Apricot Rail

Apricot Rail“The might of, I dunno, Mogwai is still there, but the charm of Múm is also present. They paint mountains in broad strokes but afterwards they take time to put in Sherpas and goats partying on the cliff face.” – Love Is My Velocity

Most instrumental rock suggests the apocalypse is coming. If it is, Apricot Rail are too busy crafting beautiful lilting melodies to care. This Perth sextet have the charm, humour and songwriting nous – and a killer live show – to re-ignite anyone’s belief in music’s subtle, giddy powers.

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Discography

 

Quarrels


February 2013

Almost four years after the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut album, Perth-based multi-instrumental pop sextet Apricot Rail return with their sophomore album Quarrels, which features the singles ‘Basket Press’ and ‘Surry Hills’. A foray into more experimental territory, Quarrels features lusher, denser instrumentation, is rich in ideas yet toys with new levels of restraint. The band’s trademark harmonic guitar passages and syncopation sit beneath languid brass and woodwind, balanced by glitchy electronica, dramatic crescendos and opium-infused oriental explorations; slow, meandering waltzes give way to moments of ethereal lightness and beauty. This music transcends fads and trends to appeal to anyone drawn to beautiful, supple songcraft. The majority of Quarrels was recorded over a four-day period during January 2012 in an isolated farmhouse in Western Australia’s bleak Central Wheatbelt. Instruments were sprawled across a lounge room and picked up at will by the players and in turn by microphones placed in different corners of the room. Back in Perth the real work began, with Justin Manzano going through the recordings, making adjustments and adding the odd track to the collection. Towards the end of 2012, the album was mixed by indie producer extraordinaire Scott Solter and mastered by Simon Struthers (Umpire, Muzaizake).

Surry Hills EP


July 2011

Features exclusive bonus tracks previously only available on a limited run cd-r available at the ‘Surry Hills’ launch show. ‘Surry Hills’ is a stunning new song from the much-beloved Apricot Rail that gradually blooms from a shimmering haze of harmonics and ride cymbal into a delicious interweave of resonant guitars and woodwind melodies. The song’s restraint becomes its strength as the hairs on the back of your neck slowly rise. Inhabiting a similar sonic space to Sweden’s marvellous trio Tape, ‘Surry Hills’ is destined to garner a fresh new raft of fans for Apricot Rail’s addictive brand of melodic instrumental pop. After the success of their debut album, ideas for new Apricot Rail songs, including ‘Surry Hills’, were formulated during the band’s extended break late in 2009, after which the songs were road-tested live. While ‘Surry Hills’ maintains a minimalist, restrained and rustic feel typical of Apricot Rail’s debut album, the track also represents a shift in instrumental duties for the band, with new member (number 6!) Justin Manzano (Tin Man) playing guitar, Matt Saville moving from drums to glockenspiel, Daniel Burt moving from bass to percussion, and Jack Quirk moving from guitar to keyboards/electronics, along with Ambrose Nock on guitar and Mayuka Juber on flute.

Apricot Rail (Self Titled)


July 2009

Apricot Rail produce some of the most discretely charming, lush instrumental pop music you’re likely to hear all year. Delicate, bell-like arpeggiated guitars weave around snaking clarinet and flute, while the beautifully held back yet sanguine rhythm section drives the whole thing into a blurred, sun-soaked horizon. Their debut album features the wonderfully received single ‘Pouring Milk Out The Window’, an anthem without ever having to be anthemic, a melancholic reverie that never resorts to the emotional ease of sadness. ‘If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them’, which featured on the 2009 Spunk Singles Club compilation album, is another chiming standout. And gorgeous closing track ‘Halfway House’ weaves in bubbling electronics as the band lead the listener through glowing landscapes and light-drenched vistas.

Biography

One day, after his star sign promised a ‘dynamic’ afternoon, Ambrose Nock (guitar) decided it was the right time to form a band known as Apricot Rail. He was soon joined by Jack Quirk (guitar), Matthew Saville (drums) and Daniel Burt (bass). The premise of the band was simple: music based on unique guitar tunings, the use of natural harmonics, and very open ideas about other instruments, electronica and song structure. After a debut gig at the Hyde Park Hotel in March 2008 with four members and as many songs, the band soon added a fifth in Mayuka Juber (clarinet/flute), redefining the balance of guitars with the addition of beautiful woodwind melodies.

