LP vinyl (opaque white) 1000 copies.
Priestsâ€™ Early Recordings combines the bandâ€™s first two cassette-only tape releases, originally recorded in 2011 and 2013. The small run cassette releases were originally intended to be for purchase only at the bandâ€™s live shows. â€œWe didnâ€™t want everybody to hear it,â€ said drummer Daniele Daniele. â€œWe were still learning our instruments, so these tapes were not intended to impress the world, just document where we were for our own sake.â€ Daniele met vocalist Katie Alice Greer the same week she arrived in Washington, DC to complete a fellowship at Georgetown University, and the two decided to start a band. Guitarist GL Jaguar joined soon after, and bassist Taylor Mulitz completed the lineup the following year.
Tape 1 was recorded by Jaguar in his parentâ€™s basement in Maryland. The band had existed for one week, and the trio had written four songs. â€œI was very eager to have evidence of the band exist for myself, because I didnâ€™t know how long it would last, and I wanted to make music more than anything, said Greer. â€œDiet Cokeâ€, the bandâ€™s first song, is a hundred second blast of pummeling energy and what would become Jaguarâ€™s signature riffage. A winking nod to advertising that sneaks into culture, the tune is followed by the more contemplative â€œTalkingâ€, a song on which both Greer and Jaguar play guitar. Greerâ€™s lyrics speak to US public school systems â€œrewarding complicityâ€ and children being â€œbeing socialized by reality TVâ€. â€œThe Worldâ€, perhaps foreshadowing the bandâ€™s krautrock-inspired penchant for repetition, is a jubilant intermission before â€œCobraâ€, a playfully minimal stop-start closer inspired by cult favorite rock group She (also known as â€œThe Hairemâ€).
On Tape Two the band was eager to showcase their fuller sound as a newly expanded quartet. The tapeâ€™s seven songs were recorded by Kevin Erickson and Hugh McElroy, who had already recorded the bandâ€™s first single â€œRadiation/Personal Planesâ€ a year earlier and would go on to produced half of Priestsâ€™ Bodies and Control and Money and Power EP and all of Nothing Feels Natural. â€œLeave Me Aloneâ€ nods to the Priestsâ€™s affinity for inverting the cool funk of a song like Bush Tetrasâ€™ â€œToo Many Creepsâ€ (â€œI see you when Iâ€™m out on the street/ I think you look like a creepâ€) while exploring more melodic territory on tracks like â€œTwelveâ€, hinting to material that would later surface on Nothing Feels Natural. Lyrically, Priests continued to explore themes that center womenâ€™s lives (â€œLillian Hellmanâ€), critique social perception of female celebrity (â€œLanaâ€), interrogate assumptions of US history (â€œIncantationsâ€), and invert the male gaze on the Daniele Daniele-penned closer â€œWatch Youâ€.
Priests was already interested in expanding their musical palette, as evidenced by metallic clangs and a purring drum machine on â€œWatch Youâ€ and creeping mellotron weaving in and out of a few different tracks throughout.
Early Recordings lays the groundwork for Priests longer releases in the following three years and provides context for the bandâ€™s evolving sound.
1. Diet Coke
3. The World
5. Leave Me Alone
6. Say No
8. USA (Incantations)
9. Lillian Hellman
11. Watch You (Alternate Mix)