Tough Love Records / US / 2017
Long unavailable except as streams on their Bandcamp page, the Washington D.C. band Priests has fulfilled the demand for the re-release of some of their earliest material by reissuing both of their early cassette releases on a single LP for Record Store Day.
Back before releasing their debut 7-inch “Radiation” b/w “Personal Planes” back in 2013, Priests debuted with a cassette recording in January 2012, mere weeks after they had formed and started practicing. The cassette, known as Tape 1, fittingly features their four rawest, noisiest, and perhaps most intense recordings. It’s noteworthy that unlike all of their later records, which were recorded with Kevin Erickson at a proper studio, they recorded these songs in a basement in Maryland. Still, any fan of the band who hasn’t heard this stuff yet will enjoy the energy and pure gusto captured here, even if the material they’d record later would be much more memorable. The listener can hear the hunger to communicate their message to the world and in an era when so many bands form in the hope of making it onto an Apple commercial, there’s a lot to be said for that.
Tape Two, originally released in 2013 mere months after their debut 7-inch, sees Priests move closer to the sound they’d develop for their debut 12-inch EP Bodies and Control and Money and Power. Standouts include “Lana” (as in Lana Del Rey) and “U.S.A. (Incantations),” a powerful spoken word piece (albeit with Priests playing over it but with vocalist Katie Alice Greer front and center) outlining the theory that this country was not created equal from the onset given the makeup of those who signed the constitution, as well as criticizing the idea of blind patriotism.
All in all, this isn’t the best place to start if you’re new to Priests, but fans who have worn out their copies of their debut LP Nothing Feels Natural and the aforementioned Bodies and Control and Money and Power need to hear this.