FAWM! + Murder and Parliament Track by Track

FAWM lyrics in my scrawly, scribbley, terrible handwriting

It is February again (as usual. January then February every year. Why must we always stick with the same routine. Dull) so I’m doing February Album Writing Month for something like the 11th year.

At the time of writing I’ve got three new tracks up, all of them nice cheery murder ballads.

 

  • Butcher Boy is about about a butcher who decides to kills some of his customers.
  • Ashes is about a guy who killed his wife and is now trying to contact her ghost through use of a spirit box.
  • A Bloody Way To Find Yourself Some Peace is about how lovely revenge is.

You can hear all my FAWM demos over on this page.

Murder and Parliament Track by Track blog series

Over on my Murder and Parliament site I’ve been writing a series of blog posts about each track. You can read the first few by heading over the murderandparliament.com

There will be more FAWM tracks, and more rambling about Murder and Parliament over the next couple of weeks, so either stay tuned or avoid my site and social media, depending on what you think of all that.

I am nominated for a Prog Award

I assume there’s been some sort of outbreak of collective madness at the headquarters of the leading progressive music publication Prog magazine. What other reason could there possibly be for the simply ludicrous fact that I have been nominated for a Progressive Music Award.

You can vote for me here.
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I’m in the Limelight category, which is for ‘rising stars’ who have been mentioned in the magazine’s ‘limelight’ feature over the past 6 months. So here’s the culprit.

Needless to say, I am well chuffed to have been nominated as this accidentally places me next to some genuinely good, genuinely prog artists.

Thanks Prog!

A Tale of Two Gigs

On the 28th and 29th of September I played two gigs: the Summer’s End Prog rock festival and the inaugural Steampunk Convivial at the Crossness sewage works.

I’m very glad there is no obligation to choose a favourite because both were great gigs.

The weekend also got me thinking about the tension between being an artist and having to afford boring but necessary things like food and a home. I travelled to Summer’s End with amiable man-mountain and certified good-egg Matt Stevens. We talked about the difficulties of being a musician, chiefly the economic realities. I have never attempted to make a living from my music and don’t particularly see why any artist should expect to – this is culture not commerce- but it was interesting to consider as we travelled on far too many trains to Chepstow.

Summer’s End consisted of two sets: one ‘busking’ in the middle of Chepstow, the other on the ‘acoustic stage’ (actually a section of Chepstow school dinner hall) between the full band sets.

Here’s a vid:

And here’s a review.

I enjoyed playing, but more than that it was great to catch up with friends and meet in the flesh several people who I’d previously only known on facebook. There was a very genial atmosphere and lots of lovely people – much like at the Crossness Convivial.

Here I performed as part of almost a cabaret that included steampunk morris dancing, umbrella fencing and of course the ubiquitous tea-duelling.

There are differences between prog crowds and steampunks – the clothing being an obvious one: band t-shirts versus the full retro-futuristic, neo-victorian be-goggled glory of the steampunk. More than that, steampunk is a cultural wosame that clearly appeals to a wider demographic: there were far more young people and women in attendance at Crossness than Summer’s End.

However there are also real and joyful similarities. Both are sub-cultures that are fuelled by enthusiasts. Steampunk has its costumes, model makers, tesla coils and tea-duellers but prog is equally as vibrant. Instead of silly costumes, prog has podcasters, collectors and of course musicians (all right, and a few silly costumes).

In both there are products for sale – cds, records, tickets and endless things with cogs on but make no mistake there is no-one making money from any of this (in the sense of cold-hard capitalism. There are very various lovely little niche businesses). This is culture not commerce. And it’s bloody marvellous.

Black Water – New EP Out Today

Black Water, my new EP, is out today.

You can stream it above and buy the full digital and physical versions here. A pay what you want option will be available later in the week which will allow you to download just the tracks without the short story or bonus track.

