2005 Gigography

Here is the list of concerts by Joseph Arthur in 2005 *.

Concerts in green are concerts with an existing recording.

If you own an audio / video recording and an "unavailable" concert, thank you kindly send me an email to whenyoucryyoureyesarehollow@gmail.com

2005-01-07 Atlantico Arena, Lisbonne Portugal
2005-01-08 Palacio Vistalegro, Madrid Spain
2005-01-09 Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelone Spain
2005-01-11 Dome, Marseille France
2005-01-12 Arena, Geneve Switzerland 
2005-01-13 Saint Jakobshalle, Bale Switzerland
2005-01-15 Forum, Milan Italy
2005-02-28 WNYC Radio, New York, NY USA 
2005-03-10 Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA USA
2005-03-11 Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA USA
2005-03-12 Universal Amphi., Los Angeles, CA USA 
2005-03-14 Cafe du Nord, San Francisco, CA USA
2005-03-15 KINK Radio, Portland, OR USA
2005-03-15 Fez Ballroom, Portland, OR USA 
2005-03-16 KEXP Radio, Seattle, WA USA 
2005-03-16 Neumo's, Seattle, WA USA 
2005-03-17 Red Room, Vancouver Canada 
2005-03-19 Mo's Grill, Salt Lake City, UT USA 
2005-03-21 KGNU Radio, Denver, CO USA
2005-03-21 Climax Lounge, Denver, CO USA 
2005-03-24 KUT Radio, Austin, TX USA 
2005-03-24 The Parish, Austin, TX USA 
2005-03-25 Rhythm Room, Houston, TX USA 
2005-03-26 Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas, TX USA 
2005-03-28 KTBG Radio , Kansas City, KS USA 
2005-03-28 Grand Emporium, Kansas City, KS USA 
2005-03-29 MPRadio, Minneapolis, MN USA 
2005-03-29 Quest Club, Minneapolis, MN USA 
2005-03-30 Cafe Montmartre, Madison, WI USA 
2005-03-31 Double Door, Chicago, IL USA 
2005-04-01 Birdy's, Indianapolis, IN USA 
2005-04-02 Rudyard Kipling, Louisville, KY USA 
2005-04-03 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN USA 
2005-04-04 WRLT Radio, Nashville, TN USA 
2005-04-04 Smith's, Atlanta, GA USA 
2005-04-06 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA USA
2005-04-07 Iota Club & Cafe, Arlington, VA USA 
2005-04-08 Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA USA 
2005-04-10 Iron Horse, Northampton, MA USA 
2005-04-11 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA USA 
2005-04-14 The Joyous Lake, Woodstock, NY USA 
2005-04-16 Rosewood Theater, Morgantown, WV USA 
2005-04-17 Mountain Stage, Charleston, WV USA 
2005-04-19 Customs House, Portsmouth, NH USA 
2005-04-20 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY USA 
2005-05-13 The Tangier, Akron, OH USA 
2005-05-25 The 100 Club, London UK 
2005-05-31 The Metro Club, London UK 
2005-07-19 The Louisiana, Bristol UK 
2005-07-20 93 Feet East, London UK 
2005-07-21 Glee Club, Birmingham UK 
2005-07-22 Rough Trade Instore, London UK 
2005-07-23 Georgian Theatre, Stockton UK 
2005-07-24 Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh UK 
2005-07-25 Night & Day, Manchester UK 
2005-07-27 Carling Academy, Liverpool UK 
2005-07-28 The Soundhaus, Northampton UK 
2005-07-29 La Maroquinerie, Paris France 
2005-08-05 Benicassim Festival, Benicassim Spain
2005-08-07 Nandrin Festival, Nandrin Belgium 
2005-08-18 Rock Oz Arenes, Avenches Switzerland 
2005-08-20 V Festival, Stafford UK
2005-08-21 V Festival, Chelmsford UK
2005-09-18 Irving Plaza, New York, NY USA 
2005-09-22 Joe Riley Show, Radio, USA
2005-09-26 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA USA 
2005-09-27 Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA USA 
2005-09-28 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY USA 
2005-09-28 WNYC Radio, New York, NY USA 
2005-09-29 Christie's Auction House, New York, NY USA
2005-09-30 Pop Montreal, Montreal Canada 
2005-10-03 Hop and Grape, Manchester UK 
2005-10-04 Ifor Bach, Cardiff UK 
2005-10-05 Scala, London UK 
2005-10-07 Corporation, Sheffield UK 
2005-10-08 King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow UK 
2005-10-09 The Cockpit, Leeds UK 
2005-10-10 Carling Academy, Liverpool UK 
2005-10-11 Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh UK 
2005-10-13 The Nerve Centre, Derry Ireland 
2005-10-13 BBC Radio, Derry UK 
2005-10-14 Whelan's, Dublin Ireland 
2005-10-15 Cyprus, Cork Ireland 
2005-10-17 Fleece, Bristol UK 
2005-10-18 Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth UK 
2005-10-19 The Social, Nottingham UK 
2005-10-20 The Soundhaus, Northampton UK 
2005-10-23 Le Botanique, Brussels Belgium 
2005-10-25 Melkweg, Amsterdam Netherlands 
2005-10-26 Rockhal, Esch-sur-Alzette Luxembourg 
2005-10-28 Later with Jools Holland, London UK 
2005-10-28 Le Splendid, Lille France 
2005-10-30 L'Usine, Geneve Switzerland 
2005-10-31 Le Vertigo, Nancy France 
2005-11-01 Abart, Zurich Switzerland 
2005-11-02 Le Bataclan, Paris France 
2005-11-04 La Laiterie, Strasbourg France 
2005-11-05 Ninkasi Kao, Lyon France 
2005-11-06 Parvis des Esserts, Cluses France 
2005-11-07 Canal + TV, Paris France 
2005-12-03 BBC 2 Radio, London UK 
2005-12-08 BBC, London UK 

