The inspiration behind Caithlin De Marrais' new album reaches deep into the distant and not-so-distant past. (De Marrais is the former vocalist/bassist for Rainer Maria.) Here’s a rundown of the fuel for her creative fire on ‘Red Coats,’ out November 8 on End Up Records, which has been compared to Mirah and Beth Orton:
* Album opener “Lovers Light” is dedicated to the memory of Don Hill and one of the bright spots in the club scene, Don Hill’s nightclub. De Marrais says, "I'm drawn to places where people gather to dance. I hear this song as a dance song, slowed way down. The opening hits that super soft spot I have for analog fuzz-scapes. I composed this song on Garage Band and was sonically inspired as much by The National’s ‘High Violet’ as the soundtrack to the John Hughes’ film, ‘Pretty in Pink.’”
* Caithlin first heard the xx around the time that she wrote “Rose Wallpaper.” “I was really inspired by their brilliant vocals and arrangements." Lyrics recall an overnight stay as a youth in a 19th century abandoned house.
* “Hot Day” is an homage to Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’ album and also includes Ray Saperstein’s cornet a la Caithlin's favorite film genre, 1970s-era American crime films.
* The instrumental “Fizzy Wawa,” a term Caithlin’s son uses for carbonated water, includes his work on the Juno.
* “City Girl” is dedicated to her mother. Caithlin says, “My mom grew up in Jersey, a stone's throw from New York City. We're a Bruce Springsteen family and I was haunted by the lonely silhouette of Asbury Park when I wrote this song on the piano. I remember hearing the album ‘Tunnel of Love’ for the first time as a young girl and I was very moved by the sadness in those songs.”
* She dedicates “Sorry” to the memory of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who possessed a tendency to juxtapose strength with fragility in his designs. Says Caithlin, "I had to catch my breath when I saw his work. It was mind-blowing. I am humbled by his legacy."
* The title track and album closer finds her comparing the Revolutionary War, of which a battle was fought in her childhood town of Fairfield, CT, to her modern day romance with British-born photographer, Spencer Heyfron. “This song is not exactly a metaphor for falling in love, but more the willingness to surrender to any of love’s invasions,” she says.
Check out her music video for “Birds” posted on Brooklyn Vegan.