I don’t really like posting up links to songs that are relatively new – and by that I tend to think of as having been released in the previous 12 months – but for this occasional and temporary series, I’m going to make exceptions on the grounds that the mp3s will be low-res and if anyone giving them a listen happens to like then, then there’s every possibility that they will go out of their way to make a purchase.
If, like me, you’re already beginning to think of some items to put on a list for Santa to leave in your stocking on the morning of 25 December, then I’ll be offering up a few suggestions for your consideration, consisting of albums that have been released during 2021. Oh, and it’s a series that I really want to open to guest contributors who themselves might have some brilliant ideas.
You really shouldn’t be all that surprised to find that The Wedding Present are first up.
It was back in February that Locked Down And Stripped Back was made available.
It’s an album recorded during lock-down in the summer of 2020, with each band member playing, and indeed, filming their parts at home under the restrictions in place at the time. David Gedge has said that the recording process was far from easy, but ultimately proved to be rewarding.
The album consists of 12 tracks, of which ten are re-recordings of classic Wedding Present tracks of old, along with two completely new songs. The project began with long time band member Terry De Castro heavily involved, sending her guitar contributions over from her Los Angeles home, before everyone reluctantly accepted how particularly difficult it was to co-ordinate and arrange. David Gedge then asked an old friend, Jon Stewart, formerly of Sleeper, to come on board. The finished album has four songs on which Terry plays and eight which feature Jon.
More than that, however, is that Jon Stewart has got involved in the songwriting process, with one of the new songs, You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break, being credited to Gedge/Stewart/Howard/Hardwick, with Melanie Howard being the bassist/keyboardist/vocalist throughout the project, and Chris Hardwick being the drummer.
The other new song is credited to Wener/MacLure/Stewart. In other words, it’s a song written by Sleeper, one which was fairly new, being included on This Time Tomorrow, an album released in December 2020.
And yup, Louise Wener has come on board for a guest co-vocal, and in doing so, helped to create one of my favourite musical moments of recent years. This is pop, and perfect pop at that.
As if having the opportunity to hear some wonderful new versions of songs such as A Million Miles, California, Blonde, Crawl, You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends and My Favourite Dress wasn’t a good enough reason to want to pick up a copy of Locked Down And Stripped Back, then surely having the ability to put the needle into the groove of We Should Be Together should be the clincher.
Interestingly, The Wedding Present are not, currently, offering the album via their own website, and instead are encouraging would-be purchasers to do so from a local record shop.
You know the script……………………….