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Snoozer: Matured Cheese.

November 20, 2014
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SnoozerOnline02Text by Brian Wilensky. Images by Chris Fascenelli.

Be careful when you pick up a copy of a Snoozer album or EP. This three piece has been prone to trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their fans in the past.

“I think people started to think that we were lying about it or telling them a joke,” guitarist Mike Kelly says about releasing this year’s EP, Cottage Cheese. “Because we’ve set up release shows and then gave out blank CDs. One time, we literally handed out blank CDs and told people it was Cottage Cheese and just put a letter inside that said, ‘Whoops!’ or something.”

Drummer Tom Kelly, unrelated to the guitarist, defends their trick saying that they did include a download code for the album with the blanks. But the lo-fi and oft-angular, yet bouncy garage band sounds like they’re well aware that they may be a bit more likely to make waves by touring rather than just pushing CDs on people.

In early June they hit the road to Chicago in their windowless panel van. It was a tour completely set up by Tom, simply by finding bands in a  certain town and messaging them about setting up a gig … and getting quite lucky at times.

“Sometimes when you’re working on setting up a show in a place you don’t know, you’ll strike gold and they’ll be the friendliest people in town,” he says. “They’ll be like, ‘We’ll help you and you can stay in our house and we’ll give you food, too.’”

But setting up DIY shows isn’t something new to Snoozer. They were running a space with fellow locals Rasputin’s Secret Police in a seven-bedroom mansion just outside of West Philly. They called the house PUHD (pronounced “pud”) but since they weren’t living within city limits anymore, it became a bit tough to stay out of trouble when running shows there. Despite this fact, they’ve had at least a dozen really raging shows there over the last year, says bassist Paul Hewes.

“We’re kind of right in the center of a neighborhood,” he says. “When you start to get 80 kids on the lawn, people start to notice.”

Despite not hosting shows for the time being, the band still lives in the house and is still benefiting from being there. They don’t want to ruin a good thing.

“It’s a really good situation for us to live there so we didn’t want to push it,” Tom says. “We can all practice there. We all have our own rooms there. It was a lot of work putting on shows there, too. I think we’d only have one a month and one time we had two in a month and that felt like overkill.”

SnoozerOnline01The band toured again later in the summer, this time in support of Cottage Cheese coming out on tape on Philly’s own Ranch Records. Mike says that van life was kind of a nightmare because of having to live on top of each other for 10 days straight. This fall, they’ll tour with local lo-fi noise three-piece Gunk.

Snoozer recorded a new EP a few months ago and are hoping to have it ready for their run with Gunk. But with some new material around the corner, they’re looking forward to putting the Cottage Cheese down for a little while.

“We’re trying to have five or six new songs to play on this tour,” Mike says. “Honestly, we’ve been playing the Cottage Cheese songs for so long now. I don’t think any of us want to play them anymore. It’s not a drag. It’s definitely fun to play songs that you know like back of your hand but it gets a little worn out for us.”

But maybe playing those new songs on tour will be just what the band needs to keep themselves sane on the road.

“Imagine being in a windowless van for five or six hours at a time,” Hewes says. “You just start to freak out.”

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