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Exotic Monsters

by Penfriend

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Athens 441
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Athens 441 All the hard work Laura has put in to get her music out there is inspirational! <3
Jon Batt1
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Jon Batt1 This is such a beautiful album. So glad you interviewed Stephen J on your podcast as this is how I discovered you Laura. Absolutely love Black Car in particular. Favorite track: Black Car.
Matt Ilett
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Matt Ilett Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Am loving this album, the more plays the better and better it becomes. This is winning! Favorite track: Seashaken.
Bishop
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Bishop Laura Kidd has outdone herself. Again. Great stuff. Well worth the wait. Favorite track: I'll Start A Fire.
almelchior
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almelchior Laura is a tremendous songwriter, musician and producer. I love all the hard-charging, catchy riffs, funky time signatures, synth textures…pretty much everything. Favorite track: Exotic Monsters.
tigerbunny78
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tigerbunny78 This just speaks to me very clearly about how I feel these days. Favorite track: I Used To Know Everything.
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    "Exotic Monsters" on super Space Blue opaque vinyl, presented in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with artwork by Alex Tillbrook and photos by Laura Kidd. Music you can hold in your hands!

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    ===

    "Exotic Monsters" on CD, presented in a beautiful gatefold case with a printed slip sleeve. Artwork by Alex Tillbrook, photos by Laura Kidd. Music you can hold in your hands!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Exotic Monsters via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    The most optimistic version of "Exotic Monsters", presented in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with artwork by Alex Tillbrook and photos by Laura Kidd. Music you can hold in your hands!

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    "Exotic Monsters" on glorious Earth Green opaque vinyl, signed and hand-numbered and presented in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with artwork by Alex Tillbrook and photos by Laura Kidd.

    Comes with exclusive two track 7" Sunshine Yellow vinyl - track listing: The Only Way Out Is Through / Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine - the only physical pressing of these songs.

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    Limited edition collector's set of badges featuring artwork from "Exotic Monsters".

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    Featuring the "Exotic Monsters" album artwork by Alex Tillbrook. White print on black Stanley/Stella tee: organic sustainable cotton, vegan approved and fair wear.

    Please check sizing before ordering:

    Medium UNISEX: half chest 52cm / length 72cm
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    ===

    "Exotic Monsters" on cassette tape, presented in a beautiful Maltese cross cardboard case, with artwork by Alex Tillbrook. Music you can hold in your hands!

