Phil Cooper free song give away

mailBeing the awfully nice chap that he is, Phil Cooper is giving a song away, free, gratis, for nothing.

Given the theme of the song he feels that it seems wrong to ask people to pay for the song, so he’s giving it away.Here….

Also, if you doodled in his doodle pad at gigs, you can check out  the gigdoodle page on his website where he’s put up some of his favourites.

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Thoughts and Observations –  Phil Cooper (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Phil-Cooper-Thoughts-Observations-Album-CoverGoing into any review is an interesting prospect and a swathe of questions raise their heads as the music starts. What will I find within, how will the music effect me, how will I convey what I feel about to the reader and more importantly, how much can I sell this for on Discogs after I’ve finished writing? Ignore that last one, just joking…no-one sends in physical form any more! Damn this modern age! But all that aside you go into a Phil Cooper album review knowing that there is a bit of a safety net, one born of a fine musical track record, some fantastic live shows and a back catalogue of quality songs which gets right inside my wheelhouse.

And Thoughts and Observations is a perfect title for the album, and indeed what Phil does in general, as his songs are generally socially aware, personal but relatable, the musings, thoughts and experiences of a guy living a life just like the rest of us, only with more of a penchant for hats than most. But hats are cool.

I have been lucky enough to see Phil play many times and although it has generally been as a solo player, what a studio album allows him to do is dress the songs slightly, and I mean slightly as he is astute enough to understand that his songs are the type that stand very much on their own two feet. That the solo version is the beating heart of the recorded version and heart is important. Road Songs is a perfect example of this, a gentle beat, strings hovering around the periphery, subtle harmonies and the song front and centre. A sonic frame and nothing more. That’s how its done, wannabe troubadours take note, if you need more gimmickry than substance to make the song presentable to the audience, bin the bugger! Fear Factory sees things rock up, get brassy and throw a heavy groove for a Van-tastic delivery, Looking Through The Blindfold is a shimmering slice of soulful and soul-searching acoustica and Shake it up struts with a folky-R&B swagger.

Thoughts and Observations is the sound of a bunch of great songs being put on a pedestal, it is also everything you expect from Phil Cooper, subtle and supple songs that sit equidistant between cult favourites and easy commerciality. If this album had come out in the year 2000 nobody would have even heard of David Gray!

Find out all about Phil Cooper, watch videos, buy albums etc HERE

Phil Cooper’s A Welcome in The Wild Tour of Canada

17264269_874445039363711_3670526988593739171_nOur good friend and splendid acoustic pop chap, Phil Cooper, has just announced that this year his musical travels will see him wander even further than usual as he heads off to Canada.

If you live within travelling distance of any of these dates then we heartily recommend you catch him live, scribble in his trusty doodle book, enjoy the music, buy a CD and sleep peacefully knowing that you have helped keep one on the good guys on the road and in the game.

Sunday May 21 – Relish, Toronto, ON
Tuesday May 23 – Dr. Disc Records, Windsor, ON
Tuesday May 23 – Phog Lounge, Windsor, ON
Saturday 27 May – Intimate & Interactive Niagara, Ridgeway, ON
Sunday May 28 – Michael Williams Presents Sunday Night, Oakville, ON
Tuesday May 30 – Graffiti’s Bar and Grill, Toronto, ON
Friday June 2 – Grimross Brewing Co., Fredericton, NB
Sunday June 4 – Baba’s Lounge, Charlottetown, PEI

Songs of Praise, Swindon – My 12 favourite gigs of 2016 – part 1 (by Dave Franklin)

12376559_918068144947598_1890568069506145317_nI don’t get to go to many gigs that I am not involved in promoting these days, but whilst I am always present in more of a work than a punter capacity, I still get to watch, work and hang out with some wonderful bands and a set of people who are imaginative, affable, mad, crazy, creative, visionary and unlike anyone you’d meet in normal walks of life. With that in mind I thought that I’d pick my top twelve gigs I have been part of this year.

Polar Front, Lionface and Honey Trap – 7th January @ The Victoria

Polar Front are the local success story of the last year from fledging steps towards a sassy melding of R&B grooves with shimmering indie-pop to becoming soundscaping leviathans. Not only do they build massive sonorous dreamscapes and towering sonic cathedral in Sophie Goldsworthy they have the voice to back it up.

Lionface have similar draw dropping qualities, twisted electronic pop, jagged guitars and brooding melodies and one of the most mesmerising performers you will ever witness fronting the musical package.

 Gaz Brookfield and Ben Wain, Nick Parker and George Wilding – 18th February @ The Victoria

 It’s always a fun night when Gaz and his right hand man Ben head back to the town of the formers, formative musical years. Now commanding massive audiences but somehow still able to deliver an honest, often poignant, sometimes just plain fun set that still feels intimate and accessible, that’s one hell of a trick.

Nick Parker is one of my favourite people from this strange musical world to spend time with and just as big a Waterboys fan as me. His set of quirky stories, kitchen sink narratives, and sing-along rhymes defy anyone not to join in.

Opening the night was George Wilding who may look like Nick Drakes drug dealer but whose command of gutter poetry, back street operas and strange urban mythologies are second to none….except Joseph Porter. (Oh, go look him up.)

