Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
Allyson Seconds – live – Photo courtesy of Big Stir Records
Vocalist Allyson Seconds is a longtime fixture of the Sacramento, California music scene who is best known for her collaborations with fellow indie pop notable Anton Barbeau.
Seconds (who is married to Kevin Seconds of the long-running punk band 7 Seconds) recently released the reissue of her debut album, 2009’s Bag Of Kittens, via Big Stir Records.
When Seconds settled in Sacramento after college, she began collaborating with many of her favorite musicians, singing back-up with the likes of Jonah Matranga of Far, Kepi Ghoulie of the Groovie Ghoulies, and Sal Valentino of the Beau Brummels. Seconds was good friends and an occasional collaborator with smart-pop cult favorite Barbeau for years before the two teamed up to create Seconds’ Bag Of Kittens.
At the time, the Barbeau-written and -produced Bag Of Kittens wasn’t promoted that much for various reasons, so this year Big Stir became involved in re-releasing the LP on CD and download, and embellished with four brand new bonus tracks from the collaborators.
The record features a clutch of irresistibly melodic tracks written for Seconds by Barbeau and includes guest appearances from Kimberley Rew of The Soft Boys, Gabe Nelson and Vince Di Fiore from Cake, and members of the U.K. pop group Stornoway.
Seconds teamed up with Barbeau again to record and release her second album, 2016’s Little World, which featured contributions from Colin Moulding of XTC and, in one of his final recordings, Scott Miller, the late founder of Game Theory and The Loud Family. Little World garnered attention on the airwaves of NPR and beyond and remains Seconds’ calling card on the global indie pop scene.
But the re-release of Bag Of Kittens proves that the Seconds/Barbeau partnership was potent from the start and Big Takeover is delighted to host the premiere of the music video for “Tie My Laces,” an engaging track off the album.
In the performance video clip a pretty toy doll is a stand-in for the actual singer who is camera-shy, which makes for a cute and amusing switch. The doll sings at the mic while other musicians are shown playing their instruments.
The footage is shot against a lightly to vibrantly kaleidoscopic wallpaper-like background, as well as a fresh green meadow, and the video ends with a curious cat wandering in and giving the Seconds-like doll a pat on the head.
Barbeau adds some detail about the song itself and the accompanying video, commenting, “In 2008, while I was in California for a family visit, my friend and frequent musical cohort Allyson Seconds asked me to write a song for her. She was known as an excellent harmony singer but wanted to try her hand as a lead vocalist. I cranked out a tune, then another and suddenly we were making an album.”
“When I got back to England, where I’d been living for a few years, I wrote “Tie My Laces.” We were halfway through the making of her debut release, Bag of Kittens, and I felt like we’d hit a nice stride with this song, despite its doomy climate change theme. Al flew to the UK where we continued work recording the next batch of songs I’d written. “Tie My Laces” has always been my fav from Bag of Kittens. Allyson’s voice is perfect on this song, and the musicians add the loveliest colours. That’s Vince Di Fiore from Cake on trumpet.”
“The song was the easy bit, but the video was tricky. Bag of Kittens, for various “record biz” reasons was released with a whimper and barely promoted when it came out in 2009. Cut to 2018. Allyson and I had released a second album, Little World, which did considerably better, attention-wise, including being glowingly reviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. The title track for Little World featured Colin Moulding of XTC. We’d done 3 videos to promote that album, and knew we’d need to do something fresh for the impending Big Stir reissue of Bag of Kittens.”
“Thing is, lead singer or not, Allyson admitted she didn’t enjoy being in front of the camera and asked if we could do a video without her. Huh! Julia VBH and I found an Allyson-esque doll in an SPCA charity shop, which we knew would serve as a fitting surrogate for animal-activist Allyson. That the Allyson doll gets slightly eaten by cats can only be taken the right way. We were able to include the not-camera-shy Vince, plus cellist Alison Sharkey and guitarist Kevin Allison in our little film. Big thanks to Big Stir for the re-release of Bag of Kittens, an album both Allyson and I are so fond of.”
Big Stir Records Website
More in news