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  • Pre-order of PARO. You get 3 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    releases February 24, 2017

     $12 USD  or more

     

  • Record/Vinyl

    Limited edition run of 500 copies. Mastered specifically for vinyl by Brent Lambert at Kitchen Mastering. Pressed at Record Technology, Inc. (RTI), the finest pressing plant in the USA. Sounds incredibly warm and organic in this format.

    Includes digital pre-order of PARO. You get 3 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    shipping out on or around February 24, 2017
    edition of 500 

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1.
03:34
2.
Desert Orchards
3.
Heels On The Street
4.
5.
Civilized Death
6.
Like the Company
7.
8.
1986 Again

about

American singer-songwriter Brice Randall Bickford is best known for performing country-inflected narrative pop songs under the name The Strugglers in the 2000’s. Bickford released four LPs as The Strugglers, touring Europe and the U.S. regularly. His skill as a songwriter has earned wide recognition from influential musicians and critics alike. Pitchfork has described his technique as “tracing a single thought or sketching a single image throughout the winding course of several bars, building suspense and making you wait patiently for the pay-off”.

On February 24, 2017, Austin-based label Keeled Scales will release Bickford’s newest album Paro—the second LP issued under his own name after 2011’s eponymous debut. For this new album, Bickford has again teamed up with producer Scott Solter (The Mountain Goats, Spoon, Superchunk) and arranger/keyboardist Alex Lazara (The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers). Iconic guitarist Ash Bowie (Polvo) contributed heavily to the album as well.

Paro, which takes its name from the term for “labor strike” commonly used in Latin America, paints a portrait of modern human society viewed from 30,000 feet. The eight-track song cycle examines, among other things, the wicked problems humans unwittingly tilled into civilization 10,000 years ago when we adopted agriculture and, as a result, systems of government and control.

With producer Scott Solter, Bickford has clothed his heady narratives, and his own burnished baritone, in arrangements that recall the hi-fi art rock of the 1980's (Roxy Music, Talk Talk, David Sylvian). With bell-clear production as gorgeously rendered as the songs themselves, Paro is Bickford’s most assured and refined artistic statement to date.

Read a Q&A about the album concept and Bickford’s history as a North Carolina musician here. theartscenter-blog.tumblr.com/post/147596811873/artist-dialogue

credits

releases February 24, 2017

Produced, recorded and mixed by Scott Solter. Cover and lyric sheet by Alex Lazara. All songs © B.R. Bickford.

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Track Name: The First Grain
Son they sure did whip me today
My old man used to say
We had the Lord to thank
As he sank in the other room
A sawtooth sawdust salesman
And thus in the a.m. mirror I am
Seeing only that I have to withstand

Millennia of mistakes
Here on the breath of an underground train
That takes me to my screen
And the family business
We’ve been swindling for so many years
Ever since we planted the first grain
The notion of wanting
To be more than sustained

When you cut your teeth on
Whatever you were handed
The first time thinking, I don’t belong
You didn’t know the half of it
Sorta like the district
In the evenings come midweek
When the exodus is swelling all around me
For escape after ten thousand years as poor actors

Facing this backfiring engine
I don’t want any part of
Imagining the bodies
That could finally match it

When you cut your teeth on
Whatever you were handed
The first time thinking, I don’t belong
You didn’t know the half of it
You only knew you wanted to be true
No wonder our bodies feel
No wonder
Our bodies feel out of tune