Social Scene. ‘Raisin Heart’ proves to be their most interesting track, with gloomy vocals and a haunting guitar line backed by raging drums to create what is quite a powerful piece of music." - Time Off Magazine


Discography

Burn Bright EP
Australian release: May 25 2012
UK iTunes only release: July 2nd, 2012

Photos

Bio

MOSMAN ALDER
“Burn Bright” biography

Every so often a storyteller captures your imagination. It may be as modest as one profound sentence, a simple alliteration, or perhaps one perfect metaphor. Whatever it is, good storytellers know how to take you to their world and convince you of its existence. Mosman Alder’s debut EP “Burn Bright” does exactly that. Lead singer and lyricist Valdis Valodze takes you through multiple journeys with characters filled with revenge, torment and heartbreak.

So what inspires such dark motifs? Surely a traumatic event or shattering experience must have taken place in order for the band to write about such dejection and doom. “To be honest,” explains Valdis, “It’s all story telling. None of it is about me or my experiences… I found it more interesting to tell stories.”

Lead single ‘Raisin Heart’ is an example of that storytelling, following a crestfallen man who is convinced that his heart has shriveled to nothing, pleading for a replacement. The content is overly macabre, almost so that it could be preposterous. But that is, of course, the point. “When I wrote some of ‘Raisin Heart’ I was in Germany and reading a lot of Kafka, it was super depressing but I found myself enjoying it. Once you’ve pushed yourself past that initial darkness it rolls over into absurdity. I found that interesting.”

Guitarist Jackson Muir and keyboardist Katarzyna Wiktorski agree. “When you write about dark things you’re less afraid of darkness.” says Jackson, who worked with Valdis to complete ‘Raisin Heart’ once he returned to Brisbane. “It’s also a nice juxtaposition,” points out Kat.

It wasn’t only Kafka that gave Valdis a skeletal structure to bounce off. The likes of Neil Gaiman and American short fiction writers Pinckney Benedict and Breece D’J Pancake are all also credited as influences, each of them known for their own dark outlook on life. In fact, ‘Mr Pinckney & The Beast’ – perhaps the track that is the heaviest of the band’s palate – is a direct nod to two of these authors. “The idea came of writing a story about separating reality and mythology, and going into hell essentially, from works by Benedict and Gaiman. I just put pen to paper on the subject and didn’t really think about it.” And a new storyteller with his own unique voice has come to the fore.

Every story has a beginning, and for Mosman Alder, it all began in Far North Queensland. Valdis had grown up in Cairns, along with guitarist Jackson and bassist Liam Haug. Once they had both embarked on the rite-of-passage move to Brisbane they accumulated classical pianist Kat and – from the opposite end of the spectrum – metal drummer Damian Wood. It wasn’t until they started recording demos that they realised just how much they needed strings. “I could already hear violin on the songs, we were talking for a while about really wanting it.” recalls Valdis. “One day I saw a girl walking down Brunswick St Mall with a violin in her hand. I chased her down and asked her to come play on a few tracks for us.”

That girl was Robyn Dawson, who was then a tourist in Australia on a working visa and a whim. The band laugh about her being their ‘resident Scottish fiddler’, “I’m really glad she agreed, I can’t imagine any of our songs without her now.”

Together the violin, piano, drums, bass and Valdis’ distinctive baritone vocals create music that is as moving as it is uplifting; with undertones of foreboding that gives way to a sense of hope. The effect is a triumphant gloom that takes you into a world of loneliness, loss and the occasional demon, through the creation of fantastically absurd worlds.

Whilst the lyrics, storyline and music were written with apparent ease, recording the EP was anything but; “…it was painful!” says Jackson when remembering the prolonged process. “The recording took about 15 days, but it was stretched over six months due to flooding, renovations and rewrites, which was really hard.”

As an unsigned act, Mosman Alder were struck with the usual battle of trying to recording on a budget of nothing. “When we were offered free studio time in exchange for yard work we jumped at it. It meant that we were cutting down trees, weeding, raking leaves and planting trees in-between recording, which was interesting.”

“We still haven’t finished the yard work!” admits Robyn.

They recorded (and gardened) at Airlock Studios in Samford Valley, about 20 km outside of Brisbane CBD. With the production duties shared between local emerging producers Sean Cook and Yanto Browning.

“One of the tracks, ‘The Ice Queen of Silver Screen’ was literally ripped in half in the studio. We had a lot more written for this song but we felt it was much too long. So it was pulled apart and then safety-pinned together again.”

Valdis’ writing method is based off one of his favourite authors, Williams S Boroughs’ technique; he had the propensity to go through books and cut out certain words or pages he liked and pie