The London Souls Talk Brain Surgery, Staying Humble, and Loving NYC

NYC duo The London Souls lit up the last JanSport Bonfire Session in Brooklyn with a set of old school classic rock that brought us back to basics with just drums and guitar. Noisey caught up with the band in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to talk about everything from recording their first LP to how waking up from a coma after a gnarly car accident inspired them to keep writing music and playing shows.

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Baeble First Play: The Animated Existential Paranoia Of The London Souls

If you've ever wanted to know what it would look like if you paired distinct animation with the existential paranoia of David Lynch's Eraserhead and the high-budget sci-fi insanity of a Guillermo Del Toro movie, then, boy, do we have a music video for you. We have the exclusive premiere for the trippily animated video for The London Souls new song, "When I'm With You," and between the aeshetically adventurous and unsettling video and the classic rock throwback via modern garage rawness of the track itself, The London Souls have shot straight to the top of bands we want to pay attention to. 

The London Souls Cover The Who, Beatles And More In New Orleans

On the first of October, The London Souls descended upon the Maple Leaf Bar to perform their third show in three nights in New Orleans. The duo had just wrapped up a two-night run supporting 80s icon Billy Idol at the House of on both Monday and Tuesday of this week, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for the Maple Leaf, who snagged the rockers for an early Thursday night set. As the venue's Facebook event page promoting the show so eloquently states, “This band rocks.”

Blending psychedelic rock with funk, soul, layered harmonies, and catchy hooks, the New York City-based duo busted out every move in their arsenal, cranking out two sets that contained original material as well as an impressive repertoire of covers. "The Souls” aired out tunes from both their debut album, The London Souls, and their latest album, Here Come The Girls - released in April by Eric Krasno's Feel Music Group label. The duo connected the dots across musical generations with fresh takes on adored classics, such as Ronnie Wood's "Am I Groovin' You?" and "Get Back" by the Beatles. Guitarist Tash Neal and drummer Chris St. Hilaire exemplify the best of today’s young, virtuosic musicians - able to incorporate classic rock influences with their unique energy in a manner reminiscent of past eras of popular music.

The highlight of the evening came during the final stretch of the second set, with an incredible run of “Be Thankful for What You've Got" (William DeVaughn), "Someday" > "Magic Bus" (The Who) > "Get Back" (The Beatles). The band seemingly transported the Leaf and all of its inhabitants back in time with their exemplary inter-generational tribute. After a ravaging two-hour show the crowd still couldn’t allow for the band to pack up their gear, instead clamoring in unison for an encore. The duo closed out with one of their staples, titled "I Think I Like It". Their swirling, gritty, blues-filled performance was surely one for the books, as they close the lid on a hat trick run in the Big Easy.

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Heading Back to the UK with Catfish and the Bottlemen

Been amped to share this with y'all. This Fall we are heading back across the pond, over to the "native" land for a tour with Catfish and the Bottlemen for a SOLD OUT tour!

Here are the details just in case you're lucky enough to snag some tix.

October 28 @ Great Hall in Exeter
October 29 @ Great Hall in Cardiff
October 31 @ Music Hall in Aberdeen
November 01 @ Corn Exchange in Edinburgh
November 03 @ O2 Apollo in Manchester
November 04 @ O2 Apollo in Manchester
November 06 @ O2 Brixton Academy in Brixton
November 07 @ O2 Brixton Academy in Brixton
November 08 @ O2 Academy in Birmingham
November 10 @ Rock City in Nottingham
November 11 @ Corn Exchange in Cambridge
November 12 @ O2 Guildhall in Southampton

Our new album, Here Come the Girls, is OUT NOW! Pick up a copy if you haven't already.

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London Souls Helter Skelter & Get Back With Guests


Last night The London Souls performed a special tribute concert at Brooklyn Bowl celebrating the 50 year anniversary of promoter Sid Bernstein staging The Beatles legendary 1965 concert at Shea Stadium. Dubbed “Sid Bernstein Presents The Brooklyn Invasion” guests joining in at various points to pay tribute to the Fab Four included Amy Helm, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Alecia Chakour (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Bobby Emmett (Dan Auerbach Band) as well as Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk). 

Part of the show included a performance of “Helter Skelter” and “Get Back” which included Wimbish on bass, Glaspie on drums and Emmett on keys. Watch the performance of the two classic tracks by The Beatles captured by photographer Joe Russo:

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The Europe Press Is In...

Had a great time with Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol in Europe. Thank you to all the new fans and friends we made along the way for their support.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from across the pond. Here Come The Girls is out now on iTunes and Amazon.

“Their jangly, strident riffs and chord progressions are cleverly echoed by their melodies and hooks…” - Classic Rock Magazine

“Plundering rock’s past with a glee not seen since Lenny Kravitz hung up his feather boa, their pitch-perfect nods to Badfinger (When I’m With You”, Jimi Hendrix (Steady) and Big Star (Crimson Revival) come with a timeless quality.” - Q

“Addictive slab of retro rock.” - Uncut

If You Buy One Album Out This Week, Make It…

The London Souls - Here Come The Girls

As we’ve said previously, some great rock albums excel within established boundaries. The London Souls (not actually from London) happened to pick particularly good boundaries. Here Come The Girls is their second album, and it’s an absolute delight – effortlessly capturing the Beatles-y spirit of Abbey Road (where it was recorded), rather than crowbarring retro qualities in. For the last few years The London Souls have, for the most part, been a secret confined to the New York live scene. But no more.

As sunny British picnic plans are sporadically ballsed up by rain, Here Come The Girls is one pocket of summer you can count on. Classic Rock writer Hugh Fielder called it “a timeless pleasure” in his review. It’s not a replica of the past, but it stirs in aspects of that era to endearing yet ‘new’ effect. Like a tasting menu of highlights from the 60s/early 70s – from jagged blues rock to soul and breezy, sun-kissed pop – filled out with fuzzy NYC personality. 

That title, Here Come The Girls, could indicate some ‘come-hither-laydees’ cockiness. It doesn’t, however, opting instead for a more general sense of summer lovin’ – and the associated medley of energy, hope, angst and bliss (especially twinkly-eyed in opener When I’m With You). There are girls here, though: one girl, Isabel, is immortalised in a heart-wrenching acoustic gem (so beautifully 60s-folky you’ll feel incense and cheesecloth grow from within), while Valerie merits upbeat yet pensive, Rolling Stones-tinged treatment. 

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Here Come The Girls is OUT NOW!
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London Souls Heads Downtown For Free Show

The London Souls are bringing their New York City sound and attitude to Millennium Park Thursday evening for a free Downtown Sound concert, and suckers for classic rock songs are going to be in for a treat.

The duo of Tash Neal on guitar and Chris St. Hilaire on drums have put together a nice collection of straight up rock 'n' roll tunes on their latest effort, Here Come the Girls, that could fit almost seamlessly on any classic rock radio station without being stale or stodgy. The neat trick about Here Come the Girls is how the London Souls manage to use a familiar formula yet still manage to create something fresh and exciting.

Although we hear a lot of easily recognizable influences on the album from Badfinger, to Tommy James to a little early Alice Cooper and dipping into delta blues, The London Souls have written some catchy tunes. Opener "When I'm With You" is a one-way ticket to hitsville with a breezy pop feel, hot guitar licks and wild drumming.

The London Souls display a lot of skill on Here Come The Girls. Neal has a lot of control over his instrument, yet still can let it all go when he wants to rip a hot solo. He has also come up with some nice melodies for these songs and has a good voice with a pretty wide range. He hits some falsetto on tunes like the Ragtime number "How Can I Get Through," and then drops down into a powerful and gritty tone for the swampy "Steady."

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The London Souls On World Cafe

The London Souls' members aren't from London; instead, they form a drum-and-guitar duo based in Brooklyn, where they carve their music out of the best of '60s psychedelic rock and soul.

Tash Neal (guitar) and Chris St. Hilaire (drums) have extraordinary communication live. On record, their music sounds like an undiscovered gem of British psychedelic rock or a lost Cream song.

The London Souls formed in 2008 and released a debut album in 2012. The band's new album, Here Come The Girls, was finished a while ago, but before it could be released Neal was in a hit-and-run accident from which he's only now fully recovering. In this session, hear The London Souls perform live on stage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

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The London Souls rise again to present Here Come the Girls

Tash Neal had his priorities straight. First thing he did when he awoke after brain surgery was reach for a guitar.

"I wanted to make sure I could play," says the London Souls guitarist as the band travels from Charlotte to Atlanta for their next show. "I didn't play a lot but I played D, A, and G chords, and it felt right, and I thought, 'Good.'"

Neal and drummer Chris St. Hilaire had just finished recording their second album of chunky hard rock and soul when Neal nearly became a fatality. Two years ago in May, he was waylaid by a hit-and-run driver while seated in a cab in New York's Greenwich Village.

Neal was in intensive care and required emergency brain surgery. For a while during his recovery he had to wear a helmet because they'd removed part of his skull. Neal was told it might be a year before he could walk again, let alone play music, but that only drove him to dedicate his all to rehab.

"I was really frustrated that I couldn't play. I was very frustrated so a lot of my energy was focused on being able to do that," he says. "It's difficult, but as long as you have something to look forward to, to work towards, that helps."

Five months later — after having a metal plate put in his head during a second surgery — Neal was playing again. By the beginning of last year, London Souls were out on the road touring. Indeed, Neal's already hailing cabs again.

"I actually went right back afterwards," he chuckles when the subject's broached. "Some people said, 'Oh you must be scared about that,' but no. I don't know why, but I wasn't. I just thought, 'Fuck it."'

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London Souls put out new CD... 3 years after recording it

New York City duo the London Souls finished its sophomore album in 2012, but then the album sat on the shelf for three years – for a pretty serious reason.

“A couple of months after we recorded it, I got into a bad car wreck and things were really uncertain,” says guitarist/vocalist Tash Neal, who was the victim of a hit-and-run.

So it’s some small miracle that last week, “Here Come the Girls” was finally released. On Friday, the London Souls (Neal and drummer/vocalist Chris St. Hilaire) play Visulite Theatre.

To say Neal had a lot to overcome to put the album out is an understatement.

After the accident, doctors performed emergency brain surgery and Neal was placed in a medically induced coma. “The diagnosis was six months to a year and then maybe I’d walk and talk again,” he says.

But Neal shocked his doctors when he awoke talking, and he eventually checked himself out of the hospital against their advice.

In the aftermath of the accident, he’d almost forgotten about the London Souls’ album. Hearing it for the first time was like a revelation.

“That was more vindication,” he says. “I thought, ‘That’s us?’ It was amazing. It was a pride thing and it connected me again. I even remembered (lyrics).”

And once Neal was able to pick up a guitar again, he began to feel more like himself.

“I saw that guitar and it connected me to a deeper part of myself that an accident can’t take away,” he says.

The versatile “Here Come the Girls” – which hops from Cream-y blues riffs and Lenny Kravitz-style funk to harmony-driven Beatles-schooled pop and psychedelic folk with a thread of ’60s and ’70s nostalgia throughout – has received a warm reception.

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The London Souls: Rock-and-Roll Survivors

If you peruse the influences that most bands playing “rock” music cite these days, then you’ll find one or all of the following: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix. There is no criteria for putting those names on a Facebook profile, and most of the time those nods don’t accurately reflect a group’s true nature. But for Brooklyn-bred duo The London Souls, those artists are embedded deep within their DNA. In fact, guitarist Tash Neal and drummer Chris St. Hilaire had studied those classic-rock architects long before they founded their band.

“I moved to the city when I was a senior in high school,” explains St. Hilaire, who now shares a sibling-like bond with his London Souls co-founder. “Tash was one of the first musicians I met. We were with a small number of kids that were actually jamming and making music. We started jamming together in these little rehearsal rooms where they had beer machines.”

“I forgot about that,” Neal chimes in with a laugh.

Through the informal rehearsals, the duo realized that they had a unique connection. “There weren’t a lot of kids our age who were musicians that took it quite as seriously. We connected to music, spiritually,” Neal says. “We just vibed toward the same stuff and enjoyed each other’s playing.”

The London Souls oscillated between a trio and a quartet in their formative years, before ultimately settling on a largely twopronged attack. The band began touring around the many nooks and crannies of New York City, taking every gig they could. “We played college parties, birthday parties,” Neal says. “We started playing clubs in New York before we were 21.”

While honing their live craft, it became apparent that it was time to officially put something down in the studio. “We recorded as a four-piece, but it was never released,” St. Hilaire says.

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