FRANZ NICOLAY REVEALS NEW VIDEO 'BRIGHT WHITE' // NEW ALBUM 'TO US, THE BEAUTIFUL' OUT NOW

Franz Nicolay unleashes the new video for track ‘Bright White’ in preparation for his forthcoming UK tour.  Taken from his latest album To Us, The Beautiful – out now through Xtra Mile Recordings on CD, clear and blue splatter vinyl, and download – this video was directed by friend and bandmate Andrew Seward (ex-Against Me!). You can watch the video below:

The video was recorded while on the road with the full band, exploring the brief but intense life spiral of a band on tour. Mostly filmed from the car dashboard as they travel across country, and in a homely, untidy motel room, we peek into the sleep- and-drive rigmarole of travelling musicians. Surrounded by the trappings of their lifestyle (like gaffer tape and bottles of water) it captures the essence of Franz’s hard-working but ultimately free artistry. ‘Bright White’ also spills over with this, rooted in riffs and combustible breakdowns but with Franz’s eloquent, eccentric vocals flung over the results. 

Photo by Andrew Seward

Photo by Andrew Seward

To Us, The Beautiful is Franz’s fourth solo full-length and his second with Xtra Mile Recordings, and provides newcomers with a refreshing burst of elegant, eccentric and elegiac songs with a deliberate rock bent. Long-term fans will find a more straightforward chapter in Franz’s story, still gleaming with banjo twang and his distinctive theatrical voice, so they won’t be lost among the distortion and melodic drive.

Franz will be live in the UK in March 2015, let him wow you at a show or two. Look at our gigs calendar.

Praise for Franz Nicolay:

“Natural-born star…really something special.” – Pitchfork
“A great storyteller and wordsmith.” – Punknews

Praise for To Us, The Beautiful:

"Nicolay could probably sing the phone book and make it sound like Dostoevsky." - Éclat
"Fantastic...all of the scope and grandeur we've come to expect from a Franz Nicolay full-length...Franz Nicolay is the complete songwriter and To Us, The Beautiful is undoubtedly the first great record of 2015." - The Ruckus
"Perhaps his most accessible record to date...At its heart, this is a pure punk-rock record...balance[d] between boisterous celebration and punk-rock anger...an album that lives with you after you've pressed the pause button...a bold and confident statement. 4.5/5" - Contact Music
"Exhilarating...It’s a staggering album, maybe the first truly great release of 2015. 4.5/5" - God Is In The TV
"Filled with huge torch songs, heartfelt acoustic numbers and buzzing three-minute pop songs. 4/5" - Already Heard
"Every track brings its own reward...Recommend[ed]." - Echoes and Dust
"Masterfully emotional song-writing. 8/10" - Toxic Online
"A ramshackle treat." – Stereoboard

www.franznicolay.com / @FranzNicolay / Facebook

FRANZ NICOLAY ANNOUNCES BRAND NEW ALBUM 'TO US, THE BEAUTIFUL!' OUT 19 JANUARY 2015 // STREAM NEW TRACK NOW

The wild and wonderful world of Franz Nicolay is once again in glorious ear-shot for those brave souls tempted to indulge. To Us, The Beautiful! is the anthemic follow-up to 2012's Do the Struggle and will be released by Xtra Mile Recordings on the 19th January 2015You can preorder To Us, The Beautiful from Xtra Mile Recordings or digitally from iTunes

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Renowned for his unique delivery and absorption of widely diverse styles, Franz has shared stages and/or songwriting time with The Hold Steady, New York gypsy-punks Guignol, and Against Me!, as well as recording with the likes of Frank Turner, The Living End, and The Dresden Dolls. With a whole heap of solo records and full-band recordings behind him, his latest is something that won't be repeated: “If I make another record, it probably won't be anything like this.” He could have said that about any record in his career, naturally. It rings true enough here though.

Taking its title from a rather lucid Ukrainian toast – “To us the beautiful, and to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out” - the album has far more of the joyous celebration than the dark acid tongue to it. It's almost an atypical Franz record, as it stands right up against the catchiest guitar-pop records, in a way only Franz could muster.

In a mere 6 days of rehearsal and recording, with Andrew Seward of Against Me! on bass, Ara Babajian of Leftover Crack on drums, the NYC guitarist Yoni Gordon, and J. Robbins of the excellent Jawbox and Burning Airlines producing, To Us, The Beautiful! is bulging with hooks and elegant melodies. “Talk To Him In Shallow Water”, for example, has a beautiful banjo-picked melody line that's fluid and refined yet harks back to the more ramshackle gamut that Franz usually runs. However, this is an exception, as Franz has brought an addictive strain of chiming and carving rock-and-roll. Listen to “Bright White” and you'll feel yourself nodding in agreement.

Of course, Franz refuses to stick to one sound throughout and gallops, sidles and strides across his musical tastes as before – just with far more direct shots to the heart and soul than the esoteric form he usually takes. Whether the slow-burn wall of sound on 'Everything Is Going According To Plan', the almost doo-wop chorus of 'The Pilot Inside', or the reliable and satisfying chug, hue and cry of closer 'Porta Fenestella', the guitars are driving everything. They direct Franz's literary-inspired lyrics and free-spirit vocals down turbulent and exhilarating channels, all flowing to choruses that won't leave you for hours or days on end.

He claims a whole heap of inspirations that have left fingerprints on the record, a list that includes: the Waterboys, Leo Strauss, Ivor Cutler, Future Of The Left, a pet rat in Southampton, John Cooper Clarke, the Egyptian Book of the Dead and “other things (that) are in there too,” says Franz himself. Nevertheless, he promises that “you don't have to go looking for them; you can take what you wish from it, obviously. I'm pleased if you like it. If you don't, that's fine too. It's a big world.”

And with Franz in it, the world seems a whole lot wider than before.

www.franznicolay.com

XTRA MILE HIGH CLUB VOL. 5: SMOKIN' (SIGNED VS UNSIGNED) OUT 11 AUGUST 2014

Xtra Mile Recordings will release Xtra Mile High Club Vol. 5: Smokin’ (Signed vs Unsigned) - the fifth installment of the critically acclaimed label compilation series - on 11 August 2014. 

Split into two halves, this digital only compilation features almost every act on Xtra Mile Recordings’ roster on ‘Side A’ and an unsigned act of their choosing on ‘Side B’.

Showcasing the diversity of Xtra Mile’s musical leanings, Side A features the caustic title track from Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me!; the cannonball barrage of Möngöl Hörde’s ‘Blistering Blue Barnacles’; the unmistakable roots groove of Sonic Boom Six’s ‘A Little Bit of Reggae’, and the unplugged wordplay of Ben Marwood’s ‘They Will Float Your Body Out To Sea’. You’ll get pop highs off of Rob Lynch, gruff bluntness from Beans On Toast, and synth-laden pop from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. You’ll hear from our newer signees like Billy the Kid and one of our oldest friends, Jamie Lenman. The whole spectrum.

Our acts are always discovering new music and ‘Side B’ - in keeping with Xtra Mile’s constant search and support for new and unsigned acts - comprises their recommendations of emerging artists. Included are the sublime Spring Offensive, The Lion & the Wolf, The Karma Party, Toucans, Grace Petrie & the Benefits Culture, Little Rob and The Mob and many, many more.

Joining the unsigned half of the compilation are International Departures who won the final spot with their track ‘Give Me Something’, voted for by our dedicated Xtra Mile Street Team from hundreds of entries sent to us last month. Like bumping into a dear friend unexpectedly, it turns out Henry Carden – formerly of Dartz! alongside William Anderson of current XMR band, Algiers – is the man behind International Departures.

The artwork is a snapshot taken of an active volcano and is in keeping with all previous plane/sky/space themed XMHC volume front covers. This naturally gave rise to the so-obvious-it’s-not-even-funny compilation title: Smokin’.

Look out for an XMR Hub feature which will include our bands’ reasons for choosing their unsigned counterparts and other fun Smokin’ related things.

The Xtra Mile High Club series, proudly shows off the breadth of talent on its eclectic roster. Welcome to the club… 

Full tracklisting is below:

Side A – Xtra Mile                                             

1. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
2. Cheap Girls - Man In Question
3. Northcote - Counting Down The Days
4. Ben Marwood - They Will Float Your Body Out To Sea (Alternate Version)
5. Rob Lynch - My Friends and I
6. Billy the Kid - Yet
7. To Kill A King - Cold Skin
8. Algiers - Little Friction
9. Retrospective Soundtrack Players - Smart Girls For Talking, Morons For Dancing (Live) 
10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - As Always
11. Mull Historical Society - Why Do They Go So Soon (Home Demo)
12. Beans On Toast - Sold Out Shows
13. Crazy Arm - Black Canyon
14. Jon Snodgrass - "Song For The Groom's Friend, the friend who is the actual guy conducting the ceremony” (Exclusive Version)
15. Chris T-T & The Hoodrats - A Beaten Drum (piano version, live at St Paul's Lifestyle)
16. Franz Nicolay & The Cut Ups - To Us, The Beautiful
17. Drag The River - Marooned
18. Sonic Boom Six - A Little Bit Of Reggae
19. Jamie Lenman - Shower of Scorn
20. Oxygen Thief - con.script.shun
21. Möngöl Hörde - Blistering Blue Barnacles

Side B - Unsigned

1. The Frankl Project - A Day At The Races
2. Failures’ Union - Hard To Sea
3. Kayleigh Goldsworthy - Tennessee
4. Quiet Quiet Band - Hunter's Moon
5. The Lion & the Wolf - Ghosts On Trinity
6. PJ Bond - I'm In A Bad Way
7. Spring Offensive - Speak 
8. Toucans – Welcome To Lovers House
9. CG Whitear - Tokyo Drizzle
10. International Departures - Give Me Something (XMR competition winners)
11. Sorren Maclean - Either Way (feat. Roddy Woomble)
12. Little Rob and The Mob - Oaths
13. Brunel - Score Sheet
14. Gasoline Heart - Love Let Her Go
15. Grace Petrie & The Benefits Culture - The Redundancy Hymn
16. Emilyn Brodsky - Someone Belongs Here
17. Jonathan Coody - I Just Gotta Know
18. The Karma Party - World War
19. CeCe - These Four Walls
20. Strange Planes - Sharpen Your Teeth
21. Samoans - The Moth