Aug 24 2011

New Pugwash Album Out Now!!

Hello folks,

The big news this week is that the excellent Dublin-based band and good friends of mine Pugwash have just released their new album The Olympus Sound on 1969 records…

If you’re not familiar with Pugwash, they are most probably the best band you’ve never heard of. This is their fifth studio album to date, following up their GiddyĀ compilation which came out last year here in the UK. I can also heartily recommend all of their back catalogue; especially 2005’s Jollity and 2008’s Eleven Modern Antiquities. They are purveyors of the finest classic pop you’re likely to find these days; heavily influenced by ELO, The Beach Boys and The Beatles their sound is full of lush harmonies, chiming guitars and some of the most catchy choruses imaginable. Pugwash is fronted by the awesome Thomas Walshe and featuring Tosh Flood on guitar, both from The Duckworth Lewis Method.

Anyway, you need to own this album folks. You can preview the album over on Spotify if you like. I’ve just ordered my copy from HMV.com. Am excitedly checking the post every morning… Can’t wait!!!

ps. Obviously, don’t forget to buy my latest album too šŸ˜‰


Sep 20 2009

The Duke, The Duckworths and Mother Courageā€¦

Oh deary me I really have been entirely slack in posting on the blog of late. I do apologize dear readers…

I must say though that this is not due to laziness (this time), as recently I really have not had a spare minute to sit down and write to you all. As those of you who follow my deluge of updates on Twitter will know I have spent the last month firmly ensconced in the depths of the National Theatre rehearsing and previewing their production of Mother Courage & Her Children with the marvelous Duke Special and his band. Peter has written some beautiful music to accompany the songs in Tony Kushner translation. In fact, we will be recording these songs fairly soon. The Duke newsletter is estimating a release date of around November 20th so keep your eyes peeled.

I have managed to shoehorn in a few other little excursions into the real world during this period. The Duckworth Lewis Method played it’s last show at Electric Picnic on 4th September. I am (not so) secretly hoping that the band will at some point in the future be resurrected for a little tour, but at the moment the official line is that it won’t. I will of course let you know the instant that this changes.. Electric Picnic is a fantastic boutique festival about two hours out from Dublin and they had such a great lineup including The Flaming Lips, Bat For Lashes, Brian Wilson, Zero 7 and Madness. As is often the case with these festival scenarios, I didn’t get to catch any of them (apart from a bit of Zero 7 and Villagers). We played the Crawdaddy stage and the tent was rammed by the time we went on. We had a great show and it was great to see Neil, Thomas and Tosh again. Hopefully we’ll do something together again soon.
In the meantime, you’ll be pleased to know that Neil has gone back to work on the new Divine Comedy album and Thomas’ band Pugwash are releasing a UK compilation of their first three album (previously only available in Ireland I believe) TOMORROW!! It’s called Giddy- A Ride Inside The Wonderful World of Pugwash and is out on Ape Records. I really can’t recommend Pugwash highly enough folks. I have all their albums and Jollity and Eleven Modern Antiquities are always on heavy rotation here at Little Towers. Go forth people.
On another note, I noticed that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are also releasing an album tomorrow. It’s called White Lunar and is a compilation of their collaborative music written for films and documentaries. I mention this because it looks like it features some of the music I played on for the documentary film The English Surgeon a few years ago. I really hope so anyway, that would be incredibly cool and certainly wouldn’t look bad on the discography. My fingers are, as you can imagine, very much crossed right now. Also, I’m reading Nick Cave’s new book The Death of Bunny Monroe at the moment (as is Mr Special it seems!) and keep looking longingly at the audiobook version read by the Cave himself (with music by Cave & Ellis). Might have to splash out a second time…
Aside from the rigors of rehearsing Mother Courage, the Duke Special band had a mad weekend of four shows at the end of August. We played the Liverpool Academy on the 28th, then it was Dukebox in Belfast on the Saturday. We then came back over the water to play the marvelous Greenbelt festival followed by a show at London’s ULU on the 31st. A hectic weekend indeed, and a real feat for Peter to put on four shows and curate Dukebox at Belsonic amidst all the work involved in the Mother Courage production.
We reunited the seven piece band for the four dates. The highlight for me was definitely Dukebox (There’s a nice write-up on the BBC’s ATL blog here). The show was brilliant and it’s always such a joy to play with Peter in front of his home crowd. It was also a rare opportunity to watch some of the other artists performing during the day. I loved seeing The Magic Numbers and Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards again. Also really enjoyed seeing David Kitt for the first time.
We had a really good experience at Greenbelt too. It turned out to be quite a welcome rest (!) as we were there all day and staying overnight so no rushing off to contend with. We all had a few friends to catch up with at the festival too so it turned out to be a really lovely day. I’ve never played Greenbelt before but I know Peter has been playing there for years. It’s on the same site on the Cheltenham racecourse as the Wychwood festival. We were headlining the Sunday night and got a great response. I’m really hoping to play there again next year.

Regular readers will remember my mentioning the gig with the lovely Kate Eden in my last post. I did mean to post again to remind you all, but have obviously failed to do so as the gig was on Friday. Big thanks to all of you who made it down the the Bull’s Head in Barnes. We had a really packed crowd and a great time was had by all. We’re already looking at putting on another show there sometime in the next couple of months so do watch this space for news. Also, Kate’s MySpace page is finally up and running so you can all scoot over there and befriend her. You can hear some tracks from the EP we recorded earlier this year and see some great photos from the Jersey shows we played in June.

