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Black Marble tell us about what they’re listening to on tour

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Dark-hued synthpop artist Black Marble is currently on tour with Automatic in support of his terrific new album, Bigger Than Life, hitting Hamden, CT on Tuesday, Philly on Wednesday, and Baltimore on Thursday before pulling into NYC for shows at Bowery Ballroom on Friday (11/22) and Market Hotel on Saturday (11/23), and then finally wrapping up in DC on Sunday. Black Marble will be on tour in Europe in 2020, too — all dates are listed, along with a stream of Bigger Than Life, below.

We caught up with main man Chris Stewart to ask what he and the rest of the Black Marble touring unit have been jamming to in the van on this tour, and he sent us a list that includes Corridor, Italo disco artists MYA and the Mirror and NOIA, Robyn Hitchcock, Happy Mondays, Jimmy Whispers, Choir Boy and more. Check out the whole list, along with Chris’ entertaining commentary for each, below.

BLACK MARBLE – WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO ON TOUR

Jimmy Whispers – “Your Car
I saw this guy opening up for Cut Worms at the Echo in LA about six months ago. He had a bottle of baby powder he was using like a personal fog machine. At one point he got up on the end of the bar and sprinkled some baby powder and it got in my beer. A couple months later I saw him at a party and he told me about a 1-800 number he set up. I called it and it was a recording of him talking about his band. Then recently I saw he had a new single out and with all that as back story I had a listen and was relived to find out it was really good. Check him out when he comes to your town, but maybe watch your beer.

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Corridor – “Junior
Montréal band getting some wider recognition with a new album out on Sub Pop. I recommend listening to this record front to back. A very strong piece of work from a band that knows how to write a coherent album, sort of a dying art it seems like. Junior is one of our favorite cuts off the record.

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Nomke – “Ended (By the Morning)”
About 5 days into tour I got an email from someone who asked if I would consider adding one of their songs to my Spotify playlist, which is a new kind of flex I was not entirely prepared for. After initially panning the impulse, the van was chagrin to find that the song is actually amazing. One of my favorites right now. Soft mesmerizing vocals and a sweet chime-y guitar arrangement with thick atmosphere. A little shoegazy but with a more upbeat arrangement. Cool stuff from Tel Aviv. BTW I added the song and now we may stay with them when we tour Israel in the future!

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MYA and the Mirror – “Hesitation”
Things can get weird on the road and Sometimes you need some classic Italo to keep the van on track. With one of the catchiest choruses in the genre this will get the vibe right for the post-venue drive to that party the promoter was talking about.

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NOIA – “Looking for Love”
Another fun downtempo Italo jam for when the party the promoter was talking about was actually his DJ night with 5 people at it.

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Hard Corps – “Clean Tables”
This entire record is good but this song has a certain hypnotic quality in the repetitive arpeggiation that is unmatched on the rest of the album. This is a classic darkwave dj go-to with dancy drums but with a slightly off kilter synth arrangement that makes you feel like you’re still complicated for liking it and stuff.

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Robyn Hitchcock – “Madonna of the Wasps”
I want to thank the van for letting me know the Soft Boys has a side project and it was good. This sounds like a classic 80s UK single with jangly guitars and big drums topped off with the ubiquitous studio fade out.

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Happy Mondays – “Olive Oil”
I was not a huge Happy Mondays fan but the van has made me a tru believer. Looks like they fell victim to that ’90s late career thing where they sacked the drummer for some funky beats and everything came out like a cross between a Spin Doctors b side and Groove is in the Heart. This was all I had heard. But turns out their early stuff is great. This is one of those big hits that probably flopped stateside, with Orange Juice-y Johnny Marr guitars a little too subtle for US audiences for whatever reason. Shout out for using “boy” as a lyrical affectation btw. I stole for Shoulder without knowing where I was stealing it from.

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The Lines – “Nerve Pylon”
This track manages to combine the subtle guitar work and light touch of classic post punk singles with some truly anthemic vocals that build in a really earnest and surprising way. Really glad I came across this about a week before we left for tour and have had it on repeat thereafter. I feel like they were probably a big influence on early 2000s post punk revivalists The Futureheads the way they are harmonizing so triumphantly but with subtle instrumentation to keep everything grounded. Cool stuff.

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Choir Boy – Pre-Mastered mixes for upcoming album.
Weathered road dogs and salty sweet sad boys Choir Boy have a new album in the works. Adam sent me the mixes and we’re feeling the new songs. You’re gonna need an extra long aux cord to keep these jams in check – a more than worthy follow-up to Passive with Desire. Look for it in the early part of the coming year.

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BLACK MARBLE – 2019/2020 TOUR DATES
Nov 19, 2019: Hamden, CT Space Ballroom
Nov 20, 2019: Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
Nov 21, 2019: Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
Nov 22, 2019: New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Nov 23, 2019: Brooklyn, NY Market Hotel
Nov 24, 2019: Washington, DC Black Cat
Jan 29, 2020: Paris, FR Petit Bain
Jan 30, 2020: Poitiers, FR Comfort Moderne
Feb 1, 2020: Lille, FR Aéronef
Feb 2, 2020: Bristol, UK The Crofter’s Rights
Feb 3, 2020: Manchester, UK Soup Kitchen
Feb 4, 2020: Glasgow, UK Broadcast
Feb 5, 2020: Sheffield, UK Record Junkee
Feb 6, 2020: London, UK Studio 9294
Feb 7, 2020: Bruxelles, BE Tour á Plomb
Feb 8, 2020: Den Haag, NL Grauzone
Feb 9, 2020: Hamburg, DE Hafenklang
Feb 11, 2020: Gothenborg, SE Musikens Hus
Feb 12, 2020: Stockholm, SE HUS7
Feb 13, 2020: Copenhagen, DK Vega
Feb 14, 2020: Berlin, DE Urban Spree
Feb 15, 2020: Leipzig, DE lfZ
Feb 16, 2020: Poznan, PL Pod Minogą
Feb 17, 2020: Warsaw, PL Hydrozagadka
Feb 18, 2020: Wroclaw, PL DK Luksus
Feb 19, 2020: Prague, CZ Kasarna Karlin
Feb 20, 2020: Munich, DE Rote Sonne
Feb 21, 2020: Jena, DE Cafe Wagner
Feb 22, 2020: Offenbach, DE Hafen2
Feb 23, 2020: Luxembourg, LU Rotondes

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