Posted: November 11, 2021 in MUSIC
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Where most Tonstartssbandht albums come together slowly over years, recorded on the fly whenever the Whites have a few spare moments on the road, “Petunia” was largely written and recorded in their home city of Orlando in 2020. Many of the tracks had been played live, but in extremely rough form (“skeletons of songs,” as Andy puts it), and hadn’t yet developed into any kind of mature stage. With plenty of time on their hands thanks to the lockdown, and no shows to play, Andy and Edwin decided to pack some flesh onto those skeletons and bring them to life on their own. “Petunia” is the first Tonstartssbandht album to be created in a sustained manner and in a consistent environment, written and recorded in a single place over a focused period of time.

Many listeners find it overwhelming breaking into an artist’s back catalogue for the first time especially when they already have over 10 albums to their name. In the case of brother duo Tonstartssbandht, they’ve released nearly 20 different projects to date, their transfixing latest album Petunia, 2009’s “An When”, which reminds me of the vaguely folky noise music that characterized early Amen Dunes records—“Black Country” is the album currently blowing my mind, as is “Turkey Bones” from 2009’s “Dick Nights”.

While their earlier works rested on muffled psychedelic noise, they opt for a jammier, more expansive sound this time around. Their cleaner production choices and Byrdsian harmonies result in a more digestible sound, but their guitar noodling is as wonderfully spidery as ever. Pulling from the classic jam bands, the sun-drenched folk-rock of the ’60s and ’70s, contemporary left-field psych-folk and much more, Tonstartssbandht achieve pop accessibility without sacrificing their improvisational intrigue. And as someone who’s usually scared away when the “jammy” tag gets placed on an album, I can vouch for Petunia’s irresistible appeal.

Andy notes. While the album was recorded at the brothers’ home studio in Orlando between April and August of 2020, it was mixed by Joseph Santarpia and Roberto Pagano at The Idiot Room in San Francisco—“our old Florida buddies who have great ears,” as Andy puts it. With those ears attuned to the recordings, “Petunia” is brighter, punchier, and more direct than its predecessor, the direct result of Santarpia and Pagano’s confidence in the performances the album captures. “They were just there to help paint in the mixing,” Andy says, but “they’re so good at bringing up levels, levelling everything really well.”

Tonstartssbandht – from the upcoming album “Petunia” out October 22nd, on Mexican Summer Records.

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