Hailing from a rural town in England’s East Midlands, Lloyd Taylor-Clark relocated in 2020 to the former logging town of Bend, Oregon. His debut Swan Songs is a luminous, lyrical folk record comprising nine homemade demos, informed by 60s and 70s touchstones such as Bert Jansch, Vashti Bunyan, Connie Converse, and Donovan, as well as the poetry of Louise Glück and Mary Oliver. Companionship with nature is a clear common thread running through many of his influences, both musical and literary. In Lloyd’s own writing, the birds and trees of two continents intertwine, observed from windows and preserved in memory.
Swan Songs will be released on limited edition cassette tape, as well as all download and streaming services on 17th September 2021.
While writing Swan Songs, Lloyd travelled a few times between London, where he lived at the time, and Oregon, to see his partner. Living apart from her for six years entailed constant movement between worlds – in a physical sense, moving from stylised city parks to wild, coniferous terrain – and in an emotional sense, from uncoupled to coupled. Many of these songs came to him while in that liminal space, on long train and plane journeys. Others offer a vivid snapshot of a given place and time. ‘Some Sunny Day’, the first track to be shared from Swan Songs, presents an image of Lloyd’s bedroom in London, where the album was recorded. His languorous vocals and slide guitar reflect the long, slow drift of a day spent in bed, out of sight of the city’s commotion. Words of ambivalence and self-doubt are held aloft in the golden-hour flush of perfect sunshine pop. We find Lloyd stationed at his window in quiet observation, soothing the inner voice that devalues ‘wasted time’.
Just after work finished on Swan Songs, Lloyd moved permanently to Oregon to be with his partner. He describes how his perception of England changed just before his departure, seeming all the more idyllic as he prepared to turn a new page. “Most of the songs that made the cut for the album are about London and England. I kind of put these songs together as if creating a photo album to look back on. I wanted to give my thoughts and memories a home to live in.”
At various moments, the incidental sounds of Lloyd’s London houseshare bleed through – creaking floorboards, a friend making dinner, birdsong from an open window in summertime. “I’ve grown to love these accidental audio imperfections,” Lloyd explains, “But the album wouldn’t be what it is now without the magic touch of my friend Nathan from Hermitage Works Studios, who brought out the vibrancy of those imperfections without losing their sense of place. Likewise, it wouldn’t be released now without the belief and encouragement of Ana from demo records.”