Cult Manchester musician Liam Frost returns with his first album for a decade, The Latchkey Kid, due September 13 via AWAL. Lead single Pomona is available to stream now, listen on your preferred streaming service. Frost will follow the release with shows in Manchester and London. His Servants Jazz Quarters show on September 18 sold out within minutes of going on sale last week.
Recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, The Latchkey Kid wears Frost’s love of Americana proudly on its sleeve. No mere stylistic affectation, this music has been his biggest source of inspiration and joy since he discovered artists like Whiskeytown, Jason Isbell, Bright Eyes, and Josh Ritter as a teenager. Melded with Frost’s characteristically north-western delivery, the result is pure idiosyncrasy. Alt-country, if the countryside in question was the Peak District rather than Nebraska. And while the title of lead single Pomona may have an exotic ring to it, it is in fact named after the small island that separates Manchester, Salford and Trafford.
“Pomona is about a betrayal in a relationship between two people really close to me and the effect it had on everybody around them at the time,” says Frost. “I tried to put myself inside the relationship to look for answers, and I guess Pomona was used as a geographical metaphor for the dividing force between the two people.”
The subject of a typically intense A&R scramble, Liam Frost was signed to a major label in the mid-noughties when barely out of his teens. Recorded with backing band The Slowdown Family, debut album Show Me How The Spectres Dance was released in 2006. A second, fully solo album We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain – recorded in New York with producer Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, PJ Harvey) and featuring a duet with Martha Wainwright - followed in 2009. There has been activity since then, notably a number of reunion shows with The Slowdown Family to celebrate the anniversary of Show Me How The Spectres Dance. Buoyed by the reaction to those special events, it both reassured Frost that his audience were still listening, and showed him that if anything, even while he'd been away, it had grown.
"It's funny talking about that first album in terms of a tenth anniversary, like it's an Eagles record, but we were struck by the affection we received. It's a minority of people, but it's a very strong affection," he says. "I mean, I played a show in Manchester last year and someone in the front row fainted."
Digging into his past pushed Frost to march onward, sparking a six-month period of immense creativity. And as he found himself seeking answers to evergreen existential questions, prompted by tragic events in his personal life, he looked to his youth for the answers. The resulting songs – 12 of them, each a meditation on love, death, ageing and finding a place in the world – are full of hope amid the heartache, finding bittersweet in the sadness.
The past, present and future have come together on an album of rare quality, with Frost delivering a record that encapsulates who he was, who he's become and his hopes for what's ahead.
"I've always just wanted to be honest with my songwriting," he says. "And it offers comfort, to exorcise the demons and emotions that are too much to deal with away from a song – I couldn't say these things out loud, but sending these missives out into the world is a valuable thing. It also lets people know they're not alone.
The Latchkey Kid is released on September 13, 2019 via AWAL
1. Going Steady
2. Hall Of Mirrors, Rope Of Sand
3. Mercy Me!
4. Didn’t It Rain
6. The Slow Knife
8. Who’s Gonna Love You
9. When I’m Alone
10. Follow You Around
11. Lover, Trouble Knows My Name
Liam Frost live:
June 28 - Manchester, St James Church - TICKETS
July 21 - Stockport, Blackthorn Festival - TICKETS
Sept 18 - London, Servants Jazz Quarters - SOLD OUT
I was first approached by PledgeMusic in 2009, shortly after I left Sony/Columbia with my second solo album. The company (and music-based crowdfunding as a whole) was in it’s infancy at that time and I was a belligerent young man who didn’t see the early potential in the platform. Fast forward just under a decade and I’m getting together the songs that would make up my latest album The Latchkey Kid. PledgeMusic again came forward, waxing lyrical about my previous releases and asking if I’d accept an invitation to fund the recording and release of my latest project. As an artist who truly appreciates the connection that I have with the relatively small but fervent following I do have, I accepted. I worked hard through 2017 and 2018 to obtain the funding and you responded in kind, sending me way beyond the initial target set.
It’s important here to talk about how this “deal” looked on paper. Artists do not receive 100% of the money upon completion of funding. Pledge take a 15% cut, and the rest arrives as follows:
• Roughly 1/3 of the amount upon 100% funding.
• Another 1/3 upon the digital release of the album.
• Final 1/3 upon completion of all pledges.
I could be wrong, but they seem to be the only crowd-funding organisation that operated in this manner. What money did arrive came late. Once again, my campaign was started to fund the recording and release of a new album. PledgeMusic’s arrangement made it difficult to make any of this work from the get-go. It is only down to the kindness of the brilliant people involved in the album’s recording that it got off the ground, in most cases waiting without complaint until funds came in or until I found money elsewhere.
