Kramer Announces New LP, Shares “The Crying”

“The atmospheric track underpinned by echoey vocals and soft, layered instrumentals feels like a lullaby before the heart-wrenching lyrics catch up to you.”
– EARMILK
“Beyond announcing Kramer’s first truly solo album in some 23 years, ‘The Crying,’ both in sound and visual representation, brings us a portrait of an artist that refuses, as ever, to hide behind artifice, to front with any show of false bravado (a phrase that is redundant to point of absurdity), instead proceeding as straight ahead and hellbent as possible through the sheer wonderment of pain and loss and age, damn life’s shitty torpedoes.”
– Stereo Embers

Today, Kramer announced his forthcoming LP, And the Wind Blew It All Away, due December 3 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings. Alongside the announcement today, he has also shared the album’s lead single, “The Crying,” via EARMILK. This record will be Kramer’s first solo LP of completely original material since 1998’s Songs From The Pink Death.

On the single, Kramer said:

“I’m not at all sure of where this one came from. The pandemic? Yet another failed collaboration (the most recent one of so very many, after three decades of working alone)? Repeated estrangements from my daughter, each new one lasting longer than the previous one? Or is it the cumulative weights of all three? We give up on Love when we imagine that Love has given up on us, or purposefully failed us, or forsaken us in its cruelty. As humans, Tears are our most common and most blinding recourse. The sound of them falling rings like a mote of fire around a bell;

‘This is what you get for trying; crying til the crying sets you free.’” 

On the LP itself, Kramer said:

“A terrifying wind is coming. I recorded this LP as I wondered, through sound and song, if I’ll ever collaborate on making music with another artist by my side again, or live to see another New Year’s Eve, or ever hear my daughter’s voice again, or ever Love again. Time will darken it. It always does.

Do I really want to be the last man standing, in a wind like this one?”

Kramer – “The Crying”
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Kramer Bio:

Kramer’s work in music covers a vast spectrum of sound, unified only by an unwavering commitment to experimentation and collaboration. Even a straight telling of his bio reads like a wild tall tale.

As a bassist & multi-instrumentalist, he’s toured with The Fugs, Shockabilly, Jad Fair, Danielson, B.A.L.L. (his band with Don Fleming), Gary Panter, and with Butthole Surfers on their infamous 1985 debut European tour. At his Noise New York and Noise New Jersey studios, he’s produced and recorded hundreds of artists, including Daniel Johnston, Royal Trux, White Zombie, Pussy Galore, Mo Tucker (ex-Velvet Underground), and Half Japanese.

While he has operated successfully on the extreme fringes of 20th century American Indie music, Kramer has also shown an equal mastery of ‘pop’ music, producing influential recordings by artists like Galaxie 500, Will Oldham, and LOW.

Kramer also scored a bonafide hit in 1994 as producer for Urge Overkill’s take on Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” chosen by Quentin Tarantino for his second film, the Palme D’Or winning Pulp Fiction. The film’s extraordinary soundtrack broke sales records worldwide (earning 25x Platinum Sales awards internationally along the way), and the song itself climbed as high as the #59 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The band paid Kramer $500 to produce the song (along with two others, in a single day at his Noise New Jersey studio), and never gave him another penny. And so it goes.

But it was the creation of his Shimmy-Disc label in 1987 that would prove to be one of Kramer’s most enduring achievements. It was therein that Kramer coalesced his varied talents as a producer, curator, and musician/collaborator into one inextricably linked whole. In the words of Joyful Noise Recordings’ founder Karl Hofstetter, “His label became his art medium.”

Through Shimmy-Disc, between 1987 and 1998, Kramer released over 100 albums from a fascinating roster of artists that included WEEN (“The Pod”), gore metal heroes GWARKing Missile, John Zorn’s Naked City, Japan’s noise rock masters BOREDOMS, and Kramer’s collaboration with magician Penn JilletteThe Captain Howdy, to name but a small few.

There is perhaps no other living figure with a greater connection to outsider music than Kramer. A brief sampling of the fruits of his collaborative genius would read as follows:

In 1985, while playing bass with Paul Leary and Gibby Haynes in Butthole Surfers, he recorded their classic songs, “American Woman,” “Whirling Hall Of Knives,” “Creep in the Cellar,” “Florida,” and others that would soon appear on their groundbreaking Rembrandt Pussyhorse LP, and on their Cream Corn From The Socket of Davis EP. Later that same year, with the help of a small loan from his uncle, he put a down payment on the recording studio, Noise New York, moved in, and made it his home base of operations for the next seven years.

