Departure Lounge is a band from southern England and Nashville comprising Tim Keegan (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Anderson (aka Crayola Lectern) (keyboards, guitar, saxophone, vocals), Lindsay Jamieson (drums, keyboards, flute, vocals) and Jake Kyle (bass guitar, double bass, guitar, trumpet, vocals) whose active period lasted from 1998 to 2002.
These four friends from different musical backgrounds came together with the stated aim of creating music to soothe the troubled soul. Their key influences ranged from Robert Wyatt to Belle and Sebastian to Nick Drake to Talk Talk to Lou Reed to Arvo Pärt to The Cocteau Twins.
Their self-released debut, Out Of Here (Meek Giant, 1999) was made album of the week in the Sunday Times, who called it “some of the most wonderful, eclectic, optimistic pop music being created at the moment”. A slightly different version of the album, entitled Out Of There (Flydaddy, 2000) was released in the US to similarly rave reviews. The band toured extensively in the US, UK and Europe to promote these releases, including strings of dates opening for The Go-Betweens and Robyn Hitchcock, whom they also backed-up on occasion.
In 2000 Departure Lounge played several shows at the South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, where they were joined by future label boss, Simon Raymonde on guitar. Later that year their song Christmas Downer appeared on the compilation album A Cool, Cool Christmas (Jeepster 2000) alongside the Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian, Grandaddy, Low, Calexico and others.
In January 2001 Tim and Jake re-located to Nashville, where Lindsay had moved the previous year, and established a long-running residency at the now-legendary Slow Bar. Joined by Chris, DL’s second offering, the instrumental ‘concept’ album, Jetlag Dreams (Bella Union/Naïve/Instinct 2001) was a mournful collection of piano and Hammond organ-led pieces, recorded and mixed over seven days in Nashville in an old house built on the site of a Civil War burial ground and reputedly haunted by the ghost of a Confederate soldier. This album documented the soul-searchings of a passenger on an imagined transatlantic flight and was released in the US on September 11th 2001.
The follow-up, Too Late To Die Young (Bella Union/Naïve/Nettwerk 2002), featuring “mercurial” (Uncut) production by Kid Loco, earned 4-star reviews from Q magazine and The Independent and was heralded by Magnet magazine in the US as “A top to bottom masterwork… Among the best English pop created in a decade”. The single, King Kong Frown, made number one on the Belgian national airplay charts and the album became the first ever Album Of The Week on BBC 6 Music. They had songs featured in films The Butterfly Effect and Sidewalks Of New York and on TV shows Everwood and Teachers. Promotional and live tours of the US, UK and Spain accompanied the release, including festival slots at Benicassim (Spain) and La Route Du Rock (France) in 2002.
Departure Lounge ceased operations in late 2002 and have only played together once as a band since then, despite remaining friends and musical collaborators. In December 2018 they released Christmas Downer as a festive single along with a new video.
Departure Lounge is re-activating in 2019 and has just signed a publishing deal with the Bella Union affiliate, Showpony Publishing. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Out Of Here the band reunites for their first live shows in 17 years in Brighton and London in September, following digital re-issues of all three albums, including a deluxe version of Out Of Here with bonus and previously unreleased tracks – available on all online platforms now.