Heart to Heart

On its new album, Pleasant Grove is happy to be sad

"This is really kind of our first album," Butcher says. "The other one still sounds like Pleasant Grove..."

"But this," Striplin says, gesturing at the other four musicians around the table, "is Pleasant Grove. The moment that I felt like it really came together, probably, was when we started recording the first Glitterhouse stuff. Like 'Fate Uninvited.' When we did that and it was committed to tape, and we were listening to it..."

"We had recordings that were so much better than anything we'd done before," Egner adds. "It was refreshing."

A normal band practice: Pleasant Grove is, from left, Tony Hormillosa, Joe Butcher, Bret Egner, Jeff Ryan and Marcus Striplin.
Nancy Newberry
A normal band practice: Pleasant Grove is, from left, Tony Hormillosa, Joe Butcher, Bret Egner, Jeff Ryan and Marcus Striplin.

With the lineup settled in and with an album they're all proud of--and they should be--the members of Pleasant Grove are anxious for people to hear it. They're planning a tour with Slobberbone for early next year, and getting out on the road more has become one of their top priorities. "When we play out of town, people really get it," Striplin says, citing a show in Oklahoma as the best one Pleasant Grove has ever played.

Strangely, that anxiousness to be heard is part of the reason Auscultation of the Heart isn't currently available in American record stores. (Save for Good Records, which struck a deal with Glitterhouse so it would be able to carry it at domestic prices, avoiding the heavy import fee of a European release.) There was talk at one point that upstart local label Summer Break Records would put out the disc, and Last Beat was willing to release it as well. The band, however, decided it didn't want Auscultation of the Heart to be pigeonholed as a local release. They loved the album too much--they love this band too much--to let it be ignored. So, for now, it remains buried treasure. But that's usually the best kind.

"Fuck, man, if you're gonna put your art on the line--your love, your baby--you wanna make sure it gets some attention," Striplin says. "That's the entire point...not of it all. It's art and then beyond. If you can make someone else go, 'Oh my god, I can completely relate to that song,' or whatever the hell, man, that's the beauty in making music. Because that's the only reason why I know you write it"--he points to Egner--"and I write it, you know? It's the bullshit of life and the beauty of life. It's all the crap. It's true."

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