That there is Ed Harcourt’s new song ‘Sweet Malaise’ featuring Ren Harvieu, which premiered on Q Magazine’s website. It is the flip-side to the new single ‘In My Time of Dust’, which is being released by CCCLX on May 19th 2014 (Pre-order link coming soon).

You can vote for the track to get more airtime on BBC 6Music over on Lamacq’s Rebel Playlist page. Thank you kindly.

Photo by Steve Gullick.

Ed Harcourt: As a songwriter it can be quite hard to dissect and analyse your own songs, they seem to materialise out of thin air, so where do they all come from? Your songs are like chronicles of America and its landmarks, the places you grew up with or passed by. I also feel that the subtlety in your songs says so much more than if you were being blatantly obvious.

Jimmy Webb: Well the landscape has a lot to do with it. I grew up with landscapes that I suppose you could only describe as desolate. I was raised in west Texas and then Oklahoma and then later the Oklahoma pan handle which is the definition of desolate. And very simple surroundings, very rudimentary, no money, father was a minister, he made $100 a week that had to pay for everything. It wasn’t the American dream exactly, but it was interesting in one respect as it was what was left of America’s beginnings, it’s kind of colonial and agricultural.

Read Ed’s full chat with Jimmy Webb here.

New festival date: July 19th 2014, Curious Arts Festival, Hampshire.

Here are a few bits of news the cat dragged in…

On The Radio
Tonight, at 6pm BST (3rd April 2014), Ed will appear on BBC 6Music’s Roundtable alongside Josie Long and Miranda Sawyer, critiquing forthcoming releases for Steve Lamacq’s weekly show where guests chat about tunes for an hour. Details here.

There are no headline shows confirmed for 2014 as yet, but Ed will be performing at a very special show (just look at the list of names on the poster above!) on June 1st at Regent Park’s Open Air Theatre for Elton John’s Aids Foundation. Details here.

Why no Ed gigs?
Well, he’s busy working on the forthcoming “evil album”, as well as a few other things we can’t talk about (yet). Ed has also been performing with Sophie Ellis-Bextor whose hugely successful new album he co-wrote and produced. Ed will be out on tour in the UK with Sophie E-B from Monday. Dates here. Here’s Ed performing with Sophie on last week’s Andrew Marr show.

New Single!
CCCLX Music have confirmed that ‘In My Time of Dust’, the title track from Ed’s recent mini album, will be released digitally on the 19th of May, backed with a brand new song ‘Sweet Malaise’ featuring the timbre-shivering vocals of Ren Harvieu (who’s on Tumblr here). Feel free to nag your favourite disc jockeys to the play either track. Pre-order links and more news about this release to follow.

For irregular updates and outbursts, follow Ed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It’s World Book Day…

What is your favourite book and why?

Ed says: ‘Master & Margarita’ by Bulgakov. It’s a boomerang, it keeps coming back to me, it’s so complex and addictive. It seems very exotic and alien in some ways, I sometimes wonder whether it would have the same effect if I read it in it’s original language. It’s a book I keep coming back to as there’s so much to explore.

More about Ed’s love of literature here:

Back Into the Woods was released a year ago today. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy and helped to spread the word about the release.

In case you missed it, here is Ed’s guide to the album:

1. The Cusp & The Wane
Apparently the phrase ‘underdog’ originated from the practice of bear-baiting, a horrible, ignoble betting ‘sport’ . The underdog would attack from below the flank rather than topside like the top dog, near the throat, thus condemning it to a more likely demise. So please try and remember these poor bears when you say, ‘I’m gunning for the underdog, me’. Raise your ear trumpets to the sound of the daunted chorus, for the creators giveth lest the destroyers taketh away! It’s in Db major and was written during a rare weekend of solitude.

2. Hey Little Bruiser
I have been planning a mariachi album for a while but the Bronx got there first. However, I will not let their preemptive strike deter my enthusiasm for this project. I have an assembled troupe who are currently waiting for me in Puerta Vallarta, awaiting a smoke signal as I write. Oh wait that’s American Indians. Sorry. Man the guitarrons and maracas amigos! As Nathan Barley succinctly coined “totally Mexico”. I actually wrote this because I was obsessed with Willy DeVille’s version of ‘Hey Joe’. But then it sounded ridiculous, especially with midi synth trumpets. Luckily, after a brief languish in ‘song prison’, I managed to set it on the right path and the rest is history. Arnulf [Lindner] plays cello, Gita [Harcourt-Smith, Harcourt’s wife] plays violin.

3. Wandering Eye
When I was young I really wanted an eye-patch. I think it was because of John Heard in Cutter’s Way (not David Bowie - I know, weird eh?). Think about the benefits of eye-patches, they signify experience, danger, mystery and recklessness; you wear one and you’re instantly the hushed talking point at some boring party. I want to be that guy at this party who sits alone in the corner, staring imaginary flying daggers at all the guests with his one unblinking eye. This song is not about that.

4. Murmur In My Heart
According to World Of Warcraft, ‘Murmur’ is the “primordial essence of sound”, a very powerful big, bad elemental lord, who’s also known as ‘Destroyer Of Worlds’. I promise you, I don’t actually know this. I don’t play World Of Warcraft until 7am. Seriously, you have to believe me, I have never played this game. I’m more into Dungeons And Dragons. The dichotomy of love is the most infamous, inimitable game I have played, way more akin to Battleships than chess in my opinion. The king’s a bit crap in chess, isn’t he?

