Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella from South Portland, Maine were once part of Cerberus Shoal, as much a musical community as a band with a revolving and frankly bewildering cast list of members.
When the two made a baby together they decided to perform as a duo, record at home and call themselves Big Blood. Caleb says : “We play when the baby is sleeping… we just play music with and for each other”.
To confuse matters they are sometimes billed as a foursome although closer scrutiny reveals that Asian Mae and Rose Philistine are in fact invented names to express the alter egos of Colleen and Caleb respectively.
They have released an album on Maine’s Time-Lag records but the majority of their albums are DIY affairs, put out on CDRs with lovingly crafted sleeve designs complete with original artwork and handmade album inserts.
They are also shared for free via the Free Music Archive. I was aware of their music but only recently discovered this FMA treasure trove of, as I write, twelve albums.
Brad Rose of Digitalis is among their devoted fans and appreciates what he calls their “Hypnotic screeching folk jams”.
Colleen’s singular banshee-like wail is what makes their sound so appealing to me and Caleb’s quavering vocals give her a run for her money. There are obvious roots in the old weird America but this is blended with an array of contemporary ‘new weird’ influences.
You can always get a good clue to an artist’s musical kudos by the songs they choose to cover. In the case of Big Blood you will find highly individual unplugged versions of The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary (on Already Gone I), Blondie’s Heart of Glass, Captain Beefheart’s Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smoking Stones (both on Already Gone II), Syd Barrett’s Terrapin (Big Blood & the Bleedin’ Hearts), Can’s Vitamin C (Sew Your Wild Days) and , perhaps strangest of all, “Indang Pariman” (1.20.07) , a cover from Folk & Pop Sounds of Sumatra Volume I put out on Sun City Girls’ Sublime Frequencies label
A good starting point would be to download any of these tracks or the album The Grove but you can really dive in anywhere and be sure to discover plenty of strange delights.