Last season on Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Thompson’s mistress shipped off to some vaguely defined shady lane, a cobblestone-and-clapboard stretch that apparently housed women of ill repute. That wasn’t another Greenpoint set, that was Sylvan Terrace in Washington Heights, a 19th-century guidebook staple that once served as a carriageway to Manhattan’s oldest house, Morris-Jumel Mansion. That’s also where Chris Glover, the 29-year-old songwriter behind Girl-Talk-opening synth-pop project Penguin Prison, lives.
Glover recently gave us a tour of his home for our revived Shelter column:
Chris Glover likes to trash things. “If I throw something away today, a year from now, I’ll never remember I had it. I mean, I’m not going to throw away a guitar. But you don’t need that much.” Amusingly, Glover became Penguin Prison because of something he didn’t trash. A while back, his friend Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost! was rummaging through Glover’s stuff and discovered the Mattel-manufactured BeeGees Rhythm Machine.
They started fooling around with vintage mini-keyboard’s cheesy disco-beat setting and came up with the first Penguin Prison jam, “Golden Train.” Glover liked the sound and kept writing in that style.
On the name Penguin Prison: “I was writing down all these name ideas, 100s of them, I just couldn’t make a decision. One day I was like, ‘I need to just choose one.’ I promised that whatever it landed on, that was going to be my name, because I couldn’t decide on one. I was like, ‘Why did I land on that one?’ I didn’t like it for months. I was embarrassed about telling people.”