Here they are, sandwiched between two major label releases. Way to go!
There is a certain psychedelic thread running throughout The Purrs sound, surrounded by layers of post-punk, ’90s Britpop, humid surf-rock, and other strands of outsider elements bleeding in from the fringes. After over a decade of consistently strong work, the band now find themselves perched on a perilous edge with little left to prove.
The Purrs don’t want you to know exactly how long they’ve been around. Let’s just say that the core members, Jima (bass & lead vocals) and Jason (guitar) have been creating music together in Seattle under this moniker long enough to legally order a whiskey straight up from any bar in Canada. Liz (guitar, vocals) signed on nearly a decade ago, and Dusty (drums) has been in the ranks about 3 years. The band has recorded five full length albums, a couple eps, and released several singles under numerous independent labels. Their latest full length, Destroy the Sun (Produced by Johnny Sangster) may just be their strongest work yet.
The opening title track succinctly captures what the Purrs do best: mixing slash-and-burn guitars with haunting melodies and an awestruck sense of wonder. “In An Unknown Field” is a surprising stew of early U2 and Suede, while “Here For So Long” plays like a long-lost Rolling Stones ballad. “A Lifetime Of Wrong Turns” chugs along with an undercurrent of upbeat self-deprecation, and “What Ever Happened To Billy Boy” closes the album with a wistful ode to a lost friendship. With Destroy the Sun, the Purrs offer a compelling reminder that they really ought to be on any discerning music fan’s radar.
“…that’s what you get with The Purrs, who blend the bright fun of righteously sweet guitar hooks with woozy psych-rock and a serious devotion to melancholy moodiness…” – Spin
“…fuzz-pop Luna meets Lou Reed groove…sweet, up-tempo, drifting shoegaze, Northwest style.” – The Big Takeover
“Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain style noise-rock jangle is a style of music that will never grow old or tiresome.” – Amplifier Magazine
"Rare is the fledgling band that comes so close to pop perfection. The title track from Sloucher’s upcoming debut is a serotonin-soaked slacker-rock anthem, drunk on love and sunshine and lifted by unhurried tambourine and counterpoint guitars. The sound of doing/not trying."
...And number 53 on KEXP's Variety Charts
Industrial electronics wrapped in fog.
Ceci and Kessiah of Seattle duo Crater recently Skyped with us about Lucy Corin’s short story “Four Small Apocalypses” and their previously released single/theme song, “Crater Head”. Since then, they released “Brew”, another track off their upcoming stream of singles, including today’s premiere of “Gross Relations”. The witchy romance of their vocals is part Grimes, part Karin Dreijer Andersson and part Kate Bush, and the track can be equally danced and seance-d to. The central guitar melody creeps at a relaxed pace but that doesn’t preclude a sense of omen and urgency.
Look out for more singles this Fall via Mermaid Ave Records (and iTunes), and stream “Gross Relations” below. Crater were kind enough to correspond with us again and shed some light on the new release; check it out below the embed.
Describe your process of putting together your upcoming body of work. What is your creative process like?
What was previously going to be a five-song EP is turning out to be a series of singles instead. It’s been tough figuring out which songs to release because we have quite a few to choose from; we’re now at around 20. We’ve been trying to group together tracks that have somewhat similar vibes and feel closer to completion first.
“Gross Relations” seems to put greater emphasis on vocal melody than previous, more electronics-oriented single “Brew”. How does the band look at integrating electronic experimentation with melody writing? Does one interest you more than the other?
Ninety percent of the time our songwriting process begins with funky drum samples or a freaky synth tone. Vocal melodies and guitar riffs generally fall into place after unless I’m walking down the street and have a stroke of genius. When writing “Brew”, the synth sounds came first. Conversely, with “Gross Relations”, we conceptualized the main guitar line and wrote the vocal melody shortly after.
We’re not partial to any particular style of writing over the other, it’s just whatever happens organically. Though, both of us did just come from playing in straight-up guitar laden rock bands and those experiences are totally manifest. It’s refreshing to be making computer based music for Crater and to be able to create a wall of soundscapes with a touch of a finger.
What was the inspiration that went into the video for “Crater Head”. And what is a ‘crater head’ anyway?
The inspiration came from watching Frances Ha. It reminded me of my love for modern dance and the struggle that accompanies it. We wanted to create a video concept that was simple and focused completely on the dance itself with very minimal editing. I have a good friend in NYC who is a superb dancer and choreographer, so we brought the idea to her and she took it from there with complete creative control.