* : Here is my source. You should check the amazing work of Xavier & his team !!
The complete JA Gigography is available here : http://lonelyastronauts.com/gigography.html

Ten Crack Commandments

Ten Crack Commandments (mp3 from official website)

Notorious B.I.G. cover
Joseph always claimed his passion for hip hop. This cover, played live for the first time in Morgantown 14 April 2005 and then played again during the US fall tour 2006 with the full band, is another proof of that.

Joseph and the Lonely Astronauts recorded a studio version of the song and put it on stream on Joseph's Myspace.

The song came with a bulletin :
"Here's a song written by BIG
Performed and deformed by the lonley astronuts just in time fer ole saint nick
Consider this our gift to you
The ten crack commandments
It has a holiday feel
Escape in it
Inbetween dissappointing gifts and egg nog
Then go fall asleep on the couch and touch yerself
When no ones lookin"

From lonelyastronauts.com


I been in this game for years, it made me a animal
Its rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step by step booklet for you to get
Your game on track, not your wig pushed back
Rule nombre uno: never let no one know
How much, dough you hold, cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy specially
If that man fucked up, get your ass stuck up
Number two: never let em know your next move
Dont you know bad boys move in silence or violence
Take it from your highness
I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips
Number three: never trust nobody
Your momsll set that ass up, properly gassed up
Hoodie to mask up, shit, for that fast buck
She be layin in the bushes to light that ass up
Number four: know you heard this before
Never get high, on your own supply
Number five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I dont care if they want a ounce, tell em bounce
Number six: that God damn credit, dead it
You think a crackhead payin you back, shit forget it
Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely seperated
Money and blood dont mix like two dicks and no bitch
Find yourself in serious shit
Number eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too
Number nine shoulda been number one to me
If you aint gettin bags stay the fuck from police
If niggaz think you snitchin aint tryin listen
They be sittin in your kitchen, waitin to start hittin
Number ten: a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you aint got the clientele say hell no
Cause they gonna want they money rain sleet hail snow
Follow these rules youll have mad bread to break up
If not, twenty-four years, on the wake up
Slug hit your temple, watch your frame shake up
Caretaker did your makeup, when you pass
Your girl fucked my man jake up, heard in three weeks
She sniffed a whole half of cake up
Heard she suck a good dick, and can hook a steak up
Gotta go gotta go, more pies to bake up, word up


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


INTERVIEW : 2005-10-25 Chat before Later with Jools Holland (by BBC)

We had a chat with Joseph in his dressing room before his Later...with Jools Holland debut.

Welcome to Later...
Is it true that you were discovered by Peter Gabriel?

Yeah well I was living in Atlanta Georgia working at a guitar shop and just basically making recordings at home and I was handing them out to friends. One of my friends gave it to this guy who worked at a label in Atlanta who then sent it up to this guy in New York who used to work with Peter. Eventually the tape made it into his stereo and he was really into it and eventually signed me up to his record label.

A lot has been written about your use of looping and similar technologies in your music. Has this always been part of the song writing process for you?

I've been doing it a long time, since just after my first record. So it's been a part of my music for a while now. But to be honest, when it comes to the writing process, the initial ideas stem from just me and an acoustic guitar really. The whole looping and layering of music comes into play at a later stage. I think that's why it works, because the solid basis of a good song has to be there in the first place.

Have you always been a solo artist?

No, I've been in bands. I was in a blues band initially.

So what made you decide you wanted to go solo?

Well in Atlanta the whole thing used to be seeing if you could make people bang their heads and how hard you could rock, because it was the early nineties... I don't know. But when the band I was in fell apart I just got into writing songs on my acoustic guitar and really started concentrating on melody and lyrics in a way I hadn't before and it just made sense to me to keep on doing that.

You're renowned for painting huge canvases as part of your performance. Where did the idea to paint on stage come from?

This is like the fourth tour I've been doing it on now. It came from that fact that I paint a lot at home, I have canvases all over the floor, and I was thinking about how I could make my stage show more dynamic and I thought well I'll take some of these paintings and use them as backdrops to add a bit more atmosphere. But then I thought why don't I do some painting live in front of the audience? So I could kind of combine singing and painting into the whole thing. I'd start off with a blank canvas and as the show progresses I'll set a loop or two going and do some more so that by the time the show is over there is a finished painting. And what surprised me about it was that I though it would be something cool for my live show, but it turned into something that was really good for my painting. It added a sense of focus and energy which wasn't there before.

Could you tell us a bit about the song you'll be performing for us tonight?

I'm playing a song called 'Can't Exist'. The chorus goes "sister don't be scared" and it's sort about the idea of my sister worrying about me...something like that...but... I find it fairly difficult to really talk about what my songs are about. It's not something I like to do really.


INTERVIEW : 2005-08-05 Engulfing the world’s glumness, Joseph Arthur: Idiosyncratic Sounds and Imagery (by Sasha S)

The current No. One, that infuriating ballad about the eternally ‘Beautiful’ bullshit, is so saccharinely nauseating we could name, at least, a dozen more exciting acts or singer-songwriters. But, they all are way above the lowest common denominator the contemporary music industry is hell-bent of flogging. That’s the mainstream to you, McPerson.

Now, Joseph Arthur has been around for a while and ‘Our Shadows Will Remain’ is his fourth album. When the record was released in the US late last year, publications naming it in their Best Of 2004 lists included, The Wall St. Journal, The New York Post and Entertainment Weekly. While touring his new record, Joseph opened for REM, Wilco, and most recently, Coldplay. “Michael Stipe was generous enough to introduce me every night”, he says. “With that foot in the door, all I had to do was deliver.”

And he does it, on record and live. Joseph Arthur was born in Akron, Ohio, the tyre-capital of the US - and home to Devo, Chrissie Hynde, Greg Dulli, Guided By Voices - but became a song-writing obsessive in Atlanta, Georgia, before settling in New York, where he still lives. In a 1997 self-penned article for Musician magazine, he recalled how his career was propelled forward in a circumstance which had seemed miraculous.

Circa 1996, Joe told Musician’s readers, he was still a guitar salesman working for the minimum wage at Clark’s Music in Atlanta. Frustrated, broke, musing on a life of crime, he returned home one day to find a message on his answa-phone that would change everything. The calm, quintessentially English voice he heard belonged to Peter Gabriel, who’d received a copy of Joseph’s demo and was smitten. “I must have sat in the room listening to that message for an hour”, Joseph wrote, “reading meaning into each word, each pause, and each breath”.

The surreal and the hyper-real merged when Gabriel brought his buddy Lou Reed to see Arthur playing a showcase gig in New York after which they all dined alongside Dolly Parton. Soon, Joseph would become the first pop-rock artist to sign to Gabriel’s RealWord label, releasing ‘Big City Secrets’ in 1996, the 7-song EP ‘Vacancy’ in 1999, ‘Come To Where I’m From’ in 2000 and ‘Redemption’s Son’ in 2002.

