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Remember Sports was a self-categorized “basement rock band” when they formed as a group of Kenyon College students in 2012. The band’s electrifying pop punk bonafides and the inimitable vocals of frontperson and primary songwriter Carmen Perry found them quick acclaim and a home at Father/Daughter Records. 2018’s Slow Buzz, their first as Philadelphians, saw a new line-up of the band collaboratively writing, building depth and elaboration to their compositions and production. Heavy touring alongside high-energy art punk heroes like Jeff Rosenstock and Joyce Manor brought their tightly synced playing to a stronger level, while headlining dates supported by favourite artists like Lomelda, Trace Mountains and Pllush inspired them to embrace meandering flourishes in their songs. When they came off the road, they were ready to write, entering a meticulous pre-production and demoing process, rehearsing in sectionals to help every moment blossom. Like a Stone, the result of that work, contains some of the smartest performances and arrangements in contemporary indie rock. While they’ve maintained the warmth and immediacy that made the quartet so beloved when they first connected to one another years ago, it’s hard to imagine songs this huge relegated solely to the basement.

Remember Sports’ is the third album for Father/Daughter which builds on the promise of their last, with an elevated sense of space and sound. Taking a multi-instrumental approach, the band members—bassist Catherine Dwyer, guitarist Jack Washburn, drummer Connor Perry and guitarist and singer Carmen—traded instruments throughout, resulting in biting bass-and-drum grooves, entrancing percussion layers, saturated synths and drum machines, and found sound minutiae from Connor’s circuit-bent electronics the band calls “evil items.” Carmen’s singing, meanwhile, even more expertly turns on its heel from pop-perfect vocal runs to squirmy sneers. “I like mixing the pretty and polished with our vibe, which is more detuned and discordant,” says Carmen of their distinctive approach.

Remember Sports’ most influential rock forebears make compelling reference points, from the interlocking guitar sophistication of Built to Spill, the eclectic pop snark of Rilo Kiley, the blown-out might of Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods, and the catchy intimacy of Yo La Tengo, who the band went to see together on a tour field trip. Former tour mates also provided inspiration, especially Nadine, whose Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader engineered and mixed the album while frontperson Nadia Hulett provided backing vocals. Catherine describes the experience of working with proper analogue out-fittings as “thrilling” and used the studio environment to channel another of the band’s co-writing heroes: Fleetwood Mac. “I love Tusk and tried to copy the lovely straight into the console tone they get on some guitars on that record,” she says. “I love when a guitar sounds like it has absolutely no air around it at all.”

Despite its sometimes heavy themes, Like a Stone’s twelve tracks riff better than your very best memories of MTV, and never quibble about shifting genres when it suits the song. Gates-storming opener “Pinky Ring,” road-tested by the band on its headlining 2019 dates, takes a teasing schoolyard melody and pairs it with bright tambourine. “Eggs” and “Odds Are” show off Nashville licks and croon-along vocals respectively, drawing from Carmen’s childhood love for Tejano music and country, including her uncle’s band Los Jackalopes; the latter has one of the album’s best examples of her darkly funny lyrics when she asks, “Why’d you lick those tongs – the ones you just got raw meat on?” With gated drums reminiscent of an aughties pop highlights comp, “Out Loud” sees the contributors trading lead vocals over portamento synth scoops, resonant strums and even bongo overdubs from Connor. “Carmen got to go full Ariana Grande,” Jack says of the diva-leagues vocal chops on display, “and the whispering she does on that last chorus is one of the most special moments on the record for me.” “Flossie Dickie,” composed by Catherine, nods to the band’s punk roots with untethered fretboard acrobatics. And “Coffee Machine,” with music written by Jack, manages to meld easy organs, muted surf guitar, and aloof group harmonies in an eerily cozy 39 seconds.

Releases April 23rd, 2021

Remember Sports is Catherine Dwyer, Carmen Perry, Connor Perry, and Jack Washburn

Music and lyrics by Carmen Perry
“Like a Stone” lyrics by Carmen Perry and Jack Washburn
“Coffee Machine” and “Like a Stone” music by Jack Washburn
“Easy” music by Carmen Perry and Jack Washburn
“Eggs” music by Carmen Perry and Catherine Dwyer
“Flossie Dickie” music by Catherine Dwyer

‘Like a Stone’ out April 23rd, 2021.

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