NYC celestial shoegazers Lightning Bug have signed to Fat Possum to reissue their most recent record October Song.  I mastered this (which received an 8.0 on Pitchfork) and their debut Floaters (which NME ranked among the best debuts of the year), and am thrilled for this beautiful nugget to find a wider audience.  October Song is available now on LP through Fat Possum.

 

October Song, the sophomore album by otherworldly pop trio Lightning Bug, is out now.  I’ve been a fan since they came into the studio to master their debut Floaters (NME’s #4 Best Debuts of 2015), and was thrilled to master this one too.  Simultaneously stranger and more ethereal than their debut, October Song still packs some beautiful melodies and a powerful punch.  The new album has already received some similar accolades, with an 8.0 on Pitchfork (“gorgeous and hypnotic”) and a full-album debut on Hype Machine.  Stream it below, or head over to their Bandcamp to download this and their other fabulous releases.  October Song is out now on Marbled Arm Records.

Beech Creeps – s/t

 

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.

Eaters live, photo by Sam Cole

 

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.

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