Posts Tagged ‘Sister Polygon Records’

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One of our top acts at this year’s SXSW, Washington D.C.’s Priests are making socially conscious music that’s nothing short of essential. We need bands like Priests right now, who question the American establishment from a well-read and pointed perspective, in tightly wrapped rock songs that both sear and satisfy. Led by herculean singer Katie Alice Greer, The Seduction of Kansas arrives on the band’s own Sister Polygon Records label (and is produced by John Congleton, no less).

The title track “The Seduction of Kansas,” as well as second single, “Good Time Charlie,” sound incredibly different from each other, but much like on their debut LP, Nothing Feels Natural, Priests is a band that always keeps you guessing. It’s much appreciated.

The long-awaited sophomore album from Washington D.C. rock outfit Priests is finally here. The Seduction of Kansas is a gorgeously produced post-punk opus that’s as sharp as it is infectious. Vocalist Katie Alice Greer’s scathing political jabs are in full force here, and not a moment too soon.
Band Members
Daniele, Katie & GL
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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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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.

Governess

Since the release of their first single three years ago, the Washington D.C.-based three-piece Governess have become a bit more mellow, adding dreamy power pop to the mix. Bassist Kieca Mahoney, drummer Erin McCarley, and guitarist Kim Weeks all contribute vocals, which frequently blend together in beautiful, haunting harmonies à la Grass Widow. But their shoegazey guitar melodies and sweet-sounding voices often betray the stories behind the songs—see the despairing “Decay,” filled with images of hopelessness. If there is a theme to Zero, released via Sister Polygon Records, it is frustration with the inanity and difficulty of life. “This life is panic / We’re sinking in dark water,” McCarley sings on “Gaslit.” On “Space Garbage,” a droney, atmospheric track, the trio contemplate our existence on Earth as the floating trash of the galaxy. Governess may find existence exhausting, but Zero helps sweeten the here and now.

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New album ZERO
out now on Sister Polygon Records

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“I hated every single person I played with,” Lindsey Jordan I got treated pretty poorly. Everyone was nasty, everyone was alt-right. It was very frat-bro even when I was eight.”

Jordan, is the singer, guitarist and principle songwriter of Maryland indie rock trio Snail Mail, she is recalling her experiences playing on a boys’ ice hockey team. The sport is her other love besides music. It has become something of a litmus test for navigating a turbulent music industry, riddled as it is with sexism, greed and sexual misconduct . Despite no longer playing ice hockey, Jordan remains a fervent follower of the sport. She applies much of the discipline and determination learnt from her athletic years to her music career.

This resolute and precocious stance has served Jordan and her band members well. Snail Mail was formed in early 2015 off the back of an opportune moment to play a local festival. Jordan’s friend, Angie Swiecicki, from the post punk band Post Pink, was playing at Baltimore’s Unregistered Nurse. Swiecicki offered to help Jordan get a slot at the festival if she formed a band.

After quickly enlisting friends Ryan Vieira on bass and Shawn Durham on drums, Jordan just had two weeks to galvanise the group to play what was supposed to be a one-off show. She had been a guitarist since the age of five but this was her first band. “I didn’t really have any plans or desires to play anything after that,” she explains, “but then it just started going really well.”

Snail Mail played the festival alongside Priests, Sheer Mag, and Screaming Females. Washington DC punks Priests were so impressed with the band that they proposed releasing a cassette on their label, Sister Polygon.

The aptly titled Habit EP – a collection of Jordan’s bedroom songs written out of “old habit” during her high school years – was released in July 2016. The band (Brown and Russell having replaced Vieira and Durham) got to work, busying itself with gigs in DC and Baltimore.

Habit EP opener “Thinning” perfectly encapsulates the oft confused soul-searching of adolescence. A lo-fi lode of jangly, open-tuned guitars and scrubby drums sit behind Jordan’s mumblings of certain uncertainty. She darts between wanting to waste the entire year “just face down/and on my own time” and spending the rest of it asking herself “Is this who you are?” while feeling “gross” about it all anyway. One imagines that the restlessness in “Thinning” – its lyrics “hot head and dreamless sleep” – sprouts from suburban boredom. But the song’s propulsive rhythm and anthemic guitars exercise an opposing force: excitement and resolve.

