Don't let the name fool you
Cashew Van Harding and the rest of his band, The Prix (pronounced the "pree"), were sitting by the radio, anxiously waiting to hear their first radio single on Los Angeles' famed KROQ. When the time came, the DJ announced the song as "the latest from The Pricks." "We were all excited and then there it was, 'The Pricks,' right off the bat," Van Harding, the band's lead singer, says. "We're not opposed to maybe changing the name to 'The Grand Prix' so people get the idea, but we'll see."
Mispronunciations aside, The Prix have carved out a place for themselves somewhere in between what Van Harding calls "the dark side of the L.A. scene that's more angsty, like the Cold War Kids and Silversun Pickups, and another side that's more ’60s oriented and druggy, like the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Warlocks." Add a sliver of sunshine and a smattering of manic depression and you've got a worthy addition to the garage-pop indie scene.
The Prix let a bit of their intellect come through in their lyrics but Van Harding is also quick to point out that "for every so-called profound lyric there's a real juvenile one, and we try not to take anything too seriously. I suppose it's both high and low brow."
The band got one of their idols, Merry Go Round lead vocalist Emmitt Rhodes, to come out of retirement and help them record The Prix's first self-titled EP, which was followed by a self-titled full-length release in 2006. The second release is actually less polished than the first, as the band opted for less perfect takes in favor of a sound more true to their live show.
Van Harding and his fellow bandmates are currently working on their third release, this one with Stan Long (of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's and TV on the Radio) behind the sound board. A record contract appears to be in the works but Van Harding was hesitant to give away details for fear of disrupting the deal. "The new record will be out one way or another in the next 90 days," Van Harding says.
Fortunately for those in the Albuquerque metro area, you don't have to wait that long to hear the latest from The Prix. The group will play the Atomic Cantina on Monday, March 12, with The Dirty Novels and The Weather Underground. The show is free for those 21-and-over.