Neil Halstead: no lemon, no melon…
After the move and living out of boxes and luggage, I’m feeling much better today thank you, especially now that the electronics are in place and I can listen to the new tunes as I used to do back in the California office. Digital files on the MacBook Pro, running iTunes or Spotify with a black wire attached to an amplifier and small bookshelf speakers is how I roll. I haven’t listened to anything new since Aimee Mann, and today I’ve been looking at a stack of discs and an inbox filled with download links. Spent the morning putting them where they belong and got ready for a morning of discovery, and now I’m stuck on just one album. Third time I’m listening to it.
Ed, I saw Harpo Marx ram Oprah W. aside.
As you can see, I’ve replaced the avatar with a real picture. Decided a new start should be just that and anyway, I feel no need to hide. Anymore? I don’t know if that’s what I was doing, but here I am.
Tarzan raised Desi Arnaz’ rat.
I’m sorry Mr. Neil Halstead, but until a few hours ago I’d never heard of you nor your work with Slowdive or Mojave 3. I suspect it was my loss, as this new album of yours is simply smashing. It’s funny how when you do your research on the internet about someone, the same lines and quotes keep coming up, over and over. In Neil’s case there is always a reference to Slowdive being a shoegazer band, and that he’s “one of Britain’s most respected songwriters”. Now there’s a lot to live up to, and if it was me I’d track down the source of that quote and shoot them. But here’s what the first track on the new album Palindrome Hunches sounds like so you can draw your own conclusion.
Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
You might be hearing about Neil in the next few weeks as it looks like the publicity machine at Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. There are online stories at the MTV site, and Rolling Stone. Looks like they are going to promote him mainstream, probably aiming toward Johnson’s fans, who know him from his extensive touring as “the opening act”. Get a grip cowboy, don’t let a little thing like pursuing success and exposure taint your feeling about this album or the artist.
Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
If I may suggest, here is a link to a page on Neil’s site where you can stream and listen to the new album. Hearing it for yourself is so much better than me or anyone else telling you about it. The release date is next week on September 11. If you’re afraid to click the magic spot, let me share another song.
Let O’Hara gain an inn in a Niagara hotel.
Do you hear Nick Drake or Townes in there? Jeff Tweedy or Sam Beam? That’s what his bio up on Amazon would have you believe, and I’m not sure if that’s really someone’s opinion or just one of those marketing tools that help the consumer connect the dots and part with their cash. Which is the problem sometimes with the internet, not knowing your sources. Nevertheless, I really like this album. And it might make me take the time to listen to more Neil Halstead. Or see him in October, when he comes to the US for a tour that will take him from this coast to that one.
May a moody baby doom a yam.
The wonderful LA Music Blog and Kristin Houser has done my job for me, and published an interview with the man. Your choice if you ‘d like to read it all, but here is a little cut and paste job:
You’ve revealed that your song “Spin The Bottle” was closely tied to some problems you were having with your wife at the time you wrote it. To what extent does your personal life influence your music?
Honestly, I think making music is inherently connected with your life and all the stuff that happens in it. There is no separation, so sometimes my songs can get a little personal.
How does Palindrome Hunches differ thematically or musically from your previous solo efforts, Sleeping on Roads (2002) and Oh! Mighty Engine (2008)?
I would say it’s a little darker, musically and lyrically. I also recorded this one with a band, the first time I have done that. It has a real continuity of sound throughout and was recorded live over 4 days in a primary school music room in Wallingford, UK. The band is called “The Band of Hope” and are amazing.
You’ve been in bands or touring solo since you were 17, first with Slowdive, then Mojave 3. Did you ever consider another career option? What would Neil Halstead be doing if he wasn’t making music?
I think lack of career options has certainly influenced my musical career I can’t imagine what I would do…at the risk of getting a bit “tap,” I’d probably be a haberdasher of sorts.
Neil Halstead Tour Dates:
09/28 – Atlanta, GA – Eddie’s Attic
09/30 – Raleigh, NC – The Casbah
10/02 – Arlington, VA – IOTA
10/03 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
10/10 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
10/12 – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s
10/13 – Madison, WI – High Noon
10/16 – Boulder, CO – E Town
10/17 – Denver, CO – Walnut Room
10/19 – Seattle, WA – Rendezvous Seattle Art’s Fest
10/20 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
10/23 – San Francisco, CA Café du Nord
10/24 – Santa Cruz, CA – Crepe Place
10/25 – Santa Barbara, CA Club Mercy
10/26 – Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s
10/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Largo at the Coronet