Here’s a little video from a recent live stream. It’s my first go at an acoustic version of Weather Balloons and Falling Stars from my new album Demon.
There are over a hundred tracks in the subscribers only ‘Immoral Supporters’ section of my bandcamp profile, so I thought I’d share one or two with the world on a temporary basis so you can get a taste.
This is Angel, the first track from the subscribers only companion EP to my album Demon.
It is literally about cutting wings off Angels and using them to fly. There is no subtext.
This track will be public for only ten days. It will self destruct on the 15th of October. Get it while you can!
Lately, I’ve been having a go at online acoustic gigs. They’ve been fun, but I’ve been taking requests, and that does mean people have been asking if I can play songs that are nigh on impossible with just me and an acoustic guitar. Recent highlights have included an attempt at Three Rows of Teeth (which kinda worked) and Mother’s Been Talking To Ghosts Again (which sort of did and sort of didn’t).
Here are some videos:
The whole of the last gig:
As well as six full length albums (seven if you include the instrumental Murder and Parliament album) and two EPs, there are several singles available on my bandcamp page.
Well not for much longer! Time is running out!
I’ll be moving those songs behind the subscribers-only paywall on Monday 16th September. They’re not up anywhere else. So if you want a copy, you’ll have to go download them now. They’re all up for free download if you want them.
Here they are:
If We Cut All Your Wires
This song is from a subscribers only EP called ‘Still Happy’. It’s a companion piece to my album Happy People.
The Gloves Are Off
In late 2018 I ran a demo song tournament. 8 of my rough demos ‘competing’ against each other in a public vote. Although it was a close run thing, this song came out on top. Even though it is about as far away from my normal songwriting as you can get whilst still being in the broad ‘rock category.
Rubble and Dust / Run
This double A side digital single thingie contains two songs connected by theme and the fact that they’re the nearest I get to straight-ahead rock songs.
“Rubble and Dust” probably has the most prominent heavy metal influence of any of my songs so far, thought it isn’t full on metal. It’s a big singalong song about mad world-leaders bringing us all to ruin. Yes, I’ve accidentally made a political comment again. I didn’t mean to, honest!
“Run” is about love at the end of the world. It’s a rocky pop song hiding 7/8 verses and at lest one funny chord to keep the nerdy muso side of me happy.
Both of these are my first attempt at mixing something rocky in my new project studio. Not perfect of course, but I’m happy with how both tracks sound.
Monday 16th of September these will be subscribers only. Get ’em while they’re hot!
“I’ve been accused of being a prog rock artist. I like that, but I’m not sure how useful it is because if you listen to my stuff expecting it to sound like 1970’s progressive rock, I think you’ll be disappointed. The main influences for me are David Bowie, Radiohead, Mansun, lots of heavy metal bands, various bits of folk, Meat Loaf, the musical Sweeney Todd and my sort-of-classical composition training. I know that might sound an odd mix…”
This song has my darkest set of lyrics. Drop Dead is a serial killer, so called because he is spectacularly ugly. He drugs his victims and parades them about in public. People assume he’s actually very romantically successful despite his looks.
They don’t realise the hideous things he does. There is no light, just darkness.
Still, it’s a good song, eh? Great lead guitar stuff courtesy of Gareth Cole and great drumming from Michael Cairns
Here are some review quotes for Demon!
I do not deny it! This is a fun album!
Here’s one where I got four stars. Four actual stars for my star collection. Let’s not discuss how many stars it was out of, that’s literally not relevant. Could be out of four. Could be out of a hundred. Doesn’t matter. Four stars!
My best yet. Best yet! Thanks Progressive Aspect. … Is it praise? Hard to tell. Better than things I did before. Does that mean it’s good? Comparatively, yes. But what if the stuff we’re comparing it too is awful? Better than total crap is still kinda crap. Am I over thinking this?
‘Kind of bizarre in many ways’. That’s a keeper. Very me. I like that. But then… ‘The song in question has a large section of just noises’. What? Music is noises. That’s the basic characteristic that everyone agrees all music has. Is this trying to imply the rest of the album isn’t noises? Or that this bit isn’t music? I dunno. Reviewers, eh? It’s almost as if deliberately slapping three minutes of musique concrete into the middle of the second track might be a slightly provocative thing to do, likely to turn off tthe occasional listener.
