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Jennifer O’Connor

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Jennifer O’Connor

Born at the Disco is the seventh studio album by Jennifer O’Connor, scheduled for release on November 5, 2021. Recorded in large part by O’Connor herself at home, using drum machines and synthesizers as her primary writing tools and sources of inspiration, the album took shape over the course of several years.

Here’s what O’Connor has to say about the album:

“Lest you think I have made a disco record, that is not exactly the case.

“A nod to the disco era? Yes, you could call it that.  It was during the late 70s that I began to forge my first and most long-lasting bond — the one I have with music itself. This album is influenced by some of the era’s music, but probably even more so by the 80s synth-pop triumvirate of Madonna, Prince and George Michael, the soundtracks of Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer, and the Funk/Soul/Disco bins at Main Street Beat, the record/clothing/book shop that I co-own with my wife and label mate, Amy Bezunartea.  What can I say? Heaven is a Shep Pettibone remix.

“I have been making and releasing albums for almost 20 years now — two of them for Matador Records  — and I believe each one has its own distinct through-line.  But they also all begin in the same unnamable place inside me that really just wants to connect with other people. I have come to understand that writing songs and making records is the best way I know how do that.  It also happens to be thing I love most.  This album is like my others in this way — but almost everything else feels different to me.

“What was so different this time? I think it’s that I took my time.  I experimented relentlessly with a new way (for me) of making music; a process that involved leaning heavily into drum machines and keyboards and sequencing and plugins and effects and noise.  I had started to dip my toes in these waters while making my last couple of records (2016’s Surface Noise and 2011’s I Want What You Want), but I knew I wanted this record to start in this new place and that I wanted to take it much further this time. There is no real “rock band sound” on the album because there is no real rock band. It’s just me, trying things on; new outfits, old outfits, in some cases, no outfits at all.  I recorded a large part of the album at home by myself, which was also a first.  Finally, I wrote songs that scared the shit out of me.  Terrified me, actually.  And it felt good to shake things up in this way.  Unsure.  In new territory.

“I struggled, like everyone else, to get through 2020 with all of its confusion and depression and fear and incredulity and loss — but the album gave me something to work on.  It also helped me keep in mind that there was a future that existed off in the distance somewhere, even though I had no idea what it was going to look like.  In the summer of 2020, I called up my friend Tom Beaujour (and co-producer of my last two records) and right after we kicked the shit out of a cover of “Love Bites” by Def Leppard as a warm-up of sorts, he helped me finish the album.  We completed it in January of 2021 and I honestly don’t know if I would have gotten it done without him.  Thanks Tom.

“I am very proud of this record.  It’s part origin story, part quiet reflection, part angry awakening.  It’s about family and love. It’s about gayness and blame and regret.  It’s about taking stock and taking responsibility.  It’s about exhaustion and relief.  It’s about annihilation and reconstruction. It’s especially about uncovering what is true.  And then not being afraid to live by it.”

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Born at the Disco is Jennifer O’Connor’s 4th release on Kiam Records, the label she started in 2002 before signing with Red Panda and then Matador. Licensing her music to dozens of films and television shows including The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange Is the New Black, The Good Fight, Sons of Anarchy, and Grace and Frankie, has helped support the label over the years, including projects for other Kiam artists, as well as the record store, which she and Bezunartea opened in Nyack, NY in 2014. O’Connor has played in Dump with James McNew of Yo La Tengo (who also played bass on two of her albums) and has shared stages with the likes of Neko Case, Wilco, Robyn Hitchcock, Silver Jews and numerous others.  While many creators are re-assessing how to sustain both practice and career, O’Connor is gratified to have finished a new album that reflects her enduring desire to keep growing through music.

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