Ears Wide Open: Foreign Press



Foreign Press is both a cover band and a spinoff act – but not in the way you generally regard either. Follow along: Back in the middle of last decade, a quartet called Richard Bivens & Foreign Press – the singer-songwriter-guitarist, joined by guitarist Ali Ghanavat, bassist Robert Pavlovich and drummer Richard Rizk (soon replaced by Dylan Kato) – was making noise in Orange County. The band splintered, and Bivens, Pavlovich and Kato went on to form the core of Regrets and Brunettes, whose 2009 album “At Night You Love Me” is a lost gem, if you’re in the mood to hunt down lost gems. Upon that band’s breakup, Bivens retreated, discouraged with the state musical things. That is, until Ghanvat, Pavlovich and Rizk coaxed him partway back to work. Recruiting lead singer Juanita Mankuleiyo (who’d sung backup for the band back in the day), they formed Foreign Press – a band that would perform the songs of Richard Bivens. Foreign Press’s self-titled album is Bivens’ work (some from his catalog, some new songs written specifically for the quartet), channeled through Mankuleiyo and tweaked by his old band mates. “It was fun to take these already fabulous songs and translate them into the way we heard them,” Ghanavat says. “Especially in the studio, where we could add other instrumentation and musicians to compliment each track. But, there is always a gamble in interpreting someone else’s work.” The album, a 13-track feast of rock ’n’ soul, features contributions from Paul Nowell and members of HOTT MT and Dahga Bloom, among others. Bivens, meanwhile, is back in business, currently in Oakland working on a solo album.

||| Stream: “A Sad One” and “Cocaine Kids”

||| Also: After the jump, check out Michael Finnican’s video for the title track: