U.S. Royalty

Early Show

U.S. Royalty

Ula Ruth

Fri, September 6, 2013

Doors: 7:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$10 advance / $12 day of show

This event is 21 and over

U.S. Royalty - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
U.S. Royalty
U.S. Royalty searches for home on their sophomore album Blue Sunshine. Chronicling the search for connection, intimacy, and acceptance, the album recounts times of confusion giving way to moments of clarity. From the tender swell of lead track “Into The Thicket” to the orchestral thrust of album title track “Blue Sunshine,” the album explores the tension between polished composition and raw energy.

After relentlessly touring the U.S. over the last few years and performing at festivals such as SXSW, Art Basel, and the Sweetlife Festival, the Washington, D.C.­based band (John Thornley, Paul Thornley, Jacob Michael, and Luke Adams) wanted to take a season to reflect. With the unexpected passing of John and Paul’s father and the disorientation upon returning to a city forsaken for the road, they felt the need to start fresh. To focus on reflection and new approaches to songwriting, the band isolated themselves with longtime friend and engineer, Justin Long (Mirrors) for six months in a house overlooking a cemetery near Great Falls, MD. While in this setting, themes of home and longing gave rise to a larger picture of the individual struggle for meaning and purpose. With these ideas brewing, the guys brought in another good friend, Sonny Kilfoyle (the band Minks), to
co­produce and help guide these songs and lyrics to the surface. Soon after, U.S. Royalty decamped for Dreamland Studios, a former church turned recording studio in upstate New York. Most of the band’s members were first introduced to music while growing up in church, so it seemed only fitting to have this century­old, once­sacred space as a creative refuge. The studio’s kaleidoscopic stained glass, cavernous sanctuary live room, and
reverb plates stretching the length of the basement provided a familiar and inspiring backdrop for the group to bring months of work to fruition.

The recording process consisted of the band making use of a church organ, mellotron, strings and an array of analog equipment to introduce subtle layers into their already dynamic 4­piece. Sparse and elegant one moment and brash and recklessly passionate the next, they weave a musical tapestry from such unlikely compatriots as Mazzy Star, Stevie Nicks, and The Verve, with the vocal fervor of early U2. Lyrically, the album draws from the well of saudade, a Portuguese word that conveys a deep, melancholic longing for someone or something, coupled with the knowledge that the person, place, or experience is forever out of reach.

The fascination with cinema continues the theme that U.S. Royalty developed with their debut album. Where Mirrors mimicked the swagger of Spaghetti Westerns and Kubrick films, Blue Sunshine can be read against the narrative content of Malick's masterpiece “Days Of Heaven.” The characters in the film seem forever in flight, either running from the law or chasing inheritance money, but they're also pulled in by America's gorgeous open spaces and limitless opportunity, somehow finding comfort in the swirling change around them. Like the band, they manage to find shelter somewhere between the road and home. John's weariness is laid bare in “Blue Sunshine,” as he asks with a howl, "Why is the peace we had drifting away?" The fingerpicking and harmonies of "Into the Thicket" and “Get On
Home” sound like echoes of the film's poignant shots of Texas wheat waving in the wind. In the record's lone instrumental, "De Profundis,” guitarist Paul’s sparse, layered acoustic guitars duel each other from start to finish, producing glimpses of beauty that are pulled back down into the churning, muddy low­end. Luke and Jacob’s rhythm section, which relentlessly drives in songs like "Lady in Waiting" and "Valley Of The Sun,” stands it’s ground throughout the album giving it a solid foundation akin to the church they recorded in.

Blue Sunshine sounds like it was recorded in what those in the film industry call the "magic hour," that softly lit time just before the sun rises and right after it sets. As light filtered through the old church's stained glass, John penned the lyrics to "Get On Home" while acoustic guitar reverberated through the cavernous space. What may be the album's most singular statement came from this unplanned moment, as John speaks for the band: "Lost a few friends, no fault of our own. Wasteland of the places I've come now to call my home."

By: Jeremy Mohler
Ula Ruth - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Ula Ruth
Ula Ruth grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Raised Southern Baptist, she found her voice singing in church. She grew up with nothing, and dreamed of becoming something. She left her home at early age with the hopes of becoming a singer in New York City. One day she found fame, but they made her change her name. So now we are taking it back.
Brothers Nic and Luc began as a garage rock duo in late 2010 in their attic in the suburbs of Connecticut. With barely enough original material for a full set, they played their first gig at New York’s Sullivan Hall. In early 2011 with the addition of bassist, Kevin, the band began booking themselves into the nearest rock venues. The Lower Eastside of New York City became the bands home. The group was just barely out of high school.

Ula Ruth played non-stop for the next 6 months, taking advantage of every opportunity to perform and perfect their sound. The band soon recruited a childhood friend to join the band as a lead guitarist to help complete the outfit. With the addition of a fourth member, and a strong presence in the New York indie rock scene the band entered the studio with producer Chris Sanchez of the Fever to record their first EP. Chris and his studio, Gold Coast Recorders, would soon become the most integral part of Ula Ruth’s sound very early on in their career.

Inspired by the sounds of the 60s and 70s, the band recorded using an assortment of vintage equipment and recorded their debut EP “Extended Play” in May of 2012. In the summer following the release of their EP, Ula Ruth found themselves center-stage in New York’s indie rock scene, performing at venues including The Mercury Lounge, The Knitting Factory, and Spike Hill on a regular basis.

Following their summer stint in New York City, the band’s original lead guitarist left. Through a well-placed ad (featuring a cat with laser beams), the band found it’s newest member, Andrew. The band was never contacted by any other guitarist, due to the fact that Andrew had taken all of the ads down in an effort to guarantee his spot.

Since then, the band has covered a lot of ground. In December the band was fortunate enough to open for Chad Stokes (Dispatch/State Radio) as well as Edie Brickell and Paul Simon. Throughout the winter the band continued performing New York, appearing at The Mercury Lounge, the Brooklyn Bowl, and Rockwood Music Hall. In April they were selected to record at Converse’s Rubber Tracks Studios in Brooklyn, which has been the home to artists such as Mark Foster, Kimbra, and Delta Spirit.

This summer Ula Ruth will be performing at the Old Port Festival in Portland, Maine and Kahbang Music Festival in Bangor, Maine, as well as at many of New York’s premier rock venues. There is much on the horizon, including a performance in August with Chevy Metal (Alter-ego side project of the Foo Fighters) and the release of “Too Late Tonight”, a follow-up to their spring release of “Runaway”.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002