The Pharmacy: Playing on Prefix

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Playing on Prefix is a feature on KCRW’s Music Blog in which writers from the eclectic music site Prefix hip you to what’s coming out of their computer speakers each week.

Like Wave Pictures or the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, they make no excuses about mining ground that has seemingly been all but depleted, and the fact that they are still able to find gold makes them that much more impressive.

On their new EP, “Dig Your Grave”, which was released recently via Kind Turkey Records, the band sticks exclusively to the classic guitar-bass-drums lineup, writing pop songs that have a eureka effect in their simplicity alone.

Side A of the EP was recorded in Seattle by Brandon Eggleston (Modest Mouse, Swans, Les Savy Fav). These tracks–“Dig Your Grave” and “Pines”– have a more polished, poppy, full-band feel.

Dig Your Grave by THE PHARMACY by kindturkeyrecords

Side B consists of a demo recorded on Governor’s Island and an acoustic track recorded in New Orleans during the sessions for their latest LP, “Weekend”. These two tracks are a bit more ramshackle–there’s just a hint of reverb that gives them an endearingly DIY sound. By far the best song here, though, is found on side B: closer “Burn All Yr Bridges”. Backed by a simple guitar melody, vocalist Scottie Yoder delivers the somewhat fatalistic lines, informed by his background in Washington State, “Burn all your bridges down / Sink them in the Puget Sound.”

Yoder has been making music in Vashon Island, Washington with his friend Brendhan Bowers for nearly a decade, but it wasn’t until the classically trained Stefan Rubicz joined them in 2007 that they became The Pharmacy. Since then, the group has recorded three LPs and gone on North American and European tours with Vivian Girls, Japanther, and Matt + Kim.

Dig Your Grave” is meant to preview new material from the band before their next LP, out on Park the Van Records, drops later this year.

Here’s hoping that their full-length meets the expectations this EP has set, because in its ten-minute running time, The Pharmacy has convinced me that it will be very, very good.

– by Matthew Blackwell