Charles Latham

Charles Latham

 Durham, North Carolina, USA
SoloFolkLo-fi

Charles Latham is a multi-instrumental singer-songwriter whose sound can be described as tragicomic folk-pop. His lyric-driven songs are passionate with acerbic wit. Quoting music critic Ross Grady: "Charles Latham is a skinny smart-mouthed punk who plays acid-tongued folk music."

Biography

"Latham's music is passionate with biting wit."--NPR

"One of the sharpest songwriters to emerge of late on the antifolk sphere...Charles Latham could be your new hero."--The Independent Weekly

"3.5 stars out of 5"--Pitchfork

Charles Latham wields an acid tongue and a poison pen, crafting social criticism, tragicomic narratives, and brutal self-analysis into three and a half minute ramshackle folk-pop songs. His songs are often exercises in duality: he finds humor in horror and horror in humor, the profane in beauty and beauty in the profane. In a live performance, his audience often laughs and smiles, but he rarely does. His lo-fi home recordings compliment the harsh honesty of his lyrics; his guitar buzzes and rings, and his snarling voice leaps, cracks and cries. His music is as equally influenced by folk and country as it is by punk, British Invasion-era rock, and Brill Building-style pop.
Originally from Virginia, Charles Latham began playing music professionally while living in Brighton, England as a student. The UK's folk-punk or "antifolk" scene adopted him as one of their own: Latham was the only non-British act to perform at the 2004 Winter Antifolk Fest in London. In 2005, Latham was voted "Best of Sussex" by a panel of judges at the Sussex Battle of the Bands, winning the grand prize.
After returning to the States, Charles Latham completed his first full-length album, "Pretty Mouth" in the spring of 2006; the album is a collection of home recordings captured on an 8-track in various locations in the UK and at his home in Virginia. The album was self-released, and has been met with enthusiastic acclaim in both the US and UK (see Press). Several songs from the album, including "Memorabilia" and "My Perfect Church", have received frequent radio airplay; "Nice (to me)" was featured on NPR. "Boot Hill" is listed as one of the top "Songs of the Times" on Neil Young's Living With War site. A non-album track, "The Internet Sexual Predator Talking Blues", a song about the scandal surrounding ex-Congressman Mark Foley, was given 3.5 out of 5 stars by Pitchfork. Hard On has been covered extensively by contemporaries worldwide.
While living in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, Latham created Antifolk SouthEast, a loose collective of local folk-punk musicians, and co-produced the Antifolk SouthEast Winter Extravaganza 2007, a showcase of musicians in the collective, and the first festival of its kind in the area. The event was a success.
Charles Latham has performed throughout the United States and United Kingdom, including major music festivals such as the Hopscotch Music Festival and yearly winter tours in the UK. After a decade of wandering In the tradition of the wandering troubadour, living in six different cities both in the U.S. and abroad, Charles Latham returned to Durham, NC in late 2014, where he continues to write, record, and perform.

Lyrics

Nice (to me)

Written By: Charles Latham

You can be hot for me
buy all my pot for me
my groceries, my clothing, a hottub for me
Take me on trips upon luxury ships,
fly and buy me and pay all the tips

CHORUS:
But why can't you be nice to me?
Why can't you be nice to me?

You can pick flowers for me or give up your hours to me, wear thongs, write songs, or simply devour me,
Knit me a sweater or dress me in leather, do me or woo me or write me a letter
You can understand or try and be the man, use me or lose me or love me if you can, but...

CHORUS:
Why can't you be nice to me?
Why can't you be nice to me?

Read me or need me or let me down easy, try harder and harder, promise sons, promise daughters,
Propose me marriage or an empty carriage,
loyalty, honesty, Christmas in Paris, but...

CHORUS:
Why can't you be nice to me?
Why can't you be nice to me?

I'm not complaining to complain or trying to cast you in shame,
I'm not shouting or counting on a damn thing to change,
though you're still here it's now painfully clear that most of you is a ghost of you and it's vanished, my dear, and that's...

CHORUS:
Why you can't be nice to me
That's why you can't be nice to me

My Perfect Church

Written By: Charles Latham

I pray from my toilet seat, "Make my holy life complete"
My god hears me when I speak, can yours say the same?
My god lets me have my way, I can pray for it not to rain today, I can chant cars off the motor way when I'm late for work.
My god grants financial miracles and the rules are always flexible, my god watches my vehicles when they're parked in the street.
My perfect church is built only for one: where I am the priest and the congregation, my one regret is that no one can come, it's gonna be awful lonely in this private heaven.
My god likes human sacrafise, his services demand a price and mine's the only blood he likes, no virgin's will do. He can't heal me should I go blind, he can't burn a bush or absolve my crimes, he can't turn my water into wine but he can point me to the bar.
My perfect church is built only for one, where I alone experience salvation. My one regret is that no one can come; it's gonna be awful lonely in this private heaven.
He gives me no creation myth, the commandments end with the fifth, the prophesies are pretty hit or miss but I don't give a damn because every day's a holy day and you can't work on a holy day, my god wants me at home to pray, begging for more things.
My perfect church is built only for one, where I am the priest and the congregation, my one regret is that no one can come, it's gonna be awful lonely in this private heaven.