The Loyal Seas
Flip side: Last of the Great Machines
A side: Strange Mornings in the Garden
Debut: December 4, 2020
American Laundromat ALR-0053
Tanya Donelly, who we spoke with earlier this year when she joined The Parkington Sisters for their American Laundromat Records album of string driven covers from Wings, The Kinks, The Pretenders, The Go-Go’s, and others, has now joined forces with Brian Sullivan, of Dylan in the Movies. Tanya told Goldmine, “Brian is one of my closest friends for decades. He is like a brother to me. Brian was an intern at Fort Apache Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I recorded with Throwing Muses and Belly. He had just graduated from Emerson College in Boston and was hired at Fort Apache who, at the time, had a label imprint with MCA. We met, immediately clicked and became permanent friends. When I found out that he was also a singer-songwriter, our working relationship started with me singing background vocals for him and we co-wrote a few songs for his band Dylan in the Movies. This time we are writing a whole collection of songs, calling ourselves The Loyal Seas, and this single is our first release while we are in the process of recording the rest of the album. Brian has a beautiful resonant voice. I compare our voices to skipping stones, with my voice bouncing off of his pond.”
Fans of Tanya Donelly’s 1990s era work with Belly will enjoy the steady and bouncy A side, “Strange Mornings in the Garden.” In addition to Brian’s guitarwork, Chris Blonairz’s drums provide a solid backdrop, along with Scott Janovitz’s bass and keyboards. Tanya said, “Brian and I both play with Scott quite a bit and Chris is one of Brian’s people. Every one of the songs on the upcoming album will have a different group of people playing on them because Brian will be bringing in people from the west coast, where he now lives, and I’ll be bringing in people from the east coast. I think it will continue that we will have a west coast and an east coast squad of players. Scott will definitely be a significant part of how The Loyal Seas will end up sounding, not only as a musician but also as a sound engineer.”
There’s a touch of Gwen Stefani in Tanya’s voice as the flip side “Last of the Great Machines” begins. The ballad features Brian’s gentle piano and cello from Freya Seeburger. When Tanya and Brian sing about a hollow, it may remind listeners of soundtrack for the 2018 A Star is Born film. Tanya concluded, “Freya is an amazing cellist, or ‘cellista’ as she says, and was part of a California band that Brian put together when I toured in that area. She is one of the most talented, intuitive and thoughtful people that I have ever played with and is just the loveliest person. It is crazy that we wrote this ‘hollow’ song before A Star is Born was released. When I heard Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing their song, I called Brian and asked, ‘Does our song sound like that? Please tell me that it doesn’t sound like a song that we ripped off which we hadn’t yet heard.’ This song is our oldest song in the whole batch we are working on, so it predated that film, and I am so grateful that you consider our song ‘Last of the Great Machines,’ to be a fabulous flip side.”
Juliana Hatfield released a vinyl Christmas single for Record Store Day Black Friday.
Side A is “Christmas Cactus” with the opening lines, “Christmas cactus, I wait for you to bloom. Three years and nothing, still I wait for you. Time stands still on my windowsill.” Juliana longs for the “bright pink flower,” matching the color of this vinyl single. The gentle recording features tender harmonies and strings.
The flip side, “Red Poinsettia,” is quirkily eerie about a “red poinsettia left on the doorstep” featuring a backward electric guitar and a touch of dark humor.
Both vinyl singles were pressed at Furnace Record Pressing in Alexandria, Virginia and are available at independent record stores and through American Laundromat Records. See the alr-music.com link below.