After a decade of releases as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Owen Ashworth introduced his new moniker, Advance Base, with the 2011 single “Our Cat,” an electro-piano waltz mostly in-step with the melancholy reflection that earned Casiotone a spot in a Barry Jenkins movie. Like “New Years Kiss” before it, “Our Cat” heaped a whole bunch of feelings into a sparsely lyricked, three-minute pop song about a rainy month spent trying to track down an escaped pet. Like most of Ashworth’s songs, it’s really about much more than a missing cat.
With the release of Animal Companionship, Advance Base’s latest record, Ashworth revisits the theme of, well, animal companionship (“Your Dog” complements “Our Cat” nicely), conceptualizing the idea of our close relationships with animals informing our human condition. In crafting these songs, Ashworth found inspiration in the feline, canine, aquiline, and otherwise-ine songwriting of the greats: Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog,” says Ashworth, directly inspired his record’s artwork (painted by Jessica Seamans) while he lists “When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog” as one of his favorite song titles ever (“Nice going, Jens Lekman”).
“Like the animal songs on Animal Companionship,” Ashworth explains of compiling this playlist about real and metaphorical creatures, “none of these songs mourn the death of any animals—but there is some peripheral human mourning. These songs showed me the way to write bummer animal songs where the animals are not the bummer.”
Check out his playlist below. Animal Companionship is out now on Run for Cover Records.