Tim Burgess Announces “Typical Music”

Following the Easter release of taster single “Here Comes The Weekend”, today Tim Burgess announces the release of new album Typical Music, out 23rd September via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To celebrate the announcement Burgess has shared a visually striking Kevin Godley-directed video for the album’s compulsive title track.

Commenting on the video Kevin Godley says: “Typical Music sounds like an out of control ‘something’ moving at improbable speed, hoping bits don’t fall off before it crashes, and that chaotic propulsion is what this film is about. We shot in a tiny room using 3 hand-held cameras, the most effective being a GoPro with a 360-degree lens that Tim filmed himself with whilst literally bouncing off the walls, his performer’s understanding of its potential giving the film exactly the kind of warp speed jeopardy I was looking for.”

Typical Music is a 22-track double album, a blockbuster set of songs that are as expansive and diverse as they are rich: “OK, we all know about double albums, right?” begins Burgess, a keen as mustard a student of pop and rock history. “Historically, they’ve been thought of as indulgent. But I came to the conclusion that what I was doing was the opposite of that. I wanted to give people everything that I’d done. And everything that I brought to the studio and worked on with the guys, I coloured them all in equally. Every idea was treated as if it was the best thing and had to be treated with extreme care. I wanted to give everything of myself. That was it.”

The studio was Rockfield, the storied farmyard recording establishment in Wales that held memories both good and bad for Burgess. Good, because The Charlatans recorded some of their greatest moments there (including 1997’s Tellin’ Stories, led by landmark single ‘One To Another’). Bad, because during the recording of that fifth album, the band’s original keyboard player Rob Collins died in a car crash at the bottom of the lane. Burgess hadn’t properly been back to Rockfield in almost 25 years, but now it was time.

Burgess spent 30 days in the studio with Thighpaulsandra and Daniel O’Sullivan. The former is the authentically legendary keyboard, synthesiser and production wizard who’s played with Coil, Julian Cope and Spiritualized. The latter is the ex-Grumbling Fur multi-instrumentalist who’s released records on Burgess’s O Genesis label and is a member of his live band. Dave Fridmann then sprinkled his magic over the album, mixing all 22 tracks.

“I just wanted more,” smiles this hyperactive polymath. “I wanted to challenge us all. I wanted to do more electronic things. I wanted to expand the sound. We were limited in what we could do because of Covid, but we had orchestras in our brains. But we just did it as the three of us.”

Where did they go? Where didn’t they go? To highlight but three songs from Typical Music: ‘Revenge Through Art’ is loose-hipped, chewy funk. ‘Kinetic Connection’ offers up sparkling psyche-pop, wiggy electronics weaving in and out of rippling piano. ‘Take Me With You’ is a space-soul love song.

“I fell in love with the world again,” he explains of the latter’s lyrical origins. “During Covid, I read a pile of books, got better on guitar. I had new perspective. I wanted to learn how to be Tim Burgess who makes solo records. People have a vision of me as the singer in The Charlatans. That’s not going to change. Then there’s me as the Twitter guy. But I just fell in love with the world again and wanted the world to take me with them.”

Elsewhere there are songs for his young son, and for his dad, who passed away in April 2020. There is, too, the twangy gallop of the title track. Or, as the encyclopaedically-minded Burgess puts it, excitedly: “It’s definitely sci-fi, and primal as well. Brian Jones on teardrop guitar. Or Will Sergeant, early Bunnymen. Banshees, even. Daft Punk! And then ‘Sooner Than Yesterday’ is the same,” he adds of another moment of absolute torch’n’twang, “but in monochrome. It’s more English.”

Overall, that fed into his vision for Typical Music, to wit: “I wanted to write sci-fi punk songs, or sci-fi surf songs. I was listening to a lot of Joe Meek and Kim Fowley, and lots of the songs are two minutes long. I think the average length is just over three minutes. I like that.”

Together Burgess, “Thipes” and O’Sullivan – let’s call them The Rockfield Three – have crafted a colourful, kaleidoscopic cosmos, created when the world outside was so black and white and beaten down. “That was totally the goal,” affirms Tim Burgess. “In my most far-out thoughts, I thought of it as like we built a spaceship that was hermetically sealed, a crew of three. And we just wanted to transcend the mire.” With Typical Music, it promises to be some trip.

Tim Burgess Shares “Here Comes The Weekend”

Following a busy couple of years hosting his hugely successful Twitter listening parties, amongst many other activities, Tim Burgess returns with an addictive new single, “Here Comes The Weekend”, the first taste of music from a new album due for release later this year via Bella Union. “Here Comes The Weekend” is a buoyant, bouncy, beaty beauty about a modern day romance both helped and hindered by technology. It’s the perfect curtain-raiser, an anthemic hymn to transcending geographical distance with emotional connection. The track comes accompanied by a colourful video directed by the legendary Kevin Godley.

“The idea was very much about two people who were distanced and wanted to connect but were finding it really difficult because of mobile phone signals and rain and time differences and jet lag,” says Burgess. “And I always knew the album should start with Here Comes The Weekend. It’s a simple song, and it’s a feeling more than anything.”

Commenting on the video Kevin Godley says: “This idea, about physical separation versus virtual connection, had Tim, Rose and Dan delivering impeccable performances throughout a pretty physical day, spent bending real people + live projections into a film that seems to blur the lines between joy and anxiety. Not that we set out to achieve anything that specific, but the improvisational nature of the shoot allowed it to emerge. Nor did it do any harm having an artist and song this bloody good to apply the idea to. Big thanks to Tim and everyone for the opportunity.”

Has there been a busier musician over the last two years? A more prolific artist? More creative? More heroic?

Tim Burgess – as self-effacing a band leader, solo star, label runner, repeat memoirist and all-round caffeinated can-do kid as you’ll find – would certainly shrink from the latter accolade. “A hero??” he’d likely mutter with a shake of his boyish mop. “For playing some records?”

Yes, Tim, we would say that. And not just because with the May 2020, mid-lockdown appearance of I Love The New Sky, his fifth solo album, he undauntedly pushed on with releasing an album that brought much-needed sunshine to a world enveloped in gloom.

Over the course of the first year of the pandemic, Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties were a lifeline to many. At a time when the world shut down, we all retreated indoors, alone, and cancelled gigs were the least of our worries, the North Country Boy’s idea of utilising social media to unite us round a digital turntable was inspired.

An innovation he’d imagineered a few years previously to peer under the bonnet of The Charlatans’ back catalogue albums now became a meeting place for fans of artists of all sizes, stripes, vintages. Yearning members of the Oasis faithful could lean into Bonehead’s reminiscences of making Be Here Now. Agog Beatles heads could cosy up to Paul McCartney’s tweeted tales from the studio floor, or marvel at Yoko Ono and Klaus Voormann’s 50-year-old memories of recording Plastic Ono Band.

The guests were as eclectic as they were electrifying as they were enthusiastic, with the eager participants including everyone from Run the Jewels to Roisin Murphy, Kylie Minogue to Iron Maiden – with the heavy metal heroes the all-time champs on the TTLP replay chart (yep, if you missed them in real time, you can go back and play any of the Listening Parties from the last two years #tech).

At a time when we couldn’t go anywhere, Tim Burgess helped us go everywhere. “Everybody all over the world starts listening to an album at the same time,” he said in spring 2021, as the number of parties he’d hosted ticked past the 743 mark and his Twitter followers hovered around the quarter-of-a-million tally, a 250 per cent increase on the previous year. “There’s a global call to arms, so you feel part of something. Then you hear one of your favourite records, or something new to you which is equally exciting. And you get to listen to it with a community. And this past year, who hasn’t missed all that?”

Meanwhile, Burgess was writing. And writing. And writing. For sure, some of that was for his first Tim’s Twitter Listening Party book. It was a handsome tome published last year (a second follows this autumn), the profits from which went to support various live music charities – a bit of front-footed, philanthropic proactivity also reflected in Burgess handing over monies from various other TTLP-related (ad)ventures. That Tim-shaped badge you bought might just have helped save a locked-down independent venue.

There were, too, some notes (and tweets) written to support the release of “A Head Full of Ideas”, The Charlatans’ 2021 career-spanning 30th anniversary boxset that was also accompanied by some triumphant band shows.