The band’s debut recording was a DIY affair, with members heading off to a rural property near Yorkrakine, 220km north-east of Perth in WA’s Central Wheatbelt. In the following months, the resulting demo got regular rotation on Perth’s RTRFM, and though unreleased, was rated by the station’s Homegrown presenter Chris Wheeldon as his second-favourite local outing of 2008. In the second half of the year, Apricot Rail chalked up some serious gig mileage, along the way supporting the likes of Holly Throsby, Charge Group and Adam Said Galore and finding refuge among Perth’s emerging post-rock/experimental scene.

In November 2008 the band headed into Kingdom studios under the guidance of Simon Struthers (Umpire, Adam Said Galore, Mukaizake) where the band recorded their soon to be released self-titled debut long player. Australian fans got a chance to taste some of the new album’s sublime wares when the Apricot Rail track ‘If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them’ was released on the prestigious Spunk Singles Club compilation album along with the likes of Leader Cheetah, The Dead Sea and The Middle East. The band was also recently nominated for Favourite Newcomer in the 2009 Western Australian Music Industry Awards.

Apricot Rail are:
Jack Quirk – Guitar, Glock, Trumpet, Electronica, Voice
Daniel Burt – Bass guitar, Saxophone
Matt Saville – Drum Kit/Percussion
Mayuka Juber – Clarinet, Flute, Keyboard, Melodica, Voice
Ambrose Nock – Guitar, Glock, Keyboard
Justin Manzano – Guitar, Electronics

 

News

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Reviews

  • Target Archery Debut Out Now – Vinyl and Digital

    Clock of the Long NowHidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of Clock of the Long Now, the debut album by Perth-based post-pop project Target Archery. The album is available for purchase on vinyl and as a free download via Bandcamp and will be out on Spotify, iTunes and all other good 3rd party stores soon. The album will be launched at the Rosemount (Perth, Western Australia) on October 20.

    Following on from his work with Perth’s sun-dappled musical instrumentalists Apricot Rail, Ambrose Nock explores the fertile realm of delicate, experimental post-pop with his new project Target Archery. Influenced by the likes of Sound Dust-era Stereolab, left-of-centre indie-pop bands such as Lacto-Ovo, The Go! Team and Ninetynine, and a dash of late ’80s Sonic Youth, Target Archery mine an inspiring new seam of life-affirming melodies and instrumental texture.

    Featuring contributions from Apricot Rail members Justin Manzano (production and instrumentation) and Jack Quirk (guitars), Clock of the Long Now was crafted in an isolated studio in rural Western Australia over a period of three years. Across 40 blissful minutes, Target Archery weave a suite of glimmering musical tapestries that expand beyond the borders of conventional guitar pop.

    “The might of, I dunno, Mogwai is still there, but the charm of Múm is also present. They paint mountains in broad strokes but afterwards they take time to put in Sherpas and goats partying on the cliff face.”Love Is My Velocity on Apricot Rail

    As with all Hidden Shoal releases, Target Archery’s music is available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations). Contact Hidden Shoal for more info.

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  • Apricot Rail ‘Scarecrow’ Reviewed at The Sunday Experience

    “Welcome return of one of hidden shoal’s best kept secrets, the utterly adorable Apricot Rail herewith a new track entitled ‘scarecrow’. This twinkle toed gem snoozes, stretches and delicately rises whittling out an affectionately woodcrafted spring sprayed serenade whose dainty demur somewhat shyly plays hide and seek in the early morn twilight mists showering all in a gorgeously hazy rustic vintage that’s much reminiscent of that cosily cute recent Littlebow set for second language.”

