Napster. The day I started using Napster was the day I changed the way I listened to music. All that limited me was the speed of my dial up connection and the size of my hard drive. In those months of using the controversial downloading service, my taste in music had expanded beyond belief. I could finally listen to the music I’d been reading about without buying it. I felt guilty but at the same time I finally had the confidence to go out an purchase CDs that I would otherwise have passed on.
Forward a few years to 2006/7. I am living in the Gulf and desperate for good music. Local stores stock whatevers selling in the charts back home and in the USA as well as stuff so toe curlingly bad that only expats would ever buy it. Fortunately the internet connection is now broadband, albeit a slow one with limited bandwidth. I lap up Pandora and My Space.
My Space introduces me to Example who wasn’t the slick commercial entity that he is now, oh no. Back then he was a scruffy boy from Fulham and his DJ sidekick, sampling The Carpenters and rapping about life as a teenager in West London. Then there was Julian Velard*, Billy Joel for the download generation whose quirky songs brought him to the more understanding UK market, a New York boy living in London. Jamie Callum and Radio 2 waved the Velard flag for a while but he didn’t quite hit the big time and returned to the US where he is still making great music.
Ah, Chopper Harris. What’s a 70s footballing star doing on My Space? Except its a band named after the soccer legend and the man behind it is called Ed Treacy who lives in New Cross, London. It was through Sproutnet, the Prefab Sprout site, that I came across Ed and had to check him out. He was Martin McAloon’s protege and thats enough to reel me in without even hearing a note of the music. I was not disappointed.
This was obviously a guy who had been paying attention in Steely Dan and Prefab Sprout class, who made notes when listening to his Elvis Costello records and probably worships the deity that is Kate Bush. Rather than ripping these great names off, Ed took these influences and fused them, injecting his own punkish style and attitude, looking at life from his critical angles. During a recent conversation with Martin McAloon, the Prefab Sprout bassist compared Ed to his brother Paddy in more ways than one.
Like many music fans I’m fickle with a short attention span. As 2007 drew to a close I’d stopped listening to Ed’s five or so tracks on My Space and moved onto something else.
It was only a few weeks ago on a long journey back from Manchester than I revisited those tracks again, now living on my iPod where they’d sat unplayed for seven years. It wasn’t long before I had my phone out, Googling Ed to see where he was now. I knew he had left for LA at some point so I was wondering if he was a big name over there.
The results were not clear. He had recorded some tracks in California, including some re-records of the demos on My Space. These tracks have been pretty much on constant rotation for the last few weeks. They all live on SoundCloud and the playlist I have made on there is my fantasy Ed album.I think I got the order right and it works:
However, you may disagree so please go over to his website and have a look at what else he’s recorded and produced.
Of course, I would not at least attempt getting an interview with the man himself. He politely refused. That won’t stop me from shouting from the rooftops about him. In my opinion, talent like that should not be hidden. His music has already made me extremely happy and a few more people as well. The reason he’s not blasting from the radio right now is his refusal to sell himself to cheap to the music industry. It’s so good to see an artist that actually practices what he preaches. Do yourself a favour and download his music, listen to it in all its glory and relish in the fact that there’s only a few of us out there that know the secret…unless like me you can’t help but share it.
*RepHERtoire was considering holding RepFEST!, a one day music festival in RepHERtoire’s HQ Sussex back garden this summer. However, the logistics scared me shitless. Julian Velard was going to headline…oh well maybe 2015….