Anyway. I’m acutely aware that this post is starting to drag on a little and I’m probably losing your attention by now. And I’ve barely scraped the surface with Mother Courage, which let’s face it, is gonna be my life for the next few months. If you aren’t following me on Twitter, then frankly you are missing out. I’m using Twitter to keep the bloggery ball rolling in some fashion. Expect another post in the near future concerning all things theatrical…

Until then x


Jul 8 2009

The “Sorry, Itā€™s Been Ages” Mega-Blogā€¦

Hello folks,

Sorry, It’s Been Ages…
I know. I haven’t posted anything for such a long time. But I haven’t forgotten about you all. I promise!
I have been meaning to tell you all about what I’ve been up to recently but keep getting side-tracked with various projects along the way. Those of you that follow my (deluge of) updates on TwitterĀ or Facebook will no doubt be fully aware of all that’s been going on recently. I’ll try to keep it fairly succinct (yeah, right!)…

Where do I start? Well, at the beginning of June Katy and I ventured over to her hometown in Jersey to play five shows at the Blue Note Bar. We played as a trio and brought pianist Alex Hutton along with us from London. The Blue Note is a great little music venue right in the centre of St. Helier. We played two sets of mostly standards to packed audiences every night. In fact we had to turn away about thirty punters on the last night! The week was a resounding success and we’re looking at going back soon for a repeat performance. We had such a great time in Jersey and it was great to play five nights in the same venue. Big thanks are due to everyone who helped make the week such a success; Jack, Ronni & Dave, Noel and Thomas. We got some great photos too, I may well publish a few more in another post.
Keep an eye on my MySpace page for upcoming dates with Kate Eden in London…
A few months before the Jersey trip we went into the studio to record a five-track EP called Lean Baby. I’ve literally just started a page on Last.fm where you can now listen to the tracks. Once again, Kate’s band features Alex Hutton on piano, me on bass and drummer Josh Morrison. What are you waiting for? Go and have a listen…
The touring with Clare Teal and Lea DeLaria has been storming ahead over the last few months. I’m presuming you all saw the little video I posted here last time from the Queen Elizabeth Hall? If you didn’t, you can find it Here. I’ve been up and down the country with both bands (I wound up playing at the Hull Truck Theatre twice in one month!) and have done an awful lot of driving. This has once again taken it’s toll on the bass-mobile and another small fortune has been spent keeping the poor thing on the road…
Some highlights? Let me see… The last two ‘Wall To Wall’ shows with Lea at the Pizza Express Dean Street have been fantastic. In May we played the Gershwin songbook with Ian Shaw and a couple of weeks ago we did songs from the movies with Clare Martin. It was one of the best shows yet. Next month we’re reuniting The Dirty Martinis to play some serious 50’s lounge.. you’ve got to come along to this one. We’ve got Simon Allen and Gabriel Garrick in the band. Tuesday July 21st at the Pizza Express.. stick it in your diaries!
We’ve just got back from two gigs with Clare last week, in Stockton-on-Tees and Loughborough. The tour has been going great. We’re still promoting our new live album Clare Teal Live At Ebeneezer Chapel, which is now definitely available on Clare’s website Here. We’re off to play the Bansko International Jazz Festival in Bulgaria in August. So expect a little write-up afterwards on the blog…
The last couple of weeks have been rather exciting too. The wonderful new album from The Duckworth Lewis Method was released in the UK on Monday. Neil and Thomas asked me to come to play in the band alongside Tim Weller from TDC and guitarist Tosh Flood from Pugwash. The album has already caused quite a storm in the press and made album of the week on Absolute radio last week. We played the album launch show last night at The Oval. The whole event was sponsored by The Times, who gave away 150 pairs of tickets in an online competition. Plus we had all the journalists of course. Even the torrential rainstorm didn’t stop folks from turning out to see us play the entire album from start to finish (!), as well as a couple of old favourites in the encore. Had a great time.
We’ll be playing a little in-store show at Rough Trade East London on Monday 13th, and then we’re off to play Latitude next Friday. I’m not sure what’s going to happen after that, but do keep an eye on their website (and of course my MySpace page!) for any future dates. Who knows, there might even be a tour! Let’s hope so. In the meantime, go out and buy the album. It’s ever so good…
There’s also some gigs with Duke Special on the horizon. The seven-piece lineup from the Irish tour last year will be playing Peter’s DukeBox Festival in Belfast on 29th August and Greenbelt on the 30th. There should be a couple of other dates too in August/September (hopefully including something in London) so once again, keep your eyes peeled and you ears to the ground. I’m also going to be playing for Mother Courage and her ChildrenĀ at The National Theatre with the Duke boys in the autumn. Peter has been commissioned to write the score and is beavering away on the songs right now. There’s a little more info on the National Theatre’s website

Ah.. busy days! Pretty sure I’m meant to be learning some songs for somebody right now. Might have to leave you for now folks. Thanks once again to all of you subscribers out there…
See you soon I hope.