More new music escapes from Phil Thornalley’s Swamp Studio as his Astral Drive alias edges towards the release of a new album. LISTEN HERE while we await album details, coming soon!
Swedish songwriter extraordinaire David Myhr returns with a new EP! The 4-tracker is titled And Now This and resumes the fruitful collaboration from Myhr’s 2018 Lucky Day album, made with Nashville-based producer/musician Brad Jones (Josh Rouse, Matthew Sweet, Jill Sobule, Marshall Crenshaw) and fellow Swede Andreas Quincy Dahlbäck.
Where Lucky Day perhaps demonstrated a more mature singer/songwriter sound, And Now This returns to his crowd-pleaser hybrid pop/rock roots that saw Myhr’s 90s band The Merrymakers make global waves, especially in Japan.
With a day-gig as songwriting teacher (Luleå University of Technology, The Royal College of Music in Stockholm,) We Wanted To Shine saw Myhr take some of his own songwriting advice:
“As a songwriter you’re often looking for a starting point, an idea to spark off. One method I recommend to students is to simply start with a title.”
“I had a Tom Petty book on the coffee table in front of me so I opened a page at random and my eyes landed on the words ‘we really wanted to shine’. It was a quote about The Heartbreakers performance at the tribute to George Harrison in The Royal Albert Hall, on the anniversary of his death.”
From there, the creative juices flowed.
“All I had to do was to start singing! The chorus came right away. A verse melody followed quickly and Brad Jones then further developed the lyrics“.
“The song could be interpreted as being about a struggling musician that craves attention and recognition, which of course is something that I can relate to! But it is also about wanting to succeed and – perhaps a bit amateur psychology – some kind of deep-seated need for validation from your parents.”
There’s been talk for years now about the album format being dead. It may or may not be true but David said: “Brad Jones encouraged me to start working in the EP format. I must say I like it. This may be the first in a trilogy. If this is the powerpop EP, maybe the next one will be the acoustic EP. And the third… the Drum&Bass EP!!? We’ll see!”
The single We Wanted To Shine is released 7th May 2021 and the EP And Now This out 21st May 2021.
Following last months release of the Waterlilies single, Astral Drive follow up today with new track “For The Dreamers”
Phil Thornalley, aka Astral Drive, explains: “In January I stumbled on a simple guitar riff, hummed along and two minutes later it had morphed into a melody for a complete song. I e-mailed the idea to my friend Shelly Peiken in LA, she added her lyrical magic and the recording just flowed naturally from there.
Back in the 70s, when i worked at RAK Records, songs would be recorded by the artist and released two weeks later so I’m excited that this tune was written and recorded with that elan.“
“Set in Los Angeles, or is it set in a dream? Has this happened before or is this the first time? ‘The Dream That Took Me Over’ reflects on longing as well as the uncertainty of desire and it’s addictive pursuit. While the singer of this track, Eric Dover roams the dark shadowy alleys and neon lit cityscapes, curiosity mixes with elements of danger and the surreal. Shot over the course of only a few hours in Downtown LA and the San Fernando Valley, The Lickerish Quartet with their in-house production team filmed gorilla style; not unlike the quest of Eric’s character lurking in secret. The music video was filmed from the viewer’s perspective playing up the voyeur element our world has grown so accustomed to over the last year of lockdowns. You are along for the ride, but keep your eyes open, things aren’t as they seem.”
Videography: Frankie Siragusa & Daniel Halaby
Editing & Post Production: Todd Stanton
Phil Thornalley continues his quixotic adventures into 70s inspired aural delights with a new batch of Astral Drive songs for 2021, written and recorded throughout 2020.
Temporarily exiled from his London studio, Phil made the most of what was to hand. With one piano (ex 10CC), one tiny beginner’s drum kit, one unloved bass, a battered acoustic guitar and one very nice old microphone, Phil set to work on his Macbook.
“I was able to record in my re-purposed garage in the Suffolk countryside. Luckily, the week before lockdown it had been insulated but not from the smells of the pig farm next door!”
The songs were mostly conceived and half-written on long bike rides through the ‘mighty hills of Suffolk’. An avalanche of major and minor seventh chords, heartfelt vocals and soul searching lyrics all topped off with swathes of sonic sunshine.
The first single, Water Lilies, is out now:
Sadness and loss cast a shadow during the lockdown which added an extra emotional dimension to the songs. “While my creative default is to hunt down happiness in music a couple of the songs naturally became reflections on immortality” the artist mused.
With writing contributions from Gregg Alexander, Shelly Peiken and David Munday (Astral Drive guitarist on live shows) it’s not an entirely solo affair. Additionally, Boo Hewerdine made his mark:
“I asked Boo to write me a song on the theme of ’Star Gazing’… so literally, he did! The next day I had a scratchy piano demo from Boo with some distant singing and beautiful lyrics about fame and failure. He gave me carte blanche to shoot his song into astral orbit.”
