New single – Formicarium – out today

As promised, here’s one last single from me before I leave music behind to focus on further study and family, at least for a good while.

I wrote this one a couple of Septembers ago but hadn’t recorded it until now – I didn’t want it to be the one that got left behind. It’s available now from iTunes and Bandcamp (on Bandcamp it comes with a home demo b-side: ‘Breathe, Rabbit, Breathe’). It’s already had some love from Gideon Coe on BBC 6 music and from WFUV in New Yoik.

Bandcamp – free/pay what you like. Includes b-side
iTunes – 99p
Or you can stream it on Spotify. Lyric video here.

It features my band of lovelies – Hannah (flute, vocals, percussion), Oliver (banjo) and Katherine (violin) – and was recorded in one short session at 2Fly Studios here in Sheffield on September 1st. I hope you’ll give it a listen and share it with anyone you think would appreciate it.

FInally, a big big THANK YOU for all your support over the years, it really means a lot and I wish you all lots of happiness in return.

Forwards, fellow creatures
Ant Johnson

I was born into the summertime so I’d see September arriving
I crashed and clawed my way to 35
But that year I learned to walk quietly – now you will never hear me by scarce perceptible stream
I’ll stare a pheasant right down from a couple of feet

Water don’t move, it’s the forces upon: gravity, sun and wind

See I’ve already gone (she’s already gone)
Slipped away by the light of day (slipped away by the light of day)
To the Pinetum (to the Pinetum)
Where I’ve stashed all your stork-given babes

When I’m a giant I stroke the land, oh so very gently, my great hand
Over prickling treetops, green velvet hills
A spire, now chimney smoke, through my fingers spread wide
I wash my hands in the lake, rub the water in

Giants don’t get a giant brain, just a heart that beats nice and slow

And now I have got the brawn (she has got the brawn)
To lift great boulders from the moor (boulders from the moor)
And drop them out of the dimming sky (out of the dimming sky)
On the dogs who live next door

And when I shrink back down (when she shrinks back down)
If I should shrink too small (if she should shrink too small)
Build me a formicarium (formicarium)
And keep me sheltered from the storm

Keep the river to the right (keep the river to the right)
If you’re here, be here (to the bridge and back again)
Under willow we will sleep (under willow we will sleep)
On the cusp of severe (it’s just that time of year)

Dead as the water, alive as the wind
(To the bridge and back again)
Dead as the water, alive as the wind
(To the bridge and back again)
Dead as the water, alive as the wind
Dead as the water

I am standing still (we are standing still)
At both ends of the lane (both ends of the lane)
Cos time stops when I run (time stops when we run)
To the bridge and back again (to the bridge and back again)

And you saw a solid thing (you saw a solid thing)
While I swam in the Hall
The theatre spins through space
As rockets fly above us all

Certain Death


Digital only single available on Bandcamp
Coming soon to iTunes (vid coming soon too!)

You are a singularity
Vote on June 8th
Vote for kindness
Vote for empathy
Please don’t vote Tory

50% of all sales to the People’s Assembly


Do you know any floating voters / Tory voters in marginal seats? Do you have a Conservative-voting Grandma who likes her grandchildren and embroidery but for some reason thinks Theresa May is great? Perhaps you know a floating voter who is so twee they might actually be swayed by a small piece of embroidery?
Email me their address and I will anonymously post one of these to their house.

NB this isn’t a ‘merch’ thing so please don’t ask for one for yourself. I’m asking for people’s help with this as we’re safe from Tories here in Sheffield (hurray!) so it would be great to hear from people in marginal seats. I am a total amateur embroiderist embroiderer whatever so if my sub-par stitching upsets your gran don’t say I didn’t warn you.

‘Certain Death’ recorded by Alan Smyth at 2fly Studios, Sheffield, mastered by Dean Honer
Nat Johnson – vocals, guitar; Oliver Allchin – saw, percussion; Hannah Cartledge – vocals, flute, accordion; Katherine Jackson – vocals; Chris Loftus – bass; Neil Piper – drums

Monkey Swallows the Universe…again!

You asked for it. TWO more MSTU shows, this time marking the 10th anniversary of our second album, The Casket Letters, which was released on Loose Records in 2007.

We’ll be playing The Casket Letters in full on Friday 28th July at Sheffield City Hall Ballroom. Tickets will be on sale for this one from Friday 10th March.

We’ll also be playing a set of our favourites at Indietracks Festival on Sunday 30th July. Tickets are on sale NOW.

Pic above by Chris Saunders, taken on the Bole Hills in Sheffield.