Tom Gallo

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Tom Gallo is the host of Look At My Records! on Radio Free Brooklyn.

Bushwick Daily is thrilled to premiere “Penny,” the latest single from Talulah Paisley, the solo project of Lyris Faron of T-Rextasy

You may already be quite familiar with Faron as the vocalist of T-Rextasy, a New York City band that’s made waves over the last half-dozen years for their signature genre-bending sound, witty lyricism, and engaging live performances. Paramount to the band’s success and sound is Faron’s unique voice and her penchant for thinking outside the box when crafting melodies. 

Similarly, Faron’s voice stands tall on “Penny,” radiating an anti-folk stylized warble as she recalls an encounter with a long lost friend. Her distinctive voice anchors a playful, twee-like melody that’s steered by soft acoustic guitars, giving the track the raw, intimate charm of early Mountain Goats recordings. “Penny” features a few added elements that bolster its stripped-down nature, particularly, a bouncy organ-sounding keyboard riff and a surf-y guitar line – giving the track a bit of a Billy Bragg meets The Clean vibe. 

Stream “Penny” below:

We also had the chance to chat with Faron about the origins of the project, her approach to songwriting, her upcoming tour, and more:

How’d Talulah Paisley come about? Have you always been performing under this name as a solo artist? 

I made a Bandcamp in spring 2014, my senior year of high school. Up until this past spring 2019 I would periodically release a song or two. It was mostly just me and my tinny acoustic nylon string toy guitar, pretty recently after I had written these songs and was still feeling the feelings that gave way to them. What I consider my first album, Did You Know Babies…?, was improvised from diary entries in one night in my childhood bathroom. Over time it’s become more of a highly personal and solitary way for me to learn about home recording and try out different techniques and instruments. There are only two songs someone else is featured on, out of around 45 releases, and one of the appearances is just a 30 second whistle. (Thanks, Athena in Awksymoron!)

I guess also part of the Talulah tale is that it took me a long time to feel like I was good at songwriting. My Bandcamp basically existed in secrecy until this past spring. I would never tell anyone about a new release. It took my friends and family telling me that my songs were actually good (or maybe they fibbed but I believed them) and one day it just occurred to me- I got out my diary and made a list of all the proper songs I’d written, and it was around 50 at the time which felt like a good amount, I was like, I’ve been writing songs and listening closely to music since I was a kid, I probably sort of know what I’m doing or have learned something by now.

I’ve tried out a few names (like Lyrie and the Duckies, hehe), but now I’m sticking with Talulah Paisley. It’s got a ring to it, eh?

You first released a single under Talulah Paisley back in 2016, but things seem to be picking up for the project this year. Why’d you decide to focus on this project right now?

My other band, T-Rextasy, recently decided to take a hiatus for a few reasons. I’ve always been curious about giving a proper go at a solo project and now I have the time!

How’d the songs for this project come about? Is this something you did on the side while with T-Rextasy?

I am always up to some form of writing but often felt these sounds didn’t really make sense for T-Rextasy’s vibe nor were they as good. Frequently when I wrote for T-Rextasy I was like oh, yeah, easy, this is in the pocket for what we’re doing, I’m pulling it off. I’ve had a harder time believing in and developing my own music.

Insider’s tip is that “Pretty Boy” on the last T-Rex album was gonna be a personal tune. But then my bandmates said it worked for the project and I was like wow o_O okk 🙂

For fans who may not be familiar with your solo work, how would you compare Talulah Paisley’s sound to T-Rextasy?

Oh, ya know, it’s still got my highly curated vocal, the bop factor, a sense of humor. But the lyrics are way more specific to my intimate, personal experiences. I’d say it’s got more folk-y and punk-y elements as well.

I heard through the grapevine that you’re working on your debut full length. When’s that coming out and what can people expect?

Yeah!!! After some time I have declared it for myself- I am working on an album! That I’d like to record in the spring! Gee, I never did get to make a studio album just on my own yet. I have about 6 of 9 or 10 songs so far that feel cohesive and that I’m proud of. Hopefully, a “release roll-out” bloggy hypey deal will occur in fall/winter 2020.

A lot of the songs you’ve released so far are stripped down with a bedroom pop feel that’s driven by your voice and an acoustic guitar. Do you envision sticking with this formula for future releases? What are you envisioning production-wise? 

I’m looking forward to making a legit studio album although I hope I can retain some of that lo-fi quality I so admire. I think I’d like to capture our live set-up as closely as possible. So, my hollow body electric Teisco EP-7 from the 60’s. I found it at Rivington Guitars. It was old and slightly imperfect, electric but resonant like an acoustic, it weighed like 1 pound and the price was right. But like a fool I decided to “think about it,” and in bed that night I realized that it was exactly what I was looking for for my new Talulah direction. Then I barely could sleep ‘cause I was convinced someone bought it in the time since I left the store and it closing and that I had blown it forever. I showed up the next day at opening, my heart pounding, and thankfully she was still there where I left her. I told this all to the dudes there and they were like “That old thing? No one wants it, it’s been here for ages.” Ha!

Then we have a 90’s Yahama PSR 300 keyboard played only in the #13 organ setting (this was left behind as a child by an estranged father figure) and then drums. But I’m psyched to throw some tones on that rec I don’t even know exist yet.

Who are some local bands/artists that you’re digging that you can recommend to Bushwick Daily readers?

I think it is an especially exciting time for music in New York City. To name just a few, shout out to the dreamers in Proper., Rachel Brown’s projects, Sweet Baby Jesus, Godcaster, IGBO, Sloppy Jane, Juan Wauters, Awksymoron, brz, Deer Scout, Xuan Rong, Zenizen.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2019 and 2020?

There are a lot of fun TP shows and a tour on the soon-approaching horizon. Recording! Both in the studio and my renegade bedroom recordings- well, attic recordings (my home is a small attic; it is nice up here.) I am working on publishing some of my diaries you could scoop at our merch table. I guess I have to land a vague part-time job to help fund these exploits. Also I’m really trying to fall in love. If there’s anyone reading this who’d like to take me out for some cookies, my email is on my Bandcamp.

Catch Talulah Paisley on tour this month, including right here in Bushwick at Alphaville and in Williamsburg at Baby’s All Right:

11/8 – Elyria, OH @ Blank Slate

11/9 – Chicago, IL @ TBA

11/10 – St. Louis, MO @ Foam

11/12 – Cincinnati, OH @ Urban Artifact

11/13 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd

11/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Super Wimpy HQ

11/15 – New Haven, CT @ NG2BC

11/16 – New York, NY @ Alphaville

12/7 –  Annadale-on-Hudson, NY @ SMOG (Bard College)

12/19 – New York, NY @ Baby’s All Right

All images courtesy of Talulah Paisley.  Photos by Marcus McDonald.

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