If spring is for cleaning, then fall is primed for filling in those suddenly-empty spaces. Boston noir-pop project Parlour Bells is experiencing such an overhaul, replacing what has been lost with inspiration from within, and that’s what’s at the core of rousing new single “Never Let ‘Em Hold Ya Back”, which we are premiering today on Vanyaland.
The story of Parlour Bells 2.0 extends back to last summer, when the band opened for Culture Club at the Pavilion. Shortly afterwards, the Parlour Bells players informed frontman and songwriter Goddamn Glenn they’d be moving on to pursue other projects.
“Anyone who works with me creatively knows I can be tyrannical about getting the art out into the hands of our fans,” Glenn tells Vanyaland. “I was already accustomed to handling the writing, promotion, and networking on behalf of Parlour Bells, but having to find new players to help me execute my vision was something I was probably the least prepared for at that time. I had recently been laid off, started my own small video business and was trying to get married. Going through the thankless motions of putting a band together again was not exactly within my bandwidth. So instead I focused on writing the remainder of the tunes for the record and gave myself a break from playing shows for a while.”
At the Rumble back in April, Glenn was approached by Mike Leggio of Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys and he and J. Johnson of Johnny Blazes And The Pretty Boys joining up and creating some music together. “It was actually pretty inspiring to be pursued that way, rather than pounding the pavement for new players,” adds Goddamn Glenn. “Before long we began completing the writing of the other tunes, and dusting off the unfinished recordings from Q Division that had languished for far too long for my taste. In addition to bringing J and Mike onboard, I also brought in some guests like Paul Ahlstrand, Walter Platt, Jenny Dee, Andrea Gillis, Erica Mantone and Emily McPherson to help take the music of Parlour Bells to new places.”
Goddamn Glenn finds like-minded inspiration in the likes of Greg Dulli, who has carried on the Afghan Whigs name despite a series of lineup changes. “He wrote all these tunes and he continues to carry them around with him regardless of who is by his side,” says Glenn. “Parlour Bells has always saved the drama for the stage, so there are no hard feelings when it comes to departing members. I’m just as firmly committed to my personal project as anyone else is about the ones they are pursuing now. It’s just that my personal project isn’t named Goddamn Glenn. It’s called Parlour Bells.”
With its late-’80s alt-rock funk grove, seductive croon, and full-platter sax and trumpet brass attack, “Never Let ‘Em Hold Ya Back” speaks to that tenacity, and as the latest track off Parlour Bells’ forthcoming LP Waylaid in the Melée, due later this year, it represents not only a new era for the project, but also a recharged energy. Listen to it below.