Hayley Thompson-King

ONCE Somerville presents

Hayley Thompson-King

The Quahogs, The Wolff Sisters

Sun, April 28, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

$10.00 - $13.00

Off Sale

Hayley Thompson-King
Hayley Thompson-King
The Rock Song of the Summer." - NYLON

"Damn good ... Thompson-King's vocals are so spectacular." - Vice/Noisey

Hayley Thompson-King ought to be an artist for whom the doors of musical success will open magically." - Paste Magazine

"An explosive display of vocal prowess." - PopMatters

"Heavy and hook laden ... a power surge." - Washington Times

"A cross between fuzzed-out rock ’n’ roll, classical opera, woozy psychedelia, and honky-tonk that feels at once appealingly old-school and downright experimental." - The Boston Globe

"Delivering an assured mix of heartbroken honky tonk, ’60s girl-group vocals and reverb-soaked garage punk." - CBS San Francisco

"Few artists posses a duality quite like Hayley Thompson-King ... equal parts Reverend Horton Heat and Nikki Lane." - Wide Open Country

"A uniquely fuzzy, old-school brand of alt-country tunes." - The Boot

"Hayley Thompson-King comes out of the gate swinging." - Americana Music Association

"It’s clear as day that Hayley Thompson-King is here to kick ass and take names." - Glide Magazine


Hayley Thompson-King cryptically refers to her debut solo album, Psychotic Melancholia, as a “Sodom and Gomorrah concept album” influenced by her childhood obsession with the so-called wicked women in the bible. As metal as that sounds, these are in fact the basic ingredients for a rich and complex psych-tinged garage-country record.

Thompson-King has carried the seeds for Psychotic Melancholia for quite some time. “I was the skeptical kid with her hand up in Sundayschool. Also, I spent weekends performing with my church youth group called Clowns for Christ. I guess you could say I was obsessed with getting to the bottom of what exactly would send one to hell.

“I consider myself agnostic at this point,” she says, “but I’m still inspired by the questions I had as a kid about disobedience and about the characters I was taught to believe were evil, like Lot’s Wife and Judas and Lucifer. Upon revisiting these stories, I was inspired by their questioning. I thought they were strong and exciting and I could put myself in their shoes.”

Her intellectual curiosity is evident in lush songs referencing Romantic works of art, her passion for opera (she has a Master’s degree in Opera Performance from New England Conservatory of Music), and her upbringing in a very small town, Sebastian, Fla. Thompson-King sees the album as an amalgamation of her classical training and Southern roots. “I grew up riding and showing American Quarter Horses," she says. "My dad was a team-roper and trained cutting horses. I spent a lot of time in the dually listening to country music. And then I went to opera school.”

Thompson-King explains that her songs often begin outside of herself, but ultimately they reflect on her inner experience. “I write about real things that have happened in my life," she says. "My relationships, like with my folks, the people I love, but using the landscape and stories ofoutside characters. They’re all about me, I guess, but it’s easier to write if I'm looking at a third party. So I look at myself as another character.”

If there's one unifying theme on Psychotic Melancholia, it's the dismantling of false idols. In “Teratoma,” Thompson-King sings, “False idol, I put you on my shelf / False idol, just hair and skin and nails / I’ll cut you out / I’ll cut you out of myself.”

This tendency is illustrated in opening track “Large Hall, Slow Decay,” a blazing country ripper directed at a former bandmate with whom Thompson-King had a harsh break-up. The title also references the reverb effect that reminds her of this time in her musical life. But Thompson-King doesn't need to hide behind effects when it comes to her vocals. Her powerful voice and classical training rank her with operatically schooled rock belters like Pat Benatar and Ann Wilson. Her training is brought to bear in the power of “Lot's Wife,” a dirty roadhouse scorcher that re-imagines the Biblical character as a defiant and fearless woman who turns back one last time to watch the city she loves burn. On “Soul Kisser,” a meditation on the midwifery and violence of the creative process, she evokes Goya's bizarre painting Saturn Devouring His Son. Thompson-King's impassioned vibrato creates a temporary calm amidst the album's tempestuous guitars. The proceedings are closed out with a cover of Schumann's “Wehmut” (in English, the album's namesake: “Melancholy”). Originally composed for piano and voice, Thompson-Kingand bassist Chris Maclachlan present their sparse re-arrangement omitting much of the accompaniment, save for the left-hand piano part which Maclachlan deftly covers on upright bass. Thompson-King sings with full operatic bravado, Ich kann wohl manchmal singen / als ob ich fröhlich sei / Doch heimlich Tränen dringen / Da wird das Herz mir frei ("Sometimes I may be singing as if I were full of joy, But secretly the tears are flowing and then my heart feels free").

This new LP is a labor of love six months in the making. Thompson-King co-produced along with guitarist and engineer Pete Weiss. The band, assisted by engineer Sean Cahalin, spent the good part of October 2016 through March 2017 working in Weiss’ Verdant Studio in Athens, Vt., where they obsessively tweaked songs, and experimented with instrumentation and mic set-ups to create an affecting soundscape. “In the end, we did most tracks live and with limited overdubs. It was a lot of pre-production, drum sounds, where to stand in the room, shaping songs and playing together as a band. We weren't trying to do something that was perfect," Thompson-King says. "We were trying to do something wild and very real—human. We wanted it to be emotional and exciting.”

Thompson-King resides in Massachusetts, where her artistry has already been widely recognized. She currently receives a grant from the city of Somerville and the Somerville Arts Council to live as an Artist in Residence. Along with Weiss, she is joined on Psychotic Melancholia by bassist Maclachlan of veteran Boston New Wave band Human Sexual Response, and drummer Jonathan Ulman, Boston Music Awards' 2016 Session Player of the Year. While off the road, Thompson-King teaches classical voice lessons to select students in her home studio, but she feels a strong sense of place as a writer, artist and performer. Reflecting on the departure from a career as an opera singer to that of singer-songwriter, she notes, “as a singer, I knew I had this big voice and I wanted to use it in a serious way, but it needed to be my vision. I needed to write for myself.”

Ultimately, though, she sees a connection between her music and opera. “It's emotional and intense with dramatic, mythological characters," she says. "But the stories are really pretty common and human.”

Psychotic Melancholia is out now on Hard To Kill Records.
The Quahogs
The Quahogs
It’s difficult to define a band like The Quahogs by a genre. Equal parts tender and heavy rock, singer/songwriter Steve DelMonico’s lyrics are witty, wise, and delivered with a mentholated authority. Steve Donovan’s lead guitar meanders from gently weeping to chainsaw shredding, oftentimes in the same song. Amato and Nick on bass and drums round out the sound by hanging in the back pocket like a full wallet. Their most recent release, an 11 song LP titled Sunny Waste, was recorded at the revered Columbus Theatre in Providence. It highlights their eclectic vision of rock-and-roll - think of Townes Van Zandt shaking hands with The Meat Puppets and 70s era Rolling Stones. They are becoming well-known for their high-energy live performances, but are equally comfortable in a stripped-down environment.
The Wolff Sisters
The Wolff Sisters
The Wolff Sisters blend rock, blues, and roots music into their own unique sound. Their gritty songs draw from adventures all over New England that shaped their lives. The three sisters, Rebecca, Rachael, and Kat, create haunting harmonies that only siblings can manage to do. Drawing inspiration from bands like The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, and Jackson Browne, The Wolff Sisters bring a refreshing sound and soul to the music scene.
Venue Information:
ONCE Lounge
156 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA, 02143