BIG FRESH | "SWEEPS" EP | DESPERATE SPIRITS | AUG. 10th, 2018
The ten-person collective known as Big Fresh, one of Lexington, Kentucky’s most venerable pop music institutions, is back this summer!
Following up last year’s “Fall Preview” EP with the five-track EP “Sweeps” on August 10th, the new collection of tunes is essentially the other side of the coin that we saw the face of last year. “Sweeps” arrives on the band’s Desperate Spirits label (ATTEMPT, Italian Beaches), and will be available digitally, as well as in a limited vinyl edition.
Similar to the ebullient sonic tropes of “Fall Preview,” “Sweeps” draws from musical touchstones near and far, synthesizing the breezy harmonies of The Free Design, the lush arrangements of David Axelrod, and the gleeful deconstructionism of XTC.
Like its predecessor, “Sweeps” also features notable guest contributions from the band’s friends including Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, Per Sunding of Eggstone, Karen and Ryan Hover of Sound of Ceres and Candy Claws, along with vocalist Reva English of label mates Italian Beaches, and local Lexington heroes Tim Welch and Chris Dennison.
Thematically, John Ferguson (Desperate Spirits co-founder and a member of Big Fresh and The Apples In Stereo) explains, “If ‘Fall Preview’ represented the daytime activities of an office drone facing dehumanization from a dystopian capitalist society, then ‘Sweeps’ would be that person’s solitary nighttime reflection, struggling with personal definition amidst a world that eats people.”
Ferguson continues, “‘Sweeps’ finds the members of Big Fresh losing our grip on our place in a chaotic dystopia. We have run out of patience with God, and are hoping to find our prayers answered at the altar of pop music... the recording, production, consumption, transmission, creation of eternal frequencies that echo through the vacuum of space. It is our only hope.”
Without a doubt, listeners will find “Sweeps” to be a more convenient distillation for modern living than any religious text.
Its cover art, once again by the amazing Chad Stockfleth, is itself worthy of a biblical tome, too. Bookending the TV Guide-theme introduced with “Fall Preview,” it features nearly the same concept and composition, “Only this time the digest sits amid trailer trash, and underclass accoutrement,” says Ferguson.
The release of “Sweeps” will be preceded by the single and music video “Hottie Tottie,” which Ferguson describes as “an unsubtle ode to my preoccupation with sex, and the feelings of guilt placed on such thoughts by a superstitious and primitive culture. Sonically, it draws from Electric Light Orchestra, Michael Jackson, The Apples in Stereo, Dungeon Family, and (the aforementioned) XTC. It’s like The Beatles making fucked-up electro-funk.”
The “Sweeps” EP by Big Fresh arrives August 10th, 2018 on Desperate Spirits.
About “Fall Preview,” the previous companion EP to Big Fresh’s upcoming “Sweeps” EP:
“We got tired of hearing ourselves singing lead on every track,” explains Ferguson, “So we invited a few of our talented friends to join us.”
Indeed, the opening cut “Tongku,” features vocals in Mandarin by Bianbian, lead singer of the Beijing pop band, Candy Monster. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Beans” features the stylings of Hair Police founder, Trevor Tremaine, “Yes Yes Yes” is voiced by former Big Fresh singer, Kate Pope, and closing track “Like Swayze” (yes, that Swayze) features Lexington-based Hip-Hop and Soul singer, Michelle Hollis. As mentioned, the familiar voice of Schneider lifts up the EP’s first single and music video, “Paralyzed.”
About that tune, Ferguson says, “It’s a cynical look at my journey growing up within the culture of fundamentalist Christianity, fast food, and excessive television consumption in rural Kentucky. Although I was able to shed my primitive and superstitious programming by the time I was a teen, I notice that I’ve come to a place where I’m still highly judgmental of myself for ‘checking out’ in front of screens.”
Ferguson says that the song’s lyric “I hope I see the day, when I can believe in anything at all” perfectly sums up the feeling of the tune. That said, no one should be swayed (Swayze!) into thinking that “Paralyzed” is – especially with Schneider’s vocal leading the way – anything less than a stellar example of ooey gooey pure pop goodness. As succinctly stated by Ferguson, “the sweetly fatalistic optimism of Big Fresh resonates.”
In June, Big Fresh will hit the road (all ten band members!) for dates in the Northeast and Midwest, and the second EP in this series, “Sweeps,” will follow closely behind in the fall. “Sweeps” will also feature guest vocalists, this time including Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, Per Sunding of Eggstone, and Karen Hover of Sound of Ceres. For now, Ferguson and the rest of Big Fresh urges you to consider this: In a world with few things left to truly enjoy, “Fall Preview” might be your last chance at true happiness.
Hyperbole? You’ll have to listen to find out for sure.
The “Fall Preview” EP by Big Fresh arrives on collectible limited vinyl, and digitally, on June 2nd, preceded by single and music video for “Paralyzed” (feat. Robert Schneider.)
- 09/08/2018: Lexington, KY @ Tahlsound Music Festival (Info)
- 9/4/2018: Lexington-based collective Big Fresh examines sexual preoccupation with sports metaphors in new Beatles-meets-electro funk “Hottie Tottie” video.
- 7/31/2018: Big Fresh follows-up last year’s “Fall Preview” with this season’s “Sweeps” EP, out Aug. 10th from Lexington, Kentucky-based Desperate Spirits.
- 6/02/2017: Lexington, Kentucky-based ten-person ensemble Big Fresh releases new “Fall Preview” EP, launches week-long tour today.
- 5/17/2017: Lead singer of Lexington, Kentucky-based ten-person ensemble Big Fresh doesn’t do much lead singing on upcoming “Fall Preview” EP.
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