Azure Ray is an American dream pop duo, consisting of musicians Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink. Formed in Athens, Georgia in 2001, they later moved to Omaha, Nebraska joining the Saddle Creek Records music scene, which also included Bright Eyes, The Faint, Cursive and more. Azure Ray's music has often been featured in film and television including, Six Feet Under, Grey's Anatomy, The Devil Wears Prada and more.
|Origin||Athens, Georgia, United States|
|Genres||Dream pop, indie pop, indie rock|
|Years active||2001–2004; 2008–present|
Flower Moon Records
WARM Electronic Recordings
The pair met at the age of 15 at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. They fronted a band called Little Red Rocket, often compared to Veruca Salt, in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama in the mid and late 1990s and released two albums with the band on Tim/Kerr records. Azure Ray formed in Athens, Georgia following the death of Taylor's boyfriend. "My boyfriend had just died and we had written all of these songs that were helping us cope with everything. We had a night where all of our friends and family got together. We played those songs, which later would turn into the songs on our first Azure Ray record..." said Taylor.
Azure Ray (2001)Edit
The pair signed to WARM and released their self-titled debut in 2001. Pitchfork praised the duo's debut, giving it a 7 out of 10, calling their debut "maudlin but beautiful, expertly crafted pop songs."
The song "Sleep" was later featured in the 2006 Academy Award-nominated movie, The Devil Wears Prada featuring Anne Hathaway. In February 2015, Taylor Swift included Azure Ray's song "Sleep" on a 6-song "breakup playlist" made for a fan via her official Tumblr. DJ Paul Kalkbrenner also sampled "Rise" in his 2008 hit song "Azure."
Burn and Shiver (2002)Edit
Azure Ray released their second album, Burn and Shiver, in 2002. Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf) again produced. With 'Burn and Shiver, Pitchfork said the duo had "come closer than ever to wielding an emotional potency like master Cohen's.
New Resolution EP (2002)Edit
After meeting the band in Athens, Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst invited the band on tour and introduced them to Saddle Creek. They relocated to Omaha, Nebraska and joined the music scene there. The New Resolution EP was released on January 1, 2002 and was the bands first release on Saddle Creek Records. Pitchfork gave it a 7.5 calling it "is as subtle as it is brittle, and as gracefully measured as anything the duo has released to date."
Hold on Love (2003) and HiatusEdit
Hold on Love was the band's third full length, released October 7, 2003 on Saddle Creek Records. Pitchfork called it a departure from their previous records, with "newly arresting manipulations of electronic elements interlock with the duo's traditional organic fare, as well as bolder and sharper production."
Azure Ray went on hiatus in 2004, leaving Fink and Taylor to work on solo and other collaborative projects, including working in Now It's Overhead and Maria Taylor's solo recordings.
Reunion and Drawing Down the Moon (2010)Edit
Fink and Taylor reformed the band for a one-off show in Los Angeles at Los Angeles's iconic Troubadour on November 30, 2008. The duo was accompanied by Andy LeMaster of Now It's Overhead and Nick White of Tilly and the Wall. In 2009, Taylor announced on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic that the band would reform on a semi-permanent basis in July 2009 for "5 or 6" shows before working on a new Azure Ray album.
Their fourth album, Drawing Down the Moon, was released in September 2010. On August 4th 2010, Stereogum announced Azure Ray had reunited and premiered the first song from Drawing Down the Moon, "Don't Leave My Mind.". They later premiered the video, directed by Ryan Berg, for "Don't Leave My Mind" on September 30, 2010, Pitchfork called said the new album, "sounds warmly familiar, a reminder of why we missed them in the first place." BBC called it "a warming blanket of an album, here for you to wrap up in."
On January 25, 2011, Azure Ray released a new single from the recording sessions titled, "Silverlake", featuring Sparklehorse.
As Above, So Below EP (2012)Edit
Azure Ray's six-song EP, As Above So Below, was released on September 5, 2012, on Saddle Creek Records. Following a 7 year hiatus after the release of Drawing Down the Moon, Fink and a pregnant Taylor entered the studio to record six news songs, with a more "hypnotic" "electronica" influence in collaboration with Andy LeMaster and Todd Fink. On July 17, 2012, Stereogum premiered the "starry, shivering cut" “Scattered Like Leaves.” NPR premiered "Red Balloon" on August 9, 2012, calling the "long, slow summer swoon," "devastating melancholy." Rolling Stone premiered the full EP stream on August 28, 2012.
Reunion and Waves EP (2018)Edit
In October of 2017, it was announced that Azure Ray's self-titled debut and Burn and Shiver were now on Taylor's label, Flower Moon Records. In November 2017, Azure Ray announced they would once again reunite for a one-off show in Los Angeles at the Lodge Room on January 20, 2018.
