When: 7.30pm on Thursday 11 September 2014
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
We’re excited to be welcoming back Dan Michaelson, who we last put on in 2011.
Dan Michaelson, the former frontman of alt-country rockers Absentee, returns with new album Distance this month. Having released three albums under his former moniker between 2005 and 2009, Dan then started work on a solo album with Icelandic producer Valgier Sigurdsson (bjork, bonnie”prince”billy, Sigur Ros). This quickly led to the formation the Coastguards, a beautiful collection of men willing to keep the creaking ship Michaelson afloat. Among those appearing on that first recording were: Henry (from the band Fields), Arnulf (KT Tunstall), Tom&Henry (Rumblestrips), Romeo (Magic Numbers), Steven (Broken Family Band/Singing Adams), Laurie (Absentee) and Valgier himself playing various parts of the piano. The culmination of these efforts was called Saltwater, released on the Memphis Industries label in March 2009.
The Coastguards took to touring for the rest of 2009, combining headline tours with support duties for Magic Numbers, The Dodos, Duke Special, The Leisure Society and The Broken Family Band among others. Produced by Dan and released on his own short run, screen printed release label Editions, nine songs were recorded in the first half of 2010 to make up the second album, Shakes. Inspired in equal parts by the soul and country classic songwriters, the now-familiar territory of his subject matter, and the people who helped make the record, Shakes was met with widespread acclaim and even managed to spawn a 6 Music single of the week in the shape of Love Lends A Hand.
In 2011 change beckoned and Dan found himself settling for a time in the small town of Marfa, Texas – a community of artists, writers and musicians drawn to the town made famous by the Minimalist artist and architect Donald Judd. The time here inspired Dan’s third album Sudden Fiction (2012), focusing on ‘doing the most possible with the smallest amount’. The result was a bare-bones collection of songs as sparse and atmospheric as the Texan desert itself. Sudden Fiction featured in both the Rough Trade and Mojo Albums of the Year polls.
Having taken this Minimalist theme to a conclusion, 2013 release Blindspot reunited the Coastguards on a record that included sweeping cellos and French horns among the trademark vocals and acoustic guitar. The single Sheets managed to find its way to the airwaves despite not being particularly radio friendly, eventually reaching Pitchfork, where it received dizzying praise. Dan has since admitted that it really is too late to give up and retrain, and with this in mind a new record, Distance, is expected in August 2014.
‘One of the finest contemporary chroniclers of the highs, lows and all points in between of emotional engagement’ – The Quietus
‘Michaelson gets as close to a prodigy of Leonard Cohen as is tastefully possible. I’m spellbound’ – Plan B
Support comes from Elle Mary & The Bad Men. Drawn to the communicative and bonding qualities of ‘folk’ but explorative beyond its stylistic connotations; enough of a pack member to want a band yet also keen to imbue a sense of solitude through her music, Elle Mary is an artist who operates best when balancing conflicting instincts. It’s what lies beneath the subtle tension that slightly tugs at the heart of her and The Bad Men’s acoustically-webbed slowcore minimalism.