Posts Tagged ‘Charles Watson’

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The Surfing Magazines record has an immediate and unique energy – an old quality. It feels handmade. Analogue. Fun. In keeping with those themes – and because it’s nearly impossible to get every member of such a super-group in the same place at the same time – the plan was to do all the videos in one go. Just to keep it fresh – that location was a boat. That boat being The Grand Cru, a boat Pete Townsend made into a studio (apparently so him and Eric Clapton could make a record at sea). The results are three videos that revel in their unpolished existence. Long Live The Surfing Magazines.” – Piers Dennis, director.

The Surfing Magazines are a garage rock supergroup. The band contains one half of Slow Club and two thirds of The Wave Pictures. Dominic Brider, who has played with many local bands and is an extremely groovy dude, completes the line-up on drums. 

Band Members
Charles Watson, David Tattersall, Dominic Brider, Franic Rozycki

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The Debut solo material from Charles Watson (Slow Club, The Surfing Magazines) “I wanted ‘No Fantare’ to have that feeling, to capture the thing just before it’s perfect, while it’s still human and fun.” Charles Watson

The London based songwriter/producer/writer and member of indie duo Slow Club and garage-rock super group The Surfing Magazines, with members of The Wave Pictures – is flexing his production muscles on this sublime new offering. It’s a grand opening gambit that ramps up and up and up over the course of its five-and-a-half minutes, touching on Beirut during the process and ending on a guitar solo that collapses into disdended lo-fi tranquillity.

Charles debut solo material ‘No Fanfare‘ – a song that effortlessly evolves from stripped back guitars to a warm, almost wall of sound crescendo. a sprawling opus stuffed with quirky synthwork and iridescent brass.

The biggest difference on this record for me is that it’s my producing debut,” Watson says. “I’ve worked with producers in the past but in more of an artist role so this record felt quite different for me. I worked alongside David Glover at Tesla Studios in Sheffield. I set out trying to make no demos and for the whole record to be performances that felt brand new. Intimate and dream-like was the name of the game. I took a few trips away to write words but wrote most of them in the medical library at The Wellcome Collection. It’s free and is very warm in the winter.”

Watson recruited a few pals to play on “No Fanfare”, including Hot Club De Paris’ Paul Rafferty and Guillemots’ Fyfe Dangerfield, which is the first taste of solo material rooted in his literary side that “takes inspiration from the reoccuring themes and language of JG Ballard novel Hello America.”

Slow Club's new album, One Day All Of This Won't Matter Anymore, comes out August 19.

The video for “Two Cousins,” a breakout track from Slow Club’s second album, 2011’s Paradise, still induces a smile. With a pair of impeccably dressed gentlemen high-kicking and stutter-step dancing to the song’s fractured drum beat, gliding along with plinking piano notes, the clip is a joyful introduction to the Sheffield, England duo’s charm. Five years later, that song sounds like an artifact of a band in happier times — a stark contrast to the winsome, world-weary iteration of Slow Club heard on the fittingly titled new album, One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore.

The band’s music has always struck a balance between tugging heartstrings and uplifting with bittersweet voices and striking melodies. Yet with One Day, Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson release their emotions and vulnerabilities more than ever. Sequenced as an intimate he-said, she-said narrative, the album’s 12 songs seem to find the songwriters embodying opposite ends of a collapsing relationship, with each equally accepting and doling out blame.

On the opener “Where the Light Gets Lost,” Watson sits alone, reeling and lost, knowing he missed his window. “I had my chance, and this is letting go,” he muses over a smoldering groove. In the bluesy dirge “Ancient Rolling Sea,” he describes blustery upheaval — “You’ve got your battles, and they rage like an ancient rolling sea” — then declares, “I’ll always be by your side.”

From Taylor’s end, the silvery R&B ballad “Come on Poet” unfurls in the chorus: “Did you think it was over? ‘Cuz so did I / I can’t take on the tiger while I’m still this child / and if something was worth saving, I’d have thought we’d try / it’s getting so hard to remember to be fair and kind.” The swaying gospel waltz “Give Me Some Peace” is a plea for relief. “And as toxic as ever, it turns into terror / my freedom gone to grief / give me some peace,” she sings about her partner’s reckless behavior, which threatens to pull them both under — all while gnarled guitar and voices soar to a climactic peak.

