It might appear that the ultra-abrasive Brooklyn band Parts & Labor has been unusually quiet since dropping its 2008 album, Receivers. Although 2009 was the first year the group went without producing a new album since 2005, the electronics-tinged art-punk act has actually been as productive as ever.
“We spent about half of last year doing some touring for Receivers,” says Dan Friel, Parts & Labor’s electronics wizkid, keyboardist, and one-half of its vocal team. Friel & Co. then spent time juggling solo projects and their personal lives before regrouping toward the end of the year.
“We sort of moved back into writing our new record in the fall,” Friel says. “We’ll be recording, hopefully, in May or June. Probably more like June.”
Friel has been demoing songs for the new album, which the group will be recording as a trio. One-time guitarist Sarah Lipstate left the group when its wrapped up its Receivers tour. “She stayed in the band for about a year-and-half,” Friel says. “After doing the Parts & Labor tour schedule for that long, I think she decided that it was not for her. She wanted to focus more on her solo drone music under the name Noveller.”
Fortunately, there’s no love lost between Lipstate and P&L. As Friel himself tries to provide time for Parts & Labor, his solo career, his label (Cardboard Records, which he runs with P&L bassist and co-vocalist B.J. Warshaw) and his recent marriage, he’s well aware of the time constraints that come with holding down multiple projects. Though it’s hard to prioritize everything, right now the trio is refocusing on Parts & Labor, first and foremost.
“Me, BJ and Joe [Wong, drummer] have definitely put a lot of things on hold to try and focus on getting the Parts & Labor record done,” Friel says.
Just what the new record will sound like is anyone’s guess. Considering the band has weathered lineup changes dating back to Christopher Weingarten‘s departure from behind the drum kit in 2007, its current state as a trio should provide for some new musical grounding on the next album.
“We’re trying to expand the sound that we have electronically,” Friel says. “There’s a lot of Parts & Labor where we’re just focused on using a lot of very limited set up, with a toy keyobard and a lot of cheap, junkshop yard-sale style electronics. I’ve tried to expand a little bit with this record, just so I can circuit in some new sounds. We’re trying just to branch out, but keep the branching out primarily electronic.”
Depending on how electronics-heavy their final product comes out, Parts & Labor may once again mix up the lineup.
“We’ve talked about maybe bringing on a second electronics person,” Friel says. “To have a fourth person who just has a whole other cable, to see how that sounds. But, I don’t really know yet. We probably won’t decide until the fall, when we start touring and playing new songs more.”
In the meantime, Parts & Labor is heading out on short tour with local quartet Soft Power. The three-day trek kicks off at the Black Cat on tomorrow.