Having released his latest album My Idol Family in late 2017 Charles Howl comes to Manchester for a gig at The Castle, opening a brief run of dates.
My Idol Family is the follow-up to his 2015 debut Sir Vices, combining wit, storytelling and the deeper of life, touching on idol workshop, friendships and the family unit. The album is filled with a variety of sounds, as Howl draws on eclectic influences to embrace a wide scope, introducing strings and orchestration, whilst embracing pop.
My Idol Family was put together in Amsterdam, where he returned to write and record the album. He knows the city well having decamped there when he was 18. He explains, “it was meant to be a three day stereotypical end of school weekend with friends but when they were returning home I didn’t see anything for me back there and so I stayed in Amsterdam and got a job handing out flyers for a disgusting pub crawl for the tourists.”
When he was planning the recording of this new album, he made a conscious decision to get away from London with all the distractions and opinions, plus, studio time there is expensive. Howl had always been a fan of James Murphy and wanted to emulate, in his own way, the experience that LCD Sound System had when they recorded This is Happening, where they went to a mansion in L.A. and all dressed in white and uploaded clips of them hanging out and recording. He embraced the prospect of recording an album in this manner, “I’ve never thought that kind of thing is only for big bands with loads of money” he continues, “So I researched places in Amsterdam and found a reggae studio on the outskirts in a suburb called Weesp. It included an Air b&b room and so I sub let my room in London and booked a month in the studio.”
The album title emerged from the overarching themes of family and idols, and how people idolise celebrities and try to emulate their lifestyle. This is encapsulated in the song Meet Lou’s Needs, about so many people in music trying to copy Lou Reed’s look, music, attitude and his drug habits. As Charles says; “I love Lou Reed but I don’t want to see shit imitations of him every time you go see a show or after party.” Idols are also flagged up in the song John Albarn, where he imagines two of his musical heroes as one seamless being – John Lennon + Damon Albarn = John Albarn.
The album even touches on the death of the print press (opening track Death of Print) and being imprisoned for a driving offence in Sweden (Goodbye Sleep).
When does Charles Howl perform at The Castle Manchester?
Charles Howl headlines at The Castle on 29 May. The Manchester gig opens a four date UK tour.
Author: Editorial Team
Live Manchester editorial team