But mainly that writing comprised songs. Twenty-two of them in total. From September 2020 to summer 2021, ideas poured out of Burgess. He’d been encouraged by Simon Raymonde, boss of his record label Bella Union ­– and, of course, a former Cocteau Twin. He applied a musician’s logic: if you can’t tour your last album, write a new one. Then, when you can tour again, you’ll have two albums’ worth of songs to play.

But more on that later… For now, enjoy “Here Comes The Weekend” and stay tuned for more Tim Burgess info coming soon!

Happy Release Day to Tim Burgess

Following rave reviews for his recent solo album, I Love The New Sky, Tim Burgess today releases a new EP, titled Ascent Of The Ascended. The 6-track EP contains two superb new tracks, “Yours. To Be”, and “The Ascent Of The Ascended”, recorded soon after the album was finished, as well as four tracks recorded in New York City back in March as a live session for Paste magazine. Three of the tracks are from I Love The New Sky alongside a new version of The Charlatan’s classic ‘The Only One I Know’.

Of the lead track, “Yours. To Be”, Burgess says: “At the tail end of the glory of the night before – with all the hope and beauty that the following morning brings. Away from the glare of the party – like the calm after the storm has left town. It’s a feeling that’s so pure and uncluttered. It’s around a while, then real life starts to creep back in. It’s all about making the most of moments as they are happening .”

Burgess goes on to say: “There was an energy that came from recording the album with such a brilliant band – I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to record a bit of a magnum opus, which is where Ascent of the Ascended came in. I’d always wanted to work with Charles Hayward from This Heat, so we have him a ring and he said yeah. With “Yours. To Be” being almost like an instant feeling you get in a moment, very rarely in your life – the two songs are so different but they somehow complement each other. So an EP was the perfect idea.”

“We had so many plans for playing live this year – from South by Southwest to Glastonbury and everything in between. But that wasn’t to be. We played four shows in New York before lockdown happened – so our session for Paste Magazine was such a rare event, we’ve included the songs to complete the EP.”

Tim Burgess debuts ‘The Ascent Of The Ascended’

Having last month announced news of his new 6-track EP, Ascent Of The Ascended, and shared the beautiful lead track ‘Yours. To Be’, Tim Burgess today shares a video-of-the year contender for the EP’s title track, directed by Tim Pope. The video features our hero dressed in à la mode angel garb traversing rough terrain before taking to the skies in a microlight and flying off into the sunset… though no doubt returning home in time to host one of his legendary twitter listening parties.

Of the track and video Burgess says: “The Ascent of the Ascended – it’s about where we want to be, compared to where we find ourselves and how to bridge that gap. I sent the song to Tim Pope and he said he’d be up for making a video, his ideas really captured the atmosphere. It was quite a moment for me – I am a huge fan of Tim’s. Plus I got to fly and have a set of wings.”

The Ascent Of The Ascended EP contains two superb new tracks, “Yours. To Be”, and “The Ascent Of The Ascended”, recorded soon after his recent solo album was finished, as well as four tracks recorded in NYC back in March as a live session for Paste magazine. Three of the tracks are from I Love The New Sky alongside a new version of The Charlatan’s classic ‘The Only One I Know’.

Burgess says: “There was an energy that came from recording the album with such a brilliant band – I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to record a bit of a magnum opus, which is where Ascent of the Ascended came in. I’d always wanted to work with Charles Hayward from This Heat, so we gave him a ring and he said yeah. With “Yours. To Be” being almost like an instant feeling you get in a moment, very rarely in your life – the two songs are so different but they somehow complement each other. So an EP was the perfect idea. We had so many plans for playing live this year – from South by Southwest to Glastonbury and everything in between. But that wasn’t to be. We played four shows in New York before lockdown happened – so our session for Paste Magazine was such a rare event, we’ve included the songs to complete the EP.” 

