The Mona Reels - Without Love: the school project that became a cinematic pop masterpiece
Internationally renowned underground rock n' roll drummer Peter David Connelly (aka The Mona Reels) set out to record an album for school credit at Olympia, WA’s famously unstructured The Evergreen State College. The whole idea was to utilize the school's open curriculum and vast resources towards an artistic end, just as members of Sleater-Kinney, Real Estate, Steve Fisk, Mirah and even Macklemore had done. It didn't exactly work out that way. The March 2020 campus shutdown meant the former Bangs/Rik & The Pigs member would have to make a choice: DIY or quit. Easy decision.
Instead of a state-of-the-art studio, the multi-instrumentalist found himself recording on a portable Tascam in the back room of a used clothing store. Rather than a concert piano, he spent countless hours sitting at the bright red 1916 upright in his apartment, working and reworking verses and chord changes. The warmth of these intimate settings – along with thoughtful guest performances from members of Vexx, G.L.O.S.S, and Grass Widow – was ultimately paired with Peerless Audio's exquisite mastering. The album’s confident vulnerability is felt through its various themes of cognitive dissonance, the loss of shared ideals, the delusion of nostalgia, and optimism in the face of the pandemic.
The result is Without Love, Peter’s most powerful and fully realized work to date. With early accolades from the likes of Bikini Kill’s Tobi Vail, who calls the album “a truly beautiful cinematic pop masterpiece”, Peter still has his fingers crossed that this contender for independent pop record of the year will still earn him college credit.
Singles: “Without Love”, “Someone To Hang On To”, "Spirit Banner"
"A truly beautiful cinematic pop masterpiece...so brilliant and fully realized.”
--Tobi Vail (Bikini Kill, Frumpies, The Real Distractions)
"A great musician and songwriter."
--Justin Trosper (Unwound, Nocturnal Habits)
"Album of the year."
--Max Bowman (Mortiferum)
"The Mona Reels, that's worth a listen."
--Calvin Johnson (K Records, Beat Happening)
Words, music and all other voices and instruments by Peter David Connelly
Mostly recorded between December 2019 and February 2021 at Capital View, Dumpster Values and the Institution, Olympia, WA
“Without Love” co-produced and engineered by Caleb Peinado
Mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA
SUMMER SCHIEF vocals on “Hope Your Dreams”, “Much Too Close”, “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going”, “Slow Goodbye”, and “We Don’t Like The Same Things Anymore”
ALI BAKER vocals on “Much Too Close”, “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going”, “Slow Goodbye”, and “We Don’t Like The Same Things Anymore”
CALEB PEINADO electric guitar solo on “Hope Your Dreams”, bass guitar on “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going”, french horn and arrangement on “Without Love”
LILLIAN MARING vocals on “Thought Maybe I’d Place My Soul To The Devil” and “Can’t Wait To Show You”
GISELLE GABRIELLE vocals on “Thought Maybe I’d Place My Soul To The Devil” and “Someone To Hang On To”
IZAAK MILLS tenor saxophone on “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going” and “Can’t Wait To Show You”
MICHAEL LIEBMAN electric guitar on “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going”
ASHLEY COOK clarinet on “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going”
COREY ROSE EVANS drums on “Sometimes I Wonder Where I’m Going”
ROGAN KEYS alto and tenor saxophones on “Without Love”