Here we are, it’s 2021, and new music is coming out in defiance of the remnants of 2020. Some of that music is for quiet moments of reflection. Music that sets aside time to take stock of where we are, and where we are going. Still Corners are one such musical entity; they make music for the times we find ourselves living and their new album Last Exit is coming soon.
Still Corners. That is a decent name for a band. It is easy to read, it is easy to remember, and they use a sensible font. Still Corners, yeah, that’s an alright name. I wonder what is means!
When I do a review of an album, I will usually listen to it a few times to get its feel. Then I read through the lyrics while listening to the music again—then researching begins, reading about the artists and visiting their body of work up to their most recent release. In this case, that album is Last Exit by Still Corners. I got lost in this album, and for two days I listened to it over and over.
I eventually reached this moment, and I am still listening to it while I write. Still Corners got me hooked for several reasons. One is because they sound a bit like another favourite band of mine, Cowboy Junkies, another excellent band name, right! Do yourself a favour and listen to The Last Exit and then check out The Trinity Sessions by the Junkies. The voices of Margo Timmins and Tessa Murray sound similar through my old ears. Still Corners also channel Sergio Leone and the spaghetti western vibe. Rome by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppie also get a nod for being into that vibe.
Enough of that rabbit trail lets talk about The Last Exit. It is good music. Full stop. Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes are consummate musicians whose music has the power to send me to pleasant places. Amid our current world, this type of music is…well, music to my ears. On top of their musicianship, Still Corners also write some right smart lyrics. Tessa explains, “There’s always something at the end of the road, and for us, it was this album. Our plans were put on hold – an album set for release, tours, video shoots, travel. We’d been touring nonstop for years, but we were forced to pause everything. We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.” It was in this context that songs like “Crying”, “Static”, “Till We Meet Again” were written, reflecting on the impact of isolation and the need for social contact and intimacy.
Last Exit, new music for a new year, check it out at these internet addresses:
Distancer is the new album from Hiatus, which will be released March 12, 2021. The London-based British-Iranian producer has given us ‘Arrival’, a single and video from that album to whet our appetites.
‘Arrival’ is music that haunts, excites and called out for me be hitting the repeat button over and over. The track features a spoken rendition of a poem called ‘The Guest House’ by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, words that Cyrus says lend the ‘Arrival’ a powerful message of hope. It also lends ‘Arrival’ a statement that good music transcends time and place. And make no mistake about it, this is good music.
“For me, the poem is about how as humans we are subject to thoughts and feelings that seem beyond our control, the result of animal instincts that connect us to the origins of life on Earth. I find myself bombarded with complex thoughts about my relationship with others and the world around me, many of them judgemental and negative in nature, all of which have their roots in a handful of behaviours that throughout evolution have ensured our survival – paranoia, pride, anger, ambition. But the poem suggests that there is a world outside of the stories of our lives, and though we can never be entirely free of the behaviours that define us as humans, we can connect with something much larger, and find liberation through recognizing that it is us, and we are it.”
It’s a message also conveyed by a stirring video, which features live-action footage shot by Owen Tozer in Tokyo, London and Kathmandu, alongside cosmic animations created by AI artist Nathan Shipley.
“The visuals are created using a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN),” says Nathan, “an algorithm designed to learn and generate patterns. We trained the GAN using images of cells taken through a microscope and also star formations taken through a telescope. This enables the GAN to dream an infinite landscape of new cells and star formations and also morph between the two. This ties back to the message of the poem: showing a connection between our elemental selves and the larger universe, which seems so alien and outside of us, yet which is made of exactly the same stuff, and came from exactly the same place.”
Cyrus began producing electronic music while working as a journalist in London in the early 2000s. In 2005 he was living with his grandmother in Tehran, spending his days working for an Iranian newspaper, his nights sifting through his dad’s old records. On his return to London he began work on ‘Ghost Notes’ (2010), an album featuring samples from many of those same records, and channelling the timeless melancholy of Iranian music. Despite being self-released, the album met with acclaim – tracks like ‘Sightless’ and ‘Insurrection’ received mainstream radio play, the latter voted single of the week on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable on BBC Radio 6 Music.
