Posts Tagged ‘The Party’

Aldous Harding - Party

An artist of rare calibre, Aldous Harding does more than sing; she conjures a singular intensity.  Her body and face a weapon of theatre, Harding dances with steeled fervor, baring her teeth like a Bunraku puppet’s gnashing grin.

Her debut release with 4AD Records, “Party” (produced with the award-winning John Parish; PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) introduces a new pulse to the stark and unpopulated dramatic realm where the likes of Kate Bush and Scott Walker reside.

Comprising a formidable clutch of songs, 2017’s Party sees Harding shape-shift through a variety of roles: chanteuse, folk singer and balladeer – all executed with her twisted touch of humour, hubris and quiet horror.  In other words, she’s having a good time.  Stretching her limbs with playful cunning; every note, word and arrangement posed with intellect and inventiveness.

Created in Parish’s hometown of Bristol, “Party” saw Aldous Harding depart her New Zealand base in the antipodes for an intensive two-week immersion in the studio.  Articulating her ambitions for “Party” to Parish was a galvanizing process for Harding, met with stunning results.  The pair developed a near non-verbal shorthand, audibly evident in a raft of musical contributions from Parish.  Alongside such special guests as Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas (having worked with Parish and toured with Aldous, it only took asking once), there is an exhilarating sense of risk throughout the record as Harding’s muscular wingspan extends.  Teased out with inflections of experimental instrumentation and arrangements; “Party” is always anchored by Aldous’s intimidating command of her own songs.

First single ‘Horizon’ is a lover’s call to arms, powerful for its brutal simplicity and rawness of feeling, love and loathing colliding to devastating effect.  “Aldous Harding repeats the line as a mantra, as a truth, as a reality. It’s as if the gift of life is right here, with all its beauty and its limitations”, said NPR.

‘Imagining My Man’ commands an air of delicacy as Aldous explores the curiosity of a lover’s idiosyncrasies; steering listeners into a state of intense intimacy laced with hyperactive shots, dirgey saxophone and Harding’s aching voice.  The track is one of two that Mike Hadreas lends his inimitably sultry vocals to, the other being the intimate Party closer ‘Swell Does The Skull’.

‘Blend’ sensitively ushers the mood of Harding’s flourishment throughout Party.  Its opening lines a nod to the mood of Harding’s last record; sameness is quickly quashed with an electronic drumbeat and the announcement of Aldous Harding as an artist of stirring ambition and trajectory.

The album’s eponymous single ‘Party’ harks to Aldous’ earlier work; delicately pulling at the threads of a seemingly late-night love affair.  Again, it’s not long until the rug is pulled out, with a searing chorus – Harding’s electrifying vocal accompanied by a choir of women and waves of percussive bass clarinet – piercing the balloon of expectations around Harding’s new record with effortless vigour.


Andy Shauf’s The Party is one of the most criminally underrated albums of 2016. Truly beautiful in its production alone, The Party focuses on orchestral arrangements that vary between grandiose and understated, while its upfront vocal crispness gives Shauf a quiet confidence. The Party serves as the ultimate outsider’s guidebook. It focuses on an array of situations you never want to find yourself in: being the first person to arrive to a party while visibly annoying the host, counting on someone to stick with you throughout the night and having them ditch, and pining over painfully unrequited love. His second single, “Quite Like You” focuses on overstepping the boundaries between friends and lovers, and asks the listener to choose between allegiances with friends or with potential romantic conquests. Andy Shauf’s 2015 debut, The Bearer of Bad News, announced the arrival of a new talent possessing more than a passing fancy for the darkened pop chime of Elliott Smith and Paul Simon. But on the Saskatchewan-based musician’s 2016 ANTIRecords debut The Party, his subtle and gorgeous tunes capture the characters, ebbs, and ending of a run-of-the-mill suburban fete with all the mature songwriting sensibility

The final track, “Martha Sways,” is a simple tune accompanied by hushed vocals, heart wrenching orchestral lines and lightly plucked guitar. It asks the listener to confront the ghosts of his or her own past within the prism of new love. Ultimately, if you ever want to get misty about the past, feel your feelings, and have a good cry: this is the record for you

“The Worst In You” by Andy Shauf from the album ‘The Party,’ available now on Anti (World Excl. Canada) and Arts & Crafts (Canada) Hope everyone is having a decent summer. I’m writing with a few updates and some tour date announcements. My new album The Party came out May 20th on ANTI- / Arts & Crafts, and I’ve been busy touring in Europe and North America with my band ever since.  An understated concept album of sorts, it’s a portrait of a party narrated from several different perspectives. Sonically it’s delicious, with super dry muffled 70s drum sounds, syrupy and well-arranged clarinet & string accompaniments, and Andy’s addictingly strange vocal inflections. The lyrics and their interconnections are a world unto themselves too though, portraying humans quietly obsessed with seeking connection and self-destruction.

We also just announced a fall North American tour which will be our first proper headline tour for the record, and we’re happy to be joined by Scattered Clouds for our Western dates, and Chris Cohen in the East. We’ll also be returning to Europe this October;


Songs written, performed, arranged and produced by Andy Shauf
Strings performed by Colin Nealis

Recorded by Andy Shauf at Studio One in Regina, Saskatchewan
Mixed by Noah Georgeson at Banner Mountain Studios in
Los Angeles, California

Andy Shauf (Credit: Geoff FitzGerald)

Canadian singer  songwriter Andy Shauf has had quite the year, his second album “The Party2 was released to massed critical acclaim, and a Polaris Prize nomination, and he’s spent most of the rest of it touring the world with a series of packed solo shows, and prestigious support slots. This week Andy Schauf has shared the video to The Party’s stand out moment, the lyrically sublime, “Quite Like You”.

Like much of the album  The Party, “Quite Like You2 is an acutely observed tale of the mundane dramas of suburban living. Andy narrates a tale of failed, drunken flirtation with his best friends oft-mistreated girlfriend. Musically it’s something of a departure for Schauf , building around an almost bossa-nova beat, and a prominent pulsing bass-line. A timely reminder of one of the year’s most intriguing albums, and the animated video is fantastic too.

The Party is out now via Anti-. Andy Shauf tours the UK in February,

Have you ever been to a party and wondered what all the other insecure and troubled souls are feeling around you? Standing in a corner wishing you had stayed at home or reflecting that the big spot on your nose is pulsating like a simmering volcano? This is the theme of Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf’s third album “The Party” which seeks to articulate the perspective of different attendees to such a gathering in the form of individually dedicated songs. Shauf clearly leans to that era of seventies soft rock and is often viewed as the “Saskatchewan heir to Elliott Smith”. After listening to this fine album over the past days the nearest comparison is probably Josh Rouse. He also is a singer who can pen a fine melody that after repeated listens seem like they have always been part of your musical upbringing.

It came as no surprise when Andy Shauf’s new album The Party was released that it would be so much more than just a group of songs put out to be listened to. As the genius songwriter that he is, he created each song as a character at The Party. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; this album is a masterpiece that will ring out for years to come as we all come to realize we are dealing with one of the next true greats of song writing in Canada.

“The Magician” by Andy Shauf from the album ‘The Party,’ available now on Anti (World Excl. Canada) and Arts & Crafts (Canada)