Gregory’s back in a powerful new track that’s free to download or you can pay for a larger package as the talented singer/songwriter tries out new formats to distribute his music. Much more of a return to piano/strings roots here’s The Great Divide:
Some artists do enjoy going back to their older songs and revisit them, tweak and sometimes improve them for a new pair of shoes to be walked in. Gregory Douglass has recently done that with eight of his tracks for Retro Active 3.
“Time” is a Gregory classic and is reworked into a more ethereal version tuning from an anthemic track to one that is still catchy but one that’s more layered and without drums it still has a real push behind it. “Innocence” sounds even darker than before with some great new electronica workings. “American City”, a very early track is given the Lucid treatment full of smooth, warm keyboard expertise. “North Star” is given the piano/cello stripped down edge and is every bit as dramatic as the original.
“Hard” is too given a Lucid feel with lots of glistening keyboard twinkles and bells while “Rotunda” is taken from a rocking growling menace and something that sounds like Soft Cell could have written in their Last Days in Sodom era – spooky and gritty. “Slipping” and ”"Hang Around” turns the fantastically catchy originals into a heart wrenching piano/cello/vocal ensemble which packs a real punch and closes the collection perfectly.
Gregory Douglass manages to keep the spirit of the originals whilst moving their goalposts and this will be a must have for all fans.
It’s that time of year again – a wrap up of the top 10 albums I have had the pleasure of buying. This list is for musical artist album releases only. A separate one will be done for game soundtracks. Here goes:
10) Zola Jesus – Vessel
A fantastic culmination and one of my most recent new discoveries, it just edges into the top 10 by providing me with one of the few dark and damp albums of 2011. Her voice harks back to generations of old and the electronics and dramatic song structures make it a treat to visit the darkness every time.
09) Faun – Eden
Band members have left and been replaced and while you can tell that Faun’s sound has changed forever. It still sits firmly in the Pagan Folk genre they’ve helped create but the vocals are more hymn like, English is introduced and the overall sound is one more of a forest pixie raging war on humanity. Either way, it’s still utterly superb.
08) St Vincent – Strange Mercy
St Vincent makes the most clumsy, sloppy and seemingly out of control music seem to still have order, beauty and integrity. Her third studio album is full of all the quirks, embellishments and random freak outs we’ve come to expect but in a more assured manner and with more layers than ever before!
07) Gregory Douglass – Lucid
Having watched Gregory over various live net shows introduce, change, develop and grow Lucid from a concept into a fully evolved being, it’s a fantastic dream concept album that works from start to finish. Showcasing some great technical wizardry, it features some of the most catchy numbers and some of the most heartbreaking from his career to date.
06) Amiina – Puzzle
From what I thought was a lovely, quaint but slightly one-sided debut, Puzzle lifts Amiina into a new level. The quartet have perfected their craft of weaving the most unlikely of instruments together into lullabies but now also into powerful epic seven minute masterpieces.
05) Bjork – Biophilia
Never one to sit still, Biophilia is a career spanning genre bending full flow freak out. Never compromising, always challenging – it contains highlights of Bjork’s most beautiful, most powerful and most scary moments of her musical career.
04) Tori Amos – Night of Hunters
Tori Amos remains my favourite musical artist of all time. The reason this hasn’t reached the top spot is purely because it’s an album that requires a lot of time and effort to digest and I’m not really there yet. The string arrangements are beautiful and the songs are fantastic. Many have called it a return to form but I never saw her falter. A bold new direction and one that pays off.
03) Lamb – 5
The return of Lamb was unexpected but much appreciated with the perfect blend of Lou’s own solo styles and Andy’s more electronic edges. The album is much more direct and approachable with instant hooks throughout, making it by far my favourite Lamb album to date and hopefully will give them confidence to continue on.
02) tUne-YaRdS – W H O K I L L
Only discovering the sheer genius of this lady last year, being able to enjoy the growth from début to album number 2 was phenomenal. All the funky vocal collages are still here, as is the home ramshackle production but this time fused with brass and some more tip-top production too. It just seems like such a natural bloom. Magical.
01) Charlotte Martin – Dancing on Needles
The album that keeps giving with all the b-sides being released online, it’s a perfect merger of all Charlotte’s previous works of piano, guitar, keyboard and pounding drums. Her voice is an absolute marvel and every song is as achingly beautiful and painful as the last. Without doubt my album of the year.
Narrowly missing out were PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Sarah Slean, The Go Team and Omodaka.
Gregory Douglass returns with a new album “Remixed” featuring fresh takes on old songs. Here is the stirring music video to “American City”
Gregory Douglass is to release a new digital album for Christmas. “Remixed” is a revisiting album, going back over older tracks, redoing them, revamping and revising. Most exciting is that the tracks are up for debate so pop over to his website and submit your requests. Remixed is due December.