In 2013 he followed it up with ‘Parklands’, a record featuring several vocal collaborations, including ‘We Can Be Ghosts Now’, the stop-motion video for which won Best Animation at the 2013 UK Music Video Awards. Four years later he released ‘All The Troubled Hearts’ (2017), an album-closing with ‘Delam’, featuring his father reciting and translating old Iranian poems, the story behind which Cyrus recounted in an article for the Guardian.
In 2019 Cyrus was introduced to Faraz Eshgi Sahraei, an accomplished player of a traditional string instrument called the kamancheh, and his wife Malahat, a talented singer, both recently relocated from northern Iran to north London. Over several months, the three met regularly at a studio in Brixton to record the songs that would eventually comprise ‘Distancer’, Cyrus’ fourth album.
As a result, ‘Distancer’ is Hiatus’ most Iranian album so far, crowning a process that began long ago; it also closes with another contribution of Iranian poetry from his father. Yet it is also a record liberated from the melancholy of past releases, channelling instead a sense of awe informed by the meditation, psychedelic experience and reading that in recent years has helped Cyrus deal with bouts of depression. It is a record offering hope at what can feel like a hopeless time, and one perhaps best embodied by Rumi’s closing words on ‘Arrival’:
The dark thought, the shame, the malice:
Meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
I hope you enjoy this album as much as I have. ‘Arrival’ gives a great big shout-out that Hiatus has indeed arrived.
Following on from his ‘12 Songs Of Summer’ project, which has seen him release a new song or remix every month for the past year, Swedish musical troubadour David Alexander aka Summer Heart has now returned to announce the details behind his latest EP ‘Ambitions’, which arrives on 6th November 2020.
Having been performing independently for over eight years, Summer Heart is now signed to the renowned Swedish label Icons Creating Evil Art. With an already impressive roster under their belts, the imprint is set to become a welcome home to the frontman’s breezy and lovable direction.
Much like his work to date, his latest collection looks to take influence and inspiration from his everyday life, which has always given him an extremely down-to-earth and relatable style of writing. Filled with his bright and euphoric aesthetic, each track looks to tell the story of the man behind the name, giving us a more humbled and intimate feel to his direction.
Written between his recent trip to California and his hometown in Malmö, Sweden, the frontman treats us to a blend of personal tales in his lovelife, to just letting himself go and experiencing life as it happens. While singles like ‘Ambitions’ and ‘Black Jeans’ tackle the anxieties and insecurities of what to do next, the EP’s closer ‘Motorcycle’ sees him in renewed spirits, shaking off past experiences and letting himself feel free once again.
But continuing to keep his cards close to his heart, this new release is still filled with all the romantic ventures he is known for. With ‘Good Together’ seeing him pursue that bright and elegant dream-pop sound we all know and love, the EP’s opener ‘Ambitions’ and closer ‘Motorcycle’ act as the bookends for this sweeping new journey. Bringing a sweet and effortless energy throughout, they mark the beginning and end of an emphatic journey that looks to cement the same positive direction that landed him his first record deal.
Speaking about his new collection, he said, “Before going on tour I always make sure to wrap up all the work I have postponed or ignored so I can come back to a blank slate. But since my tour got cancelled it was the first time in my adult life I actually didn’t have anything to do. It was very freeing and I could sit down and think about what I wanted to create and what I had struggled with in the past. I realised I’ve just wanted too much and never really been able to slow down and see things from a different perspective. The EP itself is about having high ambitions and wanting to do so many things at the same time but not always knowing where to put your focus.”
Summer Heart’s new EP ‘Ambitions’ will be available to stream and download from 6th November 2020 via Icons Creating Evil Art.
wassailer – someone who proposes a toast; someone who drinks to the health of success of someone or some venture
Wassailer – the pseudonym of the artist, Will. Formerly of the band Evergreen (previously known as We Were Evergreen), a French alternative indie-electro-pop trio. The band formed in Paris in 2008 but relocated to London, UK, in 2011 and that is were Will now lives and records.
Will honed his skills as a musician through the four EP’s and an LP that We Were Evergreen released, Will now based in Lewisham is finding his own identity influenced by South East London’s jazz and afro scene.
Weaving his style with songs that land somewhere between Irish trad and popular grime, Will tackles a plethora of social malaise and the lack of empathy behind humanity’s behaviour.
Will, as Wassailer, delivers a very forthcoming album. Commenting on it he explains “I’ve managed to tell the story I wanted to tell, the way I wanted to tell it, starting with the newest song I’d produced, and finishing with the eldest and most personal piece I ever wrote… It’s very intimate and very political. I could not have been more honest, clumsy, passionate, very me.”
From the debut single ‘Son’ Wassailer returns to unveil the atmospheric single ‘242’. Accompanying the single “242” is a lyric video featuring Wassailer himself, sitting at the top of a 242 bus, the video overlays with distorted time-lapses of the journey. Commenting on the video, he says: “I went back to East London to shoot some time lapses with my phone, sticking it to the upper deck front window of the actual bus 242. I was obsessed with the raindrops trickling on it at night, creating these psychedelic colour fx with the traffic lights. That’s basically as blurry as what’s going on in my mind most of the time.”
Will is building suspense in anticipation of the release of his solo debut full-length LP, ‘i, the bastard’ which will be released via Empty Streets Records on January 27, 2021. You can get a sneak peek through the links to his singles, see below. I managed to get a preview, and I can honestly say that this is a killer album. January 27, 2021, mark on your calendar and listen to his single till then.
Emi Wes opens her new EP with the shimmering song “All Grown Up”, brimming over with her electric vocals and backed with a solid team effort.
Then we get the Spanish guitar of “Where’s My Money” that evolves into a hypnotic pounding track that carries her anguished vocals and a bass line that supports her cry for more money. The song then moves into a vocal trill that sounds more like it came out of Turkey than Spain. Magnificent production.
WTF? The next track is “Five Miles”, a song that shouts R&B from the rooftops. With thumping percussion and a chugging bassline that carries her vocals to the surprise conclusion, lush strings. I loved this track. I honestly do not know what I can say beyond that. It is my favourite from a stable of winners.
“Cry Baby”, the next to last song is not a peon to a guitar effects pedal, think Jimi Hendrix. It is a love song. And a darn good love song at that.
The EP closes with her new single ‘Issues’. On this showcase song, she sings ‘Sensitive as a flower, watch me bloom so eager to learn, I watch it grow.’ The song is a self-love affirmation, as she explains: “Over the years, these have been the lines of my life. It’s really about not being frightened of appearing vulnerable.” Discussing the song, she tells us: “The instrumental, the strings and Robins chords just gave me the words to a feeling I had in me. I guess it was also important for me to address that I have issues too because we all do. Sometimes saying it aloud makes it more OK. For me, it’s a sign of strength being able to say the less pretty out loud.”
“Sometimes saying it aloud makes it more OK”, and sometimes playing it loud makes it more OK. Pop this gem of an EP into your headphones and crank the volume to 8, I don’t want you to go deaf at 10, and listen to this fantastic EP from Emi Wes. A voice that is bound to go places and keep getting better and better; this is a promising start.
Don’t forget to check her out at these fine web pages:
Six songs on the new EP from Tungz titled “Why Do Anything?”
I don’t know why we do anything, like “What For” man?
Six is the natural number following five and preceding seven. It is a composite number and the smallest perfect number. Just because it’s small is no reason to treat it like “Somebody To Get Shy With”.
Don’t be shy, “Go Out”, buy a six-string guitar and make music for your friends. Then after you are famous and selling tons of records, there is no reason to say “Can’t We Just Be Friends Again”?
We need to stay close, to “Touch” each other, to be “Emotional” but not cold and distant.
We don’t need to have six degrees of separation between us.
Our relationship can be full, as prosperous as the six whole notes in an octave. Let’s keep the distance between us small, as small as the six semitones in a tritone.
Let’s stop writing in abstract forms. The EP, “Why Do Anything” from the Bristol-based band Tungz is a smooth listen. Dabbling in electronica, R&B, and even touches of funk, make these tunes a pleasant listening experience. The variety of music kept me listening intently to find what came next as each song played out. ‘Why Do Anything?’ came out on the 30th of October via Heist or Hit. Do something, listen to this EP, you will not be disappointed.
Way back on Sept. 16, 2020, I posted a favourable review of the single “Breakfast Again” by Owen Meany’s Batting Stance. Today I have been listening to the album that that single came from, Feather Weights.
I searched high and low for a definitive definition of feather weight. For the single word “featherweight” it was easy to find, it is a boxing classification for contestants between 54 and 57 kg. and by analogy, it can be anything of little weight including an insignificant person or thing. A definition of “feather weight” was more challenging. It could be an individual that consumes a small amount of alcohol and is intoxicated, or it could be a scrupulously exact weight so that a feather would turn the scale.
For Daniel Walker, who is the alter-ego of Owen Meany, “The featherweights are the heavy burdens that we place on ourselves that are imagined, or that we can create by overthinking,” says Walker. “Trying to reconcile with gut instinct versus an anxious mind.”
That’s me in a nutshell, overthinking the deeper meaning between “featherweight” and “feather weight” and resolving nothing other than giving myself an anxious mind. Carry on then, shall we?
Daniel starts the album Featherweights with what should become a Canadian anthem right up there with Stompin’ Tom Connors “Hockey Song”. It also has one of the best song titles ever, “The Androgynous Hockey Stick”. Isn’t that an excellent handle for a song! As a youth, I was a featherweight hockey player, so my career only lasted to my 13th birthday when I found out that everyone else on the team outweighed me, outskated me and out checked me. I focused on writing after all the pen is mightier than the hockey stick.
Next up is He(art) Attack, which makes a nice bookend with “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky.
Further along the meandering tracks of this album, we come to “Car Attack”, a new single for Owen Meany’s Batting Stance. This groove hugging ode to our fixation for automobiles, Daniel Walker tells us: “This is a song about how humans often will put more time into vehicle maintenance than upkeep in a relationship. The song dwells on a used car in a junkyard as it re-tells old adventures and hopes for the chance at a new one.”
We encounter several more exciting songs; you need to explore them; it is well worth the time spent. The album closes with “Breakfast Again” which Daniel Walker tells us “is about the emotions: the worries and resolution that come with no
longer sharing a life with someone important to you.”
This album is no featherweight or feather weight for that matter. It is a well thought out and crafted piece of art. The lyrics give you pause to wonder what Daniel Walker is writing about, for example, what’s up with “Empty Vespers”? In conclusion, I found this to be enjoyable to listen to, and I nominate it for my end of the year list. This album comes with the bonus of a rather enjoyable video: 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV3_ESlSbBI&ab_channel=OwenMeany%27sBattingStance
Our brains are marvellous repositories of life experiences, including music and every time we listen to a piece of music bits and pieces of it get stored in our long term memory. When I hear some new music, my brain wants to associate this new music with something concrete, a piece of music that I have listened to previously and stored in my medial prefrontal cortex. The more I listen to an album, the stronger the neural connection and the easier it is to retrieve that memory.
I have spent the last week listening to “Chewing Gum”, the soon to be released EP from Promise And The Monster, aka Billie Lindahl. My brain has been trying to make associations between this new music and bits and pieces of older music strewn throughout my prefrontal cortex. I feel that there are bits of Enya swooping and swirling about, listen for it on the song “Vykort från förr” and the title track “Chewing Gum”. Her use of bass lines that build the music up to create tension shows a connection to Orinoco Flow in my brain cells.
There are also healthy doses of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, most evident in the use of cello on the track “One Summer”. Listen for it on Nick Cave’s album and the title track ” And No More Shall We Part”.
Billie Lindahl learned the cello at school playing Swedish folk music. My remarkable brain neurons through some feat of molecular engineering that I do not understand made a connection between Swedish folk music and Australian alt-rock, go figure.
I keep thinking of Maryanne Faithful as I listened to this new music from Promise And The Monster. I don’t know where that comes from, but I can’t seem to shake it. Let me know if you can hear it, and where if you do.
