“I’m interested in where rock music intersects with other forms of music,” says Russ Waterhouse, one-half of Blues Control. I’m surprised to hear that German rock bands of the 70s are a big inspiration. While the band’s latest release, Valley Tangents (which drops Tuesday), does blend at least a century of music history via synthetic studio devices, it certainly doesn’t present itself abrasively (Which is what I tend to think of when considering German music from… well, ever.) You could describe their sound as post-organic rock. It rings of 60s psychedelics (and not neo-psychedelia), minimalism, and post-punk all at once and has even been characterized with words like “stadium” and “lounge.” It has a warm sound, reminiscent of nature… but not actual nature, but nature as it is perceived and conceived in our heads (and in their studio). It sounds a bit like something that would soundtrack a chemically enhanced stroll through a meadow, but produced with a methodology that wouldn’t be able to make it to such a locale… at least not without one hell of an extension cord.
This Friday, June 22nd, Blues Control is holding their album release party at PhilaMOCA. While the Queens-bred duo aren’t exactly local to Philly, they almost were… but ended up relocating from Queens to the Lehigh Valley. I recently got a chance to chat with the duo about their relocation and their latest sounds. “It wasn’t very pre-meditated. We were looking for a new place,” Lea Cho tells me about the move. “We were looking for an apartment in Philly,” says Russ, but says that they just couldn’t find a suitable place. While the Lehigh Valley obviously impacted the group’s latest work, as it includes the band’s largest and least frenzied sounds yet, they consider it to be a “gradual evolution,” as Russ describes it. “I’d like to think it’s an advancement, like we’re building on a larger trajectory,” adds Lea. The biggest difference, they tell me is in the creative process. “We had a little more time writing, recording and arranging… I mean, we recorded Local Flavor in four days,” says Russ.
The band has already toured Europe this year and has a lot more touring planned for the rest of the year, both nationally and internationally. And they seem to be getting used to large and professional settings, so you definitely shouldn’t miss the chance to see them in PhilaMOCA’s intimate gallery space this Friday. Russ tells me one of his highlights of the year was , “In Bologna we played in this beautiful old, ornate, basically, a ballroom in a palace.” While Lea tells me, “I actually really like really pro PAs and high stages… where you can actually hear yourself properly.”