|Posted by Arthur on December 5, 2014 at 5:15 AM||comments (0)|
After more than a year of no live appearances, I (Our Arthur) played a (mainly) solo set last night (4th December), opening for The Charlie Tipper Experiment & The 12 Hour Foundation at Cafe Kino (Bristol).
It was a lovely evening and both T12HF & CTE played fantastic sets.
The Our Arthur set was made up of past, present & future songs...
DRUNK (old Kyoko song)
NOISE IN MY HEAD (Forthcoming album)
CLOTHES (old Beatnik Filmstars song) Featuring Tim Rippington : Lead Guitar
THE GRATIFICATION FILES ('Humour Me' album track)
BREAK EVERY BONE (Old Kyoko song)
SOUTHVILLE TO THE SUN (old Kyoko song) Featuring Jez Butler : Melodica
TAKE DRUGS (Forthcoming album)
(I DON'T WANT TO) SAVE THE WORLD (Forthcoming album)
LETTERBOMBS (Forthcoming album)
Despite a few nerves ( Cracking voice & sticky fingers) it was a lot of fun. Many thanks to Charlie Tipper for asking me.
News on the new album is, it should be released hopefully March/April 2015. It's quite psychedelic and feedback drone based, with electronic bits. Full details will follow nearer the time. Thank you for your patience, it has been a long time in the making.
|Posted by Arthur on October 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
Our Arthur is releasing a seven track EP 'Unfinished Music' as a download via Bandcamp.
It is a fundraiser to help with the manufacturing of the second album due for release in 2014.
However, you can if you wish download it for free.
The download comes with a sleeve design, including sleeve notes you can print and make your own CDR EP.
Alternatively, there are 100 CDR versions ready made you can buy.
The tracks are all out-takes or demos from the 'Humour Me' album.
To grab a copy or to download it, head over to;
|Posted by Arthur on September 19, 2013 at 5:20 AM||comments (1)|
At time of writing this (mid September 2013) the new second album is still not quite finished. But it very nearly is. It seems to have taken ages, but the truth of the matter is, there have been so many things slowing the process down. You know, things in life that are unavoidable,(illness, people putting new roofs on houses, road works drilling outside for hours on end, my time being taken up with trying to earn money to live on, oh, and I confess, a stupidly lazy work ethic, and no one around to push me on, like in the golden olden days of the Beatnik Filmstars when others, especially John, would inspire simply by working hard. And I do need pushing sometimes. I’m all too easily distracted from what I should be doing (School report flashback!). In total if you added together all the hours I’ve actually been recording, it would amount to about three days which seems kind of shameful really when you think I started in February! Also I did start off recording way too many songs, and had to work my way through choosing which ones I liked the best. But let’s leave the blame with the roofers and road digger up men and quickly move on.
Anyway I’m pretty sure you will think it was worth the wait. It does sound great.
It should be all finished by the end of October. However I have decided not to rush and release it, and I’m going to wait until the beginning of next year.
My reason for this is if it comes out in say, November, when January rolls around, it will already be considered ‘last years’ record, where as, if it comes out at the start of the year, it has a whole years life span of still being thought of as ‘new’.
This does mean there’s a good chance the third album will also be released next year, but two full lengths in one year is nothing compared to some bands we could mention (but won’t). The third album you see, already has all the songs written… and is going to be recorded in a three day almost live session.
Anyhow, it’s all sounding ace, really spontaneous, most things you’ll hear are first or second takes. It’s a very ‘Rock and Roll’ record. I wanted to make an electric record as the first one was so acoustic, but I didn’t realise it would be quite so electric and eclectic as it has turned out, but I love it. I know many folk will say it sounds like a Beatnik Filmstars record, but that’s okay, they were my band. I am allowed to sound like them. I do like to let music fall out of me, whatever it ends up sounding like. I’ve never tried to force things into a particular style. Well I have, but it always turns out wrong or I really dislike it.
So, I’m sorry if you were really looking forward to hearing the album, but it’s only a couple extra months to wait when you think about it.
|Posted by Arthur on November 4, 2012 at 7:25 AM||comments (1)|
I' ve never been too good with trying to describe what my records sound like.
I'm never that good at trying to get people to be kind enough to buy them.
This review says everything I could possibly wish for.
