Lost Classics: Royal City “Alone At The Microphone”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

Alone At The Microphone // Three Gut, 2001

royal-city395Crawling through shit and mud to be with your beloved and your banjo never sounded lovelier. Like any classic album, Alone At The Microphone existed in its own imaginary world, both lyrically and sonically. Royal City emerged from its basement with dog-eared copies of the Bible and Milton to detail the depths of the spiritually downtrodden; in doing so, the Guelph, Ontario, band set itself apart from its more polite peers, predating freak folk and terrifying the alt-country set. Royal City’s journey through the profane included glimpses of the sacred, a realization achieved with beautiful starlit arrangements that dazzle to this day.

Catching Up: Royal City went on permanent hiatus in 2004 shortly after the release of follow-up Little Heart’s Ease. Singer/songwriter Aaron Riches is a theology student in Nottingham, England; guitarist Jim Guthrie continues to release solo albums and was a touring guitarist in Islands; bassist Simon Osbourne backs up drummer Nathan Lawr’s solo singer/songwriter project. A retrospective of unreleased Royal City songs (titled Royal City) is due on Asthmatic Kitty June 23.

“My Brother Is The Meatman”