Chris Klepac (guitar, keys, vocals)
Mike O’Doherty (drums, samples)
Carlos Tulloss (bass, keys, samples)
“Stereo Sons are the current project of long-time favorite Chris Klepac, the primary songwriter for alt-country cult faves Hex County. Stereo Sons first album, Our Own Devices, brought some keyboards and other electronic elements into the mix … Chris says he and the band are ‘expanding our use of samples to create weird, gnarly soundscapes and make the live show more of a big sensory experience.’”
“‘We’re All Friends’ Here is the debut album from Seattle band Stereo Sons. It’s not easy being a band from Seattle. There is that monstrous past scene that all bands are invariably compared to. Then comes along Stereo Sons. The band of Chris Klepac, Mike O’Doherty and Carlos Tulloss don’t need any comparisons. They kick ass all on their own. They have an original sound, that yet captures all the history of that scene, without being overly influenced by it. The eight tracks are masterfully performed, expertly produced and the whole album is just highly compelling. The year is very new, but this is definitely the best thing we’ve heard yet.”
—Floorshime Zipper Boots
‘The album is also available on Spotify, iTunes, Rhapsody, CDBaby, Rdio, Amazon MP3, Last.fm, Google Music, and Xbox Music.
Full Track Listing:
1.) One Thousand Goth Keyboards
2.) A Bad Place For A Good Time
3.) Golden Gloves
4.) Brass Tax
6.) We’re All Friends Here
7.) Close Enough Forever
8.) Holy Mountain Breakdown
Stereo Sons is a three-piece band based in Seattle, WA. The band formed in 2009 and their first album, 2010’s Our Own Devices, was a stripped down guitar-bass-and-drums affair, recorded in three days and showcasing the band’s interest in combining pop songwriting with dirty post-punk noise.
A lineup change introduced multi-instrumentalist Carlos Tullos, and marked the start of a new phase, as Stereo Sons experimented with layers, samples and electronic beats. Front man Chris Klepac added the classic electric piano and sci-fi tones of a Juno synth to balance his snarling Fender Jaguar, and drummer Mike O’Doherty complimented his thundering wooden rock kit with modern sampling technology.
Far from mellowing the band out, this transformation has driven them to embrace the relentless grooves of Krautrock and Afrobeat, while continuing to fly the post-punk flag, where those influences were always present. Their second album, We’re All Friends Here, finds them poised between the past and future. Abrasive, squalling guitars and deep dub-like rhythms have earned the band their motto: “The bastard child of dance and prog.”
The band worked with producer Frank Mazzeo at Push/Pull studio to bring the songs on We’re All Friends here to life, working from a grab bag of their favorite sonic influences, from moogy 70s synth lines, classic 808 beats, and clipped chicken-scratching guitars to more open, chaotic arrangements. They are always moving forward, and We’re All Friends Here marks Stereo Sons on the latest stage in their artistic journey. Plus it happens to rock very hard.
From Central District News, in a recent profile by Megan Hill:
Stereo Sons: Content-wise, I always sort of think of every album as a concept album. The idea for this one came out of an experience I had going to a wedding about two years ago and seeing a bunch of childhood friends. It brought up a whole bunch of ideas and emotions about how relationships change over time and what friendship really means when you’re an adult, and how we deal with all these changes. Some of it is kind of dark but overall I think it’s hopeful.
CDN: You recorded it in the Central District?
SS: Yeah, at Frank Mazzeo’s Push/Pull studios, which has recently moved, but when we were there it was based out of an artist space called the Hiawatha Lofts, his studio overlooked that Shell station on Rainier next to the weed dispensary that used to be Stan’s Fish and Chips. We actually recorded all the drums in this big open area with a piano on the ground floor of the Hiawatha building, which is mainly used for community events (I’ll send some pictures). Frank ran cables down the stairwell from the fourth floor where his mixing gear was, and was talking to us on headphones, and constantly running downstairs to adjust microphones. It was kind of an awesome nightmare technically, but he got some really great sounds out of that space.
When we were doing overdubs there we’d always run down the hill to this Peruvian place called San Fernando Roasted Chicken, and I still go there a bunch, I think we all got addicted to the green sauce.
CDN: What aspect of the new album are you most proud of?
SS: Well the obvious answer to me is just the raw sonic quality, the audio production values. Frank worked with us on these songs for a long time, and he really knocked it out of the park. We’ve all talked about how this is the best-sounding thing any of us have ever made.
Our music isn’t really political in the traditional punk sense, but a lot of our songs are about how big systems interact with ordinary people’s lives, and how that can be randomly positive and terrible. There’s a song on Our Own Devices called “One Block” that was written specifically about Ballard but could apply to Seattle in general. It tells the story of a group of millionaires who are charmed by the neighborhood so much that they decide to move in, knocking down all those musty old brick buildings in order to put up anonymous condo towers. We saw the same thing in Capitol Hill start happening a few years ago, when developers were so enraptured by the Pike/Pine corridor that they obliterated it.
As for Seattle’s influence, I should note that the house on 16th Street where Stereo Sons first practiced is the house that I still live in, and has supposedly been a notorious musician hangout for decades. There’s a Spin magazine photo somewhere that features our old practice space, many years before we moved in. Anyone in a band here who rents space or plays shows or hangs flyers is constantly brushing up against grunge-era ghosts in all kinds of ways. It’s a mixed thing, you’re inspired by that legacy and you want to make something as real and direct and visceral as the music that made Seattle famous, but at the same time that’s a vanished age, and surviving as a band is a very different proposition now.