From The Desk Of The Van Pelt’s Chris Leo: The Jersey Shore

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 all week.

Leo: The talk has been about Asbury Park for the past couple of years, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Something is going on down there that feels so right. More than that, all these awesome kids who had the sixth sense a decade ago to plant roots in a zone just close enough to NYC and Philly to still lean on them while also just far enough away that they were free to make up their own rules entirely now have this justified vindicated shit-eating grin. Check out Court Liquors in Long Branch where, betwixt the worlds of Asbury artists and Deal Orthodox Syrian Jews, they’ve got two overlapping markets to sell all sorts of funky uber-natural wines to—then drive over to Victorian Ocean Grove with your boozy bounty where Methodists have the whole town on a dry lockdown.