Premiere: Filthy Kitsch – “Comet Tails”


“Comet Tails” is a fantastic track, a peppy psych-pop number with rock and electronic flourishes stylistically reminiscent of Blur. It comes courtesy of Filthy Kitsch, a project from Stockholm, Sweden that serves as a vehicle for Joe Shackleton, previously a drummer for a number of indie bands prior to a severe joint condition forcing him to cease drumming. Still, he found that songwriting helped him explore new sounds, which culminates in the project Filthy Kitsch. Stream the track on Spotify here.

“I started writing music as Filthy Kitsch about a year ago,” Joe explains. “I’ve played drums and guitar in a few indie bands, but this is the first time I’ve done any solo stuff and it feels like a whole new discovery for me. This is the first Filthy Kitsch EP, with at least two more currently in the works. Inspiration seems to come easily these days! All the artwork/covers and the video for Comet Tails are by Lucía Ruggiano, a really cool indie artist from Montevideo.”

His story is one of perseverance and recovery.

“I’ll never forget the moment when I finally realized it was the end,” he explains. “The image is crystal clear in my mind. I was the drummer for a band I loved, playing in a cool little club in Berlin, sweaty indie kids pogo-ing like mad, confetti everywhere. Should have been having the time of my life. But two songs in – after only five minutes this time! – my right arm started cramping up. Familiar pain shot from my wrist to my elbow and hit my shoulder. I tried desperately to switch hands, change the beat, anything to keep the momentum going. But my arm was numb, useless, dead. I fell apart. The looks from my bandmates said it all – it was over.

I’d been suffering from joint pain and fatigue for years, and as it slowly got worse I learned to adapt. But this was a whole new level to deal with. Would I have to quit music? Could I keep my job? Dark thoughts filled my head. That year I was in and out of hospital with all kinds of symptoms while the doctors tried to work out what was going on. Life consisted of finding new ways to cope with the stress, pain and constant new symptoms. As an attempt at therapy I started writing stuff down, trying to figure it all out. Slowly the words melted into melodies, which led to beats, which became songs.

Working around my limitations, I experimented with a new way to make music – piecing things together slowly, playing each instrument for just a couple of minutes at a time before the cramp set in. I needed to see if it was possible. And now the first few songs are finished, I can see that my situation has sparked a different sound. What felt like the end has become the beginning of something new. It’s raw and personal, and it works wonders for my mental state. So I think I’m going to keep doing this for a while.”

“Comet Tails” is a return for a singer/songwriter with ample talent that seems likely to soar.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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