SW027 – Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – Protons and Electrons compilation. Available for pre-order now. Atom 1-12 collected in a 2 LP and a 2 CD set. 3+ years of work comes to fruition! Artwork by the unstoppable Plastic Flame Press. Lovingly produced by Toshi Kasai, mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. https://neutronfriends.bandcamp.com/album/protons-and-electrons-compilation
The guy’s name is Conan Neutron. The band is Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends—the North American trio comprised of singer and guitarist Neutron, drummer Dale Crover [The Melvins], bassist Tony Ash [Trophy Wives & Coliseum] joined by producer Toshi Kasai [Tool, Foo Fighters]. Together, they proudly present their third outing, Protons And Electrons, a collection of twelve 7” vinyl/online split singles presented together as a double album/double CD set. Why Protons And Electrons? “Because,” Neutron explains, “Protons, Electrons and Neutrons make the atom.”
A ringmaster of all things wildly heavy, startlingly poppy, undeniably rocking and delightfully weird, the front man (and namesake) and his pals bring to you this culmination of nearly three years of work.
Protons features a different Neutron Friends song, each composed and conceived as a single by the group; heavy, poppy, frantic or jagged, many aspects and facets of the band are represented. Electrons, on the other hand, features the B-sides courtesy of various musical comrades such as: Dale Crover Band, Thoughts Detecting Machines, Turbo Lightning and more, all musicians who play in live incarnations of The Secret Friends, record with the group or have some profound significance to the existence of the band. (Protons, Electrons, and Neutrons make the atom!)
Conceived as an avenue for discovery as much as a celebration of community, Protons And Neutrons twists and winds, seeking to tell no story other than the unfiltered joy of the act of creation and weird rock and roll itself. There is no expectation that you know the other bands, but you might find something you like. “It’s a surprise gift for people along for our whole deal!” Neutron excitedly exclaims.
Conan Neutron is certainly no stranger to taking a unique approach to creating music. Call his music smart, kooky, weird, quirky – you name it, he’s heard it before. Ghettoblaster described his music as “A wiry and adventurous rock ‘n roll that is equal parts Cheap Trick, Fugazi, the Cars, Black Sabbath and DEVO with perhaps Mean Streets era Van Halen mixed in,” with Mxdwn dubbing it “A paradoxical mix of accessibility and abandon.”. In 2015, The Secret Friends made their debut on Enemy of Everyone followed by the 2016 release, Art of Murder—a gleeful concept album about Hannibal Lecter with a dedicated following.
Along the way, the group earned acclaim from the likes of KPIX-CBS, The Bay Bridged, The Big Takeover, The Stranger, Milwaukee Record, I Heart Noise, Bandcamp (New and Notable), WMSE, and others. Since then the band has earned a reputation as a fierce and worthy live rock act, playing shows across the country with an ever-rotating cast of players.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there is something for everybody” Neutron explains, “but there’s something for people with a sense of adventure or people willing to take a ride with something that isn’t shameless genre music, but if safely consonant ‘garage rock’ or bands with riffs in search of a song are more your thing… it’s a big world out there.”
Pop aficionados can sing along to songs like Jilted Dragon and Hate Secretary. Purveyors of the heavy are referred to hard rockers like RECANT! and The Vig, while those who simply like to rock can line up for Paved Age, Litany of Grievances and Parade of Deceit.
On Protons, Neutron and company made an attempt to step up the game, breaking down all boundaries and adhering to only one rule: “Whatever the songs were going to do, they had to do it, get in and get the hell out. No overthinking, indulgence or indecision allowed.”
One day after Election Day 2016, Neutron entered Kasai’s Sound of Sirens Studios in Los Angeles alongside Crover and Ash to commence recording. During a fittingly “Weird time that has only gotten weirder since” as he calls it, the three-piece locked into an unbreakable groove as evidenced on Protons.
“I just want to make solid rock music, it’s what I live for” Neutron leaves off. “For me, that means changing things up and challenging the listener to come along on the trip. By doing things differently, I hope we accomplished that.”