When she's not playing drums (or guitar) in any of a half-dozen LA-scene bands—including Avi Buffalo, the band she joined in Long Beach, California while still in high school—Sheridan Riley retreats to her rehearsal space and painstakingly writes and arranges lush, guitar-based solo recordings under the name Peg.
“I started Peg about two years ago after a long Avi Buffalo tour,” Riley says. “I had written some songs and I had some time to kill. Peg is an outlet for me to keep pushing myself musically and see what it’s like to be a bandleader and an active songwriter.”
A close-knit revolving crew of musical friends joined in to add their own touches on the four-song Living With Abbreviation EP, which finds Peg striking a balance of precision and noise, bombast and atmosphere, harmony and dissonance, raw emotion and cerebral observation.
The EP was inspired in part by listening to several seminal indie rock albums on repeat during long drives, says Riley. “Lyrically it’s a bit emo and the phrasing is jaggedly expressed. A prevalent theme is a growing uneasiness and frustration with the present.”
Based across the country in Albany, New York, Hand Habits may be the perfect pairing with Peg. Although they have plenty of sonic differences, both acts are thoughtful, wistful, unpredictable, atmospheric and intense.
Hand Habits founder Meg Duffy is one of upstate New York's most sought-after indie guitarists for her gorgeous, textural dream-punk guitar work. The Small Shifts EP features two Hand Habits’ standouts—“Be Yr Man” and the epic nine-and-a-half minute “Bloom.”
Duffy recorded the EP at a friend’s house on both acoustic and electric guitar as a demo to give out at shows. “It was spring and a lot of things were growing,” Duffy says. “I was in a big transition period and really feeling the season that year. The vibe [of the EP] is hopeful, but with a potential black cloud on the periphery.”
For the multi-layered, reverb-laden Small Shifts, Duffy found musical inspiration in everything from folk music to psychedelic-ambient tracks to Fleetwood Mac. “I like experimental music that’s like a fog—it doesn’t dissipate but it just surrounds you,” she says. “I focus a lot on melody too. I think a strong melody is important along with writing songs that are fun to play.”
The Peg/Hand Habits split is available digitally through Eschatone Records and all major download sites on February 25, and in a limited edition of 150 vinyl records signed by both artists.