Posts Tagged ‘Her Name Is Calla’

Her Name Is Calla stock rose considerably via their brilliant debut LP ‘The Quiet Lamb’ late last year. So too did their reputation for heightened melodrama and darkly melancholic songs.  The title track (featured in the video below) on this 10″ vinyl limited edition single is arguably a response to those who claim their music is just too bleak.

It’s a stomping number, the most succinct thing they’ve issued since ‘A Moment of Clarity’ and forcefully gets its point across cramming a fast-paced groove, searing guitar and Tom Morris’ towering falsetto amidst some heroic brass and string arrangements, into its short time span. There’s nothing wrong with a band broadening their horizons and ‘Maw’ certainly packs an impressive punch.

Less is assuredly more, however, on next track ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’, a mournful shuffle with gorgeous violin and sombre vocals and harmonies.  A beautiful song indeed, where it should be noted that being ‘melancholic’, for want of a better word, is one of the several aspects that this quintet excels at.

This notion is further enhanced on final song ‘Dreamlands’, a Prog-like number split into several segments that reminds of Shearwater at points, while harking back to the more grandiose concepts on ‘The Quiet Lamb’.  It’s not only the best track on here, but one of the best pieces of music they’ve ever written, with it’s fore-boding acoustic introduction, brooding but cathartic middle and its folky, enchanting end interspersed with spine-tingling harmonies, heart-broken string segments and grainy, electronic static.

A cleansing release for the band perhaps, but one that sees them shed those inhibiting post-rock tags, while whetting the appetite for the possibilities of their next album.


Her Name Is Calla’s European tour has been eventful and rife with problems, not least a family emergency that forced one member to leave the tour early.  There’s also been mechanical failure and, as detailed in the video above, serious problems in hiring a replacement van in Germany.  This forced the Calla troupe to cancel their Berlin show.  Clearly gutted about the timing of the cancellation, the band have recorded a special apology to fans that hoped to attend that show.   Two live acoustic tracks recorded and filmed in a La Blogotheque fashion in a public place somewhere in Berlin, view the video to see the band perform these rare and stunning versions of  ”A Sleeper’ and ‘White and the Skin’

Words cannot express how much I love Her Name Is Calla, I’ve travelled far and wide, thinking I wouldn’t get much oppurtunity to see them live, only for them to turn up in my own town several times over the last year.  They’re an extremely hard-working group of musicians that definitely deserve a bigger fan-base than they currently have.  While they seem to do well in Post-Rock circles, though we can’t really count arm-chair, illegal downloading people as real fans, the band have definite ability to appeal to a broader range of music lovers.  An acoustic version of ‘Long Grass’ was the highlight of the Glasgow show I attended last week, and this video shot at Leeds’ Left Bank venue the night before, by youtube user MechanisedEurope confirms why.  There’s also remarkable footage of several other tracks, including the epic ‘Condor and River’, ‘Thief’ (which I have never had the pleasure of seeing live), ‘Pour More Oil’ and ‘New England‘.  All the videos are a magnificent indicator of Calla’s magical live shows.

The wonders of social networking come to the fore as Her Name Is Calla’s official tour photographer Sebastian Dehesdin has begun posting short films of the band who are currently still on tour, in support of their new ‘Maw‘ 10″ single.  Following on from my review of their Glasgow show, Part 1 above shows the band setting up and sound-checking at the Left Bank in Leeds.  There’s also a short snippet of the band performing the acoustic-led ‘Long Grass’, which was my favourite track aired last Monday in the Glasgow leg of their tour, stunning footage of ‘Condor and River‘, some loving shots of Calla’s vinyl and music from Birds of Passage played in the background.

Although there’s unfortunately no footage from the 13th Note show that I attended so far, I must commend Dehesdin for his beautifully shot film.  Part 2, below, features less music and more band on tour hi-jinks as the band embark from Dover onto Antwerp via ferry, including an impromptu stop for mechanics on the band tour van — the rock n’ roll lifestyle this is not.  I’ll post the rest of these videos as Dehesdin releases them

Venue: 13th Cafe/Glasgow (29/03/11) With Her Name Is Calla arriving in Glasgow on a breezy otherwise unremarkable Monday night,  for what must be their umpteenth tour of Britain’s small, basement venues in the last year and a half, I couldn’t help but wonder when the penny is going to drop and people  start to attend these gigs in their droves, allowing this band to grace the bigger stages they so richly deserve. Still I admire their diligent enthusiasm, as this Leicester quintet clearly love performing live.  But let’s leave that for later in the article.

