Custom Blue
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Custom Blue

London, England, United Kingdom

London, England, United Kingdom
Band Alternative Folk

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South London band Custom Blue suffered something of a setback in 2003 when they were dropped from Island Records. It came not long after the release of their debut album All Follow Everyone (which met with no small measure of critical acclaim) and their single 'So Low' being included on the soundtrack for daft Jason Statham action flick The Transporter. Now the band (based around the duo of Alex Pilkington and Simon Shippey) are in effect starting anew, having taken a few years out to explore solo projects, produce other artists and work as session players (Pilkington plays guitar for Spacek, Mark Pritchard and Kirk Degiorgio). Former single 'Cobblestones' starts the album, bringing to mind Doves with its spaciously produced, grandstanding acoustic rock, but immediately afterwards 'Not The Only One' takes us down into more stripped-down, emotionally stringent territory before settling into a downbeat, almost jazzy groove for 'Bruised You Too' and the Verve-ish 'Sun Gate'. As the album goes on, you're barraged by well-made alt. folk jams like 'Small Animals', and 'Autumn Flight', and clearly these most pared-down sounds are something the band excel at, making Alex Pilkington's forthcoming solo album as The Willow an interesting prospect.

http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=216548 - Boomkat


It's been a long wait for fans of Custom Blue. Their last album, All Follow Everyone, was released in 2002. When commercial success failed to match critical applause, the band were quietly dropped by Island Records.

Seven years later, I had assumed the duo had given up and gone on to do other things, but then there was a little flurry of activity on their Myspace site, and now a new album. Despite the gap, it picks up right where the last one finished, with the same sound: chillout beats and acoustic guitars, the two members taking turns at vocals.

All Will Be Well begins strong, with rattling, driving opener Cobblestones, then drops a gear to the melancholy Not The Only One and Bruised You Too, two downbeat and beautiful songs. As before, the melodies are immediate, but there's always more going on under the surface of a Custom Blue song. There are twinkles of piano, elegant basslines, deep rumblings. Over Your Shoulder emerges slowly from washes and textures of electric guitar, Small Animals is essentially a folk song, and April Eyes wraps up an album that is laid back, engrossing, and better than the first. - Amazon


Alex Pilkington and Simon Shippey return with an album that sees them embracing their organic side, yet losing none of their ability to create a uniquely emotional atmosphere. “All Will Be Well” was recorded over a 2 year period in London and Devon, once again with the involvement of noted electronic producer Mark Pritchard, and Neo-Soul outfit Spacek.

Whilst previous album “All Follow Everyone” (Island Records, 2002) was rooted more in electronic grooves, “All Will Be Well” strips away the ornamentation to leave a clearer journey to the emotional centre of the song. “With an independent label behind us, we were able to make the album we wanted to. When time is precious, we were forced to be more instinctive, and the result is a more direct piece of work” Says Simon.

Between records, both Alex and Simon worked on various other projects, including for Alex the chance to travel to Brazil to play with legendary Jazz-Funk giants Azymuth and composer / arranger Arthur Verocai. “When you play with someone else in quite a high-pressured situation , it helps you realize what your strengths as a musician are.” Says Alex. This experience led to releasing the “Under The Counter / You’re On Your Own” 7” for Far Out Recordings, which XFM DJ Nick Luscombe awarded single of the week. Simon released an album of instrumental post-rock under the name The Eye for cult Oxford based label My Initials, and continues to play and record with LA based singer-songwriter Ed Vallance, for whom Custom Blue remixed the song “Deep End” for its 2006 single release.


In 2008 “When It Burns / Without You” was released on Ho Hum Records with great critical acclaim. Now in 2009 Ho Hum are proud to be able to release the album “All Will Be Well”.


“All Will Be Well” has the rare ability to sidestep fashions and scenes, and stand on its own terms. To accompany the release of the album, the band will be playing shows throughout the summer.


For more information / interview requests, please contact: press@hohumrecords.com
- Ho Hum Records


Chilled-out Americana for a late night.

This is the second album from London-based Custom Blue, their first, 'All Follow Everyone', arriving way back in 2002. The opener, 'Cobblestones', breezes in with one of the CDs strongest melodies and beautiful background vocals, sitting in the realms of Wilco and Teenage Fanclub, with a great chorus. It follows with 'Not The Only One', a stripped-down acoustic track that isn't a million miles away from Wil Oldham. The album moves into modern soundscape territory by track five, when 'Over Your Shoulder' begins with a build-up of sound that dynamically shifts down to allow a gentle keyboard and voice into the mix that gradually builds to a wah guitar swept crescendo. It is then followed by an instrumental in the same vein, which is a shame, as the momentum of the album is broken somewhat sitting these tracks side-by-side. 'Small Animals' gets things back on track with a real melancholic Americana sound that features some lovely lap steel.

