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.

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