Alternative singer-songwriter Fred Abong releases ‘Father’, first taste of forthcoming ‘Fear Pageant’ album
“Purity and honesty in his approach that gets more and more intense with each track… like you’re riding a wave of energy” ~ Higher Plain Music
“Thoughtful, minimalist. The ghost of Syd Barrett watches over everything… ‘another sonic leap forward” ~ Real Gone Rocks
“An almost painful intimacy to his words despite the oblique phrasing and imagery he conjures” ~ Isolation Records
“An ascent out of singer-songwriter folk territory into something bordering on punk and psychedelia” ~ Fatea Magazine
“Beautifully raw, uncluttered and quite cinematic… Melodically infectious and lyrically mysterious ~ Newport Naked
This is Abong’s seventh album (most of which have been self-released, along with his two EPs), following up his ‘Yellowthroat’ album, released in mid-2022 and recorded together with Rob Ahlers (50FOOTWAVE, Kristin Hersh Electric Trio).
On this release, Abong – a Filipino-American indie / alternative rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – upholds his reputation as a songwriter creating a blend of “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan” and as “Elliott Smith with balls”.
A musical and geographical wanderer, he grew up in the Northeast, has lived in Southern California, and currently calls New Orleans home. His songs are existentially and romantically focused, poetic, and slightly off-kilter. Detuned guitars, unconventional song structures, and a raw and unpolished production aesthetic characterize the overall sound. Fred’s hypnotic, sometimes gravelly adds to the effect.
“This was one of the last songs to be written for this album. Though I never know what ‘inspires’ a song in any kind of obvious way (I don’t get ‘ideas’ for songs or anything like that), it’s possible the song is informed by the fact that my children are all adults now. But that’s too linear an interpretation. The song is both less and more than that, in my opinion. Nothing is that straightforward. You should be getting the idea that I’m not in control of the song, ever. Maybe the spelling … I’m in control of the spelling,” says Fred Abong.
“Lyrically and imagistically, though, it suggests to me a spiritual crisis of some sort. The music, too, has a solemn, reverential quality, until it gets funky in the outro. Actually, now that I think about it, the whole song is both reverential and funky. It just gets funkier at the end. So, I guess that’s what the song is about – funky reverence.”
Getting his musical start in 1980’s Rhode Island as a drummer, bassist and guitarist in an array of hardcore punk bands, Fred Abong spent the early 1990s playing bass for Throwing Muses and then Belly. He then put music as a profession on hold for academic pursuits, earning a PhD in Humanities and serving as a professor at various universities for eight years before returning to music.
Continuing to write songs as a solo artist, Abong’s music has a raw and unpolished production aesthetic with an overall direct, though deceptively imaginative and oblique, presentation. Apart from his work as a solo artist, Fred Abong is also currently bassist in the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio and has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.
As of June 6, ‘Father’ will be released on fine music platforms, including Bandcamp, where his ‘Yellowthroat’ record (featuring the song “Passenger Side“) is also available in all formats. The full ‘Fear Pageant’ album will be released (digitally and on vinyl) on July 20.
Music and lyrics by Fred Abong
All songs recorded, mixed and performed by Fred Abong
All instruments by Fred Abong
Mastered by Fred Thomas
2. Half Wit
3. Fear Pageant
4. Hungry Ghost
6. America 808
7. My Way
FOR FANS OF:
Elliot Smith, Leonard Cohen, Kristin Hersh, The Replacements, Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Joe Strummer, Guided By Voices