Sunday, March 29, 2015

Zilch - Pupil Band's Most Sophisticated Release To Date

When Ely Buendia sings "The world is a place / behind this firewall" on Zilch's scorching opener "Firewall:, it is both an invitation and a taunt: a wink - nudge suggestion that there is a plane beyond the rabbit hole - that the practice of imagining is a reward in itself, perhaps the best reward of all - but also a show of sneer-filled discontent. In this day and age, when unthinkable things start coming to life, when fiction starts ringing like the truth, it is odd of anyone to not want to rearrange the furniture in their minds even for a bit. And Zilch, Pupil's fourth full-length and their first with MCA Music, Inc. is charitable in imaginings both musical and lyrical.

Finished during a collaborative sabbatical of sorts - Buendia doing shows with punk-rockabilly supergroup The Oktaves, as well as booking the occasional solo revue home and elsewhere; drummer Wendell Garcia doing session work with a host of acts, even reuniting for a few gigs with Barbie's Cradle; and perhaps most publicly, bassist Dok Sergio and new guitarist Jerome Velasco doing a string of successful shows with he momentarily-reformed Teeth - the new record brings with it a fresh perspective on Pupil music making.

One thing is apparent, though: the quartet has long found their musical thesis, and no uncertain number of dalliance will make them stray from their project: in-your-face guitar rock executed in the most rudimentary manner, and this much is evident in first two singles "Out of Control: and "Why". "I've always preferred a stripped-down sound live and on record, and this was the objective from the moment I started writing new songs for Zilch," Buendia shares. Check out

What Pupil has in their hands in Zilch, ultimately, is a more refined rethinking of their sound. "The guitars growl, the drums are in your face, no synth pads, very little delay. It's an album played on the gut level. Yet it is, I think our most sophisticated release to date," Buendia offers. Velasco confidently chimes in, "Personally I find that it's inevitable that the band shall release a definitive rock record. I think this was a great time to do it" Throughout the process, the band was both instinctive and resolute in reconciling hte sound in their heads with the sound that eventually ends up on disc. Wendel Garcia's drum parts, for one, were redone almost entirely in a rented photography studio in an attempt to capture the much-revered John Bonham (skinsman for Led Zeppelin) sound. The band DIY'd the whole thing, installing their own personal mattresses for soundproofing, with bassist Dok Sergio manning the controls.

"Zilch" is now out in CD's at Astroplus and Odyssey outlets under MCA Music, Inc. It is also available through digital download via and iTunes and streaming via, Spotify and Deezer.

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