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Thick Pigeon \ Subway (Singles) [TWI 351]


Subway is a collection of singles by cult NYC electronica duo Thick Pigeon, originally released on Crépuscule, Factory and Factory Benelux between 1981 and 1991.

Comprised of vocalist Stanton Miranda and instrumentalist Carter Burwell, Thick Pigeon emerged from the downtown New York artrock scene which also spawned Glenn Branca, Bush Tetras, DNA, Arthur Russell and Sonic Youth. Like their chosen name, the duo were typically atypical: Miranda was previously a dancer with the Martha Graham ballet company, and Carter a film animator and Harvard fine arts/architecture graduate. Very much a studio project, the 'group' hardly ever performed live.

Poised and subtle debut single Subway appeared on Crépuscule in January 1981, a connection forged by Miranda's partner Michael Shamberg. Dog followed a year later, along with wry Christmas single Jingle Bell Rock, before the duo switched to Factory Records, recording debut album Too Crazy Cowboys in Manchester with Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order producing. Released simultaneously on Factory and Factory US in 1984, the album was billed as "a walk through the civilisation of you soul".

Having now embarked on a career scoring movies (becoming the Coen brothers' composer of choice), Carter was absent from the next TP project, 1986 dance single Wheels Over Indian Trails, although Morris and Gilbert remained on board as guest musicians. However Miranda and Carter would reunite for a second (and final) leftfield pop album, Miranda Dali, issued by Crépuscule in 1991.

As well as singles Subway, Dog, Jingle Bell Rock, Jess + Bart and Wheels Over Indian Trails, TWI 351 also includes b-sides (Sudan, Tracy + Pansy), album highlights (Crime, Riding) and a second festive track, Blue Christmas, previously issued only on cassette as part of a Factory Christmas card in 1986.

Alongside Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, the stellar cast of guests include Fred Szymanski (of Ike Yard), Ikue Mori (DNA), remixer John Robie, and even artist and event designer Jean-Paul Goude on backing vocals.

Limited to just 500 copies, Subway (Singles) is newly remastered and pressed on purple vinyl, reflecting the original 1981 sleeve artwork by Crépuscule designer Benoit Hennebert. The album includes a digital copy (MP3).


LP tracklist

A1. Subway
A2. Dog
A3. Jingle Bell Rock
A4. Tracy + Pansy
A5. Sudan
A6. Babcock + Wilcox
B1. Jess + Bart
B2. Wheels Over Indian Trails
B3. Crime
B4. Riding
B5. Blue Christmas


Available on coloured vinyl (purple) + digital (MP3). To order vinyl please select correct shipping option (UK, Europe, Rest of World) and click on Add To Cart button below cover image, or else contact LDDC by email for other payment methods (including tracked shipping).

Subway (Singles) [TWI 351]
Subway (Singles) [TWI 351]
LP options
MP3 options

Reviews:

"The single Subway kicks off the album and gives the listener a smart first impression of what Thick Pigeon might be about. They predated the codification of electronica by some years and there is a total serenity and sense of wonder in the near spoken vocal that is immediately apparent. An unrushed air that to me seemed to share something with Young Marble Giants in terms of a downbeat cool feel, if not quite sounding like them... Thick Pigeon are here depicted as very much an always evolving beast and their adventurous approach helps to keep this collection fresh and very interesting. You can see their No Wave roots showing through occasionally. But they were careful to push forward towards pastures new, rather than just adopting the already existing punk/funk thing. In doing so TP managed to anticipate electronica and were able to cross over into dance music whilst retaining their edge. At their best, they still sound great today. Thick Pigeon may be far from the most dynamic name in the world, but their music certainly had spark, invention and style" (Louder Than War, 02/2021)

"Tony asked 'the other two' if we, as friends of Miranda and with time on our hands, would like to produce Thick Pigeon's album. With the borrowed New Order Emulator, we ended up making Too Crazy Cowboys - a bit of a mammoth task as a first production job. But we got it done, had some fun, and I don't think it turned out that badly. I learned one or two things in the process, not least that Carter Burwell is some kind of genius. Musically (he's now a world-class, double Oscar-nominated film score composer) and otherwise." (Stephen Morris, 2020)

"Compiling singles, b-sides, rarities and album cuts from a decade of releases, vocalist Stanton Miranda and instrumentalist Carter Burwell's charming, eerie, eccentric art-pop draws influences from their formative selves, that of ballet dancer and filmmaker respectively. Side 1 presents their subtler minimalist tracks: sparse keys and spoken word vocals fuel Subway, intermittent tinkling piano and whispered words on Dog beside laid back, spooky instrumentation and stuttered vocals on Sudan. Side 2 is more dance-pop orientated: New Order's Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert's unmistakeable input to the fore - they produced and played on their debut LP, from which the sublime Jess + Bart sparkles with pop-driven hooks, samples and an atypical Thick Pigeon chorus. Atmospheric, exploratory electronica that both soothes and intrigues" (Vive le Rock, 07/2021)

"Edgy, and nearly impossible to date - neither the sparse electronics nor Miranda's deliberately flattened vocals giving anything away. In mood it prefigures the experimentation of early techno" (The Wire, 04/2004)

"The use of studio-generated effects, concussed vocals and techno rhythm are like ghostly suggestions of today's electronica scene, whispered down the decades from a more spartan age" (Uncut, 06/2004)

"Art pop doesn't get much better than this. For a man used to scoring film music, Carter Burwell avoided big cinematic gestures; eerie minimalist electronica dominates whilst Miranda trills, whispers and - of course - sings her heart out like a particularly intelligent schoolgirl... Throughout a mood of unsettling drama is present with the excellent Jess + Bart perhaps being their defining moment. Oddly, this album is a considerably less dated affair than many of today's current drop of electro-clash revivalists" (Leonard's Lair, 01/2004)