TJO- Songs for Peacock ORD-49
Release date: July 10, 2020
Twenty-eight years into her kaleidoscopic discography, Songs for Peacock is the first album singer/guitarist/composer Tara Jane O’Neil has credited to just her initials: TJO. Recorded at home using primitive electronic instruments in addition to heavily effected electric guitar, bass & voice, Songs for Peacock is a collection of pop covers recalled from TJO’s youth, intended as a “mixtape” for her late brother Brian. Over twelve tracks & thirty-nine minutes, Songs for Peacock abstracts radio hits by the likes of Boy George, Bananarama, Leonard Cohen, Siouxsie and the Banshees & INXS, distilling earworms into thin wisps of dreamlike atmosphere, or stretching them into languorous psychedelic soundscapes. Songs for Peacock warps our collective musical memory to form a singular & cohesive body of work that defines TJO’s highly personal sonic landscape.
Tara Jane O’Neil explains:
Pop music is sticky. It can stick on you for 30 years without you knowing. It can stick you right back into a room or a car. Commercial radio is powerful like smell.
There was a mint green Honda Accord with a cassette player, and we drove it down Imperial Highway listening to Madonna for the first time. Even though we were listening to radio gold, it felt like a secret, not to be enjoyed with the family like my Olivia Newton John obsession could be. A lot of pop music that year felt the same. (The “ANT MUSIC FOR SEX PEOPLE” badge in the liner notes I covered over with a Sharpie. I can't remember if we bought our own copies or if I defaced yours?) The mothers were driving station wagons and Celicas and moving their bodies to Neil Diamond and to Jane Fonda. There were soup can hand weights and ceremonial leotards you could wear to stave off middle age in the afternoon. (And unbeknownst to them, finance Jane’s leftist causes.)
Like being cast in amber, pop music encases an experience.
The iconic music on this album is not directly influential to me as an artist, they aren’t songs I’ve visited as an adult listener. This is not a stroll down memory lane or a memory book from a better time—there is no better time. And memory lane is a fake thruway on a map made of wind.
This album is a mixtape, it is homage and it is distortion of sounds that were around in 1983, around the home I shared with my brother Brian. Some songs aren’t from that year; Yoko Ono came before but reached me much later, Leonard Cohen was not yet a fixture in my life in the way Duran Duran was. But I can render them like Bauhaus or Yazoo. The songs fit in this relation. In 1983 I was not yet a musician, or a critic, I was an older sister but also a younger sister, and I marveled at everything my older brothers brought in from outside the walled suburban experiment of Orange County, California. In 1983, pop star drag included some measure of cross-dressing or bedraggle, and I wanted to wear those wrestling boots and sailor hats, I wanted that unevenness and its celebration. In 1983, young girls with strawberry blonde locks would go with a jet black chop and send their mothers into desperate frenzies trying to get their beautiful daughters back. Sometimes they would come to my house looking like Siouxsie and smelling of tea rose, wearing the Wham! slogan “Choose Life” on their chests. I was too young for the early ’80s to be my teenage trial-and-error times, and so better I can remember them.
Songs for Peacock began in the fall of 2019 in the wake of the sudden death of Brian. This recording, with a borrowed drum machine and simple synthesizer, was exposure therapy and a healing mechanism.
Q: What does a person do to stop feeling blue when love disappears?
A: I recorded these songs.
Brian sent me a mixtape a year after he moved out of the house. I only remember that Blondie, Aztec Camera and INXS were on it. I don’t know if he ever listened to Leonard Cohen or if he had an opinion about the song “Believe.” This mixtape I made is not a completist effort. It is a tribute to him who was, in 1983, the bee’s knees. —TJO
"In The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein writes: “I may say that only three times in my life have I met a genius and each time a bell within me rang and I was not mistaken.” When I first met Tara Jane ONeil, about 25 years ago—and more particularly, the first time I saw her play—this bell rang. I was not mistaken." —Maggie Nelson
Until the end of June, 100% of revenue from digital sales of Songs for Peacock will be donated to The Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area.
- Borderline Intro (1:08)
- The Crying Game (3:38)
- Cruel Summer (3:48)
- Everything Counts (0:37)
- Everybody Knows (4:51)
- Happy House (5:01)
- Oblivious (1:33)
- The Chauffeur (1:30)
- Believe (3:33)
- Move On Fast(4:35)
- No Summer's Cold (2:05)
- Don't Change (6:50)
500 high quality, 160g LPs in extra heavyweight, full color photo jackets. Package includes 2-color Risograph-printed insert. 12 tracks, 39 minutes.
300 copies on "stained glass blue" transparent vinyl w/ 5 postcard set *
200 copies on black vinyl
Please note that the records pictured above are merely approximations of the vinyl colors, not photos of the actual records.
In addition to the vinyl edition, Orindal is also printing 500 sets of five (5) 4x6 glossy postcards featuring original art by Tara Jane O'Neil, Brian David O'Neil & Owen Ashworth. Songs for Peacock album credits are on the back of one card, & the other four card backs are blank, so anyone can write a note, slap on a stamp & mail a postcard to a friend. Each postcard set comes in its own resealable poly bag.
Postcard sets will be included with the Songs for Peacock colored vinyl LPs & are also available for purchase with digital album downloads or as standalone purchases while supplies last.