My Adelphi Twin (Big Stir Digital Single No. 22)
This week, the 22nd BIG STIR DIGITAL SINGLE is a complicated beast. The short story is that it's a new and exclusive release from ANTON BARBEAU, who should need no introduction and is soon to become even more notorious to followers of the Big Stir Collective. The complex surreality is that each side is a debut song from a brand new artist: Side A is “My Adelphi Twin” from Sacramento-based group-not-individual KENNY, while Side B marks the recorded bow of GIACOMO & CAROLINA, a synth-dub duo from, approximately, Berlin, with “Jah Rosie, The Dainty Beast”. How can this be? The entire conundrum will be unleashed Friday, March 29 and can and should be pre-ordered now:
For the uninitiated: ANTON BARBEAU plays "pre-apocalyptic psychedelic pop." He's a Taurus, born in Sacramento and now living by a canal in Berlin. He's made something like 20 albums and has worked with members of XTC, The Soft Boys, The Bevis Frond, Cake, The Loud Family and Mystery Lawn label-mates, The Corner Laughers. Julian Cope got him stoned in Croydon (home of Big Stir Britannia no less!) once. His latest album as himself, Natural Causes, has been widely regarded as a high-water mark in an already-storied career. Our globe-trotting hero tours Spain (where his albums are released on the You Are The Cosmos and Rock Indiana labels) twice a year, playing solo shows or fronting Extintor. In the UK, where he lived for five years, his band with ex-Robyn Hitchcock cronies Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor, THREE MINUTE TEASE, is no more, but Ant has a new Oxford-based band, THRUST (actually Big Stir's own CHARMS AGAINST THE EVIL EYE in disguise). His latest release for Fruits de Mer, "the most collectable label in the world," is Heaven Is In Your Mind and consists of covers of songs by Traffic, Big Star and Bowie, as well as the curious original, "Secretion of the Wafer", which Barbeau claims is "one of the greatest songs about crowd funding, possibly ever."
When he's back in California, our Ant plays with his band KENNY. That's when he's not writing and producing albums for ALLYSON SECONDS, whose second record, Little World, got massive attention thanks to a feature on NPR's Fresh Air. Besides Barbeau's various own projects, he also is vocalist/lyricist for French band Salt. Their forthcoming debut album was recorded at legendary studios Abbey Road in London and Ferber in Paris (and was produced by Ken Stringfellow of Posies/R.E.M./Big Star fame).
Our Ant is a busy kid! His next releases include the piano-rich Berliner Grotesk, the Spanish re-release of Natural Causes, an in-house battle of the Antbands called Kenny vs Thrust, in conjunction with the groovy Burbank-based Big Stir Records folks, and a Sacramento-themed concept album called Manbird. Who needs sleep, eh?
“My Adelphi Twin” b/w “Jah Rosie” is, as noted, 3 debuts for the price of 2! Kenny and Giacomo & Carolina introduced to the world via Ant’s first release on Big Stir. Says the man himeslf: "I’ll take it! I wrote “My Adelphi Twin” quickly, trying to conjure a “proper pop song” in time for an upcoming Manbird recording session. It’s the second song I’ve written with this title! Cheap date, me. Speaking of recycled, the vocal swoop that starts the track off (and reappears later) is from “Sacramento Baby,” another Manbird contender. Top work from KENNY here - Truman Monsoon’s gunshot snare as the Hook of the Year, and The Lizard’s bass is nowt but pumpy, no? I tried to program a fancy synth riff, but they don’t call me the “MIDI Mangler” for no reason. Still, it’s all turned out fine, fingers and toes notwithstanding."
As for “Jah Rosie (The Dainty Beast)”, Ant says: "I was on tour in Spain with (Antpartner) JULIA BOORINAKIS HARPER and a woman walked up to us in a cafe and asked our names. I said, "I'm Anton and this is Julia." She said, "No, you’re Giacomo & Carolina!”
JULIA (Carolina?) completes the tale: "Yeah - when an eccentric Spanish-Swiss lady with an odd small dog comes up to you in a cafe, starts telling you her life story, and starts telling you your life story... nod and agree with her and start working on the record posthaste!" The song is "hopefully a fitting tribute to Rosie, the queen of all cats. She’s truly a mos’ Ras creature. I wrote this one very much in California, freshly Peter Tosh’d und ting. And hey, gear geeks! Julia’s piano is over 10,000 years old, the Prophet 5 we used belonged to Terry Riley and that’s Rosie on Micromoog sax. Trainspotters = Truth."
Anton's Berliner Grotesk is out now or can be plausibly inferred to be, and Kenny Vs. Thrust (it's a band record, don't you know) will see release this summer on Big Stir Records (the titular Thrust in their natural state as Charms Against the Evil Eye having just released a fine best-selling installment in the Big Stir Singles Series as well). Stay tuned for more news as it develops, and as always, thank you, friends!