Fred Abong’s ‘Fear Pageant’ Combines Mystery, Romance, And Dread

New Orleans-based Alternative Folk-Rock artist Fred Abong has released his latest single “Fear Pageant” the title track from his new Fear Pageant album, his seventh to date. It will be released via Seattle label Disc Drive.

Fred Abong shares:

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.

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 an intentionally raw and unpolished production aesthetic. Abong has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.

Abong discusses the album further:

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.

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.

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