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The Bevis Frond

The Bevis Frond was Nick Saloman, a neo-psychedelic Renaissance man and the sole writer, performer, and producer behind the cottage industry bearing the Frond name. The head of his own label (Woronzow) as well as the co-publisher of his own underground magazine (the highly regarded Ptolemaic Terrascope), Saloman was a quintessential English eccentric, a frighteningly prolific talent and a true anachronism purveying an archaic musical genre while simultaneously pioneering the lo-fi aesthetic.

Saloman cloaked his formative years in mystery; according to legend, he formed his first band, the Bevis Frond Museum, during his school years, and after the group disbanded he performed solo acoustic sets throughout the London area known as Walthamstow. After founding the Von Trapp Family, later known as Room 13, Saloman was sidelined in 1982 following a motorcycle accident. With the money he received as compensation for his injuries, he revived the Bevis Frond name and during his recuperation period assembled 1986's Miasma, a slice of twisted, latter-day psychedelia issued on Woronzow in a pressing of 250.

Much to Saloman's shock, the record sold out. Realizing an audience existed for his brand of time-warped pop, he quickly issued Inner Marshland in early 1987; the LP was another underground success that encouraged him to raid his extensive archives for more material. Double LP Bevis Through the Looking Glass also appeared that year. With the floodgates opened, new Bevis Frond material -- much of it written and recorded at Saloman's home long before it ever saw release -- appeared constantly; in 1988 alone, Woronzow issued three separate collections: Triptych, The Auntie Winnie Album, and Acid Jam, all spotlighting his surreal wit and acute social commentary. Beginning with 1990's Any Gas Faster, Saloman was secure enough financially to begin recording in an outside studio; as the new decade dawned, he also made his live debut, appearing sporadically with an ever-changing group of backing musicians.

After 1990's Magic Eye, a joint collaboration with former Pink Fairy Twink, the Bevis Frond issued its acknowledged masterpiece, 1991's double-LP set New River Head. Erratic and eclectic, Saloman's output continued on without concession to trends or consumer tastes, with new albums appearing with clocklike precision: 1992's London Stone, 1993's It Just Is, 1994's Sprawl, 1995's Superseeder, 1996's Son of Walter, 1997's two-disc North Circular, and 1999's Vavona Burr, plus the excellent concert recording Live at Great American Music Hall, San Francisco and Eat Flowers & Kiss Babies, a collaboration with Country Joe McDonald. Valedictory Songs followed in 2000 on a new label, Rubric, which also reissued the early Bevis Frond albums with different bonus tracks. Additionally, What Did for the Dinosaurs appeared in 2002 with The Hit Squad following in 2004.

After releasing albums at an astonishing rate for more than 15 years, apparently a hiatus was in order and it was seven years before the Bevis Frond reappeared in 2011 with Leaving of London, back on Saloman's Woronzow imprint. A double-disc follow-up, White Numbers, featuring longtime collaborators guitarist Paul Simmons, bassist Ade Shaw, and drummer Dave Pearce, was released in 2013. Later in the year, Live from the 4th Psychedelic Network Festival 2011, another double album, was released. Cherry Red released a Bevis Frond retrospective compilation, High in a Flat, in 2014. A new full-length studio album, Example 22, appeared in 2015. Early the next year, Fire Records signed up to reissue the extensive Bevis Frond back catalog beginning on Record Store Day with vinyl re-pressings of Miasma and Inner Marshland. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: White Numbers

Disc 1

1. Begone

2. Opthalmic Microdots

3. The Garden Feature

4. She's Just Like You

5. Cruel World

6. Beautiful To Me

7. Tree Line

8. High Wind Crow

9. For Pat (On The Chaise Longue Dreaming)

10. This One

11. Neverwas

12. Alta

13. Major Crime

14. More Chalk

15. Dream It

16. White Numbers

17. The Hook

Disc 2

1. Dead Weight

2. I Crave You

3. Just Cause (Wins Wars)

4. The Likes Of Us

5. It's Coming On

6. I'm The Only One

7. Homemade Traditional Electric Jam

x

Track List: The Leaving Of London

1. Johnny Kwango

2. Speedboat

3. An Old Vice

4. More To This Than That

5. The Leaving Of London

6. Hold The Fort

7. Why Have You Been Fighting Me?

8. The Divide

9. Reanimation

10. Stupid Circle

11. Son Of A Warm Gun

12. Barely Anthropoid

13. Testament

14. You'll Come

15. Preservation Hill

16. Heavy Hand

17. Too Kind

18. True North

x

Track List: London Stone

1. Stonedance (trad.)

2. Coming Round

3. That Same Morning

4. Living Soul

5. Still Trying

6. Well Out Of It

7. A Most Singular Hole

8. Freedom Falling

9. London Stone

10. Lord Of Nothing

11. And Now She's Gone

12. On A Liquid Wheel

13. Another Song About Dying

15. Scavenger

17. I Am Just A Child

18. Hail The Child Philosopher

x

Track List: New River Head

Disc 1

1. Intro

2. White Sun

3. Drowned

4. She's Entitled To

5. Waving

6. Down In The Well

7. New River Head

8. Solar Marmalade

9. Wild Jack Hammer

10. He'd Be A Diamond

11. Undertaker

12. Stain On The Sun

13. It Won't Come Again

14. Blurred Vision

15. Son Of Many Mothers

16. God Speed You To Earth

Disc 2

1. Motherdust

2. Cuvie

3. Chinese Burn

4. Thankless Task

5. The Miskatonic Variations II

6. Snow

7. My Little Empire

8. Cracked Universe

10. Ageing Freak

13. Heavy On You

14. High In A Flat

Comments

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xhidden99
f**king awesome divided by zero
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Ah, yes. Everyone knows "lo-fi" and "eccentric" are epithets. First time I'm taking troll bait -- I blame the insomnia. Neat band.
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The words eccentric and lo-fi to describe a so called artist are not complimentar y . This music bites
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kvons1
Good tune---I was less than supportive when the feces hit the fan! Best song on this album---opin i o n .
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beautiful atmosphere and retro in a nice way--sort of reminds me of Crosby, Stills, and Nash at their very best
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I have loved t Frond for decades now, I think. I like t catchy pop tunes and sensitive ballads. I even like his formulaic psycadelia as I have a preference for that genre and he does it particularly well. Best I like his guitar work when it reaches godlike sonic intensity which he does quite often
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So, where is Butthead?
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rsa911
"Thankless Task" is just a masterpiece. I never tire of this song. What a great Pandora find!!!
Report as inappropriate
The Bevis Frond are incredible.. . N i c k was supposed to play the Terrastock festival in the USA this year, but had to cancel due to the passing of his mother. I have seen him live multiple times...trul y not to be missed!
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Where is he now?
Report as inappropriate
THIS PARTICULAR SONG REMINDS ME A LITTLE OF THE BYRDS--I LIKE IT!

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