New music by Parquet Courts, the Drums, PC Worship, Turn to Crime, The Britanys, Dougie Poole, Operator Music Band and more…

To kick things off, Parquet Courts‘ collaboration with Bun B finally came out!  They debuted this version of “Captive of the Sun” on Colbert last summer with members of PC Worship, Blues Control, and my bandmate Bob Jones.  Austin Brown and I went into Doctor Wu’s shortly after that to put together this remix, which has a chopped n’ screwed version by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C on the B-side.  Pitchfork premiered the track, along with a Houston rap playlist by Young Doc Gooden (fka Austin Brown)… so proud to still have my 713- number.  Pick it up on limited-edition LP via Rough Trade, and check out the lyric video below.

I was also super excited to see the premiere of The Drums‘ new single “Blood Under My Belt”.  Pitchfork premiered the song last week, as the first single from the new record “Abysmal Thoughts”.  Bandleader Jonny Pierce and I worked together last summer at Doctor Wu’s, disassembling his demos and rebuilding them into something else entirely.  I’m really happy to have recorded and mixed this album, and I can’t wait for more of it to be released.  Mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound, “Abysmal Thoughts” will be released in June on Anti-.

PC Worship – one of my favorite groups going – released their new album Buried Wish, which I had the pleasure to master and help sequence with Justin Frye.  All of the PC Worship records (and many PC Worship songs) have their own series of detours and digressions, which is particularly true of this album – it veers from ornate horn arrangements to grunge-sludge stomp to acoustic/field recording meanderings and everywhere else in between.  Hopefully you caught them on tour with Naomi Punk, but either way you should catch them next month with The Dreebs.  Check out the great press in Pitchfork, Noisey, and Clrvynt, and pick up Buried Wish on Northern Spy now.

My fellow electro-rock weirdos Turn to Crime released their latest (fourth? sixth?) record Secondary in early February.  Derek Stanton records all of the music himself at his own Molten Sound studio in Detroit, and you can hear that freedom of creativity and amazing collection of gear throughout each of his records.  Secondary, which I mixed and Sarah Register mastered last year, is my personal favorite – “Chasing”, “Dead Man”, and the title track are all undeniable gems.  Check out these features on Noisey and Brooklyn Vegan, and pick up the record through Mugg and Bopp.

Bushwick rock+rollers The Britanys released their debut EP Five A Side, which premiered with an enthusiastic NME review. We recorded these songs in two different sessions, deciding in the end to go with the stripped-down basement recordings for this EP – they just rocked harder!  Check them out at SXSW, and stream/purchase Five A Side from the group’s Bandcamp.

Electronic country-crooner Dougie Poole released his debut LP Wideass Highway on JMC Aggregate.  I mixed and mastered this strange and beautiful record last year, and was happy to see it featured in both FADER and Ad Hoc. Do yourself a favor and pick it up at Dougie’s Bandcamp.

Fuzzy synth rockers Operator Music Band‘s debut LP Puzzlephonics I & II came out last week.  The album pairs two EPs (recorded by band member Dara Hirsch) which we mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s last fall.  Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan both featured the group, who is heading out on tour this week toward SXSW. Pick up a copy now on New Professor Music, and stream it below.

My German indie-rock buddies Behave! released a video for “Someone”, the first single from the record we did last summer in Hannover.  It was a pleasure working with the group over there on a Studer A800 with a bunch of vintage German mics, and I’m really happy with the results, which I mixed and mastered back in NYC.  If you read German, you may enjoy this interview on Diffus, but even if you don’t, you’ll probably enjoy the song (it’s in English).

NYC alterna-singer-songwriter Tica Douglas’ new single “The Same Thing” was recently released.  The Wild Honey Pie and Gold Flake Paint both featured the track, which I mixed and mastered as part of the new record Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us.  2014’s Joey was released to great reviews, and I’m excited that this one will be released on Team Love later in May.  Stay tuned…

In a similarly off-kilter-folk vein, Dark Tea’s debut EP was released last month.  I mastered this for Gary Canino, who also plays in the fierce NYC punk band Rips.  CLRVYNT  wrote about the EP, and you can purchase it on Bandcamp.

And Brian Chillemi (also of shredders Junk Boys) released a video single for the new song “Child of the Earth” (which I mastered).  Read about it on Impose, and buy the track on Bandcamp.

Also released: Eventide debuted their new plugin ‘Fission‘.  It’s the first in their line of “Structural Effects”, which separates the transient and tonal information of a source, and allows you to effect each separately.  I consulted with the designers Russ & Tom and my friend Joe Waltz early on in the process of development, and contributed a handful of presents to the plugin.  Check out this explanation here and download the demo now!

