New Orleans-based alternative folk-rock artist Fred Abong presents his new ‘Fear Pageant’ album – his seventh to date – released via Seattle label Disc Drive, along with the video for his latest single ‘My Way’.
Here, Abong upholds his reputation for creating music that is a blend of “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan” and “Elliott Smith with balls”. Earlier, he also released a video for the lead track ‘Father’.
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.”
This record 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.
As of July 20, ‘Fear Pageant’ will be released across fine music platforms, including Bandcamp, where the album will be available on vinyl or as a digital download.