On September 26, 2018 Stereogum announced their new EP and first new record in 6 years, Waves out October 26, 2018 on Flower Moon Records, and premiered a new single, "Palindrome," calling it a "mournful string-driven ballad which offers the best of the band’s spectral harmonies, woodsy storytelling and aching wisdom." Billboard premiered the Alan Tanner directed video for "Palindrome" on October 19, 2018. Billboard also premiered a new recording of "Hold on Love" from their 2003 record of the same name, which the band said "reflects the live version that we came to love playing through the years.” KCRW premiered the video for the "hauntingly beautiful" “Last Summer In Omaha” on October 25, 2018.
Taylor and Fink also have self-titled solo projects, and have performed in another Saddle Creek band called Now It's Overhead, with Andy LeMaster. They have also appeared on numerous Bright Eyes records. Fink also works with Japancakes.
- Azure Ray (Flower Moon Records, 2001)
- Burn and Shiver (Flower Moon Records, 2002)
- Hold on Love (Saddle Creek Records, 2003)
- Drawing Down the Moon (Saddle Creek Records, 2010)
Singles and EPsEdit
- Sleep EP (Warm Records, 2002)
- November EP (Saddle Creek Records, 2002)
- The Drinks We Drank Last Night (Saddle Creek Records, 2003)
- New Resolution (Saddle Creek Records, 2004)
- Don't Leave My Mind EP (Saddle Creek Records, 2010)
- Silverlake (Saddle Creek Records, 2011)
- As Above So Below (Saddle Creek Records, 2012)
- Waves (Flower Moon Records, 2018)
- Winter Passing soundtrack – "Rise"
- The Devil Wears Prada soundtrack – "Sleep"
- Shortbus soundtrack – "If You Fall"
- Six Feet Under soundtrack – "Rise"
- The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince soundtrack – "Across the Ocean"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, episode "Seeing Red" – "Displaced"
- Parenthood, episode "Amazing Andy and His Wonderful World of Bugs" – "Love and Permanence"
- The Good Wife, episode "Live From Damascus" – "Seven Days"
- Revenge, Episode "Intuition" (02X04) - Music The Heart Has Its Reasons
- Mouth to Mouth soundtrack – "No Signs Of Pain"
- Grey's Anatomy episode "Something's Gotta Give" – "Shouldn't Have Loved"
- Pastemagazine.com. Catching up with Azure Ray Retrieved 30 Nov 2012
- Grubbs, Eric (October 11, 2011). "Maria Taylor Can't Recall Much About Her First Cyndi Lauper Show. But It Made Her Dad Cry". Dallas Observer.
- "Azure Ray: Azure Ray". Pitchfork.com.
- "The Devil Wears Prada". IMDb.com. June 30, 2006.
- "Taylor Swift Made This Break-up Playlist for a Recently Dumped Fan". Time.com. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
- "Taylor Swift Gave A Fan Breakup Advice And A "Moving On" Playlist". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
- "Paul Kalkbrenner's 'Azure' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled.com.
- "Azure Ray: Burn and Shiver". PopMatters.com. June 6, 2002.
- "Azure Ray: Burn and Shiver". Pitchfork.com.
- "Azure Ray: New Resolution EP". Pitchfork.com.
- "Azure Ray Makes a Quiet Entrance". Los Angeles Times. July 11, 2002.
- Billboard.com.Moby jams with Azure Ray, hosts house party Retrieved 30 Nov 2012
- "Azure Ray: Hold on Love". Pitchfork.com.
- Last.fm - Azure Ray Retrieved 30 Nov 2012
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-08-01. Retrieved 2018-07-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Pitchfork.com. New Release: Azure Ray: Drawing Down the Moon Retrieved 30 Nov 2012
- "Azure Ray – "Don't Leave My Mind"". Stereogum.com. August 4, 2010.
- "Azure Ray – "Don't Leave My Mind" Video". Stereogum.com. September 30, 2010.
- "Azure Ray: Drawing Down the Moon". Pitchfork.com.
- Wade, Ian. "BBC - Music - Review of Azure Ray - Drawing Down the Moon". Bbc.co.uk.
- Rolling Stone Magazine. EP Premiere: Azure Ray, 'As Above, So Below' Retrieved 30 Nov 2012
- "Azure Ray: As Above So Below EP". Popmatters.com. 4 September 2012.
- "Azure Ray – "Scattered Like Leaves" (". Stereogum.com. 17 July 2012.
- "Song Premiere: Azure Ray, 'Red Balloon'". Npr.org.
- "EP Premiere: Azure Ray, 'As Above So Below'". Rolling Stone. 28 August 2012.
- "News". Flowermoonrecords.com.
- "Photos: Azure Ray, the Elected and Whispertown at the Lodge Room". January 22, 2018.
- "Azure Ray - "Palindrome"". September 26, 2018.
- "Azure Ray Returns With 'Palindrome' Video: Premiere". Billboard.com. October 19, 2018.
- "Azure Ray's â€˜Hold On Loveâ€™ Revision: Exclusive". Billboard.com. October 24, 2018.
- "Video Premiere: Azure Ray "Last Summer In Omaha"". Kcrw.com. October 25, 2018.
- Allmusic.com music biography - Azure Ray Retrieved 30 Nov 2012
- "Music from Grey's Anatomy S7E08". Tunefind.com.