Alternative folk-rock troubadour Fred Abong (Throwing Muses, Belly) unveils ‘Fear Pageant’ title track from seventh 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
New Orleans-based alternative folk-rock artist Fred Abong presents his latest single ‘Fear Pageant‘, the title track from his new ‘Fear Pageant’ album – his seventh to date. Released via Seattle label Disc Drive, on this album, Abong upholds his reputation for creating music that is a blend of “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan” and “Elliott Smith with balls”.
“I have a habit of writing the title track for an album last, which is what happened with previous albums ‘Homeless’, ‘Pulsing’ and ‘OMOPH‘, and now again with ‘Fear Pageant’. I think it must be something about being steeped in the mood/vibe of the collection of songs that have slowly revealed themselves that makes it possible or even inevitable that a summation or capstone song would show up at the end,” says Fred Abong.
“In any case, though somewhat short, the song ‘Fear Pageant’ distills the various elements of all the tracks into a little nugget of mystery, romance, dread, and groove. The video is less realized – light as a feather and kind of thrown together and spare – but I still think it works as an ephemeral companion to the song.”
Fred Abong got his musical start in the 1980’s as a drummer, bassist and guitarist on the Rhode Island hardcore punk scene. In the early 1990s, he played bass for Throwing Muses and then Belly. He then put music on hold for academic pursuits, earning a PhD in Humanities and teaching at various universities for eight years before returning to music. Now back as a solo artist, Abong also plays bass in the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio.
A Filipino-American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Abong’s music has a raw and unpolished production aesthetic with an overall direct, though deceptively imaginative and oblique, presentation. Abong has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.
“This album started with the love of a new guitar I had recently purchased – a gold Gretsch Rancher Penguin. As with all my guitars, I immediately adjusted it to baritone tuning and began writing. Pretty quickly, I had enough songs for a record. I knew these songs were going to get a fuller production treatment than previous efforts though.
“The main reason for this is that, like a good commie, I was finally in possession of the means of production, having been gifted a Mac Workbook, upon which to load my DAW of choice. With the aid of a keyboard MIDI controller, I could finally do everything myself, which has always been my dream. Fear Pageant is thus my first attempt at a truly DIY solo effort,” says Fred Abong.
“Outside of these technical details, the songs are of course rooted in the same existential and romantic hangups as usual, i.e., in an ongoing anxiety about my tenuous place in the world and in the lives of intimates. Taken together, the subject matter of the songs struck me as a kind of never-ending personal drama, one that others might also identify with, of course, but one that feels incredibly ostentatious and elaborate ‘on the inside’. Like a one-man Fear Pageant, in other words.”
In the lead-up to the album’s release, Abong also released the lead singles ‘Father’ and ‘My Way’. The new album itself follows Abong’s ‘Yellowthroat’ album, released in 2022 and recorded with Rob Ahlers (50FOOTWAVE, Kristin Hersh Electric Trio).
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 voice adds to the effect.
‘Fear Pageant’ is out now and available across fine music platforms, including Bandcamp. The record is available on vinyl or as a digital download.
Music and lyrics by Fred Abong
All songs recorded, mixed and performed by Fred Abong
All instruments by Fred Abong
Mastered by Fred Thomas
Videos by Fred Abong
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