    Last few copies of a super limited run of 100!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Exotic Monsters via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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1.
I try solipsistic recreation I crave love without abbreviation I need time to kiss this cup of coffee I keep letters from the ones who loved me I will take all the dreams that Hollywood promised me I want it now We’re exotic monsters, dead from the waist down How can I be clear? Gratitude’s the first sign of waking I won’t go back Keep a kiss for me Cos we all fall down under an international sky Fighting to believe it’ll be all right I’m on an extrasolar high I seek narcissistic decoration I crave soil, warmth, ventilation I’d like to focus on my silent fiction I need to kick this dopamine addiction I dream of being someone’s happy memory I want it all We’re exotic monsters, dead from the waist down How can I be clear? Gratitude’s the first sign of waking Please don’t keep me here Keep a kiss for me Cos we all fall down under an international sky Fighting to believe it’ll be all right I’m on an extrasolar high Keep a kiss for me Cos we all fall down under an international sky Fighting to believe it’ll be all right I’m on an extrasolar high
2.
Seventeen 03:52
Happy birthday, time to say goodbye Such a big girl, keep all this inside Dial back those dreams Wishing impossible things Bursting your seams It hurts when we grow Tell me what you wanted I was seventeen Tell me I deserved it Because I was seventeen Toxic teens on mixtape afternoons Photostatic memories of you Fold paper planes Pull them apart when it rains Smash windowpanes Stretching our wings alone Tell me what you wanted I was seventeen Tell me I deserved it I was seventeen Tell me it was all my fault I was seventeen Tell me you remember Tell me what you wanted I was seventeen Tell me I deserved it I was seventeen Give me a good reason I was seventeen Tell me you’re so sorry I was seventeen
3.
Thought you knew me, did you hell We were thrown together Mess of sticky red blood cells That won’t forget I can’t even wish you well I was stuck in the middle Then the day drops dark and silence suffocates me Long lost lives Electric eyes appear It’s over cos we’re Hell together Precious cargo, bleeding heart Am I lost forever? Paper tiger, poisoned dart Won’t let go You’re so happy miles apart I threw stuff at a wall You could speak your mind if you’d earned the right Long lost lives Home can hide Long lost lies Electric eyes appear It’s over cos we’re Hell together I can feel the storm coming, I can feel the storm coming I can feel the storm coming But I know we’re hell together I can feel the storm coming, I can feel the storm coming I can feel the storm coming But I know we’re hell together I can feel the storm coming (storm coming) I can feel the storm coming (storm coming) I can feel the storm coming I can feel the storm coming But I know we’re hell together
4.
We’re losing ourselves Giving it away I wasn’t made for this world Rotten teeth decay Ignoring all the broken pieces Doesn’t stop the rain I used to know everything Now I’m not sure of much I used to know everything Now I see I haven’t learned enough I used to know everything Now I’m not sure of much I used to know everything Now I see I haven’t learned enough I ditched the still life For happiness and health My flesh is tired, not tasty Feast on someone else Interrogating incarnations Talking to myself I used to know everything Now I’m not sure of much I used to know everything Now I see I haven’t learned enough I used to know everything Now I’m not sure of much I used to know everything Now I see I haven’t learned enough I used to know everything Now I’m not sure of much I used to know everything Now I see I haven’t learned enough I used to know everything Now I’m not sure of much I used to know everything Now I see I haven’t learned enough
5.
Dispensable body Knowledge is a curse Feel the weight of the world Feel the weight of the universe Gotta keep moving Oh, but I stopped listening Had a hell of a go of it Now I’m putting my heart first Far away, looking back from this constellation Castaway, adrift on my own space station Just breathe Just breathe Shape of a human Borne on a thunderclap Words in a diary Perimeters intact Tomorrow is today So click your heels and think of me From the eye of the hurricane You’re my safe path back Far away, looking back from this constellation Castaway, adrift on my own space station Just breathe Just breathe Far away, looking back from this constellation Castaway, adrift on my own space station Far away, from the loneliest generation Castaway, I’m a project of my own making Just breathe Just breathe
6.
Seashaken 04:15
Voices render me breathless Gotta get off of this sinking ship But the water’s deafening I’m still dreaming of drowning Trying to escape this relentless planet But my sheets are paper thin Tuck the violence in your pillow Surf the silence But don’t swallow all the tears Wishing these days could be over Going to bed when it’s light outside And I flew 10,000 miles I’m seashaken and screaming Doing my best, but I’ve got to go Don’t expect me for a while Tuck the violence in your pillow Surf the silence But don’t swallow all the tears Tuck the violence in your pillow Surf the silence But don’t swallow Tuck the violence in your pillow Stand and fight now Meet me tomorrow
