Neil Halstead lives the life of the loney surfer

Neil Halstead

From his pedal-pushing days in the spaced out, shoegazer band Slowdive, to his more grounded acoustic folk rebirth with Mojave 3, Neil Halstead’s music has changed dramatically over his 23-year career. But whether cosmic or country, there always has been an underlying somber, soothing and dreamlike quality that links his songs together. While they were once hidden by distance and distortion, his heartstrings now ring out as if they were strung across his acoustic guitar.

“By the time I did the last Slowdive record I was about 24,” says Halstead. “Our last record is really super ambient and experimental and everything was built on loops and samples; it was a bit of a cold record. I took a break after that and I felt like I wasn’t into music anymore at that point. I needed to be re-energized. Learning to play acoustic guitar and playing country songs was a way back into music for me because it was so different from what Slowdive was about.”

After five records with Mojave 3 and occasional tours, Halstead took the band’s breaks to focus on solo work. Even more stripped down, his country-folk style and imagery could easily be considered Americana, except for the fact that he’s British. Halstead’s calm and hushed delivery evokes a sentimental reverie, sincerity and melancholy.

“Palindrome Hunches,” his third solo effort, was released last month on Brushfire Records, a label run by fellow surfer, Jack Johnson. Halstead’s music bears little similarity to the rest of the roster. Surely the label’s saddest and most introspective of the surfer/songwriters; perhaps it is the cold ocean waters of his Cornwall home that gives Halstead’s music such a stark realism.

“For me, songwriting is always about expressing yourself,” Halstead notes. “So that’s me in the song. There are songs [on the new album] that are a little darker than the songs on the last album. They all sit together in a darker space. I think that’s just the way the songwriting went. They are quite personal.”

The title is a clever juxtaposition of words based on a failed attempt to write a song that is the same when read backwards and forwards.

“I don’t know what it means,” Halstead says with a laugh. “I guess I like that idea and its contrast to a palindrome where everything works out in the end.”

‘Breaking the Ice,’ not with Slowdive

Mojave 3 haven’t recorded since 2006, but after a rare and recent tour of China, Halstead hopes the band will begin recording a new album by the end of the year. And, though there have been murmurs of a Slowdive reunion and offers have been made, Halstead doesn’t seem stoked on the idea.
   
“[Reunions are] a big part of the music industry these days. They are feeding off their own paws. The people with the money will never let it go free because it’s another way to sell you the same old sh—.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

Local

Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.