Release Date: Sep 21, 2018
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Sadcore
On the cover of Fighting Season, Thalia Zedek is holding an electric guitar that features a large sticker reading "FCK NZS." In 2018, no one should be surprised by the notion of an established underground artist making a strong political statement, and Zedek, of Jewish heritage and an out lesbian of long standing, seems fittingly troubled by the political and cultural divides of the Trump era. In the press materials for Fighting Season, Zedek says the album was primarily written in the months before the 2016 presidential election. Many of its songs speak of a growing dread in a world where lines have been drawn in the sand, rather than the specifics of what has happened in the wake of Trump taking office.
Underground alt-rock luminary Thalia Zedek's solo work has allowed her to explore the less harsh side of her songwriting and performance than her various bands have allowed. Yet both the title and cover of her latest suggests she is limbering up for battle. Fighting Season's artwork shows Zedek and her guitar, which sports a FCK NZS sticker echoing Woody Guthrie's famed 'This Machine Kills Fascists' slogan.
Photo by Naomi Yang It is easy, listening to records, to get caught up in the singer/songwriter element of Thalia Zedek's work, the haunted, ragged voice; the luminous, fragmented abstraction of the words; the steady frame of plucked guitar. But see her live and you realize how essential the "band" part of her aesthetic is, how elemental and thunderous her backing music can be, how it ebbs and surges like an inky tide, sweeping over bystanders with a tactile, physical impact. Here on Fighting Season, Zedek's seventh full-length under her own name (doesn't seem right to call it solo), both these elements wrestle and intertwine, as sparse confessional interludes swell into giant chaotic crescendos and ritually certain, unconflicted melodies break down into rattling tumults of existential angst.