During the recording of  Appetite for Redaction  at Tim Mooney's Closer Studios in San Francisco in July 2010

During the recording of Appetite for Redaction at Tim Mooney's Closer Studios in San Francisco in July 2010

In late fall 2005, songwriters Adam Klein and Michael Mullen convened in San Francisco to begin writing their first record. They set up shop at Tim Mooney's Closer Recording and then opened the studio doors to an evolving line-up of musicians who would participate in the making of a record. The Size Queens derived its name from the phallic interventionism of the Bush/Cheney years, ruminating on the lowlights of American exceptionalism, the promise of “immeasurable” satisfactions and rewards. Offering a blistering commentary on American culture as seen through a global lens, this band of loose-knit collaborators had developed its conceptual and pragmatic approach to making music.  

For the past 10 years video premieres have been hosted online by: Believer Magazine, PANK, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, The Ninth Letter, and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. In addition, The Size Queens project has stretched to include various artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians including: Laura Albert; Liz Bull; Nicole Brodsky; Mike Carnahan; Sara Cassetti; Tony Cokes; Chip Dalby; Carol Detweiler; Carlos Forster; Judy Gittelsohn; Ari Gold; Ethan Gold; Guillermo Gómez-Peña; Michael Goorjian; Laura Hanna; Patrick Hillman; Carletta Sue Kay; Roshy Kheshti; Torsten Kretchmar; Pete Maloney; Hannah Marcus; Darcy McKinnon; Chuck Mobley; Tim Mooney; Abel Mouton; John Murry; Brad Parker; Danny Pearson; Ruger Pearson; Scott Pearson; Dale Pickard; Matt Seiling; Wally Sound; Glen Swarts; Terese Taylor; and David Weinman.


BETWEEN THE CHEEKS
Released Inauguration Day January 20, 2017
Produce by Wally Sound and The Size Queens

On the occasion of their ten year anniversary, The Size Queens released their eighth and final recording. “Between the Cheeks,” unsurprisingly, begins with a disaster at a Starbucks (“Flat White”) and offers a glam-rock tribute to Plasmatics singer, Wendy O. Williams. It includes protest songs ("Astral Soldiers," "Save the City") and reminiscences of earlier protest groups ("Weather Underground Again"). It digs into pharmacy foods ("Sick") and takes a dig at global property developers (the last song, “Scale,” is a direct transcription from an EMAAR television advertisement). The band invoke some television gems: an interview with Serge Gainsbourg and Whitney Houston that went terribly wrong, the idiosyncratic TV investigators Ironsides and Magnum P.I. (“Serge Gainsbourg, Detective Magoo). A sense of loss pervades the record’s ballads, ("It Ends," "The Watchface Corner") and even its one unabashed pop song (Little One). “Between the Cheeks” is initially being released as twelve “digital bootleg” singles in covers that reference the golden age of vinyl knock-offs.  


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TO THE COUNTRY
Released July 4, 2015
iBook featuring 10 new songs and new writing by Joy Williams; J. Robert Lennon; Maria Bustillos; Brian Evenson; Lynne Tillman; Rick Moody; Rae Bryant; Jim Shepard; Melanie Rae Thon; and Paul Kingsnorth. Edited and with an introduction by Adam Klein.

The Size Queens take you to the country, whatever that is, whether a place to escape to or to escape from. They deliver you into the arms of predators, concerned but confused families in their un-foreclosed homes, sweat lodges and "compounds," houses on the sun, and crossroads of every kind. The country, where we mine and frack, preserve and worship. A place that binds us to language and custom, expels us, exiles us, and ultimately buries and consumes us. It is the country of the mind, a place where one is simultaneously lost and found. The iBook format provides a chance to climb the fence between song and text, and to trespass across the digital commons. Join us, but don't ask us to guide. These places have no proximate entrances or exits, but encroach endlessly, weed over, subsume.

© 2015 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs by Adam Klein and Michael Mullen. Produced by The Size Queens. All songs recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wally Sound at The Wally Sound in Oakland, California in June 2014 and March 2015. Featuring: Wally Sound; Danny Pearson; Ruger Pearson; Mike Carnahan; Carlos Forster; Gen Swarts; Carletta Sue Kay; Michael Mullen; Adam Klein; Ethan Gold; Brad Parker; Chin-Sun Lee; and Nicole Brodsky. iBook concept by Chuck Mobley and Adam Klein; design by Chuck Mobley.

