Released May 1st, 2012.
Chess Club features some of the first material written by the band’s guitarist and founder, Joshua Pritchard, dating back to 2003. Two years later, along with his twin brother John and producer Tom Eaton, Pritchard formed Ruin/Renewal, and began working at Eaton’s Boston area studio, Universal Noise Storage. It wasn’t until 2009 that the band began performing live at venues in New York and Boston. “I grew up a little,” Joshua says, “and realized I had to give it away, get it out there. At a certain point, the prospect of taking action becomes less daunting than more deliberation.”
“Those earliest home recordings became classics to us before anyone else ever heard them.” says John. “People would say – ‘You keep talking about this band – but where is the music?’ There was always music – it was just – laying dormant.” Those early recordings would later become the basis for Chess Club.
Ruin/Renewal’s self-titled debut EP (June 2011, Burst & Bloom Records) spawned the first single “Proverbs,” which earned the number one spot on the Boston Emissions “Favorite New Local Song Poll” (WZLX-FM) for the week of December 3, 2011 – less than a month after its release. The tracks “One of the Four Humors” and “No Blues” also garnered attention – notably from WMBR’s “Pipeline!” hosted by Jeff Breeze. The radio program has served as Boston’s premier source for local music for decades. The band performed live on the show in November 2011.
The band’s follow-up, Chess Club EP (due May 2012, Burst and Bloom Records), a collection of material from the band’s earlier, reticent years, explores similar mood swings with a more elaborate, orchestral feel and features Mike Gruen (bass), Eaton (lap steel, piano) and Megumi Sasaki (violin). “There’s more layering on this record,” said Joshua. “The songs are less driving. There’s a lot of piano, percussion elements, strings. It captures our chamber music phase – small, early ideas that were fleshed out with the help of colleagues.”
Currently at work on Unknow You, their debut full-length, Ruin/Renewal will, for the first time, explore a theme from the outset – identity. “We’re planning on doing some different things in terms of rhythms – Old World, ragtime, American folk kind of stuff,” said Joshua. “We’re also working with some new collaborators; growing the family so to speak.” The new project will also feature several songs co-written by the Pritchard brothers.
Produced by Ruin / Renewal and Tom Eaton
Josh Pritchard – vocals, guitar, bass. Drums and piano on 1.
John Pritchard – drums. Electric piano on 3; piano on 4.
Tom Eaton – lap steel on 2, 6; piano on 5
Mike Gruen – bass on 6
Megumi Sasaki – violin on 6