Tag Archives: The Fisher King

New Watertown Carps single Wait and See – out now!

I’m hoping to finish up a short post on the late Nanci Griffith in a day or two. In the meantime, here’s something.

When The Fisher King was released, I mentioned in a post that while most of the songs on forthcoming album Mermaids were written by Yo and subsequently sent to me as voice-and-guitar recordings to build arrangements upon, there were a couple of songs that began as demos I sent to Yo for him to write melodies and lyrics.

Our new single, Wait and See, is one of these Palmer/Zushi compositions.

Wait and See started off several years ago as a song called Spring Like November. As sometimes happens with me, during the process of tracking it, I began to have doubts about its fundamental worth as a song. I liked the recording I was building on a musical level, but the actual top-line melody and lyric weren’t really all that thrilling to me. So I let it go. But I kept a rough mix of the instrumentation and actually listened to it from time to time, hoping that the dam would break and I’d get the inspiration I needed to reshape the song into something better.

It never happened, so when Yo suggested last summer that if I had any music lying around that he could write to, I should send it over to him, what was then still called Spring Like November was the first piece that came to mind.

The difference between Wait and See and Spring Like November is that Yo took advantage of the slow tempo to write something lyrically dense. At times, particularly the second verse, the vocal feels like it’s in double time relative to guitars. I really like that effect – it makes the vocal feel a little like a stream of consciousness, and moves the song away from the sad-core kind of thing it was before Yo worked on it. It also gives the song an extra rhythmic push that it lacked before, which I tried to compensate for with a double-time shaker to partial success.

A guitar solo with a bit of a country rock feel was also part of Yo’s vision for the song – originally I’d gone for something more based around the vocal melody, slow and clean. The solo we went with in the end has more of an overdriven tone for a contrasting texture, and was a good call on Yo’s part.

One interesting note is that, at this point, i have no memory of how I played the main electric guitar riff. I’m thinking it had to have been a G-based tuning with a capo on the 4th fret, but whether it was straight open G, or had a C bass, or was my favoured acoustic tuning of CGDEAD, I honestly don’t know. It was several years ago now, and I kept no notes. That’ll learn me.

Listen to Wait and See below:

Mermaids, our debut album as Watertown Carps, is out on 9 September on Rose Parade Recording Co.

The Fisher King – Watertown Carps (out now!)

Last year, when I was furloughed (and therefore not working) and the UK was in lockdown (meaning I was at home at least 23 hours a day), I got quite a lot of music done.

First up, I finished mixing Borders (Cruel Expectations), the third James McKean and the Blueberry Moon album. Then I moved on to Away from the City, the first joint release by Melanie and me. After that, I began working with Yo Zushi on some of his songs. We had tentatively started recording the previous November, but lockdown was when things began in earnest, and only one song begun at the late-2019 session made it to completion.

Since we couldn’t work in the same space, Yo would send me guitar and vocal recordings he made at home, and I’d build arrangements for them. On a couple of occasions, I sent him a completed backing track I’d written and recorded, and he wrote a melody and lyrics. It became enough of a partnership that Yo felt it was appropriate to release it as a collaboration, not as a Yo Zushi solo record. So we became Watertown Carps, and soon had a whole album.

I’m delighted to say that the album, Mermaids, is due to be released on 9 September by Rose Parade Recording Co., a Cardiff-based independent label run as a community-interest company. That makes them unusually democratic and collaborative, and it’s really cool to be working with people who so transparently care about what they do, who they work with, and how they do it, and who have been putting out great music too (TJ Roberts’ Love, Loss and Other Useless Things from last year is an absolute indie pop/power-pop banger – my choice cut is Somebody’s Someone, because I’m a sucker for that kind of washy guitar sound and a vocal harmony, but there’s something there for everyone).

Our first single proper, The Fisher King, is out now: it’s a Willie-Nelson-meets-Pavement lo-fi indie-country song that’s actually on some level about fishing. You can listen to it on Spotify, or whatever your favoured streaming platform is: https://open.spotify.com/track/3yesAZYPKjRwZrG9HhwPc7?si=122502f563cd44f7

I’m really excited for September. We’re hoping (praying) that we’ll be able to do a launch gig.