TU FAWNING – A MONUMENT
LP / CD / Digital
Out May 15, 2012 via City Slang
Tu Fawning are:
Corrina Repp (vocals, guitar, drums, percussion)
Joe Haege (guitar, drums, samples, vocals, percussion)
Liza Rietz (piano, organ, violin, percussion, vocals)
Toussaint Perrault (synth, trumpet, percussion, vocals)
TU FAWNING return this May with their sophomore release, A Monument. While the band retain their trademark sound in Corrina Repp’s formidable voice, the swampy blues-guitar howls are now replaced by a newfound love for vibrant percussive mania. A more ample use of keyboards have steered the band past the morbidly dark vaudevillian vibes of their 2010 debut album Hearts On Hold, and these new songs are even more focused and pointed than ever. A Monument delivers a set of dense, romantic, and highly energetic songs that fully represent Tu Fawning’s powerful live show. And on A Monument, this sparkles through on every track.
Band member Joe Haege confesses “With as much as the last record relied on samples and teasing out a song from very repetitive ideas, A Monument focuses on collaboration of the four of us (Corrina Repp, Liza Rietz, Toussaint Perrault, Joe Haege). When Toussaint played us some loose ideas he had recorded we all fell in love with them and they ended up kind of defining the record: using synths more heavily yet with no intent of making ‘synth’ or ‘electro’ music. The goal was still one of timelessness, meaning we wanted to capture a feeling that someone listening to it couldn’t easily pin down the era it’s from. I think we really wanted that for ourselves, For this album we were no longer starting with a vague identity.
Perfectly designed to fill up one side of a C90 cassette, A Monument offers exactly nine very different shades of that beautiful and unusual Tu Fawning style. There is no genre to point to, no drawer in which to throw this band. These songs are refreshingly varied, yet very much cohesive on a whole. A Monument exemplifies the growth of the band: personally, collectively, and musically. It’s a way of sharing the new level of musical communication at which the four members have arrived, a connection that came through a breadth of shared experiences, from writing together in their hometown of Portland, OR, Leipzig, Germany, and San Francisco, CA, to touring for months at a time and performing night after night. A Monument is a testimony to the band Tu Fawning have become.
Tracks like “Blood Stains” show Tu Fawning moving toward a warped R&B style akin to Birthday Party or early Bad Seeds (less the atonality and surely sans the overt testosterone). And likewise “Wager” has a moody sensuality. Unconventional, eccentric, and timeless are user-friendly adjectives when trying to describe a band such as this. And lets not forget dramatic! Does it get anymore dramatic than “Build A Great Cliff“? Can you imagine a wilder rollercoaster ride than the epic seven and a half minute album closer that is “Bones“? The latter illustrating the purposeful sense of exuberance found throughout the album.
A Monument was recorded at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and at Type Foundry in Portland. Some additional recording took place at Menomena’s Justin Harris’ house. The album was mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzmann and Mastering Pope Howie Weinberg at his Los Angeles studios. Above and beyond the usual guitars, keys, horns and drums, the record features instrumentation such as a ragini, a tuned down marching band drum, old 80’s synths (actually lots of synths), samples of South American chants turned into chords. Not to mention degenerated four track recorders, dying guitar pedals, but most importantly: “turning your back to the microphone and yelling…”.
Praise for Hearts On Hold:
“It’s a gorgeous, rickety, slightly terrifying collection of parlor songs—on some, Tu Fawning sounds like spirit mediums summoning ghosts from beyond, while on other tracks they sound like the ghosts themselves.“
“Repp’s vocal performances are perfect, and the arrangements are adventurous and spot-on.”
Under The Radar
“Like an absinthe-drenched dance band in a decaying ballroom… It’s all a brave and evocative mess. Tu Fawning are capable of something extraordinary.”
“Right up there with hearing Kate Bush’s ‘A Kick Inside’ for the first time; a wonderful headscratcher. A curious, compelling whole.”