Michael Gallagher, aka The Mining Co., releases his fifth album Gum Card on Friday via PinDrop Records. A beguiling record that builds on the mix of electronica and acoustic Americana from his previous record Phenomenology, Gum Card is a deeply personal record, reflecting on Gallagher’s childhood and his relationship with his wife (who also provides vocals for the opening track).
Nostalgia for his youth was mixed with greater freedom in the creative process, as Gallagher explains “the recording session for Gum Card was the first time that I didn’t have an idea beforehand for an overall narrative, I just wanted to experiment with different sounds and beats that I loved on records from the 80s“.
Listen to the album below and read Michael’s track by track guide to the record.
1. Wake Up
Written for a female vocalist, and unintentionally was sung by my wife Julie. The track is about my fear of hospitals, needles and how I’m always fainting in these environments. Ironic, as most of my influences are my Gothic Horror obsession.
I have never been a fan of blues music. The two characters in the song avoid the blues.
3. Shallow Stream
I thought my father was going to die when he took me fishing once in Donegal, Ireland. I got the hook caught in his hand. That river, that stream left a lasting impact in my memory.
4. New Bohemians
As an artist myself, painter and musician, this song is about my frustration with creativity and output that is lazy and banal, especially when it is automatically accepted as art, when it’s actually more style over content.
5. Gum Card
I collected bubblegum cards growing up. Even to this day I haven’t let go of that magic moment when opening a pack of cards, hoping to find that one rare card. These were Star Wars cards, Horror cards, Planet of the Apes cards, and Kojak cards. I still trawl the internet looking for them and buying them.
I read somewhere that someone said “Limit your expectations and you won’t be disappointed”. I spent my whole youth being told “Know your limits, you’ll never get far”. I’m still trying, but I know my limits.
I am constantly in turmoil of wanting to leave London. I spend a lot of time away from it, but the bright lights always seem to pull me back in.
8. Beating Heart Revival
This song is about when I used to steal occult books with my school friend from old bookshops. It inspired me to write about people failing at everything, as we never did conjure up spirits.
9. Map of You
A verse was written for this song about eight years ago over some drum beats I had recorded. I found it again this year and the time was right to finish it for this album.
10. Waiting Room
When I wrote this, I had an idea I was going to write and record songs in different locations, with the live ambient sounds of each location. A Waiting Room was one of those locations.
11. Broken Baby Bird
This was written shortly after my wife had a major operation. After the operation, speaking to her on the phone when she was still in hospital, she sounded fragile, weak and lost. The only way I could describe it at the time was as a fledgling falling to the ground.
Gum Card is due for release on 17th March via PinDrop Records
Find out more about The Mining Co. on his official website
Article by Paul Maps