“Irresistible – like you’ve never heard before.” That’s our review of In The Midnight Hour by Connecticut Punks, Perennial. And just for good measure, if you want to know what went into the mix for the new songs, here’s a rundown from the band on music that informed and inspired the music on the new album.
And the list starts off with an absolute belter…
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus (2004)
If I was to point to one album that was steadily on my mind throughout the entire process, it would be Abattoir Blues by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. It’s an album full of scrappy garage rock and post-punk that has been blown out to mythic, hypnotic proportions. It’s like the MC5 if they had a choir, two drummers, a Hammond organ, and a whole library of Ancient Greek poetry. There’s something about the idea of punk at its most minimalist, that is then expanded with all this dramatic, baroque stuff that really captures the imagination, and it’s something that definitely informed our record.
Otis Redding – Live In London and Paris (1967/2008)
Otis Redding is my favorite artist of all time, and Live In London and Paris is Otis Redding at the absolute height of his incredible powers as a performer and singer. Otis is backed by Booker T. and the M.G.s here, and the record has this explosive, dynamic effervescence to it: the songs are often played lightning fast (check out the London performance of Respect!) and Otis is just tearing into the songs with so much joy, the performances are just a marvel to behold. Our live show is very much indebted to the example set and defined by Otis Redding, and our attention to energy and connection in the studio follows suit. Buy this album.
The Blood Brothers – Crimes (2004)
There literally wouldn’t be a Perennial without The Blood Brothers. That chaotic mix of hardcore, garage rock, and art music. Those wiry, gnawing guitars. That ability to make noise that haunting yet also somehow that catchy. It’s all there on Crimes. Cody Votolato is my favorite guitar player of all time, and his work on this record is hugely influential on my playing on In The Midnight Hour: where most guitar players would use these huge, monolithic power chords to connote “heavy”, Cody tends to use single notes on a single string, and just wring everything he can out of that minimalist sound. I just love it.
Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch! (1964)
Out To Lunch! is one of those albums that is just so incredibly evocative; it’s an album you feel like you could live inside. We really respond to that kind of specificity. It just summons up all these moods and images and bits of poetry out of thin air. That’s what a great album does, in our humble opinion, so it was certainly influential in that way. Bobby Hutcherson’s vibraphone work on Out To Lunch! informed a few different moments on In The Midnight Hour pretty directly (check out Something Sweet, Something Tender and the way the vibes create this very specific harmonic energy), but the album overall is just a classic that we listened to all throughout making the record.
Broadcast – HaHa Sound (2003)
HaHa Sound is another album that just seems to create its own unique world for you to live in. The way the record evokes a particularly chic, artsy version of the Sixties while never sounding like a photocopy or a museum diorama is really impressive and tough as hell to pull off. The album also really succeeds in sewing together the songs into one long sonic experience. The outros and musical segues are brilliant (and very much influenced the way we think about the spaces between songs), and the whole thing ends up feeling like this dreamy, impeccably designed collage.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell (2003)
Just a perfect album. Scruffy, scratched-up dance-punk that always has its eye on great songwriting and flawless style in equal measure. Fever To Tell is a headphone album that rewards a good hi-fi system at the same time that it has this wild, in-the-moment energy that feels so damn alive nearly two decades later. That balance – the immediate and the immaculate – was a central focus as we were making In The Midnight Hour, as was that ability to be noisy and groovy all at once.
The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
To say you’ve been influenced by The Beatles sort of feels like saying you’ve been influenced by water, sunlight, and oxygen, but Revolver had a very real effect on the way we imagined and went out about making the album. The idea of making sonic experimentation work as pop music is one of those concepts that we’re just enamored with, and Revolver might be the best example of it. Take something like I’m Only Sleeping, which is at once so richly melodic and accessible, yet also has these surreal lyrics, and this reversed guitar and jazz bass and reverb and odd tape edits. It’s rewarding on all these different levels, and can captivate you from so many different directions, all while making its point in under 3 minutes. We all love that notion.
Ornette Coleman – Ornette! (1962)
I was listening to this one a lot while writing for ‘In The Midnight Hour’, and a lot of the jazzier moments of the album were inspired by this LP. I adore this album for the way it makes this groundbreaking, angular experimentation feel so inviting and electrifying for the listener. It’s complex stuff, but it’s also incredibly fun. That was really instructive for us. It’s an album with a ton of ideas explored: there’s this sharp, joyful quality to the way these songs move from idea to idea that I just love.
Be Your Own Pet – Be Your Own Pet (2006)
This album is simply so much fun. There’s a sense of jubilant abandon and humor throughout the record that is just addictive. It’s three-chord garage rock, but with such flair and energy; the performances just leap off the record. It’s a good standard to hold yourself to in the studio. It’s the kind of record that is filled with all these moments to look forward to every time you listen to it, even though the whole thing is barely a half hour long. You’re constantly finding yourself saying “Wow this part! Wow THIS part!” That’s something to aspire to.
The Hives – Tyrannosaurus Hives (2004)
I can’t really imagine a Perennial album not influenced in one way or another by Tyrannosaurus Hives. The way this record commits to a truly specific sound and aesthetic is just perfect. The songs are short and sharp and feral, while also featuring all these subtle sonic choices – a glimmer of wah-wah pedal here, some fuzz bass there, a bit of echo where you wouldn’t expect it – that all make for a record that is equal parts ferocious and sophisticated. The 29-minute garage rock album as pop-art science experiment.