Please read it, and if you think, it sounds like someone has poured their heart and soul into the making of these records, please buy them. Thanks.
Our Arthur "Strange About The Rain" EP (A Work Of Heart):
Our Arthur "Humour Me" (A Work Of Heart)
The Beatnik Filmstars were an exceptional band. By our reckoning, over the course of 17 years they were responsible for 11 albums, 17 singles, 5 compilations, 5 Peel Sessions, a complete box set and a DVD (courtesy of at least fifteen different labels, including heavyweights such as Summershine, Slumberland, Merge, 555 and Track & Field). In that time they lurched between (and invariably mastered) psychedelic dreamgaze, raucous indie-rock, fizzing lo-fi, grown-up melodic pop and so much more. Unlike others with such a prolific catalogue, the quality levels remained high: their back catalogue leaves us with such great (but profoundly different) songs as "Curious Role Model", "Hospital Ward" and "Bigot Sponger Haircut Policy".
As if that wasn't enough, former Filmstars frontman Andrew Jarrett has been involved in a variety of other musical enterprises, ranging from the thrill-rush of the legendary Groove Farm in the 1980s through to the garage band capers of his recent Nervous Rex project, but also including two of the most underrated Bristol acts ever, the shimmeringly quiet-fi aesthetes Kyoko and his supreme solo outing as the Bluebear. However, it's to Mr Jarrett's latest venture, Our Arthur, that we now turn.
There was a brief preview of Our Arthur a few months back, when a tune called "I'll Wait For The Summer" featured on Vollwert's "No Sleep 'Til Torcross" compilation (a CD somewhat criminally limited to 100 copies). "I'll Wait" was smart, melodic, lyrically a little bitter, and suggested that the new venture merited further investigation. This is now confirmed by two 'proper' releases. And while Andrew (Arthur) Jarrett is at the heart of them both, they also feature a host of other contributors, many of whom are longtime collaborators.
"Strange About The Rain" is the single (OK then, the lead track on a six-track EP) and it's been chosen wisely: if you sighed in sympathy with the majesty of the last Beatnik Filmstars outing, "The Purple Fez 72 Club Social" (a desperately overlooked album, which we would have had up for a Mercury at the very least) then you should find yourself fairly instantly tickled by it. Mixing Jarrett's deep-whispered vocals with brass and string-peppered guitars, it's a mid-paced sweep of ambition, a dusky take on hope and regret with short verses and a catchy enough chorus, but that opens out a couple of times into noisier guitar passages that trace rising chords not dissimilar to those of "The Only Mistake". The other songs on the EP can't match the lead tune's crossover potential, but shouldn't be dismissed: the fleeting "Event Arts '92" strikes its sombre chords with resonance, "The Middle Class Epidemic" is a dark, compelling, Short Stories-ish ballad of English manners (not surprising, given a guest appearance from the Short Stories' own ex-Beatnik, Tim Rippington) and "This Car Will Not Drive" is a finely-hewn, fairly harrowing piece of self-reflection that's aided by guest guitar from Secret Shine's Scott Purnell.
The associated full-length "Humour Me", even more than the EP, is a (deliberately) discomfiting blend of the mellow and bleak, but it oozes the richest texture and depth. The opening "Reputations" sets out Our Arthur's stall as it glides effortlessly within East River Pipe and Galaxie 500 territory (the latter, of course, being a constant reference point on the Beatniks' first album, "Maharishi"), before the absolutely gorgeous, drizzle-soaked ballad "The Company They Keep" opens out in front of the listener like a butterfly, and the tone is set.
The instrumentation at times seems so sparse as to be virtually imperceptible, a "less is more" trick learned no doubt in part from the success of some of Kyoko's stubbornly understated meanderings: in the context of the album, the attractive yet stillonly gently-smouldering "Strange About The Rain" sounds positively imposing, almost out-and-out pop. However, the willingness to demand concentration from the listener (Kyoko's sleeves used to say "play quiet", although the sleeve notes on "Humour Me" entreat a more reasonable "medium volume") contributes to the dynamics, with stunning effect on a song like "Clinging To The Records" in which a volcano of squalling guitar suddenly rises up from a previously becalmed songscape. The lyrics throughout, to take a phrase borrowed from a Mr Smith of Manchester, are cerebral (and) caustic.
Other highlights are provided by "Torn Anorak" (about the cruelty of the other boys at school: y'know, there are a few songs here which we could almost imagine Morrissey, of a certain vintage, having written!), the beautiful "The Southern 'R'" (which almost matches "The Company They Keep" for mournful pulchritude), and "Nasty Habit" which does the early to mid-period Beatnik Filmstars trick of being obviously a pearl of a song, despite valiant attempts to obscure its brilliance by making it as introspective, short and as lo-fi as possible.
The penultimate track, "The Tommy Cooper Affiliation Society" is another that stands out. With able assistance from the noble Rocker on Hammond *and* Vox, it's pacier and more percussive than much that preceded it, the keyboards and unabashed jauntiness making it sound in places like the breezier end of the Felt back catalogue. The closing "Good Conversations" is impressive in a very different way, a relatively restrained gem that comes alive thanks to a sweet clarinet part, but just as you're bedding down for a further few tear-jerking minutes it ends all too quickly and poignantly.
"Humour Me" is not an album that leaps from the speakers. Nor is it a record that can profitably be listened to while en route from A to B or otherwise buzzing distractedly around your daily business, given that much of the music and vocals are likely to be buried by the sound of your bus or train, or of the road alongside which your feet pound. Reserve yourself some special "me" time, curl up on your bed or sofa, turn the lights out and let this LP seep from your headphones: that's when it will really pay rewards. Sure, much of "Humour Me" is a downbeat little thing, but it's executed to perfection.
(In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times)
|Posted by Arthur on September 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM||comments (1)|
SOME THINGS CHANGE, SOME THINGS STAY THE SAME.
If you’re reading this then you are probably aware that I have been in other bands and there’s a good chance as you’re here, that you’ve liked one or two of them. But this is now, that was then. Some things change...
For me it was always about the songs. For some people it was more about the image or the scene attached to the band’s I’ve been in before. But not for me. It was always about the songs. When there were good songs around, I felt good. I didn't care if anyone bought them or not. When there was a shortage of good songs, I felt like it wasn't really worth bothering with...but then a good song would suddenly arrive and all would be well.
Now free from any shackles or things holding me down. It’s still only about the songs. These songs I feel are amongst the best I’ve ever done. They are different to things that I have done before, I’d say they were better. The next batch will probably be different to these, because I can’t control what comes out. I love music. I don’t believe in putting up barriers. I keep an open mind, I feel what’s in my heart, I open my mouth and songs fall out. It’s quite pleasing. It annoys some people, as they'd prefer the same sounds over and over. That’s fine, but they shouldn’t really expect me to deliver it for them.
I’m happy for you to call it whatever it is that makes you happy. Yes it was recorded at home with no budget so yes, I guess that makes it ‘lo-fi’. That doesn’t mean it sounds rubbish.
It’s pop music and it’s independently made, so if that makes it ‘indiepop’ in your mind, that is fine by me. Personally I’d just call it pop music from the heart. But I’m not sure there’s a scene or genre called ‘Pop Music From The Heart’ Maybe there should be. Maybe I've just started one. I hope you’ll give these new songs a chance. It's a record that perhaps takes a few plays through to really find it's place in your heart. You might find you love them as much as I do.
The boring side of doing music....(unless you're already signed)
I sent out around twenty CDR's of tracks from the album to various indie record lables. Two of them sent me a reply, both saying they really liked the songs, but didn't feel they were right for their label. Saying it was too 'odd' and a bit too 'acoustic'. Which are both fair points. Another two both said they thought it was one of the best things they'd heard in years, but couldn't release it because they had no money right now. The rest failed to even send a 'thanks but no' reply. Even though some of the people I sent them to actually know me! But it's okay. I console myself with the simple fact the very same thing happened to Galaxie 500, Elliott Smith, even The Beatles! In fact nearly all the bands who have been any good have at some point struggled to find a record label. Times are hard, money is tight, people feel the need to be sure of selling enough to make it worth while, so they'd prefer to play it safe. It's understandable, but it's not healthy for music. And the bigger labels? the ones who have got the money, well you know what they're like...