And on “Rebecca Casanova,” when Taylor sings, “And I don’t wanna be the one you call ‘the girl who brought me down’ / and I don’t wanna be guilty of knowing I could have let you out to find her sooner,” the song’s tick-tock guitar rhythms and glittery synth lines recast what could be a plaintive lament as a bouncy pop gem.

One Day is rich and nuanced, showing how Slow Club’s sonic sensibility is elastic enough to fold in an array of styles. While switching from folk (“In Waves”) to jangling rock (“Silver Morning”), pining torch song (“Sweetest Grape on the Vine”) to rollicking country (“Champion”) and even slinky disco glitz (“Tattoo”), the album remains impressively cohesive. That’s thanks in part to producer and songwriter Matthew E. White and the in-house band at his Spacebomb Studios in Richmond, Va. Their natural chemistry can be heard in the album’s familiar feel and warm instrumentation: mellow Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer keyboards, swooning pedal steel and tasteful guitar licks with strings that blossom around Watson and Taylor’s close harmonies.

Whether these songs are biographical or fictional (or likely, a bit of both), Slow Club paints honest pictures of complications in romance and companionship, commitment and betrayal, with things that cannot be unsaid. While the title could be easily be viewed as expressing exasperation in the face of overwhelming struggle, it’s also reassuringly calming. No matter how heartbroken you are at the moment, if you can endure, you’ll be stronger.

Slow Club return with their woozy new single ‘Ancient Rolling Sea.’ Available now from Moshi Moshi Records, ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’ is taken from Slow Club’s forthcoming full-length album, which is set for release later this year.

How do you keep a band interesting after ten years? It’s a question Slow Club’s Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor must have asked themselves as they started work on their fourth album. From the cute indie-folk of their 2009 debut Yeah So, to the wonky-pop of its follow up Paradise, two years later, to the sophisticated, polished soul of 2014’s Complete Surrender, this is a band that have never stood still, going out of their way to present a new version of themselves on every release, while maintaining the spirit, the warmth and the chemistry that has marked their music since they formed in 2006.

“This song felt as though it just did not want to arrive for a long long time,” Charles says of ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’. “I worked on the music for the whole time we were writing, and the words just landed at the last minute. With the approach I took on lyrics I wanted it to be more conversational. I wanted it to be direct, as if it were being whispered in your ear.”

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Produced by the master of Southern-gothic folk, Matthew E. White, and performed with his in-house band at Richmond, Virgina’s Spacebomb Studios, ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’ is a slow-burning hymn packed with wistful guitars layered over Charles lamenting chant, “By your side, by your side, I’ll always be by your side…”

“2015 was a year I don’t think any of our friends will look back on with fondness,” Charles explains. “When something really awful happens it can galvanise people and bring them together in a way that’s really hard to image. I learned what a lot of my dearest friends are made of, and its pure magic”.

Tickets for the following shows: smarturl.it/SlowClubLive
24/05 – Coventry, UK – Warwick Arts Centre
25/05 – St Albans, UK – The Horn
26/05 – Poole, UK – Mr Kyps
27/05 – Southampton, UK – Hampshire Joiners Arms
28/05 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern, Colston Hall
30/05 – Hereford, UK – HowTheLightGetsIn2016: Philosophy & Music Festival
31/05 – Nottingham, UK – Bodega Social Club
01/06 – Ashford, UK – Revelation St Mary’s
02/06 – Brighton, UK -Komedia (Brighton)
03/06 – Margate, UK – Tom Thumb Theatre
16/07 – Salisbury, UK – Wiltshire Larmer Tree Festival
21/08 – Powys, Wales – Green Man Festival

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Slow Club were always going to produce a classic album with superb musicianship and such songwriting talents of Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson they are a powerful partnership, the Sheffield based Boy/Girl duo have played some wonderful energetic live sets but now with the added band members including the wonderful Sweet Baboo the band have just got better and are now headlining festivals. Formed in 2005 when teenage friends they have powerful pop songs and charismatic vocals with influences of all genres, the new album “Complete Surrender” is more immaculate produced pop and at last I hope everyone appreciates this wonderful quality band catch them at Tramlines or Deershed festival,