Following on from the release of their highly-praised EP ‘Raining For You’ last year, which garnered huge support from Spotify – they featured the release on their The Most Beautiful Songs In The World, Lost in The Woods, and Blues & Roots Rock playlists – British duo Ida Mae, who create an intense blend of dirty blues guitar and yearning keys with inseparable harmonies mixed in an indie rock cauldron, now return to announce the details behind their new studio album ‘Click Click Domino’, previewed by the record’s blistering title-track featuring Marcus King.
Following in the footsteps of acts like The Kills, The White Stripes and Hozier to name a few, the new single ‘Click Click Domino’ makes for an anthemic introduction to their next full-length. Filled with thunderous production, killer riffs, and an insatiable rhythm throughout, their newest offering sees them deliver one of their most raucous and cacophonous tracks to date. Inspired by online influences, the song looks to reflect on the false portrayals and lack of emotional connection that comes along with the paradox that is social media.
Speaking about the new cut, they said, “This was written kind of as a knee jerk song. The unfiltered noise of social media, concerns surrounding social engineering, the lack of emotional connection and physical disconnection gets to all of us. We all know how easy it is to falsify an image, be it in fashion / politics / or any aspect of your everyday and in a lot of people’s lives it has become a necessity to play into it. I wanted to write the lyrics to ‘Click Click Domino’ almost as Twitter statements, counting characters, making a short sharp stream of consciousness commentary.
“The riff was originally inspired by the playing of one of our favourite guitar players Pop Staples and it slowly morphed into something that in my mind almost echoed moments of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. It kicked up a gear when Marcus King came over and we stood side by side, soloing call and response guitar lines over the outro. The attitude of his playing was perfect.
“As the weeks and months rolled on after recording this track at the beginning of the pandemic in Nashville, we felt ‘Click Click Domino’ should be the title of the album.”
Adding to this Marcus King says, “A warm summer Nashville evening, enjoying a whiskey beverage with my lady and two of our best friends in town, Chris & Steph of Ida Mae. I listened through the track ‘Click Click Domino’ and was immediately floored by the raw nature of the recording, the intensity and the undeniable, delightfully British rock sound I had grown up being captured. I’m honoured to have played on this track. What a powerhouse album and what a powerhouse band.”
The record was inspired by their transatlantic travels during the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album ‘Chasing Lights’. Forced by the pandemic to cut their tour short, they ended up writing and recording this album at their Nashville home while in quarantine last spring. Ever the dream team, Ida Mae’s Chris Turpin took on the production, having honed his skills over the years observing Ethan Johns, T Bone Burnett, Ryan Hadlock, M Ward and more, while Stephanie Jean has crafted the art and other visuals. The album features electrifying guest appearances from Marcus King and Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet on a few tracks, and drumming throughout by Ethan Johns.
‘Click Click Domino’ Tracklist:
- Road to Avalon
- Click Click Domino (feat. Marcus King)
- Line on the Page
- Raining for You
- Little Liars
- Deep River (feat. Marcus King)
- Heartworn Traders
- Calico Coming Down
- Learn To Love You Better
- Long Gone & Heartworn (feat. Jake Kiszka)
- Mountain Lion Blues
- Sing A Hallelujah
- Has My Midnight Begun
For nearly two straight years following the release of their critically acclaimed debut, ‘Chasing Lights’, Ida Mae lived on the road, crisscrossing the US from coast to coast as they performed hundreds of dates with everyone from Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss to Marcus King and Greta Van Fleet. And while those shows were certainly formative for the electrifying British duo, it was what happened in between, the countless hours spent driving through small towns and big cities, past sprawling suburbs and forgotten ghost towns, across deserts and mountains and forests and prairies, that truly laid the groundwork for the band’s transportive new album, ‘Click Click Domino’.
Written primarily in the backseat of a moving car, ‘Click Click Domino’ embodies all the momentum and possibility of the great American unknown, but it’s more than a simple road record. In fact, Turpin and Jean rarely reference their own travels in any explicit terms here. Instead, the duo offers up a series of cinematic vignettes drawn from the world outside their window, a collection of intimate, empathetic snapshots full of hope and disappointment, promise and regret, connection and loneliness. The songs on ‘Click Click Domino’ are raw and direct, fuelled by an innovative mix of vintage instruments and modern electronics, and the performances are loose and exhilarating to match, drawing on Delta blues, classic country, British folk, and 50’s soul to forge a sound that’s equal parts Alan Lomax field recording and 21st Century garage band. Turpin and Jean produced the album themselves, recording primarily on their own in their adopted hometown of Nashville during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the collection is certainly bolstered by appearances from high profile guests like Marcus King, Greta Van Fleet’s Jake Kiszka, and Ethan Johns, the heart and soul of the record remains Ida Mae’s intoxicating chemistry, which has never felt more vibrant, ambitious, or self-assured.
Now married, Turpin and Jean first met a little over a decade ago while attending university in Bath. The pair bonded immediately over their love for the sounds of bygone eras—Turpin, the old-time guitar work of Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Mississippi Fred McDowell; Jean, the timeless vocals of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Bessie Smith—and began writing and performing together to immediate acclaim. Their raucous first band, Kill It Kid, earned rave reviews everywhere from the BBC to the NME, but Turpin and Jean walked away when their major label deal turned sour. Starting over fresh with a new group named for the first song they’d ever harmonized on, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s “Ida Mae,” the pair relocated to Nashville in 2019 and released Chasing Lights to widespread praise on both sides of the pond. Rolling Stone hailed the album’s “stomping swirl of blues and guitar-heavy Americana,” while The Independent lauded its “retro lustre” and “impressive experimentation,” and NPR’s Heavy Rotation called it “tightly drawn, harmonic and hypnotic.” The music helped the earn the duo a slew of support dates with the likes of Greta Van Fleet, The Marcus King Band, Blackberry Smoke, Josh Ritter, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and The Lone Bellow, as well as festival performances everywhere from Bonnaroo and Telluride Blues to Reeperbahn and Zermatt Unplugged.
To call the band’s tour schedule relentless would be an understatement – on one particularly taxing day, the duo played an afternoon gig in Milan, Italy, and a nighttime show in Louisville, KY – and the rigours of the road left little time for traditional writing sessions. So when a friend came onboard to help with the driving, Turpin jumped at the opportunity to retreat to the backseat with an iPhone full of voice memo melodies and a notebook packed with potential lyrics.
When it came time to record, the band planned on working once again with legendary producer Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling, Kings of Leon), who’d helmed ‘Chasing Lights’ back in England. With COVID-19 taking international travel off the table, though, Turpin and Jean decided to go ahead and make the record themselves, leaning on everything they’d learned working with Johns and other top shelf producers over the years like T Bone Burnett (Elvis Costello, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss), M. Ward, Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile), Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes), and Mike Crossey (The 1975, Arctic Monkeys). Working out of their house in Nashville, they set up a series of bare bones recording stations and began cutting tracks together in one or two take performances, balancing the spontaneity of the moment with the energy and intuition of the live show they’d spent the past few years perfecting.
Turpin and Jean sent the live foundations they recorded back to England, where Johns added drums and Nick Pini added bass, and then fleshed out the rest of the arrangements with a broad array of instruments they’d acquired during their travels: a century old parlor guitar, a gut string banjo ukulele, a vintage Japanese drum machine, a 1920s mandolinetto, analog synthesizers from the ’60s and ’70s, a Beatles-esque mellotron, even a Native American buffalo hide drum.
Ida Mae have always managed to follow their own compass. And as ‘Click Click Domino’ proves, the best stories are often found off the beaten path.