In 2008, after five years living in Bath, England, James Reich and Hannah Levbarg decided to relocate. The married couple and founders of post-punk group Venus Bogardus fled the bloody British economy of Reich’s homeland and returned to Levbarg's roots. They now live in Santa Fe.
With the move they say everything serendipitously fell into place. Now, less than a year and a half later, their band—comprised of Levbarg (bass, keyboards, vocals), Reich (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Baltimore-area transplant Luke Carr (drums)—releases its fourth album. Recorded, mixed and produced at Warehouse 21, where Reich and Carr run the recording studio, Spitting at the Glass is what the band describes as "loud experimental rock with a literary bent and some pop hooks."
The album bears resemblance to Sonic Youth (the band says it's also drawn favorable likenesses to Television, X and My Bloody Valentine). When asked about the similarities, Reich says, "It's a natural comparison to make because we also use detuned guitars, and not so many bands have taken up that approach. I was doing this before I knew of Sonic Youth; they have since become one of my favorite bands because I inherently relate to their techniques."
In addition to guitar fuzz, Spitting at the Glass comes with striking, glammed-out album art. Last summer the band met Michele Maier, a professional architectural photographer and former photographer for feminist artist Judy Chicago. "We were looking at some old, personal photos of hers one night, especially these pictures from fabulous '70s parties in Houston and San Francisco, and we asked her if we could use some for our next album," says Levbarg. "She loves our band and agreed to let us use her images, which we connected with really strongly ... we like relationships of mutual admiration with other artists, musicians, writers. Makes us think we're doing the right thing with our lives."
This month, after launching the new album at The Cowgirl BBQ (née The Cowgirl Hall of Fame) in Santa Fe, Venus Bogardus sets out to explore realms beyond the state on a monthlong tour of the West Coast. "We really genuinely love our new home in New Mexico and the amazing community that's made it feel like home."