Gregory Douglass returns with his brand new album “Lucid” and this time we’ve gone concept – and electro. The most apparent shift in sound for Douglass is a move towards digital and electronic sounds. This comes from percussive beats to lots of synthesised extras, however there’s almost always piano or guitar at the core of each song, and of course Gregory’s amazingly versatile vocals.
Opener “The Night” begins the concept of dreams with a serenading lullaby that’s equally as eerie as it is beautifully warming. The song’s underpinned by a sumptuous music box melody but you can sense that all is not well as the drums and vocals swell and build. It’s a mystical opening track to lull you into the dream world. “Lucid” follows with an elastic band rock anthem that flicks itself effortlessly between pulsating lowfi-electro pop to distorted vocals and crunching drum beats. Something that is used throughout to great effect is reverb distortion and the title track uses it superbly.
“White Out” is a more traditional laid back track with lazy guitar riffs rolling across the speakers and some excellent string work, particularly in the choruses which elevates the track to something you could easily arm sway to with the top down in a car on a summer’s day. The juxtaposition between this track and most electronic track on the album “Naysayer” makes both stand out. The latter track is all about using synthesised bass lines and enough of a pop beat to make this an alternative dance track with lots of ambient clangs and whirls filling up the space where there’s a lack of chords or song progression. It’s unlike anything else Gregory has produced to date and he takes to this new genre with ease.
“Wild” is possibly the culmination of all the above tinkering into a perfect blend of sublime pop rock and indie rock with lots of a technical wizardry. It’s an absolute crowd pleaser with its euphoric chorus and catchy riffs. Easily the most commercially accessible song on the album, it deserves a place on everyone’s playlist. “Shot Down” is a curious track that holds its self back purposely by placing the vocals right to the foreground of the mix which then lets the guitar to burst through in the short blasts its given. It actually ends up being quite rock orientated with its flanging guitar riffs taking over in the second half for fun track.
“Dream Come True” is quiet track with acoustic and electric guitars working in symbiosis, underpinned by bleeding keyboard pads. Even Gregory’s vocals are quite subdued for this track for the most part and it becomes a track of solitude and reflection. “Animal” is the only piano led track on the album which is embellished with electric piano twinkles and some beautiful cello work from Monique Citro whose presence is felt throughout the album. In its complete simplicity, this track is part of my joint trio favourites from the album. Simple, powerful, beautiful and epic.
“Raven” takes the whole frequency tampering and flanging to a new level with the entire song besides the vocals and drums being twisted around in your ears so there is always something going. This is one of the most angst tracks on the album with a great rising chorus that builds tension that’s already prickling and popping in your ears due to the excellent production of the track in general. “One True Thing” harks back to albums gone by with a beautiful love song that’s been a staple on Greg’s albums for a while and is a real spirit raiser. That then paves way the absolutely blinding closer “From Now On” which effortlessly spins around from piano ballad to showcasing plenty of technical wizardry and then ends with a devastatingly heart wrenching cello outro to Greg’s echoing vocals fading away. It’s time to wake up.
“Lucid” is a superb album. With not a dull track in sight, each song has its own purpose, poise and motive. Each is filled with more hooks than a DIY store and top be topped off with Greg’s vocal gymnastics that deserve more praise than I could possible heap on, if you pick up one “lets give it a go” album this year – pick “Lucid”. You will not be disappointed.
Gregory Douglass is back with new album Lucid, which we will be reviewing tomorrow. Be sure to catch his webcast of his album release party show at 1am UK time – or if you’re in the local area pop along! Do catch it online click the link here!
While Gregory Douglass beavers away on his hotly anticipated new album, he’s put together a tantilising trailer for us all. Another contender for album of the year surely!
Gregory Douglass is a giggle of a chap. Whilst campaigning for her 2011 album release (which is sounding all colours of awesome may I add), Greg has been also releasing cover version of select songs with music videos featuring art from Glen Nadeau and himself. So far three have been released.
All singles are available in MP3 format from iTunes, Amazon et al!
Gregory Douglass has embarked a new concept called “Cover Art” which will feature covered songs with visual art videos. The result is the breathtakingly beautiful cover of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. The single is available on iTunes.
A while back we gave a shout out to Gregory Douglass and his web concerts where he invited everyone along for an fun concert in aid of fundraising for his new album. HPM popped along yesterday to see how it all worked and was a happy bunny by the end of it.