In 1999, ‘Vacancy’’s vibrant sleeve design - a collaborative effort by Joseph and pal Zachary Larner - was Grammy nominated for ‘Best Recording Package’. Pleasing, then, that on the sleeve for ‘Our Shadows Will Remain’ - a stunning 36-page booklet depicting Joseph’s excellent paintings - Zachary Larner is again credited as art director and designer.

Mr Arthur visited London recently for a show and we faced him for a discussion on… everything.

It is brave of you to be playing here whilst the Americans are keeping away from the harm’s way?

“Well, what can you do but continue to live your own life; we’ve had it on 9/11 and it was a real tragedy. I wasn’t there at the time but in England making a record. What can you do, it is real shame and it looks like this is more terrifying than 9/11. You can’t almost conceive the devastation, the scope of pain… It’s the real shame that humanity is behaving this way and it is hell-bound on destroying itself.”

“I can’t help it but all these things influence me and it will inspire me to write some darker songs… I’ve not written any songs yet to reflect the bombing but I’ve written poems, essays… I keep a journal and reflect on the vacuum in people, they are vulnerable and they need an outlet and if they haven’t got it, it can turn destructive.”

Your album came out in the US a while back; according to your biography you write daily and I wonder how many songs have you got stockpiled already?

“Quite a few, for sure and I’m waiting to record them but the question is not anymore when to record but how to find the right people to distribute music. This a great time for releasing music but it is also one of the most difficult. It is a weird thing and crazy time. I like it but not on the business level. I’m the lucky one who has a record out but there are so many talented people out there who’ll never be released. But that is a universal thing happening with people such as Iggy Pop who’s been struggling all his life to have music released. If you are challenging the industry, you can expect a long and lonely road ahead of you.”

“I started out in a blues band, playing bass, during my school days. I didn’t think of writing songs until I was in my 20s and living in Atlanta. I also lived in New Orleans and all this has informed and inspired my music. ”

Beck is often cited when your music is described but it looks like you were inspired more by David Byrne and Talking Heads, as well as some more traditional songwriters?

“Yeah, Beck is cool but not really one of my influences. Byrne, a little bit, but I’ve been more inspired by David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground… ”

Your demo tape found its way to Peter Gabriel, who signed you up, and you ended up having a dinner with him, Lou Reed and Dolly Parton!?

“Well, Peter Gabriel got my tape from a friend-of-a-friend and he came to see me play in New York. He brought Lou Reed to see me and we ended up at a dinner; Dolly Parton was sitting in the next booth and it was really surreal. I’m surrounded with all these legends despite not having released anything! And, it was interesting what Gabriel said, that he originally offered Dolly to sing ‘Don‘t Give Up’…” [Kate Bush teamed up with PG for the 1986 hit eventually.]

“My contract with the label expired and I’m sorry not to be with them anymore but I wasn’t really an artist for their WorldMusic roster. It may have been a good idea but it didn’t work out.”

The title of your album can be taken both ways; which way are you inclined yourself?

“Looking at the state of the world right now, I‘d have to say - the negativity prevails. But, usually, it is the other way around… I like the title because it is ambiguous and once you make a record, it is up to people to interpret it. It is not in my control anymore and it belongs to people who buy and listen to it.”

So, heed the man’s advice and go get yourself a great album that can move you in more profound ways than you can imagine.



REVIEW : Our Shadows Will Remain - MusicOHM

published: 11 Jul 2005 in Albums

Joseph Arthur produces a blend of singer song writer angst with swirling avant garde tinged production. This is the full on mixing desk as an instrument treatment. Phil Spector’s wall of sound updated and rewired through a virus ridden computer. The songs revolve in a whirlpool of effects, digital molasses and shimmering ether. Sounds hover on the edge of the mixes. Tiny sonic fragments flicker and dissolve. Songs shift direction and tempo, texture and mood.

Thankfully this isn’t a digital overload. Centring the music, anchoring it to some sense of narrative flow is Arthur’s voice. It skips from a soft angora whisper to an anguished howl, via falsetto flourishes and a warm husky mumble. The song details, the sounds, the rhythms, the melodies, seem to have been stitched together with remarkable care and attention to detail. Like a pair of bespoke gloves the arrangements fit the songs perfectly.

