Category Archives: Out of Oblivion

The retrospective corner: reminiscences of artists long forgotten (and wrongly so).

Out of Oblivion (1): Michael Trent

I still find it hard to stomach the relative unsuccessfulness of a band called The Films. Not to mention the hiatus they are apparently on. I blame it on the fact that they signed a record deal at a time – namely, around 2006 – when the market was just fed up with frantically retro guitar bands. Not to mention the fact that their lead singer sported a trilby, this fashion no-go stigmatising the wannabe drug rocker.
So in this ocean of faceless indie rock’n’roll bands, The Films went down in style, gracing us, among others, with one of the most on-the-spot, yes-one-might-almost-say-perfect two-minute dancefloor killer songs, titled ‘Being Bored’. (If anything has ever reached this level of perfection since, it was probably The Vaccines’ ‘Wrecking Bar’, but then again I have obviously not listened to every guitar album released in the past five years in its full length, though God knows I tried.)

Michael Trent, performing with The Films at an unplugged in-store gig in Hamburg, 2009 (not visible: the trilby in question he wears on the backdrop photo)

However, as I waded through the ruins of this band that never quite made it, I noticed that there was, in fact, a vital sign coming at least from one of their members: the man who I’ve just blamed to have charged himself with connotations of crack consumption and cohabiting with Amy Winehouse. I am glad to say that these days Michael Trent does not carry the heavy load of that unfortunate British gentleman’s hat anymore. Instead he plays quite lovely folk songs on his guitar, and has done so on two solo albums released in 2007 and 2010. Both can be listened to in full here, and I would highly recommend doing that. After all, Trent is still a skilled songwriter and I must admit I am also a bit in love with his voice. And if anyone but me actually still likes The Films, this is the closest to new material you can unfortunately get (and it is quite close in fact, musically).
His current project Shovels & Rope, a duo consisting of Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, plays a more classic, country-esque folk than what Trent attempts on his solo albums. On these, you find a bit of everything: country, singer-songwriter, chamber pop, highly Films-y rock’n’roll (‘Bad Luck’). As a starting point, consider downloading the free track ‘Daily Routine’ from his Facebook page. And if you like it, but dislike the iTunes Store (or however prefer actual CDs), I suggest you keep your hands off Amazon’s overpriced imports and head here.

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