Doomshakalaka – Doomshakalaka

Release date: 5th June 2020

Format: CD / LP Clear

Doomshakalaka is a new project by Paul Rafferty, former vocalist and bassist for Liverpool indie rock band Hot Club De Paris. Today he announces his new self-titled album, due 5th June via Moshi Moshi Records, revealing a glistening collection of indie pearls exploring memory, nostalgia and loss.

Having last month shared the bittersweet, melodic ballad ‘Black Balloons’, he now reveals the video for new single ‘James Asleep‘. Shot on the sly in Ikea in Warrington, the video sees Rafferty make use of the various in-store sets as backdrops to an almighty snooze. 

On the video concept Rafferty states, “The song is about affectionately remembering a particularly grim shared house not for its aesthetic but for the fact that it served as a venue to bring friends together. House shares fall apart as people pair-up, move on and sleepwalk into real life. Ikea is kind of emblematic of that moment, so I thought it made sense to shoot it there. Perhaps the fact that we had no permission to do so represents the disorder and madness so fondly recounted in the song.” 

He continues, “The song tells of receiving some bad news about an old friend, passing on the news to others that might not have heard yet and in turn remembering a simpler time when the song’s cast had less looming issues to deal with.”

Bursting with ticking percussion and a sonic aesthetic that nods towards the early recording experiments of Guided by Voices, James Asleep is a trawl through fragments of memories, loss and nostalgia.

On his 30th birthday, Rafferty formed a band called Doomshakalaka in his mind. The name was like “Boomshakalaka!” (a snippet of in-game commentary from the video game NBA Jam) but with a D, giving a usually celebratory exclamation a paradoxical sense of dread.

He set about concocting an album’s worth of songs that embraced this juxtaposed vision:

“I thought it would sound like being sad at a party or maybe it would sound like being invited to a party and feeling good about not going.”

Over the following years, Rafferty worked to fulfil this uncertain vision and wrote hundreds of fragments of music, melodies and lyrics and slowly distilled them down into 10 songs of stirring, nostalgia-tinged indie rock.

Influenced by luminaries such as Television, Big Star, Wings-era McCartney, Deerhunter, Pavement and Stephen Malkmus’ solo work, Rafferty divided himself between the roles of writer, performer, engineer, producer and mixer and took about the task of making physical the sounds that had long lived unsatisfied in his head.

“Some of the songs off this record started life in 2011”, Rafferty explains, “but without a band or the capital to record, they waited in the wings until I could beg, borrow or buy the gear to record them exactly how I thought they should be heard”

Doomshakalaka is constructed of chord sequences that conjure longing, sadness, desire and hope in equal measure. With strange and surprising arrangements that avoid the ancient and familiar beaten paths of guitar music, Doomshakalaka seeks to tell Rafferty’s stories in a playful and inventive manner and provide a platform to showcase the album’s central theme of the unfinished business of youth.

Rafferty says “It’s largely a record about remembering moments from my teens and 20s and what those moments mean to me now. I love the texture that ageing brings to an artist’s output. I like the sound of a big hole dug deep.”

Rafferty also designed the album cover with this concept in mind, stating

“Barnett Newman’s painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue II was controversially slashed by a vandal in Amsterdam. When it went for repair, the conservator further damaged the painting when he spent the best part of a decade repainting it with a bucket of red gloss paint and a roller. The gallery had to repair the repair work. The painting today is a sum of its own turbulent history. It comes with baggage. It’s the same for a musician making a solo record in their 30s. To reflect this, the sleeve is a replica of Newman’s painting but torn up, glued together and cut into pieces until it became a brand new composition. All of the noise created in the process is present and celebrated. Its imperfection is the best bit”

  1. One Last Saturday Night
  2. The Curse
  3. James Asleep
  4. I’ll Kill You, Motherfucker
  5. This Is War (And I’m So Bored)
  6. Werewolf Shadow
  7. The Lost Homework of Isabella Perez
  8. The Fate of the Hero Montage
  9. Skinhead Suit
  10. Black Balloons