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Sad sack and tiller of doom, t.k. bollinger has been writing and recording songs since the grunge plague of 1991.
He cut his teeth playing drums for one of the best bands you’ve probably never heard of, The Stinking Badger of Java.
While briefly defecting to electronica at the end of the millennium, he saw the error of his ways driving through the deserts of Australia in 2004. Collecting songs and impressions on his way to the top-end caused him to strip back his material and to begin playing an idiosyncratic style of country blues.
Not content to leave things there, and to cries of Judas, he went electric again in 2011, and began jamming with old friends Vis Ortis and R.S. Amor. The ensuing musical apoplexy coalesced into the doom-blues outfit t.k. bollinger and that sinking feeling. They completed their first album, A Catalogue of Woe, in August 2014. Upon it’s release, the rest of his band was so appalled that they moved to Tasmania and now seek to redeem themselves whilst crafting the log awaited sequel Doom Blues, to be released in late 2017 early 2018.
While patching things up, via Ouija board, Bollinger took it upon himself to complete what emerged as his bummer opus – Shy Ghosts. Released in January 2016, it was a collection of tales of lost and little mourned ghosts – slow, delicately arranged songs that spoke of sorrow and loss, dementia and decay, fog and fear.
2017 proves to be an exciting year for bollinger and his musical fanatics. A new album, What’s Left Now You Are Dead to Me has been completed and set for worldwide digital release on 31st October 2017. Still in bollinger’s confessional style it promises to be a lusher and, possibly, more hopeful collection of songs.
2017 Image Gallery
Forward to Death Video Stills
What’s Left Now You Are dead To Me – Portraits
What’s Left Now You Are Dead To Me – Press Release and Lyrics
The music of t.k. bollinger is a sweetly tortured fusion of Doom Blues, Gothic Country and post apocalyptic Gregorian Chant. A predominantly solo artist, his songs speak of the horror and the hope that lies in a world where each of us is forced to find our own meaning and purpose. Plaintive melodies meet literate lyrics, all played and sung in bollinger’s idiosyncratic style and voice.
The music of t.k. bollinger is mined from the same dark vein as such late 20th century Australian underground artists as The Birthday Party/Nick Cave, The Wreckery, and Crime and the City Solution. It blends Gothic Country with Folk, Punk Rock and Blues. Bollinger’s musical influences are not only home grown. He derives his inspiration from many sources, including Cow Punk/Alt country (Country Teasers, 16 Horsepower) Dark Folk (Qntal, Elliot Smith, Jason Molina) , Sad Pop (Weyes Blood) and Americana (Gillian Welch); a mish mash of genre that revolves around the ugly twin of Happiness, Sadness. If any single word sums up his sound, it would be Sadcore. Bollinger says, “If you can find beauty and hope in sadness, then you can find it anywhere.”
the music – an overview of the songs on this album.
The entire album can be heard on YouTube by following this link
This 16 song collection continues to explore t.k. bollinger’s usual dark terrain, though with a little more lushness than 2016’s Shy Ghosts. The stripped back minimalism is still there in songs such as Shovelling/Struggling, but with the inclusion of long time co-conspirator Vis Ortis wearing a co-production hat and providing drum programming and sound manipulation, the atmosphere has thickened and accordingly the sonic texture has become much richer.
Bollinger has even added the occasional keyboard line and there is a distinct triphop feel to some of these songs (see Enough Rope for instance and the sinister and seductive collaboration with Texas’ Pixie Muse – Dark as Night Sweet As Sin). Some of the tracks are more along the lines of the angular minor key rock that we would expect from bollinger’s band, That Sinking Feeling – songs such as The More I See The Less I Want and It’s Just Changed. The Gothic Country vibe however is still strong, particularly in opening track, A Life of Fear and the latin tinged May Death Come Welcome. Folky elements also appear, reminiscent of bollinger’s earlier Country blues explorations, in songs such as Where We Walked Today and The Same Tears.
testemonial – Previous Critical Reaction for bollinger’s work
“Equal parts mystifying and beautiful, t.k. bollinger has created an album that forces the listener to ponder the most intricate and infinite of questions, without ever promising any answers. It’s a rare class of music that may have been built from one man’s isolation and tormented exploration, but it was created so that we might all find something bold and new within ourselves. All we can hope is that bollinger has more dark realms that he can explore and more emotive music that he can bring to life.”
Thomas Bedward – broken8records.com
“I’m overwhelmed by what Mr. Bollinger has achieved. This is sadcore of the highest carat. Making this kind of music is a difficult balancing act. Sad songs without honesty is just embarrassing. However, there’s no lack of honesty here. In fact, t.k. bollinger sings so emphatically on the album that it feels like he is the last man left on the planet. Naked, tormented and not overly beautiful, but with a heartfelt presence.”
The Ambassador – Swedish Embassy of Gothic Country
“Not an album for everyone, And not for all the moments of the day – or life – but if you have ever more or less direct contact with life’s pain, in any of its forms, you will not be led astray. Minimalist, essential, dark, beautiful.”
Mauro Catena – the pit of the damned
Bollinger has been slowly gathering a loyal group of listeners around him who share his downbeat and sadcore musical passion. This group meet in the dark alleys of social media to discuss their own dark tastes. The following quotes were given freely, without bribery or duress:
“And I thought I knew what sadness was.”
– Alex DiFrancesco
“TK’s music is the perfect soundtrack for when you feel sad about things in your life.”
– Daisy Walton
“Your go-to antidote for happiness. Keep those feel-goods in the basement where they belong with a heaping dose of sadcore from Dr Bollinger.”
– Jeremy Holcombe
“T. K. portrays melancholic lyrics and sounds through true life stories, touching us to the very core of existence in a cynical world.”
– Christina Willis
“Sadness is rebellion”
– Johan Carlsson
Shy Ghosts Art and Lyrics
Follow this link or click on the cover below to find art and lyrics for the Shy Ghosts Album released in 2016.
t.k. bollinger Shy Ghosts series
Photo shoot for Shy Ghosts album art by Yippie Bean
t.k. bollinger and that sinking feeling
Digital manipulation by Vis Ortis.
Stills from the video Brother Do You Have a Buck for Me live at the Empress Hotel Melbourne by Ziltch.
2011 by Matt E