    The Sunday Experience

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  • Apricot Rail 'Dore Strauch' Reviewed at The Sunday Experience

    “Staying with Hidden Shoal a little while longer, now this is quite simply arresting, been a while since we hooked up to the sounds of Apricot Rail, I seem to recall their last visitation in these pages many, many years ago had us all seductively cooed and frankly speechless in adoring admiration. It seems Perth’s finest have a new single out, ‘dore strauch’ be its name, lifted from their ‘Quarrels’ album which I’m suspecting we need to hear as soon as, this honey is pure pastoral kaleidoscopia. Woodwinds, glockenspiels and the ornate rustic reel of folk madrigals weave a sumptuously hypnotic haven of vintage village green follies by way of an ageless craft honeyed in a regal pepper-corning that could easily be a spell crafting Ozric Tentacles lassoed from their astral planes and moored to some lush green idyllic meadow whittling woodcuts with circulus and sproatly smith under the watchful proud eye of a certain Mr Oldfield.”

    The Sunday Experience

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  • Apricot Rail 'Dore Strauch' Reviewed at God Is In The TV

    “Staying with Hidden Shoal a little while longer, now this is quite simply arresting, been a while since we hooked up to the sounds of Apricot Rail, I seem to recall their last visitation in these pages many, many years ago had us all seductively cooed and frankly speechless in adoring admiration. It seems Perth’s finest have a new single out, ‘dore strauch’ be its name, lifted from their ‘Quarrels’ album which I’m suspecting we need to hear as soon as, this honey is pure pastoral kaleidoscopia. Woodwinds, glockenspiels and the ornate rustic reel of folk madrigals weave a sumptuously hypnotic haven of vintage village green follies by way of an ageless craft honeyed in a regal pepper-corning that could easily be a spell crafting Ozric Tentacles lassoed from their astral planes and moored to some lush green idyllic meadow whittling woodcuts with circulus and sproatly smith under the watchful proud eye of a certain Mr Oldfield.”

    God Is In The TV

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  • Apricot Rail – "Quarrels" Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    Let’s face the facts: fact #1: It’s taken Apricot Rail four years to put out their second album. Fact #2:Quarrels is a gorgeous album.

    Apricot Rail is a multi-instrumental pop sextet based in Perth, and they take us with them on a pleasant journey visiting 12 songs of comforting vibes and soothing relaxation. It’s hard to explain or describe the beauty of Quarrels. You’d better take the listening trip yourself. The opening “Basket Press”, which is a single choice, sets the standard, along with single # 2 off this album “Surry Hills”, which I described at the time as ‘…a blooming, flowering track, almost like a glass of rich, red wine.. (Australian, of course).’ Sometimes you’ll find Twin Peakish moods, other times slightly (slightly) like Chicagoans such as Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Jim O’Rourke and David Grubbs (when the latter two do melodic pop, not their impro-experimentalism). Imagine Explosions In The Sky without explosives, or Mogwai without noisy cascades. Even Bedhead springs to mind, even if its only within a song, or maybe part of a fragment. My point is; even though the bands and artists listed are somewhat different in style from Apricot Rail, they’re sort of related at a higher level; philosophically and mentally.

    Like I said, you’d better check out Quarrels yourself. And, well, as a title ‘Quarrels’ might be somewhat misleading. There are no traces of anger or heated disputes present at all. With an album like this it’s hard, almost impossible to pick favourite tracks. Simply because they all are. That’s a fact. Fact #3.”
    Luna Kafe

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  • Apricot Rail "Quarrels" Reviewed at Mess + Noise

    “At the start of post-rock, Simon Reynolds coined the term to highlight the technical innovativeness of a particular set of bands and it worked. Music history doesn’t highlight this, but Slint’s Spiderland and Nirvana’s Nevermind were both released in 1991. One would become the mainstream archetype for rock music for the next five years, the other a touchstone for the underground response to alt-rock’s popularity. It sounds arcane and ridiculous, but there was a real sense of moving past rock there for a few years; with Nirvana and Melvins and Sonic Youth and Mudhoney and Helmet all on major labels, all in the popular mainstream, what more could there be left to build? For a brief moment, rock seemed like finished business. And then the whole thing collapsed and rock has pretty much been out of vogue ever since, which is where it belongs.

