Tall Stories & New Religions

TR 554LP TR 554LP

LP version. 2024 marks 40 years of Pete Astor making records, a suitable anniversary point at which to take stock and double back on songs that first appeared on records by Astor-fronted combos such as Creation Records trailblazers The Loft and The Weather Prophets, and Matador recording artists The Wisdom of Harry, as well as selections from solo albums that appeared on labels such as Danceteria and Static Caravan. Astor's motivation for Tall Stories & New Religions, as his extensive notes make clear, is manifold. Some songs are effectively reexamined in the way one might linger over a resonant picture from a box of old photographs -- connecting with the essence of a younger self. Other songs are newly recast in wiser and more reflective hues, while others simply demanded exhumation from willfully opaque, lo-fi non-production. The songs chosen are not the obvious ones -- there's no "Up the Hill and Down the Slope" or "Almost Prayed" here -- but have been selected for more interesting, often esoteric, reasons. Astor is accompanied by an estimable band of co-conspirators, evolving out of many hours spent playing music together on records and at shows over the last decade. They are drummer Ian Button (Death in Vegas, Papernut Cambridge, Go Kart Mozart), bassist Andy Lewis (Paul Weller, Soho Radio, and Blow Up DJ), guitarist Wilson Neil Scott (Summerhill, Felt, Everything But the Girl), and keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Sean Read (Dexys, Mark Lanegan, Dave Gahan, Iggy Pop, Manic Street Preachers, Beth Orton, Chrissie Hynde). Together they've revisited these lost gems of songs in a manner that has allowed Astor to balance the way that they still make sense to him now, looking both to the future and to that big and interesting new country, the past.