Right! Been a while since I’ve posted anything in here so time to rectify that with a round-up of what I’ve been up to.
Since the Working Boys single I’ve released more music on the Bandcamp page. First off is Bucky, the second full album from which Working Boys was taken. It starts with the studio version of A Fire In New York City and continues in a similar eclectic vein to Little Rockets. The Kinks, The Move, Nilsson, Bruce Springsteen – lots of variety I think.
Next up is the Pancho Got Soul! EP. Four songs (and a bonus one if you download the EP) in a lo-fi garage-soul style. A bit of a departure for me but I think it’s still obviously Ballard.
I Won’t Be Coming Home was recently played on a couple of shows. First off was Eddie Piller’s Modcast. I’m particularly chuffed that this was played as Eddie is the head of Acid Jazz and is well known for his love of all things Mod and Soul. On that particular show was an author called Tony Fletcher. Tony wrote Dear Boy, the excellent biography of Keith Moon. He commented how much he loved the song and I’m thrilled to say that a couple of days later I met Tony at one of his book signings and gave him a copy of Little Rockets as well as I Won’t Be Coming Home.
Which brings me to the second show it was played on, as when Tony returned home to the US he played it on his FM radio show over there. Both shows can be heard at the links below.
And at last, I’ve started gigging. Just me and an acoustic at the moment but it’s going well. I recently opened for Nineties popsters Space at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club. It’s a great venue, my set was well received and I’m hoping it may lead to further support slots there. A couple of days after that I opened for Suburban Sons at the Dog & Partridge in Bolton, my musical home. Always a great crowd and I’m pleased to say I’ll be back there on August 24th, taking part in the Hushed Puppies acoustic festival. It’s free entry and runs over the weekend so come on down!
Next up for me is a recording session in London with Dana Myzer of Cotton Mather (see earlier post). We’re recording at Press Play Studio which is owned by Andy Ramsay of Stereolab. Andy will be engineering and I imagine we’ll all be producing in a collaborative effort. I’ve no idea what will come of it but I’m sure we’ll get a couple of cracking tunes out of it.
I’m also rehearsing with a full band. No idea when we’ll be gigging but I’m sure it won’t be long. Keep your eyes peeled!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!