Thank you to everyone who downloaded my ’52’ album. It is now unavailable pending me figuring out what on Earth to do with all those songs. You have a similar conundrum in the form of 52 songs on your hard drives without a clue to their content and quality.

They may not all be up your alley… there is for example a nine minute long spoken word and dissonance piece called ‘The Devil’s Prayer’ which I recorded with the talented actor Jenny Mae Morgan for Halloween as well as the aggressive Omnichord-punk of ‘We Need To Talk’. There’s the sub-Warp dance-experiment of a track ‘There Is No German Word For Efficiency’ or the poorly recorded, jokey ‘Please Don’t Die, JB’ which was written to keep my housemate from losing consciousness after she sliced her thumb off at my birthday party.

With the hit and miss nature and obvious quality control issues of writing a song EVERY damn week I thought I would list ten of my favourites to give you a ‘crack’ into the album…

2. Meg Shelton, The Witch Of Woodplumpton
The tale of Meg and some of things that occurred to her as a witch but really more about how men will use the excuse of witchcraft to treat women horribly. Will eventually rerecord this with strings to have a real ‘Danse Macabre’ feel. [Side note – I did have a woman threaten to put a hex on me at a gig I played in Antwerp last year because she thought I was actually condoning the burning/burying alive of witches. Maybe I should stick to playing this song in countries where English is the first language or at least work on my Flemish…]

10. Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe (Rights Reserved)
Without a doubt this is the song that people seemed to like the most from my live sets last year. Based on the topic of ‘someone who sells things’ because I wanted to write my own version of Tom Waits’ ‘Soldier’s Things’. This was written bang on deadline because I had spent most of the week trying to find a suitable subject matter. I eventually found the brown and gold Mr Simm’s on the Wednesday morning when I wrote half the song before researching the Simm’s family history which took the song in a… different direction…

16. Marvel
I was given the subject ‘The mundanity of work…’ to write about and I thought I would write about an astronaut bored on a space station (even spacemen gotta get bored sometimes…) I like the pulpy, 50’s Bowie thing on this track and Mark Simpson from the Happy Soul helped me out with some handclaps too.

21. Paint It By Numbers
The half realised collaboration between me and Mark from the last track was fully realised here with Mark’s tremendous Harry Nilsson-esque backing vocals. I played all the instruments (hence the ‘special’ timing to the drumming) before he added his magic. The topic I was given for this song was ‘A maths professor who can only express his love in mathematical theorem…’.

31. Eurelian Circles
This is an odd one. Written by the seat of my pants, I didn’t really think much of this until someone else told me they liked it. Seeing it from their perspective has caused me to since re-evaluate it. I like feel and the space in it. It’s a mood piece rather than one of my usual story songs. This has been something that’s pointing the way for my future writing.

37. Please Write Responsibly
Another collaboration with Mark Simpson (it’s funny how often it happens when you live close to each other). This is one of my stream of consciousness tales in which a story I write comes to life and terrorises first the town and then the world. Inspired by the response to couple of other songs I had written in the month before it where people had been offended or upset by my song subject matter. I am very much of the opinion that just because you *can* write anything that doesn’t mean you *should* write anything. Humans are humans wherever you go. However the damage had been done and this song was my apology.

39. Bee On A String
Another favourite from people who have spoken to me about this album. This track is about someone who traps a bee in a tupperware box and sticks them in the fridge to put them to sleep so they can tie a piece of thread onto their leg and take them for a walk. I actually knew someone who used to do this as a child (they were a child – don’t judge!). It was the first track I got to use my new Series II Omnichord George on.

41. RUExperienced [with Natalie McCool]
Natalie and I played a Manchester Sofar gig together and I discussed the idea of writing one of the ’52’ with her. She gamely agreed and I went over to Liverpool for a day of writing. She’s on guitar and vocals, I’m on Omnichord and vocals (George is getting a lot of use by this point).

43. Vadí Nevadí
This track is inspired by Daisies – the 1966 Czechoslovak film written and directed by Věra Chytilová. I watched it at a music hall in Aldgate in September. Would really like to get some violin on this track. Any gaps you might hear in the instrumentation here are definitely crying out for a violin part.

49. Merry Bloody Xmas
What do you know? I wrote a Xmas song. That I like. Inspired by blood sacrifices and orgies (the true meaning of Xmas). Writing and recording on a little Casio keyboard and using crappy drum machines was extremely enjoyable and has in fact been highly influential on how I am writing my next album.

Special mentions go to ‘The Man Without A Voice’ (strange as it is), ‘This House Has Eaten Us Alive’, ‘All My Old Lovers (Live On The Same Street Now)’, ‘A Year After The Party Died…’ and ‘Seven Veils’. Let me know if you have any favourites as I am still trying to figure out how to release this album or what form it will take. I hope you enjoy some of the ’52’ at least.

