The Proud Flesh
with Hanging Hills, Johnny Mainstream. Fri., April 26, 9 p.m. Cafe Nine, 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281. $5. cafenine.com
The Proud Flesh have been working on their sophomore release Home for two years now, and Friday it's finally going to see the light of day with an album release show at Cafe Nine. Home is a fitting title since aside from some initial tracking at Adorea Recording Studio and UNH's in-house studio, the tracks were laid down, mixed and mastered at singer/guitarist Alex Burnet and multi-instrumentalist Pat Dalton's shared live-in studio space in New Haven. The pair co-wrote all the new songs together, and much of its content is based on experiences they had in town and in their residence. Organist Connor Dabbs also drew the cover art, making for a largely in-house operation.
"This is the second album we've produced ourselves," says Dalton. "Every time you do something like that you're going to end up learning a lot. We've learned an immeasurable amount of knowledge about how to make an album sound good."
The band describes the effort as a "repeat-listen album" and a "car album" that was well-planned-out and thoughtfully sequenced to have the most impact as a whole.
"We came up with the name after we were well into the recording process," adds Burnet. "A lot of it has to do with being around this house and this neighborhood in New Haven — living in the city, being at home and watching the seasons change. I wouldn't take it literally, but for me I think a lot of it is about this geographic location."
The record is self-released and self-financed, and it'll only be available in vinyl and digital formats.
"I don't want CDs going into a landfill," says Burnet. "We've sort of gotten pegged as a folk and bluegrass band, but I think this is going to change people's perception of what the whole thing is about because it's a lot more atmospheric in places. And I know the term psychedelic is thrown around a lot... but it's more experimental than what we've done before."
If you listen to "Before Too Long," you'll notice some female background vocals. They were sung by Melanie Safka, better known as Melanie, singer of "Brand New Key" ("I got a brand new pair of roller skates") and Woodstock veteran.
"I have social media to thank for that," says Burnet. "I've been a big fan of Melanie for years and I figured I'd see if she was on Twitter, and I tweeted at her. She retweeted it and I messaged her and I asked if she wanted to work on something sometime."
Melanie was skeptical at first but listened to the track and ended up liking it. She had her son record a vocal part and sent it to the Proud Flesh guys to add to the mix.
"Use Once and Destroy" is about Alex losing a family member.
"Orderlies fill up the halls / make bad jokes on pay phone calls / We waited back east to see you home, you know," he sings.
The band has a few scattered New England shows booked at the moment and is hoping to do another tour before long.
"We'll see how it's received," says Dalton. "I think it'll be a matter of taking it door-to-door and playing as much as possible."
As far as goals for the future, there's one that stands out above the rest that the Proud Flesh seem tailor-made for.
"Oh man, I would love to play Newport," says Burnet.
Visit http://theproudflesh.bandcamp.com to purchase Home and for more info.