I spent some time upstate this past month, checking out the progress on the incredible new control room at Outlier Inn (where I recorded Parquet Courts’ Sunbathing Animal and Honduras’ Rituals).  I always loved visiting and working at the space, but with this new room (designed by Wes Lachot) and new console (Tom Elmhirst’s modified Neve VR 72), it’s going to be a truly incredible place to make a record.  I can’t wait for the opening this May.

I also spent some time with Acid Dad, recording and co-producing their debut LP.  We recorded the basics to my Otari MX-5050 at their studio upstate, and mixed it in Brooklyn at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s a fierce and fun album – I’m excited for people to hear this one.  Check them out later this month on the road with Honduras.

One last thing:  I posted a new Soundcloud playlist too, if you’re interested in hearing a mix of different things I’ve worked on.

Thanks for reading all of this!

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site – it was crazy end to 2016…

My group Eaters put together an installation of sound and light sculptures at Knockdown Center in December.  Entitled Eyes Have Brightened, the exhibition opened as part of the massive Parquet Courts event (where I mixed their set as well) and was up through the end of the season.  From the statement:

Building on the visual and sonic vocabulary of their unique live music performances, the show features sound and light sculptures and immersive installation elements by Christopher Duffy. This will be the New York premiere of their performative sound sculpture ‘Moment of Inertia’, and will feature a new soundtrack for the installation composed by Bob Jones and Jonathan Schenke.

eaters_knockdown_center_2016_05_photo_steven_probert
‘Eyes Have Brightened’ installation shot, photo by Steven Probert

At Chris’ suggestion, Bob and I spent a few days making some improvised, beat-less instrumental music for the installation.  Prisms, the resulting soundtrack album, was featured on Brooklyn Vegan and AdHoc, who called it “transportive… full of minimalist tones, Prisms oscillates between hopeful and buoyant swells to eerie and confounding synths.”  Prisms is streaming below, and available to download from Bandcamp.

Tangentially, I was featured in an Eventide video, where I discussed their new TEC Award-nominated plugin TVerb.  I was a consultant and “alpha-tester” for the plugin (which is inspired by Tony Visconti’s recording techniques employed on David Bowie’s “Heroes”), and used it throughout the mixing of the upcoming sophomore Eaters LP (due this spring on Dull Tools).  Check out the video on Eventide’s Facebook page.

NYC psych-punks The Men released their sixth album Devil Music in November.  The back-to-basics LP was recorded live-to-tape in their practice space by Jordan Lovelace (of Pampers and Tournament), and I mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s with the group last spring. Many reviewers have used terms like “raw”, “caustic”, “cathartic”, and “primal” – all of which are apt descriptions for this awesome show of force.  Devil Music is available on LP/download now via We Are The Men/Sacred Bones, and is streaming below.

Speaking of Tournament, the rawk-n-rollers released their new EP Take The Wheel via Colonel Records in October.  Also tracked live-to-tape by Jordan and mixed/mastered by me with the band at Doctor Wu’s, the EP is six songs of rowdy good-times.  As Noisey put it: “there is nothing more true to the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll—as it was originally intended, that is—as playing your heart out in a garage as if it were a packed, smoke-filled arena.”  Take The Wheel is available now on LP, cassette and download via Colonel Records, and is streaming below.

Shop Talk‘s self-titled debut was released on LP last fall as well.  The group plays a kind of melodic, slightly twangy, classic “punk” – instantly recognizable yet completely its own thing.  Kyle Keays-Hagerman tracked the band at his studio and I recorded the vocals and mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s, wrapping it up back in 2015.  The band (featuring members of Queening, Liturgy, and Pygmy Shrews) has done a couple tours and a bunch of local shows since then, and has been covered in The Deli and Brooklyn Vegan, so it’s awesome to see this get a proper pressing.  Shop Talk is out now on Brainbox Records and is streaming below.

I worked with Operator Music Band on their debut full-length Puzzlephonics I & II in October.  They’re a Brooklyn quartet who create electronic pop songs around relentless motorik grooves with tag-team male/female vocals.  Dara Hirsch (one of the singer/guitarist/synth players) recorded the songs at Gravesend Recordings (in the Silent Barn), and we mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s.  The album will be out later this year on New Professor Music – in the meantime, take the opportunity to check out their single Materielmusik, go see them live (a real treat!), or pick up one of the pedals made by Jared Hiller (the other co-singer/guitarist/synth player) and his company L0/Rez…the Mona Lisa Overdrive is one of the most insane things I’ve plugged in!

In November, I mixed and mastered the new record by Tica Douglas, entitled Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help Us and Protect Us.  Tica’s last record Joey was featured in Pitchfork, Impose, and other zines, and this new one was recorded by Ryan Dieringer (who co-produced Joey as well) in various locations upstate.  I really admire the ambition of this record – which shifts from intimate, singer/songwriter moments to densely-packed arrangements featuring horns, synths, and a rocking band – and I had the songs stuck in my head for weeks.  Our Lady Star of the Sea will be out later this year on Team Love Records.