Maybe you saw this, maybe it passed you by… anyway I thought I would post one last time about it as I will be taking the ’52’ songs down by my Bandcamp site in exactly one week whilst I decide what to do with them – whether to split them and use them for different projects or attempt some ridiculous 69 Love Songs/Dan Hayward endeavour (I already have some ideas).

You can download all 52 songs for free (or name a price if you would like) for one more week. So that’s until next Monday at midnight.

The year covered a lot of different genres and of course a vast array of recording and writing quality. Some were recorded in the studio, some on tour round Germany or the UK, some with various other songwriters and one on a phone in a Cash Converters in Elephant & Castle but I am happy with the majority of the songs which I don’t feel is bad going. There’s definitely something of worth in there and I am glad I pushed myself to complete the challenge. The tracklisting currently runs from most recent (track 1) to the first song I wrote in 2014 (track 52). Enjoy.

I’m heading back to Blighty from Australia tomorrow as well to show my band what I’ve been working on out here. It’s been progressing nicely. I am in fact listening back to the demos as I type. Lots of dirty bass organ and Casio style drums underneath pretty acoustic guitar, mandolin sounds (the mandolin is over 100 years old and belonged to my great grandfather) and lots of layered vocals. Not too mention the myriad background noises of cicadas, galars, dry wind and rain all of which will still hopefully be on there by the time I’m finished with this album (I always tidy up TOO much!)

Anyway. One week. Get downloading.

Always take First Aid advice with you when living up a tree...

Always take First Aid advice with you when living up a tree…

So I took the flight. The time difference meant I never experienced midnight and yet still I exist in space and time. Still I have yet to achieve immortality. O well. There’s always next year. And the fireworks from 30,000 feet above Amsterdam were something I won’t soon forget.

Production has finally begun on my second album (no title for the album yes but working song titles include ‘Dear Life’, ‘Squeeze’ and ‘Reasons To Breathe In & Out’). I have been up a tree in Australia for half of the month now and have just decamped to the city of Sydney to continue recording. I will be working on the drums, rhythm, sequencing and percussion this week (hopefully I can fit in a collaboration with Future Love Hangover whilst I’m doing that).

The new stuff is sounding… different. Different to my first album anyway. As one would hope. There was about 6 years between the songs that made up ‘Down There For Dancing’ and this new set (I filled those intervening years with albums for experimental-anarcho-anti-folksters Johnny5thWheel&thecowards). These songs are fresher, of course, most of them were written in 2013 (2014 was filled with a different project) and I have yet to try and record any of them. In fact I hadn’t played a lot of them since initially writing them and without their being road tested to death I am unsure as to whether they are actually… well… any good.

But the fact remains I am excited by them. They make me nervous. I might finally be on the cusp of making something that actually sounds like ME. As proud as I am of the two Johnny5thWheel albums and last year’s ‘Down There For Dancing’, the truth remains that there are still considerable distances between what I *wanted* those records to sound like and what they *actually* sound like. I’ve always been an impatient sort – keen to release every song as soon as I’ve written it and as a result my recording process has always been a flurry a last minute, last gasp, cross country dashes.

I want to take my time with this set. I want it to be beautiful. I’ve been listening to lots of Wave Pictures. And The Voluntary Butler Scheme. And Bill Callahan. And Homelife. And some King Creosote. And of course, Love and the Modern Lovers (why O why do I never sound like my influences?) I want to hear the same beauty in this album. I like the word ‘glacial’ at the moment. And the word ‘dirt’.

Hopefully this year you’ll see I’m releasing my second album. Hopefully it will be glacial. Hopefully it will still have dirt on it.

Kept off the no. 8 spot by a Drive-In movie showing of The Nightmare Before Xmas...

Kept off the no. 8 spot by a Drive-In movie showing of The Nightmare Before Xmas…

This Thursday will be my last gig of 2014 before heading off to play in Australia. It’s on 18th December at The Art Of Tea on Barlow Moor Road in West Didsbury, Manchester with Gideon Conn and Kate Ashton Butler.

And those lovely folk at the Big Issue would tell you it’s the ninth best thing you could be doing this week in the whole of The North of England.

Tickets available for just £6 (and that ridiculous 60p booking/transaction/handling/scratchingyourbum fee so £6.60 really – sorry about that everyone!) from wegottickets here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/292557

And here’s a Xmas song to get you in the festive mood too – this week’s ’52’ song is about blood, orgies and human sacrifice… you know… the real meaning of Xmas. Also it’s got a Casiotone MT100 all over it – the most Xmas instrument of all.

Anyway free/name-your-price Xmas download here:
https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/merry-bloody-xmas

Vadí? Nevadí.

Vadí? Nevadí.

With that first album ‘Down There For Dancing’ coming out this month there’s not been a chance to post here about any of the ‘Project 52’ shenanigans but they’ve still been happening.

Recently Ben Hayward of Mancunian Matters interviewed me about the project and you can read all about it here:
http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/161171543-project-52-manchester-musician-writes-and-records-song-every-week-one-year

So I haven’t really posted the last few as I didn’t want to swamp you all with ’52’ music at the same time as relentlessly pummelling you with the ‘Down There For Dancing’ album, the new videos for ‘Wag…’ and ‘Illya Kuryakin’ and forthcoming live dates.

