“Clare Bowditch dreams up one of the albums of the year . . . Again”
**** Rolling Stone 2007
To Australian audiences, Clare is best known as a folk flavoured song-writing original who has released a slew of fantastic, thoughtful and cohesive albums through Capital Records/EMI. She has won Australia’s ARIA Award for best female talent in 2006, was nominated twice in 2008, was runner up in the International Song-writing Competition in the singer/songwriter category, has played every major festival in Australia, sold a stack of records and is generally loved and admired as much for her charm and leadership as her music, everywhere she goes.
But things are changing in the Bowditch camp. The first taste from a new album is meant to set the tone of what’s to follow, and that’s exactly what Clare Bowditch’s new song “The Start of War” achieves, in a very dramatic way.
In late 2008 Clare slayed a European tour with fellow Aussie and ARIA winner, Goyte, and then set up shop in that greatest of artistic cities, Berlin. After a chance encounter, Clare happened to rent the apartment of producer Mocky, most famous for his work on Feist's “The Reminder” album (as well as working with Peaches, Jamie Lidell, Gonzales, and a host of others). By day she wrote songs on Mocky’s piano (with Feist’s triple-platinum album award sitting above her) and by night, she and her Casio performed in hidden underground bars in the lost parts of Berlin, refining her sound for the morning to come.
Not surprisingly, what Clare produced during this time is a courageous and exciting contrast to what has gone before.
The Start of War is a fascinating and addictive reflection on the problem of being human, recorded with long-time co-conspirator Marty Brown and the great, GREAT, Mick Harvey (ex-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds). With an honest, stripped-back arrangement, most of the song’s tension is drawn from the panoramic overlaying of backing vocals. One Bowditch just isn’t enough!
Clare’s forthcoming album is still being recorded with Melbourne’s cut and paste maestro, Qua. Then after a UK/European tour, Clare will be recreating David Bowies' amazing vocal sound from “Heroes” in Berlin's famous Hansa Studios, with Mocky at the helm.
Clare Bowditch: vocals/ acoustic guitar, electric guitar, casio keyboard and loop pedal.
Marty Brown: Drums, Keys and Cello
Human Being (EP, 2003)
Monday Comes (EP, 2003)
Autumn Bone (2004) - independent release
Which Way to Go (EP, 2004)
Divorcee by 23 (EP, 2005)
On This Side (EP, 2005)
What Was Left (2005) - Capitol/EMI - Australia #35
The Moon Looked On (2007) - Capitol/EMI - Australia #29
The Start of War (2009) - Island Records (Aust)
Clare Bowditch @ Jive, Adelaide (20/06/08)
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An evening of enchanting humour and beautiful song was what Adelaidians received from celebrated sin...An evening of enchanting humour and beautiful song was what Adelaidians received from celebrated singer songwriter Clare Bowditch tonight. Leaving her band, The Feeding Set back home, Clare hit Adelaide on her solo Winter Secrets tour but before the night was through few secrets would be left as Clare’s stories and emotional songs gave you warm glimpses into who she is and the life she leads. Tonight’s show made us feel like we had all been invited over to her place for dinner rather than coming to watch her perform.
Cheekily poking her head out of the band room Clare entered the stage with all the grace of a seasoned professional but with the playfulness of a child. Introducing us early on to her much loved additional band member Casio 45, the beat up, rusting, born again synthesizer would set the scene for many quirky moments for tonight’s refreshingly honest and sincere performance.
Kicking off with a sweet and sexy version of When The Lights Went Down then straight into Divorcee By 23, each song was intercepted by a short story sometimes relating to the song, other times the subject was just what Clare decided she wanted to chat about in that moment. Telling the eager audience that The Moon Looked On was written about an Adelaide skyline and that Lips Like Oranges was about an ill-fated tour to Mexico’s Corona factory was met by jovial laughing throughout the overcrowded sellout Jive. Forgetting the lyrics to the first verse of Lips Like Oranges, Clare didn’t let it get the better of her, instead she called on an audience member to join her and her acoustic guitar on stage for a some assistance. Angela the lucky punter did a great job, (clearly thinking all her Christmas’s had come at once) she guided Clare through her own song much to Clare’s amusement. It wasn’t long before everyone was involved in the Sing-along.
As part of this tour Clare enabled local musicians to apply to play with her on stage, deciding that the talent in Adelaide was far too high she chose three musicians to help her out. Bridget (violin), Michael (mouth piano) and Simon (guitar) contributed to a fun version of The Other Hand.
