My group P.E. is back with the new single “Tears In The Rain”, co-written and featuring A. Savage of Parquet Courts. Rolling Stone premiered the track, calling it “the perfect soundtrack for a neo-noir”, and it was featured in Stereogum, Under The Radar, and Brooklyn Vegan. Andrew’s been a part of the P.E. family since before the band began – he put out records by both Pill and Eaters on his label Dull Tools, both bands played with Parquet Courts, and I’ve worked on many Parquet Courts records over the years. This song – built around a sample of Jonny Campolo at the piano, and featuring a gorgeous one-take sax solo by Ben Jaffe – was special to us from the beginning, and it was Andrew that helped see it through by writing lyrics for Veronica (and she for him). This is honestly one of my favorite pieces of music I’ve ever worked on, and it was made with some of my closest & long-running collaborators… I hope you enjoy it too. The Leather Lemon is out March 25 via Wharf Cat Records.
Before Sunrise – the debut LP from bedroom dream-pop artist Nana Yamato – is out now via Dull Tools & Big Love Records. Pitchfork gave the record a glowing review (“lonely, glowing bedroom pop that relishes in the ecstatic possibilities of sound”), and Nylon interviewed Nana prior to the LP’s release. I produced this record with Nana last year during lockdown – working on sounds & arrangements, adding synths & percussion – and mixed/mastered it at Studio Windows. The songs and the escape it gave me from the pandemic are truly special to me, and it’s a thrill to see so many people responding so well to the record. Check out the videos below, and head over to Bandcamp to order the LP.
“Do You Wanna” – the latest single from Japanese bedroom dream-pop singer/songwriter Nana Yamato – premiered on NPR’s All Songs Considered, along with a handmade video by Nana. I produced this record with Nana last year during the earliest days of lockdown, and making this record together created a beautiful escape into another world. Before Sunrise was mixed and mastered at Studio Windows, and is out February 5th via Big Love Records (Tokyo) and Dull Tools (NYC). You can pre-order it now on Bandcamp.
Nana Yamato – the Japanese teen who has previously released bedroom-dreampop singles as ANNA – has announced her debut album Before Sunrise. The lead single “If” premiered on Northern Transmissions and was featured on BrooklynVegan, along with a handmade animated video by Nana. I produced this record with Nana earlier this year during the lockdown in NYC, and the bright and dreamlike arrangements provided a welcome respite to the world around us. I mixed & mastered the LP at Studio Windows this summer. Before Sunrise is out February 5 via Dull Tools & Big Love Records.
Brooklyn’s day-glo retro-futurists Future Punx are back with a brand-new full-length called 2020. Band leaders Jake Pepper and Chris Pickering engineered and mixed the album largely on their own, and I assisted throughout the process – from song-selection and recording through additional production and preliminary mixing at Studio Windows. The resulting album feels like the strongest realization of their instant party-starting electro-rock dreams, just in time for summer! 2020 is currently available for streaming & download on their Bandcamp page, with plans for a physical LP due later this year via Dull Tools.
It’s been waaaaayyyy toooo loooong since I’ve updated this page, and as a result I’ve decided to switch this page over to a more standard blog-style format from here on out: shorter updates more often. In the meantime, here’s a ton of things that I’ve worked on which have come out in the last few months:
The Drums released their new record “Abysmal Thoughts”, the first for Anti Records. The reception has been across-the-board good, with a variety of publications proclaiming the “music has never been better” (AV Club), “the purest version of his vision yet” (Allmusic), and “a treasure chest of an album in which you’ll find something different and unique hiding within each listen” (Paste). I worked closely with Jonny Pierce on this – (re)recording many of the live instruments, developing arrangements, adding synths and effects, and mixing the entire album. The album was beautifully mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound, and I’m thrilled by this being out in the world. Watch the video for lead single “Blood Under My Belt” and stream the album in its entirety below.
Eaters – my electronic/art rock group with Bob Jones and Christopher Duffy – released our second untitled record on Dull Tools. CLRVYNT debuted the first single “Embrace the Strange” ( “It’s a gnarly track, illustrating how the band can rocket from one starting point to the far reaches of space”), Impose and Brooklyn Vegan ran some insightful interviews, and positive reviews graced Post-Trash, Flood, and YellowGreenRed. Favorite quote (from Post Trash): “Eaters have made an album that rewards those who listen by providing a different experience each time you put it on. Layered, complex, and varied, it pays off in different ways. It’s a record that gives you new favorite moments after you listen. Like light going through glass, the sounds refract outward based on who is listening. Give it a listen and see what sounds make it to you.” We’ve got some great shows coming up late-summer/early-fall, and new songs and sculptures in the works – stay tuned.
