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.

Gil Scott Heron
Photo by Mischa Richter

Who is Gil Scott-Heron?, the documentary/memorial film about the late musician and poet, is screening in select theaters and available digitally now.  The film, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (the BAFTA-nominated filmmakers behind the Nick Cave pseudo-doc 20,000 Days on Earth), is more tribute than biography, a heartfelt eulogy by friends and family.  I feel honored to have mixed it and been a part of the project.  Okayplayer has the screening dates, and the film is available now from iTunes along with the album Nothing New.

Liturgy have been touring hard since the release of The Ark Work, covering both the US and Europe, with more thoughtful press from publications like Village VoiceChicago Reader, and the Quietus. I worked with the group to integrate samples and MIDI information into their set (all triggered in real-time by Hunter) to portray some of the arrangements from the record without losing any of the live power of the band. If you haven’t listened to the new record The Ark Work yet, stop reading this and go turn this on immediately!  It’s an album unlike anything else, and was a surreal pleasure to re-listen to it for the first time since mastering (on clear vinyl, no less!).  The Ark Work is out now on Thrill Jockey, and the group has more US dates this summer (with the always-awesome Yvette) and another European tour this fall.

I recently mixed the new album by Dan Friel, entitled Life.  I was an early fan of Parts and Labor, met Dan shortly after moving to Brooklyn, and have shared the stage with him, but this is the first time we’ve ever worked together on something.  It was a real treat!  The new record continues with the palette of blown-out toy keyboard, heavy beats, and mixer feedback, but we worked hard to add more depth and power to the arrangements.  Mastered by Sarah Register at the Lodge, Life sounds larger than that – it’s awesome!  It should be out later this year on Thrill Jockey.

If you didn’t go see PCPC last fall, the mutato-collabo of Parquet Courts and PC Worship, you really missed out.  But fortunately for everyone, there is a live record coming out on Dull Tools!  Recorded at Ramsgate Music Hall, I recently mixed and mastered this with Andrew, Austin and Justin.  I’m not gonna lie – it turned out waaaay better than any of us anticipated: a surprisingly badass and compelling document of a creative blip from some of my favorite musicians.  Here’s a demo of set-opener “Fell Into the Wrong Crowd”.

Parquet Courts also have a couple split 7″s on the way, including another one of the recordings we did during Sunbathing Animal.  Check out their cover of Joey Pizza Slice’s “Pretty Girls”.

A couple of cool compilations that featured some of my work were recently released, like 50 Bands and a Cat for Indiana Equality (featuring a live Protomartyr rendition of “Jumbo’s” that I recorded and mixed) and Reanimator Records’ Fiends in Low Places (which has my remix of “Sorrow” by Frankie Rose, along with heavy hitters by Protomartyr and PC Worship).

I spent some time in the studio this spring with a band from NYC called VBA.  They’ve toured with Kurt Vile and Blonde Redhead, but this EP is their first recording.  We recorded at Seaside Lounge and mixed at Doctor Wu’s, and the sounds are both heavy and brain-y, drawing from the rock experimentation of bands like This Heat and Suicide, with a wallop of psyched-out sludge.  Honestly one of the best drum recordings I’ve captured!  The EP will hopefully be out soon.

I’ve been doing a lot mastering lately, my own mixes and with others as well.  Awards Banquet came into Doctor Wu’s recently to work with me on their debut full length, which was recorded and mixed by Jason Kelly (of Future Punx and Fergus & Geronimo).  The album, coming out on Scioto Records, is a super catchy, classic-sounding rock record, like hearing an old friend from your collection for the first time.  I also mastered a collection of yoga sutra chants by Caroline McCarter for Yoga RX, recorded and mixed by Ian Saylor (from Turn to Crime)… a very blissful way to spend the afternoon.  Unfortunately, the Optimo Music post-punk compilation that I mastered, Now That’s What I Call DIY!, has been postponed due to a cease-and-desist from Sony over the title.  I’ll post more details as I get them.  And Magical Beasts (the new project from members of the I Ching Quartet) is running a fund-raiser on Pledgemusic to get their album (which I mastered) pressed to vinyl.  They’ve almost reached their goal – fans of acoustic folk-pop should definitely check it out!

Photo by Echard Wheeler
Photo by Echard Wheeler

I’ve also been spending a lot of time with Eaters.  We recently created a new sound sculpture called Moment of Inertia, which premiered in May at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA.  Chris Duffy (our visuals member) conceived the piece and created the sculpture (a centrifugal-force-powered glass turntable), and Bob and I created the music (cut to acetate by Josh Bonati).  The premiere was part of the museum’s Third Thursday series in their Glass Studio, which involved a team of glass artists working under the direction of Chris in tandem with our music and lights.  It was a truly unique experience, and fun to step out of the normal performance situations.  We’re working to put together an EP based on Moment of Inertia, to be released later this year on Driftless Recordings.

Eaters also hit the road with Shabazz Palaces recently for a Midwest tour.  Those guys are incredible; it was truly inspirational to watch them play every night.  We’re doing more dates in the Northeast with them in August (including August 5th at Music Hall of Williamsburg), which I’m already looking forward to.  In the meantime, we’re playing this Friday (June 19) at Alphaville (great spot in Bushwick) with Future Punx (our brother/sister band) and Nuraxi (psyched to see them!)

Thanks for reading – please feel free to drop me a line if you want to talk about sound!