Gram Parsons coined the phrase “Cosmic American Music” to describe the synthesis of country, blues, rock and soul that he traded in. Sheridan Frances ‘Francie’ Medosch wouldn’t be born for another 28 years after Parsons’ 1973 death, but that Cosmic American sound was waiting for her all the same. On ‘Big Fall’, she embraces it like an old friend.

Medosch grew up outside of Philadelphia in a family home that encompassed three cats, a dog and a pig. Her mom loved music; she played all kinds of stuff around the house, but mostly alt-country like Gillian Welch and Wilco. ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’, the seminal 2002 album by the latter became formative to a young Francie’s love of music – “I never really got into ‘Sgt Pepper’ or anything, so I think that album kinda took the place of that.” She learned violin for a while, then she was a natural on piano, but that stuff bored her. Eventually, her mom bought her a guitar. “I was actually very bummed out at first. I think I wanted an Xbox or something that year. But I came around to it very quickly,” she laughs.

(STREAM / DOWNLOAD “Older Girlfriend”)
(preorder ‘Big Fall’ on LP or cassette)

As a teenager she got into obscure underground rock and power pop, influences she channeled in the band she initially named Francie Cool, which would later transition into Florry (these days it’s a solo project, in which she’s backed by Jared Radichel on bass, John Murray on guitar and Joey Sullivan on drums). In 2018, at the age of 17, Medosch put out her debut Florry album ‘Brown Bunny’ (Sister Polygon). The following year, she went out to Willow, New York – a tiny hamlet outside of Woodstock – and recorded a follow-up album with producer Paco Cathcart that she ended up shelving. Backed by Theo Woodward on drums and Pete Gill on bass, it was dark, and angsty, consisting of songs written between the ages of 16 and 18 and reflecting the depression that defined that time for her.

During the pandemic, she began writing again. Her headspace had changed a lot. She was much happier and embraced “absurdist existentialism” – “where you realise that nothing really has any meaning, and that it’s pretty funny that we’re here at all.” She was also bored of indie rock, and for her new songs she looked towards her upbringing among country and folk music, and her fascination with Parsons’ Cosmic American Music. “There’s something about that kind of music that just makes me feel really good inside,” she says. Her main goal was just to write songs that felt good, that translated her newfound positivity. “That was the biggest change for me, just writing and playing music when I’m feeling good, instead of when I’m feeling sad.”

With 6 of those songs home-recorded with the early iteration of her new lineup, she pulled another 4 from the Willow sessions, a way of closing one chapter and opening a new one. There’s a clear split between the old songs – dark, sad, confused – and the new – self-assured, fun, free. Opening track ‘You Don’t Know’ was the last one to be written, and the one that Medosch feels most accurately captured the spirit of Cosmic American Music. It’s a Neil Young-indebted, pedal steel-adorned country tune, the melody of which was born from a dream Medosch had about the Staple Singers. She addresses a loved one who is “fucking their life up”: “You don’t know what you’re doing / And you’re hurting so many people”.

Meanwhile, Medosch channels traditional country with the honky-tonk piano of “Say Your Prayers” and the rollicking bassline of the title track “Big Fall”. On both, she is full of optimism, claiming the idea of a joyful future with exuberance. These are the record’s lightest moments; its heaviest are the Elliott Smith-esque ‘Dream Diary/Growth’ and the slowcore closing track ‘Lovely’, where Medosch conducts a bitter post-mortem on a toxic friendship, singing despairingly: ‘When you tell me to quit being so loud, I will / When you tell me to quit being myself, I will”. It ends the album by “collapsing in on itself”, with a sudden compressed crunch followed by interlocking guitars that spiral towards the song’s conclusion like they’re circling a drain.