The album's signature is great washes of sound, bathed in reverb, backed up with delicate guitars, keyboards, shuffling electronic beats and softly harmonised vocals. The songs are melodically strong, well arranged, easy to listen to and I can imagine it's perfect for putting on late at night, slumping on the sofa and gently nodding off to - and that's not to criticise, as it really is a soothing sound with some great songs. - Maverick


It takes years...
Some flash in the pan stuff is so gone and forgotten yet so trendy at the time it doesn’t register. Real power comes through time, real artisitic endeavour and commitment isn’t frightened off by the ripple of favour, the fear of failure…rolling the dice and taking a risk can be tripl-y rewarding. I believe Custom Blue’s ‘All Will Be Well’ is their greatest achievement to date, well I might well have believed that had I not witnessed their performance on Wed. night at the Slaughtered Lamb which was quite frankly mind-slaughteringly awesome and quite possibly gig of the year. The support was affecting, and true, the team behind Blue Rose Code came off as very confident professional and full of exuberence. The music was beautiful basically. Then Sebastian Clark duo who at first jarred a bit but then broke me wide open with an eccentric array of pop songs that had hooks, charisma and L.A. freaky odd-ness. Then Custom Blue arrived, the first two songs duets ‘So Low’ getting a stripped down make over and improving on the deeply sad and moving original. Then came new song ‘Over Your Shoulder’ which didn’t so much arrive as creep and lurch into focus as the band took to the stage. They even referenced a Spiritualzed kind of moment as the song gently glided into view. Simon Shippeys voice owning and enveloping the moment with perfect poise and tone. Deep stuff. O.K. so now they’ve got me in the palm of their hand. Every moment from then on in shines. ‘Small Animals’ country shuffle the up-rush of ‘Cobblestones’ featuring a guitar solo by Alex Pilkington that rips into my need to be drenched in rock, the band pushing deeper into the sound. My wife turned round to me just before encore and said ‘why isn’t this band massive?’ to which I only wish I could have answered ‘they are massive…they’re ****in’ massive.’ - Eyeless Records


To celebrate the release of Custom Blue’s second album ‘All Will Be Well’ Ho Hum records invited us down to the The Slaughtered Lamb for an evening of post folk delights. And the invitations didn’t go unheeded, it was positively crammed to the rafters in the Lambs cosy bajuicet bar. You could have cut the hot and humid air with a knife but would have probably taken someone’s ear off at the same time. Custom Blue didn’t disappoint their vacuum packed audience though. They executed well crafted songs with professional ease and attention to detail. Spanning a wide dynamic range from stripped down acoustic numbers to epic compositions, swelling electric guitars, shimmering cymbals over syncopated beats all lead by earthy and touching vocals that had everyone gasping for air and shouting for more. - Jack Hancrisp


Discography

* Hazel's Groove/Sitting by my stream 7" single (2000)
* All Follow Everyone album (2002)
* EPOne (2002)
* So Low single (2002)
* Under the Counter/You're on your own 7" single (2006)
* When it burns/Without you (2008)
* Cobblestones 7" single (2009)
* All Will Be Well" album (2009)

Photos

Bio

Custom Blue is a band who have recorded and produced for Island Records, V2, Far Out Recordings and !K7 Records prior to releasing with Ho Hum Records in London. Originating from south London, Alex Pilkington and Simon Shippey met at Alleyn's School in Dulwich and started the band proper in 1995 with originally Crispin Weir on guitar and Max Tundra on bass along with a succession of drummers. Following non-stop gigging in London throughout the 90s the band started to attract both managers and labels keen to sign them and it was popular GLR DJ Ross Allen who made them his in 1999. With a sound at times compared to Neil Young, Wilco and Crosby, Stills & Nash whilst at other times Massive Attack, Custom Blue quickly drew a new fan base in London around their successful Cargo club shows which had energy in abundance when launching their debut album All Follow Everyone on DJ Ross Allen's Island Blue imprint on Universal Records. In 2002 Custom Blue released a 7" single 'Hazel's Groove' b/w 'Sitting by my Stream' on Island Blue. Following this they released 'EPOne' just prior to releasing their debut album 'All Follow Everyone' in the same year and single 'So Low' which featured remixes from Mark Pritchard and Cinematic Orchestra. 'All Follow Everyone' was met with great critical acclaim on its release in 2002, with single 'So Low' featuring on film 'The Transporter'; which starred former Custom Blue drummer and friend Jason Statham. The album was produced by Custom Blue with help from Spacek and Mark Pritchard. The album was recorded in the now-destroyed Fallout Studio beneath Island Records where the likes of Bob Marley, Traffic and PJ Harvey would record. Following their departure from Universal Records in 2003, Custom Blue produced an album for the American artist Beth Hirsch forming the production and studio name 'Bluesound' for the project. In 2003 Custom Blue also released an album of esoteric electronica under the alias Hoighty Beaver on Blank Page records. In 2007 Custom Blue released a 7" single on Far Out Recordings entitled 'Under the Counter' b/w 'You're On Your Own'. In 2008 Custom Blue released the single 'When it Burns' b/w 'Without You' on Ho Hum Records. In 2009 Custom Blue release the single 'Cobblestones' b/w 'I Will Follow' and album 'All Will Be Well' on Ho Hum Records. The album 'All Will Be Well' was recorded during 2007-2009 all at Bluesound Studios in south London.