"As one man findeth shelter under the eaves of his neighbour’s wife, so shall he be plagued by the sparrow. And lo, where fields of wheat once grew lush upon the soil, lies now the infernal desert of the pestilential sparrow." – Lawrence Arabia, 2011.
“Thinking person’s pop music - finely honed, tightly arranged” - Rolling Stone (AUS), 2012
"Lovely, lushly arranged" - BBC (UK), 2012
“A pointed tribute to a world before the white heat of punk” - MOJO (UK), 2012
“A finely honed paean to the art of the songwriter” - NME (UK), 2012
“A prolific solo artist” - TimeOut, Melbourne, 2012
“A God-given knack with composition” - Monocle, 2012
Introducing the new album from New Zealand songwriter/producer Lawrence Arabia.
The Sparrow is Lawrence Arabia's third solo album, the evocative follow up to the Taite Music Prize/Silver Scroll winning Chant Darling. Venturing away from the harmony-laden, classic pop production of Chant Darling, The Sparrow is a more measured and minimalist work, drawing particularly on the influence from the symphonic late-sixties work of Scott Walker and Serge Gainsbourg.
The songwriter, known to his bosom compadres as James Milne, explains: "I'd been turned off by the infinite possibilities of Pro Tools production by the process of making my last album. You can mimic any sound from any part of pop history and stack them up on endless tracks and edit them in endless ways. It's maddening. I became totally enamoured with the mystique and aesthetic limitations of these late-sixties and early-seventies records where there was so much space in the arrangements and you can really luxuriate in the sounds of individual instruments."
While various ominous words like "mature," "serious" and "pretentious" come to mind, there are still strong traces of the witty pop songwriting that defined the first two Arabia albums. "Travelling Shoes" is a recollection of a young man (not unlike the young James Milne) defining himself against the prevailing culture of his provincial upbringing. "The 03" muses on the same character's possible shameful return to that same setting having gone out into the world to achieve his dreams, and failed...
The material for The Sparrow was accumulated throughout 2010, while Lawrence and his band The Prime Ministers toured in support of Chant Darling. Images like the "crude moustache, exposed brains" seen on a poster of Zac Efron in the New York subway, the jaded conversation with the Tom Tom on a rainy British motorway, "the last breaths" of a London house party that dragged on just a little too long, were collected throughout the year as context-free scribbles in a diary, waiting for songs to attach themselves to.
These images found homes during a fairly frenzied period of writing in borrowed lounge rooms and rehearsal spaces at the end of another abject London summer. During the same period, the enigmatic title "The Sparrow" surfaced and became some kind of mysterious guiding image for the aesthetic of the album, the angst of the inexorably approaching thirties, represented in the form of a small, malevolent bird. God knows why.
In October 2010, with Elroy Finn and Connan Mockasin, Lawrence recorded the basic tracks for these new songs, live, at a large house in Surrey that became known as the Japanese Academy. Strings and horn overdubs were added during 2011 in a couple of sessions at Auckland's Roundhead Studios.
The Sparrow was released worldwide in July, with extensive touring of New Zealand, Europe, and Australia. Lawrence is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, while touring North America.
Born and raised in Miami, Cody Marks, young and rowdy, was found in Key Largo’s biker bars every Sunday happily taking the mic and singing to the crowds. Her father always pushed her to go on and sing her heart out. Offstage, her rowdy behavior didn’t bode so well with her teachers, and she found herself being disciplined more so than not. The turning point in her life was the moment she heard Aerosmiths’ “You See Me Crying”. She then knew what she wanted to do with her life: Rock. Cody found the first step to be simple – buy a cheap guitar and never stop playing. She wrote and played her songs every hour of every day. Straight out of high school, she packed her guitar, hopped on a bus and left for the bright lights of Los Angeles. Cody was following the path of a rock star. While waiting tables to help make ends meet, she formed an all girl rock band called Honey House and regularly sold out local clubs. Soon, Cody felt it was time to do ‘her own thing’. She disbanded Honey House and followed the path of her country superstar heroes, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, to Nashville. Marks found her voice in Nashville. Industry folks and her fans describe it as a rich blend of Janis Joplin and Cash, and intensely personal. Marks wants her audience to feel like they’re kicking back on a Southern porch and just having a good time. On stage, she fulfills a desire she’s had for years through a profound connection between Marks and her fans. “It feels like I am home, communicating to my family and finally being heard,” she says. “I loved Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. “When everyone else was into grunge,” she says. “I wanted to learn to write like them.” Continually following the Cash’s footsteps, Cody performed to thousands inmates at the Sierra Conservation Center in Northern California, achieving one of her lifelong dreams. “Johnny would be proud,” she says, as she prepares to perform for the Armed Forces in the Middle East this coming fall. Equally exciting, Cody’s single, “Push and Pull” continues to climb up the ranks in the indie charts and is in rotation on over 20 stations nationwide.