Kevin Blechdom
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Kevin Blechdom


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"Gentlemania Review"

Kevin Blechdom's discography is packed with reliable anomalies. So much so that it's almost pointless to mention that she was one-half of the (newly reunited) electronic duo Blectum From Blechdom. After eight years and a few solo albums, the glitchy, rude electronic music she made with partner Blevin Blectum tells you little about how she got to where she is, and a lot about the kinds of musical leaps Blechdom makes from record to record.

Gentlemania is just the latest of Blechdom's albums about relationships. On 2005's Eat My Heart Out, she packed in confessional songs, tracks that wrapped heartache in humor. Blechdom spilled her guts, both literally (the cover features her topless with a handful of animal entrails) and figuratively, though she did so over programed pop ballads and cheery musical numbers. Three years earlier, on I Heart Presets, Blechdom made tender tracks about labelmate Miguel Depedro (Kid606). She's gotten wiser over time, observing love as an absurdity far stranger than the absurdities she'd imagined on past records. And her music has fallen into more recognizable genre conventions, as if Blechdom's decided her feelings were scrambled and jarring enough on their own.

Her genre is emotion, not sound. Though Gentlemania cycles through a few (musical theater pomp, bluegrass, torch song), it feels closest to the light pop of 1970s and 80s confessional singer-songwriters, their mix of vulnerability and wry self-awareness. "Lazy", swings back and forth with its pretty piano chorus and whistled melody. It sways somewhere between the lovelorn soul-lite of Tapestry-era Carole King, and the breezy quirk of, say, Captain and Tenille. The profane, jokey nature of her past albums gives way to a sweetly innocent lyrical sense, delivered in Blechdom's boyish voice. On "It's All Been Done Before", she calls her lover the "best thing since sliced bread" and the one curse word in "Lazy", is blocked out by a slide whistle.

Blechdom's songwriting partner and producer, Mocky, deserves a lot of credit for the evenness and subtle complexity of these songs, hinting at different genres and moods without spilling over into comedy or arbitrary stylistic variation. Knowing exactly when to crescendo, or when to drop in a chorus of backing voices, makes Blechdom's simplest songs sound bigger, torchier. It's nice to see Blechdom find places where vulnerability doesn't equal weakness. Across Gentlemania she says "please" but never begs. She doles out equal amounts of self-criticism and complaints. On "Monster", a highlight that, unlike most of the other tracks, indulges in balls-out bluegrass banjo and uninhibited "yeehaws," her twang wraps around an admission: "My brain don't work/ My heart's a jerk," she admits. Joke songs are never this apologetic, nor are they usually followed by a song as pretty and heartfelt as "Running Away", where Blechdom realizes that she must put off a relationship until she and her lover are more mature, just so the two "won't feel so alone."

Still, I didn't expect that Blechdom's wild imagination would lead her so close to convention. And so there are elements of Gentlemania where it's hard to tell if she's included them because they're par for the genre, or because she's falling into cliché. She's too smart for the latter, though I wonder why she uses boilerplate wordplay ("I need the rest of you/ I need a rest from you," "Don't think it over/ Don't think it's over," "It's all been done before/ But we're not done for") so often. There's something sweet about Blechdom making an album this earnest, but I miss her perverse sense of humor. No point in asking after it or saying you'd like to hear something different next time; she's probably two albums ahead anyway.

— Jessica Suarez, June 5, 2009 -

"Best Of CMJ"

Best of CMJ: Barnwave
The rest of this week is going to have a tough time producing anything to match the utter entertaining bizarrity of Barnwave. Since her time in BfB, Kevin Blechdom (Kristin Erickson) has built a long resume of inventively crazed electronic pop from general MIDI musicals to a memorable “I Will Always Love You” cover that increased continuously in pitch. Barnwave sees her melodramatic showtune piano skills and surprising vocal talent matched by Christopher Fleeger on a skeletal electronic percussion kit consisting of pads (loaded with everything from metal guitar stabs, to shrieking feedback, to actual percussion) and some kind of drumless kick apparatus, playing a sort of industrial country cabaret. Individual songs ranged from deranged harangues with heavy voice warping effects to Minogue-esque dance interludes, from uplifting calls to “Believe the Children” to a cover of Cowboy Troy’s “I Play Chicken With the Train”. Two things made this ramshackle mess work.

