(Credit: courtesy of Slow Dancer)
“[‘Don’t Believe’ is a] soulful serenade to a detached lover, it blends laid-back drums, soft guitar and fuzzy, plucky synthesizers to make a smooth ’70s sound.” – NPR
“silky smooth…spindly and soulful” – Stereogum
“Okely’s soulful, Stax-inflected vocals and stinging guitar work stand out in any crowd.” – Billboard
“It’s all happening for fresh-faced indie-R&B upstart Slow Dancer, so you’d better go ahead and get acquainted with his music now” – Paste
“”an album that seeps into your consciousness…In a Mood creates a blanket of sound, each layer blending smoothly, a sonic gradient of guitar, organ, strings, bass, and vocals.” – Noisey
“‘It Goes On’ sounds completely effortless, and it’s the ease with which Slow Dancer flits between country-influenced guitar licks to something closer to indie-rock that makes him such a fascinating prospect.” – DIY
Melbourne, Australia’s Slow Dancer – the moniker of singer, songwriter and multi- instrumentalist Simon Okely – will release his stunning new album In A Mood on June 9th via ATO Records, and today he shares another breathtaking song entitled “I Would.” The candid opening sets the tone for the heartbreaking song: “I was quite the non-believer so I knew you were never meant to be all mine and no one else’s.” As the song gradually swells with lush strings, Okeley finds a seemingly impossible balance of pragmatism and romanticism throughout the track, crafting the most beautiful song you’ll hear today. Listen via Nylon HERE, and watch a live session of the song HERE.
Simon Okely is lost in time. Or at least, his songs as Slow Dancer sound that way: warm, near-whispered indie-rock love letters to the 60s and 70s rhythm and blues records his parents would play on family car rides down Australia’s winding west coast, heavy on nostalgia and even heavier on imagination. His 2014 debut Surrender was a melt-your-heart, Fleetwood Mac-with-Neil Young licks “pop postcard” from another time, another place. Now returning in 2017 with In A Mood, Okely is aiming even higher, featuring a “more expansive, more ambitious” sound that’s “less about the stories we tell ourselves when in love and more about the moods that can come creeping over a relationship” at any time. It’s no wonder his music is already striking a chord with fans of Mac DeMarco, Tobias Jesso Jr, Connan Mockasin and more, with his latest single accumulating over a quarter of a million Spotify streams in just a few weeks.
Okely grew up near West Australian city Perth, in a “tiny farming town” where, as a small kid, he would bring a toy ukulele to church every Sunday and strum along as though he was playing the hymns. After growing up and learning the guitar aged nine, he inherited his grandmother’s piano and gradually became fascinated with the intense, intimate folk of Nick Drake, rhythm and blues vanguards Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and his parents’ favourite Van Morrison.
After moving to Melbourne in 2013, Okely began writing as Slow Dancer in 2014, naming the project after a lyric from a song on Surrender that was “essentially an instruction manual for slow dancing with someone who is experiencing apathy.” Key to the Slow Dancer sound is the environment Okely writes and records in: alone, entirely at night, in a bedroom that “somehow crams in a drum kit, a piano, some guitars, and a bed,” he laughs. “This has always been my journal, my love letter to the music I love. My concentration will always be on making the music that pleases me, and if it pleases other people too, that’s also great. It’s been a wonderful ride so far.”
Simon Okely is lost in time. You should get lost in time with him.