Free Energy, the Philadelphia-based band founded by former Hockey Night members Scott Wells and Paul Sprangers, will release their self-titled, James Murphy-produced debut single on July 21 via DFA Records.
The single will be released as a 7” and will be backed by B-Side, ‘Something In Common’,” which is exclusive to the limited editionpressing of 350. ‘Something In Common’ was produced by Eric ‘Babytalk’ Broucek.
With a sound quite at odds with the rest of the DFA roster – there’s pretty much nothing in the way of a disco or post-punk influence – Free Energy are openly indebted to hoary old power-pop-rockers like Tom Petty and Cheap Trip. Their track ‘Dream City’ is still available as a free download – check it out if you haven’t already. Believe it or not, ‘Free Energy’ is even more breezy, radio-friendly and shamelessly optimistic.
Like ‘Free Energy’ and ‘Dream City’, the band’s forthcoming debut album (not likely to come out until 2010) has been produced by LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy in New York. It’s undoubtedly Murphy’s mercurial studio touch that makes Free Energy sound so fresh and full-bodied, though that’s not to underestimate the plentiful songwriting talent of Spranger and Wells.
"After [Hockey Night] ended," Sprangers tells Pitchfork, "We just kept going with songs we were workingon, both with Hockey Night and stuff we’d been working on and demo-ingourselves. We just kept working on stuff like we always had.Eventually, James [Murphy] had time to work with us, and we made therecord, still without a name [for the band] or anything. Now we have aband, and we figured out our name as a band just this winter. The bandcame together last fall. It’s been kind of a long, weird stepping-stoneprocess.
"DFA could seewhat we were trying to go for in the demos we sent them. They didn’twant a rickety indie band. We’re trying to do right by our heroes, thebands that are referenced or that we are inspired by.
"DFA could seewhat we were trying to go for in the demos we sent them. They didn’twant a rickety indie band."
Asked which heroes in particular, Wells expands: "Just pretty much what they play on any corporate classic rock stationevery single day. We’re trying to put ourselves against that and judgewhether or not we’re doing a good job. That’s where we fit, at least inour minds. I’m sure that’s not true to other people. We feel like we’redoing stuff, in a way, like what was going on during punk but was stillpop, like the post-glam 70s stuff. Tom Petty, in the face of punk, wasadopting new wave, at least in appearances, but was still kind of doingpop-rock. I guess for us it’s coming out in the opposite direction,starting with punk and then embracing more blues-based rock and roll.Rather than applying punk to classic rock, it’s the opposite.
"[DFA Records] have a pretty devoted fan base for their disco-ystuff," says Sprangers when asked about DFA’s seemingly unusual decision to sign Free Energy. "It might be weird, but they have aspirations to be a label thatjust puts out music they like, like Island or Virgin in the 70s. Ithink they were sad to lose Black Dice because that filled kind of acertain niche in there, outside of the dance stuff. They’ve beenputting out some stuff that I don’t know if anybody really paidattention to. They put out Prinzhorn Dance School, which is postpunk. And they totally hear what we’re doing.
What about working with James Murphy?
"It was really fun. It was nice to be able to trust him to geteverything locked down, to trust that the drums were going to soundgreat. We would just work on the bass until it was locked in. He wasreally inspiring and goofy, and he would just keep pushing if we wereever a little self-conscious about something being too goofy or poppyor whatever. It was nice to have a person who would step in and make uscomfortable. He helped us clean up. We tend to overdo stuff, likeover-harmonize, add too many guitar harmonies or too many vocalharmonies and just kind of dilute stuff, make it to difficult to listento. So he was good for being like, "Pick a melody, pick a line, and doit right. That’ll be it. If need be, we’ll come back to it later." That was nice, that discipline."
You can read the full interview here.