Live, Discomfiting and Overly Whimsical

I have just released a 10 track live ‘bootleg’ made over the last 12 months at various gigs. As well as the music it has a pdf tour diary attached with some absolutely true stories in it.

It contains an acoustic version of a song that will be on the new album. Can you guess which one?

They’re not perfect pro recordings, they’re rough and ready and a good document of what these acoustic gigs were like.

They also show what my singing voice is like live. Like every singer under the sun, I am self-conscious about my voice and I never feel I get the real thing over in studio recordings. This is me, and I think I give a fair showing. In fact some of it I think I’m actually very proud of.

It’s up for any price you want – 0 is definitely fine. If you do want to pay that would be appreciated. If it helps motivate you, I can let you know that any funds will go towards the £200 we need to hire a film studio for the music vid that will accompany the title track of the new album early next year.

We want it to look good. It would be great if we can do that.

The fact that the film studio we’re going to use is genuinely also a leading London fetish dungeon is coincidence. We need the money for art, honest.

Summer Gigs are now over!

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Finally a quiet weekend after my busiest spring/summer of gigs. I’ve played to some lovely audiences all around the country and thoroughly enjoyed myself doing so.

Reviews of these gigs have described me as: ‘dark’, ‘sardonic’ and ‘overly whimsical’.

Being a little one-man-band indie musician with a day job, I don’t have the time to go looking for gigs. In fact all but one of this year’s gigs came about because someone asked me to come and play rather than me asking them.

This is still the best way to see me play a gig – just ask! All we need is a room and some people (depending on the amount of people we might need some other equipment as well. And I need to not lose money, which I haven’t done this year. Which is good).

I’ve played lovely gigs in Weymouth, Berwick, Llanfyllin, Stroud, Brighton and several in that London that they have.

Many thanks to the wonderful people who put me on and to the various people I played to who didn’t throw things at me.

There will be a little bandcamp release with some live recordings as a pay what you want thing. I’ll probably have that ready and up in a month or so.

Here’s hoping next year is even busier.

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!

Ironbark extended 2016 version released today!

Today we released a new version of Ironbark.

Here’s a thing I wrote:

“Ironbark was the first album that I planned as a whole. Not that it’s a concept album as such, but it was written to be a single work of art with all the songs fitting together in terms of tone, subject matter, harmonic approach and so on. My first solo album, Spinning the Compass sort of happened by accident when I realised some of the songs might work together. Ironbark was intentional.

The title comes from an Australian poem about a gullible yokel from the town Ironbark who is fooled into believing his throat was cut by a mischievous barber:

‘He raised his hand, his brow grew black, he paused awhile to gloat,
Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim’s throat:
Upon the newly-shaven skin it made a livid mark –
No doubt it fairly took him in – the man from Ironbark.’ – Ironbark Banjo Paterson 1892

I stumbled across it while reading up on the Sweeney Todd story, and thought it sounded like a splendid place. Except rather than being inhabited by yokels who are afraid to visit barbers, my Ironbark is inhabited by murderous scientists, evil townsfolk and at least two people who think it a good idea to live beyond death in steam-powered machines.

The bonus tracks here include ‘They Tried To Turn The Lights On’ which i wrote at the time but recorded more recently and ‘Three’ the sequel to ‘Two’ from Spinning the Compass. At some point I will record ‘One’ as well, which does exist.

The live tracks are the whole of the Miser’s Will, recorded at a lovely house concert in North London. This gig ties as one of my three favourite ever gigs. The audience were really into it, but behaved like a classical audience rather than a rock audience. They were entirely silent, listening to every single note. For a performer this is slightly terrifying but all the more exhilarating for it.

Having recently listened back to Ironbark after a few years not having heard it, I am genuinely proud of it. It pushes what I could do with the level of expertise and equipment I had at the time. While I think it is still clearly a home studio recording, it sounds good. It is also where I think I really found my voice as a songwriter after several years of floundering about trying out different styles.

I like it, I hope you do.”