Ultimate Painting

Photo by James Sharp

Modern Nature is the new project of Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting, Mazes) and Will Young(BEAK>, Moon Gangs). I’m more familiar with Cooper’s work as I’ve spent some considerable time with Ultimate Painting. This is definitely a little different but I really dig it. How To Live will see the light of day on 8/23 via the fine folks at Bella Union. Here’s some info from the PR team

On How to Live, urban and rural cross into each other. Plaintive cello strains melt into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drift through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shine with reflective saxophone accents, placing the record somewhere between the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs and the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.

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Photo by James Sharp

Ultimate Painting, the duo of Jack Cooper and James Hoare, are back with their fourth album (and first for Bella Union). After cranking out albums at a pace of one a year over three years, the boys decided to take a break. That led to some second-guessing, scrapped sessions and overall confusion on where to take this project next. Up! is where they wound up. Here’s some info on the lead track.

First single “Not Gonna Burn Myself Anymore” reflects that. Cooper says, “I wrote it in one go and disregarded it as I thought it’d come too easy or that it was too much like something I’d obviously write. Over the next few days I kept singing it to myself. Sometimes the best songs are completely spontaneous and pure. I wrote the words to reflect that… not everything worthwhile has to be hard work.”

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Photo by Tsouni Cooper

Jack Cooper of the fantastic British act, Ultimate Painting, is set to release his debut LP, Sandgrown this Friday via Trouble In Mind Records. Cooper is a wonderful guitarist and it really lends itself to this collection of 60s inspired folk. Here’s a little more on the album.

“Everyone’s from somewhere,” says Jack. “I don’t think it’s particularly important people know this album is about Blackpool, but I think everyone can empathise with the themes on the record.”

Jack spent the first 13 years of his life living in the rural village of Poulton-le-Fylde, about five miles outside Blackpool. On moving into town, he spent his summers as a deckchair attendant, soaking up the community of people who lived and worked around the seafront – lifeguards, carnival workers, donkey owners, skateboarders, transients and hippies. “There were just a lot of interesting people around all the time… weirdos who were drawn to the seaside in the summer. Winter would come and you had this huge community of people who didn’t really know what to do.”

By the time Jack was 15, Blackpool’s role as a holiday destination was dwindling due to the introduction of cheap air travel to Europe. Stacks of deckchairs were increasingly left unused, and in the winter months it became a place of drugs, seedy bars and people struggling to get by without the tourist trade. As the Blackpool he knew slipped away, 20-year-old Jack moved to Manchester where he soon began playing in bands and recording.

Sandgrown is about those formative years and the creation of it: “I’ve been trying to do this record since I was about 18… I bought my first 4-track with the proceeds of a summer working on the promenade and I guess I got sidetracked along the way. I’ve been listening to Terry Allen’s ‘Lubbock (On Everything)’ a lot and I wanted to make something that painted a picture of a place as vividly as that. I love how Frank Sinatra’s ‘Watertown’ feels so cinematic.”

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Jack Cooper is here Ultimate Painting is here

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The duo of James Hoare and Jack Cooper, otherwise known as Ultimate Painting, are set to release their third LP titled Dusk on September 30th via the fine folks at Trouble In Mind Records. The lead single, Bills, picks up where their last effort, Green Lanes, ended. It is a wonderful track of 70s psych-folk highlighted by some genuinely fantastic guitar work.

Album opener and first single “Bills” furthers the duo’s reputation as purveyors of the Verlaine/Lloyd legacy, but despite the evident influence of American guitar pop both past and present, the group has recorded an album that feels decidedly English. Cooper’s abstract poeticism balances perfectly alongside Hoare’s alluring and universal pop leanings. The group has discovered a simple lushness in Dusk’s arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like a recently acquired Wurlitzer piano. They’ve tapped into the subtle grace that infects the mood and emotions experienced at times like sunrise and dusk, hopefulness, resignation, ennui.

The casual setting during the album’s recording allowed the sessions and songs to unfold naturally, with James and Jack accompanied by recent live drummer Melissa Rigby, who drums on the entirety of Dusk. Her skills lend a rhythmic elasticity to the songs with jazzy undertones that break from the band’s previously unadorned 4/4 leanings. Dusk feels different and cements the group’s presence in the modern world of guitar pop, finding voice in the allure of quietude.

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Ultimate Painting is here

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Ultimate Painting – Green Lanes [album review]

August 10, 2015

Green Lanes, the sophomore effort by the UK’s Ultimate Painting is like a gentle drive through the country on a warm Fall day – windows open, never going too fast; just soaking it in. Fronted by Jack Cooper and James Hoare, the songs are built on spidery guitar licks that creep out of your speakers […]

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Ultimate Painting announce Green Lanes release, 8/7/15

May 21, 2015

Ultimate Painting were one of those acts that I had numerous times on my SXSW schedule but managed to miss at every turn. From what I’ve heard, that was my loss as their melodic psych-pop wowed audiences throughout the fest. Since then I’ve been spinning their 2014 debut with regularity and ruing my misfortune. So […]

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