Happy New Year & Decade!

Of the dozens of albums & singles I worked on that came out in 2019, Phantom Rhythm by Gong Gong Gong is particularly near & dear to my heart.  I produced/recorded/mixed the record (and earlier singles) with the group starting back in 2017, and played the works-in-progress for friends & colleagues, leading to tours with Parquet Courts, Bodega, and Flasher and a relationship with the always-interesting Wharf Cat Records. Unsurprisingly, this fresh take on “multinational blues” made its way onto a number of Best Of 2019 lists, including Loud and Quiet, Aquarium Drunkard, and Raven Sings the Blues, as well as writers’ lists in The Wire and The Guardian.

Phantom Rhythm also made its way onto Post Trash‘s Best of 2019 list, where it shares space alongside Duo Duo by electro-rock whiz kids Operator Music Band (another personal fave that I co-produced/recorded/mixed), and two records that I mastered: noise-punks Weeping Icon’s self-titled debut and Dehd’s stellar breakup-pop LP Water.

Gimme Tinitus‘s Best of 2019 also featured Gong Gong Gong, Operator Music Band, and Weeping Icon, as well as Brooklyn noise-rock duo ESSi and their mind-bending debut Vital Creatures (which I co-produced/recorded/mixed/mastered).

Perhaps the most touching was seeing Parquet Courts in a number of Best of the Decade lists.  The albums I produced with them (and Light Up Gold in particular) launched the band’s career, and were massively important for me and my trajectory as a producer/engineer.  In the seven years since Light Up Gold was first released, I’ve watched their popularity and stature steadily rise, as their name became a short-hand comparison for literate, catchy punk bands.  Nevertheless, it was humbling and exciting to see Light Up Gold rank #16 in Rolling Stone (and #2 in writer Rob Sheffield’s personal list), #37 in BrooklynVegan (and #7 in writer Bill Pearis’ personal list), #39 in AV Club, #41 in Treble, #78 in Vice, and #80 in Stereogum; Sunbathing Animal rank #140 in Pitchfork; and their break-out single “Stoned and Starving” rank #16 in Rolling Stone and #89 in Stereogum.

Snail Mail’s Lush also graced a number of these Best of 2010s lists.  I helped to record the album, which was produced & mixed by my studio partner Jake AronLush was undoubtedly important not just to the music culture of the last couple years, but also to our work: it was the first album tracked in the new Outlier Inn (where I’ve recorded many albums since Sunbathing Animal in the studio’s previous setup), and the first album mixed in our own Studio Windows.  Lush ranked #48 in Stereogum and #122 in Pitchfork, and its lead-single “Pristine” ranked #87 in Stereogum and #97 in Pitchfork.

One last thing I almost missed: Catherine – the short film & web series by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp (the minds behind Marcel The Shell With Shoes On) was featured in Vulture’s Favorite Comedy Moments of the Decade.  I don’t do much for sound-for-film these days, but this was certainly a highlight for me, and I’m happy to see it still getting some (admittedly confused) love.

I’m looking forward to 2020, with the debut album Person by my new group P.E. scheduled in March, alongside albums I’ve produced for Pottery, Public Practice, Dougie Poole, and Brandy also arriving this spring.  Regardless of how arbitrary Best Of lists can seem, it does feel like a great way to start off the new year & decade…. thanks for reading & listening.

 

The love for Gong Gong Gong continues!  Pitchfork wrote a great review of Phantom Rhythm, awarding it a 7.6, calling it “a novel pastiche of post-punk, West African blues, Bo Diddley, and distortion” and referencing its “crisp production” (thank you).  Bandcamp Daily published a wonderfully in-depth feature the same day, tracing the band’s formation in Beijing’s underground music scene and the cross-pollination of cultural ideas.  Both great reads!  Check them out while you stream the record… Phantom Rhythm is out now on Wharf Cat Records.

 

 

Phantom Rhythm, the debut full-length from Beijing-based “transnational blues” duo Gong Gong Gong, is out now!  I am so proud of this record, and ecstatic to see it out in the world – we began recording the album at Seaside Lounge in October 2017 (the same sessions that yielded the Siren single), and finished mixing earlier this year at Studio Windows.  In the meantime, they’ve toured with Parquet Courts, Flasher, and Bodega in the US, Europe, and China, and made fans worldwide.  Just read the press:

“An alarmingly stripped-down form of hypnotic rock which spiritually evokes the blues as well as punk, but otherwise can’t be directly compared to any other genre or artist” – Allmusic

“An album of avant-rock, unpretentious high art” – Pop Bollocks

“Ambassadors of the worldwide underground through a thoughtful collection of haunting barebones punk” – Post Trash

8/10: “Fearsome psych rock by the slightest means” – Loud & Quiet

Working with the group and producing these recordings has been a highlight of my career.  Stream the album in full, pickup a copy on LP or CD, and do not miss them live!  Phantom Rhythm is out now on Wharf Cat Records.

 

 

“Ride Your Horse” is the newest single from Beijing “transnational blues” guitar/bass duo Gong Gong Gong’s upcoming album Phantom Rhythm.   NPR premiered the track, writing “Depending on your ear, the Beijing-based guitar-and-bass duo could sound like The Feelies‘ stuttering post-punk, Bo Diddley‘s rock and roll boogie or Tinariwen‘s droning desert blues. But this unplaceable sound and drummer-less format encourages Gong Gong Gong’s reckless and razor-sharp rhythms to reshape rock and roll.”  Paste, Pop Bollocks, and Raven Sings the Blues all had words to say about it too, and Aquarium Drunkard interviewed the band from Beijing.  I produced Phantom Rhythm with the group in NYC, recording at Seaside Lounge and mixing at Studio Windows.  Phantom Rhythm is out October 4 via Wharf Cat Records – stream the video (directed by bassist Joshua Frank) and pre-order the album now!

 

“Some Kind of Demon”, the new single from Beijing guitar/bass duo Gong Gong Gong, is streaming now on The FADER. It comes from Phantom Rhythm, the full-length LP I produced with the group, recorded at Seaside Lounge (on my fave Otari MX-5050 8-track) and mixed at Studio Windows.  Check out the song below along with “Notes Underground”, the first single from Phantom Rhythm, out October 4 via Wharf Cat Records.

Everyone’s favorite Cantonese-speaking guitar/bass duo Gong Gong Gong is back!  Stereogum premiered “Notes Underground”, the first single from the group’s debut album Phantom Rhythm, and it’s a ripper.  I produced the LP with the group, recording it at Seaside Lounge and mixing at Studio Windows, and couldn’t be happier to see this incredibly unique album coming out into the world.  Phantom Rhythm comes out October 4 via Wharf Cat Records.