Posts Tagged ‘G.L. Jaguar’

The Seduction of Kansas references some beloved American icons, like Superman and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, as well as some truly reprehensible characters.  Priests’ highly danceable post-punk has satirized product placement, criticized virulent consumerism, denounced institutional abuses of power, and probed generational apathy. And on the title track from their forthcoming second album, The Seduction of Kansas, the Washington, D.C. band conjures a grim version of America.

Greer, alongside drummer Daniele Daniele and guitarist G.L. Jaguar, looks a little out of place among advertisements for a goblet of amber nectar called the Mucho LIT.

The record takes its title from What’s the Matter With Kansas?, a 2004 book by the political analyst Thomas Frank that explains the state’s shift from its liberal origins to rigid conservatism as a reflection of greater American ideological shifts. The characters that populate the record’s flyover sprawl boast vast superiority complexes and vices, from a man who believes that being the Savior’s son gives him license to destroy the world, to self-absorbed screen addicts, to the notoriously corrupt former Texas congressman Charlie Wilson.

“I don’t ever want it to seem that we’re writing about questionable people with this sort of both-sides-ism, or humanizing the bad guy,” Greer explains. “But we are trying to flesh out what is often a very black-and-white picture, and explore the trajectory of how a person becomes this thing that we all view as so awful. It’s not meant to excuse the things a person is doing, it’s meant to illuminate it.”

Two years ago, Priests broke through with Nothing Feels Natural, a full-length debut that cast a critical gaze upon modern society at an especially pivotal moment in American history. The record’s release coincided with Donald Trump’s inauguration, and suddenly, lyrics about “a puppet show in which you’re made to feel like you participate” felt all the more urgent. Though the album blended the band’s typically restless rock barrages with traces of jazz, surf, and country, most appraisals of Nothing Feels Natural deemed Priests a “political punk band,” a label they have long resented.

from the album The Seduction of Kansas, out April 5th 2019 on Sister Polygon Records

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Washington, DC quartet Priests, helmed by the brilliant Katie Alice Greer, have made a career of dissecting the perverse, binaried constructs that comprise so much of North American discourse. They have been blunt in this endeavor; their 2014 EP was called Bodies and Control and Money and Power. Under Priests’ lens, as under capitalism, there is no ethical consumption.

The title of Priests’ debut could double as an official slogan for the anxieties of 2017. The songs back it up, with lyrics that carry on the band’s smart, blunt attacks on consumerism and systemic oppression. But the sound is more difficult to pin down, morphing from song to song as it slides in and out of elements of post-punk, new wave, no wave, jazz, surf rock, and everything in between. The constant upheaval—fueled by Katie Alice Greer’s instant shifts between snarling and sweetness and G.L. Jaguar’s spiraling guitars—is the sonic equivalent of how it feels to be living in America right now, or as Priests would argue, at any time in recent memory: a mélange of anger, disbelief, alienation, and uncertainty. Nothing Feels Naturalis a dazzling document of that emotional state.

On this year’s Nothing Feels Natural, Priests use a breadth of sound and style not just as a sonic tool, but as a means of troubling and challenging our understandings of genre; Priests set castrating commentary to sounds that are typically incompatible.

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In 2017, Washington D.C. band Priests released its debut full-length, Nothing Feels Natural, which became one of our favourite albums of that year. Today, the band announces its follow-up, called The Seduction of Kansas, out in April via the band’s own Sister Polygon Records.

The title track with its accompanying video directed by singer Katie Alice Greer is a reminder of what makes the band’s sharp, cerebral music so exciting. “The Seduction of Kansas” follows in Priests‘ tradition of reckoning with complex questions about identity especially national identity through minute details; via a press release, the band says it illustrates “Kansas’ potent place in our national imagination.” (It also proves that Greer can sing “Applebee’s” more seductively than perhaps anyone else making music today.)

On the album, the band’s core trio (Greer, drummer Daniele Daniele and guitarist G.L. Jaguar) is joined by multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin, who collaborated on songwriting with the band and played bass. The band also worked with producer John Congleton, recording for two weeks at his studio in Dallas. And should you need a reading list to accompany your anticipation, the band mentions some intriguing references for the album, including Chris Kraus‘ essay “Pay Attention” and Eileen Myles’ The New F*** You to The Twilight Zone.

The Seduction of Kansas is out April 8th viaSister Polygon Records.