Local Bands Team up for Album Release: Pretend Surprise releases new EP, kicks off tour with A Bottle Volcanic
On Wednesday, July 30th at The Whiskey, two Wilmington bands, Pretend Surprise and A Bottle Volcanic, will kick off the start of a five-day summer tour together. The honor? To release Pretend Surprise’s newest EP, “Butcher It” on Blood Drunk Records. During their five-day, bar-hopping binger, the bands will traverse across NC, through the triangle, into Winston-Salem, up to Asheville, and back down in Durham.
It turns out that, like sugar and coffee—or whiskey and (a splash of) water—these two Port City bands combine a perfect mixture of psychedelic folk-rock, stirred with some lo-fi indie riffs that twist into a mass of wires onstage and perhaps in every listener’s brain. Pretend Surprise brings forth a talented five-man band, packed with passion and filled with new tracks beckoning fans to the dance floor. A Bottle Volcanic on the other hand will lay out sounds that ring in Smog-like resonance, only peppered with a hidden hardcore past as heard from the high-hat crashing steadily in the background.
“We had talked a lot about taking a tour with Pretend Surprise for a while,” Charlie Smith of A Bottle Volcanic says, “so it’s awesome that we have finally got it together. Most of the tours and weekend runs we have been making recently have been solo, but we started talking, jamming and sharing equipment, and then just got excited and decided it was going to be the perfect tour combination.”
Both bands are stoked for this short adventure. Yet, the excitement for guitarist Matt Evans of Pretend Surprise comes with the delivery of the band’s newest EP and a new vocalist fronting them.
“We got bogged down with our earlier recordings, and it really messed us up for a while,” Evans says, “but this time it was totally different.”
Pretend Surprise recorded in Freeman Productions studio for 18 hours straight every day while working with Aslan Freeman. Located in Sanford, NC, Freeman helped provide the band the necessities the needed to cultivate their best sound. They even slept at the studio in between working hours.
“It was hard work,” Evans admits, “but it was definitely one of the most fun things we have done as a band. We all really came together. [Bill] was awesome and . . . helped us out a lot with the cost, the accommodations, everything. The studio is actually in his mom’s basement, but all of his equipment was really nice, and he got us to work hard and get together the sound we were looking for.”
Earlier in the year, Pretend Surprise dropped a few teasert tracks online called the “Basement Tapes.” The tracks highlight the band’s shift with their new vocalist, Zac Nobles. All vocals and lyrics reveal a much more emotionally charged sound than previous recordings. Nobles’ smooth and whispery vocals manifest into an occasional, intense howl (think AFI’s Davey Havoc).
“We like for our music to really speak for itself before you even hear the vocals start,” Evans confirms. “But Zac has these books of songs that he just pulls out and puts perfectly in with our music. That is how we really have started bringing it all together.”
Pretend Surprise covers a gamut of topics on “Butcher It.” Listeners will be schooled on everything from breakups to hookups, love to hate, all packed with a razor-sharp edge. “We are trying to make this music accessible to everyone but make it still really have a sharp edge to it,” Evans tells.
Pretend Surprise seems to cull their inspiration from a variety of bands that have a strong desire to mold something sonically unique. Their music isn’t exactly rough and grungy like punk-rock, but it contains Evan’s screeching guitars and hard-pounding drum beats by Bobby Armstrong.
Along with their local music brothers, the gruff doom-folk rock sound of A Bottle Volcanic, Pretend Surprise will release “Butcher It” downtown at The Whiskey on July 30th.
“If you ask me, I would say the biggest fear of our band is to actually make it, but not even like the music we are making,” Evans states. “That will just get you stuck in this situation where you aren’t even enjoying your shows. We are really an organic band, and all of our music comes straight from the heart, and that is what we love!”
Pretend Surprise, A Bottle Volcanic
Wednesday, July 30th, $5
The Whiskey, 1 S. Front St.