Archive for the ‘mp3s’ Category

The Boxed Set #10: Train Songs

September 6, 2011

And so it ends, quite literally, as it began. The final reissue of the Boxed Set is my first EP, a humble cassette released in the first months of 2001 called ‘Train Songs’.

The context for it was quite simple, several years of C90 cassettes filled with songs and pieces of noise had preceded my arrival at Aberystwyth Uni in 2000. After a few months of getting to know people there, I plucked up the courage to bang out a brief demo cassette in my room, hand it to the president of Indiesoc and ask for a gig. This is not that cassette, though I do still have it. I forget the exact tracklist, save that it contained a song called ‘Semen in my eyes’ which has never been heard since….

But said gig was duly awarded, an opening slot on a bill with two other Aber bands called Deflour and the Jonny Narcissist – with whom I subsequently had a longstanding enmity which was largely in my head. The gig was fine, I nervously strummed my way through six songs, doing my best to be heard about the members of the above-mentioned Jonny Narcissist who continued to sit behind me on the stage and talk all the way through. I later created a fictional ‘T-shirts’ page on my website which offered this design:

Yeah, take that!

After the gig a few people took the time to tell me they’d enjoyed it, and one of them asked me if I had ‘an EP’ for sale. At the time I had nothing. But the idea stuck, and so over xmas 2000 I duly recorded the six tracks which would become ‘Train Songs’.

I made 30 copies of the tape, each painstakingly hand duplicated, each with a unique sleeve featuring cuttings from the Bolton Evening News. The tracklisting on each was also written by hand. It took quite a while, a tradition that persisted all the way through to the elaborate hand cut sleeves of Build Library Here and such.

I still have a few copies of it left (click for bigger):

if anyone has one they’d like to share a picture of it’d be great to see some of the other designs again.

Musically there’s not much to say. Five of the six tracks are acoustic guitar songs with little embellishment, save a little backwards guitar on one, and then there’s a long droney loop piece. Lyrically again there’s a lot of ‘girls/boo hoo’ material on here, but the very first track is one I could happily strum through today and it’d fit right in.

The songs:

The Cynical Little Train

Somewhat twee, but deceptively so. The recording was bettered on No More Roads, but this tape is where it belongs. The definitive opening statement of Pagan Wanderer Lu. I’ll quote the chorus in full:

‘Mix cynicism in with optimism/ and you will be funny/ and you will get laid/ If you smile all the time then you’re out of your mind/ but you know that a frown will only get you down’

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Someone Else

And then this. A nice enough guitar part and some ‘by numbers’ lyrics about a girl. From memory the same girl who inspired ‘Control’ from ‘Cliff Railway 1902’. Contains a line about waiting for the phone to ring.

Life’s too good (for other fkers and not for me)

The title taken from a long, incomprehensible screed which for many years adorned the wall of my bedroom at my parents’ house. This is a duller, longer version than the one on ‘Cliff Railway’. The lyrics just a general expression of longing and teenaged angst though I think they have a certain something. From memory this song was a year or two old even at this point.


A long guitar instrumental of a kind I churned out by the C90-load when I acquired a delay pedal with borderline loop-pedal capabilities. Nice enough. Named for the halls of residence I lived in – though not actually recorded there.

Defence Mechanism

Proudly announced onstage at my first gig as the only song I’d written since moving to Aberystwyth. I think this one was of a piece with ‘Xmas Song’. The same message of ‘leave me alone, I don’t want to talk about things’.

Fragile Thing

The only PWL song to be credited to me/someone else. In this case three or four people from school who’d given me a tape of some instrumentals they made together that had no lyrics. I duly wrote and recorded the words ‘after my tea’ and presented them the next day, to much excitement. The tape then got played to some of the girls at school who complimented me on my nice voice, saying the song reminded them of Phil Collins. They meant it as a compliment. This version is just me playing the chords on the guitar, rather than the full ‘piano and mush’ version played that day. Still a reasonable amount of mush, but I think the lyrics are pretty good, albeit a few bits nabbed from a godspeed press release/rant.

Disorder (bonus track)

I originally conceived of Pagan Wanderer Lu as being something like Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy/Palace. The name, when I came up with it, seemed pleasingly of a piece with BPB. I never envisaged it turning into the electro-pop/laptoppy thing it has sometimes been – I just figured I’d churn out endless lo-fi acoustic records for years. So the first cassette included a bonus track cover of ‘Disorder’ by Palace Music. Recorded on a portable tape machine rather than the Tascam four track (to make it even more lo-fi). Not much to say about it either. The album the original is from, ‘Arise Therefore’, is one of the most impressively bleak things you’ll ever hear. I recommend it.

