“The Heart Contortionists,” recorded by Grammy-winners John Congleton, Stuart Sikes arrives February 5th. Hear “Lava” now.
Pleasant Grove (L-R): Chris Mayes, Marcus Striplin, Tony Hormillosa, Bret Egner & Jeff Ryan. Photo credit: Ian Berry.
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Read about the return of Pleasant Grove via Texas Monthly and hear the new single “Lava” here or at the links below.
One of the most beloved bands from Dallas has reunited to complete and tour on an album that they started recording almost a decade ago. Referred to as “indie rock heroes” this week by Texas Monthly, Pleasant Grove will release The Heart Contortionists via We Know Better Records on February 5th, 2016. Named for the Dallas suburb, Pleasant Grove was originally formed in 1998 by co-vocalists and guitarists Marcus Striplin and Bret Egner who were drawn together by a common vision to write and perform songs that captured raw, melancholy melodies laid out over slow, spacious harmonies.
“We have been down a difficult road,” explains Striplin of the near-decade that has passed between commencing work on The Heart Contortionists, Pleasant Grove’s untimely dissolution, and the album’s ultimate completion. Recorded by Grammy-award winners John Congleton (St. Vincent, Modest Mouse, The War On Drugs) and Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, White Stripes, Cat Power), The Heart Contortionists will remind listeners of what they loved about the Pleasant Grove sound – a folk band’s command of melody and a psych band’s command of reverb – while also giving clues to what led to the group’s departure from the scene.
“In short, The Heart Contortionists is a divorce record,” says Striplin. “And through all the hazy days, I had completely forgotten that we had recorded it.” Indeed, Striplin survived drink, divorce, and a two-year case of writer’s block to get here. An eventual move to Austin by way of NYC, and a new relationship led him back to musical projects, but he says “it was nothing close to what Pleasant Grove could make me feel.”
So, in late 2012, Striplin and Egner went back and listened to the old sessions with open hearts and minds and found that they had made a contemporary album that happened to be recorded ten years ago. With Striplin’s newly rehabilitated state, Pleasant Grove decided to move forward, spending much of 2014 putting finishing touches on the album. The result is The Heart Contortionists, a classic-sounding record that reflects the sonic maturity of a band that released its first recording of “shimmering majestic pop and lethargic country music” in 1999, and should be rightly recognized as an architect of that sound today.
Pleasant Grove is currently plotting European dates surrounding an already-announced appearance at Germany’s Orange Blossom Special Festival, and has also just announced three record release shows in Texas for February. Nearly ten years in the making, The Heart Contortionists arrives on February 5th, 2016 from We Know Better Records. The album’s first single “Lava” is streaming now.
Members of Pleasant Grove are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
Pleasant Grove – Record Release Shows
02/05 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
02/06 Fort Worth, TX @ Fred’s
02/07 Dallas, TX @ Twilight Lounge
The Heart Contortionists
(We Know Better Records)
February 5th, 2016
01. Why Did You Butcher Your Father?
02. The Pessimist Clique
05. Disintegration (Consider Your Brother)
The Heart Contortionists Suite:
06. Fishing In Spain
07. The Devil Is In Our House
08. The Heart Contortionists
10. Margaret’s Alone Sitting Quite Still
11. We Lost The Maps (Bonus Track)
Pleasant Grove Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion
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