Release Date: Jun 30, 2015
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
In 2007, as La Priest, Late Of The Pier singer Sam Dust released ‘Engine’, a 12” single on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy label. The 28-year-old’s old group split in 2010 and now, after touring as a guitarist in oddball New Zealand popper Connan Mockasin’s band and spending five years travelling the world working on “undisclosed” musical projects, comes debut album ‘Inji’.With his old band, Dust (real surname: Eastgate) became a cult hero renowned for making some of the most brilliantly deranged leftfield electronic-pop of the mid-noughties (see 2008 LOTP debut ‘Fantasy Black Channel’). He hasn’t lost that knack for twisted genius.
For former Late of the Pier frontman Samuel Eastgate, AKA Sam Dust, his new solo project LA Priest represents a fresh start. You can hear it in the music; Inji, the debut album under that name, takes an almost violently transformative and revisionary approach to the common elements of electronic pop music, tearing at ragged synthesizers, drilling vintage drum machine sounds into submission and mechanizing repeated melodies into a vibrant mash of psychedelic energy and spontaneous flair. Inji never stops in its mission to redefine pop; in Dust’s own words over the slowly building backdrop of “Party Zute / Learning to Love”, “It’ll be just like learning to love all over again.” It starts with disparate influences.
LA Priest is all over the place. Thank goodness. Sam Dust, the 28-year-old behind the moniker, split with Late of the Pier in 2010 and hopped around the globe playing guitar in Connan Mockasin's band. It's the type of musical splattering that gets you into some weird territory, and Dust embraced it instead of shying up on his debut LP, Inji.
In a way, it’s no surprise that LA Priest’s Sam Dust has released a debut that sounds as if each song was written by a different artist. He blurred genres while fronting Late of the Pier from 2004 until 2010, imbuing that band’s thrillingly eclectic take on nu-ravey pop with an irrepressible teenage energy. Now, in his mid-20s, he’s pouring varying thicknesses of woozy, 70s pop shimmer over Inji, sliding from joyous dance music to langorous balladry in a way that’s wildly inventive and surprisingly cohesive.
When Late of the Pier dissolved in 2010 -- two years after releasing the cult favorite Fantasy Black Channel -- Sam Eastgate took some time to work on solo experimental music and collaborate with New Zealand dreamweaver Connan Mockasin. Hints of all these projects can be heard in Inji, his full-length debut as LA Priest. Five years in the making, the album swirls together funk, disco, soft rock, dub, and more into soft-focus pop revealing that Eastgate's balance of catchy and challenging has grown defter over the years.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. If you've paid any attention to LA Priest over past few months, you've probably heard the Greenland story by now. If you haven't, the story goes that Sam Eastwood, the man behind the moniker who prefers to go by Sam Dust for some reason, spent an indistinct amount of time in Greenland investigating the ways in which electromagnetic frequencies affect recorded sound.
“For the last five years my experiences in music have been anything but experiences through the internet,” stated Sam Dust during the run-up to his debut album as LA Priest, Inji. When listening to the funky, chilled-out bliss of “Party Zute/Learning to Love”, that statement sounds impossible, like listening to a pilot talk about his fear of heights or a dairy farmer condemning lactose. Removed from the web for nearly half a decade (which aligns with the 2010 breakup of his former dance-punk outfit Late of the Pier), Dust picks out his synths with only a mild sense of nostalgia.
In 2007, Sam Eastgate released a single track under the name LA Priest. It’s taken him eight years to follow it up with an album, the major distraction being his dance-rock quartet Late of the Pier. Since the Leicestershire band split up in 2010 – prematurely, given the promise of their debut Fantasy Black Channel – Eastgate has reportedly been building synths in a Welsh mountain retreat and studying electromagnetic phenomena in Greenland.
Give Sam Dust a time machine and he’d always head towards the future. As a teen, he was making provocative and berserk pop music with Late of the Pier that refused to conform. With the project since disbanded, Dust’s attention has turned to discovering the unknown. Spanning five years and several countries, debut LA Priest album ‘Inji’ is the product of his own weird-pop fascinations.
?Late of the Pier frontman, Sam Dust (Eastgate), has emerged from the darkness and exceeded his preadolescent music-making days to produce a work of art that could quite possibly be the leading debut of the year. Throughout the aforementioned synthpop quartet’s lifespan, and beyond its demise, Dust drifted in and out of the public eye, involving himself with numerous projects; LA PRIEST being one of them. Following the release of 2007’s "Engine" 12” on Erol Alkan‘s Phantasy Sound, the world was expecting something special soon after.