Gold Dime – the arty no-wave trio led by Talk Normal’s Andrya Ambro – released their debut Nerves on Fire Talk. I mixed this expansive feedback-soaked LP last year, Sarah Register mastered it, and it’s been gaining nice press from Impose, Brooklyn Vegan, AdHoc, and more. They’re playing around NYC quite a bit, and you can stream/purchase the LP directly below:
NYC singer-songwriter Tica Douglas released their latest album Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help Us And Protect Us on Team Love. I mixed and mastered this album, which ranges from intimate guitar-and-voice ballads to full-blown compositions with synths, drums, horns and more. Tica and the LP received a great deal of press, with features in MTV, Impose, CLRVYNT, and Bandcamp (who also named it one of the spring’s best releases). Stream it below and then go pick up a copy on LP.
Australian darkwave maestro Buzz Kull released his debut LP Chroma. I co-produced/mixed/mastered over the course of many months, trading files back and forth as the songs took shape. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so happy to see this killer LP out. Chroma is out now on Burning Rose, and you can stream it on their Soundcloud.
Canadian trio Telecomo recently released their debut album For Sale. I recorded/mixed/mastered this collection of tightly-wound jangly garage anthems, which you can stream below and purchase from their Bandcamp page.
Prog-punk/psychedelic hardcore group Fucked Up released the Year of the Snake EP, the latest in their ongoing series of Zodiac-themed epics. Noisey interviewed the guitarist/song-writer Mike Haliechuk about the record (which I mastered), calling this EP “the best one next to 2008’s 19-minute long Year of the Pig.” Pitchfork also praised the EP, saying “even after decades’ worth of relaxing boundaries, Fucked Up bastardize hardcore in a way that gives off the thrill of creative heresy.” Year of the Snake is out now on Tankcrimes.
Former Dirty Beaches ringleader Alex Zhang-Hungtai has a trio called Love Theme. Their new self-titled LP (which I mastered) is out now via Alter, with songs on Pitchfork and FADER, and they’re touring North America this September. Check it out:
The Tills – a wild and catchy psych-garage group from North Carolina – released their new LP CANON. I mastered this record, which was recorded and mixed at The Fidelitorium by Missy Thangs, and it slays. Amplifier Magazine and Clture both featured the group, calling it “thoughtfully unkempt and unpredictable at times, catchy yet familiar”. CANON is out now on Phuzz Records.
And NYC-based glitch-pop duo HDLSS recently released the LP Selections from DUMB. I mastered this record along with my studio partner Yale Yng-Wong, and tracks have been featured on FADER, Stereogum, and Noisey. Stream the thing below:
I also edited and mixed the feature-length film component of Radical Hospitality, a long-form installation by Montana Simone at IDIO Gallery, as well as assisted on sound-design for the installation itself. The project is based on her experiences while traveling through the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Western Europe, being welcomed in both “hostile” cultures and by refugees alike. The abstract film serves as the guide/anchor to the installation, which also featured large-scale sculptures, interactive music, and a zine of found photographs. The trailer is streaming below.
Thank you for reading. Please write me at jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail to get in touch.
The self-titled debut from Brooklyn’s Beech Creeps is out now on Monofonus Press! Critical reaction (from press and fans) has been real good for these guys with another song (the massive slice of sludge “Arm of the T-Rex”) and a full album stream hitting Stereogum over the past few weeks. They share many kind words, calling the album “aggressively imaginative rock… [that] feels raw and blood-thirsty in a way that current rock just doesn’t anymore.” They also hit the nail on the head when they talked about the aspects of “fun” and “play” in this music – we had a blast making this record. I’m also just very proud of the work that we did, so it’s real treat to see if finding such an appreciative audience. Check it out now if you haven’t already!
Eaters recently released some new material as well – a contribution to the ‘Dreams’ series by the website Stadiums & Shrines. The premise is that each artist receives a collage of a foreign land, and musically interprets it as they imagine it. We chose Finland (which neither Bob nor I have been to), and the result is above. Make sure to visit the site in order to read the hilariously bizarre dream sequence they’ve depicted, replete with giants, talking reindeer, shape-shifters, soul-birds, and lots of laughter.
We also played a couple of fantastic Eaters shows in February. We started the month by playing with our Dull Tools homies Parquet Courts and Future Punx at Palisades on an instantly sold-out show. These three groups are so intertwined and supportive of one another, it was a wonderful family affair. And just recently, we supported Dan Deacon at the record-release show for his new album Gliss Riffer at Rough Trade NYC. It was an absolute treat to be a part of that show – playing some new material, on a proper stage and sound system, to a new audience, with an old friend on his big night. The L Magazine had some great things to say about us, and Impose took some fantastic photographs of the night.
I spent some time this month working with the duo Lushes on their upcoming album Service Industry. They recorded and will mix the record with Aaron Mullan (Sonic Youth‘s studio engineer and leader of the band Tall Firs), and we worked primarily on creating synth parts and providing treatments for samples and vocals. It was an interesting and different approach to record making for me – not that I haven’t done these things in the past, but that I usually work on those things during recording or mixing a record. Working exclusively on synths and treatments allowed us to expand the record while keeping the original sound/vision intact. I’m a fan of the band and their debut What Am I Doing?, and was really psyched to work with them on this one. Look for the record later this year on Felte.
I also started working with Forest Fire on their new record. Their previous record – 2013’s Screens – remains one of my all-time-favorite record-making experiences, and we were all twitching with anticipation to start a new record together. We did a few days of basic tracking at the end of the month, and will be passing files back and forth throughout the spring. I’m really curious and excited to hear how this album develops, but it seems to be refining and expanding upon the electro-romantic streak of Screens.
Make sure to visit Lightning Bug’s bandcamp page, where they’re posted their debut record Floaters as a pay-what-you-wish download and cheap cassette. I mastered this record earlier this year, based on an introduction through a mutual friend, and was mightily impressed by the quality of their work – a potent blend of Broadcast-style psychedelia, krautrock, shoegaze, and ambient drift. I just re-listened to it as I wrote this post – it’s great!
Also now available on bandcamp is Wondering Home, the new album by Hums & Haws. Matt and I worked together at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago, so it was great to bring it back around again to work with him on this record. My friend Nick Broste recorded it, and I mixed much of it (along with a couple songs by fellow ESS engineer Todd Carter) and mastered it here in Brooklyn. Enjoy!
And in case you were wondering – yes, I re-did my website. Hope y’all like it.
Eaters toured the northeast/midwest in October with Lace Curtain and did some non-CMJ shows during CMJ in New York. We played some great and memorable shows with some great and memorable bands – too many to mention, but special shout outs to Protomartyr (always awesome), Turn to Crime (psyched to be working on a collabo with these guys – Derek, whaddup??), Koko vs Real Life in Montreal (seriously, please record something!), Dull Tools (represent), Big Mama’s House in Philly, my Chicago people, and of course David/Lace Curtain. Impose posted some photos of our show with Protomartyr at Death By Audio, even sneaking one of man-behind-the-curtain/third-Eater ChrisDuffy.
Eaters also appeared on Driftless Ambient 1 with an improvised composition titled “Banner of Your Choosing”. I love how this song came about and turned out, and really happy to be a part of this compilation. Stream it above, and check out track-by-track details and hear the whole record on Dazed.
For the month before that, I was working with Liturgy on their new record. It’s an immense record – intricate and beautiful and fucking heavy – and its the culmination of years of work by Hunter, the band, and many others. I am thrilled to have been a part of this album, and absolutely can’t wait for people to hear it. We recorded at the illustrious Strange Weather in Brooklyn, with additional recording and production done by my long-time friend and associate Frank Musarra, and mixed at Doctor Wu’s. I wish I had something from it to share, but I don’t, so just watch this clip of them playing with Peter Fonda on drums instead.
I do have plenty of other stuff to share though, like this short film by Mary Harron (director of American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol) that I sound-designed and mixed. It’s a part of We the Economy, a series of shorts about the US economy, produced by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), which screened for free last month and are currently streaming online with supplemental information about the wide variety of topics covered. Mary’s is called This Won’t Hurt a Bit, and is about the the history and sorry current shape of the American healthcare system. Bob Balaban, Lili Taylor, and many other familiar faces appear – this was really fun to work on.
There are several new releases out this week that I worked on as well. I co-mixed the new Dream Police record Hypnotized with Kyle Keays-Hagerman at Doctor Wu’s in the spring, and it’s out now on Sacred Bones. Dream Police is Mark and Nick from the Men, and this record veers way off into psychedelia and synth-rock, getting comparisons like “a scuzzy and potent take on that whole Drive soundtrack sound” and “a demented Dire Straits record”. The record premiered on Pitchfork Advance, and made it into Stereogum’s Heavy Rotation – check it out!
The new Future Punx EP I’m So Inspired is also out this week via Dull Tools. Drummer and swell guy Jason Kelly recorded and mixed much of this (with the basics tracked at Rubber Tracks), and we worked at Doctor Wu’s to finish the mixes and master. It’s got a classic new wave vibe, like some lost classic from the early 80s, hitting all the right notes for people pining for more bands like Devo, the Units, and Tom Tom Club. Noisey debuted the song “Forgive the Doubt”, and Impose posted the video for “Spike Train”, their track with Parquet Courts on the LAMC series (and which we mastered in the same sessions). People between NYC and Texas should make a point of checking them out on tour, and people everyone should listen to the EP, streaming above and on sale now.
Parkay Quarts/Parquet Courts have a new record called Content Nausea out this week as well. Austin and Andrew recorded and mixed this themselves about six weeks ago (fastest turnaround ever, no big deal), though some work we did together during the Sunbathing Animal/Tally sessions shows up here as well. I love the detours and explorations they take as “Parkay Quarts“, and it’s cool to see some old favorites re-imagined and find a home alongside some killer new stuff. Of note is the mastering job by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound and how cohesive these recordings made on a 4-track cassette, on an 8-track reel-to-reel, in Ableton sessions, and from a karaoke jam sound together. Awesome all around – check it out above, out now on What’s Your Rupture/Rough Trade.
Two very different but equally exciting records that I worked on drop this week – Wooden Aquarium by the British band Mazes and Social Rust by Brooklyn’s own PC Worship. I love the way both of these records sound and I love both of these bands, so it’s wonderful to see so many reviews remarking on the sonic quality and calling them both the best of each band’s work.
I produced the Mazes record this past February, recording it upstate at the Fat Cat studio and mixing it at Doctor Wu’s over the course of two weeks. It was a crazy bonding experience – everyone jet-lagged (I had just got back from Australia), the rental van getting robbed outside my apartment (my bag with my laptop, hard drives, camera – gone), getting snowed in upstate and digging our way up to the studio – and I think that intensity and camaraderie really comes across. DIY Magazine has been all over Wooden Aquarium, with a glowing review, an interview with Jack Cooper, and a track-by-track stream and guide; NME gave it a 8/10 review; and it was BBC Radio 6’s Album of the Day last week. Alan Douches did a great job on the master – this record sounds incredible. Wooden Aquarium is out now on Fat Cat Records.
Social Rust is just nuts. I mixed and mastered the thing so I’ve probably heard it more times and more in depth than anyone aside from lead-worshipper Justin Frye, and there are things that still catch me by surprise. This record sounds unlike any other record I’ve ever worked on – a mud-and-blood spattered, moth-eaten tapestry of absurdity – and I love it. Ad Hoc interviewed Justin about the record, and Impose Magazine raved: “Social Rust is PC Worship at their very best, even if their best is dissonant and unsettling, voyeuristic and creepy, maniacal and rapturous. Maybe it’s a reflection of the times, or maybe it’s just a good record. Either way, listen to it and lose yourself a little.” I couldn’t agree more. Social Rust is out now on Northern Spy / Dull Tools.
Also out this week is the re-release of Mannequin Pussy’s Gypsy Pervert, re-mastered and re-sequenced on vinyl for the first time. I mixed this with them last year, and it’s killer – I’m really psyched to see it getting another life. Check out this interview they did with Impose recently, and go see them when they come through your town soon. Gypsy Pervert is out now on Tiny Engines.
And out next week (September 16th) is the newest single in Famous Class Records’ LAMC series (#13) – Parquet Courts b/w Future Punx. It’s kinda like the return of Fergus & Geronimo… “This is Happening Now” was recorded during the Sunbathing Animal sessions and mixed this summer, “Spike Train” was recorded and mixed by Jason Kelly, and I mastered both sides. All proceeds go to VH1 Save the Music – a non-profit dedicated to music education in public schools.
Parquet Courts also recently released a music video for “Bodies Made Of” recorded live at their show at Sugar Hill Supper Club this summer, and directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (whose amazing Nick Cave pseudo-doc 20,000 Days on Earth comes out later this month). I recorded, mixed, and mastered this bad boy too.
I recently went on a road trip to Cleveland to see the opening of the new university center at Case Western Reserve University, which houses Welcome to Cleveland, a new interactive installation I worked on with Thu Tran, Ivan Safrin, and Bobo Do. It was incredible to see and hear our work in the space, and surreal to be back on my old campus and honored at the opening. Check out that photo below for an idea of what I’m talking about (that game on screen is inspired by the 1986 Balloon Fest, where your head controls a helicopter and you try to pop as many balloons as possible). The games were as completely silly and weird in real life as we had hoped, so it was extra exciting to get to work with Thu, Ivan and Bobo on a new game this month. I’m sure more will be announced about it soon, but it’s even sillier and even weirder than the others.
