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Monks Road Social

Down The Willows

    Curated by the Blow Monkeys’ Dr Robert, Monks Road Social is an ever-evolving collaborative outfit. Down The Willows is their first album release and a unique and special project of inspiration, friendship and craft.

    Helping Robert get there were some members of the stellar Monks Road Social: Mick Talbot (Style Council, The Who) on harmonium, piano and Hammond; Crispin Taylor (Galliano, Candi Staton, Push) on drums; Ernie McKone (Galliano, Marlene Shaw) on bass; Matt Deighton (Mother Earth, Oasis) on lead guitar; Steve Sidelnyk (Richard Ashcroft, Madonna) percussion and, of course, the exquisite strings of Ben Trigg (Dexys, Richard Ashcroft).

    These talented musicians were joined by some of Monks Road Records' exceptional new talent, including Samantha Whates and Pat Dam Smyth, as well as the acclaimed band Stone Foundation, and other new artists; Angelina, Nev Cottee, Zooey and Shona Carmen, and J.O.S.

    With no genre boundaries and just 10 days in the studio, Dr Robert and his compadres creating a truly unique album. Effortlessly veering between soul, jazz, folk, blues rock, ambient, baroque and more. All held together with a passion and belief in the ethos of Monks Road founder, Richard Clarke, who wanted to create a world where artisans, poets and musicians are celebrated for their craft. Allowing them a place to showcase their talents in an industry that's making it impossible for them to do so, in a world hurtling towards convenience.

    Down The Willows is an exceptional collection of songs, showing how creative artists can be when afforded the opportunity to freely express themselves. It is a testament to Monks Road’s vision, and it is only the beginning…

    Monks Road Social Feat. Pat Dam Smyth, Shona Carmen & Zooey

    Head Down To Love / Rivers Of Gold

      Head Down To Love (Feat Shona Carmen) “ A Bossa Soul groove somewhere between Sly Stone and Air. Add the exquisite acoustic picking and songwriting nous of Matt Deighton to the soulful tones of Shona and youre in the presence of something very special and undeniably funky “

      Rivers Of Gold. (Feat Pat Dam Smyth) “A heartbreaking break-up tune written and performed by the ‘ real deal’ Mr Pat Dam Smyth. He walks in the valley of giants. Of Cohen and Cave and Hazelwood with his head held high ‘cos he knows he belongs. This casts a spell and keeps you there until you just have to hear it again..and again”

      Caught somewhere between the rain-drenched streets of Manchester and the sun-beaten deserts of America lies Nev Cottee’s third album Broken Flowers. A deeply cinematic, string-soaked album rich in atmosphere and brooding ambience. Its origins however, began in India, with Cottee trying to leave rainy-city heartbreak behind.

      “I hate the English winter. Really can't stand the grey days. So I shipped out to India in January 2016. I found a place and set up a simple studio to demo out there”. Rising at dawn each day the ideas began to flow and quickly enough 20 new songs began to take shape, “Maybe the new surroundings helped - getting out of my comfort zone, getting away from all the shit one accumulates at home".

      The songs, even in sparse demo form, captured the plaintive tone of Cottee’s vocals slowly unfurling in emotional waves - the gentleness reminiscent of Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce but with the rich warm resonance of Lee Hazelwood. Cottee then took the songs to Wales to work with previous collaborator and producer Mason Neely (Lambchop/Edwyn Collins). Neely brought in some classical musicians, “cut away the flab” and pushed the songs to their extremes - the producer's intuitions and abilities clearly trusted by Cottee, “On the album notes it says 'Mason: Sounds' and that's him in a nutshell. He brings so much to the table and gives the album it's sonic identity - I can't give him a bigger compliment than that.”

      Whilst the finished album hums with quiet beauty - dense swirls of ambience hanging in the air as elevating strings cascade through - there’s also a darkness, “Although I recorded during the day this is a night time record. It’s dark and introspective. I find that juxtaposition hugely creative. The night in India can be quite a foreboding place. Me and a mate would make late night excursions inland - into the heart of darkness. Not quite Apocalypse Now but enough to take you out of any semblance of comfort. We saw some strange things, weird village ceremonies, people biting snakes' heads off... the songs represent a physical and mental journey.” 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Laura says: Mojo have likened Nev to a bedroom Ry Cooder, and you can see what they mean on this album. The songs have a sparse, atmospheric, desert soundtrack feel, albeit drenched in rainy city melancholy. Lovely stuff.


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      Thanks for posting about it. It’s here until next Friday May 3rd btw. https://t.co/PgaFhSvpPe
      Wed 24th - 8:58
      Yes! Thanks @NME for the feature. Come and visit @ianbrown https://t.co/ilKYdZmAtx
      Tue 23rd - 9:48
      It’s great isn’t it?! Glad you liked it and hope your wish comes true.🤞🏻 https://t.co/ZPlM8ry6f5
      Mon 22nd - 5:55
      Thank you. Come back soon. https://t.co/wahwb4Pvw2
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