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Fred Abong – Photo Credit: Kristin Hersh
No stranger to fans of Rhode Island Music Hall of Famers and otherwise groundbreaking post-punk college rock staples Throwing Muses, Fred Abong is back with new music. Our first taste of the new album ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ (OMOPH) comes by way of a new video for the song ‘The Minit’. What begins like a procession, there is a groove here, created by all but a guitar and a sea-deep voice with exceptional timbre. The single is also downloadable via Bandcamp.
Having played bass with the Muses during the ‘Real Ramona’ period, Abong took a few decades away from the music scene, with roughly a decade of that dedicated to pursuing a career in academia, completing a Ph.D. in Humanities and working as an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies, Philosophy, and English Departments at various universities. Busy guy.
Self-recorded and produced, Abong returned to Stable Sounds in Portsmouth, RI to work alongside renowned producer Steve Rizzo to mix and master this new album. Rizzo is also well known for his solid work with Kristin Hersh, Throwing Muses and Cindy Wilson of The B-52’s.
“The songs on Our Mother of Perpetual Help (OMOPH) ‘showed up’ after I moved to New Orleans at the beginning of 2020. The swampy dream-magic of my new hometown no doubt seeped into and influenced the work. Only on reflection is this discernible, though, perhaps no more so than in the first ‘single’ (an industry term, not mine), ‘The Minit’. Processional and funereal, ‘The Minit’ is laced with images of parades, flowers, heaven, gloom, mud, blood, fire, disappearing, tenderness, and deception – things that innately hang in and saturate the New Orleans air,” says Fred Abong.
“I am in no position to tell anyone what ‘The Minit’, or any other song for that matter, is about. ‘Aboutness’ is personal … it’s the job of the listener to figure that out for herself. I CAN say that when I listen to it, I am reminded of my first few months in New Orleans. But that only partially captures things … the song and its’ imagery animate in me more esoteric thoughts and feelings, too. Like I said, though, these things are personal – they are my own ‘aboutness’. My hope is only that others find ‘The Minit’ to be about something to them as well.”
This album follows up Abong’s ‘Pulsing’ EP, released in spring of 2019, and ‘Homeless’ EP (2018). Prior to the current pandemic, Fred toured the USA and UK with Kristin Hersh (both as opening act and as part of her electric trio), as well as playing several live dates with Throwing Muses. Abong also collaborates with art rock collective The Pull of Autumn, for which he contributed ‘Vanishing Spell’ and ‘Equinox’.
Prior to joining Throwing Muses, Fred played drums and bass in numerous bands from the Newport, RI hardcore punk scene, which gave rise to bands like Vicious Circle and Verbal Assault.
Fred Abong ‘The Minit’ is available now via Bandcamp. As of November 20, the full ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ album will be available everywhere digitally. It can be pre-ordered directly from the artist via Bandcamp
Let’s take a step back to another recent release from Abong, performed live in Edinburgh during his latest UK tour with Kristin Hersh
And then all the way back to The Real Ramona-era Throwing Muses, during which time he played bass in the quartet
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