North East singer-songwriter – JAMES LEONARD HEWITSON – is back with new single “Black Jeans”, alongside the announcement of his new album ‘More Pop’ (due 6 October). Vinyl pre-order for ‘More Pop’ will go live on 21 June via Butterfly Effect Label.
The release also arrives alongside the announcement of a run of UK live dates for July 2023.
A chipper cut with a distinct retro feel, “Black Jeans” sees James Leonard Hewitson pair his knack for meticulous earworm melodies with colourful and hyper-real storytelling that unfurls as a pragmatic pastiche of his Hartlepool hometown.
Over a score that blends bouncing ‘60s-tinted beats with spiralling electric guitars and bubbling synths, James’ striking observational lyrics like “my favourite team lost on Saturday, my town declined to a ghost-town getaway” leave an added sting of emptiness, mundanity and loss. Explaining more about the song, JLH says:
“”Black Jeans” is a pretty corny song, but the melody just sort of flowed so I kept going with it. I’m from a generally down-trodden North East coastal town called Hartlepool, but it’s great how your fashion sense helps you escape the wider socio-economic realities of where you are.”
As sprightly choruses descend into more sprawling stretches of contemplative instrumentals, he adds:
“The song morphs from a doo-wop song in D major to a noisy, blues-y jam by the end. I was listening to Courtney Barnett’s ‘Things Take Time, Take Time’ a lot last year and I loved the way some songs just kept going in a meditative way, even though they could’ve finished earlier.”
“Black Jeans” arrives as the first sample from James Leonard Hewitson’s awaited second album ‘More Pop’, arriving 6 October 2023. Largely a compilation of ideas that were created during the depths of the pandemic, the record touches on themes of loneliness, lust and sadness and is inspired by some of James’ favourite pop artists.
Where his debut record ‘Only The Noise Will Save Me’ saw JLH getting started as an artist, ‘More Pop’ lands as an in-depth exploration of how he’s previously been held back. Recorded and mixed by Chris McManus at Blank Studios in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the album was mastered by Peter Maher and features a small cast of performers including Michael Kitching on drums and percussion and Josh Ingledew on synths.
Alongside the new single, the record also features an genre-bending and glimmeringly diverse array of tracks. From the BBC 6 Music-backed “Stable” and PC Music-inspired “on-the-nose ‘80s new wave synth-pop song” “Sideways” to the hazy disco cut “Disco In August”, paying homage to the likes of Warmduscher, Baxter Dury and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and autobiographical and introspective “Be Someone” and from the Father Ted-inspired “Fill My Head With Sugar” to the Beatles-meets-Scott Walker-esque closer “She Makes The Rain Go Away”, ‘More Pop’ takes listeners on a rich sonic journey through space, time and influence.
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James Leonard Hewitson hails from Hartlepool in North East England, and depicts everyday life and his surroundings through a bleak yet energetic take on making music. Taking influence from the likes of Jonathan Richman, Pavement, The Fall and many more left-field, guitar-based trailblazers, James is often joined both live and in the studio by his band.
Having played countless shows around venues in the North East as well as a handful of headline shows in London prior to the pandemic, James released his debut album ‘Only The Noise WIll Save Me’ in 2020 and his post-punk inspired ‘Commercial’ EP a year later. Attracting praise from the likes of i-D, Consequence of Sound, God Is In The TV and more, the release saw him gain airplay from Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music as well as Radio X and Amazing Radio. His songs were also featured on Tattoo Fixers, Made In Chelsea and Sky Sports and his track “Stable” was used in Film4’s ‘FIlms at 9’ advert.
In 2021 JLH was also voted as a winning submission in End of the Road Festival’s ‘Play EOTR’ competition, judged by The Line of Best Fit. Praised for his “energetic and thought-provoking songs with a wry, unexpected beauty” by the festival, James and his band won a slot to play on the Talking Heads stage.
Over the past few years, he has also racked up performances at a range of tastemaker festivals in the North East such as Twisterella and Waves, as well as support slots with the likes of Horsey, Sea Power, The Primitives and Divorce. In 2022 James and the band completed a short UK headline tour that culminated in a show at Glasgow’s Hug & Pint.
Now with “Black Jeans” paving the way for JLH’s forthcoming album ‘More Pop’, the band are ready to hit the road again this July as they tease his new music. Full dates and details below.
JAMES LEONARD HEWITSON UK TOUR 2023
06 NORTH SHIELDS Engine Room
07 HARTLEPOOL Tall Ships Festival
08 LONDON Hope & Anchor
09 DEAL Smugglers
15 MIDDLESBROUGH Disgraceland
JAMES LEONARD HEWITSON – NEW SINGLE: “BLACK JEANS”
STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE
NEW ALBUM: ‘MORE POP’
OUT FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER
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