Kevin Schmidt, Rick McCarty, and Mike Montgomery have been writing, recording, and touring as Ampline since 2001. Since then, they’ve stitched their way across the United States many times and have done multiple tours in Europe and the UK.
Passion Relapse, the group’s fifth full-length album, comes out January 26th via SofaBurn Records. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Montgomery’s Candyland; an analog-based recording studio located in Dayton, Kentucky that has played recent host to acts such as; The Breeders, Protomartyr, Buffalo Killers, R.Ring, Ed Crawford (fIREHOSE), Courtney Barnett, The Tillers, Jeremy Pinnell, Bat Fangs (Betsy Wright, Ex Hex), and many others.
Picking up thematically where their last album (You Will Be Buried Here via Phratry Records) left off, the lyrics explore the interrelation of man, nature, industry, and theology. Set atop a backdrop of a mythical sea voyage to find the Edge of the World, the songs weave a narrative of death, decay, invention, and ‘progress,’ metering the growing gulf between corporeal and spiritual.
Tracking live to tape enabled the band to capture the energy of playing together in a room, imbuing the songs with a sense of cohesion and urgency. As raw and propulsive as it is, the new LP contains some of the band’s most accessible writing to date.
Mike Montgomery reveals, “We wanted to make an album that sounded like we sound when we play live… one that felt immediate and where, as the recording engineer, I didn’t obsess over overdubs and production tweaks. So, between family, work, tours, other musical projects and life in general, we built a new studio, installed a tape machine and a vintage Harrison mixing desk, signed with SofaBurn Records, and when we finally set about ‘starting’ the album… we completed the bulk of it in two days. I guess we spent five years to prep for making the album in one weekend.”
Prior to founding Ampline, Schmidt played in the avant post-punk groups Elk and Covington. Rick and Mike played together in the bands Thistle, The Light Wires, and El Gigante. Montgomery, along with The Breeders’ Kelley Deal, is currently a member of the duo, R.Ring, who’ve recently released their debut LP. Mike also plays in Mike Vallely and the New Arms alongside iconic professional skateboarders Kristian Svitak (The Heartaches, Swami Recs) and Mike Vallely (Black Flag, Good For You with Greg Ginn).
The group has been touring the States and overseas this past year. Vallely’s Skateboard company, Street Plant, has featured quite a few Ampline tracks in their video edits. The cuts document the riders’ lives, travels, and skating around the globe. The Ampline tracks are a natural pairing for the raw, aggressive energy of the skating.