    The curious postscript to all this is that ‘post-rock’ stuck around and became a genre of sorts: mostly or entirely instrumental music, played by a rock ensemble, lots of effects, often with some sort of classical instrumentation: a violin, a cello or, in Apricot Rail’s case, a flute and clarinet. It may not be popular or critically admired or cool, but it has its audience and a network. There are post-rock bands in every Australian city and, like folk music, they all sound a little alike. I find it fascinating because folk art usually exists to maintain a verbal/lyrical conversation, but what do these bands have to say to each other and the people who like them?

    All this is a bit much to dump on Apricot Rail’s shoulders. The Perth six-piece lay out an extremely concise and textured second album with Quarrels, and for the most part it manages to evade many of my least favourite parts of post-rock. There are plenty of chiming harmonics and clean, delayed guitars, gently shifting arpeggios and a glockenspiel lead, but the band also sneak in a few surprises: the droned outro of ‘Cicadas Part Two’; the super intricate structure, almost sampled feel of ‘Third Balloon’; the weird electronics of ‘Eked’; and a dedication to shorter songs. The album was mixed by Scott Solter (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats) with a view to maximum headphone euphoria and the stereo spectrum is given a thorough workout, the band cutting in and out, left to right and back and forth. It comes off as beautiful and exacting, if a little cold. So exactly right then.

    Apricot Rail – ‘Basket Press’ by Hidden Shoal Recordings

    Dialling into Quarrels makes a lot of sense, especially if I look out the window at sunny suburbia. Apricot Rail share none of Mogwai’s metal or Euro-club/pub tendencies, nor much of Explosions in the Sky’s American bombast, and very few post-rock bands in recent years have tried on the literary expanses of Spiderland. Instead, this band inhabits a world similar to how I see Perth in my mind’s eye: a very pretty and bright city by the ocean, the sort of place anyone would desperately want to live if they hadn’t grown up there (and if mining money hadn’t made dinner for two an upper-middle-class expense).

    It’s a tight fit between sound and place. I think bands like Apricot Rail are about approximating the pastoral splendour and the clean suburban streets of Australia, something that might be problematic if it weren’t so niche, and in any case it’s something many of us live within every day. In a rock culture obsessed with painting Australia as a swamp or southern-gothic wasteland or a retched sprawl of rundown sharehouses, how can a small measure of prettiness be such a crime?”

    Mess + Noise

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  • Apricot Rail "Quarrels" Reviewed at Textura

    “I’m not exactly sure why but for whatever reason I mistakenly had Apricot Rail pegged as a hard-hitting guitar-driven outfit. That impression was quickly set right when I put on the Perth-based sextet’s sophomore outing Quarrels and was presented with the opening song “Basket Press,” a luscious instrumental that does feature guitars but does so primarily for the purposes of crafting a soothing mood. Yes, a heavier guitar-fueled attack does eventually surface, but not before Mayuka Juber’s flute appears to establish even more clearly the band’s multi-coloured identity. Apricot Rail helps distinguish its sound from the competition by prominently featuring woodwinds in its arrangements (bassist Daniel Burt also plays saxophone and Juber contributes clarinet as well as flute to the recording). As much pop group as post-rock outfit, the group also includes drummer Matt Saville and guitarists Ambrose Nock, Justin Manzano, and Jack Quirk, all of whom enrich the songs with bold splashes of colour (vocals, melodica, trumpet, electronics, and glockenspiel).

    Largely recorded over a four-day spell during January 2012 in an isolated farmhouse in Western Australia, Quarrels offers a bounty of splendid songcraft and arrangements. The second piece, “Another Roof, Another Proof,” captures the band’s softer side and lightness of touch in beautiful manner, and again demonstrates the rich range of instrumental colour the sextet is capable of bringing to an arrangement. “Cicadas…Part Two” likewise spotlights the band’s softer side when a lovely waltz episode appears at the song’s center.

    Folk melodies etched by electric guitar and voice (“Come to Glasgow, my darling / And we’re never coming home again”) lend “Running with an Egg on a Spoon” an appealingly rustic and nostalgic feel, and while I’ve not been to “Surry Hills,” based on the luscious setting evoked by the band, it’s definitely a place I’d welcome visiting, especially when wide open skies and soul-replenishing natural air are conjured so vividly by it. A brief foray into guitar raucousness notwithstanding (“The Sunlight Experiments”), Quarrels impresses as a twelve-song collection that makes a more-than-strong case for Apricot Rail’s particular blend of instrumental pop and post-rock.”

