Bright Light Bright Light
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Bright Light Bright Light

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Rod Thomas is apparently one of the most recognised buskers on the London Underground with features about him on BBC London news and in thelondonpaper. Wait, come back. A crusty dog-on-a-string type wailing painful versions of Lay Lady Lay and Streets of London as you try to squeeze on to the tube he is not. He's a seriously good songwriter with a super-light pop touch who enhances his acoustic guitar-based tunes with a synth, a loop pedal for beats and handclaps, and if he had the chance, the opportunity and the funding, he'd probably chuck in an orchestra as well – you can just imagine the strings swelling epically as the chorus rises on Same Old Lines, his new single.

But don't feel too sorry for him and start scrabbling around in your pocket for loose change. He's not doing badly. He might be unsigned and having to put out his single on his own label, Self Raising, but Same Old Lines was produced by Julian Simmons (Guillemots, Midlake) and has been played for 17 consecutive weeks on Radio 1 Introducing, he's supported the likes of Sparks, Kathryn Williams and Noah & the Whale on tour and the single is accompanied by a video, all 70s kids TV show lunacy and dodgy sock puppets, put together by the team behind recent Noah & the Whale, Laura Marling and Mystery Jets promos.

Mostly, you don't need to pity the boy from Wales because he really is quite talented and the songs he's churning out really are quite lovely. How to categorise them is another matter. They're folky and forlorn, yes, but the beats are electronic and the handclaps crisp and urgent, the sort of rhythmic device you hear on disco records – this is probably why his music's been described as acoustic disco; we're going to go one further and call it folk funk, but then, we're crazy like that. There are aspects of the techno troubadour's act we're not comfortable with. At Glastonbury and Latitude this year he encouraged his audiences to clap and sing along, and some of his music does tend towards the crowd-pleasingly banal and happy-clappy. But songs like Your Love is a Tease, As If and You Get Goodbyes veer more towards the plaintive pop-with-a-pulse of Pet Shop Boys and Prefab Sprout, and - we're not imagining this - a number of other artists have discerned the music's potential for electrification, providing remixes and all manner of fussy cross-rhythms, although really the songs' beauty lies in their stark simplicity.
The buzz: "Joyous lo-fi folk-pop; folk with a flourish, a snap and a pop, and a few glances in the general direction of disco."

The truth: Sad chords + simple beats = the greatest Rod in pop since that bloke with the croaky voice and bird's nest hair.

Most likely to: Make you miss your tube.

Least likely to: See his career go down the tube.

What to buy: Same Old Lines is released by Self Raising on October 6.

File next to: James Yuill, Jack Penate, Guillemots, Paddy McAloon.
- Guardian.co.uk


"...sculpts and builds perfrect pop gems..." - Wales Music


Discography

Good Coat 7" vinyl / download - 30.10.2006 (Self Raising Records)

Your Love Is A Tease 7" vinyl / download - 21.05.2007 (North&South)
Radio Play - BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Wales

You Get Goodbyes ltd edition CD / download - 03.03.2008 (North&South)
Radio Play - BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Wales

Same Old Lines ltd edition CD / download - 29.9.2008 (Self Raising Records)
Radio Play - BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Wales

Until Something Fits ltd edition CD / download – 02.03.2009 (Self Raising Records)
Radio Play - BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Wales

Photos

Bio

Bright Light Bright Light is Welsh songwriter, producer, remixer and multi-instrumentalist Rod Thomas.

Bright Light Bright Light creates dynamic, shimmering synth-pop gems which bounce around bedroom walls and dancefloors.

Growing up between two villages in the South Wales valleys meant that the man at the heart of Bright Light Bright Light, Rod Thomas, had not much else to do than fall in love with music, and those that made music, and then create his own songs. In 2006 he started working on his music full time, setting up his own label Self Raising Records.

Since that time his reputation as a live performer has grown and grown with support slots for artists such as Sparks, James Yuill, Noah and the Whale and Duffy.

His reputation as a skilled musician and remixer has also grown, as Rod was commissioned to remix Gotye (iTunes UK album of the year), James Yuill, Sam Isaac, The Answering Machine, Run Toto Run and Gallops amongst others in the space of a few months.

September 2007 saw Bright Light Bright Light join the newly created Fantastic Artist Booking Agency. Tours and festival appearances soon followed, including Glastonbury, Latitude, Green Man (where his set was recorded for broadcast by BBC 6 Music and Radio 1) and Camp Bestival.

In 2008 Bright Light Bright Light joined the management roster at Twenty-First Artists, alongside acts such as Elton John, Lily Allen, Just Jack, Empire of the Sun and Pnau. Elton John is now a firm fan, and is even keen to write with Rod.

2009 is a very exciting year for Bright Light Bright Light. He has recently recorded tracks with Boom Bip of Neon Neon fame, and with Andy Chatterley (Underworld, Unkle, Kanye West, Pussycat Dolls). Through Self Raising Records, he released the mini-album Until Something Fits in March, promoted by another UK tour, and showcased at SXSW Festival. Summer 2009 will see Bright Light Bright Light play a number of UK festivals, and travel to New York for showcases.

Bright Light Bright Light has picked up fans within the industry, as well as with music lovers. Key radio tastemakers are already shouting about Rod’s songs, with Bethan Elfyn making him the Radio 1 Introducing Wales Artist of 2008. Radio 1 support also comes from Rob da Bank, Tom Robinson and Huw Stephens, as well as Gideon Coe and Steve Lamacq at BBC 6 Music. The videos to his songs Same Old Lines and You Get Goodbyes were playlisted on MTV2.

Same Old Lines is being used in the national advertising campaign by DFS from the end of April, and will be shown on TV, internet and heard on radio. Bright Light Bright Light has also written the music you will soon be hearing for a new Sony Ericsson campaign.

“Rod has a knack of making super accessible, light-hearted yet poignant music� - Huw Stephens, Radio 1
“A seriously good songwriter� – Paul Lester, The Guardian