New music by Parquet Courts, the Drums, PC Worship, Turn to Crime, The Britanys, Dougie Poole, Operator Music Band and more…

To kick things off, Parquet Courts‘ collaboration with Bun B finally came out!  They debuted this version of “Captive of the Sun” on Colbert last summer with members of PC Worship, Blues Control, and my bandmate Bob Jones.  Austin Brown and I went into Doctor Wu’s shortly after that to put together this remix, which has a chopped n’ screwed version by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C on the B-side.  Pitchfork premiered the track, along with a Houston rap playlist by Young Doc Gooden (fka Austin Brown)… so proud to still have my 713- number.  Pick it up on limited-edition LP via Rough Trade, and check out the lyric video below.

I was also super excited to see the premiere of The Drums‘ new single “Blood Under My Belt”.  Pitchfork premiered the song last week, as the first single from the new record “Abysmal Thoughts”.  Bandleader Jonny Pierce and I worked together last summer at Doctor Wu’s, disassembling his demos and rebuilding them into something else entirely.  I’m really happy to have recorded and mixed this album, and I can’t wait for more of it to be released.  Mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound, “Abysmal Thoughts” will be released in June on Anti-.

PC Worship – one of my favorite groups going – released their new album Buried Wish, which I had the pleasure to master and help sequence with Justin Frye.  All of the PC Worship records (and many PC Worship songs) have their own series of detours and digressions, which is particularly true of this album – it veers from ornate horn arrangements to grunge-sludge stomp to acoustic/field recording meanderings and everywhere else in between.  Hopefully you caught them on tour with Naomi Punk, but either way you should catch them next month with The Dreebs.  Check out the great press in Pitchfork, Noisey, and Clrvynt, and pick up Buried Wish on Northern Spy now.

My fellow electro-rock weirdos Turn to Crime released their latest (fourth? sixth?) record Secondary in early February.  Derek Stanton records all of the music himself at his own Molten Sound studio in Detroit, and you can hear that freedom of creativity and amazing collection of gear throughout each of his records.  Secondary, which I mixed and Sarah Register mastered last year, is my personal favorite – “Chasing”, “Dead Man”, and the title track are all undeniable gems.  Check out these features on Noisey and Brooklyn Vegan, and pick up the record through Mugg and Bopp.

Bushwick rock+rollers The Britanys released their debut EP Five A Side, which premiered with an enthusiastic NME review. We recorded these songs in two different sessions, deciding in the end to go with the stripped-down basement recordings for this EP – they just rocked harder!  Check them out at SXSW, and stream/purchase Five A Side from the group’s Bandcamp.

Electronic country-crooner Dougie Poole released his debut LP Wideass Highway on JMC Aggregate.  I mixed and mastered this strange and beautiful record last year, and was happy to see it featured in both FADER and Ad Hoc. Do yourself a favor and pick it up at Dougie’s Bandcamp.

Fuzzy synth rockers Operator Music Band‘s debut LP Puzzlephonics I & II came out last week.  The album pairs two EPs (recorded by band member Dara Hirsch) which we mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s last fall.  Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan both featured the group, who is heading out on tour this week toward SXSW. Pick up a copy now on New Professor Music, and stream it below.

My German indie-rock buddies Behave! released a video for “Someone”, the first single from the record we did last summer in Hannover.  It was a pleasure working with the group over there on a Studer A800 with a bunch of vintage German mics, and I’m really happy with the results, which I mixed and mastered back in NYC.  If you read German, you may enjoy this interview on Diffus, but even if you don’t, you’ll probably enjoy the song (it’s in English).

NYC alterna-singer-songwriter Tica Douglas’ new single “The Same Thing” was recently released.  The Wild Honey Pie and Gold Flake Paint both featured the track, which I mixed and mastered as part of the new record Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us.  2014’s Joey was released to great reviews, and I’m excited that this one will be released on Team Love later in May.  Stay tuned…

In a similarly off-kilter-folk vein, Dark Tea’s debut EP was released last month.  I mastered this for Gary Canino, who also plays in the fierce NYC punk band Rips.  CLRVYNT  wrote about the EP, and you can purchase it on Bandcamp.

And Brian Chillemi (also of shredders Junk Boys) released a video single for the new song “Child of the Earth” (which I mastered).  Read about it on Impose, and buy the track on Bandcamp.

