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Birthdays (Awaiting Repress)In this frantic Twitterworld, where all the genres of music are either mating with other genres, feeding on the past or searching for the next trending wave, Keaton Henson personifies the moment when time stops still. It's the almost shocking sound of one man and his gently stoked electric guitar, which flicks like the embers of a fire, as the singer's voice glows in the reflected light, safe in his panic room.
Crippled by anxiety since childhood, to the point that he rarely goes out or plays live, the wondrously bearded Keaton is the archetypal tortured recluse who channels his emotions not into shopping or clubbing but his art: he's a skilled illustrator too, of bare-boned drawings that are as starkly delineated as his guitar-playing.
Birthdays follows 2012's cult debut album Dear..., and for its first half, Henson avoids slipping into post-dubstep, chillwave or hiring Skrillex in order to fit in.
But there is change underfoot. Dear featured one drum track, so the subtle beat behind The Best Today is no biggie. But half way through the following Don't Swim, it's like an ember has landed in your lap. The song's sudden electrical charge, which persists through the following, thunderous Kronos, is the sound of Henson wrenched from his comfort zone. Birthdays' second track suggests he's even reached Paris.
In fact, the whole album was recorded in California by American producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, The Strokes). And various guests, including Jesca Hoop on ghostly backing vocals, have chipped in. Birthdays' second half takes Heaton closer to Jeff Buckley's turf: the unforced vibrato, the goosepimply effect and romantic hunger. But it's a subtle shift, and the instrumentation only partially reconfigures the secluded spell.
Beekeeper's occasional bouts of rock doesn't drown out the soft peals of banjo, while the swell of French horns, martial drum and Henson's fluttering voice in Sweetheart, What Have You Done to Us sounds like he's still in his bedroom. Up there, warmed by the fire, he's cloistered away from Twitter and all the other evils of this parish. There's no better way to shut out the din than by putting this record on.
This LP also includes a CD of the album.1. Teach Me
2. 10am Gare du Nord
4. Lying to You
5. The Best Today
6. Don't Swim
9. Sweetheart, What Have You Done to Us
10. In the Morning$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Kindly Now (Out Of Stock)Keaton Henson will release his third official studio album, 'Kindly Now', via Play It Again Sam. Having sold out the Roundhouse earlier this year, Keaton has also confirmed plans for his biggest European headline shows to date, including a show at London's Palladium on November 18th.
'Alright' was written in Los Angeles shortly after the release of Henson's acclaimed second album, 'Birthdays'. Struggling with the apparent trade-off of having to put himself on display in order to make the music he loved, 'Alright' describes a very English way of grinning through pain (and also the sense that despite your world shifting so quickly, maybe you haven't changed very much at all). It's a stunning introduction to 'Kindly Now', a record which simultaneously broadens Keaton's canvas - more electronic in places, more classical in others - yet also reflects a life-long love of Randy Newman. 'Kindly Now' is ultimately Keaton Henson's most emotionally stripped-back album thus far, an unheroic and unsettling examination of past loves, the role of the artist, and owning up to your own destruction.
'Kindly Now' continues an extraordinary journey for Keaton Henson, who quietly released his limited edition, hand-made debut album 'Dear ' in 2012, before a surprise Zane Lowe play led to a flurry of investigation into Henson's identity and whereabouts. Despite choosing not to perform or promote his record in a conventional manner, his heavier second album 'Birthdays' saw Keaton make an astonishing return to the live arena: from playing one-on-one for fans, to cinemas, museums and churches internationally. Whilst beginning to write songs for 'Kindly Now', Keaton pushed himself in two extreme directions: first, he taught himself the art of orchestration and arrangement, and surprise-released the critically acclaimed collection of bedroom-classical music, 'Romantic Works', on the same day as his immediately-sold-out date at London's Meltdown Festival (at the request of James Lavelle). Then, having completed 'Kindly Now', Henson pushed the more electronic textures of some of his new songs into 'Behaving', his first album of wholly-electronic music (also staging a DIY, immersive production of Vivaldi's Four Seasons for two-sold out nights at Oval Space, in association with The Barbican).
On top of his work as a worldwide-exhibited visual artist, Keaton has recently released his first poetry collection ('Idiot Verse') and scored the forthcoming Balletboyz' feature-length World-War-One epic 'Young Men' in conjunction with the BBC (originally performed at Sadler's Wells, and resulting in Keaton conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra). This has all - one way or another - fed into 'Kindly Now': an album four years in the making, from an artist of whom all you can expect is the unexpected, but reliably unflinching.1. March
3. The Pugilist
4. NW Overture
5. No Witnesses
6. Good Lust
7. Comfortable Love
8. Old Lovers In Dressing Rooms
11. Holy Lover
12. How Could I Have Known$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock