For the last year or so I’ve been playing guitar and singing in a band called Local Sports Team, alongside my regular collaborator David Madoc Roberts – who’s played on a few of my records, in my band, and directed two of my music videos – as well as our friends Tomos Jones (ex-PWL band circa 2008) and Shane Wilson.
We’ve finally got around to recording an EP called ‘Latvia’ which is out to buy tomorrow. If you’re in Cardiff you’ll be able to buy it at a launch gig at Undertone – also tomorrow, or from Spillers as soon as I drop some copies off. People further afield can listen/buy and download it from bandcamp.
Local Sports Team is very much not ‘my new band’, it’s a democratic four way collaboration with all the songs on the EP written from scratch in the practice room, in some cases before I joined. Whilst I have ended up being the main singer and lyricist – at least on the songs we’ve recorded – the words are increasingly based on things we’ve come up with as a band. Reviews have used the word ‘comedy’ but that does tend to conjure up associations of excruciating ‘whack whack oops’ type songs, I prefer ‘light hearted’. The songs are variously about obsessive fandom, undercomplicating things, Facebook, losing yourself in a crowd, and a giant reptile woman attacking Cardiff.
The most in depth review is by Ben Likes Music here:
I see Local Sports Team as a band making fun leftfield alternative rock music, serious about doing something of our own, but not in a very serious way. The influences I scribbled down for our press release included Battles, Deerhoof, Pavement, Life Without Buildings, Electrelane, Mogwai, Future of the Left and a few others I’ve forgotten. Reviewers have mentioned Caribou, Yo La Tengo, Jarcrew, and Hirameki Hi-Fi.
There’s an interesting dynamic going on because I think we’re each influenced by music which the other three really quite dislike. Shane is an unashamed, unironic lover of mainstream chart music. David brings lots of metal influences to his drumming. Whereas Tom would happily listen to an endless parade of straightforward punk rock music (think McClusky and the Thermals) for the rest of his life. I’m not going for anything specific with my contributions – I get to ‘play guitar’ a bit more than I do with my own stuff, and I’ve always thought Stephen Malkmus was my biggest guitar playing influence (though I’m clearly not up there in terms of proficiency), whether that comes through or not I don’t know.
So yeah, there’s my take on LST – the others would doubtless see it quite differently. Not bearing sole responsibility for every aspect is a new thing for me. Interested in what you all think.
In other news, I’ve finished whatever the audio equivalent of principal photography is on a new solo record, release date tbc.
I’ve come to think of it as a ‘cubist folk’ album, much more relaxed and open than ‘The Signal and the Noise’. The intention this time was to go for sonic coherence throughout, where previously eclecticism has been the order of the day. Mostly based around acoustic guitars but with greater or lesser amounts of computer interventions – reslicing, granular synthesis, arpeggiators etc, and uses of space (field recordings – using acoustically sub-optimal rooms etc). I tried to limit my use of synthesisers, breaking this rule only when that was the only way to get the sound I wanted. Eleanor Tyrrell has once again contributed some beautiful violin playing which also gets chopped up a little, and I’m hoping to add a few guest singers here and there.
Because it was recorded in a single place, and will forever be linked with that place in my mind, I think I’m going to call it ‘Dinas Powys’. I think the slightly arbitrary title reflects the fact that this is just a collection of songs – there was no overarching theme guiding the writing this time, though I think one has emerged organically.
Anyway, that record isn’t out yet… Latvia is. So go listen!