My group P.E. (featuring members of Pill & Eaters) has released our latest single “Soft Dance.”  Stereogum calls it “a beguiling slow shuffle filled with horns and little guitar licks that make up something that has a lot of empty space but also never stops moving. It might not inspire dancing, but it might inspire the sort of introspective light you can find on a dance floor;” BrooklynVegan and Ears to Feed picked up the song as well.  I also participated in a Talkhouse interview with Angus Andrew from Liars (one of my favorite groups of the last couple decades) and my bandmate Jon Campolo (who also makes all of the artwork for P.E.) – it was so fun to talk about sound together!  “Soft Dance” is from P.E.’s debut album Person, out March 6 via Wharf Cat Records.

Happy New Year & Decade!

Of the dozens of albums & singles I worked on that came out in 2019, Phantom Rhythm by Gong Gong Gong is particularly near & dear to my heart.  I produced/recorded/mixed the record (and earlier singles) with the group starting back in 2017, and played the works-in-progress for friends & colleagues, leading to tours with Parquet Courts, Bodega, and Flasher and a relationship with the always-interesting Wharf Cat Records. Unsurprisingly, this fresh take on “multinational blues” made its way onto a number of Best Of 2019 lists, including Loud and Quiet, Aquarium Drunkard, and Raven Sings the Blues, as well as writers’ lists in The Wire and The Guardian.

Phantom Rhythm also made its way onto Post Trash‘s Best of 2019 list, where it shares space alongside Duo Duo by electro-rock whiz kids Operator Music Band (another personal fave that I co-produced/recorded/mixed), and two records that I mastered: noise-punks Weeping Icon’s self-titled debut and Dehd’s stellar breakup-pop LP Water.

Gimme Tinitus‘s Best of 2019 also featured Gong Gong Gong, Operator Music Band, and Weeping Icon, as well as Brooklyn noise-rock duo ESSi and their mind-bending debut Vital Creatures (which I co-produced/recorded/mixed/mastered).

Perhaps the most touching was seeing Parquet Courts in a number of Best of the Decade lists.  The albums I produced with them (and Light Up Gold in particular) launched the band’s career, and were massively important for me and my trajectory as a producer/engineer.  In the seven years since Light Up Gold was first released, I’ve watched their popularity and stature steadily rise, as their name became a short-hand comparison for literate, catchy punk bands.  Nevertheless, it was humbling and exciting to see Light Up Gold rank #16 in Rolling Stone (and #2 in writer Rob Sheffield’s personal list), #37 in BrooklynVegan (and #7 in writer Bill Pearis’ personal list), #39 in AV Club, #41 in Treble, #78 in Vice, and #80 in Stereogum; Sunbathing Animal rank #140 in Pitchfork; and their break-out single “Stoned and Starving” rank #16 in Rolling Stone and #89 in Stereogum.

Snail Mail’s Lush also graced a number of these Best of 2010s lists.  I helped to record the album, which was produced & mixed by my studio partner Jake AronLush was undoubtedly important not just to the music culture of the last couple years, but also to our work: it was the first album tracked in the new Outlier Inn (where I’ve recorded many albums since Sunbathing Animal in the studio’s previous setup), and the first album mixed in our own Studio Windows.  Lush ranked #48 in Stereogum and #122 in Pitchfork, and its lead-single “Pristine” ranked #87 in Stereogum and #97 in Pitchfork.

One last thing I almost missed: Catherine – the short film & web series by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp (the minds behind Marcel The Shell With Shoes On) was featured in Vulture’s Favorite Comedy Moments of the Decade.  I don’t do much for sound-for-film these days, but this was certainly a highlight for me, and I’m happy to see it still getting some (admittedly confused) love.

I’m looking forward to 2020, with the debut album Person by my new group P.E. scheduled in March, alongside albums I’ve produced for Pottery, Public Practice, Dougie Poole, and Brandy also arriving this spring.  Regardless of how arbitrary Best Of lists can seem, it does feel like a great way to start off the new year & decade…. thanks for reading & listening.

 

Audio tech legends Eventide Audio recently met with me at Studio Windows to film an Artist Spotlight interview.  I talk a bit about my recording philosophy, how I use their gear in the studio (specifically the DDL-500, EuroDDL and MixingLink), and go over my pedal board for performing live with P.E. (which includes their Rose pedal, a MixingLink, and PowerMax).  I’ve been a fan of their gear for decades and have worked closely to consult on & test some of these products, so it’s an honor to have been a part of this series.  Thanks Eventide!

Machinegum – the NYC neo-new-wave quintet led by Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes – has released their debut album Conduit.   The album was produced by Fab and my studio partner Jake Aron, recorded at Outlier Inn and Figure 8, mixed by Jake, myself and Andrew Maury, and mastered by Heba Kadry.  There’s quite a range here, from softer crooners to abstract synth-rock and everything in between, and features contributions by Delicate Steve and Ian Devaney of Nation of LanguageStereogum published this thoughtful review of the album to alert the world of its release; Conduit is on all streaming services now via Frenchkiss Records.

P.E. – my new group with members of Pill and Eaters – has released our first single “Top Ticket”, featuring a remix by LiarsStereogum premiered the track, BrooklynVegan called the group “a veritable sonic Reese’s Cup”, while Ears To Feed and Pop Bollocks wrote more in-depth track reviews.  “Top Ticket” is the first taste of our debut LP Person, which is due March 6 on Wharf Cat Records.  The album was produced at Studio Windows, edited and arranged from live improvisations with the group, and mixed/mastered by myself.  You can stream the tracks below, and pre-order Person on Wharf Cat’s site, the Special-Edition of which includes the bonus cassette Sick, Sad, Fun!

 

The love for Gong Gong Gong continues!  Pitchfork wrote a great review of Phantom Rhythm, awarding it a 7.6, calling it “a novel pastiche of post-punk, West African blues, Bo Diddley, and distortion” and referencing its “crisp production” (thank you).  Bandcamp Daily published a wonderfully in-depth feature the same day, tracing the band’s formation in Beijing’s underground music scene and the cross-pollination of cultural ideas.  Both great reads!  Check them out while you stream the record… Phantom Rhythm is out now on Wharf Cat Records.