One balmy Maryland night 2009 I was sitting upon the magical roof atop Open Space with Adam Lempel and Brendan Sullivan of Weekends, one of my favorite new Baltimore bands at the time. Weeks prior I had decided to start a record label via a new Future Islands 7”, and Weekends were the natural next step in capturing what was happening in Baltimore at that point in time.
Strange Cultures was destined for wax, but first was handed off to the only ears that mattered for a record consisting of such skuzzy rock and roll, Rob Girardi. Rob had produced the likes of Double Dagger, Beach House and Celebration to much acclaim, and was now the final say on the boards of Weekends’ vinyl debut.
Sitting in on Rob’s mixing sessions was a surreal but sometimes tedious experience, as Rob bent and tweaked the lo-fidelity squalls of songs like “Raingirls” and “Peer History”. Magic eventually took over after many nights in the Charles Village basement studio, and what was left was the first LP in the Friends Records vinyl catalog, FR001.
Fast forward to 2013, and Weekends now present us with New Humans. The beautiful community that was Open Space also helped shaped this record, but unfortunately it didn’t come without dear, dear loss.
On May 1, 2013 the auto body shop building that housed Open Space burned to the ground. The art gallery, practice space, and much more was home to many amazing Baltimore artists, and also a lot of band gear and merchandise including the new Weekends record. A portion of the LP jackets survived, but not without a smoky musk and some battle scars. Amazingly, the vinyl was salvaged and still does exactly what it's supposed to do – provide its listeners with an onslaught of primal basement bangers.
50 copies of the LP with the jackets that survived the fire will be made available this Friday, August 30 at Scapescape, along with a new version of the LP jacket and the cassette. The album was recorded by Jeremy Scott, who has also lent a hand to Vivian Girls, in Brooklyn. The artwork and design is by the local screen-print legend Chris Day. If you’re not in Baltimore this weekend, you can listen and grip your copy here.