Posts Tagged ‘Dirtnap Records’

Starting in Madison, WI as the musical culmination of a decade of friendship and playing in punk bands, Claire Nelson-Lifson and Tyler Fassnacht (Fire Heads) began writing the first of Proud Parent’s jangly, garage infused pop tunes in Claire’s living room. Shortly thereafter Heather Sawyer (the Hussy) joined on drums and vocals, turning the songwriting duo into a trio, and they quickly garnered a devout following both locally and regionally, and gained a reputation throughout the midwest as a live power-pop force to be reckoned with. Now a full fledged four piece, originally with Alex Seraphin on bass and now with Maggie Denman, the band has established its own unique dynamic with three lead singers whose voices and songwriting stand strong individually, yet blend together with such comfort and ease that it is hard to imagine them apart.
After two live tapes (out on No Coast Records and Rare Plant) and a full length cassette Sharon Is Karen (also out on Rare Plant), Proud Parents is ready with their first self-titled LP on Dirtnap Records. This record also marks the first release in eighteen years by a band from the label’s hometown of Madison, WI.

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Proud Parents begins and ends with a bang as the band blasts through a dozen tightly wound tunes full of infectious, harmony ladened choruses, ripping guitar solos and hooks for days as Claire, Heather and Tyler converse, support, and share lead vocal duties like passing around a bag of Halloween candy. The album, recorded and mixed by Bobby Hussy (the Hussy, Cave Curse, Fire Heads, TIT) at his own Hex Empire, is about self-reflection, jumping from saccharine adoration, to heartfelt confession. It touches on themes of isolation, be it intentional or otherwise, anxiety, loss and moving on, with each singer coming at the songs with their own distinct perspective, using humor, red herrings, pets and metaphors to mask the demons. The songs may deal with specific emotions both complex and straightforward, but as a whole Proud Parents stands as a testament to friendship, asking for help, and trying to get better.

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Proud Parents are proud of you, and you should be too.

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Ryan (the Marked Men, High Tension Wires, Radioactivity), alongside Peter Salisbury (Baptist Generals) on synth and Mike Throneberry (Marked Men) on drums, lead this modernistic, machine-like and cinematic version of the story of the Furies and have churned out something furious in return; “Furies” is their most electronic album, yet. Gone are any notions of Ryan’s former project the Marked Men and its style of winningly bombastic garage-pop. Since 2012’s Meltdown, Mind Spiders have been perfecting an aggressive, relentless, frenetic and melodic style of punk that is a long, dark shadow of DEVO but carries something much more sinister in its jaws as it slinks its way through the ears, illustrated by their lone, intensified cover of Grauzone’s 1980 hit, “EISBAER”. It’s a sound for the new dark ages, emboldened by urgency and sped along by some good old fashioned panic.

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Listening to Furies scrapes the inside of your skull and fills it with cold television fuzz. Ryan got that sound by design. “I bashed out the demos quickly to find the right feel,” he shares, “but then it took a long time to find the best way to record. Finally I figured out how to record the drums using drum pads and an old Yamaha drum machine. It worked really well. They sound artificial and harsh and electronic, but still have the feel of Mike’s playing. It set the right tone. After that, it all came together easily.” As most great stories often do.