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.

Honduras - Rituals

Rituals, the debut album from Brooklyn dream-punk quartet Honduras, is out now on Black Bell Records!  We worked on this record last fall/winter – recording live to 8-track tape in upstate NY at Outlier Inn, and mixing/mastering in Brooklyn at Doctor Wu’s – and were all thrilled with the results.  Brash and immediate, lovely and catchy, the record captures the energy of these songs and finds the group exploring new territory in the process.  Interview Magazine and NME streamed the record, both The Fader and BK Mag ran features on the group, and they’re wrapping up a tour with Oberhofer – go see them in your town!  Re-listening to Rituals now, I remember why I was so excited making this record, and look forward to getting back into the studio with them this winter.  Stream Rituals from one of the links above, and check out album-closer and personal-favorite “Mirror” below:

 

Dan Friel‘s new album Life is out October 16th on Thrill Jockey Records.  I mixed this wild instrumental noise-pop record with Dan earlier this year, and as a fan of both the man and his music, it was a real pleasure to help bring this thing to… well, life.  Fact Mag and Stereogum debuted the first single “Life (Pt.1)”, and NPR premiered “Rattler” in their column “Songs We Love”, throwing in a Sonic Youth comparison for good measure.  The album was mastered by Sarah Register, and “Rattler” is available to stream below.  Also, make sure to check out Dan’s interview and in-studio performance on WNYC’s Soundcheck!

 

Service Industry, the sophomore LP by NYC outre-rock duo Lushes, is also out October 16th, via Felte Records.  I worked with the group to flesh out the recordings with synth arrangements and effect treatments, yielding some interesting results and avenues of exploration.  In addition to the first single “Low Hanging Fruit”, Tiny Mix Tapes and Self-Titled Mag premiered “Circus” and “Rub Your Eyes” (streaming below).  The album was recorded and mixed by Aaron Mullan, mastered by Sarah Register, and features Sam Hilmer (Zs, Diamond Terrifier) and Justin Frye (PC Worship).

 

PC Worship shared the first taste of Basement Hysteria with “My Lens” (via The Fader).  It’s a 13-minute doozy of a track, an example of the more stripped-down and stretched-out vibes from the new EP (which I mixed and mastered this summer).  The group is on tour in Europe now, with NYC dates supporting Panda Bear, Container, and The Men this fall.  Basement Hysteria is out November 13th on Northern Spy.

 

Godmode Records are releasing a series of EPs by their artists entitled You’ve Been Sweating Wrong Your Whole Life, many of which I mastered earlier this year.  Yvette is a NYC electro-noise-rock duo I’ve been a fan of for years, having gotten to know them and sharing the stage with them multiple times, and their new Time Management EP is absolutely ferocious.  Pitchfork and NME featured the single “Calm and Content”, and Noisey and Stereogum hosted streams of the EP in its entirety.

Other releases in You’ve Been Sweating Wrong that I mastered include Hand of God’s Int’l Shipping EP (“trippy MPC house jams”), Fasano’s The Beach EP (“left-field b-boy crooning”), Fitness’ self-titled EP (“freakshow electro”), Soft Lit’s self-titled EP (“3am breakup pop”).  Malory’s self-titled EP is also a part of the series, and was mastered by Stuart Hawkes.  Kudos to label-head and producer Nick Sylvester for his creative sounds and direction on this wide-range of EPs!  Click on each of the above links for a stream and write-up of the release, and head over to Godmode’s store to order the series.

VBA recently issued their debut EP Will It Still Be There.  I worked with the group earlier this year at Seaside Lounge and Doctor Wu’s to record and mix these songs, which push the boundaries of rock into more experimental textures and form.  The group finished vocals and arrangements this summer, and mastered with Josh Bonati.  Stream the album below, and keep an eye out for them around NYC this fall.

