THE ARMOIRES, the Burbank-based combo led by BIG STIR RECORDS founders CHRISTINA BULBENKO and REX BROOME, are back with their first release since their 2016 debut album Incidental Lightshow. "(How Did You Make) A Mistake Like Me?" b/w "Not a Good Man" will be released Friday, April 6 as the 23rd Big Stir Digital Single and they're available for pre-order now!
It's a vastly different world for THE ARMOIRES since Incidental Lightshow was quietly issued three years ago. Bulbenko and Broome have devoted themselves to musical community building under the Big Stir banner, creating the ongoing live concert series in LA and South London, the BSR label, Big Stir Magazine and much more, while the band has racked up well over 100 live performances honing their sound and sharing stages with their new friends from the global pop scene. All the while they've been collaborating with producer STEVEN WILSON (PLASTICSOUL) on their second LP. The sessions have yielded both the Zibaldone album, due in August, and a completely separate EP, Side Three, which will see release in May.
Our A-side, "(How Did You Make) A Mistake Like Me?" is an advance single from Zibaldone. A vocal feature for Christina with a stylistic nod to her Detroit roots, it also features bass provided by RUTH ROGERS of BSR's own SPYGENIUS (Canterbury, UK) and a backing vocal group made up of Broome, Wilson, and JOHN ASHFIELD of THE BOBBLEHEADS, as well as groovy keys from the band's friend RANDY THOMPSON. As with all the Zibaldone session tracks, core Armoires DEREK HANNA on drums and LARYSA BULBENKO on viola round out the band. Christina's vocals on both sides hearken back to her acting days as she takes on "bad girl" characters counter to her real life persona with sly relish. The tune was originally inspired by another BSR artist but quickly became something very different, as Broome explains:
"I was lucky enough in the early days of Big Stir Records to have an advance copy of PLASTICSOUL's Therapy and was extremely envious of 'Keeping A Light On" with its 'Satisfaction'/'Cinnamon Girl' beat, and the title hook for 'Mistake' dropped out of the ether. But it didn't feel like a garage rocker to be sung by an angry guy, and I thought, hey, the Stones got that beat from Motown, and Christina's a Detroit girl -- this is probably something she could really sink her teeth into. There was a horn line written for the tune but that felt a little like pastiche, and Larysa and I had developed a dual lead tactic with viola and electric 12-string that we were using a lot, so we used that instead and it feels a lot more Armoires that way!"
The exclusive non-album B-side "Not A Good Man" is both completely new and also a throwback to the earliest days of The Armoires: it was the fist song the band ever performed live and has rarely been heard since. The track is freshly produced by NATHANIEL MYER, without whom the group would not be what it is today and who also plays drums, bass and the guitar solo on the track. It's a stomper, a pop-rock take on the kind of duets that defined both June Carter and Johnny Cash, and John Doe and Exene of The Armoires' beloved LA forerunners X, although depending on who you ask, the song's theatrical playfulness may land closer to Meat Loaf and Patti Russo. Either way, we're happy to finally be able to present it!
Zibaldone will be released as a CD, vinyl LP and digital download August 2 on Big Stir Records (with the unique Side Three EP preceding it in May).