“I started the lyrics to this song maybe three or four times and I
scrapped them every time. And then I had the one line, the first line of
the song in my head, “But did you know I hold my breath through every
tunnel?‘” and I literally wrote the whole thing on the 20-minute car
ride home. Putting it first on the record makes a statement for the
overall theme, of young insecurities and still being confused and going
year by year and thinking it’s getting more understandable, but every
year I grow older it’s still insane.“ - Ned Russin
Most “this band means a lot to me” stories follow a certain narrative tack. They start with discovering the band as an impressionable, bright-eyed teenager, probably introduced by a wise older sibling, a mixtape burned from a best friend’s CD-R drive, or maybe headphones shared with a crush on a long ride somewhere, falling in love over four chords and split earbuds. That’s followed by enthusiastic discography-diving, tracking down the most obscure B-sides and splits that bootleg music blogs offered under their proverbial trench coats. And the stories usually culminate in finally sharing the same sweaty, small room with that band, shouting back the lyrics you fell in love with as your slightly younger self. Sound familiar? Probably.
So maybe it’s poetic justice that my story of how Jeff Rosenstock’s music brashly marched its way into my heart waves a casual middle finger to that narrative before dismantling it completely.
When I found myself gravitating towards ska-punk in high school – I didn’t go as far as to wear all-checkered-everything and sign up for skanking lessons, but an impossible number of Less Than Jake and Goldfinger songs occupied prime real estate on my iPod — I became tangentially familiar with Rosenstock’s foray into the genre with The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. I figured that, like a more punk Paul McCartney, Rosenstock just felt like filling the world with silly ska songs.
But lets bypass all the childhood nostalgia bullshit. I discovered Bomb the Music Industry! in college, in a soundproofed radio station tucked in the basement of Syracuse University’s student center. I was a freshman who wore his dorm room key on a lanyard, thought naming a fledgling radio show “Stage Dives and Sing-alongs” was cool, and trekked half a mile every Monday at 6:30 in the morning, wind whipping in my face, so I could settle into the WERW (What Everybody Really Wants!) studio for two hours and test just how soundproof those station walls were.
Happy to share that we will be heading out on tour this May/June with Creepoid and The Spirit Of The Beehive. We’ll be hitting a ton of spots all across the US and into Canada. Tickets for all shows go on sale this Friday, April 22nd.
At the conclusion of this tour, we will be taking an indefinite hiatus from touring full time to pursue things in our own personal lives. We sort of already began that process, as we really haven’t played many shows in the past few months. But before we do, we all thought it’d be fun to do one more with a couple great bands. Hope to see you this spring.
Superheaven North American Tour 2016
with Creepoid and The Spirit of the Beehive
5/27 - Smiling Moose — Pittsburgh, PA
5/28 - Bled Fest — Howell, MI
5/29 - Hard Luck Bar — Toronto, ON
5/30 - Water Street Music Hall — Rochester, NY
6/1 - Southgate House Revival — Newport, KY
6/2 - Mahall’s — Lakewood, OH
6/3 - Subterranean — Chicago, IL
6/4 - The Nether Bar — Minneapolis, MN
6/5 - Jackpot Music Hall — Lawrence, KS
6/6 - Larimer Lounge — Denver, CO
6/7 - Kilby Court — Salt Lake City, UT
6/9 - The Cobalt — Vancouver, BC
6/10 - Vera Project — Seattle, WA
6/11 - Analog Lounge — Portland, OR
6/12 - Bottom Of The Hill — San Francisco, CA
6/14 - Roxy Theatre — Los Angeles, CA
6/15 - Rebel Lounge — Phoenix, AZ
6/17 - Barracuda — Austin, TX
6/18 - Gas Monkey Live — Dallas, TX
6/20 - The End — Nashville, TN
6/21 - The Broadberry — Richmond, VA
6/22 - Studio at Webster Hall — New York, NY
6/23 - Metro Gallery — Baltimore, MD
6/24 - The Fillmore - Foundry — Philadelphia, PA
6/25 - Brighton Music Hall — Allston, MA
Toronto punks PUP make a name for themselves on their self-titled debut
I always think it’s an interesting decision when a band chooses to self-title an album. It’s kind of a bold move that feels like the group is trying to declare some sort of definitive statement about the band’s sound or aesthetic or “mission.” This probably (almost definitely) was not what the Canadian punk rock group PUP was thinking about when they named their SideOneDummy debut, which is set to be released in just a few weeks, but if there was ever a case where a self-titling an album was a really good idea, this has to be it, right?
To just try to describe PUP’s sound doesn’t do it justice. The easy way is to say something about how they blend the intensity and bombast of punk rock with the guitar-driven sense of melody found in the best power-pop bands. And that’s accurate, of course, but it also describes a lot of other bands that don’t really sound anything like PUP, and more importantly, it doesn’t really capture the spirit of PUP’s music.
At no point on PUP is the essence of the band’s sound captured more clearly and effectively than on the opening track, “Guilt Trip,” which begins with some menacing guitar feedback that launches into a scary hardcore riff. Quickly, though, the song’s primary lead guitar line shows up to add a bit of sugary pop-influence to the song’s heavy foundation. This dynamic lasts through the duration of the track. Adding to that is the contrast between Stefan Babcock’s half-sung/half-strained vocals and his generally catchy (but not too catchy) melodies that are augmented by the rest of the band’s gang vocals. In fact, in “Guilt Trip,” this is employed to maximum effect, as the best part of the song comes right at the end (around the 2:58 mark), when Babcock kind of loses his mind and starts screaming over raucous power chords, while the rest of his bandmates throw in some soaring harmonies behind him that juxtapose the intensity of the song’s climax.
Those moments are what make PUP such an enjoyable experience. The band never seems to feel like they have to sacrifice songwriting or arranging for intensity; instead, they just build the intensity right into the song itself. Granted, many of these tracks probably wouldn’t work that well as stripped down acoustic songs, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that that’s not really what they’re trying to accomplish, anyway. The foundations of this band – and this album – are built upon the group’s electrifying, passionate performances.
Here are two Title Fight videos I took years ago that I recently watched and decided to put up on YouTube, because why not?
This first one was the first time I saw Title Fight. They played one of my now best friends Jake from East Coast Collectives backyard in essentially the middle of the winter and it was
so cold. I think they were playing a weekend with Make Do And Mend? It’s crazy to think that this is going to be seven years ago
soon. A bunch of us went to go see H2O, Cruel Hand and Energy in NYC
after and that show was cool as well.