It’s been ten years since my first solo album!

It’s been ten years since I released my first solo album!

So here’s a free download of ten of my best songs.

Ten years singing about tentacles. Ten year of monsters, demons, wizards, steam-powered robots, and countless ‘orrible murders. Ten years of acoustic arpeggios, twisty guitar solos I can only get right in the studio, mucking about with silly time signatures and writing songs that are definitely too long to be hits.

The first ever review of my first album called it an ‘experiment too far’, so that seems an apt name for this collection of ten of my best songs.

The free download of An Experiment Too Far also includes a PDF of my gig diaries from 2016 to 2019, full of entirely true stories including the final fate of my nemesis Praying Mantis Dave, a 7 foot hells angel insect that I got into a feud with after a gig at a biker rally in Preston.

I also tell the story of the backstage happenings at the first Bad Elephant Music showcase gig, and tell of my altercations with demons from Watford, dowsers from Berwick and buskers in Brighton. I’ve got into a few bust-ups after gigs, almost all of which I survived through the use of supernatural means.

Every word in those gig diaries is true. Many of the sentences are not.

These songs were mostly chosen by the denizens of the Tom Slatter Immoral Support Group online, although I overrode them and added my favourite song from my first album Mechanism, and my favourite song from my second, Beast of The Air. I’ve kept it to ten because it’s a tenth anniversary, but of course I’ve released a couple of hundred tracks over the years, and could easily have got this best of album up to thirteen, maybe even fourteen tracks.

In addition we’ve got tracks here chosen by my fans/tormentors that cover the breadth of work. We’ve got proggy rock songs with overlong titles in ‘Some of the Creatures…’ and ‘Mother’s…’, short form rock songs in Happy People and Satellites, songs about weird stuff in Wizards of this Town and Demon, and plenty more besides.

It’s free to download, which I would recommend if you want to read the entirely sensible gig diaries.

Something Happened In Amersham

Something Happened in Amersham is a little ‘bootleg’ recording of four songs we recorded ‘as live’ in Michael Cairns’s’s Amersham Music Studio.

It’s a first go at recording all of us playing at once in the studio, recorded in a hurry on a sunny Saturday.

We recorded:

Some of the Creatures
Mother’s Been Talking To Ghosts Again
Wizards of this Town
Demon

I’ve put the tracks up on my bandcamp subscription page because those are the people that should suffer first. I’ll share them with the rest of you in a week or so.

You have been warned.

Here Love Dies

It’s a year since I released Spirit Box! To celebrate, I’m putting this bonus track up on bandcamp until the end of November. This was previously only available on the CD version of the EP, along with another bonus track ‘Paper Scissors Stone’.

Here Love Dies is about nightmares. Of course.

It moves from sparse acoustic textures at the beginning to a big loud ending that includes some fantastic lead guitar playing from Gareth Cole.

Have a listen, and download it if you want to keep it because it’ll only be up for a couple of weeks.

Spirit Box Vlog episode 3

Repeats. Can’t stand ’em.

Here’s episode 3 of last year’s vlog series about Spirit Box.

I’m slightly mean about the movie version of Sweeney Todd in this. Sorry Johnny Dep fans …. are there any of those left? Surely not.

Anyway, this is about the second song on my latest EP. It gets a little bit nerdy. If you like chords and stuff you’ll like this. Possibly.

Here’s a link to the EP.

August and Whiteface Lyric Video

Clowns are definitely evil, and none more so than August and Whiteface. They are the anti-heroes of the third song from my EP Spirit Box. It’s a song I’ve had hanging around for ages, but only got round to recording last year. Its all pounding drums, twangy acoustic guitar and shouting crowds. ‘Let ’em swing!’, ‘Let ’em swing!’.

Songwriting Diary 3: Waylaid by a cold

A frustrated, I-know-the-laptop-is-reflecting-in-my-glasses-but-who-does-second-take-selfies selfie.

I’ve been stuck at home trying to shake off a cold. This is annoying and a waste of time.

Nevertheless, songwriting idea generation over the weekend was a success. I now have the following:

A rubbish, lazy attempt at something slow and psychedelic.

A manic riff in A minor and C minor that might kind of work.

A 12/8 melody that might make a good chorus.

An odd riff/verse/chorus song that’s somewhere between the middle of my song Three Rows of Teeth and Disco 2000 by Pulp. Sort of. But not.

So that’s not a bad start. Some, all, or none of these ideas may become finished songs at some point. Maybe.

Songwriting diary 2: First ideas

Today I hid myself away in the nightmare shed with a guitar and microphone and a notebook.

I set myself the task of coming up with some brand new song ideas from scratch. I wrote down a list of possible song ideas – a manic riff in Aminor and Cminor, a psychedelic soundscape etc – and just started playing.

I think it was a fruitful few hours. I’ve got some musical raw material that might make it all the way into a finished song.

Inspiration? There’s no such thing, there’s just hard work.

(Well, not that hard. But work. Well not work. Activity. Doing stuff. I did stuff.)