Skip to content

Thick Pigeon \ Biography

One of the more mysterious artists to record for the stylish Crépuscule/Factory axis, Thick Pigeon was a vehicle for songwriter Stanton Miranda and arranger Carter Burwell. Based in New York, the duo recorded a brace of oblique, minimalist artpop singles for Les Disques du Crépuscule in 1981-82 before moving sideways to Factory Records for their first album, Too Crazy Cowboys.

Recorded in Manchester in late 1983, Too Crazy Cowboys saw the duo joined Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order, as well as Gillian's sister Kim. In typical Factory fashion the album was released a year late. The American press release from 1984 offered that: "The long awaited Thick Pigeon album, recorded last fall in Manchester, England, with the aid of Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert (from New Order) is a subtle, sculptured series of vignettes. Though recording took a matter of a few weeks, the project has been taking shape over the last three years. Thick Pigeon consists of the nucleus of Miranda (bass, vocals, tambourine and writing) and Carter Burwell (vocals, effects, percussion). For the album they were joined by Steve Morris (drums), Gillian Gilbert (keyboards, guitar), Kim Gilbert and Karen Brown (backing vocals). Thick Pigeon hold the distinction of being the first Factory US record to be mastered digitally. A unique event for an equally unique record, it has already been called 'a walk through the civilisation of your soul' - not what one would expect from a band named Thick Pigeon.

Alongside her work with Thick Pigeon, Miranda was already an active participant in the kaleidoscopic New York/East Coast artrock scene, working with members of NYC bands Arsenal, Sonic Youth, CKM, Hit By a Truck and Sleeping Dogs, as well as dancing with the Marthe Graham ballet company.

Housed in a cover designed by noted American artist Lawrence Weiner, Too Crazy Cowboys appeared on both Factory (Fact 85) and Factory US (Factus 16) in September 1984. However it would prove to be the last Thick Pigeon record released under that moniker, since Carter Burwell then elected to concentrate on a highly successful career scoring films.

After club-friendly single Wheels Over Indian Trails in 1986, released as Stanton Miranda, it would be seven years before Miranda and Carter reconvened for the delightful Miranda Dali album, released by Crépuscule in 1991, and dressed by Jean-Paul Goude. The album, ten tracks of David Lynchian artpop, would subsequently be reissued on LTM as a Thick Pigeon release.

In addition to writing music, Stanton Miranda has acted in feature films by Jonathan Demme (Married to the Mob and Something Wild), worked off-Broadway with John Leguezamo, and given art performances at The Kitchen (NYC). Her CV also includes voiceover work for Dan Graham's video catalogue for DIA Center for the Arts, and Robert Frank's short film Flamingo. In 1998 she played the lead role in partner Michael Shamberg's debut feature film Souvenir, co-starring Kristin Scott Thomas. Miranda was also the featured singer on two tracks (Red Shoes and When the World) on The Guitar and Other Machines by Durutti Column. Carter Burwell has scored approximately 50 major motion pictures, including Gods and Monsters, Adaptation, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Being John Malkovich, as well as almost every feature made by Joel and Ethan Coen. On his soundtrack for Psycho III, Miranda was a featured singer.

James Nice

Subway b/w Sudan - Crépuscule TWI 038, 1/1982 7"
Tracy + Pansy b/w Dog - Crépuscule TWI 108, 11/1982 7"
Jingle Bell Rock - Operation Twilight OPT 020, 12/1982 7"
Too Crazy Cowboys - Factory Fact 85, 9/1984 LP
Wheels Over Indian Trails - Factory Benelux FBN 44, 3/1986 7"/12"
Miranda Dali - Crépuscule TWI 938, 2/1991 CD

Compilation album tracks:
Sudan (Acoustic) on Crépuscule TWI 035, 1/1981
Silhouettes on Crépuscule TWI 058, 12/1981
Woodentop Talk on Crépuscule RAD 005, 12/1981
Handel's Messiah on Crépuscule TWI 450, 12/1984
Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend (as above)
Blue Christmas on Factory Fact 175, 12/1986
Pope on Factory US Factus 17, 5/1987
Love Will Tear Us Apart on Hut/Virgin 29, 1995

Thick Pigeon
Thick Pigeon