Wooden heart is the latest record from the duo Listener. they are what they call a talk band, accoustic or nearly (mostly guitar and drums, sometimes a bit of trumpet or piano, or beats) with spoken words that sounds a bit like talked emo vocals (sometimes it reminds also a bit Sole). the music sounds a bit like folk / americana or indie rock. The overall result is beautiful songs (or "talks") at the same time quiet and really intense and moving, they manage to carry a lot of emotions in their "songs". yeah I think intensity and emotions would be the key words to describe the music of Listener.
but just check it by yourself :
Listener's website (with tour dates, video clips, news, etc...)
Dan Smith, one of the member of the duo (looks like it's a trio now) answered to my questions by mail. you can read it below :
-how does Listener started ? what was the project at the start and how it evolved ?
it started as a solo rap career.....actually it was just the rap name I used when I first started making music, and then after a while I didn't want to make rap music anymore and started touring and making albums with friends and eventually with Chris Nelson and it just evolved from there.
-a few words about Wooden heart your latest record?
it's a record we made on the road, and was interesting to make and tour on at the same time. We did a 6 month tour and by the end of it we had a full record released.
-I think your semi-spoken vocals share with hardcore/emo vocals a similar intensity, do you agree? are you influenced by this kind of music?
I guess it's all what you make it or what you compare to what you know. I don't know much about hardcore music. Chris and Kris know more than I do about hardcore. When I grew up I listened to hiphop music, and grew out of that, but sort of kept the idea of writing in a sort of poetry style.
-in your previous records there was some hip-hop like beats, will it appear again in future record or do you decided to abandon it?
probably not :)
-seems to me that Wooden heart sounds a bit more “positive” that your other record, do you agree?
oh yeah, I'd agree with that. Return to Struggleville was about struggle, and really so is Wooden Heart, but RTS was about a knife salesman losing his job and eventually getting stabbed to death, and WH isn't about that.
-what about your lyrics? What subjects are the most important for you?
I think lately the idea that we are all unique and special and have something to give, even if that is negativity, and that it's ok to have the feelings we have. I probably won't write about that all the time specifically, but with those ideas in mind.....trying to not be too critical of how other people live their lives.
-how do you write the songs?
little by little. usually all the time. I write a few words down or a line or two, and then day by day eventually sit down and comb through all that stuff and write out some songs.
-Wooden heart was released in 2010, is the next record coming soon, are the songs already written? How will it sound?
the songs are already written, and we've demoed them a couple times and toured a few months on them. it's a bit harder than WH, but it's better in a lot of ways, and it's just the three of us playing the tunes. we wanted to strip some of the extras down and just make some rock and roll music.
-with what kind of band do you usually play live? Mostly accoustic bands? Rock band? both?
like what kind of bands we tour with and play with? it's just a mix of all kinds. Usually just about everything goes with us, and we're up for all kinds of music and bands to play with. It's a lot nicer than playing with 5 of the same sounding style of band on a tour or show for all involved I think.
-what is planned for Listener in the end of 2012 and in 2013?
we have new music to put out, new tours. perhaps solo music from Chris and even myself. I've been writing for a poetry book and project...still molding what that'll be. but more music and touring.