Musically, Medosch comes all the way out of left field on the punky ‘Older Girlfriend’ and the dance track ‘Everyone I Love You’; these feel like moments of total unbridled glee. Of the latter, which was influenced by both Philadelphia’s club and rave scene and Neil Young’s 1982 album ‘Trans’, Medosch says, “For like a month, it was all me and my friends would listen to, ‘cause everyone was so pumped up on it. Without a doubt, it’s the weirdest track on the album. But I love that song.”

The emotional heart of the album is arguably “Jane”, one of the Willow tracks, which recounts a major turning point for Medosch. In the lowest depths of depression, she watched “Jane”, the 2017 documentary on Jane Goodall. In the theater, she broke down in tears as she saw the passion and pride with which Goodall spoke about her work. In that instant, Medosch knew that was what she wanted for herself. To love herself; to be proud of who she was and what she had done. Now here she is, presenting ‘Big Fall’ to the world, and she’s proud.

– Mia Hughes

1) You Don’t Know
2) Drivin
3) Big Fall
4) Jane
5) Say Your Prayers
6) Older Girlfriend
7) Animals
8) Dream Diary / Growth
9) Everyone I Love You
10) Lovely

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 produced by Sheridan Frances Medosch, mixed by Jared Radichel, September-October 2020, Home Studios, Berwyn PA and Philadelphia PA

Tracks 4,6, 8, 10 produced by Paco Cathcart and Sheridan Frances Medosch, mixed by Paco Cathcart, July-August 2019, Natural Jank Studios, Willow NY and Home Studios, Crown Heights NYC, Saugerties NY and Berwyn PA

Track 9 produced by Elijah Jarocki and Sheridan Frances Medosch, mixed by Elijah Jarocki, October 24, 2020, Home Studio, Philadelphia PA

Mastered by Carl Saff

Words & Music by Sheridan Frances Medosch

Sheridan Frances Medosch – vocals, guitars, keys, percussion, whistle
Pete Gill – bass
Jared Radichel – upright bass
Sammy Weissberg – upright bass
Theo Woodward – drums
John Murray – drums
Zena Kay – pedal steel
Erin McGrath – vocals
Katie Alice Greer – vocals
Paco Cathcart – percussion, whistle
Will Moloney – bongos, whistle
Steve Yankou – whistle

 

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After a six-year absence, The Dead Space returns with “Chlorine Sleep”. Recorded days before their breakup in 2015, this album marks a turning point, both for its the trio of Quin Galavis, Garrett Haden and Jenny Arthur, as well as for their collective scene in Austin, Texas.

(photo : Angela Betancourt)

The Dead Space never quite fit in since forming in 2008, and never really cared to. The trio quietly managed to craft their own brand of tightly wound art rock, equal parts bleak and brooding, but presented in stark tones. Whether their allergy to artifice was a roadblock, in keeping with their character or some combination of both, it’s hard to say. Either way, the Dead Space were very much on the outside looking in prior to the release of their well-received first album, 2014’s ‘Faker’ . And when it finally seemed they could reach a broader audience, they did what any good band should do – they broke up.

(preorder ‘Chlorine Sleep’ via Bandcamp)
(preorder ‘Chlorine Sleep’ via 12XU)

Slightly before that, however, the band returned to Ian Rundell’s Second Hand Tacos studio to record ‘Chlorine Sleep.’ The record carries the band’s history forward with arduous blasts of force, contrasting with stark, lean efficiency, and exposes a sense of fragility and vulnerability. With Garrett Hadden’s return to Texas, preparation to return to the stage later this year and next with a renewed vision and sense of purpose, The Dead Space’s ferocious sophomore effort that expands on previous themes while forging a new path all its own. It’s great to have them back.

