Vintage English songster, Stephen Coates a.k.a. The Real Tuesday Weld, shines on WNYC’s Soundcheck, YouTube takes notice and features the inventive Elliot Kew directed “Cloud Cuckoo” video.
“The London Book of The Dead gives yesterday’s music its due, and in the process brings an elegance and refinement to the sounds of today.” – Miami New Times
“The London Book of The Dead reverberates with echoes of everything from Tin Pan Alley to Tom Waits.” – Metromix
The Real Tuesday Weld a.k.a. Stephen Coates recently appeared on WNYC’s Soundcheck with John Schaefer. Coates discussed his album The London Book of The Dead, his inspirations, and life growing up in England. Schaefer described The Real Tuesday Weld as “Serge Gainsbourg and Cole Porter on Absinthe creating an old-fashioned radio play.” YouTube has also taken notice of Coates and is currently featuring The Real Tuesday Weld’s new video for the The London Book of The Dead track “Cloud Cuckoo.”
The first thing that strikes you about any album by The Real Tuesday Weld is the fact that every element in Coates’ compositions seems to be drawn from sources many decades old. The second thing that strikes you is that his music sounds completely new.
For Coates, the breakthrough in his professional journey came in the form of a pair of surreal dreams in which he was visited by the legendary English music hall singer Al Bowlly and the late actress Tuesday Weld. These experiences convinced him to focus on a career in music and eventually led to the recording of The Valentine EP, which would be followed shortly by the full-length When Cupid Meets Psyche.
His sophomore album and debut on Six Degrees is a deeply complex and lovely full-length CD titled I, Lucifer. The album is a conceived soundtrack to Glen Duncan’s (Coates’ friend and former flatmate) book of the same name about the Devil’s take on humanity.
Coates’s follow-up release on Six Degrees, The Return of The Clerkenwell Kid, continued to develop what Coates has come to call his “antique beat” sound, putting modern technology to the task of creating new music out of a kaleidoscopic array of old sound sources. The sound of The Return of The Clerkenwell Kid was somewhat different from that of its predecessor, but the modus operandi remained basically the same and no one would ever mistake it for anything other than an album by The Real Tuesday Weld.
This brings us back to his latest, and anxiously awaited, album for the Six Degrees label. The London Book of The Dead may sound at first like a startlingly morose title, but in fact it’s more whimsically humorous than morbid. It refers to the Bardo Thodol (or “Tibetan Book of The Dead”), which describes the passage of the soul from the end of one life to the beginning of another.
“I thought it would be funny if there were a book like that for the English,” says Coates. “The album felt like that to me – a way of moving from one state to another, and all set against the backdrop of this city.”
Amongst the whimsy and humor are lyrical concerns drifting between such weighty topics as death, religious faith, honesty, drugs, and disease. The songs are informed in part by Coates’s own recent passage through several significant events: “Last year I became a father, and then two weeks later my own father died,” he says. “So I was in this kind of psychic spin between birth and death, and this album came out of that in some way.”
“The Real Tuesday Weld is a pop magician breathing new life into a world of vintage, dust-scratched music, inspired by old-time heroes like Cole Porter and raunchy baroque popster Serge Gainsbourg. Waving his wand over everything from dusty country and western to doo-wop, Coates gives this ancient warehouse of sounds a twenty-first century makeover, resplendent with the finest beats, breaks and samples.” – Time Out London
“By mixing flapper jazz with oddball computer instrumentation, Coates has… headed into uncharted territory… Where most down-tempo electronic music aims lazily at dinner parties or weed-addled folk lazing on sofas, The Real Tuesday Weld conjures an era when the chaise lounge was king and the smoking jacket mandatory.” – The London Telegraph
“The superbly arranged, wickedly clever textures and beats will set your toes to tapping, but its bittersweet melodies will linger for days and weeks.” – LA Weekly
“Imagine an English-speaking Serge Gainsbourg rolling around Tin Pan Alley with synthesizer in hand.” – The New Yorker
“Pairing Portishead’s dark theatrics with Serge Gainsbourg’s dirty-old-man mirth, Coates’ melancholic take on love is devilishly good!” – Wired
The London Book of The Dead Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
01. Blood Sugar Love
02. The Decline and Fall of The Clerkenwell Kid
03. It’s A Wonderful Li(f)e
04. Cloud Cuckooland
06. Love Sugar Blood
07. I Loved London
08. I Believe
09. Song For William
10. Waltz For One
11. Ruth Roses and Revolvers
12. Dorothy Parker Blue
13. Last Words (MP3)
14. Into The Trees
15. Bringing The Body Back Home