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Show Review

When our friends at Sofar Sounds invaded Baeble on a cold, dark night in February, we didn't really know what to expect. The hand-picked party guests drew from the hipper denizens of this great city, liquid libations flowed freely, and the bands...my god, the bands were stunning. Something told me they didn't know what to expect either, encountering a warm and welcome gathering of music enthusiasts waiting to hear whatever the bands would dabble out. Brooklyn's The Last Royals seemed so impressed they rang up a few additional friends to join them "on stage". About 10 minutes before their scheduled set, a massive double bass (and its owner) came barreling down the staircase...no doubt a last minute addition to a very special night of music. The result was one of the most engaging, "stripped down" performances of the evening. The Last Royals, like their name suggests, specialize in utterly majestic, road ready rock and roll...a summer soundtrack that the band just couldn't wait until the warmer months to reveal. This is music you should be setting your days to now.

Transcript

Let's call in all our favors in the final hour
And throw in all our chips along the way
Is this the last straw? Is this the ninth life, my friend?
Is it better to be honest and be unknown?
Will we break from this addiction if we come home?
This is the last straw This is the ninth life, my friend
So let's fall in love All over again
And if it's love that you want Just tell me the where and the when
We've been fighting since the time we heard the bell ring
And we've wiped the living daylights from our face
Is this the last round? Am I the right man, my friend?
Let's fall in love Yeah, yeah
Let's fall in love All over again
And if it's love that you want Just tell me the where and the when
Yeah, let's fall in love All over again
And if it's love that you want, just tell me the where and the when, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, remember what it feels like when a bee stings?
You wonder what it was she was accomplishing
Well, this is the real life Cut with a pocket knife, my friend
Oh, let's fall in love All over again
And if it's love that you want Just tell me the where and the when
Yeah, let's fall in love All over again
And if it's love that you want Just tell me the where and the when
Let's fall in love All over again
And if it's love that you want Just tell me the where and the when
- Thank you.
Yeah
If I die a lonely death, I'm sure it's from the cigarettes
I smoked each day after you left me standing all alone
Alone in my Park Avenue apartment that smelled fresh and new
The extra set of keys from you are going to the maid
The maid has been my only friend She's always there to apprehend
The dust and grime that settles in around the crystal vase
The crystal vase, a wedding gift that through the years has made the shift
What once held flowers now holds ash from my two packs a day
Oooh, baby, she walks with a thorn in her side
Them big sunglasses on her eyes
And all the uptown girls say, "Hi, old woman" Woo-ooh
"Well, I can't take another day of this," she says
"All I wanted was a drink and a kiss.
But I guess I'll just have to call on my bank 'cause it's Swiss.
" Woo-ooh She never knew no better than to follow her nose So I ask for your forgiveness 'cause I'm part of the show Now she's gone and all she's left with
is a house full of clothes Sometimes Madam, it's okay to cry
If I die a lonely death, I'm sure it's from the cigarettes
I smoked each day after you left me, standing all alone
Alone in my Park Avenue apartment that smelled fresh and new
The extra set of keys from you are going to the maid
We are, we ain't gonna judge you Maybe we just did You didn't know better You got your Chanel And you've got those shops with the girl sitting on the thing, the fucking prize You got them dangly earrings Well, there ain't no speaking English Well, she's probably just a chip off the block
You know like coffee from a coffee pot
Well, at least she can get away for a while, get some sun on that yacht
Wooo-ooh
She never knew no better than to follow her nose
So I ask for your forgiveness 'cause I'm part of the show
Now she's gone and all she's left with is a house full of clothes
Sometimes Madam, it's okay to cry If I die a lonely death, I'm sure it's
from the cigarettes I smoked each day after you left me
standing all alone Alone in my Park Avenue apartment that
smelled fresh and new The extra set of keys from you are going
to the maid The maid has been my only friend
She's always there to apprehend The dust and grime that settles in
around the crystal vase The crystal vase, a wedding gift, that
through the years has made the shift What once held flowers now holds ash
from my two packs a day
- Anybody here from California? Just a shout out.
We're going there.
I've been to California a few times but I've never played a show there, and we're going on a West Coast tour in a few weeks.
Our first one.
We're interested to see how this song is going to go over, and maybe you guys can fill us in later if you're from California.
Let me know how you feel about this.
It's called, "I Hate California".
Just send me an email.
You're going to love it.
I think I hate California And the hotels are free
I'm drinking wine from a mug And no one will see
We're swapping stories on the phone This and you in your time zone
I'm losing sleep And I'm waiting for a bed of my own
I think I hate California I hate California
So blind.
Yeah, we're blind We stumble to the dark
And we lie.
Yeah, we lie But we're dark in a short
If you want love to set you free Drop by tonight
If nothings ventured Nothings gained. All is right
I think I hate California I hate California
I think I hate California I hate California
Oooh ooh ooh Oooh ooh ooh
A wedding ring in a hotel sink I'm on the brink
I know it's hopeless But I'm so focused I think
And I'd ride alone on a stairway case If I could
If I could
If I finish You know it's understood
That we hate California We hate California
We hate California We hate California
I'm so sorry I'm so sorry
I'm so...
Oooh ooh ooh Oooh ooh ooh
You ready? Barefoot Winter Waltz]
All right.
We should put a record out.
This is the last tune on the record.
This song's nothing like what you're about to hear.
It's all good.
Come on and dance with me
On the bare floor that needs sweeping Maybe then we'll start believing
we're in love Come on feel the cold
In the endless sounds of winter That low, dark hum and clatter
Of our makeshift stairway When all you feel is love
And the strings on my heart tug Let me fall around your neck
And you can tell me I'm wrong You can tell me I'm too late
What about the letter, and the wine, and the flowers on the barefoot waltz?
It's time to cut all the ties? When will we realize?
It's all about the love and the faith and the flowers on the barefoot waltz
Come on feel the pain Ohhh we're dancing in the street
And the snow beneath our feet drifting away
So so when all you feel is love And the strings on my heart tug
Let me fall around your neck And tell me I'm wrong
Yeah tell me I'm too late but what about the letter and the wine and
the flowers on the barefoot waltz? It's time to cut all the ties
Yeah, when will we realize? And It's all about the love and the
faith and the flowers on the barefoot waltz
Oh, tell me I'm wrong Oh tell me I'm too late
But what about the letter and the wine and the flowers on the barefoot waltz
It's time to come out and dance
When will we realize that it's all about the love and the faith
and the flowers on the barefoot waltz and it's all about the love and the
faith and the flowers on the barefoot waltz
So follow me slow And softly
We're gonna sing it low And holy
While we wait
For answers it's not too late for love
Follow me slow And softly
We're gonna sing it low And holy
While we wait Oh, for answers
It's not too late For love
Follow me slow And softly
We're gonna sing it low And holy
While we wait Oh, for answers
It's not too late For love
- Thank you, guys.
We're the Last Royals.
Lovely! Thank you!

