InsideOutMusic recently announced the signing of Philadelphia-based duo Rise Twain to the label, for the release of their self-titled debut album on the 6th September 2019. The union of Brett William Kull (producer, audio engineer, and member of Echolyn, Grey Eye Glances, and Francis Dunnery’s New Progressives) and J.D. Beck (The Scenic Route, Beck-Fields, author & playwright) bring their collective years of direct and varied experience in writing, performing and recording music together for their impressive debut.

We asked Rise Twain to give us 3 examples of records that have influenced them as a band, and they both replied with 3 influences each. So, sit back and relax whilst reading and listening to some great choices….

Firstly, here are Brett’s picks, and he comments: “From 2015 I was in the midst of some personal crises that underscored much of my creative output for years after. These crises acted as catalysts for everything I was writing (in the realm of music and lyrics). The soundtrack to this time (as in all the times of my life) was provided by both chosen and random gifts of music acting as antidotes and emotional elevators. The Rise Twain material J.D. and I wrote was invariably intoxicated by the potency of what was going on in my head and the external music that elevated it. Here are three examples of music that influenced our project…”

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

There is a sadness in this record that can be mainlined through Thom Yorke’s words and music as they are infused by Johnny Greenwood’s beautiful sense of harmonic stimuli. The song Daydreaming and accompanying video by film maker Paul Thomas Anderson really hit me in the Summer of 2016 (and still does today). The emotional quality of the song, the poly-rhythms, and visuals echoed into the Rise Twain music I’m sure. The key changes and various timbers used are inspiring.

Wilco – Star Wars

In 2015 the band Wilco released their album Star Wars. Great title right? The cover is even better – A fluffy white cat sitting on a black pillow demurely looking at you with a scant flower arrangement behind it. I didn’t know what to make of this, but the music behind the art design was beautifully varied and deep. The song You Satellite (a two chord song) builds and chugs along to a crescendo with simple lyrics. The dynamics and power of this song spilled into my subconscious while working on the songs for Rise Twain.

Punch Brothers – Phosphorescent Blues

Lastly, in 2015, the Punch Brothers released an album called Phosphorescent Blues. The keystone track is Familiarity. I saw them play this live and it greatly enforced my idea of dynamics – as a tool in music (a tool that is sorely missing in many examples of popular music). The song also contains brilliant musicianship, beautiful lyrics, and top notch vocals. All these elements are part of what JD and I strive for in our songs and live production. I feel a kinship to songs like this. 

Secondly, here are J.D.’s picks, and J.D. further comments: “Rise Twain came at a great time for me. I was feeling shackled to the mainstay daily grind of the tradesman. For so many years I dredged through music school and wrote with all my might on every artistic medium I could assimilate and shape a vessel for transmittance of my thoughts and dreams or my political middle fingers or heartbreaks. Working as a small business owner, I felt the withdrawal of the addiction of artistic output. My journals that I keep in each room filled up. I went on exploratory rampages through middle age masculine trials and tribulations, yoga practices, guru teachings of intellect to physical being as to the what and why of the here and now. My phone had thousands of micro songs and parts. I was screaming into a bullhorn backwards. I was singing to the wrong divination. I was digging the wrong holes. It had to get it out- what-ever “it” is. I loved almost everything everyone else was saying and singing, and writing and painting and dancing and… I was a student ready for the weekend on Monday. I looked across that plain and found a man who was fumbling with a loudspeaker to transmit a message. He needed help. Together we lifted it. The dust cleared and the sun peaked through. Effortlessly we begin as if naturally it was our time to say the things it was time to say.”

Peter Gabriel – So

I listened to this record and The Last Temptation of Christ every night as a young fledgling. I dreamt that one day I would have shared musical thoughts with indigenous cultures and have sat whirling after Mid-East Sufi lectures and meditations or have suffered the effects of attempting the worship of the Dervish, or hunted mushrooms with Pygmies, and more. I loved the ethno-musical dimensions of Gabriel. I was obsessed with them. Contemplating this, I found the same relevancy and similarities from those dimensions as I did in the common sounds of nature around me. So, from my adolescence onwards I learned how to cage these dimensions within my interspace and use these creatures in the music sounding from me. (With the help of software programs like Samplr and other iPad apps) In the Rise Twain album, you can hear such corridors and landscapes interplaying and weaving throughout – thanks to Mr. Gabriel’s influence, no doubt.

Circa Survive – The Amulet

This is one loud band. I love the use of melody and the lyricism of Anthony Green. One of those albums that is good from start to finish. Lacks album arc and more of a set of songs, I still feel like I am kindred to some of the melodies. I love how Green can put long vocal lines over tumultuous guitars and driving percussion. It evokes youthful rage. It tells of addictions and loss and esoteric sufferings. It beautifully chaotic and telling of a dystopian reality of our current state. I studied this band for a bit and loved their songwriting. Live they are not the same as their studio production. Live, they are still the grindhouse for the flailing and moshing youth. But their studio work is something to admire. Through the shimmering and sparkling guitar chaos and serious percussive athletics there is a hidden layer of lovely swinging ballad hooks that remain in your head long after your ears have ceased ringing.

Iron and Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle

For three years my wife and I played this CD in the home stereo at night for our first son, Jonah, to fall asleep to because he was and is a person with an active mind so tethering him to dreamy soft acoustic music worked and as new parents we used it once we found that it did indeed work. Sam Beam is an incredible example of big thoughts and songs played so simply and quiet with such artistic perfection. From a later album, ‘Flightless Bird, American Mouth’ is the epitome of the pin drop. So softly he sings this that he almost whispers it. It is the ultimate idea of dynamics. (It is much akin to Ray LaMontagne’s ‘All the Wild Horses’.) Mr. Beam’s live telling of this work is quiet, so quiet that when he reaches the final chorus it becomes just a little pressed and desperate, only to fall into the intimacy once again that he commands. This inspires the shit out of me. This album was my first taste of his works. It still reminds me of bouncy sways to lull a baby asleep. I owe this artist a great deal.

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