When helping to set up the label Irregular Patterns, along with exploring the more challenging aspects of music genres, I (for my part) wanted to find a home for the classic rock song. Those carefully crafted songs from bands such as early R.E.M, dare I say early Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, as well as Tom Waits, etc.
Songs, which are not over not produced, still rough around the edges and don’t layer guitars over guitars for no good reason. An artist prepared to explore the fragility of human life, along with its beauty and absurdity. The journey led me to Andre Levy and his band Paper Fishes.
Borrowed Time is taken from the forthcoming album, Instant Happiness, which is neither instant nor happy. The album, which I have been lucky to hear prior to release welds together tales of humanity and family tensions, set in a Damien Jurado-like love of Americana, lo-fi rock, folk and barroom ballads.
The death of Levy’s father and their strained relationship casts a long shadow over the album. The tracks ebb and flow across musical genres with little attempt to hide the scars and resentments between father and son, or the regrets and disillusionment of Levy and his brothers. This is all brutally exposed on their ironically titled debut LP. The album pulls no punches from the opening track Vanishing Point to the finale Borrowed Time.
Released in 1992, Bone Machine was the 10th Studio album from Tom Waits. Back in the early 90s music mags regularly featured a free cassette tape, which contained a selection of tracks from the recently released albums. This was my introduction to bone machine. A cassette, which included the track The Earth Died Screaming. Unlike CD’s or streaming devices, the cassette format made skipping between tracks a bit of an art form, especially when driving.
The effect of being pinned in your car, having to endure all types of music, you would not usually select with limited ability to skip tracks certainly helps educate your taste. By the way, the album cover was taken by Jesse Dylan, Sir Bob’s son.
Tom Waits awakes from his hibernation with a collaboration with Marc Ribot. An anti-fascist folk song with an accompanying video, which also has a very strong anti-Trump theme. The track is taken from Robot’s album Songs of Resistance 1948-2018, which is due for release on 14th September 2018 via ANTI-.
Ways & Means features original ‘grown up’ children’s story collaborations by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art. The project supports NGOs and nonprofit organisations advancing children’s causes around the world including Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National and more. View a literary mixtape that explains the project here
I first came across Tom Waits in the early 80s. Some corny Saturday evening pop quiz was polluting the airwaves on TV. A giggling teenage wanna be pop star panelist was shown a snippet of Waits and asked a question. The lost expression was magnificently matched with Waits who sounded like a saw mill misfiring. Its was an interesting time to be introduced to Waits who had recently married Kathleen Patricia Brennan. Waits would later describe his relationship with Brennan as a paradigm shift in his musical development. After releasing the Heartattack and Vine album in 1980 Waits would release Swordfishtrombones in 1983. Swordfishtrombones marked a sharp turn in Waits musical direction. Not only was it the first album he produced for himself, but the paradigm shift Brennan had brought started to bear fruit with abstract musical structures replacing his hallmark piano. The track playing that Saturday evening was In the Neighbourhood. It was the start of a musical journey, which has stayed with me to this day.