To The Country Electronic Press Kit (EPK) #2: Two Song Sampler
video, 26 mintues, 32 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley
A contemporary edit/appropriation of Luciano Martinengo’s 1975 documentary “Grass Roots: Rural Communities in the U.S.A.” that includes the songs “Shine Your Light” and “Alien.”


SAVE THE PLANT!
Released March 20, 2014
Limited Edition of 50 residual media compact disc digipaks featuring artwork by José Villarreal

On their sixth album, The Size Queens interrogate the shape of contemporary protest. With allusions to the Baader-Meinhof gang, Edward Snowden, Indian Maoists, Squeaky Fromme, Aum Shinrikyo, and the escapism of pop S/M novels, Save The Plant! conveys the exultation and poignancy of revolutions, pointed and pointless. The Size Queens provide a glimpse of malcontents and those who wish to contain them: the prison industrial complex, the NSA, and worried parents. There’s no beeline to liberation, and those who are free must leave someone behind, shackled to the hope of returning to normalcy, or—in the case of this recording—to undertake the mission of saving at least one’s houseplant. For everyone incarcerated, literally & metaphorically, facing incarceration, fighting incarceration. Save The Plant!

© 2014 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs Adam Klein & Michael Mullen. Produced by The Size Queens and Wally Sound. All songs recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wally Sound at The Wally Sound in Oakland, California over 8 days in July & August 2013. Featuring Wally Sound; Nicole Brodsky; Ethan Gold; Carlos Forster; Danny Pearson; John Murry; Ari Gold; Mike Carnahan; Liz Bull; and Chin-Sun Lee. Packaging concerns handled by Chuck Mobley.

 

“Fifty Shades of Pale” from the record Save the Plant!
video, 4 minutes, 47 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley
Produced by The Cork Farm and The Size Queens
Starring Tony Award-nominated trans-genre artist Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Gordon Baldwin, star of such films as Andy Warhol's "Restaurant" (1965) and Gregory Markopoulos' "Himself as Herself" (1967).


CONSUMPTION WORK:
TAMMY, CYBERTARIAT, AT THE ARAL SEA

Released November 6, 2012
A 50-minute movie featuring 10 new songs premiered on The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review

Consumption Work: Tammy, Cybertariat, At The Aral Sea was informed by feminist economist Ursula Huws (The Making Of A Cybertariat: Virtual Work In A Real World, Monthly Review Press, 2003), and her theories about the blurred line between consumer and laborer, the workplace and the domestic space. Using Debbie Reynolds’ 1957 pop hit, “Tammy’s In Love” as a way of skewering the idea of America’s age of innocence, the record depicts an ontologically unstable Tammy who explores the wormholes between time and space. She endures endless resurrections even as the world's oceans are drained and a new cybertariat preside over automats selling car deodorizers scented with dying stars. Despite the massive ecological and political disorientation, "the garden" continually reasserts itself. “Tammy” makes her way through a world filled with mass produced goods, self-service pavilions, and the terrible narcissistic need to be heard, finding herself with a view of Crocs' factories just beneath a low-hanging heaven.

© 2012 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs Adam Klein and Michael Mullen. Produced by The Size Queens and Wally Sound. All songs recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wally Sound at The Wally Sound in Oakland, California in June, July, and October 2012. Featuring Wally Sound; Carlos Forster; Danny Pearson; Hannah Marcus; and Mike Carnahan. Animated GIF cover by Chuck Mobley. This recording is dedicated to the memory of Tim Mooney (1959—2012).

Consumption Work: Tammy, Cybertariat, At The Aral Sea
50 minutes 14 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley
Conceived as an Adam Curtis-inspired documentary fever dream with a deranged Folkways soundtrack, this 50-minute movie accompanies the entirety of The Size Queens’ fifth record; a lengthy song cycle that was released only in this format. Classic films, now existing in the public domain, such as Robert Newman & William C. Jersey’s "City of Necessity" (1961); Pare Lorentz’s "The Plow That Broke The Plains" (1936); Ernö Metzner’s "Polizeibericht Überfall" (1928); and Marios Lefteriotis’ "Requiem for Humanity" (1970) are edited alongside U.S. Army documentaries, corporate tobacco and alcohol retail training videos, and even anti-drug propaganda films.


