The Van Pelt: "Skill does not write a good song. Louie Louie is better than any song Joe Satriani’s written, but the more skillful you are, the easier it is to execute your vision"

Brian Maryansky (left) and Chris Leo perform onstage with The Van Pelt
(Image credit: Owen Richards)

There’s plenty of music history coursing through the Van Pelt’s latest album, Artisans & Merchants. For starters, it’s the first formal studio release from the New Jesey-formed quartet since the late ‘90s, back when the band straddled the indie-to-emo line alongside contemporaries like Braid, the Promise Ring, Joan of Arc, and Tsunami.

Thematically, Artisans & Merchants finds vocalist/guitarist Chris Leo contemplating the Van Pelt’s time on the house show circuit (Punk House), though he also considers the personal ways we entwine with the music of others, as on the Television-celebrating Did We Hear the Same Song. While it’s a welcome return, it’s taken the Van Pelt awhile to get here.

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.