And that really is it. The vast majority of Pagan Wanderer Lu is now out there in the world for anyone who wants to hear it. Some 84 songs reissued in total, if I’ve counted right. Thanks to everyone who’s been downloading these over the past nine months, and extra thanks for those who opted to pay. It funded a not-insignificant chunk of a new record which you will be hearing about soon.

Until then…



Pervert Oven

December 9, 2010

I am pleased to announce one last release for 2010.

This is a four-and-a-bit song EP of nominally lo-fi punk. Kind of a curio release. Rather than a full on ‘new direction’ statement thing.

I’m also experimenting with a pay-what-you-want release via Bandcamp only. If it succeeds then I’ll probably do quite a few more things like this in future alongside the full-blown albums with Brainlove.

So what is this record? Well, it just sort of happened. ‘Straw Donkey’ was written to go on European Monsoon but it didn’t really fit the rest of the record. Then I was listening to a lot of Guided by Voices for a while and I did a few songs like ‘Crustaceans As Castanets’ that were in that vein, and when I was writing ‘The Great British Public…’ I was considering doing away with the dark funky version from the album and doing it as the straight guitar pop one that’s on the EP. I called that version ‘GBP/GbV’ because it’s done in Guided by Voices style. Then once I’d had the idea of a lo-fi EP I picked out some old songs that fit with that sound.

It’s named after the artwork. It looked like a suitable scrappy picture for the cover of a rough and ready EP. I drew the picture one day after I burned my hand on my oven at home. I wanted to get my revenge on the oven so I drew a picture of it wearing a raincoat and exposing itself like a pervert. As anyone would.

Two of the songs require a modicum of explanation:

Big Eggo

Big Eggo was the original cover star of the Beano. He was a male ostrich who had adventures invariably revolving around having his eggs stolen (no one ever seemed to question how ‘he’ laid the eggs). Then he was replaced by Dennis the Menace. In the song he’s looking at how Britain has changed and he blames Dennis because he was the original ASBO teen. Eggo feels that if he were to return to the cover of the Beano it would return Britain to a more innocent age. Secretly of course he’s just jealous that he’s out of the limelight.

Jhavishna is a much older song that was done around 2007. That’s why it sounds even worse than the others! It’s not based on anyone in particular. I had a dream that I was watching the Fall and they were playing this song where the chorus was ‘Go back to Jhavishna for help!’ exactly as in the song. That’s why it sounds quite like early Fall, and why the backing vocals are me doing a quite blatant impression of Mark E Smith. Jhavishna doesn’t mean anything – I just googled it now and there are no results – but it sounded like a name so I envisaged this cynical fake new age guy who just manipulates people into doing stuff for him.

So there you go. This is the last batch of ‘European Monsoon’ era stuff*. I think it’s kind of fun.

Listen/buy links should appear below.

*You may not be surprised to learn that this isn’t actually true.


October 26, 2010

So I’ve set myself up a bandcamp account. Not going to bang on about it too much but I am very, very impressed with this site. It’s a clean, easy to navigate interface which does everything you would want it to and no more. It means I can sell downloads directly and provide instant downloads with CD sales.

At the moment just ‘European Monsoon’ and ‘A Neuron Poem Soon’ are available but more will follow. I can highly recommend it to anyone looking for a way to sell yr music.

Preview some tracks from ‘A Neuron Poem Soon’ in this player:

I’ve also done a minor redesign of for those who take an interest in such things.


August 31, 2010

Here’s another of my random uploads. I made this tonight for no particular reason. Not sure what to class it as. It was supposed to be some sort of funky minimal techno thing but it’s a bit too lush, and not very funky. It’s nice anyway, sort of spacey…. goes on a bit though.

Dearlove mp3


April 6, 2010

Here’s another free mp3. I found this one whilst rearranging my folders. It’s dated 06/09/2008. Another instrumental experiment. Not entirely sure how I did this. Looking at the workflow it seems like I was experimenting with noise gates at different volumes to trigger different effects. I’m pretty sure this is basically a live take of a guitar over a drum loop but I can’t remember. I’d sort of forgotten it existed. The only change I’ve made today is a slight fade.

Anyway listening again it’s quite creepy. A bit like Boards of Canada stuck in a traffic jam with Tom Waits.

Unguitar mp3

Oh and go on, whilst we’re on the subject here’s another experiment with guitar from about a year later. This time everything was done after recording. As the name suggests, I was going for a bit of a Fennesz feel. This was done the same day as ‘judddr’ which I uploaded a while ago.

Fenntesszt mp3

(Don’t forget I do actual songs as well. European Monsoon available to preorder now from me and Brainlove…)

Free download EP

March 30, 2010

Quick note to say that if you preorder European Monsoon from me or Brainlove you will now get a free 6 track download EP called ‘A Neuron Poem Soon’ in your inbox too.

Tracklist thus:
1. Even the Cacti
2. I am a Scientist (Guided by Voices cover)
3. Dots
4. The Legend of…
5. Real Fun
6. Track Thirteen (live at the barracks)

Tracks 1-5 were all recorded during the EM sessions. Track 6 is an outtake done during the recording of piano parts for FMBFM.

(If you’ve already ordered from me I’ll send it soon – or if you bought it at a show then e-mail me to request it)

Free EP: Mostly Furniture

January 3, 2010

Hello – Happy New Year etc,

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages. This is an EP of instrumentals I made quite a while back. All of them are over a year old – some older. I compiled it a while back and called it ‘Mostly Furniture’. A few of them have been on the PWL’s Junk Shop myspace for a while so you may already have heard them.

Most of them are improvisations.

1. Factory Made (2.35) (circa 2008)
This is a simple improv with the Kaossilator – a.k.a. the little yellow box I use at gigs.
2. Stylomon (5.02) (2007)
This is an improv with the monome 256 and some samples from a stylophone.
3. I Hate Vigilantes (7.43) (2005 or 06)
This is something I made in the first week I had ableton live to learn how to use it. I thought it sounded a bit New Order-y. I later used one of the sounds I made for this in ‘The Tree of Knowledge’. I haven’t re-listened to it in a while but it is not, if I recall correctly, particularly good.
4. England Didn’t Expect That (5.12) (2007)
This is the loops from ‘England Expects’ slowed down to the minimum bpm and messed with.
5. Have You Killed (10.56) (2007 or 08)
Can’t entirely remember how I made this.
6. Joe Colombo’s Chair (3.44) (2008 I think)
A bit more ‘composed’ this one – all done in ableton. If you only download one of these make it this one.
7. So Lonely I Was Sick On My Player Piano (3.15) (2007 or 08)
This was recorded as backing music for my appearance on a Welsh music show. We did a weird black and white bit in the middle which didn’t entirely work. It’s a piano version of ‘(Sick of) Playing Solo’.



September 26, 2009

Here’s a track I made today. It’s another long experimental improv using loops/synth/guitar. It’s on the noisy/busy side of ambient.

Recorded in long two takes – I basically did all the synth and guitar in one go then went back and added some drums. Other than in capturing the audio, a computer wasn’t used, there are no pre-recorded parts and no post editing.

I think bits of it are good. Other bits less good. I’d like to get onstage and do something like this some time.

“judddr” download mp3 (24 min/33MB)

comments welcome.x

‘Fight My Battles For Me’ released today!

June 15, 2009

So… the day has come. My album is out out out and in shops to buy. I have seen it, with my own eyes, in HMV Cardiff…


It’s been a long time coming. To mark the occasion the people at the Independent Online and have got me doing a special blog all this week with a free download compilation called ‘Road Safety Facts’ containing mostly non-album tracks.
You can find it here:
(don’t ask why that had to be the URL…)

Casual listeners may find a couple of songs uploaded that you’ve not got already. Die hards will want to wait until Day 5 when there’ll be a brand new song available. Plus assorted musings and reminiscences on nine years of PWL. I’ll continue blogging here too, but won’t be doubling up so add ^that one to yr RSS.

All that remains now is to see if anyone likes it or buys it. Tra la la….

Album out on monday

June 10, 2009

So after a(nother) slight delay it seems all is well for ‘Fight My Battles For Me’ to come out next Monday, 15th June. You should be able to walk into your local Cargo records stockist and buy a copy.

To celebrate this I’ve cut the prices in my website shop so you can still buy it direct from me at the same price as in yr local shop. I’ve also reduced all my older EPs so they’re now £3 each, which is cutting my own throat. I’ve got five kids to feed, etc…

A nice man has written a review of it here which calls it ‘witty and often ascerbic lyrical goodness with increasingly pop sensibilities’.

It’s also now available on Amazon. It’d be nice if those of you who use amazon to buy music could give it a star rating so it might start to pop up in those ‘People who like X also like Y’ things.

For those who like to try before you buy here are a couple of songs to download:

The Gentlemen’s Game
The Memorial Hall

And there are some more mp3s from other recent releases on my downloads page.