 SNDubstation and The Hat Club – 18th March @ The Locomotive

 This one was so memorable not only for the class of the bands who both take reggae and ska and blend them into wonderful, euphoric and unique musical shapes but the fact that the venue, normally known for homing a smattering of speed addled, budget lager drinkers who try to ignore and find fault with whatever music was programed that week were invaded by a party crowd who proceed to blow the roof off the place.

 The Black Feathers, Jonny Payne and The Thunder and Phil Cooper – 7th April @ The Victoria

 Anyone who doesn’t like The Black Feathers can’t be my friend. I’m sorry, those are the rules and there is nothing I can do about it. As they wander country, soul and folk musical roads they manage to lay waste any competition via the sublime way their vocals harmonise. The song crafting is great and they have an amazing stage charisma, add to that the fact that they are thoroughly nice people to hang about with and the attraction isn’t hard to see.

Jonny Payne does a neat line in Americana – country, folk, soul and gospel all find their way into the mix and the fact that The Thunder who make up the rhythm section are also two thirds of The Black Hats, one of the first bands I put on in Swindon sparks a few nostalgic conversations.

No one does accessible, acoustic pop like Phil Cooper; imagine Neil Finn with an English accent…and a hat.

 White Lilac, Wasuremono and Neverlnd – 21st April @ The Victoria

 I grew up musically with all the independent labels of the post-punk era and this gig was like a journey back in time. Sadly White Lilac is no more, as far as I’m aware, but like Wasuremono before them they blend post-punk boundary pushing, pastoral dream-pop and shimmering shoegaze into interesting new forms. The headliners take a more raw-edged approach though tempered when needed by some haunting cello lines, their support pulling at more bucolic, and atmospheric strings and garnering strange sounds from an array of retro technology.

Opener Neverlnd take the more commercial approach but still manage to walk that difficult line between radio play and cult status.

 Don Gallardo and Luke Tuchscherer – 8th May @ The Beehive

 We don’t get to put on many gigs at The Beehive but when one of East Nashville’s finest comes looking for a show you beg, borrow or steal to make it happen. Thankfully it only took a phone call.

There is quite a market in this country at the moment for music labelled Roots, Americana, or even British Americana, but when the real thing comes to town you sit up and take notice. You know how the music score of shows like “Nashville” just sound different to anything we produce on this side of the water, well, that makes a good point of reference as some of that music for that show was supplied by Mr G.

That said Luke Tuchscherer is one of our own and not only did he play the perfect support he then jumped on the drums and backed up our colonial cousin.

Things I’ll Never Say – Phil Cooper (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Things-Ill-Never-Say-Album-ArtworkThe modern world seems inundated with “singer-songwriters. ” Excuse the use of inverted commas but you know what I mean, you have all seen them. A guy in a checked shirt at the open mic. session trying earnestly to be the next Ed Sheeran or Frank Turner with some sense of entitlement that because his parents have bought him all this expensive gear you are required to take them seriously. Generally what they are missing more than anything are memorable songs. Okay, they are probably missing passion, drive, honesty, earnestness, technical ability and charisma too but lets just talk about song writing. What they should do is go home, listen to Things I’ll Never Say on repeat. In fact more than listen to it, digest it, examine it, dissect it and use it as a template, a manual, a bible even of how to write accessible, memorable and meaningful songs.

Okay, take “I Don’t Have A Voice” – as relevant a political message as you can get in these disenfranchised, bewildering and troubled times, it sounds like it comes from the heart, lyrically astute and yet it is still a great pop song. And that is what Phil does so well; he never loses sight of the accessible pop vibe. When singing about past relationships on Old Wounds, yes it is deep and reflective and in anyone else’s hands it could be an insular and melancholic subject matter, but here he adopts a cool, slow soul mood and as brass soars and stabs, growls and grooves, it is transformed into another stunner.

There are metaphysical waltzes (Ballad of The Flower and The Tree) Neil Finn-esque magic (Stepping Off The Edge) and beautiful, minimalist balladry (The Quiet Goodbye.) The album comes with the by-line that the “new album is a statement of intent as Phil Cooper quits executive management to pursue musical dream.” Well, if this is the result he should quit jobs more often.

Phil Cooper Christmas Freebies

a0428442270_10Phil Cooper has a  tradition of put together a nice little give away package at this time of year and this year is no exception.

This year he’s put together a little 6 track collection for you, which includes a previously unheard version of Home By Christmas, a track from Half Live and 4 songs from my days in The Haiku.  All this is completely free as a thank you for your support.

click here to have a listen

 

And if you like that you can pick up a copy of his latest album, Things I’ll Never Say HERE and if you do so in the next couple of weeks then you will also get a free copy of The Notice Period EP thrown in.

 

It also seems appropriate to point out that you can catch Phil at the following live shows.

Weds 23rd Dec – The White Hart, Calne

Sat 16th Jan – RMA Tavern, Southsea

Sat 30th Jan – The Wunderbar,
Midsomer Norton

Sat 6th Feb – The White Hart, Taunton

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