“The Lord made me Different,” Vanillalord proclaim in their bio, and it’s no overstatement. The Philly quartet, who’ve played bills in recent months with the likes of Laser Background and The Guests, lands pretty much just opposite vanilla on the flavor spectrum, brandishing a frenzied, synth-driven post-punk that they’re right to call “mutant.” Last spring’s debut Layman’s Worms had a manic driving energy, loaded with chunky power chords and overblown wordplay reminiscent of Prefab Sprout. Now Vanillalord are gearing to release their second EP, Macro Plaque PAC, this May.
In anticipation of the new EP, they’ve recorded a live session—shot and edited by Zach Langford and Matt Sheffield, with audio by drummer Cameron Konner—that includes its first two singles. The video sees them channeling a darker side, with jangling guitar meeting a shimmery synthetic whirr over brooding melodies that call to mind goth outfits like Killing Joke. On “Toroidal”, singer and keyboardist Mac Kennedy’s voice is deep and cuttingly precise as he draws out clever mouthfuls like, “Hands shaking / business fissuring / when felicity precipitates misery.” The song that follows plunges into more sinister territory, with a minor-key synth line backing Kennedy’s haunting suggestion that “You’re time’s been organized / you never even realized.” The sheer concentration that the four possess is captivating—through shifts in tempo, the interplay of the big anchoring drum and bass with the shining guitar and keys is tight. Under the cold blue light Vanillalord put on a markedly clean show.
The Macro Plaque PAC EP will be out May 25, the inaugural release for Boiled Records, a “short-run long-con record label dealing in outsider music and outlandish packages, with outposts in Philadelphia and Toronto.” You can preorder it now through Bandcamp. Vanillalord will be celebrating the record’s release that night at Everybody Hits Philadelphia alongside Ex-Cult, Sheer Mag, and Purling Hiss.