Fred Abong announces album ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’

Fred Abington skateboard photo
Photo by Kristin Hersh

Fred Abong has announced his new album ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ (OMOPH) on November 20. Ahead of that, he has shared the lead track The Minit, which is now available via Bandcamp. Abong also created the accompanying video, based on his own film footage. Watch the video clip for The Minit via YouTube below.

Perhaps best known as bass player in the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses during the ‘Real Ramona’ period, Abong also co-founded the Grammy-nominated alt-rock band Belly with Tanya Donnely. Before recently returning to music, he spent roughly a decade in academia, completing a Ph.D. in Humanities and then working as an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies, Philosophy, and English Departments at various universities.

Self-recorded and produced, Abong’s solo music has alternately been described as “ragged Replacements” and “Elliott Smith with balls”. This new album was jointly mixed and mastered at Stable Sounds in Portsmouth, RI by Abong and producer Steve Rizzo, renowned for his work with Kristin Hersh, Throwing Muses and Cindy Wilson of The B-52’s.

“The songs on ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help (OMOPH)’ “showed up” after I moved to New Orleans at the beginning of 2020. The swampy dream-magic of my new hometown no doubt seeped into and influenced the work. Only on reflection is this discernible, though, perhaps no more so than in the first ‘single’ (an industry term, not mine), ‘The Minit’. Processional and funereal, ‘The Minit’ is laced with images of parades, flowers, heaven, gloom, mud, blood, fire, disappearing, tenderness, and deception – things that innately hang in and saturate the New Orleans air,” says Fred Abong.

“I am in no position to tell anyone what The Minit, or any other song for that matter, is about. Aboutness is personal … it’s the job of the listener to figure that out for herself. I CAN say that when I listen to it I am reminded of my first few months in New Orleans. But that only partially captures things … the song and its’ imagery animate in me more esoteric thoughts and feelings, too. Like I said, though, these things are personal – they are my own ‘aboutness’. My hope is only that others find The Minit to be about something to them as well.”

This album is the follow-up To Abong’s ‘Pulsing’ EP, released in spring of 2019, and ‘Homeless’ EP (2018). Prior to the current pandemic, Fred toured the USA and UK with Kristin Hersh (both as opening act and as part of her electric trio), as well as playing several live dates with Throwing Muses. Abong has also collaborated with Tanya Donelly on Snow Goose and Me for her 2016 ‘Swan Song’ series, as well as art rock collective The Pull of Autumn, for which he contributed Vanishing Spell and Equinox.

Prior to Throwing Muses and Belly, Fred played drums and bass in numerous bands from the Newport, RI hardcore punk scene, which gave rise to bands like Vicious Circle and Verbal Assault. Partly due to these DIY roots, Fred left the music ‘business’ after the release of Belly’s ‘Star’ in 1992, choosing instead to quietly and independently pursue his own music.

The Minit is available now via Bandcamp. As of November 20, the full ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ album will be available everywhere digitally. It can be pre-ordered directly via Bandcamp.