Toronto-born, London-based singer-songwriter Tess Parks has announced the release of her long-awaited new album And Those Who Were Seen Dancing, out on May 20th via Fuzz Club Records.
Following years of international touring and a lengthy list of collaborations with Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe in recent years (most recently the duo’s self-titled 2018 LP), this will be Parks’ first full-length solo offering since her much-loved debut album, Blood Hot, was released back in 2013. Recorded over two years between 2019 and 2021 but with songs, lyrics and ideas dating back over a decade in some form, And Those Who Were Seen Dancing is an album full of such moments, people and places.
It was also shared the first single and video, “Happy Birthday Forever“, with an accompanying video made from home-recordings of Parks at ballet classes as a child. Parks says of the track: “These lyrics were written when I was living on Henshaw Street in Elephant and Castle in 2009. I think I used to play this at some of my first solo shows in London. In late August 2019, I brought the words to Ruari [Meehan]’s, and him and Francesco [Perini] had already made this amazing music so I sang over it and then later, Josh [Korody] added the awesome beat that comes in. The song was very cleverly and surprisingly originally titled ‘Get Me Out Of Here’, and one day in October 2020 my sister, Isabella, was driving us home from a mixing session and I saw a license plate that said ‘GMOOH’, which is how I always used to abbreviate it, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’m definitely on the right path, I must be. Gotta finish this album’.”
Listen to “Happy Birthday Forever” and watch the video for it below:
“In my mind, this album is like hopscotch“, Parks says of And Those Who Were Seen Dancing. “These songs were pieced together over time in London, Toronto and Los Angeles with friends and family between August 2019 and March 2021. So many other versions of these songs exist. The recording and final completion of this album took over two years and wow – the lesson I have learned the most is that words are spells. If I didn’t know it before, I know it now for sure. I only want to put good out into the universe.”
A creeping disillusionment with the state of the world paired with an injury that stopped Parks from being able to play guitar and piano for months meant the album was nearly shelved. “I really felt discouraged to complete this album“, she recalls: “I stopped listening to music for honestly about a year altogether and turned to painting instead. I really had to convince myself again that it’s important to just share whatever good we can – having faith in ourselves to know that our lights can shine on and on through other people and for other people. The thought of anyone not sharing their art or being shy of anything they create seems like a real tragedy to me. Even if it’s not perfect, you’re capturing a moment.”
And Those Who Were Seen Dancing artwork & tracklist:
2. Suzy & Sally’s Eternal Return
3. Happy Birthday Forever
4. We Are The Music Makers And We Are The Dreamers Of Dream
5. Brexit at Tiffany’s
6. Old Life
7. Do You Pray?
8. Good Morning Glory
9. I See Angels
10. Saint Michael