Image: Gina Clyne
It’s been three years since California poppers Terry Malts released their last full-length album. In that time they’ve seen a lot of gigs, highway miles, and more recently, moving vans and new blood with Corey Cunningham relocating from San Fransisco to Los Angeles, and Jake Sprecher joining the band on guitar.
So that the first single from their upcoming album Lost at the Party, is called “Seen Everything” is halfway true.
Since their first cassette back in 2010, the band have also seen a slight change in sound. The buzzy pop punk remains but is now tempered with a more rounded approach to pop music.
Lost at the Party, which is out on October 14 via Slumberland, is the band’s first album recorded in a studio and the first that comes with it's own promo phone hotline (1-866-NU-MALTS). It sees them expanding their sound with the addition of 12-string electric guitars, piano, organ, and sound effects. We've been told that there’s just as much Dwight Twilley vibes as the Buzzcocks, and for fans of quality pop music, that is some sweet news.
Take a listen to the first single below and read a short interview with Corey.
Noisey: Is there anything you want to see? Have you done a network talk show performance? It seems that’s a deal now. I guess it's always been a big deal.
Corey Cunningham: We’ve never done television. That would certainly be a validating experience. Phil and I were backstage with our friends in Real Estate when they were on Conan last year and it was a really surreal world to inhabit. It was surprisingly fun.
It’s been three years since your last LP. What you have seen in that time?
Since then we've played all manner of small punk festivals, local shows, and toured Europe. Our personal lives have changed a lot, too. I moved to Los Angeles and I've been here almost four years. Phil moved to Los Angeles, too. He stayed about nine months.
I also continued reissuing records with my Captured Tracks subsidiary label Body Double. Additionally, we started Parked In Hell, a cassette imprint to reissue our old bands Magic Bullets and The Cosmos.
Phil plays bass in a group called Neutrals. And I started a solo project called Business Of Dreams.
Have you seen your audience change since 2010? Is there a typical Terry Malts audience?
We've definitely seen our audience change in terms of volume. I get messages from friends around America saying, "I just saw a random stranger in such-and-such city wearing your band shirt!". That's something we didn't experience in 2010. And we get messages from all over the world now. It's really astounding to know someone living in Malaysia or Latvia has found your work.
I'd say we've always had a fairly diverse audience, so there's no typical audience.
When did you decide to record in a studio? After the songs were written?
I engineered the last two albums and I felt like the limitations of my abilities really lent themselves to a unique recording. The lo-fi sound fit the songs because they were so simple. There was a hyper-amateurism in the composition and in the sound back then. But after a while we started to feel pigeon-holed with Ramones and Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons. We adore those bands but we knew we were capable of so much more. We're big record collectors and we like so many different kinds of music.
I thought it would be a good idea to strip Terry Malts down to one core idea: pop songs in different outfits. That would give us the freedom to open up our sound and explore all the other things music we love. And the only way we could do that was to approach the album as a studio production.
So we started writing with the idea of spending a decent amount of time in a real studio. It took us about a year to write and, often times, re-write the songs. I made a demo version of the album and sent it to Monte Vallier at Ruminator Audio. He recorded the final Magic Bullets EP and he had mixed the last two Terry Malts LPs for us.
We were beyond excited to sit down and create this album with him.
The album title Lost at the Party is interesting. Is it a metaphor for your place in the music scene/world?
Haha, yes I think you could say that. We are excellent self-saboteurs. While every other band has been jumping over each other trying to schmooze and make friends with bigger bands and important industry people, we have been sequestering ourselves to dive bars and close friends. You start to feel passed by and it leaves you feeling a bit lost sometimes. Albeit, lost in a fun place that you want to be at.
Also we've always been pulled by two different worlds. We have some elements of punk in our sound and some elements of indie pop. So if we play an indie pop festival we might be too rough-around-the-edges for that audience. If we play a punk festival we might be too sensitive and romantic for that audience.
We're very familiar with feeling out of place, no matter where we go.
Why “Seen Everything” as first single besides it being a great pop song?
Thank you! I like that it's a big, bright pop song. It's like we're turning the lights back on after hiding away in the dark for a long time. And the "I've seen everything" lyric is a good sentiment for a band that has been off the radar for a while. We're coming back and we've changed.
'Lost At The Party' is available on Slumberland Oct 14.
Terry Malts Tour Dates:
Sep1 - San Francisco at El Rio
Sep 2 - Santa Cruz at Crepe Place
Oct 8 - Carmel at The Rumpus
Oct 9 - Los Angeles at The Hi Hat,(Release show w/ Devon Williams & Susan)
Oct 10 - San Francisco Hemlock (Release show w/ Chook Race & Lovebirds)
Oct 22 - Baltimore at U+N Fest
Oct 23 - Philadelphia at Kung Fu Necktie
Oct 24 - Brooklyn at Shea Stadium
Oct 25 - Allston at O'Brien's Pub
Oct 27 - Detroit UFO Factory
Oct 28 - Chicago Subterranean
Oct 29 - St Louis San Loo
Nov 18 - Seattle Vera Project
Nov 19 - Portland Bunk Bar