 

Fort Lean released their long-awaited debut album Quiet Day last week on Ooh La La/Caroline.  My studio partner Jake Aron plays bass in the band, and I watched as they spent years crafting this album of immaculate indie rock.  The album was recorded and mixed at a variety of studios, including Dreamland (in upstate NY) and Strange Weather (in Brooklyn).  I did additional mixing with Jake at Doctor Wu’s, and the record was mastered by Chris Gehringer.  Check out their series of utterly bizarre videos by Mike Anderson (think Tool meets Beetlejuice), and stream the album sampler below:

 

Humeysha came by Doctor Wu’s to master their self-titled debut LP with me last month.  The Fader premiered the surreal video for the first single “Burma Between You and Me”, a great sampling of the New York via New Delhi sounds on this unique record.  Humeysha is out now on Camp & Street.

 

I also mastered the new Polly Hi album Deceleration at Doctor Wu’s.  The record was produced/recorded/mixed by Andrew Lappin, a regular and friendly presence at the studio.  Fans of Here We Go Magic and Wilco take note – this is spacious, grooving, beautiful stuff.

 

MPHO came into Doctor Wu’s last month to mix and master their new EP T.I.G.H.T..  They’re a new synth-pop group comprised of Mark Perro of The Men/Dream Police, Holly Overton of Juniper Rising/herself, and Russell Hymovitz of Junk Boys/Dream Police.  I’ve worked with these three multiple times, it’s always fun, and it’s been great to watch this project develop over the last year. T.I.G.H.T. is a gritty and gleaming sampler of disco power-pop – check it out!

 

Apart from all that, I’ve spent much of the past couple months focused on Eaters.  We did another run of shows with Shabazz Palaces, including a fantastic home-town show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (check out these awesome photos by Impose).  Our sound-sculpture Moment of Inertia was featured in both The Creators Project and The Spec, and we’re planning a couple sound/art installations in the new year.  We’ve also been hard at work completing the next full-length – I’m not sure what to say other than I can’t wait to share it with everyone!  In the meantime, Eaters are playing a couple shows around CMJ this month – October 16th @ Cake Shop (Inland Empire Touring showcase w/ Turn to Crime, The Gotobeds, Spray Paint and more) and October 18th @ Silent Barn (Dull Tools/Wild Wild Life party w/ Future Punx, Pill, Beth Israel, and many more) – come hear the new stuff!

Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk about sound, and thanks, as always, for reading.

Photo by Coen Rees
Photo by Coen Rees

 

Eaters - Moment of Inertia Cover

Moment of Inertia, the new EP from my group Eaters, is out now via Driftless Recordings.  The EP is an audio-video document of a sound-sculpture conceived by visual artist, group member, and old friend Christopher Duffy (who is also responsible for the on-stage sculptures at our live shows).  I’ve tried describing it many different ways, so perhaps it is best to quote the statement we prepared:

A large cylinder of glass serves as a manually-spun platter for an altered turntable, playing an original composition cut to acetate. Void of a motor of any sort, the turntable slows over the course of the composition, eventually coming to a complete stop. Throughout the experience, tempo and pitch fluctuate, exploring perceptions of speed, elasticity, and entropy.

Brooklyn Vegan premiered the EP last week, coinciding with more shows with the always-incredible Shabazz Palaces.  Check out the video (a single shot of the sculpture in action) and audio (three different versions of the compostion) below.  Special thanks to Steven Probert for shooting the cover image and video and to Josh Bonati for cutting the acetate.

Parquet Courts recently announced their new EP Monastic Living.  The recording was done at Sonelab and in their practice space (by band member Austin Brown), and Austin and I mixed and mastered it last month at Doctor Wu’s.  I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a weird one!  Monastic Living is out November 13th on Rough Trade.

Stereogum recently announced the new Lushes album Service Industry.  I spent some time with the group this past winter, developing synth parts and treatments across the record, which was recorded and mixed by Aaron Mullan (Sonic Youth, Tall Firs, et al).  The album comes out October 16th on Felte Records, and you can stream the first single “Low Hanging Fruit” below.

Also coming soon: Do You Remember Real Pain, one of two new EPs by Rat Columns (aka David West).  I met David when Eaters and Lace Curtain (one of his many other projects) toured together last fall, and we started mixing when we got off the road.  I mixed and mastered 4/5 songs for the EP (which you can stream below), to be released August 20th on Adagio 830. (His other EP – Fooling Around – is out now on Blackest Ever Black).

Honduras just released a video for “Paralyzed”, the first single from their upcoming album RItuals. I produced this record a while ago – recorded upstate at Outlier Inn, mixed/mastered at Doctor Wu’s in Brooklyn – so it’s excited to see pieces of it shared with the world.  It’s a great record, and though it sounds like we have longer still to wait for the full thing, you can check out the video and audio for “Paralyzed” now.

I wrote about this in my last post, but there has now been an official update to the delayed Optimo Music post-punk compilation that I re-mastered and restored along with Michael Train this spring.  Originally titled Now That’s What I Call DIY! (Cult Classics From the Post-Punk Era 1978-82), the double-LP collection was set to be released this month before Sony – who is behind the series Now That’s What I Call Music!  – issued a cease and desist.  Optimo couldn’t reach an agreement with Sony’s lawyers, so all of the original packaging has been destroyed and the title has been changed to [Cease and Desist] DIY!  The compilation is truly great, so I’m pleased to announce that it has a new release date of October 30th.  Read more of the story and the full track-listing on Pitchfork, and check out a sampler of the collection below.

I also worked with Michael Train to restore and remaster the long out-of-print back-catalog of late 70s/early 80s Aussie post-punk group the Sunday Painters. The first reissue in the series was a collection of early singles called In My Dreams, which was released earlier this year.  Their two subsequent full lengths – Something to Do and 4th Annual Report – are coming out August 28th via What’s Your Rupture.  As with In My Dreams, these reissues have been lovingly restored and feature bonus downloads of never-before-heard live recordings.  Check out “Something to Do” and “Shattered Lens” below.

After mastering the compilation American Music this spring, I recently mastered five different EPs for GODMODE Records, one of my favorite local labels.  Yvette, Soft Lit, Fitness, and Hand of God all have new EPs coming soon; Fasano’s The Beach EP is out now (streaming below).

I recently spent a few days in the studio with Junk Boys, recording/mixing/mastering a full-length record as a follow-up to the EP we did this winter.  It rips!!

I also mixed a commercial for director Robin Comisar (creator of the short Mom Died that I sound designed and mixed).  The commercial is for Crossfit, and features a 79 year old woman using the fitness program for rehabilitation.  The ad is playing on ESPN, and you can stream it on Youtube as well.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read this!  Much more in the works – finishing the next Eaters LP; lots of records; maybe some short films; and hopefully some more beach time before the end of summer!

Liturgy - The Ark Work [recording, mixing]

Liturgy’s new album The Ark Work is out now! After Rolling Stone premiered the album’s 11-minute centerpiece “Reign Array” and Pitchfork ran an in-depth feature on the group earlier in the month, NPR streamed the entire record on First Listen, hailing it as “challenging, befuddling, [and] exhilarating… the deeper into it you delve, the more its audacity and imagination start to bloom.”  As expected, reviews have been polarizing, from praise in blogs like Spin, (8/10 – “real radical departure worthy of admiration”),  Stereogum (“smart, visceral… it’s an album of intense and experimental music, music that never quite fits into any genre tag”), AV Club (B+ – “a singular musical achievement… utterly captivating, transcending pastiche and coming off like some disorienting super-genre that will never be heard again”); to scorn from metal zines like Exclaim (3/10 – “Liturgy is fully trolling us”), Revolver (2/5 – “Are they fucking with us? It certainly seems like it”), and Metal Underground (0.5/5 – “This might be the worst album I’ve ever heard – metal or otherwise”); and plenty of confused others in between.

I love this record.  We spent many weeks together working on it – it’s easily one of the most in-depth recording projects I’ve ever been involved with, I know this thing inside and out – but I still find myself fascinated and exhilarated by The Ark Work.  No, it’s not for everyone.  But I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything like it before, and doubt that I will again.  I recorded much of it at Strange Weather (along with programming and additional recording by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and Frank Musarra) and mixed it at Doctor Wu’s.  The Ark Work is available now on double LP, CD, and download via Thrill Jockey.  Catch them on tour with Lightning Bolt (West coast) and Sannhet and Horse Lords (East coast) this month.