Stumble and Pain opens with a hammered and heavily treated guitar chord that hangs suspended in the air. It casts reflections across the surface of the song. The vocals are swooning and backed by muted piano notes that hide within the swirling sound. A lingering build up of faltering drums and a haunting two note guitar refrain flesh out the song. The City of Prague Philharmonic provides aching strings as the song fractures and inverts.

The subtle use of the strings on another two tracks, Echo Park and Even Tho highlight Joseph Arthur’s strengths as an arranger. Too often string sections are used to add gravitas and weight to slight material. Need a touch of class for that rock ballad, pile on the strings. The November Rain clich. Here they are used sparingly.

Echo Park glides on hushed strings. Arthur singsThe fire never understands the spark…our love it won’t fade away’, the strings swell and it sounds like heartbreak. A gentle drum pattern and organ washes open Even Tho. The strings are just another shade, rising up with the guitars and multitracked vocals. Adding depth without bombast is quite a trick.

The National seem to be jamming with The Strokes on Puppets. The albino Strokes funk contorted into a bruised confessional. The bass holding the tune together as the drumming become more urgent and chaotic. Next up is the drunken and woozy Wasted. The tale of a late night walk around New York pinned down with a bass line straight off of Underworld‘s laptop. The vocals are wasted and weary, Arthur dueting with himself. One vocal the happy, high pre come down wanderer, the other the headache battling morning after whisper.

The recriminations and regrets of a night on the tiles are confronted in A Smile That Explodes. Glistening layers of guitar, sombre piano and synth static frame a vocal full of remorse from mixing grape and grain. That waking up at dawn to find I lost my crown is not another to deaden the pain, that he still can’t get by without alcohol. Kiwi Julia Darling adds her liquid crystal voice to the mix and her vocals add light to Arthur’s dark shadings.

The album is so intricate, rich and multilayered that it’s difficult to do justice to its overall sound. It continues to revel more on each listen and I am sure that over time more and more detail with float to the surface and crawl under my skin. A real headphone listen.


REVIEW : Our Shadows Will Remain - Gigwise

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


REVIEW : All Of Our Hands - Drowned In Sound


by holliy , May 23rd, 2005

Sweet Jesus wept: what the fuck is this? I’ve listened to a hell of a lot of meritless gash in the name of reviewing, but this just takes the piss.

So yes: Joseph Arthur is from Manhattan and he plays acoustic guitar. Which should be harmless enough. However, Mr Arthur also thinks that "There is only one energy/Just different sets of clothes" and that" "In time the fire will rain down…And life will be bliss. It’s an ill-conceived hybrid of new age crystal-healing ramblings and wild eyed fundamentalist Christian howlings about Judgement Day and the baptism of fire, and is quite clearly a load of intellectually offensive bullshit. Add to this the fact that this poorly-thought-out deluded crap is set to drippy and morbid Kumbaya guitar, and you have something which all right-thinking folk should avoid like the plague. 
There’s just no excuse for this sort of thing.

Fucking hell, I can’t believe I had to listen to that.


INTERVIEW : 2005-03-30 Out of the Shadows (by Chris Parker)

Singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur returns with new album and outlook

Some artists follow their muse like a slot car racer; for Joseph Arthur, it's more like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, an endless road picture with numerous twists and turns.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Arthur fell in love with music early, playing piano as a child and later falling under the thrall of classic '70s rock. He headed to Atlanta with his bandmates after he graduated high school, but the move was mostly just an excuse to get away from home. When the band broke up, Arthur continued to pursue music.

"Atlanta was cool. It was a good time to move there, and a good time for me," he says by cell phone while negotiating the streets (and Starbucks) of Manhattan. "It was an interesting city to explore; it was different and I was just kind of finding my voice."

An early demo made its way to Peter Gabriel, who enjoyed it, and asked Arthur for more. Gabriel later caught one of Arthur's performances in New York, which was also attended by Lou Reed.

"I wrote a whole thing for Musician [about it] ... and how terrifying it was," Arthur says. "But it feels like talking about someone else's life at this point. It was so long ago and I've talked about it in maybe 3,000 interviews. It's like it's no longer even a part of me. It might as well be a made-for-TV movie that I'm relating."