In 1988, Kramer produced Daniel Johnston’s seminal masterpiece, “1990”, featuring two of his greatest songs, “True Love Will Find You In The End,” and “Some Things Last a Long Time,” on which Kramer played every instrument. Together, these songs established Daniel’s one-of-a-kind genius, and they remain today as twin seminal anthems of one of the most vibrant periods in American Indie music, and one of its greatest artists and songwriters.

Between 1988 and 1991, Kramer produced all three Galaxie 500 LP’s, and toured the world with them behind the live-mix console, “…so I could be 100% certain that they sounded even better live in concert than they did on the records, which I could easily do if the venue had just one halfway decent reverb, and one echo machine”, he said. This genre-defining trilogy of LP’s firmly established Kramer as one of the founding fathers of “Slowcore,” and cemented the band’s eternal resting place in the movement’s pantheon of greats.

In 1992, Kramer’s daughter Tess was born, and he released his first solo effort; a triple LP he called “The Guilt Trip”. Two more solo LP’s followed in 1995, and 1998.

In 1994, following the release of Pulp FictionRolling Stone Magazine named Kramer “Producer of the Year” (aka; “Hot Producer”).

Also in 1994, he discovered LOW and produced their first two LP’s, I Could Live In Hope and Long Division in 1995, for Virgin’s Vernon Yard Records. Those recordings are now considered two of the foundational pillars of the Slowcore/Sadcore movement.

In 1995, he co-wrote “Free Will & Testament” with ex-Soft Machine legend Robert Wyatt, which became his signature song. That same year, he produced perhaps the most beautiful recordings of Will Oldham’s storied career, the 7” single “Gulf Shores,” b/w “West Palm Beach.”

In 1996, years after producing King Missile’s college radio mega-hit “Jesus Was Way Cool” for their Mystical Shit LP on Shimmy-Disc (which inspired their signing to Atlantic Records), Kramer reluctantly agreed to work for a major label and produce their 2nd LP for Atlantic, “Happy Hour,” which spawned two new hit songs and accompanying videos, “Detachable Penis,” and “Martin Scorsese,” both of which enjoyed worldwide notoriety, thanks to extensive MTV airplay.

In 1998, following a nightmarish 5 year lawsuit brought against him by Ann Magnuson over the Bongwater catalog and a subsequent disastrous partnership with The Knitting Factory in NYC, Shimmy-Disc went bankrupt and Kramer quit making music. He spent the next five years studying Theater & Directing under Arthur Penn (Bonnie & Clyde, The Miracle Worker, Little Big Man) at The Actors Studio, and the next two decades making four solo LP’s for the “Composers Series” of John Zorn’s Tzadik Records label, including one featuring guitarist Bill Frisell entitled, The Brill Building, Book Two.

Now living in South Florida, Kramer found the time to wonder whether or not, if, in the future, he had the chance to run a record company again, he would by then have become mature enough (“or crazy enough”, in his own words) to actually take that chance.

In 2020, Joyful Noise Recordings named him their “Artist in Residence,” commemorating his career with a 5LP vinyl box set and over 400 minutes of newly recorded music.

In 2021, after a 23 year hiatus, Shimmy-Disc was born again. In December of that same year (ie; NOW), Kramer releases his first solo LP since 1998; AND THE WIND BLEW IT ALL AWAY, produced and recorded entirely alone in his home studio in South Florida during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Make Art, Make Love, Die.” – Kramer, 2020

And the Wind Blew It All Away – TRACKLISTING

1. Falling Skies
2. In the Rain
3. The Wind
4. The Crying
5. No Words
6. In Absentia
7. The Heartache
8. She Knows
9. The Killing
10. Winter Lady

And the Wind Blew It All Away Credits:All music and lyrics by Kramer (Secretly Publishing), except “Winter Lady” by Leonard Cohen
All Instruments and Voices by KRAMER
Produced, Mixed and Master by KRAMER at Noise Miami (2020/2021)
Cover Art silent film still from Buster Keaton’s “Steamboat Bill Jr.” (1928 Public Domain)
Back Cover self-portrait by Kramer (2020)
Insert Sleeve Photo of Kramer & Tess by Valerie Zars (NYC, 2000)
LP Design by Kramer & Ryan Hover
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