You can order the new album HERE.
Fall On Your Sword is Daphne’s fourth full-length album, and the first to be produced by the songwriter herself. This collection of songs was written as a whole, threaded together with “stories we heard as children” encompassing memories of fables, fairy tales, Bible stories, mythology, poetry, cautionary tales, traditional folk songs, and American popular culture of the 20th century.
Fall On Your Sword was recorded with 25 of the finest musicians Daphne has met on her extensive US tours. It is the most lush and expansive production in her catalog, with elements of hot jazz, indie folk, latin, opera, hip-hop, and cinematic pop.
This is what folks are saying about it:
“Daphne Lee Martin’s music is lush and imaginative, her flourishing style exemplified on new track ‘I’d Take A Bullet For You.’ The song comes features a plethora of horns, jangly drum lines and even a spoken-word portion”
Daphne Lee Martin, Sep 29, 2015 – Futureappletree, Rock Island, IL
- 1Welcome to Daytrotter
- 2Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Head
- 3I’d Take A Bullet For You
- 4John Henry’s Lullabye
- 5Willing Victim
Everyone’s In On The Seduction Tonight
Futility and frustration are a big theme on this album. Not the kind where you just give up on everything. The kind where you know that the ripples you create here and now may not be felt or make the world any better within your own lifetime. The kind of knowing that you need to realize that you’ll get maybe 10% back on what you put into many things. But not the kind where you can simply say “fuck it”. Not to be too Dorothy Parker about life, but it really is what you expect it to be, in the end. If you decide to create troubles, drama, scenes, you will live in hell long before you die. And we all, artists and students and factory workers and dentists and philosophers and menwomenchildren and folks going through grief of any kind or transition of any kind, all feel it sometimes. The human condition. How we handle ourselves when the heat comes up is entirely on us and it shows our true character.
David Keith on drums, Isaac Young on sax, organ, rhodes and ewi, Anjanine Bonet on fiddle and vocals, Brad Bensko on bass and vocals, Graham Thompson on vocals, Gary Buttery on tuba, DLM on timpani and sequenced drums, synths, vocals and piano.
Lyrical, Production & Music Notes
Saint Ambrose was a 4th century bishop of Milan credited with promoting “antiphonal chant”, a style of chanting where one side of a choir responds alternately to the other. Bees and beehives often appear in his symbology because of the legend that as an infant, a swarm of bees settled on his face while he lay in his cradle, leaving behind a drop of honey.
Bees make a number of appearances on this record, they were the riddle by which Samson ultimately met his demise as well. Bees are also a large part of early American literature and I’ve referenced a few traditional plantation proverbs here, some of the many teaching tools that use the work ethics and values of insects. The reference to Killing One’s Darlings comes from Faulkner, and in my way I see this song as an exercise in putting away perfect (unattainable) ideals in favor of accepting both your limitations and your responsibility to rise above them. The two spoken pieces are from Henry Miller and Anais Nin.
I’m not gonna lie, I fucking LOVE Ani DiFranco. And ‘part of (her) pours out of me in these lines from time to time’. In this case, it’s a moment from Swan Dive that makes its way into my chorus.
I also love Peter Gabriel. Anyone that has already hear either my cover of TV On The Radio’s Ambulance or Magnetic Fields’ The Book Of Love knows how hard I lean on his production. It’s actually become a running joke within the band that we really need to start bring a tree on the road with us so we can have it in the middle of the stage and I can walk around it and touch it for effect during particularly moving songs because I love this concert so much. You can feel it in the end of this tune.
Genre-bending is practically run of the mill these days, but have you ever heard an artist claim to run the gamut from “elements of hot jazz, indie folk, latin, opera, hip-hop, and cinematic pop”? Meet Daphne Lee Martin, the woman behind this ambitious catalogue of influences.
On her single “Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Head,” she sets out to show off her chops as a truly versatile lyricist and vocalist, even incorporating a rap verse by artist SuaveSki. Her sultry vocals blend jazz and soul, but the music is inflected with a funky, percussive groove.
The first few tracks of Fall On Your Sword are a bit startling in their scope, but the album quickly comes into focus. There are so many musical influences working together, it doesn’t seem probable that they could form one harmonious whole, and yet they do. Jazz, pop, hip-hop and even opera manage to function together in Martin’s fourth full-length album. Almost all artists pull inspiration from a variety of sources, but Fall On Your Sword deserves praise for using those sources in unexpected and colorful ways.
“Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Head” (which you can hear on the site here) sets the tone early on for this unusual fusion of sounds that continues throughout the album. Fall On Your Sword features numerous additions by other musical talent, and especially noteworthy is “Love Is A Rebellious Bird” with its accompanying raspy vocals and smooth melody. Martin’s numerous references to religion and myth add an interesting layer of context to the medley of sounds. “I’d Take A Bullet For You” outlines the lives of outlaws Bonnie and Clyde in brass and hazy keyboard. If Florence and the Machine began to work a lot of fast jazz into their music, it might sound a bit like Fall On Your Sword. It’s a refreshingly original album that never falters into patterns of repetition or cliché; rather, Martin has crafted a discography that is uniquely her own.
There’s no way to easily define it or hyphenate its name: it combines jazz, folk, hip-hop, Latin, and more. There’s fiddle, Latin guitar, samples of speeches, rapping – there’s a lot going on here. Then there’s the mix of subject matter: bees feature prominently, there’s Biblical references, literary references, spoken word portions, legends, partial prayers, and cautionary tales.
The mixing is definitely innovative, you don’t hear it from many artists. Still, one first listen, you will probably question why the guitar showed up violently on a jazz song.
The subject matter is as varied as the musical genres. “Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Head” tells the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah, with SuaveSki rapping from the perspective of Samson (after he’s had his terrible haircut.) “Love Is a Rebellious Bird” picks up the religious influences again, including part of a bedtime prayer, but also mentions being stuck between the eagle and the snake, which may be from a Native American legend. “Laughing Place” borrows a lot from Uncle Remus’ Br’er Rabbit, the title being his name for the cavern of bees he leads his captors into, and the chorus has Martin asking not to be thrown into the briar patch – using his wit to get out of a thorny situation. Speaking of bees, “Saint Ambrose Kills His Darlings” has references to becoming a queen (bee) and advises that wise bees make more honey than they need. Plus apparently Saint Ambrose had a swarm of bees land on his face when he was a baby and leave a drop of honey. Martin has her bee references down. Then there’s the shanty-like “A Maturity of Proof,” which includes many ways to perform a public execution (if drowning doesn’t work, there’s hanging or burning at the stake,) all over the sounds of a boat rocking in a storm. The lyrics and references are clever, and there are more to be discovered and understood on every listen. Martin takes cues from pop culture, too, as “Eskimo Bro” is actually about all of her ex-boyfriends gathering at her funeral to buryher. In case you weren’t aware, Eskimo brothers is a term for men who have had sex with the same female. Bit of a change from all of the Bible references, eh?
My take on the blender that made this record is an equal pairing of the following: the darkly haunting jazzy swagger of Tom Wait’s Alice; the smooth delivery of Amy Winehouse; the absurd jazz/hip-hop/experiment that is Soul-Junk’s 1955; the wisdom of Willy Wonka (who is quoted during “Dreamchaser“); and lastly Lilly Allen’s electronic pop masterpiece Sheezus.
Fall On Your Sword is one of the most intelligent records I’ve heard this year. If you are looking for some ear candy you might want to go somewhere else. If you are looking for a record that will make you question the rules of music then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Fall On Your Sword by Daphne Lee Martin.
The experimental air about this album gives it a unique edge, containing raw imagination, the kind the music industry hasn’t seen for while. Martin embarks on a journey to create an album that is both timeless and aware of current trends. Her deep, soulful, smooth vocals are dripping with passion and spirit, blending perfectly in the balance of each track. With this album, Martin is showing the world her vast capabilities and vivid imagination. An expression of real gumption and resourcefulness…
“Fall On Your Sword is the fourth full-length album from Daphne Lee Martin, and the first to be produced by the songwriter herself. According to Martin, this collection of songs was written as a whole, ‘encompassing memories of fables, fairy tales, Bible stories, mythology, poetry, cautionary tales, traditional folk songs, and American popular culture of the 20th century.’
The result is rich, compelling, and funky, as this track, featuring rapper SuaveSki, ably demonstrates. Turn it up!”
“The forthcoming new album is a wonderfully eclectic collection of songs inspired by stories we’ve heard as youngsters, from fairy tales, to cautionary tales, to pop culture events from the 20th century. The lavish track ‘I’d Take a Bullet for You’ draws its inspiration from one of the most romanticized couples of the past century. ‘Who doesn’t want to wake up next to someone who drives them wild?’ Martin says. ‘Sometimes at any cost. There’s a reason we’re fascinated by the story of Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow, we all kind of want to be them just a little bit. Go crazy, take what we want, and make love on the run.’”
