February 15, 2006
MP3/music blogs have spurred a few indie artists onto 'indie' fame and fortune, and these blogs are a strange hybrid, or a beautiful amalgamation, of a pirate radio station and a neverending mixtape... So, let's see if these beautiful 'freaks' have the power to renew, or revive, interest in an artist who has been around for a few years. Namely, Baxter Dury.
I can't recall how or where I came across Dury, I have been listening to the song "Fungus Hedge" for a while now and it hasn't lost it's peculiar appeal. It has a definite neo-psychedelic feel with Dury's softly high-pitched vocal and it's echoey production. But you've got to check this guy out, he doesn't get the attention, or recognition, he deserves.
Dury is akin to Devendra Banhart as both display traces of T Rex in their work. Of the less than a handful of songs I have heard, 'Fungus Hedge' is definitely my favourite. He is, of course, the son of late great Brit Ian Dury, leader of The Blockheads.
The following is from his label bio at Rough Trade Records.
"In the summer of 2001 Baxter Dury released his debut single, the "Oscar Brown EP". The single picked up rave reviews, which included 'Single of the Week' in NME, who went on to say that it was "a work of casual assurance that no family tree can provide, a record that is as majestic as it is wonderfully simple". It also achieved 'Single of the Week' in the Guardian who proclaimed it "an inexplicable and perfectly sparse psychedelic lament of rare charm". Baxter Dury is the son of Ian Dury. He was born in the 70's, a time when men looked like Jesus in crushed Velvet flares and hot butter ruled the world. He came in to the world accompanied by Chuck Berry's "Johnny Be Good" being played by the Blockheads (his father's band)in the basement. Not a bad way to start your musical career. During his early teens, Baxter found himself getting into funk, soul and jazz. He had time on his hands, having been expelled from school. "I didn't like school, It was all about memory, which was never my strong point, I preferred to bunk-off and buy records".When Baxter was fifteen, his dad went away for a year to do a film with Roman Polanski, leaving his teenage son to be looked after by ex Led Zeppelin roadie and Blockhead minder the 'Sulphate Strangler'. This proved to be an inspired move - he became one of the biggest influences on Baxter's life. "Sulphate would drive me to school, and pick me up everyday. He was 6'8" and his arms were covered in tattoos, we looked quite odd together". Baxter, now in his mid-twenties, started to write songs, "Ben Gallagher (son of Blockhead / Clash member Mickey) and I had some ideas for songs, we started writing and I got a publishing deal with Universal Island". Then tragedy struck, Baxter's father passed away having eventually succumbed to his long fight against cancer. Baxter performed live for the first time at the wake. He played a rendition of his father's song "My Old Man", which is about Baxter's grandfather, an East End bus driver. Kate Thompson, who worked for Universal Island, had been sending Baxter's songs to Geoff Travis at Rough Trade for over a year. Eventually Geoff called Baxter in for a meeting, which resulted in Geoff sending Baxter to Austin Texas for two months to write songs. This proved to be an inspired move, Baxter got his head down and wrote "Len Parrot's Memorial Lift". Which brings us to the present. "Len Parrot's Memorial Lift" is a wonderful string layden psychedelic record."
+ Oscar Brown - his first single
+ Fungus Hedge - 'len parrot's memorial lift'
at 7:24 PM