ATP is pleased to announce that we are releasing Gareth Liddiard of The Drones first solo record, Strange Tourist on January 25th (USA) / January 31st (UK). It is available on digital pre-release on iTunes from today. CD / 2xLP release follows in January with Pre-orders available now from our website. All pre-orders receive a code to download the full album in MP3 now plus an acoustic version of Jezebel, Liddiard's 2006 opus that appeared on The Drones album Gala Mill.
Liddiard "a songwriter of extraordinary power" (Time Out) and "one of the few rock lyricists worth paying real attention to" (Guardian) has the honour of writing the greatest Australian song ever written (Shark Fin Blues) - according to a panel of musicians late last year. The Age, one of Australia's leading newspapers has already named it their Album Of The Month, "This is something really exceptional. Liddiard is inspired."
Listen to first track: 'Blondin Makes An Omelette' here where Liddiard tells the story of wirewalker and acrobat Charles Blondin from the point of view of his eternally suffering understudy.
"It seems we're all in for a treat
Staring up, out of the street
And you can tell that Joe is really glad he came
Though downwind of him trails
A fog of alcohol
To do his best to be indifferent
All the same
'Cause there ain't no shaking the smell
Like there ain't no shaking the spell
As Blondin, Wirewalker
Braves the screams
Well, Joe is
Though he has something to confess
Above the sound of ten thousand creaking
Necks all craned
"Alone amongst the beasts and freaks
I dreamed of tightrope walking
While I tended Blondin's
Percherons and trailers
I'd see him
Training in the evening
There was no point trying to speak
You see, I doubted that he'd have
Time for the strangers
Who'd be there hoisting his big tents
Who'd be spying him from their naves
Staring down at them
Like batshit in a cave
Well, we hardly even met, but see
I worked for him, I thought I'd
Fill the space he left
But no, I was naive
Just another sideshow slow, I thought
He knew something I don't
But it would seem, all these Wirewalkers have
Is just the means to make you feel so bad
Man, no one
Cared for him at all
Until he crossed Niagara Falls
So you'd all feel
A little lower down the scale
And then his fame shot straight and fast
Right through a gloomy, narrow pass
He chanced through darkness, lightning storms
And into day
But I ain't here because he's tall
I'm only here to see him fall
If I get on the wagon now
It'll only be to run him down"
It seems we're
All in for a treat
Staring up out of the street
And you can smell that Joe's been drinking
On his breath
And then the clouds part overhead
And I make out a silhouette
As though I'm staring up through a trapdoor
And I'm waiting to be fed."
Recorded in an isolated mansion thirty minutes outside Yass, in country New South Wales, Strange Tourist captures Liddiard at his most naked, and his most explosive. Armed with just a guitar, he makes surreal stories of tightrope walkers, down and outers, suicidal Japanese salarymen and suburban radicals come alive like no one else could.
On ‘Blondin Makes An Omelette’ Liddiard tells the story of wirewalker and acrobat Charles Blondin from the point of view of his eternally suffering understudy: “No one cared for him at all until he crossed Niagra Falls/ So you’d all feel a little lower down the scale… but I ain’t here because he’s tall, I’m only here to see him fall/ And if I get on the wagon now it’ll only be to run him down."
Liddiard’s interest in Australian history and folklore also makes a return on Strange Tourist, but this time it’s mixed with a uniquely incisive take on current affairs and politics. The record contains one of his richest and most controversial songs to date, ‘The Radicalisation Of D’, loosely inspired by the incarceration of Australian David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2001.
Recorded with another graduate of the Australian Music Prize, Burke Reid (the producer behind 2007 winner The Mess Hall’s Devils Elbow and The Drones’ fourth album Havilah), Strange Tourist is the latest instalment from one of Australia’s most talented poets. Listen to it now, because you’ll be hearing about it for years to come.
“a singer-songwriter and guitarist of dark intensity…his vivid narratives draw on the landscape and character of his homeland in a delicately melancholic way” - Uncut
“Like the most compelling acts… Liddiard has come to be regarded as one of those lyricists whose words have the weight of poetry.” - Popmatters