Rejoicing In The (New) Bands 2 – Paul Thomas Saunders

I got an email last month. It read something along the lines of “Listen to this guy, Paul Thomas Saunders. I think he’s incredible”. The last song this friend sent me was Frightened Rabbit’s “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, and since that was one of the best songs I’d heard in years, then it was definitely the time to start paying attention.

Off I toddle to the Myspace page and have a quick listen. For all the talk of new ways to listen to music, unique paradigm shifts and all that guff, I’m an old-fashioned sort, and I struggle to sit there listening to music on my computer. Still, it seemed intriguing, and a short email chat later, I had a couple of bright shiny mp3’s to listen to on my way to work the next day. A journey that was spent by me, the next day, standing in a crowded District Line train with my mouth agape (I don’t think there was any drool, but you never can tell).

Paul Thomas Saunders can do that to you. He has that rare gift of pulling you into his world. Gently strummed guitars reverbing like they’re being played in a cathedral. Paul’s high, keening voice, filled with warmth, soars. A backing band that chuntle away in the background, like you’ve just walked into a group of hugely talented friends just chilling out on a warm summer’s evening in someone’s basement (not unlike Lambchop’s early days before they went studio-crazy1.

The track I’ve provided here – “Dementia, Depression, Psychosis, Blues” showcases his talents beautifully. This is a song to get lost in; put it on when you’re on your evening commute and you’ll find yourself drifting off in a little daydream, only to wake five or so minutes later wondering where you are and whether you’ve had that stupid smile on your face the whole time. Then you play it again. This is a similarity he shares with the likes of Elliott Smith, or M Ward, or Laura Viers; the ability to take you from your own, mundane life into someone else’s, cocooning you in their sound until you can barely remember anything else.

Unlike Bright Spark Destroyer, Paul’s on a record label, Leed’s Dead Young Records, and features on their new compilation Dead Young Club II. Ordering details are available at their online shop here. The compilation’s definitely worth a fiver so get ordering.

In the meantime, have a listen to the track below. Absolutely wonderful. I think we’ve got a real talent on our hands here.

MP3: Dementia, Depression, Psychosis, Blues by Paul Thomas Saunders

1 Not that this was a bad move in any way – Nixon was an incredible record, superbly produced. But their early material just felt so together. I can’t think of a better way of putting that right now.