INTRODUCING THE COBRA LAMPS, BARRIE CADOGAN’S FIRST SOLO PROJECT
THE SELF-TITLED EP WILL BE RELEASED ON A RECORINGS ON 29TH JULY 2016
Listen to lead track ‘Known To All’: https://soundcloud.com/a-records-6/the-cobra-lamps-known-to-all/s-ccmKj
Barrie Cadogan has fronted Nottingham’s inspired garage-surf-soul outfit Little Barrie since 1999, and, after moving to London in 2000 to work in a Denmark Street guitar-shop, has developed a reputation as the premier go-to alt-rock guitar wing-man for the likes of Primal Scream, Johnny Marr, Morrissey, Edwyn Collins, Damo Suzuki, Paul Weller (Little Barrie were the backing band on his ’22 Dreams’ album), Spiritualized, Anton Newcombe and The Chemical Brothers, amongst many others. The Cobra Lamps is Barrie’s first solo project and the self-titled EP will be released on 29th July via Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings.
Little Barrie – who penned the theme tune to US crime drama Better Call Saul (“I had to write seventeen themes in two days,” Barrie laughs) – have developed their own inimitable form of inventive retro-tinged garage rock, incorporating passionate blues, soulful melodies, psychedelic swarms of noise and, on 2014’s most recent album ‘Shadow’ krautrock, freakbeat and fuzz rock. But over the course of touring it, Barrie wrote a handful of songs that didn’t quite fit with the band. “I’ve always been interested in more cinematic music which we did delve into a little bit with the last Little Barrie record but I wanted to take that further,” he explains. And thus The Cobra Lamps were born. The four songs he set aside for the first EP under his solo moniker found Barrie indulging his interest in Skip Spence, The Byrds ‘The Notorious Brothers’ album, Ennio Morricone and Dion. “With things like ‘Little Drones’ I was trying to blend the psychedelic vocals with a cinematic, spaghetti western vibe.”
Reconnecting with Little Barrie’s early producer Mike Burnham, the pair jammed around Barrie’s new songs and, over three days of recording, created music that used Burnham’s plentiful vintage equipment and classic experimental methods to illuminate very modern themes and techniques. So ‘Can’t Uncorrupt’ is a future rock blast of fuzz garage akin to the most primal of Primals tracks: “certain traits of anybody’s character may not be that appealing to them, but sometimes you can’t stop it,” Barrie says of the subject matter. ‘Little Drones’, an absorbing psych-folk ballad featuring Barrie’s vocals fed through a wormhole into the 63rd dimension, uses drone warfare as a metaphor for how coldly and distantly we can destroy our own relationships, while the rusted, low-slung R&B rock of ‘The Indicator’ is a song about “looking for guidance, battling to trust your instinct even though it’s all you have.” Finally, classy psych noir lead track ‘Known To All’ concerns the secrets we all keep for the sake of our loved ones: “your thoughts should only be your own,” Barrie sings, “the truth will not be known to all”. “It’s about classic British family behaviour,” he says, “The ‘sweep it under the carpet’ kind of attitude.”
Recorded towards the end of 2014, the EP loitered for a while as other projects took preference but before long, via San Francisco based musician and former Stooges guitar tech Derek See, word of The Cobra Lamps reached Anton Newcombe, singer of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and owner of his own ‘A’ Recordings label. “I loved the way, not just the records he does, but the way he puts them out and the way they’re presented, the packaging and the artwork,” Barrie enthuses, and Newcombe loved his EP in return. Hence the EP’s release in July, although there are no live dates planned for The Cobra Lamps as yet. Barrie sees the project as an outlet he can dip into to indulge his more esoteric side every now and then.
“I want to do stuff under The Cobra Lamps banner that is a little different to the stuff I do with Lewis and Virgil,” he says, “use it as a thing to experiment in different ways that goes back to some of the influences that I have when I’ve played with some of my friends before I moved to London – folky library music, the jazzier side of kraut. A bit more gentle and soundtrack-y. Picking up on some of the more droney things but still keeping the guitar upfront.”
Checking out of his day job for a while, Barrie’s in a strange, beautiful place. And The Cobra Lamps are coiled to strike.
1. Known To All
2. The Indicator
3. Little Drones
4. Can’t Uncorrupt