In August ’09 I teamed up with Fred from BrooklynVegan to do a Keelhaul show in Brooklyn. It made perfect sense to ask long-running Brooklyn (Extra Life, Aa, Ocrilim-associated) mathy prog-metal punks STATS to open for the legendary Cleveland progressive sludge crew. They list Keelhaul as an influence — even if they didn’t, the trio’s interest shows in their tight, muscular, fuzzed lurch. (They also mention ALL as stylistic source material, something to maybe unpack in their winks, nods, and guitar tones.) You might remember STATS under their first name, Stay Fucked. Guitarist Joe Petrucelli and drummer Hank Shteamer formed the band with that moniker in 2002. After a few self-released CD-Rs they brought in bassist Tony Gedrich into the fold for 2007’s Windpipe EP. In 2009 they changed the name to STATS and released last year’s Marooned EP. The new 20-minute collection Crowned was engineered by Ben Greenberg, mastered by James Plotkin. Take a listen to opener “Guthy Renker,” a title taken from the direct-response television marketing company of the same name. The band saw it branded on an infomercial for a Midnight Special DVD set, but have since “abstracted it from any meaning.” As Shteamer notes: “We just couldn’t shake the sound of it … We’re all kind of obsessed with curious words and phrases.” Just the sort of thing I like to hear from an instrumental band.
01 “Guthy Renker”
02 “From Before”
Crowned is out 10/26 via The Path Less Traveled. Remi Thornton did the cover art. The guys are playing a release show 11/15 at the Cake Shop with Chicago art-punk mainstays Cheer-Accident, Xaddax (ex–Dazzling Killmen), and jazz-punks Inzinzac. If you want a taste of STATS live, here they are performing “Guthy Renker”: