The Mars Volta
Real Actual Roots: Yola Carter On Growing Up British, Loving Americana

Few in the roots scene had heard of Yola Carter before she made her first appearance at Nashville’s Americana Fest in September, which might’ve suggested that she was some sort of musical rookie. In fact, the 33-year-old black, British singer-songwriter is a seasoned studio and stage pro.

She’s acutely aware, though, that her musical background might be illegible to many Americana types, given that she spent a dozen years amassing credits under her given name, Yolanda Quartey, as a lyric and melody writer, arranger and featured gospel-soul diva in the world of U.K. electronic and pop acts like Bugz In The Attic, Massive Attack and Will Young.

Long before that, Carter was a fiddle-playing kid growing up in a small seaside town in the southwest corner of the U.K., enthralled with Dolly Parton’s autobiographical Appalachian tales, then a young adult treating the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack and The Byrds’ Sweethearts of the Rodeo as gateways into exploring everything from old-time music to longhaired country-rock.

Her sights were set on making hippified, down-home music of her own, but like many a musician before her, she elected to take all the paying gigs she could in the meantime, fashioning herself into a far more skillful singer and song-crafter in the process.

“Fly Away,” a magnetic, fiddle-powered mountain rocker that appears on Carter’s solo debut Orphan Country, showcases the striking results. She delivers its deftly austere melody in a keening, needle-pointed timbre, her phrasing both vigorous and full of finesse, registering a desperate determination to escape emotional suffocation. Late in the track, she works her way up to a feverish vamp against her electrified string band accompaniment.

Over sandwiches at an East Nashville deli, Carter described what it’s like perpetually being expected to explain how her professional history, [Read More]

“The Mars Volta and John were outside waiting for the van and just out of the blue my niece came to me and told me: ” I know what to say to John" and I asked her what? and she said “I love your music very much” (up until that moment she hadn’t spoken to him, she was very shy..)… and I said  that it was ok, but I didn’t believe she was for real… but thank god I was mistaken! 

She went to him and said :“John?”… he turned around and when he saw her he bent like in the picture… and then she told him “I love your music very much” and John started to reply to her but she didn’t understand him (she couldn’t speak in english at that time!! she only knew how to say those words!!)…. so I explained to him the situation and so he did the most beautiful thing I have seen… he took her by the arm and said with words and gestures “YOU (he pointed at her) MADE ME (he pointed at him) HAPPY (with his fingers "drew” a smile on his lips)

-The story behind this picture, told by Silvina (photographer)

This is the most adorable story I’ve ever heard and this picture is one of my favourites :)

Do you like The Mars Volta? 

Their early work was a little too ‘punk’ for my taste, but when De-Loused in the Comatorium came out in '03, I think they really came into their own - both thematically and artistically. The whole album has a clear, progressive sound, and a new sheen of abstract lyricism that really gives the songs a big boost. They have been compared to Coheed and Cambria, but I think The Mars Volta has a far more bitter, depressing view of the world. 

In '05, The Mars Volta released this, Frances the Mute, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is 'Cassandra Gemini’, a song so long most people probably don’t even listen to it all the way through - but they should! Because it’s not just about the struggle of a man looking for his long lost mother, and the importance of blood ties, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself! 

Hey Paul!

ex-At The Drive-In, Red Hot Chilli Peppers Members Form New Band

Omar Rodríguez-López (The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In) and John Frusciante (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers) have formed a new band called Kimono Kult. The band’s debut EP will be titled Hiding In The Light and will be released on March 4th via Neurotic Yell Records. Check out details for the EP and release below after the jump.

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