Wood & Waste
Nine ragged songs that interweave supple dance rhythms with a writerly taste for the surreal, Wood & Waste is a charmingly decadent record from singer-guitarist Tom Rodwell, best known as frontman for arthouse blues institution Storehouse and itinerant session man.
Like the best short stories, Wood & Waste transforms skeletal structures into something fleshy and feverish, melding together outlandish influences with both improvisation and minimalist, dream-logic songwriting.
The album’s centrepiece is “She Got Me Boiling”, a juggernaut of psychedelic calypso grafted to mindless riffs on cannibalism that would make the Mighty Sparrow blush. Driven by Rodwell’s trademark bass-heavy guitar and animated carnival drums from New Zealand free improv notorieties Chris O’Connor and Jeff Henderson, it’s a fiendishly irresistible piece of music, as is the absurdist one-chord bottleneck slide freak-out “Touch Me Like a Teddybear” - a lascivious black hole of meaninglessness and satire. Elsewhere “Keep on Knockin’” subverts a grim Bo Diddley beat with dissonant Mellotron in praise of Edward Hopper and William Morris, while “Plenty Time” is a species of prog rhumba set in Roman Britain, indebted to Nigerian giant King Sunny Ade.
Tracked entirely on tape at Roundhead Studios, via The Who’s old Neve console, the LP of Wood & Waste is an exclusively analog production with no digital conversion at any stage. Mastering and lacquer cut directly from 1/2” mixdown tapes by the legendary Kevin Gray in LA. This first run of 180gram LP’s is by audiophile press Pallas in Germany.
Digital iterations - CD and download - are all sourced directly from the lacquer cutting needle.
Primarily known as the frontman for the subversive blues/calypso/gospel outfit Storehouse, Tom Rodwell has performed and recorded extensively since before the turn of the century, with an extraordinarily varied backstory of projects, sessions and shows.
Lyrically, Rodwell's work touches on exotic and absurdist themes of art, memory, spirituality and lust with low-budget surrealism and a gothic wit. Meanwhile, his music is audaciously unfashionable - rough, raw and often strange, yet deeply familiar and darkly funky.
With his new album Wood & Waste, Rodwell has revealed highly crafted and unconventional songs that cover a varied landscape. This music is often ecstatic, always surprising and richly detailed.
"By turns wild, angry, hypnotic and sensual, it's as uncompromising as is funky and some of the best live music I've seen," - Blues in London.