Pearl & The Oysters, Live in Leeds
Wed Nov 08 2023 at 08:30 pmUTC+01:00
Hyde Park Book Club | East Ardsley, EN
Pearl & The Oysters
+ MASI MASI
08.11.2023 | £10.00 ADVANCE (stbf) | Doors 19:30
Juliette Pearl Davis and Joachim Polack aren’t just musical collaborators – they’re also life partners. As Pearl & the Oysters, they make songs that speak to eclectic tastes in music and pop culture; as Juju and Jojo, they’re kindred spirits. What began as a high-school friendship in Paris blossomed into a creative and personal relationship that has spanned decades and continents. Joachim says, “Over time, we’ve developed a form of telepathy, or rather a sixth sense that allows us to guess what the other is thinking or is about to say. It’s honestly pretty amazing – and freaky.”
Pearl & the Oysters’ first album for Stones Throw, Coast 2 Coast, is the product of multiple moves. In another life, they were musicians in Paris – Joachim was studying classical composition and jazz piano at the conservatory, Juliette put on bebop nights in clubs where she’d sing and play trumpet. Together they made pop music but it felt at odds with the local music scene, like they were strangers in their hometown. Both Juliette and Joachim grew up on a diet of U.S. pop culture and have American family – Juliette’s grandmother Merlin Stone wrote the 1976 feminist book When God Was a Woman, admired by Yoko Ono and John Lennon – so when the opportunity arose the pair skipped town for the U.S.
In Gainesville, Florida, Juliette and Joachim were welcomed into an open-minded DIY scene of people "equally excited by ’70s Japanese fusion and bleepy space-age sounds”. They made lo-fi music and toured on a school bus that ran on vegetable oil biodiesel, getting into more than one sticky situation. Juliette taught herself flute over a single humid summer, they learned the first rule of alligator safety (the alligator that attacks you is always the one you can’t see), and hunkered down during Hurricane Irma. Then, halfway through his musicology PhD on bossa nova originator Antônio Carlos Jobim, Joachim had a mental breakdown and suffered mysterious bodily pains, while Juliette grappled with insomnia. Their eco-anxiety was spiraling out of control, and they needed a fresh start.
Another move, this time to Los Angeles. In L.A., Juliette and Joachim connected with local artists and caught the attention of Stones Throw. Coast 2 Coast is a document of both this literal move and their state of flux. The album is a colorful cocktail of aesthetics and images drawn from all over: Barbarella followed by an Agnès Varda triple bill; the swamps of Florida and sandy L.A. beaches under a mirrorball sun; a radio picking up a faraway broadcast before tuning into an oldies pop station; crashing waves that melt into the sound of Juliette’s white noise machine.
For Coast 2 Coast, Juliette and Joachim brought on a host of collaborators – Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab), Riley Geare (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Caroline Rose, La Luz), Alan Palomo (Neon Indian), Dent May, and Mild High Club’s Alex Brettin – but it was important to bring something from back home, too. Having sat in on her jazz musician father’s rehearsals as a kid, now Juliette invited him to play vibraphone on the album.
The creeping anxiety both feel at the state of the world makes its way into Coast 2 Coast’s lyrics, but overall, the duo says, they’re happier now. Juliette explains: “After moving so many times we feel that everywhere is our home and nowhere is our home either. Maybe that’s why we’re so attached to writing songs about places that make us feel good. Now, we’ve found that sense of ‘home’ in one another.
Where is it happening?Hyde Park Book Club, East Ardsley, United Kingdom
Event Location & Nearby Stays: