Need a dose of British folk-rock goodness to give you a Hump Day boost? You may want head to the Pike Room next Wednesday, May 19th to catch Turin Brakes ( do an acoustic set that is sure to be as harmonically tight as it is dreamy. Their fifth album, Outbursts, is out now on Cooking Vinyl and serves as a perfect introduction to their quiet, edgy genius. In advance of the show, Metro Times' Laura Witkowski talked to one-half of the duo, Gale Paridjanian, about the tour, Detroit, and their, um... high-pitched voices.

Metro Times: Your song "Feeling Oblivion" from your 2001 debut The Optimist is a personal favorite song of mine. I once put it on a mixtape for somebody who, though they also loved the song, refused to believe it wasn't sung by two women. Do you get that a lot?

Gale Paridjanian: Yes, Olly [Knights] definitely used to have a very lady -ike voice and stylings -- he was brought up on a lot of Joni Mitchell. It's getting a bit deeper these days as he gets more hair on his chest.

MT: Have you played in the Detroit area before? If so, when was the last time you played here?

GP: I dont remember the name of the place but it was a great little bowling alley -- very near some destroyed old derelict houses surrounded by the most incredible wild flowers . It was around 2005 . We filmed the flowers so it stayed in our heads.

MT: Your new Outbursts album is your first full-length since 2007's Dark On Fire. It's also your first for Cooking Vinyl. Why the long break between records? And how are you liking Cooking Vinyl?

GP: We toured the hell out of Dark On Fire -- not in the U.S. because it wasn't released here. But everywhere else we used touring as our only means of promotion. The relationship with EMI Records was becoming very difficult in that we were left to our own devices to promote . So by the time we got home we started recording. Then we had to find a new label and management , all the boring , important stuff . So far so good with Cooking Vinyl. They are not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. They are not promising the earth but getting the album out at least .

MT: Your cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Breaking the Girl" is proof that you guys are awesome at covers. Can audience members expect to hear a couple during your show here?

GP: Funny you should say that . We have recorded a four-song covers EP, Everybody Knows Every Day is a Wicked Black Game, that we are selling on this tour . We will probably do a song from that . We don't aim to become a covers band but it can be a lot of fun. And like many people we spent our teenage drinking years in bedrooms all singing along to songs we loved on acoustic guitars.

MT: Is it a difficult transition to go from playing in the U.K. where you're more widely known, to playing smallish venues in the U.S.? Is there any particular region of the United States where you have more of a fan base than other areas?

GP: We seem to do OK in the big towns like LA and New York . It is quite a contrast between our shows in Europe and our shows here . Everyday here is different and it's good to be kept on your toes . It can be humbling but at the moment at least, I find it reassuring that we still feel satisfied every night.

--Laura Witkowski

Turin Brakes: Manly men who sometimes sing like "girly men"...


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.