Sam Ray takes his time parsing words when he speaks about his band, American Pleasure Club, and their new record, A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This. This makes sense for someone whose project was formerly known as Teen Suicide — a band name he found regretful and embarrassing, born from his personal brand of dark irony and from an expectation that the project would never blow up.
With a new lineup and band name in tow, and after a year of touring in support Teen Suicide’s last formal release, It’s The Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot, Ray frames Lifetime as a radical return to sincerity, breaking from his previous, more sardonic output. We caught up with the Maryland-based polymath to discuss the experiences that inform his most recent release, getting married, and being dumb on Twitter.
A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This is available now via bandcamp.
AdHoc: A lot of people ask you about the nomenclature of the different projects you’re involved in, but I wanted to ask you about your Twitter handle, @fugazi420, and why you tweet under that handle.
Sam Ray: 100% because it’s funny to me. A couple of the Fugazi fellows are old family friends—we didn’t exactly ask them their permission to do that or anything, but once we did do it and it got verified, my uncle let them know and they thought it was very funny. Not Ian [MacKaye]—I don’t know how he feels about it. But Brendan Canty, who I would play football in the park with him in DC when I was like five or four, told me in an email that he was gonna start a Twitter impersonating me and call his band—and this was one of those good dad jokes—Adult Homicide. We had a good big laugh about it one day over dinner.
The @fugazi420 thing was just a dumb joke that we thought we’d probably end up changing soon after, but then we got verified and are now stuck with it [Laughs]. Of all the things to be stuck with, I’m very fine with it. Much more so than our old band name.
It’s funny you’re able to get rid of the old band name, but you can’t change your Twitter handle.
SR: Exactly—there’s a statement there or something. I don’t know what.
Nate Terepka's debut solo effort, Sunlight Farm, is an EP that feels instantaneously classic — from opener "Tempelhof," in which the Brooklyn-based musician mellifluously croons over bright piano chords and shuffling percussion, to tracks like "Out In Sun," where a pulsing, resonant 808 beat is overdubbed with vocal croons and acoustic plucks. It's a stunningly beautiful release that links quintessential rock sounds to an experimental future, walking a tightrope between past and present over the course of seven tracks.
Such a sonic aesthetic is not surprising for Terepka, who as a member of psych-rock outfit Zula has made experimental-yet-accessible alternative music his bag. Whereas Zula's last release Grasshopper feels more textural and atmospheric, Sunlight is characterized by organic instruments playing counterpoint to various discordant electronic swells. It’s an ambitious effort for an EP, but Terepka pulls it off in a way that simultaneously isolates and engrosses the listener, a product of his desire to “acknowledge [isolation’s] importance while also trying to reach beyond it” throughout this release.
Sunlight Farm is out May 25th on Fox Food Records. You can catch Nate Terepka playing in Zula on June 8 at Sunnyvale with support from Mauno, Look Vibrant and Pollens.
make lush indie pop about human relationships. Their new LP—Parallel Person
, released April 27th on Babe City Records
—is a self-described foray into the “uphill battle of isolation and popularity.” Fittingly, single “A Friend Named Paul” sees singer and keyboardist Stephanie Smith describing what she calls a “one-sided” relationship; it’s a sweet, syncopated jam, its bright, melodic instrumentation acting as a counterpoint to the lyrics. We caught up with Smith and guitarist Pat Stanton to discuss the band's new album, playing at SXSW, and buying lava lamps in bulk. Varsity play Union Pool on May 5
What are you guys doing right now?
Stephanie Smith: We’re shopping online for lava lamps.
Why are you buying lava lamps?
Stephanie: We’re trying to figure out a cool stage show for our release. This might not be a good idea, but we need to find out what the going rate is for lava lamps.
I could see how that could look cool on stage.
Pat Stanton: The show’s on 4/20 too.
I think you’re kind of obliged to buy the lava lamps then.
Stephanie: I’m glad you agree—we’ve been having a debate.
Pat: I just don’t know how many lava lamps we need on stage to make it look cool.
Stephanie: We’ll let you know how it shakes out.