Episode 10 - Pretty Girls Make Graves and Phil Ek on 'The New Romance'

Season 3, Episode 2,   Sep 07, 2023, 04:00 AM

Today, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pretty Girls Make Graves’ sophomore album, The New Romance. Originally released in 2003, this was the Seattle punk band’s Matador Records debut. After more than a decade out of print, the album will return to us in a limited edition white vinyl pressing in stores on November 3. A deluxe digital version also lands today on digital services and features two b-sides “Magic Lights,” newly available on streaming, and a cover of Bow Wow Wow’s home-taping anthem, “C-30 C-60 C-90 Go!”

And what’s more, singer Andrea Zollo and guitarist J. Clark guest on the latest installment of our Matador Revisionist History podcast series alongside producer Phil Ek and our host, Matt Sweeney. 

Pretty Girls Make Graves formed in Seattle in 2001. The members – Andrea Zollo, Derek Fudesco, J. Clark, Nick Dewitt, and Nathan Thelen – were already local underground luminaries, owing to their time in punk and hardcore bands like Death Wish Kids, Area 51, and Murder City Devils. The quintet released an EP, a handful of 7” singles, and a full-length, Good Health (Lookout! Records), before getting a cold email from Matador Records founder Chris Lombardi, who may or may not have read a positive review in Pitchfork. A deal was struck and the band decamped to the bucolic Bear Creek studio to track The New Romance with Ek. 

On this episode, Zollo and Clark go deep on the band’s early years, talking influences (Drive Like Jehu, Ink & Dagger, Fugazi), rock band do’s / don’ts, and what it’s like to practice riffs in a freezing cold paper maché igloo.