[The Real] Tuesday Weld
It's a lot to ask: Write songs about love, death, time and memory. Inform them with a narrative and musical sensibility at once intelligent, wry, witty, playful and profound. Be understated yet poetic, romantic yet post-modern, English yet universal. Admit your worst fears and failings, but remain charming and irresistibly cool. Pay homage to heroes as far apart as the French legend Serge Gainsbourg and pre-war crooner Al Bowlly, pass the sparkling style and champagne spirit of the Twenties and Thirties through a no-nonsense Twenty-first Century filter. Be accessible and sophisticated.
It's a lot to ask. But, having been visited in a dream by the aforementioned Bowlly, one-man-industry [The Real] Tuesday Weld (a.k.a. Stephen Coates, a.k.a. The Clerkenwell Kid) has made it his working brief. Urban anatomist of love and sampler par excellence The Real Tuesday Weld has honed a musical method of succinct composition and delivery ('antique beat', as he's been wont to call it) that has the effect common to all nifty invention: it makes you wonder why no one's done it before.
Stephen Coates became [The Real] Tuesday Weld in 1997.
Inspired by dreams of Al Bowlly and the American actress Tuesday Weld and influenced by 1930s jazz, Gainsbourg and Morricone, he has spent the subsequent period crafting recordings that try to capture the way he heard music when he was a child - the strange and haunting sounds of old songs floating from radios in the late afternoon. 'I remember playing and singing along to old 78s on a portable record player even when I was very small' he says 'and I would be totally transported by songs like 'White Horses' and Somewhere over the Rainbow''.
The first full-length release When Cupid Meets Psyche (released 2001) provided the stylistic range at which its shorter predecessor The Valentine EP (2000) had hinted, with songs that were " warm and welcoming as well as arty a gypsy knees-up, a psychedelic bossa Latino, the polite reeds of a '30s dance band crushed by booming hip-hop bass " (Q Magazine). The follow-up release, I, Lucifer has new territory to explore, released on PIAS Recordings in Europe and Six Degrees in the US.
Originally conceived as a soundtrack to Glen Duncan's novel of the same title (published by Scribner), the album gives us the Devil's take on humanity, and The Real Tuesday Weld's take on our favourite sins. The result is a mischievous, astute, funny, and ultimately melancholy collection. The band have reaped huge acclaim at press and garnered incredible support right across the board at radio, especially at the BBC where the list includes Radio 1 (Jo Whiley, Zane Lowe, Blue Room), Radio 2 (Mark Radcliffe, Sarah Kennedy) & Radio 4 (Loose Ends). Stephen Coates recently read a horror story as part of a series for Steve Lamacq's show on Radio 1 in the run up to Halloween in 2004.
Fresh from touring Europe and the US, as well as supporting The Magnetic Fields, there is no stopping [The Real] Tuesday Weld.
A near-death epiphany in icy waters off the Siberian coast inspired another ongoing collaborator, Brooklyn-based Russian animator Aleksey Budovskiy to create the international award-winning video for the track 'Bathtime in Clerkenwell', a quirky, bizarre animation nominated for many film awards including Sundance festival.
Following the release of the highly acclaimed album 'I, Lucifer' and first single 'The Ugly & The Beautiful' single, [THE REAL] TUESDAY WELD follow up with an official single release for the hit waiting to happen that is 'Bathtime in Clerkenwell'. The single is released on the back of it's use in a new TV advertising campaign from Lucozade Energy which, not only use's the music but the advert has been animated by the same person that made the award winning video for the single, Alex Budovsky. Stylistically the two pieces of work are so obviously related that the ad' look's like it could even be a missing 30 second section of the original video.
There's no handy summation. These are songs that speak intimately of intimacy and dispassionately of passion, but never at the expense of humour, brevity, or that much maestro-neglected phenomenon, the Tune. You can listen, you can shuffle around the lounge with a pink gin and a cheroot, you can ponder. You can even - if you're that way inclined - groove.