NYC fuzz-buckets The Men have released a new compilation of their earliest recordings, called Hated: 2008-2011. I mastered this double-LP comp – which collects material from demos, splits, and live tracks through their debut Immaculada -at Studio Windows, amassed from old hard drives and spray-painted cassettes. Pitchfork ran an enthusiastic review, positing that “as Hated proves, even when the Men were blowing out eardrums and PAs in the dingiest DIY dives back in the late 2000s, they were already fueled by a restless spirit and striving for an emotional connection that could cut through the noise”. Hated: 2008-2011 is out now on Sacred Bones Records.
NYC-bred punk/metal/country/psych-rockers The Men have announced Hated: 2008-2011, out November 9 via Sacred Bones. This compilation of their earliest work, ranging from their earliest demo through their proper debut Immaculada, touches upon much of the stylistic ground they would explore in more depth over the intervening years. I transferred a plastic bag full of hand-dubbed cassettes, restored what I could, and remastered the collection at Studio Windows. Read more about it on Consequence of Sound, and check out the 16mm video for “Ailment” below.
The Men have a new track called “Shimmer and Shine” on Wharf Cat‘s ACLU Benefit compilation. Stereogum recently premiered the track, which I mixed at Doctor Wu’s while working on the Devil Music sessions. Stream it above, check out their new record Drift (on which I did some additional recording as well), and pick up a copy of the ACLU Benefit Compilation when it comes out April 20.
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.
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.
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.)
‘Bluebeard’ – a short film by Rachel Cole and Kimberlee Venable, which I mixed – will premiere at Bushwick Film Festival
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
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.
The new Parquet Courts record Sunbathing Animal was officially announced this week, and with it a stream of the titular track and a Best New Track nod from Pitchfork! Of all the songs on the record, this is the one that still elicits the strongest reaction – it really does something for me. Tracking this song is probably the most intense recording experience I’ve ever had – there’s almost nothing in the instrumental to cue where you are in the song and it’s practically un-punch-in-able – and I think that feeling of riding the rails and struggling to finish the sprint is truly captured here. I like to think of it as the sonic equivalent of a beast of hair, teeth and claws bearing down on you as you for dear life.
Over the weekend, I listened to the acetate of Sunbathing Animal back to back with the test pressing of the Eaters LP with my other Eater Bob Jones and Andrew Savage from Parquet Courts (who’s co-releasing Eaters on his label Dull Tools). Both of these records mean so much to me (emotionally, creatively, professionally), from the experiences of making them (with people I consider to be both inspiring collaborators and close friends), to the finished albums (and the feeling that I wouldn’t change a single thing about either one). I can’t wait for people to hear what I’ve been doing with the last year of my life.
Another labor of love that just hit the internet is the first song from my good friend Gregg Gillis’ new Girl Talk EP with Freeway, Broken Ankles. I’ve been working with him off-and-on throughout this project, and it’s so exciting to see this drop. The first single “Tolerated” has a verse from Waka Flocka Flame, and an Enon sample to boot! Plus, the video is completely ridiculous and amazing. The full EP comes out April 8th on Dat Piff.
And I just got my own copy of the Fa Bonx 7″! They exist! There are all kinds of back stories and rumors about the provenance of these recordings… something about a forgotten glam band and rescued tapes… all I know is that Kevin from What’s Your Rupture brought me these tape transfers to work with, and it was a blast doing it. Check out The Rinda below.
I’m so psyched to be mixing the new PC Worship record right now! They were the first band I fell for after moving to New York, and I’ve scrambled to keep up with their releases since. This new record, recorded and mangled by primary Worshiper Justin Frye at Roulette, is a massive slab of mutant rock n’ roll that pushes the boundaries of their sound in some stunningly mind-numbing ways. Look for it this fall…. you should be psyched too.
I just finished working on a record by Dream Police, a new project from Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi of The Men. It’s a trip of a record, heavy on drum machines and wild solos, with a lot of stylistic ground covered – from industrial biker vibes to acoustic psychedelia to cinematic synth-pop and everywhere in between. I co-mixed it with Kyle Keays-Hagerman and the band at Doctor Wu’s, and Kyle tracked it at his space Spice World on his own Otari MX-5050. I’m not sure when or where this will be coming out, but it’ll be a real treat when it does.
Lots of cool stuff coming up this month! It’s too much and too soon to get into everything, but I promise it will be amazing! Thanks for reading, and please hit me up if you’d like to talk about sound: jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com