Also released: Eventide debuted their new plugin ‘Fission‘.  It’s the first in their line of “Structural Effects”, which separates the transient and tonal information of a source, and allows you to effect each separately.  I consulted with the designers Russ & Tom and my friend Joe Waltz early on in the process of development, and contributed a handful of presents to the plugin.  Check out this explanation here and download the demo now!

I spent some time upstate this past month, checking out the progress on the incredible new control room at Outlier Inn (where I recorded Parquet Courts’ Sunbathing Animal and Honduras’ Rituals).  I always loved visiting and working at the space, but with this new room (designed by Wes Lachot) and new console (Tom Elmhirst’s modified Neve VR 72), it’s going to be a truly incredible place to make a record.  I can’t wait for the opening this May.

I also spent some time with Acid Dad, recording and co-producing their debut LP.  We recorded the basics to my Otari MX-5050 at their studio upstate, and mixed it in Brooklyn at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s a fierce and fun album – I’m excited for people to hear this one.  Check them out later this month on the road with Honduras.

One last thing:  I posted a new Soundcloud playlist too, if you’re interested in hearing a mix of different things I’ve worked on.

Thanks for reading all of this!

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site – it was crazy end to 2016…

My group Eaters put together an installation of sound and light sculptures at Knockdown Center in December.  Entitled Eyes Have Brightened, the exhibition opened as part of the massive Parquet Courts event (where I mixed their set as well) and was up through the end of the season.  From the statement:

Building on the visual and sonic vocabulary of their unique live music performances, the show features sound and light sculptures and immersive installation elements by Christopher Duffy. This will be the New York premiere of their performative sound sculpture ‘Moment of Inertia’, and will feature a new soundtrack for the installation composed by Bob Jones and Jonathan Schenke.

eaters_knockdown_center_2016_05_photo_steven_probert
‘Eyes Have Brightened’ installation shot, photo by Steven Probert

At Chris’ suggestion, Bob and I spent a few days making some improvised, beat-less instrumental music for the installation.  Prisms, the resulting soundtrack album, was featured on Brooklyn Vegan and AdHoc, who called it “transportive… full of minimalist tones, Prisms oscillates between hopeful and buoyant swells to eerie and confounding synths.”  Prisms is streaming below, and available to download from Bandcamp.

Tangentially, I was featured in an Eventide video, where I discussed their new TEC Award-nominated plugin TVerb.  I was a consultant and “alpha-tester” for the plugin (which is inspired by Tony Visconti’s recording techniques employed on David Bowie’s “Heroes”), and used it throughout the mixing of the upcoming sophomore Eaters LP (due this spring on Dull Tools).  Check out the video on Eventide’s Facebook page.

NYC psych-punks The Men released their sixth album Devil Music in November.  The back-to-basics LP was recorded live-to-tape in their practice space by Jordan Lovelace (of Pampers and Tournament), and I mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s with the group last spring. Many reviewers have used terms like “raw”, “caustic”, “cathartic”, and “primal” – all of which are apt descriptions for this awesome show of force.  Devil Music is available on LP/download now via We Are The Men/Sacred Bones, and is streaming below.

Speaking of Tournament, the rawk-n-rollers released their new EP Take The Wheel via Colonel Records in October.  Also tracked live-to-tape by Jordan and mixed/mastered by me with the band at Doctor Wu’s, the EP is six songs of rowdy good-times.  As Noisey put it: “there is nothing more true to the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll—as it was originally intended, that is—as playing your heart out in a garage as if it were a packed, smoke-filled arena.”  Take The Wheel is available now on LP, cassette and download via Colonel Records, and is streaming below.

Shop Talk‘s self-titled debut was released on LP last fall as well.  The group plays a kind of melodic, slightly twangy, classic “punk” – instantly recognizable yet completely its own thing.  Kyle Keays-Hagerman tracked the band at his studio and I recorded the vocals and mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s, wrapping it up back in 2015.  The band (featuring members of Queening, Liturgy, and Pygmy Shrews) has done a couple tours and a bunch of local shows since then, and has been covered in The Deli and Brooklyn Vegan, so it’s awesome to see this get a proper pressing.  Shop Talk is out now on Brainbox Records and is streaming below.