Godmode is one of my favorite labels around – great music, awesome people – so it was a pleasure to master their new compilation American Music, out now.  It features new music by the entire Godmode roster (including a punishing new song by Yvette, the debut of Malory, and an epic Shamir remix by Negative Supply) as well as like-minded outsiders such as Excepter and Rusty Santos‘ The Present.  Stream it above or order the ultra-limited cassette at Godmode.

Also out now is the self-titled debut by Pocket Hercules.  The record premiered on Vice, along with a hilariously scathing review by former teenie-bopper Aaron Carter.  We recorded this to tape on an Otari MX-5050 last summer at Seaside Lounge, and mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s.  I had a great time working with these guys – it was the first time many of them had been in a “proper” studio or made a “real” record, and experiences like this are priceless.  The album is available to stream and download at their Bandcamp page and on cassette via Seagreen Records.

Railings have released their third EP Until the Making.  I mastered this last fall at Doctor Wu’s (I also mastered their previous EP Reach House), and I’m a big fan of what Alex Ian Smith and his gang are up to.  Stream it above, or go to their Bandcamp to order a cassette that features a side-long composition not available for download.

Honduras recently premeired “Paralyzed”, the first single from the upcoming record Rituals, on Entertainment Weekly. I had a blast working with these guys on the record – recorded upstate at Outlier Inn and mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s – and with a bajillion shows at this year’s SXSW and a steady stream of local shows, expect to be hearing a lot more from the band in the coming months.

My dudes Beech Creeps also braved the SXSW rains to promote their recently-released self-titled debut, out now on Monofonus Press.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, start with this new video for “Arm of the T-Rex”, recently premiered on Vice.  They’re also playing this weekend at Union Pool with label-mates/honchos Spray Paint – not to be missed!

I spent a good chunk of March traveling (if you ever have the chance to go to Oman, I HIGHLY recommend it!), but still had time to work on a variety of projects.  In addition to mastering the Godmode compilation, I also (re-)mastered a compilation for Optimo Music called Now That’s What I Call DIY!  It covers a wide range of UK post-punk singles from 1978-1982, from dub to electro to more straight-forward punk and everything in between.  Michael Train (who guided the Sunday Painters reissues) and I worked on restoration, and the set sounds awesome!  This was one of those pleasant surprises of a project, and I’m excited for people to hear it.

I also had the opportunity to work with my friend Alex Zhang Hungtai (of Dirty Beaches infamy) again this month.  I mixed and mastered a live performance from earlier this year at London’s Cafe Oto, which features Alex on saxophone, David Maranha on keys, and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums.  It’s way closer to free-jazz and heavy drone than the bulk of Dirty Beaches’ catalog, but the fact that Alex is constantly moving and shifting his musical ideas is one of the things I admire most about him.  Expect the unexpected.

And I worked with director Robin Comisar on his narrative short film Mom Died.  It’s a beautifully shot and slightly surreal story about a family’s disfunction after the passing of their matriarch, and the tender son who can barely keep it together.  The film should debut later this year.

I’ve got a number of projects scheduled for April, including work to complete the new Eaters EP.  Come to our next show – April 23rd at Baby’s All Right – to hear some new songs from it, along with previously-unheard music by our friends Yvette and Dan Friel!  We all played a show together last year (our record release show) and it felt right to play together again as we were all testing out new material.  Tickets are on-sale now.

Hope to see y’all there!

Spin Band of the Year 2014

Well… there goes 2014.  It seems like only a short while ago that I was shaking off NYE and going upstate with Parquet Courts to finish Sunbathing Animal.  That album earned its way onto nearly everyone’s year-end lists, including Spin (#2), Pitchfork (#24), Rolling Stone (#28), NME (#35), and Stereogum (#50).  Based on the strength of that record, their follow-up full-length-EP Content Nausea (which featured some outtakes from our SBA/Tally sessions), and months of killer live shows, Spin declared them “2014 Band of the Year”.  The band played a sold-out show at Webster Hall this month – the day the Spin article posted and with homies PC Worship and Blues Control – that felt like a victory lap for everyone involved.  I couldn’t be more thrilled for my dudes, and can’t wait to see what they do in 2015.

