We dream and we die alone, it seems…

My stubbornly autonomous imagination has just refused to leave last week’s tired Welsh-music-scene-as-episode-from-Pobol-y-Cwm metaphor well alone.

I can’t help filling in the scenery further. I’ve been imagining other Welsh luminaries living round the corner and former tenants made good moving out to greener pastures but coming back to visit regularly. This is all very well but unavoidably leads to concerns over parking and then questions about whether the parish council can afford to run the library service as well as keeping the Post Office open in the current climate. Honestly, if I still had the kids’ Lego kits and accompanying model figures, well, I’d not be writing this post…

Any-hoo.

The latest artist to “move in” to the community (I had to go back and put those quotes marks in…) is this feller.

H Hawkline

Wrote about H Hawkline last year, although I wasn’t really operating from a position of strength; couldn’t find a lot online about him and had (of course) missed him at Green Man. Recently though, a couple of Hawkline records have appeared on Emusic, both really good but very different to each other.

The first, Cup of Salt, is more the style I wrote about before, delicate but more-ish guitar pieces with few vocals on it. I quite like it but the second record, The Strange Uses of Ox Gall is more my sort of thing. It starts quite slowly with a bit of noodling and gawky playfulness, but there are some much more substantial (and quirky) pieces just around the corner. Goofy, creepy fairground keyboards and homemade samples litter the place, but beneath the garish wrapping are some genuine, rather melancholic pop moments. Particular favourites are Surf Pound, Mind How You Go and Funny Bones (with Cate le Bon on backing vocals – not doing much to dispel the Pobol y Cwm fantasies, there). The single You Say You Love Me is rather sweet as well.

I’ve also had these recordings of H Hawkline at this year’s Green Man, languishing on my hard disk for a couple of months now. I enjoyed the set a lot and thought that having armed myself with the albums I’d be a little more in the know when I went back to listen to the recordings, but actually, turns out that there’s very little from either record there – it’s pretty much all new material (Ox Gall was only a summer release, I think).

But it’s good stuff and quite a useful little counterpoint to the whimsy that dominates the records, sounding rather choppy and garage-y as it does. As I say, a lot of the songs he played were new to me and I’ve had to try and make sensible guesses about titles – if anyone can put me right, I’d appreciate it.

Forget What You’ve Learnt and Live Life like a Child

My Dreams

Don’t See Me Getting Old

Broken Fingers

Kiss Me on My Lips

Hell’s Bells

Full Focus

Leather Belly

(btw, just so as you know that I do put in all due research and effort to these posts, marbling, engraving and lithography are just some of the strange uses of ox gall…)

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