2011 has seen a number of striking debut releases but perhaps none so instantly winning or bubbling with future promise than Bitter Blood, the first long-player from Vermontâ€™s Chamberlin. Comparisons to Dawesâ€™ dazzling 2009 debut, North Hills, are apt, though Chamberlin slides a fair deal further into the modern rock realm than their L.A. peers. What the bands share is a clear, classic musical identity and an emotional foundation thatâ€™s raw, honest and affecting, an experience that informs oneâ€™s own experiences. Chamberlin catches how we really are with one another, or even how we are alone in our heads wondering how it all fits together and if we might be the odd piece out when allâ€™s said and done.
Chamberlin began the year touring with Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, whose lead guitarist Scott Tournet produced Bitter Blood with a sure hand and unfussy overall sound. Live, the band is an energetic, already potent force to be reckoned with, definitely keeping the rising mainstream stars on their toes throughout their time together. Tender tales like â€œTurn Aroundâ€ and â€˜Sixty Daysâ€ along with spinning, chrome plated gem â€œPaper Crownâ€ and defiant, dented â€œSouvenirsâ€ are the kind of songs that demand attention, and while many who caught them opening for the Nocturnals may have come in unfamiliar they left hungry to know more about Chamberlin. Dirty Impound left their first show with the band at SFâ€™s Fillmore utterly swept away by their vocal richness and general character, certain weâ€™d seen one of the next great rock bands popping off today.
The band begins a new national tour opening for Carbon Leaf today, August 30, in Santa Barbara, CA. Find full tour dates here. And Chamberlin is currently cutting a series of stripped down, quite nifty covers that theyâ€™re letting folks vote on. Check out the video for their version of Passion Pitâ€™s â€œLittle Secretsâ€ below the questionnaire and head over to vote on future installments and snap up free downloads here.
Here’s what Chamberlin singer/songwriter/guitarist Mark Daly had to say to our inquiries.
- 1. Great music rarely happens withoutâ€¦
- Real passion and emotion. Having songs that come from an honest place is really important in a lot of the music we as a band listen to. We really love great songwriting.
- 2. The first album I bought wasâ€¦
- No Doubtâ€™s Tragic Kingdom…which is actually a really good album despite their more recent stuff. I have always had a real crush on Gwen, too, despite that bananas song.
- 3. The last song or album to really flip my wig wasâ€¦
- Fathers Be Kind by Ivan and Aloysha is something we have all been listening to a lot. Itâ€™s a short EP but itâ€™s been on repeat in the van.
The song â€œPumped Up Kicksâ€ by Foster the People is also something that we’ve been rocking pretty hard. Itâ€™s almost too catchy for how simple it is.
- 4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to beâ€¦
- A weather man that specializes in tornadoes. I was so into weather for a while that my mom bought me this meteorology kit for my birthday. I never opened it. I had already moved on to wanting be a sports announcer.
- 5. My favorite sort of gig isâ€¦
- Any show where the crowd and band are just locked in together. It doesn’t matter how many people are there and more often than not it happens in small packed rooms where everyone is just up in your face. Lots of sweat and booze.
- 6. One thing I wish people knew about me isâ€¦
- Sometimes when we drink Ethan breaks out a harmonica and we all take turns singing abrasive improvised blues. Itâ€™s kind of like free styling except its blues so you have more time to think. It actually happens a lot and we get really loud when we’re outside sometimes, so we apologize to those we have annoyed.
- 7. I love the sound ofâ€¦
- Brushes on drums and melodicas.
- 8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic asâ€¦
- Bon Iverâ€™s For Emma Forever Ago. I don’t think we’d ever do anything as mellow as that album, but the way it flows and its vibe as a whole are amazing. It puts me in a really good, calm mood and it really strikes a very emotional chord.
- 9. The best meal I ever had on tour was atâ€¦
- We have this place we always go to in St. Louis across from the Pageant Theater called the Chinese Noodle Cafe. Itâ€™s run by this really nice woman named Peggy who always gives us Chinese trinket gifts and free appetizers.
- 10. I always find the coolest audiences inâ€¦
- Random places. Itâ€™s always fun when you don’t expect much and a crowd just kills it. I really can’t pick favorites but if we had to I’d say San Francisco, Denver and NYC are always great. And, of course, playing in Vermont to our friends and family is always the best.
- 11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time isâ€¦
- Eating lunch out of a gas station. Sometimes we don’t have time to stop, so we have to make do with Smartfood and gas station muffins.
- 12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
- They are so different itâ€™s difficult to answer. I’d say Radiohead just because they are so unique and even though itâ€™s a clichÃ©, they’re really not afraid to take risks. They are an ever-evolving band, which keeps them interesting and relevant. The strength of Thom Yorke’s melodies and voice is tremendous. He’s like an angel. One of the best falsettos hands down.
- 13. The craziest thing I ever saw wasâ€¦
- We played at this party a few years ago in New Hampshire. It was at a farm out in the middle of nowhere. Everyone was tripping on the roof while we played inside. After we were done, this carnival band showed up dressed in Hritish soldier uniforms and makeup. They proceeded to play super weird scary music while people swallowed swords, laid on beds of nails and ate glass. It was so weird I can’t even explain it.