Without the back up of The Feeding Set Clare improvised using loop pedals and her beloved Casio 45 featured predominantly but you couldn’t help but smile during the bewitching rendition of Between the Tea and Toast when Clare played a ceramic teapot, one of many inanimate objects that she bought to life. For a solo tour Miss Bowditch was surrounded by friends. Hot Little Hands and The Feeding Set member Tim Harvey repeatedly joined Clare on stage and the jokes continued to flow freely, saying that I Thought You Were God made her think about Guy Sebastian, but it was Tim’s sublime harmonies bought a new level to each song he featured on.
Highlights included the bluesy version of You Look So Good, a cover of Kev Carmody’s From Little Things Big Things Grow and the all out audience sing-along of On This Side.
Interestingly tonight was more an evening of good chats than music, with the set list consisting of perhaps only 10 songs (from across Clare’s albums) performed during the hour and a half set.
The moon may have been looking on but Clare left us jumping over the moon with tonight’s gorgeous and endearing performance and like the much loved Casio 45, the memory of tonight will be with us for a long time.
Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set - What Was Left
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What is it about hearing a great new artist for the first time and being blown away, only to hear su...What is it about hearing a great new artist for the first time and being blown away, only to hear subsequent releases, equally as well written and produced, but that initial blast of joy is missing?
Inevitable pitfall of the human condition? A result of modern day low attention-span syndrome? Something akin perhaps to feeling that we always need more, and we need something different.
I suppose it’s true enough, not least of all in the music industry, that we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing. An opportunity to be excited by something, in the way we once were when hearing Joni Mitchell or Led Zeppelin or the Pixies for the first time.
Well ladies and gentlemen; let me tell you, this addiction is a consumerism-fuelled illusion, in my opinion a weakness that forces our attention away from the wonderful things we have right in front of us.
And just in the nick of time, Clare Bowditch is here and back with her second album to cure us of such ills. I’m one of those people that were hopelessly seduced by Bowditch’s first album, Autumn Bone. It’s darkness, it’s mystery, it’s impossibly buoyant pop songs and it’s willingness to be something different – accessible but absolutely outside of mainstream parameters – really set this album apart as one of my favourites of 2004.
Her new album, What Was Left, I’ve got to say was somewhat underwhelming at first. Perhaps the way it has been tracked – there’s a handful of rather downbeat introspective songs at the front end of the album which made it difficult to get enthused right away. But like much great music, the reward is there in mood and aesthetic and within days, I was gladly surrendering to the album’s defining characteristics.
What Was Left is at heart, a dreamy pillow of a record. Bowditch and her band The Feeding Set – partner Marty Browne on drums, piano and production duties, Libby Chow on French Horn and Warren Bloomer on bass – offer 13 mostly gentle songs of love, reflection, grief, indecision and the joy in life’s simpler moments. For the patient and attentive listener, there is much here from which to navigate several lifetimes’ worth of conundrums, problems and crossroads.
The first wonderful moment comes with I Thought You Were God. Here, Bowditch tells a story about being young, impressionable, na�ve and in love, perhaps for the first time. She sings:
I was very young and terribly in love, not yet knowing that love alone may not be enough to counter all the stupid things I thought. I thought you were God. And I believed in you.
But the pay off comes as the song winds up from understanding and perspective – showing us this is no pointless, bitter lament.
We still talk quite a lot since the alarming discovery that you were never God, and we still laugh, but the laughter’s more sincere,
‘cause it’s speckled with your tears.
Ahhh, yes we’ve all been there haven’t we? But the way Clare Bowditch sings it, reminds us we wouldn’t trade in an experience like first love for a second.
One of the album’s pre-release singles Divorcee By 23 is a lilting mid-tempo journey housing a trademark Bowditch winding verse melody and straight ahead chorus which charters a dodgy relationship that’s produced a baby girl. It’s an effective song which serves as a warning that partnerships like this are worth saving for all sorts of reasons.
But we’re only warming up. The album’s centre punch is The Thing About Grief. A song which shares the intimate tale of Bowditch coming to terms with the grief and realities of her sister passing away when they were both children. The song conveys the story with lines like:
The thing about grief is it knows what I did and it knows what I did not say,
It’s hard to give away because it’s the last thing you gave to me.
Could these words be any more devastating or poignant?
Before you realise it, What Was Left emerges as a stayer with potential to deliver a series of deeply emotional revelations. It’s almost (read almost) too much to bear when the sister song of grief called When I Was Five tells us:
They say you crossed a river to touch God’s hand but I did not understand where he lived. So I tried to write him letters – letters of demand, saying ‘She’s my sister’.
This is ageless and honest storytelling set to music – real, revelatory and no doubt as reassuring to Clare as it would be to others who’ve been through something similar.
At the album’s end, single On This Side lifts us up with a return to some of the bright and breezy pop from Autumn Bone. The song has an abundance of real-world charm about it, celebrating feeling good and perhaps saying that the key to happiness is just believing in yourself. We could all certainly do worse than that.
