I’d like to say sorry to the people of Norman Road. You see, I left home at 17 to go to one of these old-fangled (you know, back in the days when the arts mattered) sort of music colleges. I’d never been lived away from home up until that point, and during the days I was immersed in stuff I probably can’t remember these days, like harmony, and Bach Tow Part Inventions, and performance studies. On bright days, this led to the best report I ever received ‘It is obvious that James (Sunday name back in those days) finds this subject (Harmony) easy, but at least he could show some effort.’ On bad days we just needed to get away, so we had parties at some of the older students houses, on Norman Road.

These things were wild affairs, usually involving underage and inexperienced drinking (Thunderbirds and 20/20 for the girls, cans of Stones and Fosters for the boys), the Police telling us to keep it down, playing of the piano loudly, and listening to stuff like Japan and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention until the early hours. But there was always some element of challenge. Like taking bedroom doors off and riding them down the stairs, through the front door and on, or piling mattresses and jumping through windows and things like that. It made me the person I am today. Probably.

Foreign Talks – The Spell, from the self titled debut album, out 16th

Over in Portland Oregon, the Indie quartet Foreign Talks are making plans to release their debut self-titled album on April 16th, through fellow Oregon based label Expunged Records. This nearly didn’t happen after almost being woo-ed to Los Angeles by trendy Record Executive types, probably with clip-boards and iPads and expensive watches, but once Expunged stepped in, they weren’t for turning.

Listening to the record, its singer Marcus’ distinctive voice that shines; streetwise, almost fragile, with a touch of the Feargal Sharkeys about him (look it up, youngsters) then band itself, despite being compared to Bombay Bicycle Club and Local Natives, but make mature, sometimes sparse melodious Indie music, with songs that, unusually for a debut, shows maturity in its writing, and even rarer, space. It’s coloured to great effect though, both with energy and also with harmony often provided by keyboard/percussionist (and brother of Marcus) Madisons engaging falsetto. The ten-track LP bristles with confidence, energy, and is possibly (hopefully) the signalling of a talent to be reckoned with.

The band as a whole is Marcus Fischer (lead vocals, guitar, bass) and Madison Fischer (lead vocals, percussion, keyboards), along with the incredibly titled Tanner Steinmetz (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and the less incredibly titled,but no less important Kevin Downes (guitar, backing vocals, percussion). They formed back in 2011, writing songs within minutes of getting together, and amassing material that has now formed the basis of the album.
Here’s the thing. At an age that I was riding bedroom doors down the stairs of a house that wasn’t mine, or jumping out of windows onto mattresses laid on top of each other, along with cardboard boxes and things instead of practising Bach Two-Part Inventions, Foreign Talks, Madison the youngest at 17, his brother Marcus 18 and Tanner and Kevin 19, are not only making a debut album that bristles and fizzes with ambition through ten songs, but are making music that is reverberating way beyond Portland, Oregon. Worldwide.
The youth of today, eh? Whats the world coming to?