My favorite new musical friends made in 2012 have to be Lily and the Parlour Tricks… The Brooklyn six-piece that have the heart of a tortured poet, the soul of a 1960s R&B diva, and the style and swagger of a postmodern Cleopatra… They’re just fucking fantastic. They take the genre of Americana and pull it in seemingly endless directions: to the cafe, to the saloon, to the cabaret… They released their self-titled debut EP in 2011 and late last year they premiered their music video for “Murder Song,” a favorite of the band’s, which they rarely get to play (and which you can see below), but they’ve been working on a lot of music that, as yet, can only be experienced in a live setting. Well, this Saturday, January 26th, the band will be playing two free outdoor shows for Winter Jam in New York’s Central Park. They will take the stage of the Central Park Bandshell Area at noon and 1:30. I recently got a chance to chat with Lily Claire, leader of the Parlour Tricks, about what she’s been up to since I met her last summer in Eraserhood and what can be expected from the band in 2013.
Izzy Cihak: Since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask: What are your thoughts on the city? When we hung out last summer you seemed to be quite fond of “the 215.”
Lily Claire: We love Philadelphia. Terry (drums) is a native, so we stay at his family’s house when we’re in town. We always, invariably, have a good time, and we make it a point to come as frequently as possible. It’s been too long; our last scheduled Philly show was thwarted by Hurricane Sandy.
IC: Your sound blends a lot of different genres, making it a bit hard to characterize, so I’m inclined to ask how you characterize it.
LC: We have a hard time characterizing it as well. Usually it boils down to the Andrews Sisters fronting T Rex, if Marc Bolan was co-writing with Tom Waits. Kinda.
IC: Where did the moniker “Lily and the Parlour Tricks” come from? I quite like it.
LC: Thank you. It has a simple origin; people used to get together at night in the living room and entertain each other with games, stories, magic tricks, Ouija boards, music. I like the imagery it conjures. But it can be interpreted differently. Angelo’s grandma thinks it sounds dirty.
IC: You all have pretty different backgrounds (musically, geographically, and otherwise). How did you all come together for this project?
LC: We met in school. The band sort of fell together over the course of a few years; at first it was just me, Brian, Terry, and Angelo. But the more I wrote, the more I realized we needed two more female voices. So the girls joined us. And here we are.
IC: For someone who goes to 100 shows a year, I can say that you actually have one of the best live shows I’ve seen in recent years. What can fans expect or the live experience?
LC: Thank you; that’s so kind. We have a bunch of new music. I don’t want to give much away. But I will say that if you’ve never been to a Tricks show, you should know that we pride ourselves on having a good time and ensuring that our audience thoroughly enjoys themselves. The 26th is guaranteed to be a barrel of sweaty, raucous fun.
IC: What are your plans, hopes, and goals for 2013? Any chance of an LP? Any substantial touring in the works?
LC: 2013 is shaping up to be a big year. I don’t want to jinx it. There are good things a-brewing. Keep your ear to the ground and your eye to the sky!