by Jeff Milo
Said-album's not out for a while, yet, but you can still hear some of these new songs on stage at the Magic Bag, Friday night, when they join Phantasmagoria in the opening of ceremonies for Johnny Headband’s album release party (dig: Who Cooks For You).
...Sleek scintillations, darkly-glittered, low-booming fuzz and this taunting shimmy, these midnight-synth-pop ballads were the brainchild of Liz Wittman, a once indie-dominant rock bassist/vocalist making twee sound punk-ish, now, upfront as electro-chantress, her high reedy coo a complimentary timbre for those wailing/dazzling synthesizers, fully fleshed out by bassist Derek Dory and guitarist/keyboardist Gerald Pan!c.
Electric Six guitarist Zach Shipps started working with the band in early 2011, initially “
in a producer-capacity.” That was back with the original line-up, which included guitarist Matt Lannoo, after they’d already been gigging a while on their debut Raccoon Panda.
Lettercamp worked on a few demos in Shipps studio in late spring of ’11 and Wittman sent them to a couple electro-pop labels, as Shipps said, “just to test the waters." (Swedish-based) Substream responded pretty swiftly with an: affirmative!
Shipps joined the band earlier this year as full-time drummer, firming up the current line-up.
“We've been messin' around with these songs for a while,” Shipps said of the forthcoming album. “At first, we wanted it to be more "band-ish" because there was a band... and the early songs sound like that. But we backed away from that. Basically, we started re-mixing / re-inventing the tracks and taking out live drums, guitar and making things way more dance-y / minimal / electro / vibey / experimental /
whatever. We're trying to get this whole thing finished, but we also want it be right.”
Substream re-released Raccoon Panda at the end of last year, followed up quickly by techno-toughened single “Oh Well” sufficiently denoting the band’s new direction. Just like “Oh Well,” April’s single “Buy-In” came supplemented with remixes coordinated through Substream, with a couple appearances from the Swede-label’s more hard-core electro-leaning roster Clubstream, Aaron Jasinskii. “Buy-In”’s bolstered by thunderous drums, funk-fuzz guitars and low-buzzy bass waves, but the kicker is the chorus, kartwheeling synth wails with lassoing hooks and a slamming beat, fitting in nicely with the stuff LC-member Pan!c himself put out via The History of Pan!c or even some of the most propulsive of material on Johnny Headband’s Cooks.
Who Cooks For You release party is at 8 p.m. Friday, July 27, at the Magic Bag, 22920, Woodward Ave., Ferndale. With Phantasmagoria and Lettercamp.
More on Lettercamp - Liz Wittman's interview with The Vinyl District from last May.