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 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 / @FranzNicolay / Facebook


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.