Future Loves Past's debut album, All The Luscious Plants gives "polish" a good name. That's not the only musical jargon the Tempe natives rehabilitate on All The Luscious Plants, but it's the first bit of it you'll have to confront when you listen to it; this is an album that rewards your attention immediately. It's a statement of purpose.
It's also occasion for this weekend's Lushfest, which FLP's Eric Palmer described aspirationally as "a huge party" when we talked to him about both earlier this week.
All The Luscious Plants doesn't necessarily sound like a debut album, but it came together like one. "We've been together for three years now, playing a lot of those songs, but we haven't had the money to record in a professional studio," Palmer says. "So by the time we did, we still had to go back and record all our old songs we'd been playing for a while."
Seven of the songs on Plants, then, have been following Future Loves Past around for a while. (First single "Grow Up Tall" is one of the new ones.) But the chance to record with Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket clarified things. "When we went in there we kind of did a once-over with [Hoag] and produced them all there, so they've all got that touch of the kind of pop music treatment from Bob. We already knew about that, so we kind of tried to do that before going in--tried to make them concise. It really comes across, because the album is only, like, 37 minutes long.
"It's totally awesome to finally get that kind of quality on it, because that's not something you can do without a professional, without hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gear... [even] hearing my vocals through the way he put it through the microphone, and the compressors, and the soundboard, and the EQ, and how all the good detail comes out of it. I'm used to hearing myself in my bedroom, and it sounds like crap, so I'm like, 'Wow, that actually sounds pleasant.'"
Their newer material, Palmer says, is "going probably in a little bit more elaborate [direction]," but All The Luscious Plants is a finished product, a complete sentence--it's everything those more elaborate songs, or the Solar System concept album they plan to finally record later this year, would need to build on.
Including the very particular design sense, which is Palmer's: "For me, [design] is definitely inseparable from [the album]. I would probably never allow anyone else to do any of our album artwork... I already know exactly how I want it, and my art and design experience goes back way before music, for me. Sometimes I joke that I created the band so that I could make the album artwork.
"You go back a few years--like, four years ago, when I was in my first band, the artwork was probably better than the band."
The music's certainly caught up at this point, which is good. Because if All The Luscious Plants weren't a success, things might become a little uncomfortable at Lushfest, the full-blown event that's grown out of the band's record release party. On two stages over two days at The Sail Inn 19 other local bands will join Future Loves Past, who will play the new album (as well as their next album) in its entirety.
After Future Loves Past finishes performing All The Luscious Plants Friday night the show will continue until two in the morning, with Snake! Snake! Snakes! and Japhy's Descent continuing inside. Saturday's bill features bands like Sundressed, St Ranger, and Vial of Sound, all of whom have attracted attention of late for their own success stories.
Palmer, shifting from artist to promoter, named some bands on the bill who could stand to earn more attention. "I'm particularly excited to see Huckleberry again. Banana Gun as well. Northern Hustle is cool, if people haven't seen them. Saddles--I don't know if a lot of people know about Saddles, but they have a really great album that they put out, and we gave them one of the best spots on Friday night."
As for Future Loves Past themselves, recording the second album is next on the agenda. Touring is a logistical problem at the moment--"Only one person in our band even has a car right now"--but the album has at least gotten them thinking about it. "Before, it wouldn't even make sense to tour--we didn't really have anything to give people. If we play for them and they like us, we're kind of at a brick wall."
In a weird way, Lushfest is both a celebration of Future Loves Past's new album and a reminder of just how much talent is out there right now, and how many great albums don't find the larger audiences they deserve. All The Luscious Plants and Future Loves Past, along with many of the bands joining them over the weekend, certainly deserve find a larger audience; over the weekend the audience they have now will come out in force to celebrate that fact.
And to just celebrate. "We're trying to create a vibe [like], 'You don't want to miss this, because you could meet your future ex-girlfriend at this event... One time I looked out and two people were making out at one of our shows, and I felt really validated by that."
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Lushfest is scheduled for September 13 and 14 at The Sail Inn in Tempe; two-day passes are $15. All The Luscious Plants comes out on Common Wall Media on September 24.