PLS started as a name scrawled on the back of a notebook in high school. It was the title of a ghost story by Madeleine L’Engle; the eponym was a shy, bubble blowing camel also capable of blowing out some kneecaps when the time came. That ultimately has nothing to do with anything – John just thought it sounded cool. Kicking off in sub-suburban Ohio, he migrated to points west and eventually found himself in the foggy hills of the SF Bay Area. Instead of aspiring for rock’n'roll stadium greatness, he started quietly recording some music on his own, writing, playing and singing everything. He found that he didn’t totally suck at it and people seemed to like it, so he kept going. Eventually, it took on a life of its own. Once you hear the music in your own head on someone else’s speakers, it’s enough to keep you going… however slowly.
The first EP put the picture in vivid color, with a distinctly lo-fi, shoegazer feel and its first and only outside players – Brandon McWilliams on bass and Sara Vitullo on violin. “Can You See It Shine?” actually managed to get some attention, but ultimately the music was all that came out of it. As the rest of the world went by, PLS remained quiet, poking its head out here and there to see if it was ready to come out again. Then arrived Looking Mean And Impressive: dark, eccentric, and boiling just beneath the surface with songs like “Pile of Ashes” and “Mojave Phone Booth” and grazing dream pop’s dark side with “Mary of the Overpass” and “Hurricanes.” Two tracks from Can You See It Shine? were also remastered and included for your listening pleasure. The latest release, the three track (but four song) cover EP “I Was Here” sets off a new chapter in the story of PLS, weaving together past and present, love and loss with interpretations of songs by Sonic Youth, Medicine, and The Breeders.
Enjoy the show, and thank you for listening. I’m glad we talked.