How To Split An Audience….

I’m fully aware that these two songs will split audiences entirely, so I leave it to you all to make up your own minds. Windmill are a new band I’ve come across recently, and I have every album released by Matthew Ryan – and both will divide audiences for the same reason: the vocalists.

“Tilting Trains” begins with an insistent piano motif, but it’s when lead singer (and sole member) Thomas Dillon’s voice chimes in that you’ll very quickly make up your mind whether you’ll keep listening. Coming across like Neil Young crossed with Mercury Rev, with a very introspective slant, this is what the Flaming Lips would sound like if you took all their instruments & toys away except a piano, and told Wayne Coyne to cop on and make proper sad songs, and that Ben Folds would be playing the piano sections. And the more I listen to it, the more it gets under my skin.

Following on quite quickly, my current favourite album is Matthew Ryan’s “From A Late Night High Rise”, written & released after his brother was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and the death of a close friend. The album is haunting to say the least – Ryan’s trademark whiskey-soaked voice over songs that throw together elements of rock, acoustic, and electronica in varying amounts. “Everybody Always Leaves” is one of the high points of the album – with a synthesized drumbeat, followed by piano, and Ryan’s vocals traded off after the second verse with what passes for a chorus sung by a female vocalist, and the heartbreaking yearning at the 2 minute 50 second mark, where the lyrics Ryan sings earlier…

I remember sometimes, when you never came home. How I crawled inside those sad and lovely bones that you left behind, rarely held nor seen. Everybody always, everybody always leaves

…are reinforced with his repetitive…

Don’t leave…

…underpinning the very final acceptance.

Sometimes I can’t remember nothing, sometimes it shadows everything
Some Sundays it’s as loud as thunder in the morning when the telephone rings
Clearer days in some distant forecast, dark days in this present past
In the blur of some phantom widescreen, I’ll let go of what I never had

Say what you want about these two artists vocal styles, if these songs don’t send a chill down your spine, nothing will….

Windmill – Tilting Trains

Matthew Ryan – Everybody Always Leaves


  1. I have to say that I am one to appreciate both tracks in the post, as I put the Windmill on my best of ’07 list. It is definitely a medley of “freak electro-downtempo pop” that you have to listen to a few times to really get into. I recommend to spin it a few times as it is freakin’ good.

    Matthew Ryan is also a great pick and I like this version of “Everybody Always Leaves” as a compliment to the Windmill track due to this version having a more electro feel. The version on “Hopeless to Hopeful” is a little more classic Ryan sans the drum machine. I am really getting into his HTH under appreciated/independent release from 2003 mainly due to the stand out track “I’m an American”. Recommended definitely – I wish I only knew about it 5 years ago!

    Nice post, keep ’em up ya mad Irishman!


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