I also mastered a few singles at the end of the year: The Tills’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Blues” (which has a killer video, and whose upcoming album Shannin I mastered last year as well), Dark Tea’s “Providence Sky” (a side project of Gary Canino of the band Rips – check the Impose feature and accompanying video too), and a pair of singles by Brian Chillemi and his band Junk Boys.

Video-wise: In and Out of Control, a short film by Emir Eralp featuring a score by Eaters, has continued to receive wide acclaaim, winning accolades in Istanbul, Berlin, London, and other festivals around the world.  And Hospital Head Doctor – a short film by Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate (of Marcel the Shell, Catherine, and other projects) which I sound-designed and mixed back in 2015 – was recently released and awarded a Vimeo Staff Pick.  Watch it below.

Coming out next month: new releases by PC Worship, Turn to Crime, Dougie Poole, The Britanys!

Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to write me at: jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail [dot] com.

 

Hi everyone, long time no post.  I’ve been in the studio and/or traveling over the past few months… here’s an attempt to catch up:

NYC scuzz-rockers The Men have announced their upcoming album Devil Music.  They recorded it live in their practice space with Jordan Lovelace (of Pampers and Tournament), and we mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s this spring.  It’s a rawkus return to form for these guys – fans of the early albums should be psyched!  Noisey premiered the first single “Lion’s Den” and asked some questions of guitarist/singer Nick Chiericozzi – check it out!  Devil Music is out November 11th on We Are The Men.

Australian dark-wave artist Buzz Kull premiered “Tomorrow’s Ghosts” on Noisey.  It’s the new single from the upcoming album Chroma, which I co-produced/mixed/mastered this LP long-distance over the course of a year or so.  Buzz Kull is supporting The Soft Moon on their Australian tour this fall – a perfect fit.  Chroma is out soon via Stellar Kinematics.

On the Eaters front: Our remix of Parquet Courts’ “Human Performance” was released as a single, and the Performing Human EP is out now on Rough Trade.  Parquet Courts has also invited us to create an installation at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY on December 10th – tickets are on-sale now, and more information is available here.  And our new LP will be out in Spring 2017 – we’re finishing art and masters now.

New releases available now:

  • Parquet Courts – Performing Human EP (in addition to the Eaters remix, I mixed the ‘Dreamland Version’ of the song and mastered the EP)
  • Kel Valhaal – New Introductory Lectures… (Hunter Hunt-Hendrix from Liturgy’s solo electronic project, which I mixed and recorded vocals at Doctor Wu’s – check out his interview with Paper Mag)
  • A couple records by Alex Zhang-Hungtai, formerly Dirty Beaches: Ancora, a live improvisational recording with David Maranha and Gabriel Ferrandini on Grain of Sound (which I mixed and mastered) and Knave of Hearts, a collection of drones and solo-piano on Ascetic House (which I mastered)
  • Holly Overton – The Split EP (the MPHO singer/songwriter backed by Jason Kelly from Fergus & Geronimo/Future Punx and Ben Jaffe from Pill.  I recorded/mixed/mastered this earlier this year)
  • Brian Chillemi – I Went to Town EP (Junk Boys/Organs singer/songwriter goes solo, check it out on Impose or on cassette via Time Castle Recordings.  I mastered this.)
  • AntibodiesVessels EP (Brooklyn indie duo via Don Giovanni, mastered at Doctor Wu’s)
  • Alex Rose – Grandmothers/Coattails (Austin folkie, produced by House of Feelings, mastered by me)

Film-wise:

I recently did an interview with the podcast The Stonehall Sessions.  The host Riley had done quite a bit of listening to my back-catalogue, and we had a great talk about recording and the creative process.  The title about sums it up perfectly: “Work on it Until You Don’t Want to Work on it Anymore”

I spent a couple weeks in Germany this summer working on a record with the group Behave.  Their music is catchy, creative, and grooving rock – fans of classic 10cc, kraut rock, and the Captured Tracks roster take note! We recorded to a Studer A800 using a bunch of vintage Neumann and AKG mics, and the results sound amazing.  I’m putting the finishing touches on the mixes now, so hopefully this record will be out early next year.

Shortly after returning, I began working with The Drums on their new LP.  Their previous releases had been performed and recorded almost entirely by band-leader Jonny Pierce, but he wanted to try things a bit differently this time.  We took his original sessions, recorded live drums (at Thump), and spent a month at Doctor Wu’s adding to/replacing/re-arranging/mixing the record.  I am immensely proud of the work we did – it’s a beautiful, imaginative, and immediately memorable collection of songs.  Joe LaPorta will be mastering it at Sterling Sound, and it should be out in Spring 2017.  I can’t wait for people to hear it.

