Announces debut self-titled album
Due 5th June via Moshi Moshi Records
Shares new single “James Asleep”
Doomshakalaka is a new project by Paul Rafferty, former vocalist and bassist for Liverpool indie rock band Hot Club De Paris. Today he announces his new self-titled album, due 5th June via Moshi Moshi Records, revealing a glistening collection of indie pearls exploring memory, nostalgia and loss.
Having last month shared the bittersweet, melodic ballad ‘Black Balloons’, he now reveals the new single ‘James Asleep’. Bursting with ticking percussion and a sonic aesthetic that nods towards the early recording experiments of Guided by Voices, ‘James Asleep’ is a trawl through fragments of memories, loss and nostalgia.
Rafferty explains, “The song is about affectionately remembering a particularly grim shared house not for its aesthetic but for the fact that it served as a venue to bring friends together. House shares fall apart as people pair-up, move on and sleepwalk into real life.”
He continues, “The lyrics tell of receiving some bad news about an old friend, passing on the news to others that might not have heard yet and in turn remembering a simpler time when the song’s cast had less looming issues to deal with.”
More about Doomshakalaka:
On his 30th birthday, Rafferty formed a band called Doomshakalaka in his mind. The name was like “Boomshakalaka!” (a snippet of in-game commentary from the video game NBA Jam) but with a D, giving a usually celebratory exclamation a paradoxical sense of dread.
He set about concocting an album’s worth of songs that embraced this juxtaposed vision:
“I thought it would sound like being sad at a party or maybe it would sound like being invited to a party and feeling good about not going.”
Over the following years, Rafferty worked to fulfil this uncertain vision and wrote hundreds of fragments of music, melodies and lyrics and slowly distilled them down into 10 songs of stirring, nostalgia-tinged indie rock.
Influenced by luminaries such as Television, Big Star, Wings-era McCartney, Deerhunter, Pavement and Stephen Malkmus’ solo work, Rafferty divided himself between the roles of writer, performer, engineer, producer and mixer and took about the task of making physical the sounds that had long lived unsatisfied in his head.
“Some of the songs off this record started life in 2011”, Rafferty explains, “but without a band or the capital to record, they waited in the wings until I could beg, borrow or buy the gear to record them exactly how I thought they should be heard”
Doomshakalaka is constructed of chord sequences that conjure longing, sadness, desire and hope in equal measure. With strange and surprising arrangements that avoid the ancient and familiar beaten paths of guitar music, Doomshakalaka seeks to tell Rafferty’s stories in a playful and inventive manner and provide a platform to showcase the album’s central theme of the unfinished business of youth.
Rafferty says “It’s largely a record about remembering moments from my teens and 20s and what those moments mean to me now. I love the texture that ageing brings to an artist’s output. I like the sound of a big hole dug deep.”
Rafferty also designed the album cover with this concept in mind, stating
“Barnett Newman’s painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue II was controversially slashed by a vandal in Amsterdam. When it went for repair, the conservator further damaged the painting when he spent the best part of a decade repainting it with a bucket of red gloss paint and a roller. The gallery had to repair the repair work. The painting today is a sum of its own turbulent history. It comes with baggage. It’s the same for a musician making a solo record in their 30s. To reflect this, the sleeve is a replica of Newman’s painting but torn up, glued together and cut into pieces until it became a brand new composition. All of the noise created in the process is present and celebrated. Its imperfection is the best bit”
Prying deeper into the album’s subject matter, One Last Saturday Night, originally written back in 2011, is a love letter to the past and the feeling of possibility we experience in youth.
The Curse explores how people and places become entrenched in our psyche as we grow older and how letting go can be the same as embracing the things you’ve been resisting your whole life.
James, Asleep is a song about remembering a sad time that in turn reminds you of a happy one.
I’ll Kill You, Motherfucker reflects on secretive rage, the physicality of a bad mood and that scene in Taxi Driver.
Of Werewolf Shadow Rafferty says “I was watching some kids kicking over a motorbike parked by our flat during the riots in Liverpool in 2011 whilst reports came in describing the scale of violence in London. I wanted to write something about the sense of impending doom that had gathered over the course of the afternoon and the exercising of that pent-up energy. People who feel they’ve been treated like dogs can become wolves by night.”
This is War (And I’m So Bored) is an ode to negative thought and the ceaseless war to resist indulging it.
The Lost Homework of Isabella Perez, an instrumental memorial to a schoolgirl’s Physics homework Rafferty found outside a Lucky 8 on the outskirts of Chicago, features piano, synth and organ contributions from Paul Jones, one half of melodic ambient band Group Listening.
The Fate of the Hero Montage is about an actor playing a bit-part cop in a montage movie scene where the heroic actions of the protagonist are flashed up on the world’s TV screens. In a moment of brief but intense introspection he’s sees through the fourth wall and is confronted with the vastness of the world and his place within it.
Skinhead Suit tells the story of Rafferty’s former art teacher at school whose favourite song was Under Pressure by Queen. He was in his 50s and listened to Motown and Phil Spector records in class and kept his head shaved and wore a pristine suit and oxblood Doc Martens.
“Sadly he had a breakdown and I never saw him again, but his behaviour in the weeks leading to his leave were fraught with strange bouts of behaviour; smoking in front of students and bizarre explosions of rage. His favourite lyric from Under Pressure was “And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night” and now it’s mine too.”
Black Balloons is a bittersweet, melodic indie ballad about persevering through the tough moments of a relationship in order to achieve true reciprocal understanding, soulfulness and happiness.
One Last Saturday Night
I’ll Kill You, Motherfucker
This Is War (And I’m So Bored)
The Lost Homework of Isabella Perez
The Fate of the Hero Montage