Monkey Swallows the Universe

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Monkey Swallows the Universe
Origin Sheffield, England
Genres Indie folk
Years active 2004–2008 (hiatus)
Labels Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation, Loose Records
Associated acts Nat Johnson and the Figureheads
Members Nat Johnson
Kevin Gori
Catherine Tully
Andy George
Rob Dean

Monkey Swallows the Universe was an acoustic/indie band from Sheffield, England. MSTU is centred around its founders, Nat Johnson and Kevin Gori, who formed the band in 2003 after meeting at the University of Sheffield. In the band's first incarnation they both sang and played acoustic guitars with Gori adding extra touches with instruments such as the recorder and glockenspiel. The band later expanded to include Catherine Tully on violin, Andy George on cello and Rob Dean on drums. Nat Johnson became the main singer and song-writer. In February 2006, the band released its first album The Bright Carvings on the small independent record label Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation. The band had been featured a number of times in Sandman magazine.

On 11 April 2006, the band appeared on Gideon Coe's BBC 6 Music radio show, and played two songs live in session. In May 2006, the band supported Richard Hawley on three dates of his UK tour. Later that year, the band supported the Long Blondes on 5 dates of their UK tour. In July 2006 MSTU released "Science" (b/w Happiness & Florence) as a CD single, and on 7" vinyl (b/w Happiness) also on Thee SPC.

The band signed to Loose Records to release a second album The Casket Letters in August 2007. The band also released a single from the album, Little Polveir, a song named after a racehorse which was an unlikely winner of the British Grand National. The band performed further live radio sessions, including an appearance on Radio 4's Loose Ends. The band appeared at several festivals in the UK, including Latitude, Green Man, Truck, Secret Garden Party and End of the Road. A download only single, 'Bloodline' was released in September 2007, backed with a cover of Jonathan Richman's Ice Cream Man. The band performed these songs live on Marc Riley's 6music show.

On December 4, 2007, the band announced via its official website that it would be taking an indefinite hiatus after touring. Monkey Swallows the Universe played their last show in Edinburgh on 11 February 2008. After the announcement of hiatus, Nat Johnson began a solo career and released the single "Dirty Rotten Soul" in 2008. In 2009, she and Kevin Gori formed Nat Johnson and the Figureheads, who released albums on Damaged Goods Records and Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation.

Nat Johnson appeared on the David Rotheray album 'The Life of Birds' on the track 'Flying Lessons'. Nat also appears on the album 'Another Sleepless Night with Rory McVicar' by Rory McVicar.

Nat Johnson released a solo single, 'DOG', in May 2014. A new album is due late 2014.

Track listing of The Bright Carvings[edit]

  1. Sheffield Shanty
  2. Martin
  3. Jimmy Down The Well
  4. The Chicken Fat Waltz
  5. Down
  6. You Yesterday
  7. Wallow
  8. 22
  9. Fonz You!
  10. Still
  11. Beautiful Never
  12. Secret Word Is Groucho (hidden track)

Track listing of The Casket Letters[edit]

  1. Statutory Rights
  2. Bloodline
  3. Science
  4. Matterhoney
  5. Gravestones
  6. Little Polveir
  7. Elizabeth & Mary
  8. Ballad of the Breakneck Bride
  9. Paper, Scissors, Stone
  10. When the Work is Done

Critical Acclaim[edit]

"Sheffield's loveliest band" - The Guardian

"They stand on the brink of becoming the steel city's latest sensations" - The Sun
"Delightful indiepop." - Daily Telegraph [1]
"Roll over Charles Darwin and tell those musical evolutionists the news - there's yet more Sheffield Monkeys beside the Arctic variety." - The Mirror [2]
"These Sheffield kids are big big news. They have a sound that transports you back to the days of the late 80's and listening to John Peel religiously every night. It sounds like a mix of The Siddleys, Belle and Sebastian and Sarah Records." - Rough Trade
"Capable of haunting, tear-prickling acoustic beauty...more than worthy of any - and everyone's respect and attention." - Drowned in Sound

External links[edit]