I heard echoes of Enya, Nick Cave, and Maryanne Faithful, on the other hand, Billie Lindahl tells us that she took her inspiration from Nick Drake, Kaki King and Elliot Smith. I only know for sure that Billie Lindahl sounds a lot like Promise And The Monster and that is a good thing. I also know that after umpteen listens, Chewing Gum is permanently stuck in my brain.
After she debuted her EP Antaktis in 2007 at the age of 18, Billie Lindahl kept very busy over the ensuing years releasing her solo music, as well as under her alias Promise And The Monster. She also collaborated with like-minded musicians such as Alcest and This Gift is a Curse.
“Feed The Fire”; her third full-length album came out in 2016, produced by Love Martinsen. In 2020, Martinsen joined Billie to co-write her upcoming material. The new songs explore a less introspective side of her psyche, with an emphasis on the tongue-in-cheek nature lurking beneath a veneer of earnestness.
On the signing news, Billie tells us, “I’m so pleased, together we can take this in a great new direction. I used to like writing quite cryptic stuff, but I tried hard this time to get out of that safe haven and be more direct. The new songs often express the feeling of being that last person at the party, dancing slowly in the background, waiting for something to happen. Like a sad moonlight disco.”
While the label Icons Creating Evil Art added, “We are thrilled to welcome one of the most iconic voices in dark pop to our evil art family. Promise and the Monster has been working right beneath the surface and in the shadows creating the most beautiful world of her own. It’s time we invite you all to share it with us!”
I invite anyone reading this to listen to the EP “Chewing Gum” when it is released. The single “Closed My Eyes”, is available wherever fine listening is offered.
Whew, let me catch my breath. Crawford Mack has released an album that isn’t just an ordinary recording. This album, Bread & Circuses takes my breath away, and I’m not even jumping up every 17.5 minutes to flip the record over, pick the needle up and find more on the other side.
The album opens with the powerhouse track, Life Changing Moment, which Crawford Mack tells us is about keeping one’s options open. This song builds tension effortlessly adding instruments as it goes along, and then closes with a joyous chuckle, which sounds appropriate after a song that made me smile.
Track two is a single previously reviewed on WeatheredMusic, Depends On Where You Stand, it has stood up well since its release.
A snapshot from Crawford Mack himself:
“A Love I Can’t Live Up To:
I put you on a pedestal so I could disappoint you.
A ‘how-not-to guide’ to happiness featuring realisations that came far too late.”
Four tracks in we come across the song “William” which has become my favourite from this album, Bread & Circuses. Again, I will let Crawford Mack speak for himself:
“When I was a very young (probably around 3 or 4 years old) boy in Aberdeen I had what I guess you’d class as an imaginary friend called William. My parents were fine with this until they became spooked by me describing him; I described someone in a First World War British army uniform in a level of detail that was hard to comprehend me being able to conjure up at that age.
I was once playing an imaginary game by myself, well with William, at the end of my old street. We were tearing little leaves off of a hedge and throwing them up in the air shouting “We’re rich!”, suddenly started shouting at me to run up the street as fast as I could. Moments later, a car crashed into where I had just been standing.
My short legs can’t run that far,
Cos the car that crashed on Carden nearly took my breath.
Oh William did you save someone’s son William?
For the avoidance of doubt, I’m fully aware of how utterly mental this sounds. I’m not an especially superstitious person in general, but it’s always made me wonder what happened; whether or not I was saved by William, and if I was then where was he as I made a litany of mistakes throughout the rest of my life? What would my friend think of the world as it is today? Would he have perhaps thought it worth any sacrifices he may or may not have made?
Are there neon signs where there were front lines?
Imagine Maginot, where the flowers never grow at the best of times.
Did they put your name on the Menin Gate?
Keeping company with the bloodline rushing through my veins.
Did you save someone’s son William?
During writing this track Jamie and I started to speak about hypothetical theories concerning whether the present could affect the past as well as vice-versa, and it dawned on me that if that were the case, maybe it was my responsibility to warn William of the dangers he was about to face and the ultimate futility of sending people to an early grave. Hence the shilling line alluding to the King’s shilling he may have received for his service:
Sting a sting of roses
The guns are fully loaded
The bayonets and poppy-heads are screaming bloody Moses
A military manoeuvre
The morphine’s there to sooth you.
I’d give you my last shilling cos the Crown will never rule you.
The song derives its musical influences from three main inspirations:
Nick Drake and John Martyn’s open guitar tunings.
Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley’s vocal stylings.
NIN’s ability to make a rhythm section feel sinister and drive momentum whilst playing at slow tempos. As soon as that influence was described to Richard Rayner (drums) and Jack Tustin (Bass) I could just sit back and let them find their parts around the harmony and guitar lines Jamie, and I had written.”
Track five is a song called Turning which confused me; I’ll let Crawford Mack give his take on this track and then I will share my two bits worth.
“I sat in a songwriting lecture tensing each and every sinew of my body so as not to combust and rant the house down as a lecturer reflected that most people don’t even bother listening to lyrics anymore, so there isn’t the same pressure for them to be brilliant, just make it a short intro and get to the chorus quickly.
I spent most of the remainder of that class considering the implications of committing our experiences, hopes and fears and those of the people we encounter to song, and subsequently to record.
I remember thinking that the decline of music as a physical product has led to this being taken less seriously by artists and consumers alike. Then I started to think of all the work that goes into making that product possible; from the recording process, the cover art to whoever has mixed chlorine and ethylene to make polyvinyl. If you’re going to put out a legacy of work, then at least consider what else has gone into making it possible.
I built a scenario in my head where somebody places a record written by an old lover of theirs and asked whether the experience would bring closure, longing or outright disdain.
As the needle picks me up, once again you hear my voice.
I wonder if it sounds the same wandering through all that pain?
As the needle picks me up, I have left you with the choice,
Left myself nowhere to hide, find me on the other side.
So no, it’s not a song about drugs. I can’t stand needles.”
Crawford Mack sings: “As the needle picks me up“, an obvious allusion to a record player, and later on he says, “find me on the other side“, side B of a vinyl record, a physical medium. My favourite medium by the way. However, in the intro to the song, he laments the “decline of music as a physical product”. I would like him to sing that “once again you hear my voice” on a vinyl record. But I can’t; there is no option to purchase a physical copy, not even a CD or cassette. Alas, the only options are digital streaming or buying a digital copy.
Please Mr Mack, could you cut this to vinyl, please? I highly recommend my friend Todd at Moonshot Phonographs which is in the process of being rebranded as Flashback Records Inc., you can give him a call at Phone: (587) 501-6461
“I wonder if it sounds the same“? No, it doesn’t vinyl sounds different from digital.
I am “wandering through all that pain” of not having a physical copy.
I would love to be able to say that “As the needle picks me up, once again you hear my voice.” my ears pick up the dulcet sounds of your music and singing.
“I have left you with the choice,” I have left you with a choice, but I left myself nowhere to hide.
I hope the day will come when I can say that I found on the other side. For today I am content with listening to this glorious album on iTunes.
The rest of the album is just as good as the songs above; in other words, they are amazing.
Bread & Circuses:
I’ve had the idea of this song for years. It’s been through so many iterations I can barely keep track. Initially, it was a song begging for an end to the political establishment as was. What I wouldn’t give to bring back those halcyon days though, before Michael Gove uttered that “People are tired of hearing from experts” and our national media outlets gave fringe lunatics of the far-right a platform that brought them prestige and credence in the name of balance, before it was possible to micro-target voters with falsehoods before the truth had time realise, let alone get its pants on.
Propping up a system feeding off the press,
Everybody’s choking on the Eton mess.
Using immigration, they focus on the skin
Diverting the attention to cover up their sins.
I was turned onto the phrase ‘Bread & Circuses’ by reading writings from the Roman poet Juvenal, via Montaigne. The phrase refers to the increase of the grain supply and Gladiator matches to placate potential civil unrest or revolution.
Sadly I feel that the political sphere has become its own theatre of late, let alone needing to create new distractions. We have a government seemingly unable to play by acceptable rules of engagement, and an opposition too insipid to do anything about it. It is maddening when you consider how much is on the line at this moment and time. My hope against hope is that the opposition and voters wishing to live in an inclusive, tolerant and compassionate country show some pragmatism, use their vote, and use it wisely.
“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions – everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: Bread & Circuses.” Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81
The Story Is No Longer Available:
The initial inspiration for this track came from me reading a piece on the damage caused to world heritage sites and sites of historical significance during the Syrian Civil war such as Bosra, Palmyra, Krak de Chevaliers, the Al Madina-Souq and Great Mosque of Aleppo, Damascus. The tragic list goes on and on.
As I went to bed that night a friend I haven’t seen in a while posted a ‘story’ to her Instagram and took it down immediately, all that was left was a slogan reading ‘This Story Is No Longer Available’.
It got me thinking about those tragedies that befell enlightenment and history all evening, the next day I was on a walk with Jamie, and a long chat ultimately came to a sober realisation of the fact that everything we have experienced and built is coming under the threat of premature decay and destruction if we do not change our attitudes to the consumption of resources and seek to offset our impact on climate change as a matter of urgency.
“We are the true disaster,
There is no sticking-plaster,
Don’t need an explanation.
More like a second chance.
No time for Mother Nature,
She doesn’t want to hate you.
Our finger’s on the trigger.
She had amazing stories.”
Gather me under your wings, and I’m onside.
How will the Butterfly sting if it cannot fly?
My partner and I were arguing in the build-up to making this record. She was away studying her masters, we were barely seeing each other, and a lack of communication combined with stress is just an absolute nightmare at times. I sat in Jamie’s front room, observing a butterfly with a clipped wing trying to fly and do what it is supposed to. I started to consider how frustrated it must feel, whether it would want to lash out at the world if it had a sting to do so whilst feeling so vulnerable and helpless?
As I came to my conclusions on the matter I realised I was actually describing how I felt about my own life, particularly my journey through the music industry: Hurt, frustrated, and without everything in place to do what I feel I’m supposed to. It was desperate.
I couldn’t communicate with my partner for fear I would fall to pieces and break everything we had built together from lashing out with my ‘sting’, admitting that I was not comfortable in the slightest and I needed that to be ok.
Whether the record works out or not, the cathartic experience of writing it has finally made me wrestle my demons whilst surrendering to them at the same time. Oriana came through for me with love and acceptance, and therefore the whole experience has been truly life-changing.
Promise me it doesn’t hurt Mr. Squadron Leader.
I’ve lived my life one bullet at a time.
I didn’t want to go to church where the firing squad sang requiems instead of a lullaby.
You tried to test my faith, but all you did was take away my dignity.
Aimed between the eyes, blew away my childhood memories.
Every time you twist the knife, I’ll play on your mind.
Be careful with the power you have over others; sometimes, your own actions will haunt you more than they ever could.
A diary of falling in and out of love with places and people following a split. However bizarre it may seem, I sincerely vouch for the veracity of every word.
So there we have it, a rather long post but this is not an ordinary album in my humble opinion. Happy listening and play safe.
I have been entranced by pieces of music and taken on wondrous journeys with the artists as the conductors. Some of those journeys start immediately; it is all aboard, here we go, and off we go like a brides pyjamas. Others are a more passive journey, more like rafting on the Martha Brae.
And then we have “I Was”, the soon to be released EP by Vaughan. It didn’t come out of the gates like a horse with its tail on fire, but on the other hand, it didn’t move at the pace of snail either. It was someplace in between that I don’t understand fully. The creator of this musical mischief is Vaughan. He describes the music this way: “With bare bones of voice and piano; I added the unexpected chord in the chorus as a way of symbolizing how love is the defining amongst the ordinary. A special moment that you can’t anticipate“.
“I Was” will rush forward now and then on the quick turn of a phrase or cradle us with a languid tempo that will creep up on you until you realize that you are nodding your head to the rhythm. This EP is mesmerizing, vigorous and enchanting all rolled into a package called “I Was”. Vaughan has nailed it on this EP. It drops on the 11th of November.