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Dresden Dolls reunite on new Australia charity album (stream a Midnight Oil cover)

Amanda Palmer

Tomorrow, Amanda Palmer will release a charity album to help benefit victims of the Australia bushfires, and it finds Amanda reuniting with her Dresden Dolls partner Brian Viglione on most songs, and her frequent collaborator Jherek Bischoff played bass and guitar. It features covers of several Australian musicians, as well as guest appearances by Australian musicians. The first taste is a cover of Midnight Oil‘s 1987 classic “Beds are Burning,” featuring Missy Higgins. Listen:

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Here’s much more info via press release:

US musician, author and activist Amanda Palmer has announced Forty-Five Degrees: A Bushfire Charity Flash Record set for release on Friday, February 21. Recorded in just five days, the album is an immediate response to the ongoing bushfire crisis plaguing Australia with all proceeds going to Firesticks Alliance; an Indigenous led network re-invigorating and teaching cultural burning and land management.

The first single lifted from the release is a stirring cover of Midnight Oil’s hit “Beds Are Burning” featuring Missy Higgins taking the lead vocal under Palmer’s signature punk rock piano pounding. In addition to this, the tireless artist has also announced “Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer Present A Bushfire Recovery Event” with special guests Missy Higgins and Fred Leone (Butchulla Song Man) in Melbourne on March 8th, in a bid to raise further funds to aid bushfire recovery efforts with proceeds going to Firesticks Alliance and Seed Mob: a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people working for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

Forty-Five Degrees: A Bushfire Charity Record came together at a dizzying pace between tour dates at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne with the help of Missy Higgins, Montaigne (singing on “Truganini”), Clare Bowditch (singing on “Black Smoke”) and Fred Leone (playing didjeridoo on “Solid Rock”) who dropped everything to be in the studio and lend their talents to the effort. The album also sees Amanda reunite with Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls who plays drums across several tracks and long-time Palmer-and-Higgins collaborator Jherek Bischoff providing both electric and upright bass. The album was helmed by local engineer Anna Laverty and produced by Amanda with Ross Cockle on mastering duties. The artwork was created specifically for the project by newly minted Australian citizen Sarah Beetson.

Featuring a new original Amanda Palmer song, “Suck It Up, Buttercup”, penned in Tasmania after a Mona Foma residency in a confessional booth during which Palmer spoke with over 100 people in Launceston about their fears, the album also contains covers of songs by Midnight Oil, Ted Egan, Jen Cloher, Goanna and Emily Wurramarra, as voted for by Amanda’s Patreon community who inspired the emergency effort. “My ability to move and work fast is made possible by 15,000 full-time supporters on my Patreon crowdfunding page. As the bushfires hit global headlines, many of my patrons reached out and wanted to know if we could collectively help the cause, given that I was touring here,” says Amanda.

Amanda herself also adds the following:

I’m an American, and an American who loves Australia deeply. Neil (Gaiman, my husband) and I landed in Melbourne in advance of my current tour a few days before Christmas, just when the fires really began to rage.

It started with the idea of just covering “Beds are Burning” on solo piano, but then my patrons started clamoring for “Solid Rock”, a song I’d never heard of, and then I called a few friends to help, and the next thing you know, well, we had a whole record. We tracked and mixed eight songs in about five days between my tour dates.

We decided to give all of the profits to Firesticks Alliance, as a way of looking towards a more hopeful future, one where we are able to learn from the traditional custodians of this land, instead of just paying lip service.

During my last trip to Australia in 2017, I started reading more deeply about Indigenous land rights and Australia’s unique problems with the climate crisis. I thought I knew things, but I had no idea how much deeper and darker the story ran. This devastating round of bushfires simply cannot be untangled from the spiraling knock-on effects of colonialism and climate ignorance.

If Australia is the canary in the dark climate coal-mine, I hope a bunch of artists making a response record like this, so fast and with such generosity, can provide a little crack of light.”

Tracklist and Credits
AMANDA PALMER & FRIENDS
FORTY-FIVE DEGREES: BUSHFIRE CHARITY FLASH RECORD
Artwork by Sarah Beetson

featuring BRIAN VIGLIONE of THE DRESDEN DOLLS on drums and JHEREK BISCHOFF on bass and guitar

Tracklisting:
MY FAVORITE THINGS (BUSHFIRE EDITION) originally by RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN
BEDS ARE BURNING (with MISSY HIGGINS) originally by MIDNIGHT OIL
THE DROVER’S BOY originally by TED EGAN
BLACK SMOKE (with CLARE BOWDITCH) originally by EMILY WURRAMARA
SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP by AMANDA PALMER
TRUGANINI (with MONTAIGNE) originally by MIDNIGHT OIL
SOLID ROCK (with FRED LEONE) originally by GOANNA
REGIONAL ECHO originally by JEN CLOHER

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