March 3, 2013

​Today's Hotness: ​​Light Heat, Rival Schools

Quentin Stoltzfus of Light Heat

>> It's been seven years in the offing, so the fact it has taken us a couple weeks to address it doesn't do justice to the degree of excitement we attach to news that, at very long last, Quentin Stoltzfus will finally release his first record of new music since the demise of his brilliant Philadelphia psych-pop outfit Mazarin. Mr. Stoltzfus' new band is called Light Heat (which we take to be the quotient of White Light/White Heat divided by White... or would that be White squared?), and Domino Records' Ribbon Music imprint will release its self-titled full-length debut June 25. The collecton was "written, recorded and re-recorded over seven years," according to the Ribbon web site, with a band that includes members of old-school Mazarin BFFs The Walkmen (who notably covered Mazarin's "Another One Goes By" in 2006). Two wonderful songs are already streaming over at YouTube, because, you know, YouTube. One is titled "And The Birds..." and the other "The Mirror," and we highly recommend both, as they hew closely to the classic Mazarin sound; dig the embeds below. During its tenure Mazarin released three stellar long-players, climaxing with the 2005 knock-out We're Already There, the closing title track of which pointed toward exciting prospects for the act. Sadly, not long after the release of that triumph, Stoltzfus was served with a cease-and-desist from another rock band using the same name. Despite being 100 times better than the band that lodged the claim, Stoltzfus declined to fight it, ultimately ceding the moniker. After releasing to the Internets in 2007 a lone song under the band name Black Stoltzfus, we've had no new music until now. But now happy days are here again: Light Heat is available for pre-order on LP and CD, and a limited edition of 100 of the LPs is available on translucent vinyl. We reviewed the aforementioned We're Already There for Junkmedia right here in 2005.

​>> Perhaps you already know about the so-called "lost" second album from Rival Schools, the post-post-hardcore act fronted by legendary Walter Schreifels. We made a passing reference to it here in 2007, but that was quite some time ago, yeah? So maybe you don't. Confusing matters in one way, but probably helping resolve them in others, is the fact that, in what turned out to be an interim, Rival Schools went ahead and reformed and released a completely different (well, not completely, see below) sophomore set called Pedals in 2011. But now Rival Schools has resuscitated its original stab at a sophomore set, and it will finally be issued next month in remastered form under the winky-winky title Found. A preview track, "Indisposable Heroes," is already available to stream, and you can hear it via the Soundcloud embed below. The "lost" set was demoed in 2003 while the band was signed to Island/Def Jam, who of course "wasn't hearing the single;" the demos were shelved as the band's lineup grew unstable and ultimately fractured. The demos were then apparently leaked to the Internet by someone at IDJ, and for years it wasn't all that hard to find them (we found them via a seemingly legit link off a footnote at Wikipedia). What is very interesting about the demos, or at least the version of them that we obtained, is that there are many instances where elements were appropriated for some of the very strong material that comprises Pedals. For example, "Indisposable Heroes" is titled "Surrending Positions" [sic?] in the download we obtained back in the day; "See What You Got," another downloaded way back when, is apparently an early version of the Pedals single "Shot After Shot," although based on the Found track listing the song is probably now known as "Sophia Loren" (that's a guess). One of our very favorite Rival Schools tracks is from what we guess we should now call the Found demos, "The Perspective Reach." But if you take a gander at the track list to Found you will notice that title is not among the track listing, more proof the titles attached to the leaked files weren't final (we're guessing "The Perspective Reach" is now called "Paranoid Detectives;" we shall see). Found will be issued on United By Fate April 9, and you can pre-order the collection right here. In slightly related non-news, Rival Schools' "The Ghost Is Out There," a brilliant song from Pedals, was one of our favorite songs of 2011. And we are still quite eager to see the hopefully inevitable news about the release of Schriefels' second solo set, which is titled Jesus Is My Favorite Beatle [proof!]; Schreifels' An Open Letter To The Scene was our second-favorite record of 2010.

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