    Apricot Rail

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  • Apricot Rail "Quarrels" Reviewed by Think Muzik

    “…I would almost hesitate to call this new release post-rock.  Post-rock music in its purest form is highly processed and heavily distorted instrumental rock music that more often than not hints at a coming apocalypse.  Apricot Rail has crafted an interesting release in instrumental music that eschews the heavy distortion for more organic instrumental melodies with just enough feedback to provide a sweeping atmospheric texture.

    Vocals, while sparse, only serve to accentuate certain melodies without playing an integral part in the sound as a whole.  This is immediately evident from the opening bars of the very first track.  Another thing that stands out with this release is that this band is not afraid to experiment with lullaby-style electronic harmonies or unconventional instrumentation.  More than one track includes strings and several feature full-on horn sections.  This creates yet another interesting dynamic in the music.  During Cicadas…Part II, a horn section almost had me convinced that I was listening to an odd rendering of The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields.  This was a rather astute observation considering that I’m not a Beatles fan.

    This album almost literally renders me speechless.  It is that good.  There is something in this music for everyone.  I can’t find a single beef with the flow of this album.  “Quarrels” is certainly an early candidate to make our year-end list.  This is extremely impressive music from a relatively unknown band.  The music beautiful and uplifting in ways that most post-rock fails or does not care to attempt.  If you like instrumental music of any kind, you MUST check this out…”

    - Think Muzik

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  • Apricot Rail's "Quarrels" – Reviewed by Drum Media (Album of the Week)

    “After almost four years, post-rock sextet Apricot Rail have put twelve more tracks to record. Fronted by Ambrose Nock, Rail’s eponymous debut back in 2008 hurled like a bolt into an explosion of acclaim; the afterglow of which gradually dimmed into an Apricot Rail pressure phosphene of support gigs and occasional recurrences on the Perth live circuit. But in the right-here-right-now, Quarrels is a stunning record; it is Rail’s abrupt and brilliant re-entry into the id of contemporary alternative music.

    The album is largely instrumental, and breaking it down commits a fundamental error in prying Mayuka Juber’s woodwind from Jack Quirk’s glockenspiel and the unifying fabric of Nock’s guitar. Quarrel’s first single Surry Hills provides solid ground for an introduction to the record: although superficially indistinct from the album with its cascading arpeggio (a guitar with reverb perhaps, although digital production makes it all a guess), operating as part of a larger whole its place becomes clear. Ibis Snowstorm is concise but immaculate, at only 2:36, it’s a shorter track, but with the precision and subtlety of a mosquito-bite. Third Ballroom counterpoints Ibis, resulting in a rural, melancholic grandeur. Eked is gossamer and sparse as a paddock at 5am, Dore Strach is a spiralling, whirling conclusion.

    Etherial and compelling are not adjectives applied to this record with the intention they’ll be bubble-wrapped alongside a styrofoam press release for Yet Another Up And Coming Band That Actually Isn’t: Quarrels envelopes the listener like a rain curtain, with Rail’s six individual parts contracting into a tourniquet with exactly the kind of apparent, balmy temperance that actually masks rigid and almost brilliant perfectionism. Simply and quietly, this is an incredible album.”

    Drum Media, Callum Twigger

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  • Apricot Rail's 'Basket Press' Single – Reviewed by Sunken Sounds

    Basket Press is the new single from Australian sextet Apricot Rail, preceding their latest album, “Quarrels” set to be released on 25th Feb on Hidden Shoal Recordings. It’s rare to find an instrumental band that are just this uplifting. As much as I will always love droney post-rock, Apricot Rail sweep in like a breath of fresh air, rustling through the countryside with leaves and flowers dancing in the breeze. Basket Press is the perfect antidote to a stressful day. Go lie down, get some headphones and imagine diving into a cool lake, or something. I’ve got a feeling “Quarrels” may become my first album of the year.”

    Sunken Sounds

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Licensing

Apricot Rail’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

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