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"Four Stars: Riggs's latest is an offering of solace, a safe house built in reaction to time spent in a darker domain. The melodies are sometimes faint, the instrumentation sometimes sparse, but all the more welcoming in being so."- Noah Rawlings, Indy Week
The ideas that became Hell House started to pop up around Halloween of 2016. I was working in a record store in Durham and living in a since-vacated punk house in Chapel Hill. I was writing songs about being an introvert who suddenly found themselves thrust into multiple communities and subcultures through jobs and houses and other people’s jobs and houses. Songs about wolves and queer teenagers running away from home on Halloween night also worked their way into what became the planned first half of an 8 or 9 track album.
The election happened. The day after we all still had to go to work and the sky was grey and cloudy like a movie running out of metaphors to describe how dour everything was. That day I wrote “There are days when we’re good” for Tina and Grayson Currin, who started the Air Horn Orchestra as a means to protest now-former NC governor Pat McCrory. The AHO would make a huge cacophonous noise outside of the Governor’s mansion every week and sources close to Pat revealed that he was definitely listening. Or at least being trapped in his office with no choice but to listen. A recording of The Air Horn Orchestra is featured at the end of “There are days…”.
I’ve lived with these ten songs for the past year now and I’m thankful for everyone that contributed and everyone who came to shows and voiced their kindnesses.
Special thanks to Skylar, Stu, Andrew, Reese, and Nick for their contributions and great noises.
Extra special thanks to Dustin Britt, Sarah Shook, Mark Connor, Justin Ellis, Owen FitzGerald, S.e. Ward, Brad Cook, Kym Register, Ross Grady, John Darnielle, Jeremy Nelson (the hometown heroe), Chip Kloss, Mom, Dad, Sara, Galen, the staffs of The Cave, The Pinhook, Ruby Deluxe, Bull City Records, Nice Price Books and Chock Full ‘O Nuts coffee.
This album is for Durham.
We are beyond excited to have Al's Hell House as the first release on our new monthly digital release imprint, Bull City Records Presents. Al performed this album in its entirety as an electric trio at the shop back in August and it blew us away. His songwriting is ernest and heavy, backed with music that's dark and drifting, yet uplifting. We hope you like it is much as we do. Al is quite prolific, so always check back to his site for more once you're hooked! Recommended for fans of Bill Callahan and the like.
The plan for Bull City Records Presents is to bring new local music, be it demos, bedroom recordings, homemade beats, what have ya, to all ears on the first of each month. After this it will be a surprise until the recordings get posted. We hope you enjoy listening!
released October 13, 2017
All songs scrawled by al Riggs
cover art by Zack Rose
Skylar Gudasz - Vox on 6
Andrew Lowden - Sax on 5 and 10
Reese McHenry - Vox on 5
Stu McLamb - Vox on 7
Nick Johnson - Violin on 7
Al Riggs - All Else
Phil makes sometimes quiet, sometimes ear shattering, always pretty and dense records and this one is no different. As big as all outdoors and as small as a small wooden shack, as to be expected. al Riggs
Dance to this all night and then the morning and then the afternoon until your legs turn to noodles or the landlord starts a-knocking on your floor/their ceiling with a broom. Whichever happens first. al Riggs
Landlady live is a force of nature, on record they are just as gorgeous and anxious as they are in the Flesh World. More Nervous Energy for those who like tremendous drumming and proper earworms. al Riggs