The full version comes with digital extras:

  • The Murders at Ironbark, a short story that picks up several years after Seven Bells John and Coppertree last met (have you read the short story that came with Through These Veins?). It also explains what was going on at Ironbark in the title track from my second album.
  • Lines Overheard at a Séance (2014): a new mix of a song from my first album Spinning the Compass. The séance in question was held to try and locate the bodies of some of Seven Bells John’s victims.

The main tracks from the EP:

Black Water. Seven Bells is thrown into the Black Water, a salt water lake near Ironbark. The near death experience and his subsequent rescue causes him to have a change of heart. Musically this one deliberately moves from creepy weirdness and 7/4 rhythms to something more melodic and steady, reflecting that change of heart. It ends with what I think of as ‘The Black Water theme’.

Nightfall. Years earlier, Seven Bells John was turned into a monster by The Harpy Dr Margoyles. Musically this one’s all drop d guitar and menacing drone notes. We all hunger for human flesh, right?

Moon in the Water. Musically sparse, this one tells of how Seven Bells is hunted and pursued.

Ghosts in my Dreams Recalling the musical material from Lines Overheard at a Séance, the last song on the EP has John finally acknowledging the ghosts that have been haunting him. This too ends with the Black Water theme.

Here’s the link to download and/or purchase the physical CD

Many thanks to Random Dent and Ash Surrey for the Bvox and percs, and to Joe Slatter for letting me use his photos.

 

 

 

 

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So my brother Joe ‘The Dark Power’ Slatter makes models.

He makes them very well. This is the little chappie who is on the front cover of my first solo album, Spinning the Compass.

 

He was also the inspiration, kinda, for my song Ingenious Devices, from Spinning the Compass.

 

Here’s a video that uses this model, and another similar one, as well as couple of my songs:

I always wanted to be a novelist but I got distracted by songwriting

So, having finished recording, I am now thinking about artwork for the new EP. Last week five people won a name-out-of-a-hat competition to hear a preview, and I am rather looking forward to letting the rest of you hear the new stuff.

The new EP is called ‘Through These Veins’ and contains three narratively connected songs that are in fact related to a character named ‘Seven Bells John’. This EP, the one after it, and the full length album I’ll hopefully release half way through 2014 are all related to the same character.

As a prelude to the EP, you might be interested in the following:

I have written several songs about Seven Bells John:

Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John

Seven Bells John is the character in ‘The Steam Engine Murders…’ who during that song is on trial for murder. I’m going to rework this song as part of my next full length album.

Lines overheard at a Séance

Seven Bells is also the subject of ‘Lines Overheard at a Séance’. Here we see the replies that the detective chasing Seven Bells receives when he asks about one of his previous victims.

Ironbark

Ironbark is also related to Seven Bells. The detective mentioned in this is the same as the one who was asking questions at the séance.

How does Seven Bells fit in?

You’ll have to wait to find that out.

Blackwater

Blackwater, a song I’ve demoed is about him. Finished version to come in about three months time.

A stupidly long prog song

Last but not least, the unfeasibly long prog rock song I am currently writing is all about him too.

Through These Veins EP – Wanna hear a preview?

Hello you!

I have a new EP nearly ready to go. It’s a concept EP, telling the story of a surgeon who is a little too creative in her medical interventions. As per usual, it’s steampunk prog rock, but with some different sounds to my previous stuff.

Steampunk? Yup, I’ll put a cog on the cover.

Prog rock? Yup, the songs go on too long and there’s no way you could dance to them.

With previous releases I’ve done a giveaway where you can get your hands on a preview version. Let’s do that again!

If you would like to hear three rough mixes of new songs, and view a video where I explain the story behind the ep, all you need to do is drop me an email (tomslattermusic AT gmail.com) and tell me you want in. I’ll pick 5 names out of a hat, metaphorically speaking, on Wednesday 13th November.

Actually, not metaphorically. I have a hat. I will pick 5 names out of an actual hat. A top hat!