Gemma Ray to release “Island Fire” February 17, 2012
Posted on 28 Nov 2011
Alberts UK pop-noir songwriter, Gemma Ray returns to Australia in December to support Grinderman on their Summer tour, play Peats Ridge Festival, plus headline an intimate show at Sydney's The Vanguard, in anticipation of the Australian release of her brand new album 'Island Fire' (Shock Records)
Torch-singing, guitar-taming, pop-noir songstress Gemma Ray is one of the UK's most maverick and critically acclaimed female musicians/songwriters.
Confounding expectations at every turn, she effortlessly blends disparate genres into unified and grandiose sounds, as with her 2009 album Lights Out Zoltar! (which won an Independent Music Award for Best Eclectic Album). Gemma , though, has a different but equally powerful effect when she strips it back to voice and guitar, as with her 2010 covers album It's A Shame About Gemma Ray, recorded with Matt Verta-Ray of Heavy Trash.
2011 has seen Gemma playing live with the likes of Grinderman, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis and Mick Harvey, but for the most part Gemma has spent the year recording with collaborators as far-ranging as Ron & Russell Mael (yes, Sparks), Thomas Wydler (of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), and members of CW Stoneking’s Primitive Horn Orchestra. On February 17, 2012, Shock Records release her new collection 'Island Fire', recorded for the most part at Alberts studio, Sydney. Gemma, stranded in Australia for the month of April 2010 after the Icelandic volcanic eruption grounded all flights, began shaping this album at Alberts during that time. So pleased was she with the results that she decided to return in 2011 to finish it, after stints recording in the island of Giske in northern Norway and in the Isle of Dogs, London. These circumstances and these environments go a long way in explaining the inspiration behind the album title. 'Island Fire' was co-produced and mixed by Alberts writer/producer and Head of Creative Development, Michael Szumowski.
'Island Fire' is an album that showcases Gemma at new heights of her songwriting powers, where she takes you through an album rich with lavish orchestral delights (They All Wanted A Slice, Bring Ring Ring Yeah), intimate guitarled showstoppers (Flood and a Fire, I Can See You), girl-group pop (Put Your Brain In Gear, Rescue Me), brooding and epic psychadelia (Make It Happen) and much more besides.
The album also features, as bonus tracks, the project Gemma Ray Sings Sparks (With Sparks). Gemma , a long-time admirer of Sparks’ grand ambitiousness and non-conformity, approached them for a collaboration. What transpired was what can only be described as Sparks covering Gemma Ray covering Sparks, where Sparks provided a twisted interpretation of Gemma’s twisted interpretation of their songs.
Gemma Ray is often seen with a 8" carving knife holstered into the neck of her guitar, pulled out at certain intervals to embellish her sound with lustre. But this is no gimmick - she is at ease with her craft, and even counts Jimmy Page as a fan. The knife might be dangerous but ultimately it is her heart-shaking songs which prove fatal - killer hooks delivered with an enviably easy voice.
Born and raised in Essex (UK), Gemma currently resides in Berlin. It was here that Gemma recorded an album (“Down Baby Down”) of soundtrack and film music. The album, inspired by the likes of John Barry and Kryzstof Komeda and featuring fellow Berliner Thomas Wydler, will see the light of day later in 2012.
“Blowing sugary femme-pop out of the water, Gemma Ray is untouchable” - NME
“Wondrous. A true alternative to the wan psychadelic folk of today’s lady-pop troupe” - Mojo Magazine
“Had Phil Spector forced his girl groups in a more noir-soundtrack direction, this might’ve been the result. Ray has a truly impressive feel for vintage pop flourishes, layered to lavish effect. And all those details are what you’re supposed to be paying attention to, right up until the blade hits your back.” - Spin
Gemma Ray returns to Australia in December playing Peats Ridge Festival and supporting Grinderman on their Summer tour but takes time out for her own intimate headline show at The Vanguard.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Monday December 5 – Supporting Grinderman - Fremantle Metropolis www.metropolisfremantle.com.au
Tuesday December 20 - Sydney - The Vanguard Theatre w/ + Melodie Nelson + Steve Smyth http://thevanguard.com.au/
Thursday December 29 - Peats Ridge Festival - Glenworth Valley http://www.peatsridgefestival.com.au/