Tim Burgess has also announced news of a tour for 2021. Full dates below…

April 2021 UK tour dates:

Monday 13th April – Dublin – Whelans *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Tuesday 14th April – Belfast – Ulster Sports Club

Thursday 16th April – Manchester – Night & Day *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Friday 17th April – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Saturday 18th April – Manchester – Yes *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Monday 20th April – Kendal – Brewery

Tuesday 21st April – Glasgow – King Tuts *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Thursday 23rd April – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms

Friday 24th April – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach

Saturday 25th April – Bristol – Thekla *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Monday 27th April – Birmingham – Hare and Hounds *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Tuesday 28th April – London – Oslo *(SOLD-OUT!)*

Wednesday 29th April – Portsmouth – Wedgwood Rooms

Tim Burgess announces ‘Ascent Of The Ascended’

Following rave reviews for his recent solo album, I Love The New Sky, Tim Burgess today announces news of a new EP, Ascent Of The Ascended, released 27th November via Bella Union and available to preorder here. The 6-track EP contains two superb new tracks, “Yours. To Be”, and “The Ascent Of The Ascended”, recorded soon after the album was finished, as well as four tracks recorded in New York City back in March as a live session for Paste magazine. Three of the tracks are from I Love The New Sky alongside a new version of The Charlatan’s classic ‘The Only One I Know’.

Of the lead track, “Yours. To Be”, Burgess says: “At the tail end of the glory of the night before – with all the hope and beauty that the following morning brings. Away from the glare of the party – like the calm after the storm has left town. It’s a feeling that’s so pure and uncluttered. It’s around a while, then real life starts to creep back in. It’s all about making the most of moments as they are happening .”

Burgess goes on to say: “There was an energy that came from recording the album with such a brilliant band – I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to record a bit of a magnum opus, which is where Ascent of the Ascended came in. I’d always wanted to work with Charles Hayward from This Heat, so we have him a ring and he said yeah. With “Yours. To Be” being almost like an instant feeling you get in a moment, very rarely in your life – the two songs are so different but they somehow complement each other. So an EP was the perfect idea.”

“We had so many plans for playing live this year – from South by Southwest to Glastonbury and everything in between. But that wasn’t to be. We played four shows in New York before lockdown happened – so our session for Paste Magazine was such a rare event, we’ve included the songs to complete the EP.”

“A gorgeous, summery slice of psych pop that’s peppered with nods to a who’s who of musical innovators. From the opening chords of Empathy for the Devil, which give a nod to The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry, to the delightful Comme D-Habitude, which conjures up Sparks in their pomp, there’s not a bad note on the album.” Evening Standard – 5 stars *****

“Sunshine pop gently nudged and bustled off-centre by playful experimentation… There’s a lot going on here, yes, but with Burgess on such dynamic form, its all good.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Joyful and exuberant, it recalls the good cheer of post-Beatles Paul McCartney, while ‘Sweetheart Mercury’ has something of the sunshine pop of Super Furry Animals.” The Times – 4 stars ****

“This is an adroit, cohesive pop treasure melding early 70s Todd Rundgren, Nilsson’s introspection and the art-pop of Kevin Ayers and post-Roxy Eno.” The i – 4 stars ****

“An optimistic celebration, driven by hooky melodies and strong choruses: Lucky Creatures relishes its Scott Walker-ish spaciousness, stretching out in swirls of synth and string, while Sweetheart Mercury has a vamping rhythm enlivened by squelchy Moog. It’s all crowned by the confidence of I Got This, which reconciles Charlatans-esque country-soul Hammond to classy baroque-pop ba-ba-bas in a way that is unabashedly uplifting.” The Observer – 4 stars ****

“Fifth and best solo outing from the Charlatans frontman… The connective sense of an on-the-hoof holiday from the day job, plus emotionally deep and humorous lyrics, make this a winner.” Q – 4 stars ****

“Composed in the Norfolk countryside, the record has a wonderfully expansive feel. It’s big and brash, from the freewheeling strumming and plonks of piano on ‘Empathy for the Devil’ to the whirling, psychedelic synths of ‘The Warhol Me’. For a time of such profound melancholy, it’s comforting to hear Burgess with such a sunny outlook.” The Independent – 4 stars ****

“His best in years… With feel-good abandon, the confidence of these bold, varied arrangements shines from the speakers… An infectious album where ideas are abundant.” Record Collector – 4 stars ****

“The Beatles, Sparks, Abba, 10cc, Stereolab – all these and more are conjured up on 12 tracks full of space, complexity, beauty and lyrical wizardry.” Sunday Times

“Hugely uplifting, these twelve tracks are rich in melody and bear a loose and lovely feel.” The Sun – 4 stars ****

“Burgess is one of a kind. Each solo effort reveals more of his idiosyncratic nature. The boy wonder’s eye for a pop melody and a deft pop hook remains sharper than ever.” Shindig – 4 stars ****