Last week, I worked with the Brooklyn buzz-band The Britanys on their debut EP.  Their early singles were home-recorded and mixed by Gordon Raphael (of Is This It fame), and the group has already gained an eager following from publications like NME (who premiered a video while we were in the studio).  We spent a few days at Seaside Lounge recording to 8-track tape, and mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s.  Expect to hear a lot more soon.

And in between all of this, I mastered a couple of records: a brilliantly damaged new LP by PC Worship for Northern Spy; and a go-for-broke gonzo rock record by The Tills from North Carolina.  Both are excellent, and should hopefully be out sooner rather than later.

Oh!  And Eventide‘s TVerb (for which I was I was a consultant and alpha tester) was just nominated for a TEC Award!  I’m working with Eventide on some other software and gear now… super exciting stuff.

Thank you for reading – if you’d like to talk about sound, please write jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail [dot] com

The new album from psychedelic sextet Cloud Becomes Your Hand – Rest in Fleas – is out now on Northern Spy Records.  The Wire streamed the album in full leading up to the release, characterizing their music as “spanning Cantebury psych and the angular agitation of Oingo Boingo and early Devo.”  The group also released a trippy/drippy video for album-opener “Hermit”, which was featured on Stereogum (“as idiosyncratic as they are entertaining”) and Impose (“full of energy… their wayward bent is hard to resist”), and is streaming below.  I’m delighted to have mixed and mastered this incredible record – definitely check it out, and don’t miss out on seeing them live either!

“Busted pop” group Honey Radar recently released their new LP Blank Cartoon.  In addition to the pre-release buzz on Pitchfork and Noisey, the album has received glowing reviews from Tiny Mix Tapes (“a continuous stream of melodic consciousness where songs can expand from a few seconds of an idea into a nearly 4 minute single just as tightly wound and bombastic as those seedlings”) and AllMusic (“[Jason] Henn’s crack hand at melodies keeps listeners on the edges of their chairs waiting for the next one to come along”), with even USA Today naming “Caterpillar” one of the best songs of the week.  It was a pleasure to master this album – Jason’s an old friend and his music continues to amaze and entertain… I can’t wait to hear what they’re working on next!  Blank Cartoon is out now on What’s Your Rupture, and you can stream it below.

Kel Valhaal – the new solo project from Liturgy‘s Hunter Hunt Hendrix – recently announced the debut album New Introductory Lectures On The System of Transcendental Qabala.  Consequence of Sound, Tiny Mix Tapes, and THUMP featured the first single “Tense Stage”, which “burns and punishes like Liturgy, but through twitchy, gritty electronics” (COS).  I worked with Hunter on this record at the beginning of the year, recording vocals and mixing the songs at Doctor Wu’s, and I’m excited to see/hear him stretching out from the palette and preconceptions of Liturgy.  For more insight into the ideas and philosophy behind these projects, check out this new interview in THUMP.  New Introductory Lectures is out July 15 on Hunter’s new label YLYLCYN – preorder it here and stream “Tense Stage” below.

NYC trio VBA recently released their scuzzy art-rock EP Will It Still Be There on Blonde Redhead’s newly formed label Asa Wa KuruNoisey premiered the video for “Time to Be Nowhere”, calling it “as fun and filthily refreshing as a splash fight in warm mud.”  I recorded and mixed this with the group last year (at Seaside Lounge and Doctor Wu’s, respectively; Josh Bonati mastered it), and I’m really happy to see it have a wider release.  Will It Still Be There is available now digitally, and soon on LP – stream it below.

Brooklyn power-pop group MPHO recently released their album Midnight People online.  We recorded it earlier this year at Seaside Lounge (live to tape with additional vocal and synth overdubs), and mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s.  I also recently worked with the group’s singer/songwriter Holly Overton on her second solo EP, which features live drums by Jason Kelly (Future Punx/Fergus & Geronimo) and sax by Ben Jaffe (Pill) – expect that later this year.  Midnight People is available on the group’s Bandcamp page and streaming below.

Stereogum recently premiered “Lazy Coast” by the Spacebomb-affiliated singer-songwriter Andy C Jenkins.  Andy recorded a couple of songs (“Lazy Coast” and the Matthew E. White co-write “Shenandoah”) earlier this year with Justin Frye (PC Worship), which I mixed and mastered.  Buzzy and grooving, the “Lazy Coast” single is out now via Paper Brigade.

The jangly Brooklyn trio Awards Banquet recently released their debut album If Not Now Then Summer.  The record was recorded and co-produced by my good friend Jason Kelly (Fergus & Geronimo/Future Punx), and was mastered by me at Doctor Wu’s.  I love records like this that feel as though you’re flipping through a particularly well-picked record collection… Flying Nun, Velvet Underground, Sparks, and Eno are all great touchstones for this one.  If Not Now Then Summer is out now on Scioto Records.

