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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Griff says; Say hello to Laura Hocking & The Long Goodbye

It's an odd sort of business, if I can glorify it with that term, writing a music blog. Sometimes the music comes flooding in waves that make it hard to keep you head above water; other times it slows to a trickle. Sometimes you come across an artist one evening and post about them the next; energised and enthused about your new find. Other times you watch an artist from a distance, sensing greatness not yet ready to be unleashed. Time passes and you stalk them silently across the internet, watching them develop and biding your time. Yeah, music blog writers are pretty creepy that way; too much time spent with computers and not people, I guess. Anyway, tonight's artist is one I've had my eye on for what seems like a very long time; in a journey across several Myspace pages and name changes until tonight... when Laura Hocking (pictured above) comes of age.
If you've not heard of her before, Laura Hocking is an extremely talented, London-based, singer/songwriter from Leeds via Cambridge, who up until last year was a solo artist doing the folky girl with a guitar thing (admittedly with a unique vaudevillian twist) very well indeed. When I first heard her, what made her stand out from the crowd was undoubtedly the quality of her lyric writing. In songs like; Oh La Lolita, Lola B's Got Ultrazoom, Loves of a Girl Wrestler and Strongmen & Acrobats it was immediately apparent that this was a songwriter endowed with not only a strong sense of melody, but crucially also with a keen observational eye and a dark and witty way with words. On the aforementioned Oh La, Lolita for instance, we were given a young girl's perspective on a, shall we say, 'unsuitable' relationship in a penetrating, intelligent and non-sensationalist manner. This is not hyperbole, but when I first heard that song, and the others on Laura's original solo album 'Gin & Scissors' I quickly realised that here was an original talent, blessed with humour and wise beyond her years, who seemed destined to go on to greater things.

And now those 'greater things' appeared to have materialized. Laura is no longer a solo artist and these days has a full band called The Long Goodbye. What's more, Laura and The Long Goodbye launch their debut 7" single this very night with an appearance at The Slaughtered Lamb in London (unfortunately The Streetlamp will not be attending due to the distance and my oft repeated assertion that the only good reason to visit London is The British Museum). Leaving my idiosyncracies aside for a moment, I should mention here that the single comes with an accompanying 4-track EP and is released on Laura's own newly-formed label, Chrome Yellow. The single which can be ordered from the band's bandcamp page is a double A-side featuring ‘Strongmen & Acrobats’ – a wonderful, touching song about her autistic brother – and ‘Talented Tailor’, a typically quirky and mischievous tale of 'forcible tattooing'. The record was mixed and produced by Laura’s bassist Phil Brillo, arrangements are by viola player Danyal Dhondy. The remaining members of The Long Goodbye are Drummer Karl Penney and violinist Flora Curzon.
Laura and the band appear to be gigging around the South East in the next few months, so if you get the chance check them out. In the meantime, as mentioned above, the 7" vinyl single and CD EP can be ordered now on bandcamp, with 20% of the profits from the CD going to the National Autistic Society. If you're interested in the provenance of the music, Laura's early, solo, 10-track demo album 'Gin & Scissors' remains available as a free MP3 download on her page.

To further persuade you of the marvel that is Laura Hocking & The Long Goodbye, here are the two songs from the new single:

And here is a video of Laura solo, singing Oh La, Lolita live:



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