Alice Tambourine Lover play stripped down blues rock submerged in a pool of psychedelia. The Italian male/female duo are from the metropolitan city of Bologna, yet their folk-like sound envelopes the charm of the offbeat countryside.
The duo’s brand new album, Down Below, was released last week on Go Down Records. Before you’re halfway through the first track, you’ll be drawn in by Alice’s whimsical voice, partnered by the teasing of Gianfranco’s guitar textures. The product is an equal parts marriage between the lyrics and music, something truly hard to come by. It’s a great new find for fans of Jessica Pratt or Cotton Jones. The music video for “Blow Away” premieres today, and is available to watch at the bottom of the post.
I asked Gianfranco of Alice Tambourine Lover a few questions about the band and the new album, and he shined a light on his history with Alice as musical collaborators, and their creative process as a group.
Hi Gianfranco! First off, who is Alice Tambourine Lover and how do you know each other?
It’s made of Alice Albertazzi, vocals, guitar and tambourine, and me, Gianfranco Romanelli, dobro and resonator guitars. We met each other in 1995, Alice was looking for a bassist and I had just arrived in Bologna from my home region, Puglia
When did you decide to start making music together?
As we met, we founded Alix, a seminal band for what would become the Italian psych/stoner scene. We recorded 5 albums, with the last “Good One” (2008) recorded by Steve Albini. Alice Tambourine Lover was born in 2011 as a side project of Alix. In three years we recorded three albums, all on Go Down Records: “Naked Songs” 2012, “Star Rovers” 2013 and “Like A Rose” 2015; this last one features two unreleased songs by Dandy Brown (Hermano, Orquesta Del Desierto) and John Garcia (Kyuss, Unida, Hermano).
What is the music scene like in Bologna, Italy, and has it had any impact on your sound?
Bologna is a university town, very welcoming and interested to art in general, so it’s like a big creative laboratory where music mixes and contaminates endlessly with everything else around. The scene is thriving and this has had an impact on our sound for sure.
What is your writing/creative process like?
We almost always start from a guitar riff, born randomly in the most varied situations. I always have an acoustic guitar within reach at home, we often play in the kitchen while dogs bark and our son pretends to be studying; when we like something we just record it and go on with it later.
I’d like to hear about the new album, Down Below! Are there any main points of inspiration for this album?
Songs were born naturally, spontaneously. Dreamy, relaxed atmospheres reflect the way we experienced music lately; giving voice to its essence and spirituality, sharing the fullness that fed us while composing these songs.
Do you have any songs with interesting stories/meanings behind them?
The title track was born for fun and we’d never imagined it to become one of the singles. It started with the guitar riff, a circular movement that made us dance all the evening, something with a smell of party and relaxation. As soon as I took the guitar, my son started to dance with the dog that in the meanwhile tried to bite his ankle. Alice recorded without me noticing… Everything flows down below, where emotions pulse and are released. The song arrangement enriched the sound on record, but on live Alice’s voice dances just on my riff, naked and raw.