APPETITE FOR REDACTION
Released September 11, 2011
Limited Edition of 50 F.O.I.A./Wikileaks “dossiers” with compact disc

The Freedom of Information Act and Wikileaks afford the release of the band’s fourth full-length recording in (virtually) “leak-proof,” confidential dossiers that include lyrics and original archival, redacted documents tracing the activities of the band over its first 6 years. Appetite for Redaction is loosely strung together by narratives that might have been (and probably were) picked up by surveillance. New York City and Kabul are interchangeable and abstracted as though observed by a drone. In each city, life persists with minesweepers, insurgents, former terrorists, tired revolutionaries, sad activists, trafficked men and women – most trying to maintain their apartments or jobs at any cost, or to make things seem normal. Vaguely influenced by the likes of John Cale and Big Star, Appetite For Redaction sounds like celestially decaying space junk, Vic Chesnutt ranting at the gates of St. Peter, and at times, like robots trying to articulate without code. It evokes screeching commuter trains, echoing airports and Afghan landscapes, and ends at a lonely CoinStar®™ machine. It sounds like the death rattle of liberal America in a downgraded democracy. While the recording is plaintive, full of desperate late-night outings, and the thunder of distant or impending violence, it also features some of the band’s most concise pop melodies. In a period of disillusion, The Size Queens focus on the instinct to stand behind some kind of cause, despite the inevitability of failure.

© 2011 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs Adam Klein and Michael Mullen. Produced by The Size Queens and Tim Mooney. All songs recorded, mixed, and mastered by Tim Mooney at Closer in San Francisco, California. Featuring Tim Mooney; Carlos Forster; Mike Carnahan; John Murry; and Danny Pearson. Packaging concerns by Adam Klein and Chuck Mobley.

"Afghan Star" from the record Appetite for Redaction
5 minutes 10 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley
This video premiered on Electric Literature alongside a short story by Adam Klein.


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THE SIZE QUEENS III
Released April 15, 2010
Compact disc included in the SF Camerawork exhibition catalogue "An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area, Part 1: San Francisco Plays Itself"

The Size Queens III is a wild ride through San Francisco life in a very dicey phase of its history: the late 80s and early 90s. Set in or around a decaying residence hotel, the songs mark a trajectory from jubilant Bohemianism, to an almost radioactive environment as friends die off. The record is broken into three distinct sections by variations of "The Alley Cat Song," a “low standard” the band used to carry the theme of feral, un-housetrained but lovable people with sharp claws. From the first song to the last, it’s a world of bad decisions (or no decisions, just bad ends), madness, iffy alternative treatments, lengthy hallucinogenic dreams in sweat-soaked beds, runaway kids taking walks on the wild side (and taking significantly greater risks to do so), desperate getaways, car chases and police shootouts, a vast tenderloin parade of the unhealed and the unwilling. The last song is a journey through the afterlife, culminating in a shattering appearance by performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña as "The God of Permission," who allows all the departed souls to return to their old, piss-in-the-sink hotel rooms—not for redemption, or to be absolved—but to gather up a few of their meager items, get high a last time, and listen to songs they loved. Gómez-Peña performs a shamanic exorcism and in effect blesses this community of the diseased, the mad and the outcast, granting them 20 more minutes of life on earth to do “whatever the hell you want.”

© 2010 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs Adam Klein and Michael Mullen except "The Alley Cat Song." Produced by Tim Mooney. All songs recorded and mixed by Tim Mooney at Closer in San Francisco, California in the summer of 2009. Mastered by Sean Coleman in Dublin, Ireland in October 2009. Featuring Carlos Forster; Danny Pearson; Glen Swarts; Guillermo Gómez-Peña; John Murry; Laura Albert; Mike Carnahan; Nicole Brodsky; Terese Taylor; and Tim Mooney. Packaging concerns handled by Anthony Laurino for SF Camerawork.

 

"Tenderloin Hotel 1991" from the record The Size Queens III
video, 6 minutes, 53 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley
Found footage of San Francisco’s hardscrabble, vice-riddled Tenderloin neighborhood frame surveillance video footage shot in SROs (single room occupancy hotels) capturing the SFPD conducting illegal searches and seizures. San Francisco’s district attorney ultimately overturned the arrests and launched an investigation into the police department’s illegal practices.


OUR LITERAL SPEED:
SOUNDTRACK RECORDINGS

Released in 2009 on compact disc
Produced for the conference series on art and history at Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Germany; University of Chicago; Princeton University; and The Getty Center, Los Angeles.