As a result of the gig, Arthur landed a record deal with Gabriel's Real World label, which released his electro-folk debut, Big City Secrets. His follow-up for Virgin was produced by T-Bone Burnett (the Wallflowers, Elvis Costello), and found Arthur taking a more intimate, organic approach. The warmer sonics countered Arthur's dark, anxious lyrics.

"Redemption's Son was a little more pop, a bit lighter, but not lightweight," Arthur says. "I don't make music to be marginalized. I don't think my music sounds like that. I feel my music sounds like commercial music. I don't think that's an ugly expression, but it has pretty much been marginalized."

His latest album, Our Shadows Will Remain, displays a rich baroqueness that Arthur melds to his rootsy, folk style. It achieves a balance between Arthur's pop sensibilities, his experimental impulses, and a lyrical fascination with the shadowy underside of human emotions. When he was making the album, Arthur was struggling with demons of his own, including drug and alcohol addiction. Work became therapeutic. "Writing and recording music is a relief for me," he says. "I enjoy it a lot. It's something I do as a way of dealing with life. It's not something I have to deal with; it's something that helps me deal."

Music isn't Arthur's only creative outlet. He also paints when he's not recording. (Those paintings fill the CD's insert booklet.) "I usually work on paintings the same time I'm working on a record," he says. "It's a good release. It kind of captivates you in a different way. And it truly provides an escape from the intensity of the work."

Arthur is content with the way his career has gone, even though he's far from a household name. "It is better to have a smaller cult following because it helps keep you closer to the ground," he says. "I think, then, also there is something to strive for, which I think helps an artist."


INTERVIEW : 2005-03-24 I Love Me, Joseph Arthur says narcissism is the only way to make real art (by John Nova Lomax)

Idiosyncratic singer-songwriter and painter Joseph Arthur has always been an enigma to me. First, there’s his music: haunting and utterly nocturnal gravel-voiced hymns to desolation, lushly presented with eclectic beats, electronic loops and multiple tracks of his own voice. Most of this stuff is played by Arthur himself, both live and in the studio, and once you hear him, you’ll always recognize his new stuff.

What's more, Arthur is not just a high-tech one-man band -- he has always been something like a one-man record company. Not only does he make most of the music and write all of the lyrics, but he also comes up with the packaging and artwork, since he's also a painter. Joseph Arthur albums are Joseph Arthur albums in every mode of perception.

And then there's the wide gulf between his critical and commercial acclaim. Though he was discovered by Peter Gabriel and released three albums on that megastar's Real World label to the highest critical hosannas, mainstream success has eluded him.

Not that he doesn't have his fans. First, there are those swooning critics: In 1997, a scribe atAlternative Press was moved enough by Arthur's full-length debut, Big City Secrets, to call him "one of the last true artists left in the world." In 2000, Arthur's sophomore album, Come to Where I'm From, was deemed the year's best CD by Entertainment Weekly. Two years ago, there came Redemption's Son, which London'sSunday Times intoned was "a classic" and caused even more hyperventilation at EW. New album Our Shadows Will Remain was one of last year's 25 top-rated albums at metacritic.com, a site that takes multiple reviews and grades albums on their average score.

And hell -- I'll chime in with some plaudits of my own. It's a great, smart pop-rock album, and if "Even Tho" isn't the greatest conjuring of the Fine Young Cannibals out there, then I've yet to hear it. "Echo Park" is both eerie and pretty at the same time, and elsewhere he conjures artists as diverse as Varnaline's Anders Parker and Edwyn Collins. As with his earlier records, his music has a strongly nocturnal feel; it's always capable of turning even the brightest noon into the darkest midnight.

But nobody loves Joseph Arthur the way Joseph Arthur loves himself. You might think that's a bad thing -- and rampant narcissism can be terrible. Look at Don Henley, for example, or Mariah Carey. But in this case I don't really think it is.

I had a talk with Arthur while he cruised through the streets of Portland in search of lunch a couple of weeks ago, and self-regard played no small part in our conversation, a partial transcript of which we'll get into in a little while.

