Birmingham singer-songwriter Dan Whitehouse and Anja McCloskey released their joint EP Still on Sotones Records on 20th January 2014 and are celebrated with a Canadian Tour in January/ February 2014.
The EP was recorded in a city centre flat adjacent to Birmingham New Street Station (listen carefully for the platform announcements!) in October 2013 and mixed and mastered by Neil Kennedy at The Ranch in Southampton.
“We have always wanted to record something together, but had so far never found time,” says Anja. The pair first met at London Regent’s Park Zoo in 2002, introduced to each other by John Peel favourite and legendary UK indie singer-songwriter Helen McCookerybook – whilst Dan was playing (rudimentary!) accordion to the animals as part of a school songwriting project.
Anja lambasted Dan for his clumsy accordion chops, and a friendship was born. They stayed in touch and whenever they met would talk longingly about collaborating together, but it was not until the autumn of 2013 they finally started writing music together.
Lead track “Stille, Totenstille” is a sombre affair, with Anja’s ethereal hall reverb vocals combining well with Dan’s chilling ambient guitar effects and solemn spoken word. The song centres on the theme of loneliness, of an apparent disconnection with the outside world. Tracks like “Backseat” and “Railway Stop” are more serene and display a quiet disconcertion, with Anja’s accordion a consistent feature. Closing track “Petals” is an uplifting piece, serenading the listener into a summer spin of emotions.
Anja’s vocals are almost extravagant and sweetly exasperated, Dan’s soft folk heavy voice follows up with his own brand of sweetness and the delicacy of a dandelion in the light wind. Seriously, we should feel so fortunate that these two fine folksmiths have found each other, and have shared their talents with the world.