Ultimately What Was Left sees Clare Bowditch developing as an artist, putting pen to paper with some moving, personal vignettes and casting them in music and melodies alternately pretty, intricate and aching. A welcome and warming next step in a talented and spirited artist’s career.
"The Moon Looked On" Press Quotes
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“this is an album not to quietly treasure, but to share out loud and enjoy” 4 * Andrew Webster, M P...“this is an album not to quietly treasure, but to share out loud and enjoy” 4 * Andrew Webster, M Preview 4/11/07
“Clare Bowditch dreams up one of the albums of the year . . . again” 4 * Simon Wooldridge, Rolling Stone
“Bowditch is honest and open with her emotions, making The Moon Looked On easy to connect with” 4* Danielle O’Donohue Adelaide Advertiser 25/10/07
“Bowditch’s writing is left field but always has heart, her melodies go off at unexpected yet pleasing angles, and her voice still has that big-lipped, slightly slurred allure” 4* Barry Divola, Who Magazine
“One Listen to this enchanting album and you come away feeling as if you’ve spent an hour in a flotation tank, such are its bewitching charms” 4* Scott Podmore, Sunday Herald Sun
“Bowditch has nailed a formula to call her own” 4* Scott Podmore, Sunday Herald Sun
“these songs are crafted and compelling, reflective and artful, all bound up in a melodicism that draws you in. It’s lovely stuff indeed.” **** BILL HOLDSWORTH Rave Magazine
, The Moon Looked On oozes with a surplus of the vital passion and creative instinct that gave birth to it. (Baz McAlister) Time Off 17/10/07
“though she writes sparkling melodies, she refuses to dress them in the same old sounds which pass for mainstream.” 4 * Noel Mengel, Courier Mail 25/10/07
“they ve come up with a recipe to savour again and again.” 4 * Noel Mengel, Courier Mail 25/10/07
Clare Bowditch überzeugte facettenreich im Prinz Willy
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Kiel - Fast hätte die Australierin Clare Bowditch gar nicht auftreten können. Ihre Zwillinge hatten ...Kiel - Fast hätte die Australierin Clare Bowditch gar nicht auftreten können. Ihre Zwillinge hatten es am Nachmittag geschafft, die Mutter versehentlich in ihrem Zimmer im Hostel einzusperren.Um 21 Uhr ist von dieser Aufregung im gut besuchten Prinz Willy jedoch nichts mehr zu spüren: „Willy, dreh die Musik auf, wir haben hier eine Party zu feiern!“, ruft die in ihrer Heimat erfolgreiche Singer-Songwriterin dem Wirt zu. Schnell zieht sie noch einmal ihre tiefroten Lippen nach, prüft mit einem letzten Blick das Arrangement der Instrumente und legt los. Bereits während des Vorprogramms ihres Landsmannes Mijo Biscan, Sänger der Band Lamplight, steigt Bowditch mit ein und verleiht
Ship in a bottle zusätzliche Tiefe. Das Publikum ist begeistert von den erzählerisch-experimentellen Indiepopsongs.
Von der „schrecklichen Angewohnheit sich zu verlieben“ handelt
I thought you were God. Und so schlägt die Gewinnerin des australischen Musikpreises ARIA zu Beginn ihres Sets, begleitet von ihrem Bandkollegen Marty Brown am Klavier, zunächst nachdenkliche Töne an. Zwischen den facettenreichen Songs mit Folkeinschlag gelingt es ihr immer wieder das Publikum mit Anekdoten zu unterhalten. Plötzlich unterbricht Bowditch ihren Auftritt, spricht hektisch von einem anstehenden Kostümwechsel und lässt ihr Publikum mit den polyphonen Soundeffekten ihres Casiokeyboards zurück.
Ausgestattet mit einer weißen 3D-Brille kommt sie wieder, um den Song Running anzuspielen, der zu den Höhepunkten des Abends gehört. Erzählt wird die Geschichte einer 1982 in einem Club beginnenden Liebesaffäre, zu der auf der Bühne zu wilden 80er-Klängen der Robot getanzt wird. Und auch im weiteren Verlauf überrascht Bowditch mit raffinierten Einfällen - etwa als sie eine Teekanne namens Frank zum Musikinstrument umfunktioniert. Bis zuletzt überzeugt das Trio mit einer Vielzahl an ungewöhnlichen Klängen, denen Bowditch stimmlich einiges entgegenzusetzen hat. Mit der Zugabe little black cave aus dem Album The Moon Looked On endet der Gig nach einer guten Stunde unter tosendem Beifall.
TBC. All original material by Clare Bowditch.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.