But first, the basics. We opened our talk with some standard how's-the-tour-going banter, and I asked him about some of the things I've read about these shows. Will he be painting on stage here, as he has been doing in the Northwest? "We'll see," he said. And then we moved on to his place of abode -- he recently moved from New York to New Orleans, where, he said, "there's a strong energy…that found its way into the music, my way." Most of this energy he absorbed from jukeboxes late at night in Big Easy bars like the Abbey, the recently closed-down Matador and Checkpoint Charlie's. "When you're making a record, you listen to music in a different way," he said. "I think it was healthy to listen to it like that. You go into bars with good jukeboxes and listen to songs loud and you hear what works."

The talk turned to food when he spotted a tempting restaurant in Portland called Garbanzo's Falafel Bar. He told the tour manager to stop. "Looks good to me," he said. "I'm into falafel." I asked if he's a vegetarian. "Pretty much," he said. "I'll eat fish. When I was in England I was in the countryside a lot working at Real World. I used to see a lot of cows, and now I can't imagine going up to one of them with a machete and hacking 'em down. But I don't think I would have much of a problem pulling a fish out of a stream and watching it flap to death. You know, that's how I kinda monitor it. Of course I wear leather boots, so I guess I'm kind of a hypocrite."

And then came The Review, and now we'll just have to go to the tape.

Houston Press: I read a review that predicted that you will have a big hit on your next album.

Joseph Arthur: Oh, really? Who said that?

HP: Oh, where was it? I'll look it up. It was a very bizarre review.

JA: That's kind of a bizarre thing to say -- that I'll have a hit on the album after this one.

HP: Yeah, there's weirder stuff than that in this review too -- this woman, I think it's a woman anyway, the person's name is Nick but they refer to a one-e fiancé, said they wouldn't listen to you because they thought you looked too much like Vincent Gallo.

JA: Oh, really? Could you read the whole thing to me? Do you mind?

HP: Uuhhh, sure, I guess.

(I found it at www.stylusmagazine.com/ review.php?ID=2672 and did so. I've read reviews to other bands before, but never at their own request. And the strangeness of both this review and this musician makes this the most surreal interview experience I've had outside of Aaron Neville's angelic voice reading me an anal-rape passage out of a prison diary a friend of his had written.)

HP: (Reading review) 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.

JA: Wow, she just dissed all the current people or whatever. That's wild shit.

HP: Yeah. (Continuing to read) Joseph Arthur lies somewhere in between these two talent-extremes and he could go in either direction.

JA: Ouch! (Laughs uproariously.) Okay…

HP: When an artist wants desperately to be legendary, it becomes obvious in his product.

JA: (Snort)

HP: 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-

JA: That's funny, man, I'm wearing a fucking old, tight Yes T-shirt right now.

HP: Really?

JA: I swear to God I am. My friend in L.A. gave it to me. How fuckin' nuts is that? That is nuts. That's nuts 'cause I just got this T-shirt too. But why is wearing a Yes T-shirt bad? Why does that nail my character for some reason?

HP: (Obsequiously) I have no idea.

JA: Go ahead.

HP: 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.

JA: (Chuckles bitterly.) Maa-aan.

(I read the rest of the review uninterrupted. It goes on to say how he won her over. 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. And so on, on to that promise of a big hit next time around and a grade of 91 out of 100.)

JA: Man, I feel slapped around. That's a funny review.

HP: But you gotta give her credit for the Yes shirt.

JA: You've got to, man. You know, whatever. There's truth in the review. If you're an artist, there's a certain amount of narcissism that just goes with it. You can't go out and do it unless you're somewhat narcissistic. Do you know what I mean? I don't think you can really be great without attempting to be great.

And Joseph Arthur most definitely does that. diosyncratic singer-songwriter and painter Joseph Arthur has always been an enigma to me. First, there's his music: haunting and utterly nocturnal gravel-voiced hymns to desolation, lushly presented with eclectic beats, electronic loops and multiple tracks of his own voice. Most of this stuff is played by Arthur himself, both live and in the studio, and once you hear him, you'll always recognize his new stuff.


2005-03-17 - Red Room, Vancouver

painting from this show

On Stage :

Solo concert, with painting session

Setlist : 

i'll wait for grace
leave us alone
a smile that explodes
can't exist
i donated myself to the mexican army
crying like a man
she paints me gold
good about me
you are free
ashes everywhere
eyes on my back
honey and the moon
in the sun

Recording :


REVIEW : Our Shadows Will Remain - Stylus Magazine

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 by: Nick Mims
Reviewed on: 2005-01-20