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No one label could ever hope to claim the musical force of nature that is ANTON BARBEAU. For that reason among many others, BIG STIR RECORDS is simply and humbly grateful to have the astonishing Ant along for the ride and bring you his newest record OH THE JOYS WE LIVE FOR, as well as continuing to serve up such singles and side projects as we may.

Anton Barbeau is said to play “pre-apocalyptic psychedelic pop”, but that tag doesn’t even begin to touch on the scope of his work. His oeuvre ranges from surreal acoustic balladry to experimental electronica to the dazzling scope of his most recent album Manbird. Oh The Joys is the answer to the question: what does a globetrotting psychedelic troubadour, having just released an ambitious concept album about being in constant motion, do when he’s forced to stay in one place?

The answer here is that Barbeau lets his mind wander, while becoming deeply in tune with his sedentary surroundings, and produces one of the most inviting collections of his considerable career. Forced to decamp from Berlin, Germany, to a farm outside of Sacramento with collaborator and now-wife Julia Boorinakis Harper due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anton brought with him the seeds for no fewer than four projects. Oh The Joys We Live For, the album that coalesced from the disparate concepts, is both intimate and expansive, reflective of its rustic origins but also full of the flights of surreal fancy and sweet melodic intrigue upon which Barbeau’s reputation has been built.

“You crossed a vast frontier, you are here,” Anton sings on one track, reeling off a list of the realities of daily farm life and a reminder of the vital importance of simply being present. It’s not a lockdown party, but it is fun, a portrait of an agile mind making the very best of the limits of life in 2020, and spinning them into musical gold through the act of stubborn creativity. The surreal adornments hang fetchingly on a record that may be one of the most “real” depictions of life during quarantine you’re likely to hear. Oh The Joys We Live For puts to bed the notion that a “quarantine album” need be a dreary, po-faced affair and lives up to its title as a document of oddball but genuine hope in salvation via contemplating – yes – whatever may be in your pockets at the moment. And it’s another shining jewel in Anton Barbeau’s already sterling catalog awaiting your contemplation as well.

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