I worked with Operator Music Band on their debut full-length Puzzlephonics I & II in October.  They’re a Brooklyn quartet who create electronic pop songs around relentless motorik grooves with tag-team male/female vocals.  Dara Hirsch (one of the singer/guitarist/synth players) recorded the songs at Gravesend Recordings (in the Silent Barn), and we mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s.  The album will be out later this year on New Professor Music – in the meantime, take the opportunity to check out their single Materielmusik, go see them live (a real treat!), or pick up one of the pedals made by Jared Hiller (the other co-singer/guitarist/synth player) and his company L0/Rez…the Mona Lisa Overdrive is one of the most insane things I’ve plugged in!

In November, I mixed and mastered the new record by Tica Douglas, entitled Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help Us and Protect Us.  Tica’s last record Joey was featured in Pitchfork, Impose, and other zines, and this new one was recorded by Ryan Dieringer (who co-produced Joey as well) in various locations upstate.  I really admire the ambition of this record – which shifts from intimate, singer/songwriter moments to densely-packed arrangements featuring horns, synths, and a rocking band – and I had the songs stuck in my head for weeks.  Our Lady Star of the Sea will be out later this year on Team Love Records.

I also mastered a few singles at the end of the year: The Tills’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Blues” (which has a killer video, and whose upcoming album Shannin I mastered last year as well), Dark Tea’s “Providence Sky” (a side project of Gary Canino of the band Rips – check the Impose feature and accompanying video too), and a pair of singles by Brian Chillemi and his band Junk Boys.

Video-wise: In and Out of Control, a short film by Emir Eralp featuring a score by Eaters, has continued to receive wide acclaaim, winning accolades in Istanbul, Berlin, London, and other festivals around the world.  And Hospital Head Doctor – a short film by Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate (of Marcel the Shell, Catherine, and other projects) which I sound-designed and mixed back in 2015 – was recently released and awarded a Vimeo Staff Pick.  Watch it below.

Coming out next month: new releases by PC Worship, Turn to Crime, Dougie Poole, The Britanys!

Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to write me at: jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail [dot] com.

 

Hi everyone, long time no post.  I’ve been in the studio and/or traveling over the past few months… here’s an attempt to catch up:

NYC scuzz-rockers The Men have announced their upcoming album Devil Music.  They recorded it live in their practice space with Jordan Lovelace (of Pampers and Tournament), and we mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s this spring.  It’s a rawkus return to form for these guys – fans of the early albums should be psyched!  Noisey premiered the first single “Lion’s Den” and asked some questions of guitarist/singer Nick Chiericozzi – check it out!  Devil Music is out November 11th on We Are The Men.

Australian dark-wave artist Buzz Kull premiered “Tomorrow’s Ghosts” on Noisey.  It’s the new single from the upcoming album Chroma, which I co-produced/mixed/mastered this LP long-distance over the course of a year or so.  Buzz Kull is supporting The Soft Moon on their Australian tour this fall – a perfect fit.  Chroma is out soon via Stellar Kinematics.

On the Eaters front: Our remix of Parquet Courts’ “Human Performance” was released as a single, and the Performing Human EP is out now on Rough Trade.  Parquet Courts has also invited us to create an installation at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY on December 10th – tickets are on-sale now, and more information is available here.  And our new LP will be out in Spring 2017 – we’re finishing art and masters now.

New releases available now:

  • Parquet Courts – Performing Human EP (in addition to the Eaters remix, I mixed the ‘Dreamland Version’ of the song and mastered the EP)
  • Kel Valhaal – New Introductory Lectures… (Hunter Hunt-Hendrix from Liturgy’s solo electronic project, which I mixed and recorded vocals at Doctor Wu’s – check out his interview with Paper Mag)
  • A couple records by Alex Zhang-Hungtai, formerly Dirty Beaches: Ancora, a live improvisational recording with David Maranha and Gabriel Ferrandini on Grain of Sound (which I mixed and mastered) and Knave of Hearts, a collection of drones and solo-piano on Ascetic House (which I mastered)
  • Holly Overton – The Split EP (the MPHO singer/songwriter backed by Jason Kelly from Fergus & Geronimo/Future Punx and Ben Jaffe from Pill.  I recorded/mixed/mastered this earlier this year)
  • Brian Chillemi – I Went to Town EP (Junk Boys/Organs singer/songwriter goes solo, check it out on Impose or on cassette via Time Castle Recordings.  I mastered this.)
  • AntibodiesVessels EP (Brooklyn indie duo via Don Giovanni, mastered at Doctor Wu’s)
  • Alex Rose – Grandmothers/Coattails (Austin folkie, produced by House of Feelings, mastered by me)