The final album tracklist is yet to be decided but guest contributions so far come from some familiar names to those who read the debut album liner notes: Kasim Sulton on backing vocals, Keith Scott on lead guitar, Mickey Curry on drums and Gary Breit on keyboards all sending in parts from their respective home studios . Phil’s still hoping his old mate Bryan might join the dream team.
“He’s offered to play some guitar or drums from his studio in Vancouver but right now is busy working on his next album, hunting down his own dreams.”
Superstar mixer Dave Bascombe returns to pull the whole thing together with a vibrant punchy balance to compliment Phil’s production.
The Lickerish Quartet’s “Threesome Vol.2” hits the shops in Europe today! Following the fan pre-order release earlier this month, the CD is now available via your local record shop (if open) and the usual online retailers. Buy direct from us here or support your local indie, or Amazon – it’s up to you! The vinyl is expected in April.
Featuring the ex-Jellyfish trio of Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith and Eric Dover, the 4 track EP has been getting rave reviews from all who have heard it. Get on board!
The new EP is, of course, the follow-up to their debut, Threesome Vol.1 – lauded by critics as “a masterpiece” – released in May 2020 in the US.
With song titles “Snollygoster Goon”, “The Dream That Took Me Over”, “Sovereignty Blues”, and “Do You Feel Better?” Manning, Smith, and Dover’s undeniable chemistry can once again be found throughout Threesome Vol.2.
The songs formed from the same sessions that begun in 2017 offer a slinky and feisty landscape of temptation, freedom of thought, hope and dreams, and a shout out to all who game the systems. An edgy second round of soaring vocals, angular guitars, and pulsing drums, enveloped by timeless keyboard arrangements requires multiple listens to appreciate fully.
More exciting news coming soon…
Band members of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Slash’s Snake Pit, Finn Brothers, Alice Cooper, Air & Beck – and all formerly of Jellyfish – reunite for 2nd EP as The Lickerish Quartet, with their first official UK release, on Lojinx.
We’re extremely proud to welcome Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith and Eric Dover to Lojinx and announce their highly anticipated THREESOME VOL.2 EP, to be released 8th January 2021. The first single, “Snollygoster Goon”, is out now!
Of “Snollygoster Goon” Eric Dover says “The music is Adderall-based, in theory, to reflect the absolute breakneck speed at which the corruption flourishes. A frenetic forensic foray into classic old-as-civilization themes involving greed, graft and corruption as applied to any political sphere. The snake oil salesman kissing babies, the saccharine unimaginative public image.”
The new release is, naturally, the follow-up to their debut EP, THREESOME VOL.1 – lauded by critics as “a masterpiece” – which was released in May 2020 in the US.
With song titles “Snollygoster Goon,” “The Dream That Took Me Over,” “Sovereignty Blues,” and “Do You Feel Better?” Manning, Smith, and Dover’s undeniable chemistry can once again be found throughout THREESOME VOL.2.
“I was cycling through Suffolk in the April sunshine during the dark days of lockdown and this song just fell into my head” says veteran songwriter Phil Thornalley, “It seemed darkly funny, but honest too.”
After years in the music industry writing, producing and playing for Bryan Adams, The Cure and, perhaps most famously, Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’, Phil has honed the skills of writing, arranging and playing to pop perfection. The recording took barely a day with Phil laying down all the instruments at his modest home studio, taking on the familiar role of a one-man-band akin to his other solo project, the seventies rock inspired Astral Drive.
For ‘22nd Century‘ the song’s production took on a distinctly Jeff Lynne / Travelling Wilburys sound.
“I’m a fan of Jeff Lynne’s records” raved Phil, “and I worked with Jeff on a song I’d co-written with Mr Adams for his ‘Get Up’ album. I thought the demo I made was simple and no-nonsense but Jeff took that demo and made it even simpler! Simpler drums, the most basic bass guitar part, everything was reduced to work for the song and the voice – no fancy shit!”.
“When i sang the line ‘ooo-ooo-ee, 22nd century’ I thought I might be pushing the limits of simplicity into bubblegum absurdity. A hit songwriter friend suggested changing the line for something with more substance but the song seemed to want to stay simple and that’s what i went with – the feel of that breezy, sunshine Suffolk bike ride”.
Its tongue in cheek lyrical message hopefully brings a knowing smile to the listener, young or old. A record made for classic radio and Saturday evening barbecue playlists. Something to kick back to.
A simple beat, a simple hook and an unavoidably simple truth. Three chords and the truth, in fact.
Win a vinyl test pressing of Graham Gouldman’s new album Modesty Forbids. These test pressings are extremely rare, with only 5 ever made. We have 2 to give away to lucky winners! Graham will sign them to you personally and we will post to anywhere in the world.
Sign up here for a chance to be picked – at random – on 1st June 2020.
We are truly devastated to learn of the death of Adam Schlesinger. We’ve been lost for words. Others have expressed this tremendous loss in more eloquent ways than we are able. It was a pleasure and an honour to have known him and to have played a small part in bringing his music to the world. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, bandmates and friends.
(photo: Ebet Roberts)