I Love The New Skyindulges a love of classic pop rock, with sweet melodies, pop-literate lyrics and arrangements packed with delightful details.” The Telegraph

“The lone approach  seems to have indulged more of Tim Burgess’s agreeable idiosyncracies… We’re enchanted.” Uncut – 7/10

Happy Release Day Tim Burgess

Today Tim Burgess releases his new album ‘I Love The New Sky’ to much critical acclaim. How inspiring it is to hear Tim Burgess conjuring up exciting and life-affirming sounds as he, almost inconceivably, enters his fifth decade on public duty. Frontman, singer, label boss, DJ and author, he’s been instrumental in so many great records over the years, always bringing enthusiasm, positivity and diversity of influence, which altogether light the way for those who hold him dear.

While in The Charlatans, Tim’s indefatigable energy has been a consistent fuel for the band across thirteen high-charting albums, his solo adventure has been no less extraordinary, scaling new heights in 2020 with his fifth solo release to date: ‘I Love The New Sky’. Released via Bella Union, it features wonderfully connective songs of everyday minutiae and universal experience, of love and anger, of loss and belonging, all united by elaborate yet natural arrangements and an effortless way with melody.

The twelve tunes of ‘I Love The New Sky’ were authored, he says, “in Norfolk, in the middle of the countryside, with the nearest shop eight miles away. There are no distractions, and I guess that way things happen. I wrote everything on acoustic guitar, and the chords were really considered. The guitar lines would lead the melody, and the melody would inform the lyrics – just dreaming away with music.”

So far, so Laurel Canyon, though ‘I Love The New Sky’ would end up sounding anything but hippie/folkie, thanks to a connection Tim made while living in a warehouse space in gritty Seven Sisters in North London, before heading to Norfolk. “The Quietus had their office there,” he recalls. “I used to know pretty much all the stuff they were writing about, but then their album of the year for 2013 was ‘Glynnaestra’ by Grumbling Fur, and I really fell in love with it. I started talking to the band about working together. To cut a long story short I recorded a song with Grumbling Fur, they remixed two Charlatans tracks and a couple of Daniel O’Sullivan’s solo albums came out on my label.”

As well as arranging and production duties on I Love The New Sky, O’Sullivan plays bass, drums and piano, from the bouncing chamber-pop chords of ‘Sweetheart Mercury’ and the punchy chorus of ‘Empathy For The Devil’, through to ‘Comme D’Habitude’’s juxtaposition of blissfully rolling West Coast singer-songwriting and a complex Sparks-y Broadway-esque bridge, to the Velvets-y ramalama moves on ‘Warhol Me’ and ‘Undertow’’s sombre balladry.

The album was arranged and recorded quickly but not rushed: “Ideas happen fast, don’t they?” Tim reasons. The first sessions at Eve Studios in Stockport were with long-serving Charlatans engineer Jim Spencer. Tim, Daniel and Nik Void cut three tracks in two days, with Nik layering up modular synths in line with her previous day job in Factory Floor.

The results are nothing short of astounding. ‘I Love The New Sky’ has landed somewhere between Paul McCartney’s ‘RAM’ and Brian Eno’s ‘Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)’ and certainly that recipe covers both the all-pervasive tunefulness and high quality. Stylistically, though, it runs the widest gamut, from ‘Empathy For The Devil’s gospel style rockabilly skip, through to the sophisticated song-craft of ‘Sweetheart Mercury’ and the Nilsson-esque ‘Sweet Old Sorry Me’, with the angst-y gravitas of ‘Undertow’, which Tim describes as “a mood-changer, influenced by 10cc.”

The final stages of the album’s year-long narrative arc were enacted at Jet Studio in Brussels, with the Echo Collective string section. Burgess looked on “mesmerised at what was happening to the songs, taking an even more magical turn.”

With that icing on the cake, Tim is in no doubt that he has his finest solo record under his belt. He’ll be touring the album with a live ensemble featuring Daniel O’Sullivan, Thighpaulsandra, another O Genesis artiste called Keel Her, and renowned avant-jazz violinist Peter Broderick, who plays on ‘’Empathy…’ and will recreate the Echo Collective parts, too. So, the community will grow. Just like Tim says, “the future is friendly.”