Film-wise:

I recently did an interview with the podcast The Stonehall Sessions.  The host Riley had done quite a bit of listening to my back-catalogue, and we had a great talk about recording and the creative process.  The title about sums it up perfectly: “Work on it Until You Don’t Want to Work on it Anymore”

I spent a couple weeks in Germany this summer working on a record with the group Behave.  Their music is catchy, creative, and grooving rock – fans of classic 10cc, kraut rock, and the Captured Tracks roster take note! We recorded to a Studer A800 using a bunch of vintage Neumann and AKG mics, and the results sound amazing.  I’m putting the finishing touches on the mixes now, so hopefully this record will be out early next year.

Shortly after returning, I began working with The Drums on their new LP.  Their previous releases had been performed and recorded almost entirely by band-leader Jonny Pierce, but he wanted to try things a bit differently this time.  We took his original sessions, recorded live drums (at Thump), and spent a month at Doctor Wu’s adding to/replacing/re-arranging/mixing the record.  I am immensely proud of the work we did – it’s a beautiful, imaginative, and immediately memorable collection of songs.  Joe LaPorta will be mastering it at Sterling Sound, and it should be out in Spring 2017.  I can’t wait for people to hear it.

Last week, I worked with the Brooklyn buzz-band The Britanys on their debut EP.  Their early singles were home-recorded and mixed by Gordon Raphael (of Is This It fame), and the group has already gained an eager following from publications like NME (who premiered a video while we were in the studio).  We spent a few days at Seaside Lounge recording to 8-track tape, and mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s.  Expect to hear a lot more soon.

And in between all of this, I mastered a couple of records: a brilliantly damaged new LP by PC Worship for Northern Spy; and a go-for-broke gonzo rock record by The Tills from North Carolina.  Both are excellent, and should hopefully be out sooner rather than later.

Oh!  And Eventide‘s TVerb (for which I was I was a consultant and alpha tester) was just nominated for a TEC Award!  I’m working with Eventide on some other software and gear now… super exciting stuff.

Thank you for reading – if you’d like to talk about sound, please write jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail [dot] com

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.

Happy New Year Y’all!

Liturgy’s The Ark Work graced a number of year-end lists, topping both Rolling Stone‘s and Spin‘s Best Avant Records of 2015 lists.  “The most ambitious art-rock statement of the year is an ecstatic jumble of disciplines, ideas and textures” (Rolling Stone) that “blurs boundaries between worlds that you wouldn’t have previously thought even shared a border” (Spin).  The record also made Washington Post’s Best Music of 2015 (#8 – a “lavish sound-world out of guitar-generated turbulence, computer-generated brass and the muscle-generated rhythms of Greg Fox, one of the greatest drummers doing it”), Consequence of Sound’s Top Metal Albums (#13- “a transcendent achievement in that it is the audible equivalent of finally rising above all and reaching your final form”), Tiny Mix Tapes’ Favorite Music Releases (#48), and Spin’s Best Songs of 2015 (#77 for “Vitriol” – “out of black metal comes black gold”) .  The Ark Work is unlike anything else out there – check out the centerpiece “Reign Array” below.

PC Worship dropped Basement Hysteria, the long-form EP follow-up to last year’s Social Rust, on Northern Spy in November.  Justin once again wrote, recorded and arranged these songs with his band, and we mixed and mastered together at my place.  It’s looser, freer, and rawer than Social Rust, but any long-time fan of the group will find much to enjoy here.   Pitchfork gave it a 7.8, opining that “Here, rock’n’roll is a pirated vessel, steered unhurriedly toward doom.”  Check out the EP in its entiriety below, or head over to Northern Spy to buy it on good, old-fashioned CD.

Parquet Courts also released a full-length EP recently, entitled Monastic Living, their first for Rough Trade.  The recordings were from recent studio sessions and practice-space jams, edited and arranged by Austin Brown, and mixed and mastered by myself and Austin at Doctor Wu’s.  This record’s a weird one – a mostly instrumental collage of the band stretching out into some new and uncharted territories.  Reviews have been mixed across the board, but personally I love to see the band exploring different facets of their sound, and it’s got some of my favorite A. Savage cover art yet.