Artist Bio

The Last Royals, a Brooklyn duo of writer/singer/producer Eric James and drummer Mason Ingram, formed in early 2010 after meeting and working together on a charity record with producer Mike Beck. James had at that point written and demoed a collection of songs on his own, a handful of which ultimately comprised TLR's buzzed about EP released later that fall, but was still seeking a broader personality and gravitas for the project. Upon meeting Ingram a connection seemed to click and, together with Beck, they began forging a grander collective intersection of live energy and sound. The result of their collective exploration is captured in The Last Royals full-length debut, Twistification, released in January 8, 2013.

Recorded in a series of short sessions at Beck's Brooklyn studio, the group reworked virtually all of James' original songs to create an album that infuses The Last Royals' pop aesthetic with rock and roll elements, juxtaposing brightly hopeful music with candid, evocative depth. The idea, ultimately, was to create a disc that had a narrative flow. "Musicians hold to this idea that people still listen to albums, even though they probably don't anymore," James says. "But there's something beautiful about that ideal, and it drives me as a songwriter. I believe the album has a beginning, middle, and an end. There's a natural arc of tension, chaos and finally release."

The few songs released ahead of the album, via both the three-song album teaser in Fall 2012 as well as the band's preceding debut EP, gained significant attention. "Crystal Vases" spent four-months on SiriusXM AltNation's Top 18 Countdown, and both RCDLBL and PASTE premiered "Only the Brave" with glowing reviews as single/download and video, respectively. These and many others hailed the preview tracks showcases of the group's striking ability to build buoyant, danceable numbers across a broad stylistic range. These songs marry glowing instrumentation with introspectively dark lyricism, an apt introduction to their forthcoming debut album. "The verses are quite depressing and self-deprecating, which I think makes for the best songs," James explains of "Friday Night." "It's a sad loser of a song in the form of a pop-dance number. I love the idea of people dancing along to something that's really depressing."

One element that came into play while making Twistification was the group's live performance, something that didn't necessary influence The Last Royals EP. Between recording sessions the group hit the road, performing select regional dates, supporting a tour with Lovedrug, as well as appearing as a musical guest at several events for nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms. These shows had a direct impact on the way the songs on the albumand its preceding teaserturned out. "That's the great thing about music," says Ingram, a classically trained percussionist who studied African rhythms abroad and moonlights on a number of NYC projects. "Playing live let's you see how people respond to the music. Touring gave us a nice litmus test while we were making the album."

And it's not just about the music. James' original concept of the songs as a "soundtrack for the urban walker" remains the defining core of The Last Royals. Shimmering pop melodies are extorted from and set against the real life background of miles of NYC concrete, overpriced MTA cards, skateboarding for groceries, and a love of photography and video that captures snapshots of it all. Lifestyle and secondary passions weave a collective, almost palpable aesthetic from reality to art and back again.

The songs that appear on Twistification urge all these influences together, successfully combining pop melodies with an infectious rock vibe. They're tracks that generate both thought and movement, suggesting that pop music can be literately intelligent while still resonating with an easy-going memorability, both absorbing and reflecting the experiences and imagery of everyday life.

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The Last Royals

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