Greg was joining by Celloist Mo and they took requests, chatted away to the virtual audience and generally had a great time. The quality of the stream was great and it really was like having you’re own concert in your own house and the feeling of it was that you were being given something quite individual and special to you. Greg can certainly wow the crowds too with electrifying performances of songs past and present and although it was a relaxed mood, once the first notes were played for each song its hard not to be captivated by his stage presence.
We recommend you all pop along and see what the fuss we’re creating about it and HPM is certain you’ll enjoy it!
In an idea so ingenious I might steal it myself, Gregory Douglass has started off a Monday night Virtual House Show series. Running from his studio, it looks like its going to be a great series and special guest performers will be popping in to help out, all in aid of keeping Greg’s musical dream alive. As a website that supports wholeheartedly independant artists (and because HPM loves his music) we’re just doing our bit to push some traffic his way. Pop over to his website for more details!
Gregory Douglass, who released the great Battler last year, has announced he’s already working on his next album. Although its not available until 2011, what he has done (rather ingeniously) is allow people to preorder the album now so 25% of the money goes straight to helping out Haiti. Haiti is something very close to HPM’s heart and so we fully endorse and salute this great gesture.
We loved Gregory Douglass’ latest album “Battler” that much we hunted him down for a quick interview. Here is the multi talented singer/songwriter who gives us a little insight into recording as an independent artist.
For someone who’s not heard your music – how would you discribe it?
You’ve released most of your albums by yourself. How hard a nut is it to crack and do it right?
Why Six Feet Under?
Is there any other instruments you’d like to learn?
Yes, the cello and the drums!
Gregory Douglass is an indie singer/songwriter who has just blipped onto HPM’s radar just in time for his latest release “Battler”. Man with acoustic edge and a naturally smooth vocal talent is the sound here. It’s a potent one too.
“Broken Through” opens with a simple piano riff which has the slightest discord. Along with the chords used its enough to distinguish Gregory from mainstream alternative piano pop rock but it keeps him very easy to the year too. His smooth and soaring vocals are showcased in the chorus. The vocal layering almost gives this excellent song a gospel undertone. No sooner has it built up its over and on spills “Cathedrals” which is a fist full more grit to it. The production is very clever in the song and Douglass’ vocal snaps between pitch shifts are something which give him that certain little quirk and nuance that sets him apart.
“Devotion” is the first slower song on the album but its definitely a rock ballad and the whole production swirls around some excellent vocal work. “Day of the Battler” changes the dynamic to an almost cabaret death on stage angle. Here Gregory’s vocals instantly sound like Rufus Wainwrights and the song could be right out of his or Sarah Slean’s catalogue. While it stand outs in its style, it’s not necessarily the strongest song on the album.
“No Apology” is a lovely layered vocal piece that is both calming and soothing. While there’s a lot of technical trickery involved in these types of songs, this one stands out because it sounds so natural and that’s why it works especially well. The addition of an organ at the end is inspired too. “Stay” is a more taut track that I particularly enjoyed with its muffled percussion and distant tinkering piano echoing far behind the vocals. It’s like the walk of dead to the final place of rest. Excellent.
“Madeline” is the first real alt piano rock track since the opening track and it has a nice edge to it whilst having a bum shuffle of a verse to enjoy. It’s a nice cross over. “Sadly” features Anais Mitchell on backing vocals in a downbeat solemn number and their vocals really bounce off each other’s very well. Perhaps a further collaboration could be in order judging by how well this song goes. Beautiful guitar work too.
“This is My Life” is more uptempo and radio play worthy in a alt-pop acoustic guitar led number and would do well on it. “Lifeline” is more interesting with its reversed percussive track and twisted backing vocals to give an offkilterness to a song that doesn’t sit still comfortably. It’s a song that requires repeated listens to feel at ease with but then I find those songs always end up as your favourites in the end.
“Harlequin” is a gutsy rock track that would do well as a movie montage of certain key moments in a film. The closing track is the quietest of the set. “Ordinary Man”, which features Grace Potter on backing vocals, is gentle and warm ballad. Grace’s vocals are excellent and compliment Gregory’s vocals very well. It’s a self assured end to a very self assured album.
Gregory Douglass borrows from others and then puts his own twist onto them. Be it his with his silky production, smooth and flexible vocals or his ability to write songs that would fill many segments on various TV shows at key emotional scenes. “Battler” surely has battled its way to be heard but the victors are the ones who listen as its a gem in waiting to be discovered.
This week’s Live Vault comes from singer/songwriter Gregory Douglass whom I’ve just discovered. This seventh album is to be released this week coming entitled “Battler” which we will be reviewing later and we have already lined up an interview with the talented man. Here’s a performance of an earlier song entitled “Crazy Love”. Enjoy