On the face of things, PledgeMusic set out these payment “milestones” to incentivise the completion of the campaign – something I can wholly understand. But in reality the only incentive I need is to maintain the relationship and good faith of my following, and in light of what has happened in recent months those milestones now look like a delay tactic. Using your money to pay out on what was owed to other artists’ that they were already late paying. In my eyes that’s a ponzi scheme, and I could be wrong but I suspect that I’m not.
The company continued to expand, spending more on staff wages and taking on new projects to keep cashflow coming in. It looks like the bubble finally burst last year, and yesterday their original founder Benji Rogers (who was parachuted back into PledgeMusic a few months ago to right the company’s course) emailed artists to inform us that a potential buyer for the company hadn’t worked out and that the company will go into administration this week or early next, taking my money in the process. I don’t expect that I’ll ever see it. It’s substantial, way into the thousands.
So I’m now left still sending out Pledges with what money I do have and owing out expenses that the album racked up. Yes, I have CDs and t-shirts etc (paid out of my own pocket) and have been waiting for Pledge to come through so I can get them out to you, mailing out what I can in the meantime. There’s hundreds, you beautiful bastards.
My album was roundly rejected by pretty much every label my manager and I approached. I get it – I’ve been through the major label mill and haven’t necessarily set the world on fire. Myself and those that work around me (for little to no money) know it’s a brilliant album, but critical acclaim seems to count for fuck all. Thankfully the brilliant and forward-thinking people at Kobalt/AWAL have allowed me the opportunity to distribute the album through their company. It will see the light of day and you’ll be hearing more on that soon.
In short, every PledgeMusic artist has been completely shafted and you have been cheated in the process. But I promise I’ll do everything I can to get every single Pledge out one way or another. If you can’t wait, please do contact your bank/credit card company about arranging a chargeback or refund. Reason: fraud.
I play the Didsbury Arts Festival in Manchester on June 28th, and the Blackthorn Festival with the band on July 21st. More national dates will be announced shortly. If you do decide to get your refund, I encourage you to buy merch at my shows. The webstore will expanded with swag pretty soon as well.
There have been times in recent months that I’ve felt like jacking music in altogether, and I’ve spent nights awake wondering how all of this will work out. I’m mentally spent. But I won’t let it beat me. Fuck them.
EDIT: In the last few days, a wonderfully kind soul started a Just Giving page (see comments below) in my name out of the back of all of this. I didn’t expect that - I'm humbled and astounded.
I recently recorded a version of Pomona, the first single from my new album, for the lovely folks at We Are Hummingbird - a community of music lovers who have united to spread awareness of mental health within the music industry and to support artists suffering worldwide with mental health issues.
Please check out the video above and take a look at some more from We Are Hummingbird and the wonderful artists involved.
I'm thrilled to let you know that I'm going to be playing a show in Manchester with my band for the Night & Day Christmas Party on Saturday 22nd December. Manchester friends will know how much the venue means to me, and I was so pleased to be asked to play this. Tickets are available now from Ticketweb, See Tickets and all of the other usual outlets. Expect festive fun alongside rock songs from my new album Liam Frost is the Latchkey Kid, available digitally at my PledgeMusic store now.
It’s been an overwhelming day hearing all the wonderful things that have been said about my new album, released today exclusively at my Pledgemusic site. I thought it’d be a good time to thank everybody involved in the making of this thing. It’s been a true labour of love, one of which I’m very proud.
First off, I'm honoured to have released this album with the help of PledgeMusic. I operate at the fringes of an ever-evolving and increasingly challenging business - PledgeMusic has afforded me the platform to interact with you, and with your help fund the recording and promotion of this release. Thanks to everybody that contributed to the campaign. From the Access Pass right up to the house shows, you played the key role in this adventure.
Biggest thanks go to my brother in the struggle, Roo Walker - an insanely talented musician and producer who dragged this record kicking and screaming into the world. Big love to James "Slim" Campbell for doing an astonishing job of the mix. Thanks to Roberto Ruiz, Jim Jayawardena, Etienne Girard, Luke Flowers, George Cooke, Kate Anita, Philippa Hannah, Dawn Elektra, Lucy Fellows, Scott Poley, Christian Madden, Chris Howard, Aron Bicskey and Adrian Gautrey who all gave their considerable musical talents to the project. Thanks to Chris Taylor and all at Parr Street Studios. Tim and the gang at Blueprint Studios. To Danton Supple for all of his advice and for introducing me to Pledgemusic in the first place. Love to Justin Moorhouse for his help in making this excellent video and to Ben Clark for his design wizardry.
This isn't an album attempting to chase a scene or reinvent the wheel, more a collection of good, honest songs that I legitimately believe are my best yet. If you’ve enjoyed my work from Spectres onwards I ask that you pick up the record at Pledge if you can, listen and tell your friends about it. It all counts.
