English rocker Jonathan Markwood has released his debut long-playing record, “Welcome to Planet Earth.” The record is comprised of 9 original tracks for a playing time of approximately 40 minutes. The record is a return to the pop-rock sensibilities of the disco era, when bass lines were prominent and funky, when drums were understated and mellow on the cymbals, and when dancing was the most important musical accompaniment.
The immediate feeling when Markwood's record begins to play is that it is extremely groovy and demands more volume. The second thought is that the David Bowie connection is unavoidable. Needless to say, Markwood's sonic similarities with Bowie cannot be a bad thing, particularly when Markwood's record is so uniquely his own with so many excellent (and rare) attributes. Perhaps this is part of what Markwood intends with his title; it is as if he means to say, “Nevermind spiders from Mars, just look around you. Welcome to Planet Earth!”
Perhaps foremost among these wonderful attributes, strange to say, is his remarkable lyric character. Markwood's “Welcome...” is as full of narration and storytelling as an early western folk song. His lyrics are the kind that audiences sing while they dance because everyone knows the words. There is brilliant intelligence behind every line, and no part of his ingenious record can be called cliché or shallow. Consider, for instance, his literary allusion to Shelley's “Frankenstein.” He croons:
“Mary Shelley has deserted me. She created me...That's so cruel – and I'm so blue!”
Still, neither is Jonathan Markwood pretentious or trying to impress anyone. The distinct impression is that Markwood has put all of his being into the rhythm and shake of his album, and the effect is wholly fun, exuberant at times, and every bit as worthy of solo dances in the living room as disco ever was – much more so, in fact, because Markwood's music is less trite.
“I think it’s upbeat and uplifting!” says Markwood of his debut record. “It draws on a kind of 70s disco funk vibe in some of the songs, some of which are stories (in the tradition of my writing for [my former band] The Hoo-Hah Conspiracy) and some are more personal. 'Superman' for example, is inspired by the birth of my daughter and how amazing fatherhood makes you feel. We’d bring our baby to the studio just before bath time. She used to point at the speakers and shout, 'dancing!' So we’d put on whatever track I was working on that day, and we’d watch as she’d happily leap about, giggle and dance away. She’s the inspiration and I guess the message, too – 'dancing!'”
In addition to Bowie, Markwood names Nile Rodgers & Chic, Talking Heads, and The Beatles as main artistic influences. Elements of each are easily noted in his poppy, synth-and-bass sound, adding to the beauty that is this first offering from one of the UK's most promising songwriters. Waiting for his second LP to hear him would be foolhardy.
“Welcome to Planet Earth” by Jonathan Markwood is available online everywhere beginning May 20, 2013.
Staff Press Release Writer
The LP “Welcome to Planet Earth” is distributed globally by MondoTunes (www.MondoTunes.com) and is available at iTunes for convenient purchase and download
MondoTunes (www.mondotunes.com) supplies the largest music distribution in the world and provides upstream services for many major labels in search of breakout artists. While most independent distributors reach only 45-50 retailers despite charging needless monthly and yearly fees, MondoTunes reaches over 750 retailers and mobile partners in over 100 world regions without any monthly or yearly fees.
ARTIST CONTACT INFO: