In conjunction with Ernest Jenning Record Co. and La Castanya, highly influential (and yet woefully short-lived) NYC cult indie rockers The Van Pelt have announced plans to reissue their seminal first two LPs, Sultans of Sentiment (for its 25th anniversary) & Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves, remastered and on vinyl for the first time in the US in decades. The reissues will be joined by two very limited cassette pressings of the legendary WGNS demo and an alternate demo version of Sultans, both featuring previously unreleased tracks. Neither cassette will be released digitally. All of these massively sought-after releases will be available on December 30. Stay tuned for updates about new music and live performances.
“In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Sultans of Sentiment — The Van Pelt’s classic album — we are proud to be dropping the MOTHERLOAD of Van Pelt reissues: Both of their first two albums as well as the demos for each of these albums on cassette!” says bandleader Chris Leo. “Lots of licks, tons of words, big Steve Lillywhite on DIY rhythm section, these albums are critical links in the chain that takes one from The Fall to Yard Act, from Television and The Minutemen to Parquet Courts and Sleaford Mods, from punk as a sound to punk purely as an ethos. Woo-hoo!”
While much has been made of the band’s first two LPs, the material on the cassettes may be more of a mystery, even to longtime fans. The 1994 WGNS demo was recorded in Washington, DC w/ Geoff Turner (of Gray Matter fame), featuring the original quartet lineup of the band. This 7 song tape was sent to venues for booking gigs, zines to be reviewed, and given to friends, but never sold. The Sultans demo was recorded after a summer tour in 1996 at Alap Momin’s Sweetwood Sound by its later lineup, simply as a reference for the band.
Post-Punk? IndieRock? Post-Hardcore? The Van Pelt walked between all these worlds. Spoken/sung vocals, anthemic pop hooks, fiery guitars, and a tightly wound rhythm section made them stand outs of the DIY basement scene they emerged from. Led by Chris Leo (Native Nod, The Lapse), members of The Van Pelt also went on to prominent roles in Jets to Brazil, Oneida, Enon, Blonde Redhead, and more.