THE VIDEO for the Pharmacy's latest single, "Dig Your Grave," is shot on grainy 16mm film, and shows the three bandmates—draped in white cloaks, their faces caked in ghoulish paint—committing murder in a graveyard, before rocking out and setting fire to their instruments. It's a shit-storm of camp and creep scored perfectly by the song itself, which chimes in with a sunny verse before disappearing into its shadowy chorus.
Those two-and-a-half minutes make for quite a rock-and-roll statement, while fully capturing the Seattle trio's off-kilter psych pop. Credit that to drummer Brendhan Bowers, who directed the clip himself. It falls in line with the Pharmacy's scrappy, DIY approach, which has taken the band on several lengthy cross-country and European jaunts.
The Pharmacy is pretty much all these guys know. Bowers and guitarist/vocalist Scott Yoder formed the band on Vashon Island, Washington, while still in high school after Yoder received a four-track for his birthday. "We essentially learned how to play our instruments together," says Yoder. "We learned chemistry that way, and we just know where each other comes from."
Over the past decade, they've recorded three proper full-lengths as well as a paper trail of EPs and 7-inches. In early 2009, Yoder, Bowers, and bassist/keyboardist Stefan Rubicz relocated to New Orleans (a favorite stop on their marathon tours) to record their LP Weekend, an album that expanded their sound to include strings and piano.
The Pharmacy's hot-off-the-presses Dig Your Grave 7-inch continues their course—songs are less lo-fi bash, and more layered and dynamic. They spent most of 2011 writing and recording the new material at Jack Endino's Soundhouse studio in Seattle. Side A's "Dig Your Grave" and "Pines" are still scrappy, but get some extra warmth from producer Brandon Eggleston, whose fingerprints are all over recordings by the Mountain Goats, Modest Mouse, and Pelican.
2012 is shaping up to be another year spent on the road for the Pharmacy, with lengthy tours scheduled between the release of their forthcoming LP Stoned & Alone. One thing is certain: If the new songs are anything like "Dig Your Grave," the trio will bury any half-cocked notions that rock and roll is dead. And hopefully set them on fire.