Penguin Prison first caught my ear remixing Erik Hassle's untouchable Hurtful. It's a slinky bass-heavy rework that completely re-imagines an already perfect song. Risky, but the mix isn't self-consciously arty - it's just as accessible as the original. Now, at the close of the year, we find that Penguin Prison actually stands on their own as a proper act. And they are a he, Chris Glover, from New York City.
I asked Chris what to expect from his 2010 album, which he's shopping to labels now. He's working with producer Dan Grech-Marguerat, who's produced Sam Sparro, GoodBooks, Dragonette and, yes, Tom Jones, as well as engineering little known artists Radiohead and Beck. Crispin Hunt from Longpigs is also involved.
What about the tracks we've not heard yet? Chris:
The songs released thus far are quite unique from one another, but they have a muscularity which may propel them forward a bit more than, say, Frankmusik. It's pop music with a strong 80's influence, but it's not pastiche and it could be be played at both gay clubs and Brooklyn "indie" bars.
I have worked on 2 songs for the album with Alex Frankel from the band Holy Ghost! on DFA Records. One is called The Worse It Gets which is a bit of Hall & Oates / Doobie Brothers but somehow cool, if that makes sense. And the other song I made with Alex is called Golden Train, which is a straight disco song with a Michael Jackson type vocal on it and some really crazy sounding synths we made with a half broken Casio. I also worked on two songs with Noah Loha - the guy I made A Funny Thing and Animal Animal with. One is called Something I'm Not which might be the "coolest" song on my album. It is like Kanye West's 808 type songs mixed with Talking Heads and Radiohead mixed with Michael Jackson.
An early preview of another track A Fair Warning suggests epic sounds are forthcoming. His voice reminds me of Midge Ure from Ultravox on that one, which I hope you'll all be digging by next summer.
Penguin Prison A Funny Thing:
That indie-pop earworm can be downloaded for free here. For more Penguin Prison MP3s, go to the amazing Neon Gold.