I also had the opportunity this past month to do some sound design and mixing for Mary Harron (director of American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol, and The Notorious Bettie Page). The short film is part of an upcoming series about the US economy produced by director Morgan Spurlock and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and is a black comedy about the healthcare system. It was fantastic to be a part of this project, and hey – I learned something too! The New York Times ran a story about the series, which airs this fall.
And while I’ve been doing a lot of post-production this month, I did get a chance to break out the MX-5050 with the band Pocket Hercules down at Seaside Lounge. The tracks sound cool, we’ll be mixing in a couple weeks at Doctor Wu’s.
Eaters have been keeping busy too. We have a show this Saturday (September 13) with Survive from Austin, TX, an incredible band live by all accounts – get your tickets and come on out! We’ve got some new material coming out this month, including a track on the newly-announced Driftless Ambient 1 compilation. And more shows soon, including a tour with Lace Curtain (a Total Control/Rat Columns offshoot) and some CMJ shows.
I had no idea I was a producer you don’t even know you know until I came across this article by Brooklyn Magazine last week. I’m listed along with such fantastic engineers as Jarvis Taveniere (great guy and fellow MX-5050 enthusiast), Chris Coady, and Shane Stoneback. Thanks guys – you made my week!
I just finished a new record by NYC punks/goons Nuclear Santa Claust called Je Ne Sais Claust (yes, really). We tracked it live to the Otari MX-5050 at Seaside Lounge one weekend and mixed and mastered it the next at Doctor Wu’s. It was a total blast to work on, and a total blast out of the speakers – we harnessed a great Black Flag/Dead Kennedys vibe in sound and intensity, and cracked each other up constantly. I can’t wait for this to come out on Don Giovanni Records.
I’ve also been working on a heart-felt documentary/portrait of Gil Scott Heron. Told from the perspective of candid interviews with his closest friends and associates, it’s less of a biography and more of a tribute to a departed friend. It was directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, whose excellent current film 20,000 Days on Earth (a pseudo-doc starring/about Nick Cave) premiered at Sundance and will in theaters nation-wide next month. I feel very honored to be mixing this film.
I was back in Chicago a couple weeks ago to work again at Pitchfork Music Festival. I realized it was my eighth year working for the festival, and fifth running sound on the Blue Stage – whoa. It’s always good to be back with the old crew and see a bunch of old buddies in the Midwest, and it’s the only front-of-house system I’ve ever seen with a Crane Song limiter – I love mixing on that system! Bonus: in the airport, I came across this two-page article on Parquet Courts in the July issue of Rolling Stone!
I am thrilled to be able to share some music from the new PC Worship record Social Rust. Pitchfork (and Stereogum and Impose) posted the semi-title track ‘Rust’ last week, to pretty unanimous excitement. I mixed and mastered this record earlier in the year with lead-Worshipper Justin Frye (who recorded it at Roulette), and we blew each other away with what we came up with. It’s honestly one of my favorite records I’ve worked on recently, by one of my favorite bands playing, so hold on to your butts. Social Rust comes out September 9th on Northern Spy / Dull Tools.
Another skronk-tastic record I have to share is Jungle Green Meets the Blood Sisters. Andrew/Jungle Green has worked with me to master his last few releases at Doctor Wu’s, and it’s been really fascinating to hear the growth and diversity of his music. He’s released two singles of lo-fi doo-wop crooner jams with Kingfisher Bluez, but this new EP is a concentrated burst of no-wave-y freakouts focused around food and girls, featuring The Books‘ Paul de Jong on cello tantrums. It’s a free download, and worth every penny!
And while we’re talking about guys upset about food and girls, I’d like to point out that The Last of the Great Romantics is now available online! I mixed this film with director Duncan Skiles last fall, and it made the festival circuit earlier this year. I’m a big fan of this rom-com – it’s clever and funny in an endearingly humble way, and as they point out on their site, cheaper than a cup of coffee! Check it out!
Eaters is playing next week (August 13th) at Nothing Changes (formerly Weird Wednesdays) at Home Sweet Home in Manhattan. We’ve got a new song in the reportoire, so come hang if you’ve got nothing better to do on a Wednesday night! We play first, Future Blondes headline.
Thanks for reading this! I’ve got a lot of great projects on deck, will post more when I can… feel free to reach out at jonathan[dot]schenke [at] gmail[dot]com