Black Marble announces EP of cover songs out August 14 on Sacred Bones & shares video for “In Manchester”

July 3, 2020
Photo Credit: Ashley Leahy

Black Marble
Announces EP of cover songs
I Must Be Living Twice
out 14th August on Sacred Bones
Shares video for “In Manchester”

Black Marble aka Chris Stewart has announced plans to release an EP of cover songs titled I Must Be Living Twice, due out August 14, 2020 on Sacred Bones Records and available for pre-order via Bandcamp in conjunction with their July 3rd revenue waiving initiative. I Must Be Living Twice was recorded shortly after 2019’s acclaimed full-length album Bigger Than Life.

With the announcement comes the release of Black Marble’s version of “In Manchester,” a song originally by Wire, accompanied by a video directed by Scott Kiernan. As Stewart puts it:

I was initially drawn to the idea of covering ‘In Manchester’ because of the lyrics, which, for me, paint compartmentalized impressionistic snapshots of time and place. Some are more clear and feel like specific street scenes. Some are more oblique, but still feel grounded by the ‘In Manchester’ chorus. Manchester is a stone city more akin to the feel of a Northeast American city. As someone who’s been recently living on the West Coast, I miss the storytelling backdrop of these more old world feeling places. I felt connected to the song through that, and started by introducing a bit more of an off kilter feel with the underlying synth pad at the outset. Perhaps on this day things are even a bit more uncertain than in the original. From there I figured if I just stayed true to the general outline, some impressions of my own songwriting would creep in and I just hoped and trusted that the results would be complementary.”

The non-narrative video for “In Manchester” conceived by director Scott Kiernan merges images of Chris Stewart rendered in a nearly holographic way, at times like a passing electrical current, with a similar text treatment for the lyrics themselves in which certain phrases appear as occasional bouts of word play, resulting in a feeling akin to an observation of life in passing, as if from a speeding car, witnessing events not understood. 

“I’ve always loved the cover song aspect of live performance. Most musicians are fans first and covers are a way for bands to show this. They can add an improvisational tone to an otherwise rehearsed feeling set, and give a sense that songs are owned not only by the people who write them but by the fans that know them and the other musicians that take influence from them.

About three years ago we started playing cover songs on stage, and a couple of unforeseen things started happening. First off, people would ask me – not knowing it was a cover – when the new songs they heard were coming out on an upcoming Black Marble LP. Sadly, I’d have to tell them that a) I didn’t write the song, and b) me playing this new material was not evidence of the impending new release they were hoping for. The other thing that would sometimes happen is people would come up to me who already knew the songs I was playing. These people were stoked to hear an old favorite worked into our set, but again they would often wonder if they could ever hear them outside of the live setting.

After a while it became obvious that we eventually wanted to record the covers we’d been playing live for the fans that wanted to hear them. Also, we’ve played a lot of shows in the past three years. We crossed the full U.S. several times and met a lot of great people and this covers EP is a cool way for us to remember that time as well.

As far as process, I recorded and mixed this one myself shortly after, and as a way to come down from, the process of writing and recording the Bigger Than Life LP. I took some of the mixing and arranging things I was working through for a year on Bigger Than Life and was able to apply to this record fairly quickly and easily, so I think from an engineering perspective this recording is the culmination of that way of thinking about presentation before I move on to the next phase.”

– Chris Stewart, Black Marble, April 2020

Pre-order I Must Be Living Twice HERE.

Available to Pre-order via Bandcamp

1. Johnny and Mary
2. Golden Age
3. In Manchester
4. Emma’s House
5. Poison Tree


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1 Comment

  • Reply Album Review: Black Marble - I Must Be Living Twice - mxdwn Music November 17, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    […] rhythmic track. Initially drawn to the idea of covering the Wire song for its lyrics, Stewart explains that this song represents “compartmentalized impressionistic snapshots of time and place,” with […]

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