“I needed to get out of New York and come to a place where I didn’t know anyone,” he says. “Sometimes you have to go to a place where you don’t know the streets, the people, the cool bars, the good record stores … I like to throw myself out there, and this has been a great place to recharge.”
The spring in his songwriting step is reflected in Williams’ first single as Soft Swells, “Every Little Thing,” which will be released digitally next Tuesday. Atop echoing guitar lines, stuttering percussion and twinkling vibes, he sings “Every little thing’s gonna be all right / every little wound’s gonna heal up tight” — an almost-brash optimism, considering his history as a purveyor of the beautiful but lovelorn.
||| Stream: “Every Little Thing:”
“Previously a lot of my work centered around me trying to get through relationship stuff — it was sadder, it was me talking to myself,” says Williams, who is joined in Soft Swells by Matt Welsh of Phonograph. “This just has more positive energy.” The antithesis, perhaps, to previous songs like “Murderous Air?” “It really is,” he says.
Many of the songs on his 2009 album “Careful Love” were inspired by his first, short trip to L.A., but after Williams decided to pull up stakes and move here, he was in no hurry to put his nose to the grindstone. “Last year, I was just trying to hide out a little bit and experience life, and if a song came out of it, that’s good,” he says. “I didn’t have any interest in treating songwriting as a day job. I didn’t want anything to be forced.
“What I found, I guess, was some perspective.”
Soft Swells’ single will be released via Modern Outsider Records, a new imprint founded by the husband-and-wife team of Chip and Erin Adams (who have Dangerbird and Capitol Records on their resumés). Williams and Welsh plan to travel to England to record a full-length album this summer.
||| Live: Soft Swells will perform a stripped-down set on Feb. 22 at the Satellite.
Previously, from Tim Williams:
||| Watch: The video for his 2007 single, “Novel”: