‘Battle of the Grumbles’ is the debut album from Thomas Nation, the new solo project from Blue House song writer James Howard, today we premier his new video for the song ‘This Field’ that threads elements of the folk tradition with spoken word and ominous alt-pop textures. Here’s what Thomas says about the track and video:
‘This field concerns itself with this field, the one you’re standing on now. I wonder why fields are so present in the “English Imaginary”, if such a thing exists, which I think it does if by that you mean what comes to mind when people think of England (excuse the pornographic content of this message). There’s a Patrick Keiller film in which the unseen protagonist—always absent as though he has just left the area—is tasked with diagnosing the “problem” with England. This is a bit like that, asking questions that only lead to more questions. Fields are these kind of passive sites where a sheer, ungainly weight of dramas big and small play out. Mushroom trips, land disputes, pushing over cows, fumbles with a condom, the English civil war, you name it, the field’s probably turned a blind and muddy eye to it. Blame Blake, perhaps.’
Battle of the Grumbles is the latest offering from Kristian ‘Capitol K’ Robinson’s Faith & Industry label was released digitally on cassette in June.
Battle of the Grumbles was mostly written and entirely recorded to tape over four days in January 2018, in the home studio of label-mate John Johanna in Norfolk woodland. This was also where John Johanna recorded his recently released, acclaimed debut I’ll Be Ready When The Great Day Comes.
Considering the simple tools with which it was produced, and the lightening quick turnaround time of Battle of The Grumbles, there is still a great deal of musical and lyrical depth and nuance to the album. James is paying homage to his British musical and cultural heritage.
Having recorded the album very quickly James says “I decided to use my rough mono mixes bounced in Norfolk rather than try to develop them or make them technically better. I felt like this sounded like a record that was already lost, an idea that appeals to me: two of my favourite records recently are ‘Everything – God is Love 78’ by Otis G. Johnson and ‘All On The First Day’ by Tony Caro and John”.
On the future of Thomas Nation, and Blue House, James says “I’m planning on making one TN piece each year as a kind of musical pilgrimage and am looking for ways to tour not just the usual places but more rural settings too, to see what kind of conversations (or deathly silence) the music might provoke. The new Blue House album is on the way in a few months: it’s more outward-looking than the first and definitely has a lot in common with this set of songs”.