I recently re-entered the studio with electro-art-pop group Forest Fire.  I co-produced/recorded/mixed their last LP (the still fabulous Screens), and we’ve been working to lay down the foundation for their upcoming fourth album. This batch of songs continues down the path established on Screens –  clever pop songs swathed in grandiose synthesizer arrangements – but trades in some of the anxiety of that record for a lighter/breezier tone.  We’ll be reconvening in the fall to finish overdubs and mix, and I’m already looking forward to it!  I also worked with FF bassist/synth programmer Galen Bremer to record various elements for a score for the new contemporary dance work Archaea for the Evergreens, an immersive performance in The Evergreens Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens.

Ottawa-based garage rockers Telecomo drove down to record their debut LP with me last month.  We spent a weekend at Seaside Lounge, recording live to 8-track tape, and I mixed and mastered the record at Doctor Wu’s.  They’ve already started a buzz in their hometown based on the strength of their demo and live shows, and I think people are going to love these recordings – raw and driving but extremely memorable rock and roll, and superbly friendly gents to boot!

Outsider country-crooner Dougie Poole and I just finished mixing and mastering his debut album Wide Ass Highway.  Woozy synths and blown-out drum machines anchor these twangy tales of woe, like on the single “Don’t You Think I’m Funny Anymore”.  Dougie will hit the road soon with the equally off-kilter Jerry Paper, and Wide Ass Highway will be coming out on JMC Aggregate.

And I mixed and mastered the new EP by hard-rocking Brooklyn band Tournament.  Jordan Lovelace from the band recorded it (as well as the new record by The Men that I recently mixed/mastered), and we spent a couple days at Doctor Wu’s bringing this thing to life.

I’ve mastered a handful of releases over the past month or so: an immersive improv recording by Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Last Lizard), Simon Frank (Hot & Cold), and Austin Milne; a bonkers electronic odyssey by Frattura Waltz (nom de guerre of electronics designer and Eventide associate Joe Waltz); an EP of sweet & sour indie-pop by Antibodies for Don Giovanni Records; a solo guitar/feedback EP by VBA’s Bentley Anderson; and an EP by soulful trio JK Lago called Over There, with the Over There.

I’ve also worked on some mixing and sound-design for films recently –  the surreal dramatic short film Bluebeard by Rachel Garber-Cole and Kimberlee Venable; and a series of advertisements and online shorts featuring undefeated boxer Dusty Hernandez Harrison for FILA, by Christopher Parker, James Petrozzello, and Brenden Beecy.

In other news, I’ve started working with Lysee Webb for management.  Her other clients include Grammy-winning engineer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Julian Casablancas & the Voidz) and Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens) – I feel in very good company here!  Please write her with any questions concerning rates and scheduling at webb [dot] lysee [at] gmail [dot] com

I’m heading to Hannover, Germany at the end of the week to work with Behave on their debut album at Big House Studios.  If you’re around NYC, come out to Trans Pecos on June 16th for an awesome show – Eaters, Dan Friel, Gold Dime, and New Pope (mem. Oneida, Starring).  Otherwise, see you in a month or two!  Thanks for reading.

Eventide Audio, the legendary effects and gear manufacturer, recently announced their latest plugin TVerb.  The plugin was developed in association with producer Tony Visconti, based on the fabled recording technique used on David Bowie’s “Heroes”, where he used multiple gated microphones placed at varying distances to capture the size of Bowie’s voice in the hall at Hansa Studios.  I worked with designers Joe Waltz and Adrienne Humblet as an “alpha tester” and sounding board to help develop the plugin, and contributed a handful of presets I developed on the new Eaters LP.  It’s not only a fantastic sounding reverb, but also an inventive approach to sound design that can yield some pretty unique results.  Check out Tony Visconti introducing TVerb below.

The psych/prog sextet Cloud Becomes Your Hand have announced their new LP Rest in Fleas.  I mixed and mastered the LP with head-Cloud Stephe Cooper and the band last fall, and I love this record – wild yet precise, hilarious and horrendous, it hits all the spots that you would want from a prog-pop opus. FACT Mag and Tiny Mix Tapes have both written excitedly about the new record, sharing a bonkers new trailer and the dizzying first single “Bridge of Ignorance Returns” (hear below).  FACT says the band have “such a knack for silly, cartoonish melodies that it can almost distract that they’re one of the most technically dazzling experimental rock bands on the rise.”  They’re hitting the road soon with label-mates Horse Lords… don’t miss out!  Rest in Fleas is out May 27th on Northern Spy.

