Many thanks to Peter for posting this video of a private JA concert.
I don't know if the performance was completely filmed. More information about this concert are welcome.
They Called Him Lightning (great version)
Travels as Equal
Too Much Too Hide
When Doves Cry (Prince cover)
Ballad of Boogie Christ
Vacancy est terrifiant par ce qu'il révèle: une âme qui, infailliblement, glisse vers l'antre béant de l'autisme.
La déchéance qui frappe un homme dont le coeur saigne et qui n'a personne pour panser la plaie car invisible aux yeux de celle qu'il aime. L'impossibilité de communiquer à l'autre le ressentir douloureux et la confusion de ses sentiments qui mène immanquablement à la rupture. La recherche désespérée de la flamme de l'espoir qui fait qu'on se lève la matin, que la journée vaut d'être vécue, et que le lendemain est annonciateur de jours meilleurs. Refuge dans des paradis artificiels mais tellement confortables, l'esprit s'élève, le corps se consume... Et puis la phrase qui claque comme la sentence terrible, assénée par le pauvre type délaissant l'être autrefois cher par lâcheté et faiblesse pour oublier sa vie de merde: ...I'm going out tonight...
Exceptionnel ! ! 19/20
par Fan Thomas
Some artists just have music in their soul. David Bowie doesn’t seem to struggle with his albums. The man just has to sing lyrics and put some music behind it, he’ll make it magic with the performance. Elvis Costello can churn out a classic song on command; while Bjork can find music in just about anything you give her. For these people it looks and feels effortless.
Others don’t or, more accurately, can’t. Ryan Adams comes to mind. Oasis is another obvious choice. Conor Oberst could fit into this category, as could Interpol, but they still have a chance to get out.
Joseph Arthur lies somewhere in between these two talent-extremes and he could go in either direction.
When an artist wants desperately to be legendary, it becomes obvious in his product. For whatever reason, Joseph Arthur never appealed to me. Every time I heard his name or saw his picture, I would immediately think of Vincent Gallo. When I listened to his music, I could picture him singing into the microphone while wearing an old, tiny Yes T-shirt and a leopard print Speedo. Then there was his artwork. His albums are decorated with self-composed drawings of enigmatic human figures and heads. They look like a combination of cave drawing and graffiti. Radiohead albums never looked this self-indulgent.
Then, my fiancé played “Honey and the Moon” from Redemption’s Son. It was then that I decided to give the guy another shot.
I proceeded to my nearest Borders and bought Our Shadows Will Remain. After getting home, I unwrapped the album and gazed at the eccentric artwork. I slid the slip from the jewel case to reveal a beautiful landscape of blue sky and mountains. Hmmm…Not bad. Mr. Arthur now had my attention.
The first track began to play. A spacey intro called “In Ohio.” Joseph sings about how you’re going to die alone in Ohio, but he’ll wait up for you. I have no idea what it’s about, or how I’m supposed to relate to it, but I kept the CD going.
The succeeding tracks developed a clearer image of Joseph Arthur for me. The more I listened, the more the picture of Vincent Gallo in my head disappeared, like a Polaroid from Back to the Future. In place of Mr. Gallo’s hairy ass, a talented singer-songwriter began to take shape, blurry at first, but clearer as the album wore on. If Arthur is careful, he’ll be that legend he so desperately wants to be. But, he’s going to have to play his cards right. One wrong move and the production on tracks like “Echo Park” becomes sickly sweet, rather than tender. Or “Devil’s Broom” becomes MOR, rather than an ominously effective rocker. Or, worse, he’ll sound like he’s trying too hard, like Oberst or Oasis.
I still have no idea what most of his songs are supposed to be about, nor do I care. Song after song proves that Arthur is just air being pumped into a balloon of ambiguity, and he doesn’t have long until he bursts through and takes the music scene by storm. Watch out for this guy’s next album, because I can guarantee it will contain a Top 40 hit. Go ahead and listen to him now so as to impress your friends later.
Reviewed on: 2005-01-20
Armed with a profound and slightly prophetic title and artwork clearly influenced by Guernica-era Picasso, it's clear from the outset that this is going to be a pretty brooding, serious offering from Mr Arthur. With a dark, potent song content and a broad palette of sounds on offer, he certainly doesn't disappoint on that front. It's little wonder then that he's made considerable waves on the other side of the pond when this was released last year quite why it took over eight months to get a release over here is a bit baffling. Shame.
Brief icebreaker "In Ohio" with high-octane, waiflike vocals from Arthur introduces a bit of mysticism to proceedings, before the poppiest moment of the album "Can't Exist" comes in with Arthur in extreme gravel voice, Tom Waits-esque mode. The first two tracks are typical of how effortlessly Arthur switches between ambiences and mood throughout the work.
Soon, "Stumble and Pain" adds a bit of grit to things, complete with crunching beats and vocals that reflect the foreboding title - top marks also for the false, unsuspecting ending, before sweeping, grandiose strings finish the job off. Nice. Later, the melodic "Devil's Broom" with highly impassioned vocals and melodic hooks, gives way to the decidedly Eels like respite that is "Echo Park" which with it's twee orchestrals elevates the tone a bit, yet lacks in crucial substance.
"Shadows" is undeniably at its strongest though when Arthur is in liberated, experimental mode. "Wasted", for example, fuses artificial, electronic beats with sparse, haunting atmospherics and decidedly effeminate vocals from Arthur's proving what a dextrous voice box the man has. While juxtaposing this, "I Am" is almost anarchic, complete with snarling vocals, ominous noises and a rhythmic ditty of Repeat the words I am.
Such moments truly hint at greatness with Arthur. It's just a slight shame that "Puppets" and unsentimental closer "Leave Us Alone" offer us nothing new from what can be found elsewhere on this work and earlier albums Christ at some points such is the man's hoarseness, you're gagging to give him a throat lozenge.
A mature, thoughtful and at times very poignant album, true, this album isn't really one for the kids but if you love country-tinged rock with a twist this is a wet dream come true. For everyone else, "Our Shadows Will Remain" is an intriguing listen well worth embracing for its lofty high points.
by Scott Colothan
OCTOBER 3, 2004
Joseph Arthur became somewhat of a critics’ darling following his breakthrough sophomore album Come To Where I’m From, his scratchy voice and painterly arrangements drawing comparisons to folk greats like Leonard Cohen.
No longer under the watchful eye of Peter Gabriel, who signed Arthur to his Real World label (each of Arthur’s subsequent records has been released on a different label), the Akron, Ohio native packed up his Gramercy-area apartment in New York City and headed to New Orleans to record his fourth album Our Shadows Will Remain.
From the explosive chorus, stacked vocals, and ghostly choir of “Can’t Exist” to the buzzing synth sounds, recycled ‘90s drum loop, and impassioned lyrics of the new age-y “I Am,” Arthur’s new songs are nothing short of breathtaking.
But in case the title of the record hasn’t tipped you off, death figures prominently into the album’s 12 tracks. Arthur alternates between dark, penetrating folk-rock and more hopeful pop songs, but no matter how rapt he is in either venue (death or love), his emotional flip-flopping—for lack of a better word—lends songs like “Puppets” a certain lyrical ambiguity (“I cut myself/But no one came/And no one helped”), and that’s actually a good thing, in terms of accessibility. The exception is “Failed,” a depressing electronic dirge that, well, quite simply fails.
The Independent Culture
If there's too little to hold one's attention on the new Röyksopp album, the opposite is probably true of Joseph Arthur's latest offering, on which his songs come swaddled in such dense, velvet folds of music they run the risk of being fatally smothered.
It's a problem that's bedevilled all four of his albums since Big City Secrets six years ago – as has the interest in alienation and failure which pervades Our Shadows Will Remain, reaching some sort of apogee on the concluding "Leave Us Alone", where the solipsistic aversion is taken to suicidal lengths.
Before that, Arthur does his best to separate from society, straining to "get away from everybody else" in "Puppets", needing to "find a place to cry" in "Wasted", and reflecting how "I used to have a heart, now I guess it's just a stone" in "Even Tho".
He plumbs the depths of failure in "Devil's Broom", finding himself "Waking up in the sun face down on the pavement/ Everything I own in a garbage bag".
But there's little hope of him figuring a musical way out, given the sense of claustrophobia imposed by the thick layers of guitars and keyboards that are draped around the songs' sluggish rhythms.
