Seattle’s High Pulp Soundtrack Your Balmy Summer Nights with Their Debut LP Bad Juice (KEXP Premiere)

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry

It doesn’t matter if you’re taking in High Pulp while dancing in the sweat mist of a crowded show or trying to relive the moment watching their videos on your phone on the bus – when their music finds its way to your ears, you’re going to be smacked in the face with a wallop of revitalizing energy. The 10-piece Seattle funk-fusion outfit has been fine-tuning their maximalist grooves since 2015 when they started in a Greenwood basement. And for a good long while, one of the only ways you could really listen to the band’s music was through videos of their basement sessions or catching them live. But today that changes as they step out of the basement and emerge with their first full length LP, Bad Juice, out this Saturday.

With so much of what makes High Pulp work being hinged on their live performance, the band envisioned Bad Juice as a means of capturing this freeform energy. Teaming up with producer Jason Gray (who also plays bass in kindred spirits Polyrhythmics and has recorded LPs for The True Loves and Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio), the band holed up in a cabin on Whidbey Island to finally getting these songs cemented with recordings.

“We really value the improvisational aspects of music, that in-the-moment push and pull between musicians and their ideas, so it was important to us to lay down core tracking as a unit,” drummer Rob Granfelt tells KEXP. “Our goal with the record was to capture the energy of a live band. There is a grit and a dirtiness to the record that we appreciate, as it reminds us of some of the 60's and 70's era music that inspired us. We hope listeners can take this record home and enjoy it while hanging in the sun with their friends, as if High Pulp were there, playing your house party."

And “house party” is the right term here. It’s hard to imagine throwing on this LP and feeling anything less than joy. From the pink flamingos on the cover to the buoyant, flashy grooves embedded in each song, Bad Juice is the soundtrack to your carefree, balmy summer nights. It’s a call to arms for Seattleites to toss away their coffee cups (compost, preferably) and trade up for a tiki drink of their choice. From the magnetic flutter of “Hookai” and the deliciously greasy tribute to local fried Chicken chain “Ezell’s,” the band does their best to encapsulate an endorphin rush through their music. But they proudly display their ability to pull things back as well with the sultry “Dave’s,” practically made for a sunset cooldown. The cacophony of trumpets, saxophones, guitars, drums, and keys finds a steady balance to be more than the sum of its very many parts.

Grab yourself your favorite summer drink and stream the album in full below. Pre-orders for Bad Juice are available now.

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