1. Erickson’s absolute self-assurance, carrying every latest absurdity forward with deadpan conviction. Even the couple brief equipment malfunctions or mistakes seemed scripted into the set, rather tha actual problems. Maybe they were scripted into the set.

2. The fact that under all that showmanship and excess, these were very sharp electronic experimentalists with some serious chops. They’ve just decided to use them for fun. Further ambiance added by the attendee in the dress she described as “barnwave chic”. And it was.
- Impose Magazine

"MCMAF: Ich bin Kevin Blechdom"

Wednesday May 2, 2007

It's customary to crave road travel when your summer bummer declines into a case of cubicle claustrophobia at the ol' air-conditioned nightmare. Some of us just need to go on hiatus for a while. But take it from electronic-experimental musician Kevin Blechdom: her 2002 move from San Francisco to Berlin has been a fruitful experience.
"For the last four years, I was able to support myself through playing music," she writes via e-mail. "That's nearly impossible to do in America with the style of music I'm making, but totally possible in Europe. I remember someone asking me what I did for a living, and I shyly said that I was a musician. They consider it a 'real' career, and I remember being surprised by that. In America you say, 'I'm a musician,' and then the other person asks, 'But what's your real job?' "
Born Kristin Erickson, the 28-year-old artist was first drawn to music as a child growing up in Stuart, Fla. Initially trained as a classical pianist, Blechdom was also influenced by musical theater and pop music, and she started writing songs with her brother during high school. She went on to study piano at Florida State University but became disenchanted with its "conservative and eventually depressing" program and transferred in 1997 to Mills College in Oakland to study electronic music composition.
"I spent a lot of hours in the music library listening to avant-garde electronic music from the '60s and '70s, and I kept seeing 'recorded at Mills College' on the back of my favorite recordings," she writes. "When I got to Mills, it was the perfect environment for a young musician wanting to find her own way to compose and listen and think about music."
While at Mills, Blechdom struck up a friendship with Bevin Kelley, a.k.a. Blevin Blectum. The pair soon started performing as an electronic duo and releasing albums under the moniker Blectum from Blechdom. But after an intense four-year partnership, the twosome's relations soured, and Blechdom shortly afterward fled to Berlin.
"I think a lot of the trouble was dealing with a public growth spurt and having to grow up a bit," she notes of her spilt with Blectum. "We have an amazing collaborative intuition that I treasure. In the last year we have started to work together again, and it's gratifying to start where we left off."
As a solo artist, Blechdom has gravitated toward musical theater and performance art, while retaining Blectum from Blechdom's noise ethic. Her Chicks on Speed-released full-lengths - Bitches Without Britches (2003) and Eat My Heart Out (2005) - channel artists such as Kate Bush and Magnetic Fields with dizzying synth pop allure and barnyard banjos. Upon the latter album's release, Blechdom began performing topless and draping herself in dripping, raw meat during her live sets.
"It was a very basic symbolism mixed with a salute to female performance art. The symbolism was about turning inside out or trying to find those 'inside' feelings to express," she writes, adding that it was fun until she got nauseated and had to stop.
Blechdom is in the process of relocating to the Bay Area so she can attend school this fall. In addition to her solo work and Blectum from Blechdom, she's also collaborating with Evans Hankey in the Reality Club and with Christopher Fleeger in an Evanescence ...
and Rammstein cover band called Barn Wave. Her third solo album - a collection of "acoustic theater songs" - is in the can, but she has yet to find a label to release it.
"I think," she ventures, "this might be the first record I've made that my grandparents will be able to appreciate." (Chris Sabbath) - San Francisco Bay Guardian


2009 - "Gentlemania" Album (Sonig)
2008 - "The Chaddom-Blechbourne Experience" Live Album (Victo)
2008 - "The Children's Suite" 7" and Live CD (Dual Plower)
2005 - "Eat My Heart Out" Album (Chicks on Speed Records)
2003 - "Bitches Without Britches" Album (Chicks on Speed Records)
2002 - "Jelly Donuts" 7" (Four States Fair)
2002 - "Your Butt" EP (Dudini)
2001 - "The Inside Story" EP (Tigerbeat6)
2001 - "I Heart Presets" EP (Tigerbeat6)

Previous Bands:

1997-2002 - Blectum from Blechdom (tigerbeat6 records, orthlorng musork, deluxe, phthalo) reunited in 2006: currently working on a new album

1997-2001 - Adult Rodeo (Shimmy Disc, Four States Fair)



Kevin Blechdom (real name: Kristin Erickson) was born in Florida in 1978.