The album certainly doesn't 'fit' in with anything going on in popular music today, either in the mainstream (thankfully) or the underground (thankfully) but that's okay, I've never really felt comfortable being in a gang. I've always prefered to be an outsider. Remember some of the bands we all love and rate highly, such as Felt, The Smiths, Velvet Underground...(I could go on and on) all released records that didn't 'fit' at the time. None of those bands played it safe. Even Belle & Sebastian released their debut album in the middle of 'Brit-pop'. A quiet, reflective, melancholic, gentle and pretty record in the middle of new ladism, beer swilling, knees up, flag waving and big bombastic Oasis anthems. All the best music didn't fit. I've done what I felt was in my heart. I can do no more than that now, can I?
So no gimmicks, no scenes, no shouting, no demanding, no begging, no pleading, no moaning, no excuses. I have made a record I am totally proud of. There is nothing further to say.
The album is called 'Humour Me' and will be available as a CD (A Work Of Heart Records AWOH3) on November 1st and also as a download. It comes in a gatefold sleeve with A4 poster insert.
You can pre-order it now and will probably get yours before the actualy release date, but you won't get it immediately, so be patient!
I have made a few videos to go with a few of the songs. They are more short films than pop videos. Nothing really happens in them, but that's not to say they're not highly entertaining and enjoyable to watch, because, well, because they are.
Here's some information about the songs on the album...
I wrote three different sets of lyrics for this, and ended up using the one I hope puts across the idea of ‘ A new start, a fresh beginning and a positive outlook’ (the song is ‘set’ in film-esq style in 1985) In my head it sounded like a Pet Shop Boys song (the downbeat moody type) played by Tim Buckley! (I did say in my head!) The phasing in the middle bit took me ages to get right. But it was well worth it. I really like this a lot. You will too if you don’t expect an instant pop hit.
The Company They Keep
Paula’s vocals on this are amazing. They lift the song to such great heights for which I shall be eternally grateful. Possibly, this is the best song I’ve ever written. You might not agree, especially if you’re obsessed with the old Lo-Fi fuzz sounds, from things I've been involved with before. But that’s ok, you’re allowed to be wrong. It was going to be called ‘Liberation’ but I changed it because I didn’t want the first two tracks on the album to be one worded titles! (yes I’m that picky.)
Stories Of How We Never Got Anywhere
(Film on video page)
It reminded me of The Sea Urchins slightly, which I considered to be no bad thing. Just me and a guitar one take live. Harmonica over dub. Picky bits overdub. I was going to throw it away until John (ex Beatnik Filmstars) listened to it and said it was one of the best songs. I listened again and discovered his wasn’t wrong. Sometimes we all need someone to point out certain things to us. What’s it about? Work it out for yourselves.
Strange About The Rain
(Film on video page)
See EP info for details of Strange About The Rain.
The Gratification Files.
(Film on video page)
This was first recorded with a full band, but I felt that it killed the song. It didn’t leave any room for it to breathe. So I just sat down with a guitar and did it in one go. I feel completely satisfied it’s as near perfect as it should be. Is it based on a true story? Of course. But with embellishments for added entertainment. Actually this is the best song I've ever written.
The Sole Of Your Shoes.
This one was an experiment that worked so well, I could barely believe my luck. Tim played some weird sliding guitars, and everything just fell into place. I didn’t have any words so I just sang, and these words are what came out and they were spot on. Sometimes I do believe in the ‘first idea/best idea’ thing. Certainly in this case. They were obviously the correct words for the music, and when I realised what I’d sung, it all made perfect sense to me. I know exactly what and who it’s all about. It might be a ‘play it three times’ kind of song, but there’s nothing wrong with songs you have to listen to more than once to really grab you. Once it’s in, you’ll love it. But you have to let it get in. And I know that you’re sensible enough to do just that.
A sad song about getting beaten up at school. And despite some of the things in the song, actually happening to me at the vile secondary school I attended, the song isn’t actually about me. It was about a friend who went through some hideous bullying but at a different school from me. And whereas I soon sussed out how to avoid certain situations, and spent most of my school days skiving, down by the river. He couldn’t find any way of escaping and sadly took his own life at the age of 13. I often think of him, and I know that he’d have been so impressed and proud of the music that I have created over the years. He knew it was a passion I had inside me. I hope he’d be pleased with this song.
Clinging To The Records
This one was a tricky one to capture. I spent ages trying to work out why it sounded too rounded, and then I stripped it all away and it just sounded right. You have to get half way through before it all kicks in. But it’s worth the wait. The guitar at the end was recorded in a bathroom to give it the echo-sound.