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Snail Mail“Thinning” from the Habit EP on Sister Polygon Records

Brooklyn-via-Baltimore singer /songwriter/guitar prodigy Lindsey Jordan aka Snail Mail is the latest addition to the Matador Records roster.  Snail Mail will release a full-length album in 2018, following Sister Polygon’s 2017 12″ reissue of the of the introductory cassette, ‘Habit’Snail Mail’s NPR Tiny Desk concert premiered this morning, and might provide a hint or several why press, musical peers (including but not limited to Waxahatchee, Priests and Girlpool), and yeah, record labels have taken so much interest in a short spell..

Jordan has a voice that only comes along every now and then … she is able to fit a universe of emotion into a single turn of phrase without any vocal affectation … whether she’s muttering or shouting, you feel the heartbreak, the frustration, the joy that came with writing these lyrics”

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Jordan started Snail Mail at 15 and released the quietly stunning Habit EP via Priests‘ in-house label last year. She’s quickly found fans in Helium and Ex Hex’s Mary Timony (who also happens to be Jordan’s guitar teacher) and just went on tour with Waxahatchee and Palehound. She’s just signed to Matador Records.

Set List

  • “Slug”
  • “Thinning”
  • “Anytime”

MUSICIANS

Lindsey Jordan (electric guitar, vocals); Raymond Brown (drums); Alex Bass (bass)

Priests

Katie Alice Greer is the loudspeaker we’ve been begging for. The Priests frontwoman delivers every note throughout DC-based punk band’s excellent debut Nothing Feels Natural, with power, bravado and most importantly, authority. At one turn, Greer calls out an alpha-male lacking in self-awareness on “JJ”; on another, she delivers a feminist manifesto disguised as the quasi-Chomskian “Pink White House.” Operating on their own Sister Polygon Records label, Greer and Priests (also one of this year’s best live bands) are the next important female-fronted punk band in line (think Savages) to shatter the complacent patriarchy

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The second single from the band’s forthcoming debut, “Nothing Feels Natural”, is an absurdist punk romp through the illusion of choice  magical psychology, deceptive anthropology”—delivered by a band fighting to survive within DC’s cracked crucible of power.

Moving through burnished rumbling to spiny po-going, haunted cynicism, and boiling thrash, “Pink White House” steadily inflates like a runaway , pumped up by Katie Alice Greer’s vocal mania. “Ooh baby, my American dream,” she leers as she sends up the expensive vacations sold as reprieve from the grind of everyday life—and suddenly, “Pink White House” shifts from good-humored rabble-rousing to a darker conclusion. G. L. Jaguar’s guitar seems to drill into the center of the sun; Greer abandons her satire to lambast cogs in the machine “too pitiful to be obscene, too cowardly to be embarrassing.” Priests’ subject is well worn. 

Priests are an American punk band formed in 2012. The members of Priests run Sister Polygon Records.

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Band Members
Katie Alice Greer
Gideon Jaguar
Taylor Mulitz
Daniele Daniele

Among the most blogged new band is this punk band from Washington DC who also run the label Sister Polygon (Downtown Boys, Snail Mail). The title track to their debut LP is “a bracing anthem about the struggle to realize yourself against seemingly irresistible forces”

If any band has understood this in recent years, it’s Priests born and bred in Washington, D.C., operating under the notion that nothing about American systems or society is natural.

Nothing Feels Natural, the band’s first proper album after a couple of tapes, a 7″ single and 2014’s Bodies And Control And Money And Power EP, isn’t a direct response to the state of the nation so much as a state of mind. For Priests, the personal has always been political; the band recognizes that the self is fluid, and that how we interact with each other is just as vital as how we confront the world. That’s why Nothing Feels Natural, in 10 tracks that embody the spirit of punk — while fully embracing the R&B, pop and experimental layers that course through the band’s discography presents itself as a broken and abstract view of what it means to live in a broken and abstract society.

The album represents a step forward for Priests. It’s the band’s most stylistically diverse work, expanding on their lo-fi post-punk bona-fides with ideas drawn from pop, R&B, and industrial noise. Thematically, Nothing can be understood as a series of vignettes — nine stories that crystallize into a bigger picture about the economics of human relationships, the invisibility of feminized labor, and the theoretical dual purpose of art for the group and the individual. The album will be the first full-length LP released on Sister Polygon Records, the label that the band operates cooperatively.

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But Nothing Feels Natural moves beyond the trappings of an album that speaks to a specific time: It wants to keep speaking with us.

band members, Daniele Daniele drums, Katie Alice Greer vocals, G.L. Jaguar guitar, Taylor Mulitz bass