Honey Radar is back with another batch of lo-fi pop-gems called Blank Cartoon.  Band-leader and old pal Jason Henn spoke with Noisey about the record, who also premiered the “busted pop” of the single “Fort Wayne Mermaids”.  Pitchfork reviewed the track as well, writing “Lo-fi, catchy, and classic-sounding, Honey Radar’s albums evoke a dirt-covered Nuggets collection from an alternate universe.”  Raven Sings the Blues shared the “hypnotic swirl and noxious chug” of “Caterpillar”, and Treblephonic posted an insightful interview about the background of the project.  I mastered this LP over the winter, it’s awesome, and available May 20 on What’s Your Rupture.

 

Parquet Courts recently released Human Performance to widespread acclaim and are out on tour now in support of it, but before they left, we worked on an EP of remixes and alternate versions of the title track.  I mixed a slower, more meditative version of the song called “Performing Human”, worked with my bandmate Bob Jones to create an Eaters remix, and mastered the EP (which also includes a dubbed-out remix by Chris P of Future Punx/Dull Tools).  The EP is due later this year on Rough Trade.

After some well-deserved time off and stripping back to a quartet, hard rockers The Men have completed a new LP called Devil Music.  They recorded it completely live (vocals and all) in their practice space with Jordan Lovelace (of Tournament/Pampers), and I recently mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s totally gnarly and woolly – fans of The Men’s first few records will be thrilled.  Devil Music should be out later this year.

I also recently worked with Mark Perro from the Men on another project – Midnight People, the debut album from MPHO.  We recorded at Seaside Lounge at the beginning of the year, and mixed and mastered the LP at Doctor Wu’s.  The group – which also features singer/songwriter Holly Overton and bassist Russ Hymowitz – shifted gears a bit on this recording, with the addition of a live drummer to the lineup.  The record still shares much with the melodic synth pop of their first EPs, but pushes in a rock/new-wave vibe with the more “live-band” dynamic.  Midnight People should hopefully be out soon.

I’ve recently put the finishing touches on Chroma, the new album by Australian dark-wave group Buzz Kull.  I first worked with Marcel Whyler on his single “Dreams”, co-producing/mixing/mastering it, and paving the way to this record. It’s great – heavy and danceable rhythms, moody and memorable hooks, with an interesting array of sounds and textures.  Chroma will be out later this year on Stellar Kinematics.

I’ve also been working with bizarro rock/synth noise band Ice Balloons to finish up their new LP.  We recorded a handful of tracks down at Seaside Lounge earlier this year and the group recorded a number of others themselves.  We took the batch into Doctor Wu’s to mix, and I’m mastering it now.

I’ve worked on a handful of masters over the last couple of months as well.  Alex Zhang Hungtai (formerly Dirty Beaches, currently Last Lizard) sent me a record’s worth of solo piano and field recordings, entitled Nina.  This beautiful and haunting collection will be out later this year on Ascetic House.  I mastered a record of blissed-out synth jams by Barry London (of Oneida) for Decontrol Records; a single by Alex Rose, a singer-songwriter associated with GODMODE’s House of Feelings; a bluesy solo EP by lead Junk Boy Brian Chillemi;  and the lead single by Obliques (formerly Zulu Pearls) for Cantora Records.

Many other projects are in the works too, and hopefully it won’t take another two months to update again… if it does, don’t forget to check out the Cloud Becomes Your Hand and Honey Radar records in the next few weeks!  Thanks for reading.

 

In fall 2014, Parquet Courts and PC Worship toured together in Europe, playing individual sets as well as a collaborative set under the name PCPC.  They wrote a bunch of new material specifically for these shows, loose and noisy tunes that drew influences from both camps.  Their performance at Ramsgate Music Hall in Kent, England was captured, and with no studio recording, it is the only document of this project.   I mixed and mastered it with members of the group last summer, and the performance is now available on LP and digital download via Dull Tools.  Check out my jam “I Know (You)” below, or head over the Dull Tools Bandcamp page to pick up a copy for you and your friends.

Shortly after their tour supporting their debut LP Rituals, I went back into the studio with Honduras to work on a new EP called Gathering Rust.  We recorded the tracks at Thump Studios in Brooklyn and mixed/mastered at Doctor Wu’s this winter, and these new songs show the band building upon the strengths of the LP and their time on the road.  NME debuted the first single “Hollywood”, and the follow-up “That Old Feeling” recently hit The Fader.  The Gathering Rust EP is out this week, and the band is currently on the road with Sunflower Bean on their way down to SXSW.  Check out “Hollywood” below:

I spent some time in the studio last fall with Jordan Bernstein (of PC Worship and the Dreebs) to help bring his new project Jordonna into focus.  It’s a far cry from the damaged noise rock of either of those groups, focusing instead on trap beats, prepared guitar, and male/female rapping/singing.  Far out stuff, for sure.  Jordan, along with Marilu Donovan and Heidi Beth Ferrell, recently released the debut LP The Wallet in its entirety via Soundcloud, along with some videos and live performances.  Stream the video for “Mad Dog” below, and visit the Jordonna Soundcloud page to stream the album in full.

