Week in Pop: Amber Ryann, Proudest Ever, Sedona

Sjimon Gompers

Introducing LA by Brooklyn's breakout auteur/pop star Sedona; photographed by Mikhail Zalesky.

Park Snakes

Beyond the vanity mirrors with DC’s own Park Snakes; press photo courtesy of the band.

The DMV is home to seemingly infinite artistic inspirations & progressive aspirations. Despite the corrosive nature of local civics & the ping-pong paddle boards of trite polemics—the wide-eyed & bold visionaries with stories to tell & songs to hear continue to stand out from the crowd to capture our attention. Such is the case with the local trio Park Snakes, comprised of Nenet, Jason Coile & Van Hillard who present the world premiere for the single “Pride” from their upcoming album Silk available March 2. Recorded at the Paperhaus with Alex Tebeleff along with BLIGHT. Records boss Benjamin Schurr supplying bass; Park Snakes deliver an inclusive testament of identity & illumination to shed some enlightenment for an era of seemingly perpetual night.

Nenet, Jason & Van push past the stale systems of oppression in a full embrace of the self, others & senses of otherness. “Pride” is a celebration of solace & self-esteem against all the odds. The queer femme perspective knocks out the patriarchal pillars of the obsolete orders of the out-dated ancients for something immediate & real. Urgency can be heard & felt throughout the rapid heart pulse of the rhythm section as Park Snakes illustrate an unconditional self-love along with the empathetic intricacies. Nenet & the gang do not shy away from the complexities at hand where the relationship between between affinity & obsession is examined in all of manners of idiosyncrasies. Park Snakes approach the notion of “Pride” in the ways that we take pride in who we are (not what anyone says we should be), the pride that we share with another (outside of the binary hype), the pride we share in our world (the good, the bad & everything in-between), along with the invested pride in making our shared respective worlds even better for one another. Park Snakes have raised a standard that exceeds outside the post-punk conventions that embraces the ever-evolving truths that we as an international body of peoples hold to be self-evident.

Nenet introduced the inspirations that informed the single “Pride” with the following exclusive words:

I wrote “Pride” in 2016 during the Capital Pride parade. It was a hot day and there was a very festive vibe. People marching and dancing and wearing beads made for a nice afternoon, and I intended the song to be a contemplation on identity and what ties us to romance and sexuality. It was a convoluted year for me and I could feel thoughts flourishing as I worked more in playing with Park Snakes and took a notebook with me to write ideas as I walked or hung out with friends at bars and shows.

The song kicks in heavily into what we expect of ourselves and others, or look into what makes us desirable to the eyes of the person we reach out to. It has a certain twist to it, as it also deals with obsession and being foreign. I have had funny to downright horrible, if not distressing, conversations with women on the multi-layered shades of racist comments they experienced while going on dates. So I thought, it can be a song. It can be a savage rock n roll song, but it can also make you think on who you are, and how you interact with others.

Nenet shared the insightful behind-the-scenes introduction to their debut album Silk & more with the following reflections:

Tapes for our first release, Silk, got delivered at my place earlier today. It was sooner than we expected, which was exciting for an otherwise regular Tuesday.

I brought my tape deck upstairs from the basement and played it twice, thinking about how crazy exhausting it felt recording in 2017. It was summer and we worked at our friend Alex Tebeleff’s place in Brookland, the second incarnation of Paperhaus, for what seemed forever but probably was four or six seven hour sessions. We mixed at Peter Larkin’s beautiful (now sadly gone) Lighthouse Studio in DelRay. Then came mastering, done quickly and efficiently by the amazing Sarah Register, in NY.

We decided to record the songs we put out in our demo, and add my new favorites “Pride”, “Ugliest Man In The World”, “Silk”, “San Diego Blues” and “A Game”. Benjamin Schurr (Br’er, Blight Records) made a perfect guest appearance on bass in all tracks, adding a real edge to the sleazy melodies and themes of “Ugliest…” and “A Game”, and helped me put together the layout when I was otherwise burnt out and already thinking in at least five other projects.

The Spanish artist Javier Mayoral gracefully delivered the cover art, which I modified slightly to fit a hot pink color scheme that I thought would suit the record well.

It’s a modest but powerful debut, in my opinion, and it encapsulates well what the band was and worked for in our first two years in existence. From our initial statement of “Alien” (that deals with feelings of otherness, estrangement and immigration) to the I’m coming out vibes of “Silk”, the very honest queerness of “Pride” and the melancholy of “San Diego Blues”, an ode to leaving your spirit behind in California.

I wrote “Ugliest Man In The World” as a poem to two of the best woman I know, reminiscing my wilder days in Buenos Aires, and “A Game” to the impossibility of keeping a straight face when it comes to falling in love. It makes me happy to have Jason and Van as bandmates, they manage to capture the feeling that I sometimes can’t express in technical terms, and they don’t mind me mumbling as I go through composing our songs. I wrote most of them in our first practice space, a warehouse in Silver Springs, and in between drinks at The Raven and my old room on Park Rd.

I hope you can join us in what will be the official presentation of the tape, March 3/2 at Slash Run with The Effects and Natural Velvet. We are psyched!

Park Snakes’ debut album Silk will be available March 2.

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