I discovered Restorations a few weeks ago, thanks to a recommendation by one of my oldest friends. He sent me a song called Civil Inattention from their latest record LP2. We are both long-term listeners of bands from the SideOneDummy label and they have a proven track record, this was enough of a reference for me. Following an intense listening session to this record, I decided to get in touch with the Philadelphia-based band to find out a little more about what they’re about, and to introduce them to the readers of HOLDUPNOW.
There are a few things you should know about the band. First of all, they erupted from Philadelphia in 2008 and to date they’ve had two full-length LPs. The first was a self-titled effort released in 2011 through Tiny Engines. Before this album, they had grown a label of creating music for “Grown-up punks” meaning, naturally, that it was music that is not based around juvenile subject matter. Whatever that means.
The band responded on their BandCamp by saying: “So from what I can tell, “Grown-up punks” is merely a term used to describe what the band is not. It’s not music made solely for adults; on the other hand, you’re not going to find much in the way of buzz-saw riffs, throat-shredding screams or breakneck drumming. And if you’re searching for a record where playing loud and fast trumps playing well, I’d go elsewhere. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Restorations’ brilliant Self-Titled debut full-length isn’t exploding with passion and electricity (it is) and we’re certainly not inferring that these eight amazing songs won’t rip through your skull before knocking the wind out of you with repeated sonic gut punches (they do). What we are emphatically stating is that if you’ve been searching for a thoughtful, nuanced take on punk and indie rock – and all the sub-genres they entail – Restorations might just be your new favorite band.” And that says just about all that you would need to know. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
More recently, they released their second full-length album, cunningly entitled LP2 in the April of 2013. This is the album that I was introduced too, and perhaps it would be a good place for you to start your Restorations adventure.
Recently, I had a chance to talk to vocalist and guitarist Jon Loudon. Here’s what he had to say:
HUNOW: Thank for you taking the time to talk to us, we’re great fans here at HOLDUPNOW, and I’m a great personal fan! How are you?
JL: Hey, thanks! Doing pretty well. Finally kicked the jet lag from tour yesterday.
HUNOW: We see that you’re at the end of your European tour,we appreciate you taking the time after just returning from your tour. How have you found the experience?
JL: It was a really great trip. Kind of crazy to go that far from home and see that many people at your shows. A lot of the tour was to cities I’d never been to before, so most of it was really exciting and fresh.
HUNOW: You started your tour with a massive ten dates in the UK. Do you enjoy playing in the United Kingdom and can we expect you to return again in the future?
JL: Absolutely. The UK in general felt very familiar, and the shows were fantastic. We’re already sorting out how to come back over when our new record comes out.
HUNOW: We heard that you offered some of the shows at no cost. Is this true, and if so what was the thought process behind this?
JL: Definitely! I would like to say it was some kind of Fugazi maneuver [sic], but it was really just that certain venues can pay you off of the bar money and not worry about door/ticket cost. Worked out nicely for everybody. Some of those free shows were the best of the tour (Old Blue Last in London, I am looking at you.)
HUNOW: You toured with The Smith Street Band and ASTPAI on your European tour. Who have been your favourite bands to tour with, and who would you love to tour with in the future?
JL: Both of those bands are old friends and we were all headed to Groezrock, so it was a no brainer. We’re music nerds that love all kinds of things, so we’re trying to tour with whomever we find interesting.
HUNOW: We’ve also seen that you played a few of your German dates alongside The Menzingers. Do you ever feel pride when touring with bands from your home state?
JL: This was a familiar scenario, actually. We’ve known The Menzingers for an eternity at this point. We do love playing with bands from home, and I think that’s becoming more common, as it seems that most bands from Philly are touring worldwide now. It’s really cool to see.
HUNOW: Considering your success coming from a state considered as a hive for great underground and rising musicians. What advice can you give the musicians amongst us in terms of standing out?
JL: We just did everything on our own terms. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to make records that we’re happy with. For years, we didn’t even tour, just focused on writing. You can stand out by being comfortable with your own sound.
HUNOW: ‘Restorations’ is a very positive message within a band name. How did you come around choosing this as your band’s name and how did the band come together?
JL: It was going to be the title of our old band (Jena Berlin)’s last album, but we never finished it. We couldn’t find a better name for the new band, and that felt appropriate at the time. We wanted to do the new band in a smarter and more positive manner. 6 years in, I’m happy with the choice.
HUNOW: It’s been almost a year since you released your latest album LP2. Considering the ‘no-frills’ approach to this album title, do you consider album titling an important part of the creative process?
JL: We like to view it as a catalogue. We’re always writing and working on new things, so the album titles are just markers along the way. Album titles work great for many groups, it just never felt that important for our music.
HUNOW: I very recently discovered your music, and Civil Inattention is without a doubt my favourite song of yours and the song that turned me onto you guys. It’s a very from-the-bottom-of-the-gut song, but it’s also filled with melodic and memorable riffs. When writings songs, do you give priority to lyricism or melody creation?
JL: Thanks! We mostly just write the melodic parts as a group, and then I write vocals as we go along. It’s a group process, with each member bringing in small pieces. Completely democratic and collaborative.
HUNOW: We read on your Facebook page that you have finished the mixing for “LP3”. This is exciting news for us and our readers. Can you tell us something of what to expect from the upcoming album?
JL: We are about to send it off to the pressing plant, release date TBD. The new record is a little moodier and jammier than LP2. Really excited about it, and we hope to have it out soon.
HUNOW: And one question from one of our readers: “What pedals are used by the band to create their distinct sound?”
JL: It’s mostly the amps, but we use some pedals, mostly from Earthquaker and TSVG.
If you were interested in anything that you read about Restorations, you can find out more about them in the links below:
Facebook | Twitter | Official Website | BandCamp