The Southern ‘R’
More quiet acoustic strumming. This came about as two separate half finished songs, that I couldn’t find the endings for, then I realised that the two pieces were in fact part one and two of the same song! It’s what I call a love/hate song. I love it, you'll probably hate it! (I jest, you'd need a heart of stone not to love this!)
All Of Your Things.
The shortest song on the record. It’s short because the two lines say it all.
The Tommy Cooper Affiliation Society.
(Film on video page)
A huge pop monster of a song! It was not easy to do this with home recording equipment (and not hi-tech stuff either!) It really needed to be recorded in a top of the range studio, but how the hell am I going to justify spending hundreds of pounds on recording one song that’ll sell such a small quantity? So I did the best I could with what I had. I confess in my head I thought it should sound a bit like The Weather Prophets. But that’s not really what happened once the instruments and voices started to go down. It sort of took hold and ran away with itself, and that’s probably a good thing. Pretty obvious as to what it’s about…I’m incredibly pleased with my Harmonica playing on this. And played in one take too! I was a Tommy Cooper fan by the way. I think we’d have got on if we’d met. I did know someone who had met him a few times. Rocker played Hammond Organ and Vox Continental Organ. Handclaps were from assorted people who happened to be around. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the ghost of The Groove Farm past lurking towards the end of the song.
A song which takes me right back to things that happened during my school days. It's kind of funny and sad at the same time. Jez plays a mean clainet on this.
And that is that, it's all over and you instantly have the desire to play it again. Or at least I hope so.
Now head over to A Work Of Heart Records and order one!
|Posted by Arthur on September 4, 2012 at 7:50 AM||comments (0)|
I'm delighted to say that the first Our Arthur EP will be coming out on October 15th. Followed closely by the album 'Humour Me'
The EP is called 'Strange About The Rain' and in total there are six tracks.
'Strange About the Rain' is an old song I made up many years ago, but back then I couldn't get it to sound right and it was shelved. My friend Jez Butler (Death By Chocolate) has done all the orchestral parts, and I think it's come out rather good. I guess you could say it's in the style of big 60's pop ballads, except for the fact it was recorded at home with no budget! There's a, (for want of a better description) 'shoegazey glow' to the song. Which really means the guitars get fuzzy and build up to loud points.
The other songs are
'Event Arts '92' Another old song I was messing about playing the guitar and just started singing it, and we quickly recorded it. Simple two takes, throw a xylophone on top for good messure, done.
'The Middle Class Epidemic' I played to a friend who said it was weird! It's okay, it's not the first time that's happened. The song is about Bristol. Maybe it is a bit weird. Very loud bass, simple stumming acoustic guitar. Give it a couple spins and I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do.
'This Car Will Not Drive' A bit of a pop jangle type song, but with country-ish tints all over it. In a 60's pop country kind of way (ie, not actually very country at all). It's more like a Sarah records band plays a country song than it is Johnny Cash (sadly!). Actually I prefer to think it's a bit like Moose (remember them?) And Scott from Secret Shine played some lovely guitars on it. I had a problem with the song and couldn't get a finished version I liked, so I was about to scrap it, when a friend (Michael Barrett) said he'd take all the seperate peices, and a few weeks later he sent me this finshed mix, and I thought it was smashing.
'You Make My Heart Beat Faster' A strange almost mantra style one line song (although more a piece of experimental music than a song) that I started over ten years ago. I guess I've used a few old songs on this batch of recordings to clear my head of them and make way for lots of new things. Not intentionally, pehaps subconsciously. 'Heart Beat' features a number of indie pop names each singing a line of the song, while synths make odd sounds and drums clatter and electronics crackle away like there are mice nibbling at the electric cables. It's not what you'd call a radio friendly hit, but I like it lots.
'Strange About The Rain (No Kestrels Demo Mix)' Which is quite different to the proper version. It has different solos and no orchestra parts. But I like it almost as much as the final version. All in all I think it's a rather special EP. I hope you'll love it too. The album will be following in just a few weeks. More about that very soon.
You can buy the EP from A Work Of Heart Records, follow the link here
There is a video for 'Strange About The Rain' on the video page. Enjoy!