 

Mannequin Pussy’s Gypsy Pervert also got some best-of love this year after being reissued on Tiny Engines.  Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone put it as his #9 album of the year (Sunbathing Animal was his #1, holla!), and as the #1 cassette release of the year.  Way to go guys!!

 

And though they didn’t get the year-end accolades that Sunbathing Animal did, PC Worship’s Social Rust, Mazes’ Wooden Aquarium, and Dream Police’s Hypnotized – as well as the Eaters LP (duh) – are some other records that came out in 2014 that I feel very proud to have been a part of.  These are compositionally and sonically interesting albums that you should check out now, if you haven’t already!

Another one of my favorite projects of 2014 is the recently-released second single by glam rockers Fa Bonx.   I. love. these. songs!  The first single sold out and this one’s even better, so don’t wait! “49 Stick” b/w “Tramps Jamble” is out now on What’s Your Rupture?

 

Fort Lean – a band that includes Jake Aron, my studio partner at Doctor Wu’s – are releasing a new record called Quiet Day, their first full-length.  The album was recorded and mixed through 2013 and 2014, and the time and energy spent making it is evident in both their songwriting and arrangements.  Daniel Schlett mixed the bulk of the record at Strange Weather; I mixed one song entirely and did additional mixing with Jake across the rest of the record at Doctor Wu’s.  Quiet Day comes out spring 2015 on Ooh-La-La Records.

 

Also recently released is “Dreams”, the new single by Australian darkwave duo Buzz Kull.  I met Marcel earlier this year while touring Australia with Parquet Courts, and was psyched when he asked me to work with them on this track. Marcel did an interview with Noisey recently (thanks for the shout-out!), and the physical single is out soon on Fabrika Records.

 

Honduras @ Outlier Inn

I spent a week mid-November at Outlier Inn with Honduras, recording their full-length debut.  It was a real treat to be back at Outlier Inn (where we finished Sunbathing Animal) – the gear and vibe there are truly great.  We recorded to my Otari MX-5050, and the band were eager to capture the live energy while pushing into new sonic territories, which gave me a real license to experiment with sounds.  We mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s earlier this month, and it’s a truly killer-sounding album.  Look for it spring 2015 on Black Bell Records.

Another record I recently worked on was with a new band called Shop Talk.  Basic tracking was done by my friend Kyle Keays-Hagerman (who I worked with on the Dream Police LP), and I recorded vocals as well as mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s tightly-wound melodic punk – the metaphor we kept using was “raw nerve” -and turned out way cool.

I also recently mixed a handful of songs for Rat Columns (led by Lace Curtain tour buddy David West).  Rat Columns is way different than his work with Lace Curtain or Total Control – bittersweet, C-86 vibey pop songs.  I’m not sure what’s in store for these tunes, but hopefully they’ll be out soon.

And I’m wrapping up an album by Hums and Haws, the studio project of Chicagoan Matt Kordonowy.  Matt was an intern at Experimental Sound Studio while I worked there, and it’s been great to reconnect and work together on this record.  I’ve mixed many of the songs on the album (ESS engineer Todd Carter mixed the others) and am mastering it now.  The songs on the record are quite varied – from beat-less washes of melody, to grungy pop songs that recall both the Kinks and Beck, to percussion-heavy rockers, and everything in-between – and it was a fun challenge to pull it all together.

I’ve also mastered a few records over the last couple of months: the debut album from new band Lightning Bug (a heady blend of shoegaze mind-numbers, psych-pop ala Broadcast, and ambient drone), the third EP from Railings (rock/pop equal parts dreamy and mathy), and a new album by the I Ching Quartet (acoustic folk ensemble and old friends from Chicago).

I’ll be spending most of the next couple months working on Eaters with my main man Bob Jones.  We’ll be writing and recording new material and have some shows coming up in the new year, including a show with Wham City’s own Dan Deacon (February 25th at Rough Trade NYC).  We got together a couple weeks ago to start plotting out this next record, and recorded this musical gift for everyone.  It’s a cover of “Radioland” by Kraftwerk, based on an arrangement Bob wrote for guitar.

 

Happy holidays y’all – see you in 2015.

Jonny @ Outlier Inn