A rewarding listen. Excellent. Thanks, Prog mag. … Wait, not exactly life-affirming? What? This is a joyful album! An upbeat, fun album. Ys, okay, it has a song about a serial killer that might be the most relentlessly bleak song I’ve ever written. But it has a catchy chorus! And yes, okay, fair enough, one song is about how I think all humans are rubbish and a waste of space. But it also has a good chorus! And yes, another is about how I suspect a lot of the people I meet just aren’t real. But.. look… okay… maybe it isn’t all that joyous and uplifting. Oh what have I done?! I’m so sorry!! (Not sorry)
Demon has been out for a week or so now and so far we have exorcised three songs.
What do you mean exorcised?
I mean got it all out in the open, shared all the stories, told all the tales. So far we’ve taken a look at all the behind the scenes, origin stories and nerdy music stuff for three songs.
For Wizards of this Town I talked about working in the Enfield, North London and being so spaced out by the horrible summer heat that at one point I genuinely thought I saw a wizard on a balcony half way up a council tower block.
For Modern World I talked about using the different sections of the song to tell a sort of potted musical biography, including making use of the piece of my music that genuinely got the most negative online comment any of my music has received.
For Weather Balloons (email heading your way on Monday if you’re already on the mailing list!) I’ve talked about my tentacle trilogy. Yes, I have a tentacle trilogy. Don’t you?
Nerdy Musician stuff?
Yes, there are also videos about the nerdy musician stuff. Particularly useful if you’re a guitar player might be the chord charts and tabs I’ve done for all the rhythm guitar parts, and even a couple of the guitar solos (including the whole tone solo from the middle of Modern World, which was an annoying thing to write out!).
Want to join the exorcism?
You can, you’d very welcome. All you need to do is join my mailing list, which i have temporarily named the Demon List.
Demon is out!
It’s an album about wizards and demons and tentacles and murderers. But it is also an album about me, about family, friends and home. It’s just none of those things are in the lyrics.
That means all the autobiographical stuff is in the harmony, chord choices, structure and allusions. One song is about changing career and moving to a new part of town, though you wouldn’t know it from the lyrics. Another contains parts of three different pieces of music, sketching out my history as a songwriter. Another uses crossword clue lyrics to say what I really think about humans (hint – I’m not a fan). One is all about the things that haunt us and the reasons we sometimes wake up with an awful taste in our mouths.
And the whole thing is about family and about joy. No it is, really honestly. Yes I know it contains murders and demons. It’s still joyous. It is!
You can hear all the songs and all the stories that go with them by joining the mailing list by clicking here.
If you do, I’ll send you links for all the songs and all the origin stories. It’ll be ace.
It’s out on Friday! Aaaaaaaargh!
It’s Sunday morning and I am feverishly trying to finish the ‘behind the scenes’ origin story stuff for my new album, Demon.
For the last few CDs I’ve done a series of blogs or vlogs about each song on the album, so it seemed natural to do that for Demon too. But it’s got a bit….bigger. Because I thought it would be fun to do some nerdy musician how-to-play-the-song stuff too. It seemed like a good way to exorcise the Demon.
Basically I’ve given myself lots of music work at the same time as the day job is madly busy too. I’ve not even got time to write depressing things on pictures to motivate you all in the mornings. There is lots to do.
Because the album is out on Friday, and that means I need to have at least some of this stuff ready to share by then.
Demon is 9 songs of rock and weird. It’s guitars and tentacles, wizards and hermits, drums and demons. It’s rocking out and eating insects, being trapped in a cave, hating all humanity. It’s joyous choruses about evil creatures and strange happenings.
It’s well good. Yeah, I’m biased. But it is you know.
(The picture is my laptop screen showing the caption for the origin story for Modern World, the second track)
You can see all the ‘origin stories’ and backstage stuff by joining the Demon list.
You can find the album here.