Expert Alterations just released their first EP in June, and already they’ve seen positive reviews from publications like Noisey, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, and Impose Magazine. Their sound has been described as “C-86 style indie pop with scratchy, jangly guitars, lead-like bass lines and a sleepy vocal style.” I’ll save you the trouble of trying to decipher that quote, and just tell you that Expert Alterations is pretty damn good.
The Baltimore trio, comprised of singer and guitarist Patrick Teal, bass player Alan Everhart, and drummer Paul Krolian, will be touring through the end of August, with support from Literature, Hard Left, and Mercury Girls. ATYPICAL SOUNDS was lucky to catch up with Patrick as he prepares to hit the road.
You’ve toured quite a bit this year. Was it difficult for you to put the rest of your lives aside to do it? Did you need to give up any day jobs?
PT: All of our bosses are in bands that tour so they are very understanding. Alan has done even more touring, he plays bass in Wildhoney.
You’re getting ready to tour with Literature next month. Have you worked with them before? Is it a challenge to tour so closely with a band you may only just be getting to know?
PT: We played a handful of shows with Literature last year right when their LP on Slumberland came out. We get to see Kevin [Attics] up in Philadelphia every so often and got to stay at Nate [Cardaci’s] house in Austin this past January while we were on tour. It’s always a bit awkward at first, but being in such close quarters you get close rather quickly. None of us knew The Flatmates when we played a few dates together last year- by day two it was like we had known each other for ages.
Do any of you get motion sickness? What are you most/least anticipating on this tour?
PT: Getting out of town is always pleasant. Just happy to spend some days with some of the best people we know. They’re the absolute best band to see live. I do not think there is anything the three of us “aren’t looking forward to.” It is just nice to break the monotony of everyday life. We all have pretty decent stomachs when it comes to that, I don’t think there are many windy roads where we are going.
Which of your songs do you think sounds best played live? Which is your favorite to play live?
PT: They all sound remarkable live. “Dear Thomas” will always hold a sweet spot in our hearts. Paul really likes to play “A Bell” from our first EP.
Over the last 6 months, you’ve steadily begun to gain more recognition. Have there been any differences in how you work with a band? What about working with your record labels?
PT: Differences, no. We are still very committed to making new friends and keeping in touch with a lot of the bands we’ve met and played with both in Baltimore and on the road. Working with Slumberland and Kanine has been nothing but enjoyable. Mike, Lio and Kay are really sweet and supportive. I mean it isn’t difficult to work with anyone when you share the same goal and that is putting out good records.
How did you get involved with this year’s Popfest? Were you familiar with the festival before you got involved with it?
PT: Paul and Patrick went three years ago. We toured with The Flatmates who were one of the headliners last year. We met Maz [Alhadid, producer of Popfest] last year, and this year he invited us to play. Lovely guy.
How do you feel about the pizza in New York, compared with the pizza in Baltimore?
PT: That’s like comparing apples to garbage. The large apple’s pizza surpasses Baltimore’s.
Great answer! So, your EP was released on both vinyl and cassette. What benefits do you see in each of these formats, versus just releasing a digital download or CD?
PT: All formats are pretty great. We are not purists that think vinyl and tape necessarily sound better and warmer and what have you. People just seem to be fond of the vinyl and tape formats. Paul still buys CDs. “It is 2015.”
Do you have any new music in the works? What are your plans for the autumn?
PT: Split 7” with Literature should be out early September. That’ll be on Square of Opposition Records. Our first LP will be released October 30th on Brooklyn’s own Kanine Records. Plans… rake some leaves, carve a pumpkin, tour a bunch.
Expert Alterations will be performing with Hard Left and Mercury Girls on 8/12 at Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, PA.
Expert Alterations will be performing with Literature on the following dates:
8/19 Black Cat – Washington, DC
8/19 Black Cat – Washington, DC
8/20 Cake Shop – New York, NY
8/21 Shea Stadium – Brooklyn, NY
8/23 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD