- Been Here and Gone - ole-519 - 2001-07-31
Been Here and Gone
"... the spellbinding power of Zedek’s voice, which has a raw, barbed-wire twisting intensity matched by few rock singers." -- Chicago Tribune
Thalia Zedek is one of the most important and talented vocalists in American rock. Over her 20+ year career as singer and guitarist with bands like Come, Live Skull, Uzi, and others, she has brought an unparalleled intensity and emotion to underground music, a talent on par with Nick Cave or Patti Smith. She’s been deeply influential and fiercely revered.
Thalia moved from Washington DC to Boston in the late 70s, joining a band called White Women before forming the all-female Dangerous Birds in 1981. Their "Smile On Your Face" single brought Dangerous Birds some notice (it was later included on the Sub Pop 100 compilation), though they eventually split and Thalia formed Uzi in 1983. Uzi made one spectacular EP, Sleep Asylum, which was way ahead of its time in its blend of Thalia’s garage-blues-punk background with drummer Danny Lee’s modernist approach, incorporating electronic drums, found sounds, and tape manipulation.
When Uzi split in 1986, Thalia was asked to join Live Skull, a New York band often (unfairly) maligned as a second-rate Sonic Youth but who, with the addition of such a strong frontperson, were completely transformed into one of the best bands in New York at the time. Thalia appeared on two Live Skull LPs and one EP, all released on Homestead Records, before returning to Boston, where she and friend Chris Brokaw (formerly of Codeine) decided to form Come.
Come’s debut single"Car"/"Last Mistake" was released as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club and caught a lot of people in the music world off guard. Their debut album Eleven:Eleven came out in 1992 and was one of the most acclaimed records of the year, both in the press and among the indie heroes of the day--Kurt Cobain, Bob Mould, J Mascis. Brilliant guitar playing, fearless vocals, terrific lyrics, remarkably emotional songsŠ
Over the course of their career, Come were certainly acknowledged. Melody Maker: "Come have made it harder for music to be banal. They’ve carved a fresh benchmark. Marvel at its magnificence." Rolling Stone: "Music you won’t soon forget." Option: "Impossibly original." Entertainment Weekly: "Captivating... enthralling." Musician: "A revelation." Spin: "Ferocious." Request: "They make time stand still." Creem: "A confession you’ve got no business hearing." Rip: "Truly brilliant, bruising stuff." NME: "StaggeringŠCome really rock, with force, like hell, almost literally." New York Times: "Come’s music evokes those moments in rock’s demonic journey when the seam is about to split."
Come released four albums, the last being 1998’s Gently Down The Stream. The band recently disbanded (though Thalia had already finished her album when they decided to make it official). The initial idea for Thalia’s record came as a result of a couple short "cabaret" tours the band did between their third and fourth records, where they did stripped-down versions of Come songs with piano and strings. Thalia found that she liked singing over the quieter instrumentation, where she felt she could be more expressive (and could actually hear herself!).
Her importance and respect among her peers was reiterated by her inclusion on the Indigo Girls’ 1998 Suffragette Sessions Tour, a group of female artists which Amy Ray described as "a socialist experiment in rock...no hierarchy, no boundaries."
When Come took an indefinite hiatus in 1999, Thalia was asked to do some solo shows in Boston, for which she again opted for the stripped-down instrumentation, performing songs by Leonard Cohen, The Ramones, and Alex Chilton, as well as more standard torch songs. She got an incredible response and started composing songs specifically for these more intimate performances. Accompanying her on these shows were some Come bandmates and many people who play on this record.
Been Here And Gone is on one hand a straightforward singer/songwriter record, and on the other hand completely defies categorization; these are tricky, bluesy, deep songs devoid of any Œfolkie’ vibes, a rock Œn’ roll album with viola, piano, and trumpet. Listen to the stark "1926," probably the most moving performance of the year.
Recorded March 2001 at Higher Power Recording, New York. Produced by Thalia Zedek and Bryce Goggin.
Thalia Zedek--vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
David Michael Curry--viola, trumpet
Chris Brokaw--electric and slide guitars
11/13/2002 — Thalia has a new CD EP available from the Kimchee label, a six-song collection called 'You're A Big Girl Now'. Recorded during the summer of 2002 with David Michael Curry and Daniel Coughlin, the CD includes Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan covers along with 4 new Zedek originals.
06/12/2001 — Thalia Zedek
The previously touted ‘Been Here & Gone’ solo debut from the Come vocalist/guitarist will be out on July 31. Prior to that, Zedek is making a brief European promo trip including a one-off solo appearance at London’s 12 Bar Club on June 23. US dates to follow.
04/10/2001 — One of the planet’s finest vocalists and her forthcoming solo debut — Dates & titles are still in that ‘TBA’ netherworld, but later this year we’ll be releasing a solo album from Thalia Zedek, the phenomenal vocalist/guitarist whose contributions to bands including Come, Uzi, Live Skull and the Dangerous Birds, have long made her a favorite of ours and yours too, we’ll bet. With the assistance of producer Bryce Goggin (Come, Chavez, Bettie Serveert), Thalia is nearing completion on an album we’re confident will reestablish her as an awesome talent worthy of fear and respect. OK, maybe not fear. But this does bring us to the age-old question, is it better to be feared or respected? Some would argue that only through fear can you maintain power. Others would argue that true power can only be gained through mutual respect and understanding. I don’t really have an opinion on this and hopefully you don’t either. We have lots of work to do around here without bogged down in philosophical debate.
10/05/2000 — To add to the list of things that members of Come are doing: Thalia Zedek will perform a set at Threadwaxing Space on Tuesday Oct. 3rd. Accompanying her on viola/violin will be David Michael Curry of the Willard Grant Conspiracy. Both Thalia and Chris Brokaw recently performed with David’s Empty House Cooperative at the Middle East. Chris played guitar and Thalia played flute. Arrive early (8:00) for the T.W’ing space, as the various performers (readings, spoken words, music etc.) will be doing short sets at unconfirmed times. Expect to hear her excellent version of Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.” Thalia is also (tbc) on a bill with Evan Dando on October 18th at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA. Look in the tour dates update for more TZ and CB-related shows. Meanwhile we wait patiently for the live return of Come....