I’ve always been sort of a nobody. After spending much of my childhood never pushing myself forward, or indeed hardly bringing any notice to myself whatsoever, I was off for quite a while after an accident (really, I seem to have spent my life making a habit of that) and when I went back, one of my teachers hadn’t noticed I’d been off (it was a few months) and classmates just thought I’d left and gone somewhere else. Even now, all these years later I get friend requests from people who say ‘apparently you were in my class at school’. Apparently? When I thought they must have noticed how cool and bohemian I was. No?
Anyway, it sounds like I might be an ideal candidate for Chicago
singer-songwriter Willis Earl Beal’s silent army. His album was produced by Beal himself under the guise of “Nobody”, and he goes on to say ‘I am nothing. Nothing is everything. I want to be a shadow, not the man casting it. That’s who ‘Nobody’ is.’
His new, second album Nobody Knows (although, depending on his mood, he might tell you its his debut) is a follow-up to Acousmic Sorcery and is due out on XL here in the UK on September 9th (HXC recordings in the US). Whereas his debut was made using whatever he could find at the time, Karaoke Machine included, the follow-up is more ordered, more structured, with the promise of sounds layered in orchestral blues to r&b to (and I can’t wait for this) ‘ pure cacophony. Everything UnwindsWe’ve been given a taster of this new sound in the track Everything Unwinds. It’s a track that slowly unfurls, steeped in the blues, but with this almost ambient sounding electronic backing, its beautiful yet disconcerting. What is striking though is the emotion in his voice that seems to have the power to drag you into whatever dark places Beal has been inhabiting. Also an artist, and general creative sort he has also made a short film, with (animated) cameos from Barack Obama and Lionel Ritchie. It’s artistic in the true white van mans sense (it’s a bit rude) but at the same time, sort of cool and brilliant.But then, what would I know – I’m just a nobody.
Willis Earl Beal will embark on the Church of Nobody tour in Europe this September. He will perform with a full live band, and has enlisted as bandleader Jahphet Landis, whose work includes TV On The Radio, Björk, Santigold. A US tour will follow in November.
Friday, September 20th 2013 Brussels, Belgium @ AB Club
Saturday, September 21st 2013 Tilburg, Holland @ Incubate Festival
Monday, September 23rd 2013 Amsterdam, Holland @ MC Theater
Wednesday, September 25th 2013 Berlin, Germany @ Privatclub
Thursday, September 26th 2013 Denmark, Copenhagen @ Vega
Friday, September 27th 2013 Hamburg, Germany @ Reeperbahn Festival
Sunday, September 29th 2013 Zurich, Switzerland @ Papiersaal
Thursday, October 3rd 2013 London, UK @ St.Giles-in-the-Fields
Friday, October 4th 2013 Manchester, UK @ Sacred Trinity
Saturday, October 5th 2013 Bristol, UK @ Louisiana
Monday, October 7th 2013 Paris, France @ Point FMR