[Cease and Desist] DIY! (Cult Classics from the Post-Punk Era 1978-1982) – the compilation that was a target of Sony’s copyright lawyers – was released at the end of October on Optimo Music.  Pitchfork wrote a comprehensive and complimentary review, rating it an 8.4.  The whole thing is a must for fans of this era: the selection and sequencing by JD Twitch of Optimo is excellent and unique, and the liner notes and essay paint a vivid picture of the material on-hand.  I’m thrilled to have been able to re-master and add “further audio love” to the compilation.  Stream the sampler below and hang tight while they repress the record, or download the (slightly-edited) digital release if you simply can’t wait until then.

Dan Friel‘s record Life continues to charm critics, with a gushing 8/10 review from Spin (“astounding”, “impressive”, “a career highlight”), a 4.5/5 on Allmusic, and a 7.8 from Pitchfork. If you haven’t heard it already, what are you waiting for?  Also, make sure to check out Dan’s sci-fi book club feature on Impose, and this video of his son and friends freaking out to the song “Rattler”.

Brooklyn rockers Junk Boys (featuring members of Organs, MPHO, and Yin-Yangs) recently released their self-titled album.  We recorded an EP in early 2015, and returned to Seaside Lounge this past summer to record the full-length, which both expands and refines the sound of the band.  Impose says the songs “rip through attitudinal, turbocharged power-chord riffage, with crude, impassioned soloing, and incensed vocal howls”, premiering the song “Arizona Nights” last month.  Check out the album below or on their Bandcamp page, and go see them around NYC and try to score a tape.

Holly Overton – singer and song-writer of MPHO and Juniper Rising – released a solo EP in November.  We worked together to record and arrange the songs – breezy synth pop that fans of MPHO will enjoy – and I mixed and mastered it last fall.  Check out the video Holly made for the song “Midnight Sun”, and stream the EP below.

One of my favorite projects to work on this past year is the new Turn to Crime record Secondary.  I’ve gotten to know Derek and the band over the past couple years and love the music he’s been creating, but this is the best one yet.  Super catchy and utterly bizarre, it’s an album full of singles beamed in from an alternate reality where new wave, kraut-rock and glam still rule the airwaves. Derek wrote and recorded the album at his Molten Sound studio, I mixed it, and Sarah Register mastered it at the Mastering Palace. I can’t wait for people to hear this record!

Another highlight of last year was mixing and mastering the new Cloud Becomes Your Hand record Rest in Fleas.  It’s a wild, proggy ride of a record – alternately goofy and threatening, often in the same breath – stuffed full of unison leads, odd time-signatures, crazy synth noises, bells, whistles, kitchen sinks and more… it’s fantastic!  Northern Spy is putting it out this spring – stay tuned.

I also recently mixed the debut full-length of the band Gold Dime – the new project from Andrya Ambro of Talk Normal, backed by Adam from the Dreebs and Lazar of Sediment Club.  The album – recorded by Andrya and Justin Frye – is a heavy, heady slice of densely-arranged no-wave.  Sarah Register was her bandmate in Talk Normal, and she’s mastering it now – I can’t wait to hear it in its full glory.

Jordan Bernstein (the other constant in the Dreebs and often-bassist in PC Worship) has a new project called Jordonna: trap beats, prepared guitar, rapping and singing by Jordan, with additional vocals by Heidi Beth Jaye and Kassie from Guerilla Toss.  I mixed and mastered it with Jordan over the summer and fall, finishing it at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s a total curve-ball of a project, really cool stuff.  I look forward to seeing them play this live around NYC this spring.

Honey Radar is a great band from Philly, mining the best gems from lo-fi rock’s history… a little GBV here, a little Olivia Tremor Control there… They’re prolific and always interesting – just try not to get absorbed into their Bandcamp page!  Plus, my old friend Jason Henn plays drums and records the group’s material, so it was a great pleasure to master their new record Blank Cartoon.  Take a moment to go listen to 2014’s full-length Chain Smoking on Easter or any of their 3 EPs from 2015 to prepare yourself – Blank Cartoon drops this spring on What’s Your Rupture.

