The Van Pelt‘s Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves (1996) and Sultans Of Sentiment (1997), in hindsight, provided a number of significant indie-rock mile markers. The band was led by Ted’s brother, Chris Leo; Stealing recorded by Alap Momin (ex-Dälek); bassist Toko Yasuda went back and forth between TVP and Blonde Redhead after that record; and both albums saw the light of day via cult label Gern Blandsten. After being out of print since the turn of the century, the original tapes have been mined for reissue treatment by Spain’s La Castanya, allowing listeners to trace the band from its gorgeously melodic and incendiary, post-hardcore beginnings a la the Jazz June and Texas Is The Reason to a more subdued, Slint-like bent with Leo’s increasingly spoken-word vocal style by the time the last notes ring out on Sultans. Leo will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.
Leo: I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 1996. I left in 1999 because I thought it had reached its saturation point. By then, there were like three bars, a couple restaurants and a cafe. Over, where could it go from there right? Well tangentially related to that was that shortly after I got there, waves of art-school girls from places like Providence and Baltimore started rolling in making incredible art. Really crazy creative no-holds barred art pieces that lured you in like a male preying mantis well aware that if you went for it it wasn’t going to end well, but it’d still be worth it. These sisters reignited my entomologic doomsday crush and I’m loving that something inside me that has me so frightened also makes me feel so alive.