New, new date: Douglas Dare + Fell / The Castle Hotel / Wed 23 Feb 2022
Wed Feb 23 2022 at 08:30 pm to 11:30 pm
The Castle Hotel | Manchester, EN
AdvertisementPLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until February 2022. Original tickets remain valid and all other details are the same.
English songsmith Douglas Dare returns with his third and most stripped back studio album to date, Milkteeth, released on 21 February 2020 with 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.
Special guest is Fell. Lose yourself in the forest of Fell, the musical alias of London-based artist, illustrator and creator of sun-kissed psychedelic pop dreaminess Nicolas Burrows, aided and abetted by band members Jon Rulton (Bear Driver, Dream Giant), Dav Shiel (Beth Jeans-Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny) and Matt Giraudeau (Dogtanion). Release last October as a limited-edition cassette tape and via digital services, For The Pickling is his Lost Map debut EP. Hailed as ‘beautifully crafted’ by For Rabbits, the title track was released in August as part of Lost Map’s PostMap Club, a subscription series in which members receive a new set of printed postcards each month with download codes giving access to new and unreleased music. Fell have received radio support from BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Gideon Coe among others.
Originally hailing from Blackpool, Lancashire, Nicolas cut his teeth in the early-2000s, playing in bands around the then-burgeoning Leeds scene (Crayon, All My Friends Are Dead, Vest For Tysso, Bear Driver, Super Eight), before starting to create his own project under the name Glaciers. In 2016 he mutated into Fell, recording There Still Are Mysteries, an album of haunting autumnal pop with Stereolab’s Andy Ramsay in the production chair. In 2018, Fell were one of eight recipients of PRS/PledgeMusic’s Emerging Artist Fund and used this to record a new five-track EP and make three videos. Produced by Dan Blackett (of Bella Union signings, Landshapes), For The Pickling is the result – six lilting, woozy micro-opuses that transport the listener to a half-forgotten childhood summer and back again. The EP features guest accompaniment from Dan’s bandmates Luisa Gerstein and Heloise Tunstall-Behrens, as well as the sonorous vocals of experimental performer David Thomas Broughton.
Price: £9 adv
Where is it happening?The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, M4 1LE Manchester, UK, Manchester, United Kingdom
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