Bronze Float recently released their second LP Standard Final Candle.  Led by David Brant, the personnel on the record includes many of my old friends from the rotating Elephant Micah/Vollmar/Honey Radar crew.  I mixed and mastered this record with David back in 2014, and it’s a pleasure to be able to share these tender, beautiful recordings with the public.  Fans of Arthur Russell’s album Love is Overtaking Me, Sebadoh’s more reined-in moments, and Skip Spence will find much to enjoy here.  The limited-edition hand-cut LP is already sold out, but you can download and stream the album via Third Uncle.

Eaters – my project in collaboration with Bob Jones (music) and Christopher Duffy (visuals) – created a sound and light installation at Machines in Magnets (in Pawtucket, RI) in January/February.  The show included our prepared-turntable sound sculpture Moment of Inertia, as well as a new sound sculpture (a modification of the Ring sculpture from our live show) and a series of light objects that Chris made based on and inspired by his work for our performances.  It was an amazing experience to see some new ideas come to fruition and to transform a space like that.  We’re planning a NYC installation now – more news when we get it.  In, other news: we finished our new record!  Come see us April 28th at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall (with Suuns and John Congleton) to hear some new songs, and check out the video for Moment of Inertia below.

I’ve recently been working with Hunter Hunt-Hendrix from Liturgy on his new solo project, Kel Valhaal.  In many ways, the project picks up where The Ark Work left off minus the “band” aspects, with the sound palette focused on abstract electronics, pitched kicks, glitch edits, and the “uncanny valley” of quasi-realistic instrumentation.  We did vocal recording (though the record is largely instrumental) and mixing at Doctor Wu’s over the past couple months, and are wrapping up the master now.  It’s a rich and unique sound, and am excited for people to hear this soon.

I’ve also been working on the new Fucked Up EP Year of the Snake, the latest installment of their Zodiac series.  I recently mastered their tracks for the A-side and B-side (as epic as you’d expect!), and am waiting on a couple of remixes to complete the release.  Expect it later this year on What’s Your Rupture.

Additionally, I’ve been on new records by MPHO (now a quartet with a live drummer), Ice Balloons (featuring members of TV on the Radio and Wild Yaks), and Buzz Kull (whose singles “Dreams” and “Nausea” I’ve previously mixed).  I’ll be wrapping up each of these (very different but equally interesting) releases in the next month, and will write more about them next time.

As always, thanks for reading, and please feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk about sound.  All the best, Jonny.

Happy New Year Y’all!

Liturgy’s The Ark Work graced a number of year-end lists, topping both Rolling Stone‘s and Spin‘s Best Avant Records of 2015 lists.  “The most ambitious art-rock statement of the year is an ecstatic jumble of disciplines, ideas and textures” (Rolling Stone) that “blurs boundaries between worlds that you wouldn’t have previously thought even shared a border” (Spin).  The record also made Washington Post’s Best Music of 2015 (#8 – a “lavish sound-world out of guitar-generated turbulence, computer-generated brass and the muscle-generated rhythms of Greg Fox, one of the greatest drummers doing it”), Consequence of Sound’s Top Metal Albums (#13- “a transcendent achievement in that it is the audible equivalent of finally rising above all and reaching your final form”), Tiny Mix Tapes’ Favorite Music Releases (#48), and Spin’s Best Songs of 2015 (#77 for “Vitriol” – “out of black metal comes black gold”) .  The Ark Work is unlike anything else out there – check out the centerpiece “Reign Array” below.

PC Worship dropped Basement Hysteria, the long-form EP follow-up to last year’s Social Rust, on Northern Spy in November.  Justin once again wrote, recorded and arranged these songs with his band, and we mixed and mastered together at my place.  It’s looser, freer, and rawer than Social Rust, but any long-time fan of the group will find much to enjoy here.   Pitchfork gave it a 7.8, opining that “Here, rock’n’roll is a pirated vessel, steered unhurriedly toward doom.”  Check out the EP in its entiriety below, or head over to Northern Spy to buy it on good, old-fashioned CD.

Parquet Courts also released a full-length EP recently, entitled Monastic Living, their first for Rough Trade.  The recordings were from recent studio sessions and practice-space jams, edited and arranged by Austin Brown, and mixed and mastered by myself and Austin at Doctor Wu’s.  This record’s a weird one – a mostly instrumental collage of the band stretching out into some new and uncharted territories.  Reviews have been mixed across the board, but personally I love to see the band exploring different facets of their sound, and it’s got some of my favorite A. Savage cover art yet.

