Ben Ottewell (of Gomez)

Ben Ottewell (of Gomez)

Ben Ottewell, one of several singer/songwriters in the successful British rock band Gomez, will release his first solo album, "Shapes & Shadows," via ATO Records on February 15, 2011. The nine tracks on "Shapes & Shadows" were co-produced by Ottewell and Will Golden and mixed by Tom Biller (Liars, Warpaint, Karen O) at The Chalet in Los Angeles.

"Shapes & Shadows" will be available on CD and in MP3 or FLAC digital formats, and is available individually or bundled with an exclusive t-shirt and a five-track digital EP containing acoustic versions of four of the songs from the album plus a special cover song. This EP will be available to download on the album's release date. All pre-orders of "Shapes & Shadows" will also receive the track "Lightbulbs" as a free MP3 download at the time of purchase. Pre-order and album and stream "Lightbulbs" now at http://www.benottewell.com/

While Gomez is a three-singer band, Ottewell's powerful tenor has graced many fan favorites, from early songs like "Get Miles" and "Revolutionary Kind" to the more recent singles "How We Operate" and "See The World." In one early profile, Rolling Stone declared, "Gomez's not-so-secret weapon is Ben Ottewell. His deep, raspy voice is spine chilling... more like an otherworldly bluesman than a baby-faced Brit." And GQ once wrote, "Ottewell's voice is not of this world. It is a deep, reverent baritone, the kind of voice that shakes windows."

Ottewell collaborated with childhood friend Sam Genders, previously of Tunng, on the ideas that became "Shapes & Shadows." As Ben explains, "Sam and I grew up together in a little village called Bonsall in Derbyshire and have been friends since childhood. I love his songwriting -- the stuff he did with Tunng and The Accidental, particularly lyrically. We've been wanting to do this sort of thing for a while now. Having grown up together, there is a strong theme of looking back or recollecting."

It’s hard to put your finger on Laura Meyer. On the title track of her new albumBeen Here Before, she starts off sweetly singing: Been here before/ Got a rope against my neck/ Been here before/ I guess I never left. The tender folk vocals don’t prepare you for the striking left turn the album takes next, delivering the hard driving blues of “Motel Room Blues #1.” Meyer looks like a sweet little waif, but there’re dark corners seething under her ingénue exterior.

Alternating between folk and blues, she’s a skinny white chick with soul to burn, and inside are tough-minded songs that simply don’t seem like they could have come from her. On “Don’t Let Them Collect You,” a martial new wave beat delivers an edict about being trapped by exactly the sort of stereotyping I’m engaging in: Don’t let them collect you/ Don’t let them collect you/ They’re just trying to get you/ Put you on their shelf// No one’s gonna protect you/ no one’s coming to the rescue/ they’re just trying to dissect you/ So you better take care for yourself.

- Glen Starkey, SLO New Times

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Ben Ottewell (of Gomez) with Laura Meyer

Sunday, April 28 · Doors 5:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM at The Coach House