Photo Bex Wade
Led by New York City native Asher Lack, Ravens &Chimes released their debut full-length all the way back in 2007. In the five years since, lots has changed: there’ve been lineup changes, yes, but more importantly, Lack, who always seemed to have his influences (all the greats, especially the NYC-identified greats, plus Arcade Fire) has come into his own as a songwriter with a unique perspective. Their new album, Holiday Life, was released earlier this year via Better Looking Records, and it’s as intense and demanding as it is delicate and plainly pretty. There’s a sense of refinement that occasionally recalls The Sea and Cake, and there’s definitely a focus on clearly fussed-over lyrics, all of which is softened by a pervasive peppiness.
Favorite NYC venue?
Bowery Ballroom. That place has magic!
What New York band from the past has had the biggest influence on your sound?
Growing up in New York City in the mid-to-late 90s, the absence of relevant music being made had a huge impact on me. I got so obsessed with older artists who had made great work here. (Blonde on Blonde, Songs of Leonard Cohen, Sounds of Silence, Horses, Marquee Moon…) Then when The Strokes came out, it put everything in perspective and fused all the history into a continuum that I really wanted to be a part of.
Favorite song about NYC?
Tie between “Positively 4th Street” and “Famous Blue Raincoat.”
On tour for a month, what album would get the most play in the van?
That’s a tough one. Everyone has such differing tastes. I think Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, D’Angelo’s Voodoo and Kid A are the albums we can all agree on.
Ideal four-band bill
Beach House, Washed Out, Wolf Parade and The Joy Formidable.
Ideal four-band bill (dream):
Leonard Cohen, 70s-era Rolling Stones, The Clash, James Brown.
If you had to relocate to another city, where would you go?
Somewhere big with a lot happening, where you can walk everywhere would be great. In the U.S. probably San Francisco. In Europe it would be fun to live in Paris. Sometimes I fantasize about living in LA because of the sunshine and the palm trees, but I think I would go crazy after about two weeks.
Raven & Chimes