This very first curation has been compiled for us by Douglas Dare. You can listen to tracks and find out more about his eight selected albums below.
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This week, London-based singer-songwriter Douglas Dare has released his debut album Whelm on Erased Tapes. We dig it. With the piano at the core, Dare vocalises his short prose and poems to a backdrop of drums, electronics and brass. It's an album that is both intimate and an expansive listen. But don't take our word for it alone, you can stream it in full below.
Douglas Dare's 'Whelm' album has an official release show this week (16th May) at Birthdays, Dalston. Tickets are available here.
St Vincent - St Vincent I love how Annie has gone more towards the heavier sound we heard in her 2012 Record Store Day release, Krokodil. She's also clearly been influenced by her most recent collaboration with David Byrne. I really enjoy the story telling in this album especially on tracks like Prince Johnny and I Prefer Your Love.
Warpaint - Warpaint On first listen I was missing the "songs", I felt like it was all vibe - beautifully honed in vibe, but missing good songs. After a few listens I really started to get in to this record. Unlike a lot of the other music I listen to, I can hear them playing their instruments in the practice room and feel there's a real tangible feel to the album. I'm pleased they didn't loose this on the second album.
Atoms For Peace - Amok I think I love everything that Thom Yorke touches but this really is special, even though it came out a good while ago I honestly listen to this album every week. Will all of both Yorke's and Radiohead's output I feel there's so much to go back to and discover even after years of listening. The arrangements on this record are perfect and Thom Yorke's voice is truly the only male voice that I love.
Anna Calvi - One Breath I'm only really a fan of a select few of the songs on this record, but the one's I do listen to I love! Sing to Me is work of art in my ears. It's anthemic and just a very well written song. I appreciate the simplicity of both the lyric and the arrangement. Anna's delivery is restrained on this track and that's how I prefer her voice.
Goldfrapp - Tales of Us I loved Goldfrapp's first album Felt Mountain and this record harps back to that in someways. The mood of this album continues effortlessly throughout and it's the sort of album I like to listen to from beginning to end. Annabel is beautifully sung and I feel it's one of those songs where the melody perfectly matches the lyric. This song was found not written.
Nils Frahm - Spaces I was lucky enough to hear this album be performed live countless times whilst on tour with Nils but I still listen to it at home regularly. The control and the freedom in Nils' work is something that boggles me and tracks like Says set me in this dreamlike state that I never want to leave. Love it.
Tune-Yards - Nikki Nack I've been waiting for Tune-Yards to release another record for what feels like forever! Meryl is in incredible singer and her melodies remind me why songs exist and why we sing. This record is so visceral with my favourite track being The Water Fountain that just makes me want to sing and dance. I need albums like this to soundtrack my upbeat days.
Dave Brubeck - Time Out I grew up hearing my mum playing these tracks but I've only recently gotten back in to this. Brubeck's tracks were the first pieces that taught be about feeling something other that 4 beats in the bar. His effortless movement through irregular time signatures is so inspiring and this album is like exercise for my musical brain.
Available as Dinked Edition No 35:+ Exclusive alternative sleeve art+ Pressed on colour vinyl+ Limited to 300 hand numbered editionsEnglish...
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Available as Dinked Edition No 35:
+ Exclusive alternative sleeve art + Pressed on colour vinyl + Limited to 300 hand numbered editions English songsmith - and previous Sea Change festival performer - Douglas Dare returns with his third and most stripped back studio album to date, 'Milkteeth', released via Erased Tapes. Produced by Mike Lindsay — founding member of Tunng and one half of LUMP with Laura Marling — in his studio in Margate in just twelve days, Milkteeth sees Douglas become confident and comfortable enough with his own identity to reflect on both the joys and pains of youth. In doing so, he has established himself as a serious 21st Century singer-songwriter with an enduring lyrical poise and elegant minimalist sound.
Douglas Dare grew up on a farm as the youngest member of a large extended family, where he was often found in his own private world, dancing in his mother’s pink ballet dress. “Only now do I feel free to express my inner child again, and am giving myself permission to play dress up,” says Dare of 'Milkteeth’s cover shot, in which he wears soft makeup and is draped with layers of white linen, acting the part of a Greek muse. “I never felt like I fit in. I was different, odd. I wanted to dance and sing and dress up and on a small farm in rural Dorset that really stuck out.”
Where previously he has been known as a piano player, for 'Milkteeth' Dare picked up a new instrument, the autoharp, and as soon as he sat down with it, songs poured out – he wrote the album’s first single 'Silly Games', in under an hour. “Instinctual feelings about childhood and innocence were the catalyst,” he explains. “Then with the autoharp, it all just clicked – I could see the album laid out ahead of me.”
'Milkteeth' opens with 'I Am Free', which loops piano and lyrics in an intimate dance, comparing the seemingly inexorable freedom of childhood to flying. 'The Playground' is a song Dare says he’s wanted to write for years, about a yearning for childhood innocence and simplicity. While 'Red Arrows' tells a story of vulnerability, of craving parental comfort, 'The Joy In Sarah’s Eyes' is a Jeff Buckley-esque ballad for a new generation. In 'Heavenly Bodies' there is an unhurried darkness that nods to Leonard Cohen’s songwriting, and is also the first time Dare has played the guitar on record. The melodies on 'Milkteeth' are deliberately simple; Dare wanted it to feel familiar right from the first listen. In between these songs sit instrumental pieces – 'The Piano Room', 'The Stairwell', 'The Window' – named for the spots they were recorded in, moments for stillness and reflection.
Marking his arrival in 2014 with the release of his acclaimed debut 'Whelm' and establishing his musical dexterity on the much darker follow up 'Aforger' in 2016, Dare’s star keeps growing. In 2017 he was asked to contribute a re-interpretation of 'Dance Me to the End of Love' to the Leonard Cohen exhibition A Crack in Everything at the Contemporary Art Museum of Montréal, currently showing at The Jewish Museum in New York before opening at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco in September 2020. He was invited by Robert Smith to perform at his Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre in 2018, followed by the David Lynch-curated Manchester International Festival alongside Anna Calvi in 2019.
Dare’s music speaks of his own experiences of universal themes like love, loss, and childhood. Perhaps most importantly, his music gives a voice and a sanctuary to anyone who’s ever felt unusual or out of place. Whether he’s singing of the pain of those in the Magdalene Laundries as on 'Whelm', describing coming out to his parents on 'Aforger', or processing his own childhood isolation on Milkteeth, Dare has a graceful honesty and an abiding clarity of vision in his simple and distinctive sound.
1. I Am Free 2. Red Arrows 3. Heavenly Bodies 4. The Piano Room 5. Silly Games 6. The Joy In Sarah’s Eyes 7. The Stairwell 8. Whereever You Are 9. The Window 10. The Playground 11. Run