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Single Review: Erland and the Carnival – The Derby Ram

By on Wednesday, 15th September 2010 at 12:00 pm

Folk singer/guitarist Erland Cooper, multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong (Verve, Blur) and drummer David Nock, better known as Erland and the Carnival, is set to release a new single later this month called ‘The Derby Ram’. What started out as a jokey song about a massive (and fictional) sheep became a tune about the real life story of one 17-year old from Derby, Shaun Dykes, who jumped from the roof of a city centre car park in 2008. (I find this even more chilling now, weeks after the untimely death of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool‘s Charles Haddon at Pukkelpop.) The band insist that for ‘The Derby Ram’, all the townsfolk mentioned and were taken from an article about Dykes’s death in the Daily Telegraph.

Further, Cooper says, “it’s certainly pretty ugly subject matter but folk songs often tend to be, or perhaps just the ones I’m attracted to do. It doesn’t offer judgment, it just tells the story as it is, disturbing but true. And it’s my favourite song on the album”. Cooper’s voice sounds exactly how I imagined he would, a guitar-strumming bandolero. Sadly, in this YouTube video I discovered of the song being performed live at London Calling earlier this year, Cooper isn’t playing a guitar at all. Nevertheless, it’s a great performance.


Even though the song is set in Derby and is about an East Midlands youth’s senseless demise, it’s so upbeat, it makes me think of those great, expansive westerns filmed in the ’50s, complete with the self-confident, brisk backing tune. Or possibly Muse‘s epic video for ‘Knights of Cydonia’. “Have you ever been to Derby?” Cooper asks in a comfortably smooth voice, as producing effects cause his voice to echo over the scrappy guitar backing. I haven’t, but now I’m curious. I’m also quite excited to hear that the band is ‘planning a U.S. invasion’ in November. Just in time for my birthday!


‘The Derby Ram’ will be released on 20 September on Full Time Hobby. In addition to a UK tour starting next week, the band will be curating a special folk night at London’s Cecil Sharp House on the 26th of September to celebrate the release. Scheduled to perform along Erland and the Carnival are Alessi’s Ark and Duke Garwood, with more names to be announced; read more about it on the band’s Web site.


Erland and the Carnival / September 2010 UK Tour

By on Tuesday, 31st August 2010 at 2:45 pm

Erland and the Carnival (the project of folk singer/guitarist Erland Cooper and multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong [Verve, Blur]) is set to go on a short tour of the UK in September. The act also makes an appearance at Windsor Festival on 1st October.

Tuesday 21st September 2010 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Wednesday 22nd September 2010 – Glasgow Captain’s Rest
Thursday 23rd September 2010 – Middlesbrough Westgarth Social Club
Saturday 25th September 2010 – Manchester Night and Day
Sunday 26th September 2010 – London Cecil Sharp House
Thursday 30th September 2010 – Brighton Hope
Friday 1st October 2010 – Windsor Festival (FTH Showcase)


MP3 of the Moment #144: Erland and the Carnival

By on Monday, 1st February 2010 at 10:00 am

Erland and the Carnival was founded by folk singer/guitarist Erland Cooper and multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong (Verve, Blur). They met when Cooper approached Tong, who was running a folk night on London’s Portobello Road, and they got to talking about their favourite music.

A shared love of the work of American folk musician Jackson C. Frank cemented their friendship. In fact, it was a song by Frank called ‘My Name is Carnival’ that figured into the band’s moniker. Below is the band’s cover of the song. I was struck by the booming intro reminiscent of Cream’s ‘White Room’, quickly dissipating into a folky, jammy, swirling dervish of a track.

MP3: Erland and the Carnival – My Name is Carnival


If you listen to Steve Lamacq’s late night new music programme on Radio2 Wednesday nights, you may have already heard their track ‘Trouble in Mind’, recalling folky, psychedelic-tinged Moody Blues or Byrds. Tong has described their music as “Pentangle meets Ennio Morricone meets Love meets 13th Floor Elevators meets Joe Meek.” Agree? Let us know.

Erland and the Carnival’s eponymous debut album was released on 25 January and is available now for purchase from Full Time Hobby.


About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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