(photo : Angela Betancourt)

prior praise for ‘Faker’

“you never get the sense that the Dead Space are trying to borrow the sounds of the past as much as they are finding a place for it in the now. ‘Faker’ is about as good as one can hope for in a debut, full of great songs and unexpected turns.” – Evan McDowlell, Northern Transmissions

“Sometimes you want a rock trio to be more mindful of the air around them, but with the Dead Space, if Galavis isn’t sawing through the walls with his bass, Hadden is decimating the area around him..the decimating proficiency of how this band delivers its trade all but demands multiple listens.” – Doug Mosurock, Still Single

“a series of tightly wound meditations on loss and isolation. Austerity abounds in both the spartan arrangements and forlorn subject matter. The upside of this approach is heightened potency. Even the smallest details of these 10 songs matter..” – Greg Beets, Austin Chronicle

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Coming March 5 : John Sharkey III – ‘Shoot Out The Cameras’

January 21, 2021

Written and recorded amidst the devastating bushfires which ravaged his adopted hometown Canberra, just before the wave of pandemic broke, Shoot Out The Cameras reveals John Sharkey III to be a master craftsman; honing in on the existential dread of living in a burning world, and the imperative to find beauty in what remains. Shoot […]

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Saturday, January 19 : 12XU XXXMas Stare-At-A-Screen Special With Blank Hellscape, Chris Brokaw, John Sharkey III and Unholy Two

December 19, 2020

Later today,performances by Blank Hellscape, Chris Brokaw, John Sharkey III and Unholy Two, all filmed at remote locations in only the safest of methods. twitch.tv/12XUrecs please consider a donation to Austin’s Casa Marianella. Replay on Saturday 12/26

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Coming January 29 : USA/Mexico – ‘Del Rio’

December 4, 2020

preorder (first 200 on brown opaque vinyl ) : 12XU Bandcamp ‘Del Rio’ is the third album from the Austin triumvirate of guitarist Craig Clouse (Shit and Shine), bassist Nate Cross (Marriage, Expensive Shit) and drummerKing Coffey (Butthole Surfers) and the band’s first release to feature vocals from Colby Brinkman (Taverner).  While their two prior […]

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Coming January 15 : Chris Brokaw – ‘Puritan’

December 4, 2020

(photo : Anthony Saffery) Chris Brokaw is the consummate underground rock musician. In a career spanning thirty-plus years he has been in countless bands (Come, Charnel Ground, Codeine, The Lemonheads, to name a few) has been a sideman with everyone from Thurston Moore to GG Allin, pounded countless stages on nonstop tours, and played on […]

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Coming December 4 : Voice Imitator – ‘Plaza’

November 5, 2020

“Adult Performer”, from the album ‘Plaza’ Voice Imitator is the collaborative project of Per Bystrom, Justin Fuller, Mark Groves, and Leon O’Regan. All four have been active as part of numerous, cross-genre ventures in the Australian underground for many years. Bystrom has offered a rhythmic heart for Exhaustion and Leather Towel, whilst further expanding on […]

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Coming January 15, 2021 : Wolf Eyes / Blank Hellscape split 12″

November 5, 2020

Wolf Eyes – “Winter Sunday” b/w Blank Hellscape – “Concrete Walls” 12″ (12XU 127-1) out January 15, 2021 What happens when Detroit’s Wolf Eyes and Austin’s Blank Hellscape team up to provide a suitably nightmarish backdrop for USA 2020 vanquished by fear, greed, incurable disease, etc. ? Fuck if I know, it’s not like they […]

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John Sharkey III – I Found Everyone This Way

October 23, 2020

John Sharkey III – “I Found Everyone This Way” from the album ‘Shoot Out The Cameras’ (March 5, 2021) stream / download : 12XU – North America Mistletone – Australia “I Found Everyone This Way” is the arresting first glimpse of ‘Shoot Out The Cameras’, the debut solo album by John Sharkey III. Written and […]

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Coming April 24 : Lewsberg – ‘In This House’

February 2, 2020

(photo by Hasret Emine) ‘In This House’, the second album by Rotterdam-based Lewsberg and their first US release will be issued on LP by 12XU on April 25. (PREORDER ‘In This House’  – 12XU  / Bandcamp*) In This House by Lewsberg The quartet’s latest offering seeps into your consciousness in a different way to their debut, though […]

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