5. Back Into The Woods
I remember the first four lines of this song coming to me as I stood in Edgware Road underground station. I repeatedly screamed them out loud until the train arrived so I wouldn’t forget, thus metaphysically etching the words into the back of my sieve-like mind and ensuring that no-one sat next to me for the brief journey to King’s Cross. It’s nice to have a lair you can slink back into, like that Guinness advert about evolution but in reverse. Back into the primordial soup boys!

6. Brothers & Sisters
My elder brothers once trapped me in a lift for ages in the mid-90’s. It was only one floor, but I could see their evil, grinning faces through the small window of each door. I am still slowly masterminding my quiet, deadly revenge. A phrase that I hear a lot is: “oh we’re like brothers/sisters, we fight all the time”. Well those days may certainly be over. FOR THEM.

7. The Pretty Girls
Do you think film directors ever get a bit annoyed with the people who make their trailers, when they suddenly realise that the trailer commissioned is actually better than their film and there’s nothing they can do about it? Similar to when people voted Liberal Democrat and then got the Conservatives. I was trying to invoke a little spirit of early Elvis Costello or something when I wrote this but then it became a ballad. Again. So many ballads, so little time.

8. Last Will & Testament
I went to see a wonderful new play by Alan Bennett last week and there was a line that stuck with me, “decay is a kind of progress”. It’s interesting that some people need priests by their side when at death’s door. I’m not sure if I could handle that to be honest, I think I’d rather have a big party with champagne and Belgian chocolates and tap-dancers and moon-walking wolves and fireworks and my family all singing Queen’s greatest hits. No clowns though. Clowns bad.

9. The Man That Time Forgot
Here’s a thought. Have you ever wondered what Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen or Mark Lanegan or Barry White sounded like when they were a kid? Seriously. Could you imagine Glenn Danzig with a squeaky voice saying “please sir, can I have my ball back” to his next door neighbour? It really freaks me out. Sometimes I can’t sleep from thinking about it. This is the last song on the album, so yes be thankful that I am now releasing you from the clutches of my transient footnotes. Thanks for reading.

Pick up your copy from your favourite record shop (such as these: Piccadilly Records / Resident / Rough Trade) or from iTunes or Amazon (MP3 / CD / Vinyl). 

This afternoon Ed performed ‘Wandering Eye’ for Burberry at London Fashion Week. You can download the performance from iTunes now.

Time of Dust isn’t the only Ed Harcourt-related record out this week. The new Sophie Ellis-Bextor LP, which is currently in the top 5 of the album chart in the UK, is now in shops. Here’s what Ed had to say about his involvement:

In April 2013, I went into the studio with Sophie Ellis-Bextor and produced her new record, Wanderlust, which we also wrote together. It was one of my favourite recording experiences; we had 10 days in State of the Ark in Richmond with an elite squad of musicians and laid down 11 tracks, pretty much 2nd or 3rd take which is how I like it and that was that. I’m incredibly proud of this record, I’m sure some of you know she was in the final of Strictly Come Dancing which was very exciting, I wore my sequinned mankini for every episode! I played with her yesterday on Radio4’s Woman’s Hour (available on iPlayer) and then at the Bush Hall. I will also be performing at her Union Chapel show in April.

Get Wanderlust from iTunes or Amazon or your local supermarket or record emporium.

Ed Harcourt’s Time of Dust is Out Now on CD in the UK & Scandinavia.

The album is also available as a digital download worldwide. Vinyl to follow in February.

Pick up your copy now from Spillers, Norman Records, Rise, Amazon, Resident, Rough Trade, Emusic, Piccadilly Records, Play or head to your local record shop (there’s a helpful nearest UK record shop finder here).

Stream the album on RDIO, Spotify or Deezer.

Download the record from iTunes or 7Digital.

Here’s what the critics have been saying…

"Alluring." - The Independent ****

"Sensational." - The Sunday Times

"Time of Dust is bleaker than his past work, marrying a dark heart with epic hooks and choruses like a darker Elbow." - The Guardian ****

"Grand, cinematic flourishes" - The Daily Mail

"A thing of mournful, lachrymose majesty…" - EMusic, Album Chart #1

"This six-track mini-album is touched by darkness – it’s distorted, unsettling, untrustworthy almost, like a creepy character lurking in the shadows. But its nooks and crannies reveal weird and wonderful delights at every turn." - Clash

"A masterly lurch to the dark side by the multi-talented maestro" - Uncut

"Brooding, theatrical elegance with a glitchy twist… A dusky delight." - NME

"Ornate romantic balladry… curls around the listener like tendrils of smoke." - FT

"As warm and dark as the real ale he brews." The Times ****

"Part-time brewer of dark ales, full-time composer of dark tales." - Scottish Daily Express

"A gorgeous noirish set of cinematic songs with a bittersweet emotional core." - Telegraph

"Dark and haunting… the spectre of Jeff Buckley looming large. A great start to 2014." - Shortlist

"Mature songwriting of the very best – a skilful structure of light and dark, melodic and lyrical surprises to confound and delight. - Louder Than War

"…taster for things to come. Yet as aperitifs go, it’s pretty satisfying." - MusicOMH

The above photo is by Steve Gullick, and features on the reverse of the CD.