Music Outpost

Licensing Music on The Sonic Frontier

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - (USA)

Hailing from Providence, RI, fertile ground for horror writers (H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Alan Poe, Jonathon Thomas), avant pop and rock bands (Lightening Bolt, Les Savy Fav, Small Factory, The Talking Heads), and myriad visual artists, Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores are post-rock’s magical surrealists. The band’s music, composed by Redfearn, combines myriad influences – traditional eastern and western European folk music, pre-WWII French and German cabaret (Kurt Weill, Eisler), circus music, classical minimalism (Steve Reich), maverick 20th Century Americana (Tom Waits, Harry Partch, John Cage, Charles Ives), acid folk, noise (radio, paper cutter, alarm clock, telephone), psychedelia, drone rock (Velvet Underground), and more – with a dark, primitive, and intentionally rough edged and gritty sensibility. Its sound is simultaneously beautiful and horrific, elegant and lowbrow, playful and cynical, and crosses genres as easily as a ghost floats through solid walls. Rhythmically entrancing, evocative and remarkably cinematic, the Eyesore’s music may find its closest aesthetic counterpart in moving pictures like Alice, the dark fantasy by Czech surrealist animator/filmmaker Jan Svankmajer.  

A composer, accordionist, songwriter, free improvisor and performance artist, Alec K. Redfearn has been actively involved in Providence’s AS220 arts collective since 1989, performing in music and theatre groups. In 1990 he started an absurdist “miniature industrial” ensemble called Space Heater, which evolved into a more serious and long-lived (8yrs) project, the Amoebic Ensemble. Redfearn composed the bulk of the Amoebic’s music, which used a mix of classical, rock, and folk instrumentation and was influenced by Weimar Republic composers as well as traditional European folk music, free jazz, and punk. 

 In 1997, after the Amoebic Ensemble dissolved, Redfearn founded Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores. He originally intended the group to be a vehicle for his more “pop” oriented, singer/songwriter material, and in its early days the Eyesores combined many of the influences (folk music, cabaret, etc) shared by the Amoebic Ensemble with a more “accessible” sound derived from country and rock music, and a melancholy atmosphere invoked by Redfearn’s bleak lyrics. The band’s early line-up included composer Redfearn on vocals, accordion and piano, as well as two guitar players, a contrabassist/ cellist, a violinist, a kit drummer, and a lap steel guitar player.

“Always evolving and ever elusive” is how Redfearn describes both his band’s lineup and music. In his own words: “Instrumentally, the Eyesores can at times sound like Weimar period cabaret music, gritty Reich-ish minimalism, Middle Eastern disco, or droning Velvet- Underground-style thronging. During a given performance, the Eyesores might number between 3 and 15 people and are just as likely to launch into a chaotic medley of traditional Eastern European melodies which disintegrates onto a wall of howling feedback as they would to spin off a delicate and mournful country-pop song.” He lists “Slow, simmering, noirish dirges, spastic no-wave tangos, repetitive rhythmic conundrums, Weimar-style cabaret songs, Drunken Catholic guilt, clanking, scraping and radio noise” as some aspects of the band’s sound. “My general music aesthetic is an eclectic one,” says Redfearn. “The purist side to my work is a reliance on musically “organic” sounds; organic in the sense that the music is derived from a more “folky“ kind of approach. I like the sound of music played in small rooms or outdoors and I feel that an environment can act as another instrument. On the other hand, I like to experiment and combine musical elements that are not usually heard together… in a way that makes them virtually unrecognizable.” Alec K. Redfearn and The Eyesores is active as a live band, and has toured the US. It has collaborated with both theatre and dance ensembles, including performing with and recording music for the Everett Dance Theatre. The group has also worked on film soundtracks, including projects with Providence independent film director Laura Colella.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Fire Shuffle (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 7:55

If a psychedelic gypsy band hijacked the steady-rolling rhythm track from Golden Earring’s ‘70s classic-rock hit “Radar Love” it would sound something like this, with accordion drones and chant-like group vocals adding to the eeriness.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Unawake (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 2:24

Imagine Johnny and June Carter Cash jamming with the house band from Brecht/Weill’s Threepenny Opera, with stomping rhythms and pumping accordion in full flight.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "The 7 and 6 (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 5:41

If the psychedelic rock scene had emerged in the hinterlands of Eastern Europe, it might have sounded something like this, with accordion drones sitting in for fuzz-tone guitars.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Longreach (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 3:04

Hypnotic, repetitive organ lines weave a spell beneath atmospheric accordion and wordless vocals for a feel somewhere between Phillip Glass-like minimalism and a Spaghetti Western soundtrack.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Amplifier Hum (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 2:24

Serpentine vocal harmonies twist and turn in an intoxicating way atop little more than a time-keeping tick and a high-pitched hum that sounds suspiciously similar to what the track title implies.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Black Ice (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 3:33

The soundtrack to a belly dance from hell, with exotic-sounding, minor-key accordion lines pivoting over a clap-and-stomp beat and ominous bowed bass.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Exhumed (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 4:21

An ethereal female voice intones wordless vocals over a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment for a fragile, folkie feel that somehow bears unsettling undertones.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Scratch (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 4:08

If the Energizer bunny was set loose inside a rhythm machine while a maniacal polka band was rehearsing, it might sound a bit like this tune, which would make the perfect soundtrack to some surreal cartoon.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Hashishin (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 7:51

Picture a snake charmer hiring a rock band to provide the hypnotic, serpentine sounds necessary for his work and you’ll be in the ballpark.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "St. James Infirmary/Headless Emcee (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 5:43

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Wings of the Magpie (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 4:21

If the insistent, repetitive grooves of techno were interpreted by an Eastern European folk band, with some doomy heavy metal riffs thrown in, this might be the result.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "In The Morning (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 2:57

Imagine the devil going out for an evening of heavy drinking and then waking up with a hangover, somehow stuck inside of an accordion, singing to pass the time until he figures a way to get out.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Hashinin (Excerpt #2)"- Full Length = 7:51

The snake-charming rock band is in full flight here, with gypsy violin and other worldly accordion fighting it out for dominance.

Alec K Redfearn And The Eyesores - "Hashinin (Excerpt #1)"- Full Length = 7:51

The snake-charming rock band is in full flight here, with gypsy violin and other worldly accordion fighting it out for dominance.