My interpretation of a “Crater Head” is someone who suffers from mental craters, resulting in the inability to connect with others. One day we hope to popularize the term in self help books WORLDWIDE.
How has living in Seattle shaped the kind of music you want to make? Any local peers making music right now that the rest of the coasts should know about?
Kess was born and raised in Seattle so grunge is in her blood. I only moved here about a year ago from NYC but what I can say is that living in Seattle has really improved my ability to write music. Maybe it’s the rain and constant gray, or living so close to dramatic mountain lines and dormant volcanos.
Check out our friends in Heavy Petting. They are heavy as all hell. Also listen to a relatively new band called Bod. We love those guys. Pure shred.
After the string of singles is released, do you think you’ll get to work on a full-length? If not, what’s on the horizon?
A full length is definitely on the horizon… We have the songs for it and are itching to put out a body of work in the near future. The current plan is to play a shit ton of shows in the next year starting this month locally and then touring in the fall.
WATERMELON SUGAR PLAYS JAVA JIVE MAY 24
Brooklyn's Watermelon Sugar may be making its Tacoma debut on Saturday, May 24, at Bob's Java Jive; but the trio will look mighty familiar to anyone who spent much time in Tacoma rock clubs, circa 2010.
The band was founded by singer-guitarist Kyle Brunette – a fixture of the local indie-rock scene as a member of The Nightgowns, The Drug Purse and Friskey.
Watermelon Sugar's six-song, self-titled debut came out on Tacoma's Swoon Records last month and is available on iTunes. Recently, we caught up with Brunette to talk about this weekend's homecoming show.
Tacoma Weekly: So what took you out to Brooklyn? You've been out there a year and a half, I think you said.
Brunette: Basically, we started the band in Tacoma, and it was me, Kennon Christal and then Colin Reynolds. Kennon moved to Brooklyn, and I basically moved out here to play music with him with the idea we were going to get the band going in Brooklyn. Colin moved out last summer, and we started playing shows around New York in November.
TW: Do you see that Trevor guy (Nightgowns singer-guitarist Trevor Dickson)?
Brunette: Yeah, Trevor's out here. There's actually a lot of Tacoma people in Brooklyn right now.
TW: Do you see each other much?
Brunette: We see each other here and there. For example, tomorrow we're playing a show with this band called Greenfield. It's Paul Dally's band; he's from Tacoma. Ben Roth (of Oberhofer) is out here right now. Ben's playing with Paul tomorrow. So we play shows together. But New York's pretty big. It's not like we go to the local bar or something and everybody runs into each other.
TW: So I guess the idea is you went out there for more opportunity.
Brunette: Yeah, for sure, and it was a pretty easy move because I knew a lot of people out here. It wasn't like jumping in blind.
TW: So how did this band get started?
Brunette: Basically, it started with some songs that I had written. I wanted mainly just to record them, so I got Colin and Kennon to play with me. The EP was actually recorded in Tacoma. It just took a minute for it to come out. It came out in April, but it was basically finished over a year ago.
TW: Who came up with the name? Is there a significance to it?
Brunette: There's actually a Richard Brautigan novel called “In Watermelon Sugar.” He was actually born in Tacoma … so it's mostly just a reference to that.
TW: Most people around these parts know you for the Nightgowns. How would you compare and contrast what you do with this band and what kind outlet it is versus the Nightgowns.
Brunette: The Nightgowns was more a kind of a band I played in whereas this is more my project. I also wanted to do something, too, that was more straightforward. With the Nightgowns – with the keyboards and the drum machine, occasionally – we had to play proper venues. We were more serious in that regard, whereas with this new band, we could play a big rock venue or just play in someone's basement.
TW: We've heard the stuff on the EP. What can we expect beyond those sounds for the live show?
Brunette: We only play a couple of songs off the EP. A lot of the songs are recorded as studio productions that we would need a larger band to pull off. (On) the recordings, we tracked them all live as a three-piece, but there were more overdubs to fill in the sound; whereas the newer stuff, just the three of us can play, and it's a fuller sound.
TW: When's the last time you played here?
Brunette: I think the last time I played was shortly before I moved, and Trevor was back for a minute, and we played a Nightgowns show. That was two summers ago.
TW: So what's it gonna be like playing your old stomping grounds?
Brunette: The show at the Java Jive should be fun because they're all good friends we're playing with. We're playing with People Under the Sun and Wheelies and Spencer from Basement. He has a new project (Deep Kink) and I think it's their first show.
TW: What else is coming up for you guys?
Brunette: We'll do some recording and try to play around as much as possible, around New York. And hopefully in the fall we'll do a more prolonged, proper tour.