Posts Tagged ‘Stranger to the Pain’

When first arriving on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene in late 2014, Pllush made a dent with a powerful set of tracks that fit nicely within the rising wave of shoegaze/dream pop revival bands at the time. However, due to an undeniable song writing prowess that extends far beyond convoluted pedal-board setups or louder amps, Pllush had elevated themselves into a league of sonic mastery, not dissimilar from obvious touchstone influences (i.e. Mazzy Star, Slowdive, Portishead). The quartet’s second batch of songs, furthered their growing following and replaced their initial gravitation towards maxed-out guitars and splashed cymbals with an eerie, groove-filled bent, channeling Drop Nineteens at their most tender, and imbuing Grass Widow-esque layers of harmony into songs already dense with melody.

As the world around the band has changed in the interim between releases, they have followed suit- they added an “L” to the name, and undergone the whirlwinds of personal flux that naturally occur in such extended periods of time. But rest assured: the only dynamic of the band that has changed is by each member doubling down into the personal qualities that made this group so special in the first place. Which brings us to the year 2018, and the release of Pllush’s debut LP, “Stranger to the Pain”.

Whereas on earlier releases, singer/guitarist Karli Helm merely teased her abilities as a singer, here she fully embraces her natural pop-tinged mastery of the human voice, now sounding far more like a contemporary of Kate Bush and Alicia Keys on standouts like “Restart”, pushing the boundaries of the Rock and Roll genre while layering dizzying harmonies over an instrumental track that Built to Spill would kick themselves for not thinking of first. Meanwhile, Eva Treadway provides a perfect foil with an effortlessly cool approach to laying her sometimes light-hearted (“Ortega”) and frequently heartbreaking (“Fallout”) lyrics over her more driving style of guitar playing, as indebted to Slanted and Enchanted era Pavement as it is to the best work of The Donnas, seamlessly working clanging guitar abrasion into pop gems. Dylan Lockey and Sinclair Riley fill out the rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively, with Lockey’s snap-tight precision guiding the mood and tempo of the record (i.e. highlights such as “3:45”), and Riley’s complex bass work constructing a rich and deeply melodic backbone for Helm and Treadway to build upon. Stranger to the Pain is the kind of record that reintroduces a band whose previous catalogue stands assuredly on its own as a new and fresh face- and like a conversation with an old friend, once it’s over, you will want to restart. 

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Pllush! Stranger to the Pain is an emotional rollercoaster. Good for long drives on a dark highway, blurry street lamps, that kind of vibe. I’m not sure if it’s my album release week or the state of the world or my own biological workings, but I’ve been feeling particularly emotional lately. These Pllush songs have a keen way of pulling me out of my anxiety spiral and laying the feelings bare in front of me, creating a container for growth to occur. A great reminder that big emotions are not the exception, they can rule.

Originally released June 8th 2018

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San Francisco’s Pllush have mastered the art of hazy harmony, as evidenced by their forthcoming debut record, Stranger to the Pain. The band (  were formerly known as Plush) have released three singles: including the sprawling sentimental rock ballad “Shannon” the wailing and screeching track “Ortega,” and “Big Train” which continues in the same dreamy shoegaze vein— with bolder guitars and even bigger drama

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Stranger to the Pain, will be the San Francisco foursome’s debut full-length, It surges with this kind of heaving, inspired song craft, its downcast indie-pop core awash in gauzy static. Pllush, for years a standout among the Bay Area indie set, has recently drawn praise from national outlets such as The Fader and NPR ahead of the release of the album,

Pllush formed in 2014 after Helm mentioned wanting to start a band to Eva Treadway and Dylan Lockey, With the addition of Sinclair Riley, who also plays with Treadway in The She’s, then going by Plush they released a three-song demo, Pale,

by the end of the year. Pllush appeared on those few songs with its sauntering gait and teardrop melodies already intact, a sound that’s only grown more booming and confident. The demo also includes that very first composition, which is titled like a statement of intent: “Soft in the Dark.” Helm, made a series of key music connections: her short-lived garage-pop group The Sweethearts played with Duterte’s pre-Jay Som group Summer Peaks, who were then still high schoolers.  A couple years later, Pllush performed one of its first club gigs in San Francisco, opening for Jay Som.

‘Stranger to the Pain’ out June 8th, 2018. Released by: Father/Daughter Records

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When first arriving on the Bay Area music scene in late 2014, Pllush made a dent with a powerful set of tracks that fit nicely within the rising wave of shoegaze/dream pop revival bands at the time. However, due to an undeniable songwriting prowess that extends far beyond convoluted pedal-board setups or louder amps, Pllush had elevated themselves into a league of sonic mastery, not dissimilar from obvious touchstone influences (i.e. Mazzy Star, Slowdive, Portishead). The quartet’s second batch of songs, Please, furthered their growing following and replaced their initial gravitation towards maxed-out guitars and splashed cymbals with an eerie, groove-filled bent, channeling Drop Nineteens at their most tender, and imbuing Grass Widow-esque layers of harmony into songs already dense with melody.

As the world around the band has changed in the interim between releases, they have followed suit- they added an “L” to the name, and undergone the whirlwinds of personal flux that naturally occur in such extended periods of time. But rest assured: the only dynamic of the band that has changed is by each member doubling down into the personal qualities that made this group so special in the first place. Which brings us to the year 2018, and the release of Pllush’s debut LP, Stranger to the Pain. 

Whereas on earlier releases, singer/guitarist Karli Helm merely teased her abilities as a singer, here she fully embraces her natural pop-tinged mastery of the human voice, on standouts like “Restart”, pushing the boundaries of the Rock and Roll genre while layering dizzying harmonies over an instrumental track that Built to Spill would kick themselves for not thinking of first. Meanwhile, Eva Treadway provides a perfect foil with an effortlessly cool approach to laying her sometimes light-hearted (“Ortega”) and frequently heartbreaking (“Fallout”) lyrics over her more driving style of guitar playing, as indebted to Slanted and Enchanted era Pavement as it is to the best work of The Donnas, seamlessly working clanging guitar abrasion into pop gems. Dylan Lockey and Sinclair Riley fill out the rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively, with Lockey’s snap-tight precision guiding the mood and tempo of the record (i.e. highlights such as “3:45”), and Riley’s complex bass work constructing a rich and deeply melodic backbone for Helm and Treadway to build upon. Stranger to the Pain is the kind of record that reintroduces a band whose previous catalog stands assuredly on its own as a new and fresh face- and like a conversation with an old friend, once it’s over, you will want to restart.

 

San Francisco’s Pllush will release their debut album, Stranger to the Pain, on June 8th, 2018. Listen to the track “Ortega” which the band calls “an honest reflection on growing up.“Stranger to the Pain” will be available on Oxblood + Bone Half & Half (limited to 300) and Bone (limited to 300) vinyl. Both variants come with a full color, double-sided insert, download card, and exclusive postcard illustrated by artist, Faye Orlove.

Stranger to the Pain out June 8th, 2018.

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