7.
Call the doctor I can’t remember how to be Now the robots are working overtime Tick the box and I win next day delivery I’m not lazy We’re being hypnotised Open and close, shoulders and toes What do you fear? What do you fear? Nightmares expose loving echoes What do you fear? Call the doctor I can’t remember where I’ve been A fuzzy picture is all that will remain Take a step, I’m inviting you to feel something If we forget to, there’s no-one to blame Open and close, shoulders and toes What do you fear? What do you fear? Nightmares expose loving echoes What do you fear? What do you fear? Nightmares expose loving echoes What do you fear? What do you fear? What do you fear? What do you fear? What do you fear?
8.
I stole a car in a dream And now I’m feeling paranoid Well I spent so long ignoring my instincts Now I’m searching to destroy I’ll start a fire while the world burns I’ll start a fire, I’ll start a fire So I sink these heavy words in a diary And take them all to heart Gonna build myself a fortress of vanity And then I’ll fall apart I’ll start a fire while the world burns I’ll cut connections while the planet turns I’ll start a fire cos it seems we’re elbow deep In cheap banalities I’ll start a fire, I’ll start a fire I’ll start a fire while the world burns I’ll cut connections while the planet turns I’ll start a fire cos it seems we’re elbow deep In cheap banalities I’ll start a fire, I’ll start a fire
9.
Cancel your hopes, dear Do you remember when this was all fields? Boys in the boardroom backslapping their deals There’s a hole in our bucket, dear Liza - a hole Walk the high wire with no mind for the crash Are we in denial or do we crave collapse? Can’t look strangers in the eye Is that cos we are terrified? Cos you know that we said forever And you see that there’s nothing left So let’s stand til we all fall over Take my hand cos it’s so fucking beautiful Cancel your hopes, please The planet’s on fire while we’re stroking our screens Buy better headphones to muffle their screams There’s a hole in our bucket Walk the high wire with no mind for the crash Are we in denial or do we crave collapse? Won’t look strangers in the eye Is that cos we are dead inside? Cos you know that we said forever And you see that there’s nothing left So let’s stand til we all fall over Take my hand cos it’s so fucking beautiful Now I see that we’re going under But I know that there’s nothing else So as long as we stand together Take my hand cos you’re so fucking beautiful
10.
Long Shadows 04:19
White flags and parachutes Don’t bring me peace I won’t apologise I won’t be pleased Nil by photography What would we do? Hen in a pillowcase Inventing truth My love casts long shadows on the ceiling Silhouettes of things I’ve kept alive We’re just searching for a meaning Sentimental, grieving to survive Engaging cruise control Trusting machines Save us from alcohol Protect my dreams We’re so collectible We sleep alone You keep the cavalry I’ll make it home My love casts long shadows on the ceiling Silhouettes of things I’ve kept alive We’re just searching for a meaning Sentimental, grieving to survive My love casts long shadows on the ceiling Silhouettes of things I’ve kept alive We’re just searching for a meaning Sentimental, grieving to survive
11.
Rain on my cheek, so tired of pretending I’m getting lost again Sea legs are weak, the tide’s never-ending Capsized my only friend I’m going nowhere But I’ll come back to you Lift my head out of the blue Ink on my wrist, a sign for protection My skin my only shield When every note’s a cry for affection Those bruises never healed I’m going nowhere But I’ll come back to you Lift my head out of the blue Yes I’ll come back to you Lift my head out of the blue Yes I’ll come back to you Lift my head out of the blue Yes I’ll come back to you Lift my head out of the blue
12.
Black Car 04:42
Remember the summer when everyone stayed at home? Ships in a bottle, stacked up with our lives on hold If we could really see the warnings that were written before If we could really feel Our hearts would smash all over the floor Hear me now, I can feel the thunder March me out with the fallen number Will there be - is there a black car waiting for me? Keep your loved ones close This is surviving, but we’re having a god damn year Tired of climbing, but the universe left us here And on my worst of days I want to keep wanting to be kind But everywhere I see machines are taking over our minds Hear me now, I can feel the thunder March me out with the fallen number Will there be - is there a black car waiting for me? Keep your loved ones close Keep your loved ones close Even on calm waters, waves will rise As my heart explodes Loving echoes dancing in my eyes Keep your loved ones close Keep your loved ones close Keep your loved ones close Hear me now, I can feel the thunder March me out with the fallen number Will there be - is there a black car waiting? Hear me now, I can feel the thunder March me out with the fallen number Will there be - Is there a black car waiting for me? Keep your loved ones close

