Monday, June 29, 2009

The "Complete" Big Blood Discography

Big Blood falls for a thousand years....

in the spring of 2005 i woke up from a mid-afternoon nap. i was living in chicago and my truest lover - alicia - was visiting me for the first time. she was in the corner of the room, in white pajamas, painting with water colors. a song was playing. there were children laughing, and the percussion of typewriter taps, and an ethereal voice floating through it all. i felt caught between this world and a strange and beautiful (but somewhat scary) netherworld. writing poetry on fingernails will never pass the time away.

the song was called THE DING. the band was CERBERUS SHOAL.

alicia had heard them on wfmu, but beyond that they were a mystery. it wasn't until 2 years later, when i was about to move to Maine, did i look over the liner notes of THE VIM AND VIGOR OF ALVARIUS B & CERBERUS SHOAL and discover that this enigmatic group was from south portland- and they had an email address.

i emailed co-founder chriss sutherland, told him how much i loved CERBERUS SHOAL (I had since tracked down a few more equally mindblowing albums from their extensive catalog), and was hoping to see them live when i got to portland. however, when chriss emailed me back i was disappointed to read that cerberus shoal had gone to 'sleep', but would be emerging in a new incarnation as FIRE ON FIRE.

nonetheless, the first thing i did when i got to portland was go to all our fine record stores and ask if they had any cerberus shoal albums. i finally ended up at time-lag records- they didn't have any cs records, but they pointed me to some beautifully packaged albums by a band called BIG BLOOD- a side project by Colleen Kinsella and Caleb Mulkerin, formerly of cs (+ their alter egos asian mae and rose philistine).

i bought it for the very reasonable price of $5 and jumped into my car to give it a listen. i was hooked from the beginning.

i could go on and on about the power of big blood's music- how it manages to be gloriously joyous while staring unflinchingly into darkness- but my words could never sum up its majesty. fortunately, caleb and colleen have been so kind to put their "complete" discography online (for free!). they are also amazingly prolific (9 albums in less than 3 years), so it might be hard to know where to start. I definitely suggest listening to the albums all the way through, but if you want a quick shot of big blood directly into the veins, let me recommend the following tracks:

1. the grove is hotter than an ocean's oven
2. so old again
3. she said nothing
4. she sells sanctuary
5. oh country

you can download the albums here.

i put "complete" in parentheses, because i am sure big blood has about four albums worth of unreleased material just sitting around. in fact, they just released a song called 'sick with information' on a fantastic new compilation called LEAVES OF LIFE, that you can purchase on iTunes (it also benefits a good cause). there are also great tracks by local heroes micah blue smaldone, cursillistas, arborea, and denise dill. there are also tracks by national acts like alela diane, larkin grimm, and devendra banhart. check it out!

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