25% of all profits after my target goal has been reached at the Pledgemusic campaign will go to CALM, an amazing charity dedicated to preventing male suicide - the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
With love, pride and strength.
I'm absolutely overjoyed to let you know that I release my third solo album, Liam Frost Is The Latchkey Kid at midnight on Thursday 27th September, exclusively at my Pledgemusic page. For now it'll just be available digitally by purchasing an £8 Access Pass at the Pledge store, but you can pre-order CDs/vinyl and they'll be coming soon.
So many of you have wanted to buy me a pint/whiskey at my shows down the years - how about you support truly independent music without damaging my already-fucked liver by picking up a digital download of this great record? The NHS will thank you years from now, if it still exists.
There will of course be a general release, but that's currently being figured out - more on that soon!
Love and pride,
Its here, ladies and gents. Let a brother/sister know.
So as promised I wanted to introduce you to some of the songs from The Latchkey Kid in the run-up to it's release in August. We'll start with Smoke, one of the earliest I wrote for the album.
Let me preface this by telling you that I cannot play the piano. I think that was kind of the point when it came to writing some of the songs this time around. I was in something of a funk, and I wanted to be challenged into writing again. The simplicity of my playing brought a new naivety that I hadn't felt in a while.
My mum had recently passed and I took a trip to the coast, a beach resort that I spent a lot of my childhood at. I was walking what felt like an age from the beach to the water's edge - it must have seemed so much longer as a child! There wasn't a great deal of people around, and I took a moment to take in the stillness of it all. It was then I felt this history on my shoulders, almost like I could feel my parents' presence. I've never been one to believe in any of that sort of thing but there was an acceptance of some sort, I felt at peace with it and the next day I wrote Smoke. It's about all of that, but it's also a reflection on so much more. It dropped out of the sky, into my head and out of my mouth!
Hope you like it folks.
Chequered flag Vans and an old suit jacket.
You and I were on a tear, running rabid.
Time waits for no man, time has passed me by.
It’s still you for who my soul is thirsting.
It’s the bad dream I’ve been having every night this week.
On a balance beam.
It’s a day late – I was sleeping in this stalemate.
Time, oh time - did I wither on the vine?
You were mine, all mine.
Was I clear enough in the words we spoke?
Did you know I was that ghost?
We are smoke.
So I’m going where the ocean meets the land.
My father walked the steps in which I stand now.
Was I drinking the Kool Aid when I told you I felt you there?
In this new loss I feel the weight of you, I swear.
Its the shoulder fake.
For each passing car, a half-life taken - I bide my time.
Keep it well hid, a book of matches for the latchkey kid.
I set a fire to my insides.
You hold it up to the light.
Take a look from both sides.
You hold it up to the light.
Say never mind, let it ride.
I'm happy to let you know that on Friday 24th August I'll release my first new solo album in some time. It's titled The Latchkey Kid, and it was made in various studios across the north west with my good friend Roo Walker. The album will be released a week early to the kind people who contributed to my PledgeMusic campaign. A single will also be released shortly.
Thank you to those who have contributed so far, and to those of you who have waited and stuck with me up to this date. Hope you'll like the album as much as I've enjoyed writing and recording it.
The Latchkey Kid's track listing is as follows:
1. Going Steady
2. Hall of Mirrors, Rope of Sand
3. Mercy Me!
5. Didn't It Rain
6. The Slow Knife
8. Who's Gonna Love You
9. When I'm Alone
10. Follow You Around
11. Lover, Trouble Knows My Name
I'll be celebrating the release with a show at The Deaf Institute, Manchester on Saturday 25th August, backed by The Latchkey Kids. Tickets are available from the HERE RIGHT NOW. Looking forward to seeing my Manchester friends and family!
National shows to be announced soon. Come to Manchester and party with us anyway - it's the bank holiday!
The album release is getting close, folks... So Roo and I recently broke cover to record a session and interview with XS Manchester's Jim Salveson. We recorded Didn't It Rain and The Slow Knife from the record. Check it out below!
More news really soon. Until then.
Tickets are available for the show HERE NOW.
We'll look forward to seeing all of our Mancunian friends.
Really excited to tell you that I've launched a Pledgemusic campaign to help fund the release of my next record with Latchkey Kids. There's a bunch of options in terms of levels to opt in at. Frrom £8 Access pass allowing you a digital download of the album on release day, right up to house shows and guitars and some higher-ticket stuff. Check it out at the link below - it'll be lovely to have you onboard for the journey.
A new song for this Sunday morning. It's about my dad, my mum and a time when Normcore forefather Seth Cohen was my go-to style guy.
It's a phone demo, but sometimes these things are the nice to hear. This will make the new record, which will be ready for the late Autumn.