Timothy William ‚‘TW’ Walsh has been a mainstay of the indie community over the past decade as a recording artist, producer, and mixing/mastering engineer. Though you might not be as familiar with Walsh's previous solo releases or with his defunct surreal soul band The Soft Drugs, you’ve certainly heard his work. You're either familiar with his collaborations with David Bazan in Pedro The Lion and Headphones, or have appreciated his mixing and mastering work with artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift, Kristin Hersh, Damien Jurado, The Mynabirds, Crystal Skulls, J Tillman, Say Hi, and Bazan's solo releases.
Walsh's new album, Songs of Pain and Leisure, is a true solo record. He played every weird, saturated note on this 10-track set. The off-kilter organ-rock of opener‚ ’Make it Rhyme’, starts perfectly for a reflective tune about two people setting their relationship ablaze, and there’s a dark humor to the scenes on‚’My Little Brother’, and‚’Natural Causes’ Walsh’s Twitter and website reveal him as a film geek and it all begins to click. Like the work of David Lynch, his lyrics meander, playing with non-sequiturs and inventive phrasing which gradually reveal him as a depressive with a sense of humor about it. Musically, the album is stylistically grounded while featuring some interesting detours. ‘Plant a Garden’ wanders into a dub rhythm before its melody pops through the clouds. Elsewhere, the psych-blues stomp of ‘Pawn Shop Guns’ sets up a slinky, nocturnal Beatles trip via a tambourine/bass groove. Songs of Pain and Leisure’s final tune, ‘Struggle and Strife’, offers up Walsh’s most striking and emotionally devastating track. In this austere filmic travelogue about turning over a new leaf, he sings over his guitar about a double-exposed passport photo that makes him look like “a ghost in Fidel Castro’s clothes". In this song and throughout the album, it's clear that Walsh is finally at peace with his past and his present. The act of peeling away the lyrical layers is its own reward, but the buoyant, 70's/80's dark pop soundscape also gives the casual listener a reason to keep flipping the record over. If his childhood started with Stop Making Sense, Exile on Main St., After the Gold Rush and Regatta de Blanc, he couldn't have ended up anywhere else.
GRAVE061 : Songs of Pain and Leisure CD / LP / Digital
Audio - coming soon