I always enjoy working with old friends on new projects, and it was no exception mixing the documentary film Up This Hill by Paul Sobota.  The film follows a group of inner-city youths from Cleveland as they travel to rural southern Kentucky to repair and restore homes, shifting from one type of poverty to another, and learning a lot about themselves in the process.  It was great to work with Paul and Ben Kinsley (who recorded and edited the sound), and I hope to see this moving little film making the rounds soon.

I also mixed a couple series of ads for the new TiVo Bolt, directed by Robin Comisar for Ghost Robot.  You may have seen one from ‘Interruptus’ or ‘The Date’ somewhere.  Robin’s got a great eye, and these ads are utterly silly… hope you enjoy.

Lots of cool stuff is already happening this month.  If you should find yourself in the Providence/Pawtucket area, come see the art installation by Christopher Duffy and Eaters at Machines with Magnets, opening January 15th through February 7th.  Thank you for reading, and please feel free to write if you’d like to talk about sound.

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

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

Mazes - Wooden Aquarium

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.

PC Worship - Social Rust

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.

Welcome to Cleveland

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.

I’ve been doing more mastering recently as well, working on a split EP with Tonstartssbandht and Hot & Cold, finishing up the Beech Creeps record from this summer, and mastering a single by Von Hack.

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.

Doctor Wu's

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!

PC Worship - Social Rust

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

Eaters Live @ Moogfest

So, many things…. first of all, thanks to everyone who came out to or helped put together any of the Eaters shows.  The tour was great – nothing like driving around the midwest with one of your best friends, playing music you’re excited about, meeting new people, and hearing a bunch of interesting sounds along the way.  The album’s out now on Driftless Recordings/Dull Tools.

Sunbathing Ani-Mania continues!  Parquet Courts recently debuted their new Stooge-y single ‘Black and White’  on Late Night with Seth Meyers [spoiler alert: Fred Armisen jumps onstage for the feedback solo, but Austin upstages him anyway] and released the album version the next day (stream it up above).  Slow-burner ballad ‘Instant Disassembly’ surfaced last week, and immediately grabbed a Best New Track nod from Pitchfork (stream that down below).  Sunbathing Animal is out June 3rd on What’s Your Rupture/Rough Trade.

I’ve been working with artist/director Thu Tran on a series of games for the new Tinkham Veale student center at Case Western Reserve University (where I went to school and met Thu… trippy).  The six Cleveland-inspired games are displayed on a 30′ LED screen in the middle of the main atrium, and are played through a motion-controlled Kinect sensor… so basically you’re just jumping around or punching the air in front of this giant video wall.  Since the installation is designed to run continuously in a public space, Thu and I decided to treat the sound design as a sort of generative ambient music…. something that registers to a participant as reacting to them, and that can also blend pleasantly into the background for everyone else in the space.  I’ve always enjoyed working with Thu (like on her shows Food Party and The Misguided Guide to the Origin of Everything), and it was a pleasure to collaborate with Ivan Safrin (who’s designed such bonkers games as Space Cruiser, a flight simulator at the Hayden Planetarium, and Sidescroller, where players run around a room with 20 monitors from screen to screen) and Bobo Do (whose work you may have seen projected behind Beyonce once or twice).  There’s an inherent goofiness and giddiness in the games, but there’s also a depth and beauty in everyone’s work that truly amazes me… I can’t wait to play them in the space when the building opens this fall.

Veale Center

I’ve been doing some mastering lately too.  I finished mixing and mastered the new PC Worship record Rust – this thing is unbelievable… just wait.   Jungle Green brought me a couple more damaged crooner tunes for a new single coming out on Kingfisher Bluez, following the Twelve-and-a-half Minutes of the Most Beautiful Love Songs Ever Written EP we worked on last year.  I also worked on an EP for Bordeaux, an off-kilter synth-pop duo mixed by my studio partner Jake Aron at Doctor Wu’s.  I recently mastered a new EP for gloomy doomers Vibrant Light as well.  And I just mastered Girl Talk and Freeway’s ‘Suicide Remix’, featuring A$AP Ferg – a new version of their Add (N) to X-sampling tune off Broken Ankles.

I’m in the middle of a few new projects, but please write me at jonathan[dot]schenke[at]gmail[dot]com if you’d like to talk about sound.  Thank  yeur!!