Willie J Healey announces new single, ‘Greys’
London show + Palace tour dates also announced
Out now via National Anthem/Columbia Records
“Utterly, perfectly absurd” Noisey
“Brilliantly catchy…the best voice we’ve heard in a while” i-D
“Oxford’s answer to Mac Demarco…turns going nowhere into a saintly virtue” The Beat
“Nods variously to Lloyd Cole, Kurt Vile, and 90s Grunge” The Times, Essential Tracks
“Bigger and bolder…Healey stands out from the crowd” The Line of Best Fit
Willie J Healey has confirmed details of new single ‘Greys’, which is released today via National Anthem / Columbia Records. This follows last year’s acclaimed single ‘Would You Be’, which picked up support across Radio 1, 6Music, Radio X and also saw the young Oxford native tour with the likes of Hinds and Beach Baby. Festival dates for the summer have already been confirmed at Dot to Dot and Truck Festival, whilst Willie has this week been confirmed to play Phil Taggart’s Slacker night at London’s Kamio on March 24th and will also tour the UK with Palace (including a date at Shepherd’s Bush Empire).
‘Greys’ is a thrilling, contemporary burst of garage rock, shot through with attitude, alienation (quite literally), and an instinctive ear for alternative-pop melodies. Entirely written, recorded and produced by Willie himself, the track has evolved from its early, stripped-back beginnings in its discussion, he says, of “the feeling of routine and boredom. It’s about believing that nobody would even notice if you were abducted, in this case by aliens.”
Despite this suspicion, Willie J Healey is emerging as one of the UK’s most consistent and charismatic new songwriters. As drawn to lo-fi slackers like Mac Demarco and Ariel Pink as classic US storytellers like Bruce Springsteen or Lou Reed, the 22-year-old Oxford-based misfit explores themes of isolation and escape: equally at home in lo-fi, slacker-mode (‘Best Friend’s Sister’) as he is the raw, gruff energy of ‘Would You Be’ or ‘Greys’.
The results feel warmly familiar and strikingly relevant in their celebration of youth, and the modern problems of young manhood. Willie started writing songs in earnest having left college, when he worked for his dad as a plasterer for a couple of years whilst travelling around his everybody-knows-everybody town in a battered old limo by way of eye-catching transportation. Yet it’s a sound which is suitably panoramic, and pan-Atlantic: equal inspiration comes from cult film classics, The Girl Next Door, and subverting small-town tedium into wry and eccentric lyricism. It’s true to himself, constructed by himself, and mostly for himself, but it’s a sound that Willie J Healey looks set to drive further forward still.
Fri-Mar-24th London Slacker, Kamio
Tue-Apr-18 Birmingham O2 Institute 3
Wed-Apr-19 Bristol Thekla
Thu-Apr-20 Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Fri-Apr-21 Oxford The Bullingdon
Tue-Apr-25 Guildford Boileroom
Wed-Apr-26 Reading South Street Arts Centre
Thu-Apr-27 London Shepherds Bush Empire