“What’s not to love about this? Dionysus Blues is also our Song of the Day.” – FOLK RADIO
A journey of profound philosophical thought and warped musical exploration, “Dionysus Blues” is the new single from STEVIE RAY LATHAM (released 26th February 2021).
Landing somewhere between the daydreams of Neutral Milk Hotel and the nightmares of Nick Cave, “Dionysus Blues” is a sprawling 8 minute epic of gothic Americana and grizzled alternative rock’n’roll.
Reading The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche at Art School some years back, Latham found himself drawn to the tension that unfolds between the two Greek gods: Dionysus and Apollo.
“Apollo is this God that seemed to represent a lot of Western society’s ideals to me – progress, logic, order and individuation – and then you’ve got Dionysus on the other hand, who represents intoxication, disorder, emotion, ecstasy and unity. I was up late one night after reading the book and this song just came to me fully formed.”
Like a raconteur who’s seen it all and more, Latham spins his tale with a world-weary soul to a slow-build score inspired by the likes of Ennio Morricone and Neil Young’s Dead Man soundtrack. From the spartan arrangements that define its bleak beginnings, “Dionysus Blues” leads the listener towards a harrowing summit; its precarious path is strewn with the ghostly voices of children lost along the way, the mournful march of a mariachi-band at their last ebb, and the pervasive howl of a Hammond organ that whips like the wind at your aching bones.
Taking just 10 minutes to write, the narrative unfolds into a track of almost equal length that captivates at every twist and turn. Haunting to its very last breath, “Dionysus Blues” is a feat not for the faint-hearted, but one which promises rewards to abound for those who make it to the top.
“Dionysus Blues” directly follows the recent single “Gashouse”, with both tracks set to feature on the upcoming EP ‘Letters From Suburbia’ (out 12 March 2021). The third in a trilogy of EPs released over the last 3 months (including last year’s gritty, driving ‘Nomads Of Industrial Suburbia’ and 2019’s experimental-indie release, ‘Suburbia’), ‘Letters From Suburbia’ will see Latham once again joined by his backing band: The Nomads of Industrial Suburbia.
Drawing comparisons to Kurt Vile, Blake Mills, Nick Drake & Neil Young, Stevie Ray Latham is quickly making himself a name to be known with his distinctively dark, melodic, art-folk compositions. With influences ranging from movie scores and sound-art to pre-war Jazz and existentialist literature, the young singer-songwriter signed to the independent At The Helm Records whilst he was still at Art School and since graduating has released two albums, worked on a series of collaborations with visual artists, played festivals and headlined shows across Europe. Receiving airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 2, over the years Latham has also been championed by media including Line of Best Fit, Q & Folk Radio UK.
On his upcoming EP, ‘Letters From Suburbia’, Greek mythology and Gothic Blues collide on the profound 8 and half minute epic ‘Dionysus Blues’, ‘Gashouse’ marries 60’s Garage Rock with tales of La Résistance, whilst ‘Letter from Suburbia’ is a delicately picked folk-song that grows with the horns and percussion of a marching band. ‘Don’t Make Me Love You In Vain’ is a melancholy ballad that emerges from an ambient soundscape before melting into the EP’s atmospheric spoken-word coda, ‘Transient Circles’.
Recorded between Saunton Road Studios, ‘The Wedge’ and his parents’ home in the UK, plus time spent in a winter rental in Chateauneuf la Fôret, France; all songs for the EP were written and produced by StevieRay Latham, apart from “Gashouse” written with Kyle Rodriguez Tester. Mastered by Hippocratic Mastering, additional mixing was completed by Joe Duddell (New Order/Elbow/James) and additional engineering from Nomads’ accomplice Simon Murfet.
All songs are performed by The Nomads of Industrial Suburbia AKA StevieRay Latham (Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Percussion, Piano, Microkorg, Organ) Matt Street (Trumpet), Simon Murfet (Drums) and Laura Porter (Percussion, Backing Vocals).
The ‘Letters from Suburbia’ EP is released on 12 March 2021. Released with thanks to the Arts Council National Lottery Fund.