Under the banner of King Zeek, Cabinet’s Pappy Biondo offers fans an opportunity to experience his art with no filter. He records all of the experimental, instrumental music himself, creates the accompanying visual art and releases it on Astrology Days Records, a label he runs with friend and drummer John Morgan Kimock.
Last week, Biondo released a new King Zeek LP, “While We Can,” which he calls “a musical diary of sorts, more like a notebook of musical feelings from March through October.”
While the tunes are presented without lyrics, the themes are current, with song titles like “Blue Covid” and “Something Has Got to Change” and snippets of radio talk.
“I just capped it off with a random search on AM radio, and on some of the tracks you can catch some political shit, some sports, basically any randomness of a reporter in 2020,” he says. “The last song is called ‘America’s Best Music,’ simply because somewhere in the AM search the commercial for ‘America’s best music,’ the commercial for that station pops through. Before that, there’s Russian interference with the election and voters being upset. It’s all random.”
Biondo took the collage approach a step further, creating a different cover for each of the very limited 50 CDs the label is selling for $35 each. The album is also available digitally via Bandcamp. He explains the release as “a mixtape for my supporters.”
“I think that’s reasonable for the time I put in,” he says, noting that he and the label are looking for ways to give fans an opportunity to support the artists while touring is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biondo says there will be four King Zeek records in this cycle, starting with April’s “Now, Open Your Eyes.” The album titles will form a sentence: “Now, Open Your Eyes”; “While We Can”; “See the Truth”; “Behind the Lies.”
Biondo, based in Burlington, Vt., is also working on a solo album under his own name at a home studio owned by Phish’s Mike Gordon, while Kimock works on a solo record under his Jmmy moniker. Astrology Days has also signed Wilkes-Barre’s Brendan Brisk as well as The Wormdogs.
While Cabinet operates on a larger scale than the other AD artists, Biondo says he’s looking for ways to bring the same small-batch philosophy to the band’s upcoming creations.
“Absolutely,” he says. “The reason it’s so easy with King Zeek is because it’s just me and I don’t have to go through, ‘Hey, do you want to do this?’ There’s no approval but my own approval. The Cabinet thing is definitely on my mind to think how can we support and create something new for that as well, but however we’re still working on the music itself.”
Cabinet has released two new singles and has recording scheduled in December. “JP’s got a bunch of new tunes,” he says, referring to his cousin and Cabinet bandmate JP Biondo.
When the touring circuit reboots, AD hopes to put its homespun ethos on the road.
“What we did talk about doing is basically a family circus, if you will, next year,” says Pappy. “We’re in the process of planning a package deal where we travel in two or three RVs for vans.” Saying friends who he’s shared the idea with have compared it to Bob Dylan’s freewheeling 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour, he says “we can do our own PT Barnum and Bailey kind of thing.”
“We play, Jami’s on a unicycle selling pierogies, and JP’s doing standup,” he says, referring to Cabinet drummer Jami Novak.
Striking a more serious tone, he adds: “What we’re hoping to do is curate our own world to live free and provide for our families in a way that doesn’t depend on the business we’ve been tied to.”
Photo by Samson Watson