The Size Queens were commissioned by Princeton University and The University of Chicago to write songs for the performance event, Our Literal Speed. Included are songs irreverently referencing the contemporary art world: art history’s grande dame, scholar Rosalind Krauss (“Reading Rosalind Krauss”); performance artists of the 1980s (“My Lover is a Body Artist”); and preeminent sculptor Lynda Benglis (“Bang! Bang! Lynda Benglis!”).

“Reading Rosalind Krauss” from Our Literal Speed: Soundtrack Recordings
video, 4 minutes, 14 seconds
Director: Patrick Hillman
Artist Amy Sillman selected this video as one of her Top Ten picks of 2009 in Artforum


MAGIC DOLLAR SHOPPE
Released April 14, 2008
Residual media compact disc shipped in a pre-cracked jewel case and sold for 99¢

Follow the blue light special down the rabbit hole. Magic Dollar Shoppe evokes a world of childhood trauma and adult excesses, mixing table tennis, Benzos, airport terminals and retro porn in a distorting mirror of the last 40 years of American culture. The riots of 1968, Plastic Bertrand and X-Ray Spex, Meg Ryan movies, and Sleep Number®™ beds are all displayed behind the same freezer glass. Magic Dollar Shoppe is at once a vision of a picked-over world of salacious objects and a personal journey from alienation to perverse satisfaction. Demonstrating a musical vocabulary that suggests Bowie, Tuxedomoon, The Velvet Underground, with lyrics that seem to hark back to the irreverence of The Buzzcocks, Blondie, and albums like Kaleidoscope by Siouxsie and the Banshees. With their second record The Size Queens continued to unsettle, confound, and uplift.

© 2008 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs Adam Klein and Michael Mullen except Germ Free Adolescents. Produced by Tim Mooney. All songs recorded and mixed by Tim Mooney at Closer in San Francisco, California. Mastered by Sean Coleman in Dublin, Ireland. Featuring Nicole Brodsky; Chip Dalby; Tim Mooney; Roshy Kheshti; Sara Cassetti; Abel Mouton; Matt Seiling; John Murry; and Carlos Forster. Packaging concerns by Chuck Mobley.

"Our Price" from the record Magic Dollar Shoppe (lo-res video from Myspace era)
video, 5 minutes, 55 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley


IS IT IN YET?
Released January 14, 2006
Compact disc digipak in an edition of 369 copies

On its debut recording, Is It IN Yet?, The Size Queens re-imagine the glory days of bands with the hair and teeth of The Bee Gees, celebrate the second coming of Woodstock, and follow the marching orders of faith healer and anti-war (seemingly anti-everything) activist Shirley Phelps Roper. The songs evoke a Jain Bird hospital and consider the moral ramifications of VH1’s reality show "My Fair Brady." They eventually emerge from the muddle with full faith that trucking jobs await us all, whether as contractors in another war, or on FedEx trucks carrying 99¢ compact discs to your homes in the sexy but quiet exurbs. The band applied serious limitations to the making of this record: it was recorded over two days, mostly live and unrehearsed.

© 2006 Comfort Bringers Publishing, BMI. All songs Adam Klein and Michael Mullen. Produced by Tim Mooney. All songs recorded and mixed by Tim Mooney at Closer in San Francisco, California. Featuring Nicole Brodsky; Dale Pickard; Tim Mooney; Carlos Forster. Cover art by Yanik Wagner.

"No HOOks (Supermodel)" from the record Is It IN Yet? (lo-res video from Myspace era)
video, 5 minutes, 15 seconds
Director: Chuck Mobley


Prior to The Size Queens, Adam Klein began writing and recording with musician Michael Mullen and they formed two bands: Glasstown and Roman Evening. Both bands produced two records each; Roman Evening’s second (and last) record was a soundtrack to accompany Klein's novel Tiny Ladies.

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TINY LADIES by Roman Evening
Released in 2003, compact disc jewel case
Soundtrack to accompany the novel Tiny Ladies
© 2003 Bitter Stag Records
All songs by Adam Klein and Michael Mullen

YOUR TRENDY DUMP by Glasstown
Released in 2003, compact disc jewel case
© 2003 Bitter Stag Records
All songs by Adam Klein and Michael Mullen

TOGETHER NOW by Roman Evening
Released in 2002, compact disc digipak
© 2002 Bitter Stag Records
All songs by Adam Klein and Michael Mullen

LIVING AND FOREGETTING by Glasstown
Released in 2001, compact disc digipak
© 2001 Bitter Stag Records
All songs by Adam Klein and Michael Mullen

 

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