[Cease and Desist] DIY! (Cult Classics from the Post-Punk Era 1978-1982) – the compilation that was a target of Sony’s copyright lawyers – was released at the end of October on Optimo Music.  Pitchfork wrote a comprehensive and complimentary review, rating it an 8.4.  The whole thing is a must for fans of this era: the selection and sequencing by JD Twitch of Optimo is excellent and unique, and the liner notes and essay paint a vivid picture of the material on-hand.  I’m thrilled to have been able to re-master and add “further audio love” to the compilation.  Stream the sampler below and hang tight while they repress the record, or download the (slightly-edited) digital release if you simply can’t wait until then.

Dan Friel‘s record Life continues to charm critics, with a gushing 8/10 review from Spin (“astounding”, “impressive”, “a career highlight”), a 4.5/5 on Allmusic, and a 7.8 from Pitchfork. If you haven’t heard it already, what are you waiting for?  Also, make sure to check out Dan’s sci-fi book club feature on Impose, and this video of his son and friends freaking out to the song “Rattler”.

Brooklyn rockers Junk Boys (featuring members of Organs, MPHO, and Yin-Yangs) recently released their self-titled album.  We recorded an EP in early 2015, and returned to Seaside Lounge this past summer to record the full-length, which both expands and refines the sound of the band.  Impose says the songs “rip through attitudinal, turbocharged power-chord riffage, with crude, impassioned soloing, and incensed vocal howls”, premiering the song “Arizona Nights” last month.  Check out the album below or on their Bandcamp page, and go see them around NYC and try to score a tape.

Holly Overton – singer and song-writer of MPHO and Juniper Rising – released a solo EP in November.  We worked together to record and arrange the songs – breezy synth pop that fans of MPHO will enjoy – and I mixed and mastered it last fall.  Check out the video Holly made for the song “Midnight Sun”, and stream the EP below.

One of my favorite projects to work on this past year is the new Turn to Crime record Secondary.  I’ve gotten to know Derek and the band over the past couple years and love the music he’s been creating, but this is the best one yet.  Super catchy and utterly bizarre, it’s an album full of singles beamed in from an alternate reality where new wave, kraut-rock and glam still rule the airwaves. Derek wrote and recorded the album at his Molten Sound studio, I mixed it, and Sarah Register mastered it at the Mastering Palace. I can’t wait for people to hear this record!

Another highlight of last year was mixing and mastering the new Cloud Becomes Your Hand record Rest in Fleas.  It’s a wild, proggy ride of a record – alternately goofy and threatening, often in the same breath – stuffed full of unison leads, odd time-signatures, crazy synth noises, bells, whistles, kitchen sinks and more… it’s fantastic!  Northern Spy is putting it out this spring – stay tuned.

I also recently mixed the debut full-length of the band Gold Dime – the new project from Andrya Ambro of Talk Normal, backed by Adam from the Dreebs and Lazar of Sediment Club.  The album – recorded by Andrya and Justin Frye – is a heavy, heady slice of densely-arranged no-wave.  Sarah Register was her bandmate in Talk Normal, and she’s mastering it now – I can’t wait to hear it in its full glory.

Jordan Bernstein (the other constant in the Dreebs and often-bassist in PC Worship) has a new project called Jordonna: trap beats, prepared guitar, rapping and singing by Jordan, with additional vocals by Heidi Beth Jaye and Kassie from Guerilla Toss.  I mixed and mastered it with Jordan over the summer and fall, finishing it at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s a total curve-ball of a project, really cool stuff.  I look forward to seeing them play this live around NYC this spring.

Honey Radar is a great band from Philly, mining the best gems from lo-fi rock’s history… a little GBV here, a little Olivia Tremor Control there… They’re prolific and always interesting – just try not to get absorbed into their Bandcamp page!  Plus, my old friend Jason Henn plays drums and records the group’s material, so it was a great pleasure to master their new record Blank Cartoon.  Take a moment to go listen to 2014’s full-length Chain Smoking on Easter or any of their 3 EPs from 2015 to prepare yourself – Blank Cartoon drops this spring on What’s Your Rupture.

I always enjoy working with old friends on new projects, and it was no exception mixing the documentary film Up This Hill by Paul Sobota.  The film follows a group of inner-city youths from Cleveland as they travel to rural southern Kentucky to repair and restore homes, shifting from one type of poverty to another, and learning a lot about themselves in the process.  It was great to work with Paul and Ben Kinsley (who recorded and edited the sound), and I hope to see this moving little film making the rounds soon.

I also mixed a couple series of ads for the new TiVo Bolt, directed by Robin Comisar for Ghost Robot.  You may have seen one from ‘Interruptus’ or ‘The Date’ somewhere.  Robin’s got a great eye, and these ads are utterly silly… hope you enjoy.

Lots of cool stuff is already happening this month.  If you should find yourself in the Providence/Pawtucket area, come see the art installation by Christopher Duffy and Eaters at Machines with Magnets, opening January 15th through February 7th.  Thank you for reading, and please feel free to write if you’d like to talk about sound.