In anticipation of the next album, titled Bucky, I’m releasing Working Boys as a free/name your price single. Also included are two single-exclusive tracks, All Rock’n'Roll and a special version of album opener, A Fire In New York City.
Recorded in New Jersey with my good friends The Smoove Sailors, it’s a live band performance with a one take vocal overdubbed. The song was recorded in a studio in Jersey City that overlooks the Hudson River and beyond that, Manhattan.It was a truly inspiring place to record a song I’d written especially for the occasion.
The single can be streamed live and downloaded from my Bandcamp page:
I wrote a little piece on my Facebook page about an email I got last night. It’s reproduced here in full.
So, I actually got this email last night whilst in the pub. I’ll copy it here:
You don’t know me but I just wanted to say hello and tell you that I really like your music. Found you on a power pop blog and just wanted to say hello.
All the best and again, the music’s great.
Now, as he said, I don’t know him. I thought it was nice of him to take the time to write to me.
So this morning, I read it again and smiled. Included at the bottom of his email was a link to his Linkedin profile. I clicked on it and discovered that Dana Myzer is the drummer of the excellent US power-pop band, Cotton Mather and also the drummer for excellent UK power-pop band, Farrah.
Cotton Mather’s album, Kontiki, is included in the NME Top 100 Albums You’ve Never Heard. It was picked by Noel Gallagher.
I’m still reeling from the idea that someone in such a great band (TWO great bands!) took the time to listen to my music and actually write to me. It means such a lot.
And that goes for everyone who’s bought the album and enjoyed it – I really appreciate it.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. Maybe Dana will be including it on his Top 100 Albums You’ve Never Heard? Maybe I’ll get the chance to support him the next time he’s playing in the UK? More likely none of the above, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that sometimes, people are just really, really nice.
So, the CD cases have arrived and the CD’s themselves arrive next week. Each one will be a completely unique edition so I need to let you all know what happens when you buy one. If.
The standard cover has my face on it, from the eyes upwards. When you buy one I’d like to draw your face on it instead. This is the first copy, done for my good friend Dick.
So, if you want to order one now, before it goes on Bandcamp, here’s what you need to do.
Email me: email@example.com
I’ll need your address and your favourite photo of yourself. Or any other photo as long as it’s not rude. If you just want my face on it then let me know but it would be much more fun if it was your own face.
It’s £5 if you’re in the UK. Again, send the payment via PayPal to the email address above. Shipping is included (Shipping to Europe is £3 and £5 to the rest of the world).
I think that’s probably all you need to know. Time for me to get organised!
A quick glance to the left should show you that the new album, Little Rockets, is now released.
It’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about this album. Written and recorded in ten days, mixed into a valve compressor and mastered in mono, it’s the most honest album I’ve ever done. Most of it was one take only and you’re sure to spot the mistakes if you listen closely. I say the detail doesn’t matter, it’s all about the energy that you get with that style of recording.
Things you should know:
You can download it for £6
There will be a limited edition hand-made CD out fairly soon which will cost £5 – this is because I want to encourage people to buy the physical format of the album (you’ll still get a download with it)
Send me your photo and I’ll draw it on the cover, making each CD completely unique (details on how to do that will be on Band Camp)
You can visit the Band Camp page here – http://ballardpop.bandcamp.com/album/little-rockets
Head on over to my Band Camp page and you’ll see I’ve released an EP title No Pockets. Starting with Dead Jennifer, the track that was originally going to be a B-Side for Pretty Colours, it also features four other songs.
Tales of a girl killed by a motorbike, a man who gets caught driving too fast, a chap whose Mum has sewn his trouser pockets up and growing up in the 1970’s it’s lo-fi, catchy and cheap!
Sunday is a day of pottering around so I’ve put together a video for the B-side to the Pretty Colours single. As with the songs on Little Rockets, this tune was written, recorded and mixed in a couple of hours. The song, as ever, is king. Enjoy!
So, a few weeks ago I released a new album. It was a ‘proper’ recording of an album (Presley Widows) I did over ten years ago. Took the old songs and recorded them with decent drum sounds, better gear etc. and let everybody hear it.
I then intended to have a break and start recording some country-rock in the New Year. But I had a tune in my head that I really needed to get down. A fuzzy, poppy guitar song. So I recorded it quickly, paying no attention to sonic quality. Everything was one take and most of it was the first take.
I loved the whole process of just going for it so much that I did another one in the same style. And another. In ten days I’d written and recorded ten songs. And to be honest (apologies to anyone who has bought Presley Widows) it’s the best thing I’ve done. In it you can hear a freedom that is missing from the other songs I’ve done. Presley Widows does get part of the way there as it’s a collection of songs I wrote in a similar manner, but re-recording them probably took a lot of the energy away. With the new collection of songs the energy is everything.
I shared it with a few friends who could listen to it online. The response was great. My favourite review was this one from a Twitter friend called Monkey Picks;
Like if Ray Davies, Evan Dando, Billy Childish and J Mascis were stuck in a lift and made a record to pass the time.
It’s also been compared to Queens of the Stone Age and Beck. Anyone knowing my previous output may well raise an eyebrow at this but I think those comparisons have a ring of truth about them. I don’t claim to be anywhere near as good but I do agree this collection of songs has elements of those artists.
Funnily enough though, the artists I was drawing on for inspiration were a little older (aside from Ray Davies); Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Harry Nilsson and Roy Wood were all in my head as I recorded the album. Artists who were often left alone and allowed to do whatever they liked. Not having a label myself it was quite easy for me to do that.
The album, Little Rockets, will be out soon – as soon as I’ve filmed a video for the opening song, Pretty Colours.