“Connecticut singer-songwriter Daphne Lee Martin knows that without a steadily beating heart a song is just an empty vessel for
She’s gearing up for the release of her fourth record, “Fall on Your Sword,” Oct. 2 via Martin’s own Telegraph Recording Co. And in advance of that album, she’s shared the single “I’d Take a Bullet for You,” and it’s an addicting combination of jazzy riffs, brassy horn arrangements and a voice that rings out clearly in the middle of everything. Martin has found an ebullient pop aesthetic that fits her musical tendencies perfectly. This song places a series of spoken word narratives among the music and uses them as a bridge to tell a very specific story. Still, Martin isn’t revealing everything—she’s merely tempting us with the promise of more stories to come.”
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Martin to discuss the record and this is what she said about it.
When did you begin writing the material for Fall On Your Sword?
I began writing the music for it in the winter after we finished recording Moxie, early in 2013. My drummer from Raise the Rent and I got together and decided on some beat loops to start from and I began building the bones over that winter and spring. It took a while to get into, we were full swing tracking Frost as I was starting to write, so everything moved pretty slowly. The last song that I wrote for Fall On Your Sword was ‘Love Is A Rebellious Bird’, and it wasn’t even going to be on this project. But sometimes you have to listen to your friends, and it made it in- about a month before deadline in May.
Which of the songs on the LP is most different from your original concept for the song?
‘Willing Victim’ is definitely the chameleon on the album. When we play it live it gets much heavier, much meatier than the wispy, ethereal version that made the final cut. Time signatures are big part of where the writing came from and that song starts in 5/4 on the album (inspired by ‘Samson’ by PJ Harvey), something that the band has yet to make happen live. I had wanted to write a piece to bookend ‘Cheers Darlin’ fromMoxie, I guess in some ways I’ve always been trying to write something that makes me feel like Tom Waits’ ‘Dirt In the Ground’ mixed with Lucinda Williams’ ‘Unsuffer Me’, something that feels like it’s floating above us and is immovably anchored all at once, and this one gets close.
We’re told you had 25 guest musicians on the record. How did you get them all coordinated? Seems like a job unto itself.
Thankfully, I had all the time in the world to get the parts tracked. I demoed out most of the arrangements with midi sounds and did some emailing around to get the juices flowing. The core band that plays with me live (horns, drums, organ) did their parts, and special guests trickled in over the course of dinner party or visiting-from-out-of-town impromptu ‘hey listen to this and try something while you’re here’ moments. Little Ugly, a band from Hartford, and I recorded a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘People Get Ready’ for example, and while they were hanging out drinking margaritas with me after I threw ‘Bees Made Honey In the Lion’s Head’ on and suddenly had the a bunch of the gang chorus happening off the cuff.
The record covers so many different styles. Was that always the plan? To tackle so many different sounds?
Yeah, that’s universally my plan, simply because it’s all I’ve got. I don’t even know how it happens- I have tried, in the wake of criticism, to write in one genre. I just can’t seem to do it. Believe it or not, this album is the least varied of the four I’ve made. So I’ve decided to embrace the weird and hope for the best. Like most songwriters will tell you, the songs come from outside us, we just catch them as they pass us by- you don’t get to tell the muse what to give you. You just get to choose what to record, and I chose them all.
We hear a lot of Tom Waits in your sound. We assume he’s an influence. What other artists are big influences on you?
Yeah, Tom is tops. I like good writing. Performance is in the back seat to good writing for me- so I get down with folks who spend more time on lyrics than guitar licks. Currently spinning: John Moreland, Joe Fletcher (from whom I borrow unabashedly), on a production level Lana Del Rey, and I’ve been digging deep into Songs: Ohia lately. Because my fella and I own a record shop, I listen to everything all the time. I’m lucky to get so many albums coming through my world, and tons of them get into my head along the way.
Do you have any touring plans for fall?
Sure do! Headed out for seven weeks starting October 9. Full schedule is at http://daphneleemartin.com/shows
Press Play is our Monday recap of the new—and FREE—tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.
“Martin is our kind of modern film noir gal that’s seen the good and the bad and reflects on all of it. She does have a lot of film noir from outer space but she tills the new ground in a way that makes you encourage her exploration of the future as opposed to overly revere the past. Clearly for left leaning tastes, Martin doesn’t need to be compared to anyone else because she got it going on all on her own. Killer stuff.”