Kevin Blechdom’s third solo album, GENTLEMANIA, was released on Sonig Records in April 2009, co-produced by Kevin and Mocky in Berlin. Less schizophrenic and madcap manic as her previous two electronic albums, on GENTLEMANIA we hear Blechdom slow down, take a deep breath, and, with thoughtful control, peel back layers of emotion. Combining a strong background in classical and experimental music with a broad knowledge of songwriting traditions, Kevin travels between and coalesces country jangle, Broadway show tunes, old-school R&B, and many other styles into a cohesive and true musical story. The autobiographical and interpersonal themes revolve around introspection, longing, doubt, hope, and ultimately, human transformation.

Since 2007, and to support her newest release, Blechdom is touring as a duo in a hi-tech country and ragtime band with Christopher Fleeger called BARNWAVE.

Kevin began recording music with her brother in an experimental rock band called ADULT RODEO in 1997, releasing two albums on the revered Shimmy Disc label and more records on the Adult Rodeo imprint, Four States Fair Records. Later she hooked up with Blevin Blectum (Bevin Kelley) and formed BLECTUM FROM BLECHDOM after an accidental collaboration one Halloween night while they were at Mills College in Oakland, California. Blectum from Blechdom was a hyperactive computer and sampler duo priding itself with its own digital confusion, frenetic madness, and psychotic delusions. The duo released frenzied and frazzled electronic music on labels such as Tigerbeat6, Deluxe, Orthlorng Musork, and Phthalo. The album “The Messy Jesse Fiesta” won 2nd prize at the prestigious Ars Electronica for digital music in 2001, and soon after they broke up. In 2006 Blectum from Blechdom reuinited by pie-ing each other in the face, and have since been recording and touring together.

After Blectum From Blechdom broke up, Kristin kept her team name Kevin Blechdom and relocated herself to Berlin for five years. She wrote and produced two albums for the Chicks on Speed label: BITCHES WITHOUT BRITCHES (2003) and EAT MY HEART OUT (2005). The albums are a mishmash of styles and production techniques. From Broadway musical to General MIDI rock opera to electro-smudge to aleatoric blatherings, her albums contribute a bizarre spin on what pop music can be for an era of attention span deficit.

Since 1998, Kevin has been touring around the world playing live shows and collaborating. She has worked with artists such as Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Jad Fair, Kramer, Jamie Lidell, Kid606, Dat Politics, Mocky, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Zeena Parkins, Cristian Vogel, Safety Scissors, Heidi Mortenson, the Organ Lady, Lumberob, Ching Chong Song, Irene Moon, Teatro Praga, Myrobotfriend, Charlie Engstrom, Christopher Fleeger, Lucile Desamory, Chicks on Speed, Kim Hiorthoy, Andre Vida, Denzel Sinclair, Max Tundra, and Planningtorock. She has played shows in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Moscow, and across Europe and the United States.

During 2008, she finally completed her M.F.A. degree in Electronic and Computer Music Composition at Mills College. Her final project for school was writing a forty minute opera called Recantata, which musically retold the story about her preschool teachers who were wrongfully imprisoned for satanic ritual abuse because of the misguidance of some child-hypnotizing psychologists.

Kevin produced two self-released Ching Chong Song albums, LITTLE NAKED GAY ADVENTURE and EVERYTHING IS FOR THE BABIES.

She is a founding member of SLAUGHTERIN' SLOBBERSVILLE, a semi-improvised collaborative improperatic musical mutant side show known for touring with too many people in very small vehicles.

Currently she is in Lisbon composing the music for a Musical Theater show called "DEMO" with the Teatro Praga company.