Blind Mouths Eat was the band’s 2nd album. As much as the first album dealt with grim subject matter the 2nd was perhaps worse in some respects. The material was drawn from two main sources. One was Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island by Rebe Taylor. One thing Taylor looked at were the horrendous ‘pirates’ that loitered around parts of the southern coast and their atrocious treatment of local indigenous Australians. Another source was a privately printed diary of a women who lived on coastal Western Australia and who gradually dies of tuberculosis whilst describing her (deteriorating) day-to-day life.
The album received a very good critical response, including a full page review in Wire Magazine by Clive Bell:
“Sometimes cussedness is an essential virtue for musicians. The Doomed Bird Of Providence’s Mark Kluzek oozes cussedness like sweat. He’s an Australian in exile, assembling a group of Brit players to realise his singleminded vision, which involves Kluzek barking out blacker than black tales of horror and misery from Australia’s early history. Blind Mouths Eat is his second bulletin from the festering underbelly of 19th century Oz.”
What genuinely shocking news it was to hear that such a unique figure like John Hannon had passed on. As well has producing great music himself under various guises , he also ran No Recording Studio through which so many artists have walked and have been guided by his very thoughtful, intelligent but understated approach. He bent over backwards to help the Doomed Bird do the last EP and if it sounds good it is because of him working his magic. His whole approach really made an impression on me. So it was unexpected and it makes you think that there isn’t a great deal of rhyme or reason to how things happen. Very sad news.
The Bell of the Jardines/The Death Flurry single is now available as download only on The Doomed Bird of Providence’s Bandcamp page. This was released as a very limited cd on Front & Follow with Peter Aldrich’s wonderful image on the front. The Death Flurry was the first Doomed Bird song proper but didn’t show up on the first ep or album. The Bell of the Jardines has the wonderful viola and voice of Rachel Laurence.
The Death Flurry was originally inspired by Harry Robertson’s song Norfolk Whalers from the 1971 album Whale Chasing Men. It also took some inspiration from the Oswald Brierly painting The Death Flurry.
The Bell of the Jardines was inspired by the story of Frank Jardine and the ship’s bell he used to attract passing ships from the very remote location of Somerset in north Queensland.
Will Ever Pray was released in 2011 and was the band’s debut LP. Released on Front & Follow, it was a carefully put together work (in terms of the recordings and Justin Watson’s effort to do something quite unique with the design of the cd) that received very positive reviews. The reviews, fairly typically, remarked on how dark/grim the music was which was fair. It also received some very solid BBC6 airplay courtesy of Tom Ravenscroft.
As Front & Follow have winded down, we are putting the album up for download if you didn’t get it the first time around and would like to now.
As Justin gradually winds down Front & Follow, The Doomed Bird of Providence are moving over their Bandcamp music to their own page. The first one to be added is the first EP, released in 2009.
The EP originally came about through idea’s Mark had after reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes and listening to a lot of Jacques Brel. It was originally released as a very small run cd (30-40 copies) on Laily Recordings. It was later put out, digitally only, on Front & Follow.
Two of the songs (Dorothy Handland, Brothers We will Be) took their inspiration from The Fatal Shore. Bells in the Dead of Night came from an old book of Australian ghosts stories and Letter from Van Dieman’s Land came from another old book that explained (in a very far fetched way) the Red Barn Murder.
Paul was a remarkable and unique figure. Together with his partner, Emma Blackwood, he produced a huge amount of art and events. The Doomed Bird of Providence were included in a bunch of Punkvert events early on and had our first ever release on a compilation by their label, Ex Gratia Recordings. We always appreciated the support and encouragement Paul and Emma gave us.
This wonderful write up by Emma gives you a picture of this remarkable person.
Rumbling Clouds of War Hover over Us is the new release from The Doomed Bird of Providence. Covering the difficult journey Wladislaw Kluzek took across Europe after the invasion of Poland in 1939. The EP title comes from his own words; recollections he had of this journey:
“I found myself serving my National service. The rumbling clouds of war hovering over us. Being an average 22 yr old I’d started to count the weeks towards the day the army would have me no more and I would return home, being young and free. “
A set of animations covering the journey can be watched on this playlist.
We aren’t in a position to send out CDs of the EP at the moment. We have a whole bunch of them that we will make available for sale further down the line.
All sales will go to Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to support their Coronavirus Crisis Appeal and ongoing work. I think if this release can help people who are in very difficult circumstances then that would make the whole venture worthwhile.
The EP is coming out on 10 to 1 Records which has been the main outlet for most of Simon Finn’s work for the last 15 years. The band’s ten year relationship with the mighty Front and Follow has finished as the label takes an extended break and transforms into a very interesting Radio/Library(!) called Gated Canal Community (https://www.gatedcanal.com/).
This EP was recorded almost entirely live at no recording studio in Southend-On-Sea by John Hannon. The studio recording was done on one (sunny) day late last year. John also mastered the EP and is available through lockdown for your mastering needs!
The recording features Mark Kluzek (me) on piano/accordion, Joolie Wood on violin, Katie English (Isnaj Dui) on flute/glockenspiel, Ian Hothersall on drums, Drew Barker on uke, Stafford Glover on bass and Richard Acton doing very textural guitar.
I am very happy with how it turned out. It explores the story of my Grandfather as he made his way across Europe during WWII. He came out of it ok in the end and it makes me hope that we will all be on the other side of this at some point.
This is the final part of the Rumbling Clouds of War story which covers the journey of Władysław Kluzek as he moved across Europe. He managed to survive the 1939 invasion of Poland only to be interned in a camp. After this he moved across Europe to find himself in France around May 1940 where he came under French command. At this point he engaged in fighting again. After this he was transferred to the United Kingdom and arrived late June 1940 at which point he came under British command. It was in Scotland that he eventually met his future wife and emigrated to Australia to become a farmer.
This project was an exploration of my imaginings and research about my Grandfather. He died many years ago. He didn’t talk much about this time and as I did some research, I think it started to make sense as to why. The story isn’t particular exceptional. Lots of civilians and military people must have made their way across Europe during this time. And most I suspect were subjected in some way to the horrors of war. I know Władysław was. So this is a reflection on what that must have felt like for him and all those others that made it through or didn’t. There was, for my Grandfather, a life beyond World War II. For many others there wasn’t.
I didn’t anticipate releasing this during a major global crisis but I also didn’t see any point in delaying it more than it had been already. All I can think of is that we will all be on the other side of this at some point. I genuinely hope that you reading this are OK and that your loved ones are also.