First up on this three-band-bill-for-£6 night at the kind of rundown 13th Note, were Glaswegian youngsters Analogue of the Sun.  I’m 99% certain they used to be called Redword and I have reviewed them before, stating that they had a lot of promise but needed to iron out a good few rough edges.  Though they try hard to be different and keep the audience on their toes with jarring chords, superfluous screams, quirky time signatures and even quiet trance-like keys/synth work, there’s still something all too familiar with their sound.  Blurring the line between Prog, Post-Rock and Post-Hardcore and throwing in extra helpings of Mike Patton-esque weirdness for good measure, There’s plenty of light and shade in their mix, but they definitely need to work on vocals, especially when harmonising and perhaps add a touch of variety into their setlist.

I’m going to cut Birds of Passage (Alicia Merz) some slack, as we were later told her timid performance was perhaps down to the fact it was only her second gig…ever.  There was some pretty vinyl featuring her LP, courtesy of Denovali Records, at the merchandise table, though I decided to abstain since I wasn’t over impressed by her performance.  Although she has a nice voice, each track soon followed a similar path with breathy vocals over either sparse Labradford-like guitar and synth lines and/or pre-recorded music and beats emanating from an Apple Mac, wit Merz digitally layering each part atop of one another.  For me, there needs to be more in a live performance, though like I said it was only her second ever show.  Nice enough, as the songs on her soundcloud page show, but not really my cup of tea.

Which leaves Her Name Is Calla’s monumental performance to talk about.  Playing latest album ‘The Quiet Lamb’ almost track for track, until it was intercepted by new single ‘Maw’, immediate highlights included a spine-tingling ‘A Blood Promise’ which fully showcased frontman Tom Morris’ rich vocal range and a stunning rendition of ‘Long Grass‘, where the band opted out of using the PA, dragged the crowd closer to the stage and proceeded to perform it in its beautiful, acoustic and harmonic glory.  A raucous, but slightly rough, 15+minute version of ‘Condor And River‘ is always welcome in these parts, with the melancholic violin really coming to the fore along with the added trombone and later screams/sounds from multi-instrumentalist Thom Corah, but it seemed the band were saving themselves for a surprise ending of older track ‘New England‘, which was particularly visceral and rather loud — closing off another excellent performance from the Calla troupe and worth the admission fee alone.  A quite special show that less than a hundred people were lucky enough to witness.   Which is my one regret of the evening, more people need to see this band live because on this form we cannot afford to lose them.  Judge for yourself with the free download live EP below.

We’re pleased to announce that Maw, our new three-track EP, is available to pre-order from Denovali Records now. We’ve been previewing it through our Soundcloud for the past few weeks, but if you missed it, we can tease you with the following summary: there’s a song that’s uncharacteristically under four minutes; a delicate, breathy lullaby; and a dizzying experimental journey. Adam Calla has made a lovely, fit-inducing video for the title track which can be seen on our you tube channel. Maw is released on coloured 10″ vinyl and mp3 download from both Denovali Records and our own Bandcamp from the 28th March (Source:http://hernameiscalla.com/)

Described by Drowned In Sound as ”one of the most daring, unconventional bands the UK has to offer right now”, Leeds/Leicester-based Post-Rockers Her Name Is Calla are keen to capatilise on such favourbale press for recent LP ‘The Quiet Lamb’ with a tour and  with two free digital download releases.  One containing a cross-section of tracks from their excellent back catalogue (voted for by existing fans) and another containing a snapshot of their devastating live performance from the 2010 Denovali Swingfest.  Miss this band at your peril, tour dates posted below.

Tour Dates

27th March – Left Bank, Leeds, UK*
28th March – 13th Note, Glasgow, UK*
29th March – Firebug, Leicester, UK*
31st March – Gleis 22, Munster, GERMANY*
1st April – Druckluft, Oberhausen, GERMANY*
2nd April – TBA, Hildesheim, GERMANY*
3rd April – TBA, POLAND*
4th April – Stara Szwalnia, Lodz, POLAND*
5th April – TBA, Brno, CZECH REP*
6th April – 007 Strahov, Prague, CZECH REP*
8th April – Paris Syndrom, Leipzig, GERMANY*
10th April – Rhiz, Vienna, AUSTRIA*
11th April – TBA, SWITZERLAND*
12th April – The Heretic, Bordeaux, FRANCE*
13th April – TBA, Paris, FRANCE*
14th April – TBA, Brighton, UK
15th April – TBA, London, UK
16th April – Union Chapel, London UK (Free daytime show -12pm)
16th April – The Croft, Bristol UK
17th April – The Duchess, York, UK
24th April – Dunk! Festival, Zottegem, BELGIUM