NICOLE ATKINS & JIM SCLAVUNOS are playing Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach during a run of UK live dates along with the release of their new single “Strange Weather”, a duet cover version of the Tom Waits composition first made famous by Marianne Faithfull.
Strange Weather is out now on Bandcamp along with an Atkins/Sclavunos composition A Man Like Me via the Lowe Amusements label.
Nicole and Jim are joined on Strange Weather by guitarist George Vjestica (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and pianist/keyboardist Dave Sherman (Valerie June, Elle King), and on “A Man Like Me” by Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween, guitar) and Terry Edwards (sax).
Audiences can expect an intimate evening of songs from Nicole’s latest LP ‘Italian Ice’, along with well-loved favourites, plus the debut of new songs from Nicole and Jim’s upcoming duets album.
A study in contrasts, Nicole Atkins and Jim Sclavunos make music that is a perfect synthesis of their eclectic tastes and backgrounds. With uptempo krautrock grooves sitting alongside deconstructed sambas, space-rock confessionals and wistful ballads, the pair’s songs evoke thumbnail intimacies in vast empty spaces.
“I think our music sounds like heavy ancient books thrown down to the gutter by gods during a hurricane — in slow motion,” says Atkins. “Or psychedelic folk tunes written by lonely Martians,” adds Sclavunos.
Having debuted at SXSW in 2019 and been invited to play at Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion Festival the same year, both singers enjoyed unique and distinguished musical careers of their own before they began collaborating.
Starting out in NY’s infamous No Wave scene playing bass with Teenage Jesus & The Jerks in 1978, Jim Sclavunos carved out a distinctive reputation for himself as a drummer. Recording with Sonic Youth and The Cramps before joining Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in 1994, he also co-founded Grinderman and his own solo project The Vanity Set. An in-demand producer (The Horrors, Gogol Bordello, Fat White Family, Dublonde, Polly Scattergood) and remixer (Depeche Mode, Grinderman, Phillip Glass), he also hosts a monthly show on Soho Radio.
Nicole Atkins’ 2007 debut album Neptune City introduced the world to a charismatic performer and writer with a powerful, versatile voice of dramatic subtlety. A unique arranger, she released her latest record Italian Ice in 2020. Recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound with members of Swampers, the Bad Seeds, Dap Kings and Spoon, the album further established her as a genre-bending artist with a penchant for noir-ish sensuality. Nicole has also hosted shows for Sirius XM and the pioneering Amazon Music/Twitch TV series Live from the Steel Porch.
Following a chance encounter at a benefit, Nicole and Jim began writing songs together in London. Despite having barely met, the duo dove in full tilt with only a Casio keyboard and an acoustic guitar — within an hour they had completed their first co-write. Reconvening their endeavours on the other side of the pond in Harlem — this time with a battered upright piano and an unruly guitar — the songs poured out fast and furious.
Nicole Atkins & Jim Sclavunos will play Clwb Ifor Bach on June 10.