Protomartyr – who just released the excellent Ultimate Success Today earlier this year – have announced the live album Security By Shadows. The set is from a show in 2014 that I recorded at Sugar Hill Supper Club, along with Parquet Courts (who were celebrating the release of Sunbathing Animal), Future Punx (who also released an excellent new album earlier this year), and Xerox. I mixed and mastered the performance this summer at Studio Windows, and the limited-edition vinyl-only release is available now for pre-order directly from the band.
Detroit’s finest Turn To Crime return with Down In The Basement, a full-length exploration of art-damaged synth rock written and performed in collaboration with Protomartyr‘s Greg Ahee. I’ve been a fan of TTC since my group Eaters first shared a stage with them in 2014, and I had a blast mixing and mastering this record. Lead TTC’er Derek Stanton has since moved to LA, and probably has another half dozen gems like this ready to drop… don’t miss out! Stream it below, and visit their Bandcamp page to purchase it and read more information.
Who is Gil Scott-Heron?, the documentary/memorial film about the late musician and poet, is screening in select theaters and available digitally now. The film, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (the BAFTA-nominated filmmakers behind the Nick Cave pseudo-doc 20,000 Days on Earth), is more tribute than biography, a heartfelt eulogy by friends and family. I feel honored to have mixed it and been a part of the project. Okayplayer has the screening dates, and the film is available now from iTunes along with the album Nothing New.
Liturgy have been touring hard since the release of The Ark Work, covering both the US and Europe, with more thoughtful press from publications like Village Voice, Chicago Reader, and the Quietus. I worked with the group to integrate samples and MIDI information into their set (all triggered in real-time by Hunter) to portray some of the arrangements from the record without losing any of the live power of the band. If you haven’t listened to the new record The Ark Work yet, stop reading this and go turn this on immediately! It’s an album unlike anything else, and was a surreal pleasure to re-listen to it for the first time since mastering (on clear vinyl, no less!). The Ark Work is out now on Thrill Jockey, and the group has more US dates this summer (with the always-awesome Yvette) and another European tour this fall.
I recently mixed the new album by Dan Friel, entitled Life. I was an early fan of Parts and Labor, met Dan shortly after moving to Brooklyn, and have shared the stage with him, but this is the first time we’ve ever worked together on something. It was a real treat! The new record continues with the palette of blown-out toy keyboard, heavy beats, and mixer feedback, but we worked hard to add more depth and power to the arrangements. Mastered by Sarah Register at the Lodge, Life sounds larger than that – it’s awesome! It should be out later this year on Thrill Jockey.
If you didn’t go see PCPC last fall, the mutato-collabo of Parquet Courts and PC Worship, you really missed out. But fortunately for everyone, there is a live record coming out on Dull Tools! Recorded at Ramsgate Music Hall, I recently mixed and mastered this with Andrew, Austin and Justin. I’m not gonna lie – it turned out waaaay better than any of us anticipated: a surprisingly badass and compelling document of a creative blip from some of my favorite musicians. Here’s a demo of set-opener “Fell Into the Wrong Crowd”.
Parquet Courts also have a couple split 7″s on the way, including another one of the recordings we did during Sunbathing Animal. Check out their cover of Joey Pizza Slice’s “Pretty Girls”.
I spent some time in the studio this spring with a band from NYC called VBA. They’ve toured with Kurt Vile and Blonde Redhead, but this EP is their first recording. We recorded at Seaside Lounge and mixed at Doctor Wu’s, and the sounds are both heavy and brain-y, drawing from the rock experimentation of bands like This Heat and Suicide, with a wallop of psyched-out sludge. Honestly one of the best drum recordings I’ve captured! The EP will hopefully be out soon.
I’ve been doing a lot mastering lately, my own mixes and with others as well. Awards Banquet came into Doctor Wu’s recently to work with me on their debut full length, which was recorded and mixed by Jason Kelly (of Future Punx and Fergus & Geronimo). The album, coming out on Scioto Records, is a super catchy, classic-sounding rock record, like hearing an old friend from your collection for the first time. I also mastered a collection of yoga sutra chants by Caroline McCarter for Yoga RX, recorded and mixed by Ian Saylor (from Turn to Crime)… a very blissful way to spend the afternoon. Unfortunately, the Optimo Music post-punk compilation that I mastered, Now That’s What I Call DIY!, has been postponed due to a cease-and-desist from Sony over the title. I’ll post more details as I get them. And Magical Beasts (the new project from members of the I Ching Quartet) is running a fund-raiser on Pledgemusic to get their album (which I mastered) pressed to vinyl. They’ve almost reached their goal – fans of acoustic folk-pop should definitely check it out!
I’ve also been spending a lot of time with Eaters. We recently created a new sound sculpture called Moment of Inertia, which premiered in May at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA. Chris Duffy (our visuals member) conceived the piece and created the sculpture (a centrifugal-force-powered glass turntable), and Bob and I created the music (cut to acetate by Josh Bonati). The premiere was part of the museum’s Third Thursday series in their Glass Studio, which involved a team of glass artists working under the direction of Chris in tandem with our music and lights. It was a truly unique experience, and fun to step out of the normal performance situations. We’re working to put together an EP based on Moment of Inertia, to be released later this year on Driftless Recordings.
