Mal Blum

"YOU LOOK A LOT LIKE ME" 

DON GIOVANNI RECORDS

OUT NOW

 

CONTACT: 

SARAH AVRIN: sarah@girlie.com   

 

BIO:

“Spending Friday night alone/I’m reading Campus frat boy porn/strewn on the table/for my roommate/when he finally gets home”

And so opens the first track on Mal Blum’s new LP You Look a Lot Like Me out on Don Giovanni Records October 2nd.  In many ways, the scene is immediately

Spending Friday night alone/I’m reading Campus frat boy porn/strewn on the table/for my roommate/when he finally gets home”

And so opens the first track on Mal Blum’s new LP You Look a Lot Like Me out on Don Giovanni Records October 2nd.  In many ways, the scene is immediately set for the record that follows: one that that vastly explores themes of struggle and loneliness through a lens of self-effacing humor. Though perhaps an odd choice for the opening line off most bands’ label debut, this immediate leap into first person narrative is unsurprising in this case.

“I was never much of a musician,” Mal laughs. “I was more of a writer. I had a lot of things that I needed to work out. I picked up music as a vehicle to express words and narrative”

You’d never guess this, though, by Mal’s extensive musical discography, and past touring efforts, in addition to the new LP Don Giovanni Records is releasing this fall.

Looking to depart from previous efforts, there was a conscious decision to move from the more anti-folk vibe of past material, switching over to a solid-body guitar for the first time, and adapting the songs into rock arrangements.

Marissa Paternoster (guitarist/singer of Screaming Females) produced the album, going through sixteen songs Mal had written and paring them down to ten that made the final cut. Marissa also lent a hand playing second guitar and performing backup vocals, while making suggestions as to the structure, and even length, of songs.

“I knew that I wanted it to be an electric album but I think the way it sounds is totally Marissa’s influence. Marissa really made it a trio, a band arrangement—whereas before I would have all sorts of guest musicians, auxiliary instrumentation, 10, 12, 14 different musicians—Marissa said, ‘you have a bassist (Audrey Zee Whitesides, of Worriers and Little Waist), you have a drummer (Steph Barker), you’re the guitarist, and I’m going to play second guitar and sing backup and that is all you need.’”

This collaborative effort resulted in a stripped-down, punk-influenced, indie rock record—a tighter, plugged-in, and less scrappy version of Mal’s work, emphasized by big guitar hooks, crunchy distortion, and that signature vocal flare and lyrical ingenuity Mal Blum has always showcased.

They recorded the initial tracks at Let ‘Em In Studios in Gowanus, with engineer Danielle Depalma, who’s been working with Mal on projects for the last five years. Danielle, Marissa and Mal then spent three days at Marissa’s grandma’s house in Union, NJ doing vocal and guitar overdubs. Kyle Gilbride (engineer and Swearin’ guitarist) mixed the record in Philadelphia and Sarah Register mastered it at The Lodge in Manhattan.  A more mature record than previous releases, due to both time and experience, Mal has written a fully realized, cohesive LP, which is ironic in some ways.  “When I wrote all the songs on the album I was so depressed at that time that I actually didn’t have a concept that I was writing songs. But when I started feeling better everything started to come into place: Don Giovanni wanted me to put out the album, then they put me in touch with Marissa to produce it.”

In many ways, the album is a mental health record, written when Mal was at a low point, and re-worked and polished at a high one. Though at times deceptive, large themes of avoidance  (“Reality TV,” “Better Go” and “Cool Party”), escapism (“Iowa” and “New Orleans”), isolation (“Split, Splitting), obsessive thought patterns (“Archive,”) and even the therapeutic process itself (“The Shrink Thinks”) are carefully woven throughout the LP.

2015 will see Mal continuing to play locally and tour relentlessly in support of the new LP. When asked about playing shows and the expectations that this year will bring some major changes, Mal is modest as ever.

“I like being an opener, I like being an underdog—I’m comfortable in that role.”

With this new record, however, it’s unlikely that Mal will fit in such a role much longer.

set for the record that follows: one that that vastly explores themes of struggle and loneliness through a lens of self-effacing humor. Though perhaps an odd choice for the opening line off most bands’ label debut, this immediate leap into first person narrative is unsurprising in this case.

“I was never much of a musician,” Mal laughs. “I was more of a writer. I had a lot of things that I needed to work out. I picked up music as a vehicle to express words and narrative”

You’d never guess this, though, by Mal’s extensive musical discography, and past touring efforts, in addition to the new LP Don Giovanni Records is releasing this fall.

Looking to depart from previous efforts, there was a conscious decision to move from the more anti-folk vibe of past material, switching over to a solid-body guitar for the first time, and adapting the songs into rock arrangements.

Marissa Paternoster (guitarist/singer of Screaming Females) produced the album, going through sixteen songs Mal had written and paring them down to ten that made the final cut. Marissa also lent a hand playing second guitar and performing backup vocals, while making suggestions as to the structure, and even length, of songs.

“I knew that I wanted it to be an electric album but I think the way it sounds is totally Marissa’s influence. Marissa really made it a trio, a band arrangement—whereas before I would have all sorts of guest musicians, auxiliary instrumentation, 10, 12, 14 different musicians—Marissa said, ‘you have a bassist (Audrey Zee Whitesides, of Worriers and Little Waist), you have a drummer (Steph Barker), you’re the guitarist, and I’m going to play second guitar and sing backup and that is all you need.’”

This collaborative effort resulted in a stripped-down, punk-influenced, indie rock record—a tighter, plugged-in, and less scrappy version of Mal’s work, emphasized by big guitar hooks, crunchy distortion, and that signature vocal flare and lyrical ingenuity Mal Blum has always showcased.

They recorded the initial tracks at Let ‘Em In Studios in Gowanus, with engineer Danielle Depalma, who’s been working with Mal on projects for the last five years. Danielle, Marissa and Mal then spent three days at Marissa’s grandma’s house in Union, NJ doing vocal and guitar overdubs. Kyle Gilbride (engineer and Swearin’ guitarist) mixed the record in Philadelphia and Sarah Register mastered it at The Lodge in Manhattan.


A more mature record than previous releases, due to both time and experience, Mal has written a fully realized, cohesive LP, which is ironic in some ways.


“When I wrote all the songs on the album I was so depressed at that time that I actually didn’t have a concept that I was writing songs. But when I started feeling better everything started to come into place: Don Giovanni wanted me to put out the album, then they put me in touch with Marissa to produce it.”

In many ways, the album is a mental health record, written when Mal was at a low point, and re-worked and polished at a high one. Though at times deceptive, large themes of avoidance  (“Reality TV,” “Better Go” and “Cool Party”), escapism (“Iowa” and “New Orleans”), isolation (“Split, Splitting), obsessive thought patterns (“Archive,”) and even the therapeutic process itself (“The Shrink Thinks”) are carefully woven throughout the LP.

2015 will see Mal continuing to play locally and tour relentlessly in support of the new LP. When asked about playing shows and the expectations that this year will bring some major changes, Mal is modest as ever.

“I like being an opener, I like being an underdog—I’m comfortable in that role.”

With this new record, however, it’s unlikely that Mal will fit in such a role much longer.