Oakland trio Preening is saxophonist/vocalist Max Nordile, bassist/vocalist Alejandra Alcala, and drummer Sam Lefebvre. The group’s sound — nervy and spare, brawny and coarse — has been described as a “slyly antagonizing joyful noise…alive with California blood and a contorted New York impulse a la ZE Records,” references to which the group would add The Smell circa 2006, a onetime Mission District meat-locker circa 2009, and, foremost, the inimitable dispatches of its present peers in Oakland.
Preening formed in the fall of 2016, rehearsing as well as playing its first show in a light-filled warehouse near the waterfront. The group released two demos as well as its debut Beeters EP (Digital Regress) in 2017, followed by the Greasetrap Frisbee EP (Ever/Never) the next year. Nice Dice, its third EP, was recorded in summer 2017 at Santo Studio in West Oakland by Zachary James Watkins (Black Spirituals), who contributed atmospheric guitar to the record's “gang laughter” interludes. Preening's mascot is the black-crowned night heron.