The Ark Work, the new record by Liturgy, was announced this past month. I’m truly thrilled for people to hear this album – many people gave a lot of themselves to realize this vision and see the album through, and it is truly unlike anything else. NPR premiered the lead single “Quetzalcoatl” on All Songs Considered, with Impose, Ad Hoc, and others picking it up as well. It’s also worth checking out this strange and beautiful trailer by Zev Deans. We tracked the band at Strange Weather (who recently mentioned the album on API’s website), worked on overdubs and arrangements at Doctor Wu’s and Hunter’s place (with additional recording and programming by my longtime friend and associate Frank Musarra), and mixed it at Doctor Wu’s. Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service did the master and lacquer. The Ark Work is out March 24th on Thrill Jockey.
Another record I’m excited to have had announced this month is the self-titled Beech Creeps album. We recorded this in two days in Secret Project Robot last summer, I mixed and mastered it as we could all get together, and it slays. I wrote something about the Melvins, Thin Lizzy, and Saturday morning cartoons when we first worked on this album, and I still think that applies! “Times Be Short” was the first taste of the record – which got some love from blogs like Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, Impose, and others – with a video for “Sun of Sud” following on Noisey a couple weeks later. Check ’em out! They’re playing a record-release show in Brooklyn on February 26th at Shea Stadium with also-homies PC Worship and Turn to Crime… see you there? Beech Creeps is out March 3rd on Monfononus Press.
Nuclear Santa Claust have a new album – Je Ne Sais Claust – coming out this week (February 2nd) on Don Giovanni. We recorded this at Seaside Lounge on an MX-5050 and mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s last summer. Classic SST/The Spits vibes here – tough hardcore punk with a melodic bent, a Gennesse in one hand, and a shit-eating grin on its face. We knocked it out so quickly and had so much fun doing it, re-listening to it this week was pretty nostalgic – I’m really happy for this to be out! Noisey premiered the first single “Sayonara Baby”, and the band is playing Don Giovanni fest (w/ California X, Downtown Boys and more) this weekend to celebrate the record release. Come hang!
Also out now is In My Dreams, a singles collection and the first in a re-issue series by early-80s Australian punk outsiders The Sunday Painters. I was unfamiliar with the band and their work before What’s Your Rupture head Kevin Pedersen and reissue producer Michael Train approached me about remastering their back-catalog(ue). Byron Coley calls their work “an ecstatically weird mix of skewed pop, art, and noise… like a cross of early Swell Maps, the Velvets, and Cabaret Voltaire.”These singles and their two full-lengths cover a lot of ground – from jangly to industrial sounds but always with a wink of mischievousness – and each release comes with download-only never-before-heard bonus material. Noisey (via my man Timbo!) has an interview and stream of the record, which serves as a great introduction to the Sunday Painters. In My Dreams is out now on What’s Your Rupture?, with more coming soon.
And out of seemingly nowhere, my Chicago pals Unmanned Ship have a new 7″ coming out. I mastered these songs – “Crystal Pepsi” b/w “Pad Thai Fighter” – years ago with For Whom the Bowl Tolls, and they’re now available through Maximum Pelt Records. The guys in this band are all friends of mine from living in Chicago, and Kevin has got some love for his work in Oozing Wound, so it’s a real pleasure to see these jams unleashed. Grab your copy, but not before I do!
I tried my best to take time off this past month, but still made time to work on a couple projects other than my own. My Detroit friends Derek Stanton and Ian Saylor from Turn to Crime and Greg Ahee from Protomartyr have been making an album in their downtime, and we had talked about me mixing it for months, which I finally found the time to do. Every time I describe it to someone, I say the words “synth pop” and then the person’s eyes get really wide, but it’s totally like that – completely skewed yet genuine synth pop that’s worth widening your eyes for. Who knows what they’re calling it or when it’s coming out, but I’m mastering it soon and hopefully it’ll be out before too long.
I also recorded, mixed, and mastered an EP for the band Junk Boys, a new band that includes members of Organs and Dream Police. We tracked it in one day at Seaside Lounge and mixed and mastered it one day later that week at my place, and it turned out great… bluesy, boozy, rock and roll. Look out for them around NYC this year, should be a good show!
I spent the rest of last month working on Eaters with my musical partner Bob Jones. We played a fun show with US Girls, Slim Twig, and Bottoms earlier this month, were featured on Oh My Rockness, and have waded deep into the pool (sea? ocean?) of new writing/recording. We’re hoping to debut some of it at our upcoming shows – February 9th @ Palisades with Parquet Courts (who recently played on David Letterman) and Future Punx (who not-too-long-ago hit Puerto Rico and had this glowing writeup on Tiny Mix Tapes), and February 25th @ Rough Trade NYC with Dan Deacon for his record-release show of his new album Glass Riffer. I hope you bought tickets already because these are both long-sold-out and I’d love to see you there.