The brightest shaft of light comes in the acoustic ballad "Echo Park", which also features the album's most agreeable image: "A fire never understands the spark/ The way it is with you and me".
INTERVIEW : 2005-12-09 We're jammin': Joseph Arthur 'New Orleans was great. It was accidental Buddhism' (by Pascal Wyse)
Listen to Pascal and Joseph Arthur (MP3)
'I'm getting more and more into that space thing.' Pascal and Joseph do their thing.
Photograph: Sarah Lee
It sounds as if Joseph Arthur had to go to a fairly dark place to make his latest album, Our Shadows Will Remain. Having been "discovered" and signed by Peter Gabriel in 1997, made three albums and toured successfully, he found, five or six years later, that he was strangely alone.
"It was weird. I had had a manager for a long time and we parted ways. I didn't have a record deal - and I didn't even know if I was going to get a deal again. I was pretty fed up with the whole machinery of the music industry."
He had planned to leave New York and buy a house in New Orleans. However, with security and income both at a low, Arthur decided it was too risky. "But I had already liked the idea of getting out of New York, so I just went. I put all my possessions in storage, and left with the bare essentials: suitcase, guitar."
The ambiguity of the album title - are the shadows demons or a positive legacy? - reflects the fact that harsh necessity became the mother of invention, and Arthur returned from New Orleans with an acclaimed new album. "It was great. It was accidental Buddhism."
He looks like that wandering musician when we meet - a bag, a hand-painted acoustic guitar and some cigarettes. And the accidental Buddhist is still there too: everything he plays and sings burns slowly and thoughtfully. On Our Shadows, Arthur layers his voice and guitar into a wholesome, gritted sound; he manages the same thing when playing solo with the help of pedals. It's a luxurious orchestra, but, like a brooding Barry Adamson, it doesn't always comfort.
"That is totally disgusting," says Arthur, laughing as I release spit from the valve at the end of the trombone. If you don't let it out, the instrument starts to bubble like a coffee machine. Playing along to Arthur's songs, we put the trombone through electronic pedals too - to make it more sinewy and distant. It seems to sound better snaking through the spaces in the music.
"I'm getting more and more into that space thing. When I was young I was really into Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, Jaco Pastorius, Weather Report. I played bass, so I wanted to be a sort of fusion bassist. When I got older I played in rock bands and, by default, was the singer too. Then I started thinking about lyrics, getting into Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
"I dropped the bass and got an acoustic guitar. I realised then what I could do if I wasn't concentrating on playing complicated bass lines - the more rich the melody and the lyrical content could be. There was a blanker canvas to paint on."
Paint and canvas are more than analogies for Arthur, whose Grammy nomination in 1999 was not for his CD, but for his artwork on it. More recently he has begun painting during performances.
"When I got ready to tour Our Shadows I was in this phase of being really into painting. I didn't want to leave it behind. So I was looking around and thought, I'll take a couple of these canvases for cheap stage design.
"Then I thought, why not take a blank canvas and, during sound check or whatever, draw a picture and take that canvas and finish it at the next place. That graduated to doing a painting every night while singing in front of people.
"It really helped the painting. When your conscious brain is focusing on singing, your unconscious is freer to express itself organically. You can see the difference from the more self-conscious work. It's an energy you can't get in your apartment. I read an interview with Chuck Close, where he said that painting was a performance - it just happens to be one that people see later."
Suddenly Arthur asks me if I know Silent Night; the Radio 5 show he is recording later wants him to sing a carol. It feels like a pretty unlikely scenario for the underworld of his sound, but it works. We feel our way through the tune - a dark and silent night.
"New Orleans is such an interesting city - or was such an interesting city," says Arthur. "There's a dark, invisible energy. It's a strange place. And there are musicians all over the place. During the afternoon you can go to a bar and there are guys making music that, if you were in New York, it would cost you 20 bucks to go to see - random geniuses playing in the corner. "
But doesn't that make you think, why bother? "No, it's not depressing. Because it's a world unto itself. It has its own dimension. So it's not like you're measuring it up against anything. You leave a city like New York and your ideas of success totally change. That's the point."
· Our Shadows Will Remain is out now. Joseph Arthur plays Shepherd's Bush Empire on February 24