about

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===

Both a reflection and a result of a major personal journey; a mental and physical shedding of the past, “Exotic Monsters” is an exercise in deep self-reflection, a search for hope and and a much-needed reminder of our personal power.

The album was written and recorded between February 2019 and October 2020, completely alone, in Laura’s attic home studio The Launchpad.

Initially using songwriting to process the increasingly angry, polarised nature of public discourse during the drawn-out, tumultuous Brexit nightmare (later using it to provide emotional reportage throughout the Covid-19 pandemic), she found the new songs started to shape and change her life like no collection of her own work had before.

With clear eyes to the casino-style attention engineering tactics of big tech companies, proven to increase depression and anxiety, the album is strewn with references to one of society’s major struggles of the day - how to use this technology for good, while protecting ourselves from the damaging downsides of constant connectivity:

“We’re losing ourselves - giving it away” / “my flesh is tired, not tasty - feast on someone else” (“I Used To Know Everything”); “Call the doctor, I can’t remember how to be, now the robots are working overtime” / “I’m not lazy, we’re being hypnotised” (“Loving Echoes); “gonna build myself a fortress of vanity, and then I’ll fall apart” / “I’ll start a fire cos it seems we’re elbow deep in cheap banalities” (“I’ll Start A Fire”).

Elsewhere, Laura casts her personal demons in amber, reducing their size and scariness, containing them so she can finally move on. “Seventeen”’s insistent chorus only hints at the monsters that lurk within: “Tell me what you wanted - I was seventeen - Tell me I deserved it - I was seventeen - Tell me if was all my fault - I was seventeen - Tell me you remember - I was seventeen”; “Hell Together” bravely builds boundaries “You could speak your mind - if you’d earned the right”, while understanding that dealing with external forces is only one part of the problem: “I can feel the storm coming”.

“Sometimes we need to package up our memories with tidy words to dispel the haunting.

Sometimes we just need to stop blaming ourselves.”

Unashamedly acknowledging the negative emotional onslaught of politics, social media, family, friends and lovers is at the core of this record, but the listener is never left without the promise of hope. The album mirrors our dystopian world, posing tough questions but always offering comfort and a friendly, empathetic shoulder to lean on.

Drawing more from her wide-ranging reading list than her favourite bands, Laura deals with the gruelling emotional matters of 21st-century life with honesty, grace and warmth, referencing Ursula Le Guin, Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood and Mark Westmoquette along the way.

From the weary, in-this-together hug of “Seashaken”, to the post-punk eyeballing-of-the- apocalypse of “Cancel Your Hopes” and the “everything’s fucked, so fuck it” power pop of “I’ll Start A Fire”, “Exotic Monsters” is her most expansive and socially resonant work to date.

credits

released May 21, 2021

All music produced, composed, performed and recorded by Laura Kidd.

Mixed by Dan Austin at SoundHorn Studio, Wiltshire.

Mastered by Katie Tavini.

Piano on “Seventeen”, Seashaken” and “Out Of The Blue” arranged by Laura Kidd, performed and recorded by Catherine Anne Davies.

Drums on “Seventeen”, “Hell Together”, “I’ll Start A Fire” and “Cancel Your Hopes” performed and recorded by Max Saidi.

Additional drum samples on tracks 1, 7 & 11 from the ESTEC drum set, a European Space Agency and TEDxESA collaboration to share the sounds of space exploration - made here on earth.

Credit: Peter Kirn/CDM/ESA CC BY-SA.
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Illustrations by Alex Tillbrook, concept by LK.

Hugest thanks to every member of my Supersub Club and The Correspondent’s Club for encouraging and supporting the making of this new album since the start, and to YOU for choosing it today.

Thank you xxx

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Penfriend Bristol, UK

Music for people who like handwritten letters. Grungey guitars, synths and stories by music producer Laura Kidd.

Videos: youtube.com/penfriendrocks

Podcast: penfriend.rocks/podcast

Back catalogue: shemakeswar.bandcamp.com
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