Here’s a quick catch/round-up of all the previous ’52’ tracks I haven’t posted about…

O Joyce
Around Springtime I remember somebody (I can’t remember who) talking about a macaw owned by a friend of theirs.

Apparently macaws live for a very long time and this one had been around for donkey’s years (or macaw’s years I suppose).

This macaw used to say often the phrase: “Make us a cup of tea, Joyce!”
Not unusual for one of these birds to mimic human speech however what interested me was that Joyce was apparently the long dead grandmother of the current owner and that the mother remembered her grandmother (Joyce’s mother and the current owner’s great grandmother) saying this to Joyce.

The bird was quoting the matriarch from beyond the grave.

Quite pleased with Harry Nilsson-esque mouth-tuba backing vocals on the choruses. Definitely more than a little bit of a Kinks vibe as well.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/o-joyce

Fudge Mountain
An excellent topic suggestion from my old Johnny5thWheel collaborator Andy Lyth. The song ‘Pure Imagination’ from the Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory soundtrack  was written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse and has long been one of my all time favourites. I’ve covered it in my live sets with Johnny5thWheel and on my own for about 5 years now.

When a lost chapter of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was recently uncovered Andy suggested to me that I write the song Newley and Bricusse might have written had this chapter been made into a scene in the WW movie. Newley is a huge influence on me (and others… think no one ever sounded like Bowie before Bowie? Check out Newley.)

It was a tantalising suggestion and once I had started working on it I got chatting with Mickey Van Gelder (wonderful songwriter and fellow Newley enthusiast). We discussed and swapped the sort of chords Newley used to like using and I asked Mickey to come and help me record the song. He is playing playing and providing backing vocals.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/fudge-mountain

Vadí Nevadí
This track is inspired by Daisies – the 1966 Czechoslovak film written and directed by Věra Chytilová. I watched it at a music hall in Aldgate in September.

Would really like to get some violin on this track. Any gaps you might hear in the instrumentation here are definitely crying out for a violin part.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/vad-nevad

RUExperienced?
I recently played a house show with Natalie McCool and we thought it would be fun to meet up and write/record a song together. It was. Lots of fun. I went over to Liverpool and we recorded it onto my phone at her rehearsal rooms. Then I made some overdubs when I got back to Manchester.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/ruexperienced-with-natalie-mccool

Like every track on the ’52’ page so far these are all demos but I have just started to pick through this collection with The Tontine to figure out which ones we would like to record for our next album. This project has been mammoth, maddening but ultimately very rewarding. There are only SIX songs left to write before I complete my challenge. I remember vividly being six songs into to the challenge and starting to realise what I had let myself in for. Anyway six left and I’m still taking topic suggestions. Not only that if you wanted to add any additional parameters that might be interesting as well. Just tweet your suggestions @LomaxRichard on Twitter (https://twitter.com/LomaxRichard) and add #p52.

Illya Kuryakin video out today

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Releases, Video

B-sides. They got a short shrift. They barely even exist today. To a lot of younger music fans they’re just something that their parents told them about and that’s a shame. They may be unnecessary, archaic throwbacks to the early days of pop but I still miss them.

Famous B-sides include ‘I Am The Walrus’ and ‘How Soon Is Now?’. Some of my favourite B-sides include ‘Trade Winds’ by SFA and ‘Dancing The Manta Ray’ by Pixies. (I might add more to this list in the comments when I think of them. Add your own – it’s good to share.)

The lead off single from the forthcoming album ‘Down There For Dancing’ is ‘Wag The Wonderbitch’ which Jay Sillence made a video for but that single had a B-side… and that B-side is ‘Illya Kuryakin’.

Named for the most enigmatic spy on Sixties daytime television, Illya was always my favourite growing up. Much preferred to Napoleon Solo or even that alcoholic woman beater who seemed to be quite popular.

Red Kite are an excellent production/animation company based down South and it was these talented wonders who put together the video for this. It’s lush fast paced psych imagery and probably not recommended if you suffer from seizures or a heart condition. It suits the tune perfectly I think.

The tune is an instrumental surf-rocker. A genre I am endlessly fascinated with and I’m glad I got make my own weird take on it. I’d like to do more.

November gigs

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Gigs, Releases

14.11.27 Strange Brew MANC v2

The album ‘Down There For Dancing’ is out on 30th November but myself and the Tontine will be playing some gigs before its official release where you’ll be able to pick yourself up a cheeky early copy.

Thursday 27th November 2014 at Strange Brew, MANCHESTER
Attend HERE

Friday 28th November 2014 at Mother’s Ruin, BRISTOL

Saturday 29th November 2014 at Frog & Fiddle, CHELTENHAM

Sunday 30th November 2014 at Moon & Sixpence, GLOSSOP
Attend HERE

The album is available for pre-order now from Bandcamp
Get your mitts on the album HERE