Union Transfer


The Menzingers

WKDU 91.7fm Presents

The Menzingers

Lemuria, PUP, Cayetana

Sat, May 31, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$16.00 - $18.00

This event is all ages

The Menzingers
The Menzingers
Philadelphia-by-way-of Scranton punk band, The Menzingers are two years removed from Epitaph debut On The Impossible Past. Voted Album of the Year by Absolute Punk and Punk News, the universal acclaim praised the band for its punk roots and quintessentially Midwest romantics. The same accolades have followed The Menzingers since forming as teenagers, followed since Chamberlain Waits (2010) and A Lesson In The Abuse of Information Technology (2007).

No longer housemates in Scranton, PA, the title to The Menzinger’s 2014 follow-up, Rented World, mirrors the band’s lifestyle since moving to Philly in 2008. The band was renting separate spaces around the city, but maintaining a practice space in North Philly where the majority of the record was written.

Faithfully archetypal Rust Belt punk, Rented World is an album concerned with maintaining a sense of self, the softening of posture, and the burden of harsh realities. In every respect, The Menzingers went into Rented World asking more of themselves. As co-songwriter and guitarist Tom May notes, The Menzingers felt like a different band in 2013.

Rented World remains punk, while fearlessly colliding the snarl of emo with grungy, 90s grit (“Bad Things”) and exploring the celestial expanse of post-rock (“Transient Love”). It’s slightly new territory for a band coping with their mid-twenties, and whether you've been there or you’re on the way there, it’s important to note a maturation that comes with the milestone.

“When you’re 15 you view music and the music industry a certain way,” May said. “But by the time you’re 25 you have a different view. Not that it’s good or bad, but getting older itself has changed the music.”

While the previous two records live in the trademark angst of Chicago producer Matt Allison (Alkaline Trio and Lawrence Arms) and his Atlas Studio sound, Menzingers kept it Philly-local for Rented World, enlisting Jonathan Low, whose distinctively rich Americana resonates through the careers of The War On Drugs, Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, and The National.

The band as a whole recognized shifts in their craft, shifts they knew would best be handled by Low at Miner Street Recordings. “We wanted to go to somebody who wasn't used to recording punk records,” Tom May said. “Though it wasn't in a pretentious way, like we wanted to become an indie rock band.”

With that in mind, album opener “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” is not just a declaration to be better to that special someone, but a bold recognition that permeates the record on into “Nothing Feels Good Anymore”. Shaking oneself out of ruts, still life stagnancy, and the same damn party every weekend informs two of Rented World’s most anthemic offerings.

While the front end of Rented World mostly focus on the complications of friendships and relationships, the latter songs progress towards the abstract. “The Talk” kicks the surgeon general’s number one killer out the front door (“I want my life back / you turned my chest black / I don’t owe you anything”), while “Sentimental Physics” addresses with the impossibility of compromise in the science vs. religion battle, “you can come find me / when you feel lost in a bidding war”.

On “In Remission” Barnett’s insecurities manifest as “I hate how I always get nervous every time I try to speak / in front of a big crowd / a pretty girl / or the police”, meaning The Menzingers didn’t write the answers into Rented World. The record admits to an in medias res that comes with one’s late 20s, old enough to know better, but still seeking greater wisdom.

Things start to feel a little more serious,” Tom May said. “When we were younger we wrote fiery songs because at that age it’s your world view. Things feel wrong and you want to say how wrong it is. Now, I look at the world with a view of ‘well, I’m not right all the time’.”
Without a distinguishable understanding of the pop and intensity, a silent video of a Lemuria show would appear to be that of a blistering hardcore trio. To the viewers surprise, turning the audio on they’d find the stage diving mania and screamers are really chanting “Maybe I should wear lipstick too” or “You fit in my skin, softest I’ve let in” as guitarist/vocalist Sheena Ozzella’s dynamic, melodic voice guides the unlikely chorus.

Lemuria might not sound like they are from Buffalo, NY, but the band was proudly birthed there, following the legacy of an oddly eclectic, if not eccentric, music scene. When you loosen your ears to the sugary indie-pop, you’ll discover discordant notes, odd time signatures, and brutal riffs creating menacing yet catchy music.

Releasing their early 7” EPs and splits on drummer/vocalist Alex Kerns’ label ‘Art of the Underground’, they landed their debut full length ‘Get Better’ on west coast pop-punk label Asian Man Records. Following their debut, and worked into an ambitious DIY touring schedule, they sprinkled 7” releases around on labels such as Hex, No Idea Records, and Suburban Home. Eventually, they would settle in with the Boston-based Bridge Nine Records with their 2011 sophomore album, ‘Pebble’. ‘Pebble’ received great critical acclaim and was featured with SPIN, RollingStone.com, and countless other magazines and websites.

Now, Lemuria are gearing up to release their newest effort ‘The Distance Is So Big’ on Bridge Nine Records on June 18th. Their most mature and best effort to date, this album was recorded at the Magpie Cage with J Robbins (Against Me!, Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring) earlier this year. Look for song premieres, pre-orders, and more news coming very soon.
On February 12th, 2016, PUP revealed the name of its new album - The Dream Is Over. They're the exact words a doctor spoke to singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock upon discovering one of his vocal cords had a small cyst and was beginning to hemorrhage. Given that the band - completed by drummer Zack Mykula, bassist Nestor Chumak and guitarist Steve Sladkowski - played over 450 shows in the last two years in support of its self-titled debut, it's perhaps not surprising that it happened. But while PUP had to end 2015 by cancelling its last couple of shows, by announcing The Dream Is Over the way they did - onstage at a sold-out show in Brooklyn - the Toronto four-piece proved that the exact opposite is true. The Dream Is Over is visible, visceral proof that the dream is still alive. It's just that, after two exhausting years on the road, it turns out that the dream is just very different to what the four of them thought or imagined it would be like.

"I think," says Babcock, "that a lot of people in their mid-20's start to feel this sense of disillusionment - realizing that maybe life isn't going to turn out exactly as you'd pictured it. I love touring and playing music more than anything in the world. But, there's also this realization that maybe the romanticized version of this lifestyle I'd imagined 10 years ago has little or no relation to the actual experience. I used to dream about this shit when I was a kid. But I never dreamt about the bad days - waking up in a Walmart parking lot in a van full of dudes, and thinking 'Fuck, I'm 27, broke, and lonely. What am I doing'. That's where a lot of these songs come from. And while that experience is very specific to me, I don't think the emotions are. I think most people eventually experience that resignation, that acceptance of real life, with all its imperfections. It's called 'growing up'."

Yet if these ten songs bear the marks, bruises and scars of the realities of their experiences, it also captures the sheer joy of their journey. Yes, it starts out with the marked venom of "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will" and its gentle distaste for life in a van, but as the song accelerates towards the end, there's a thrill and a happiness and a playful exuberance to the music that defies and overpowers the sentiment of the lyrics. Which, as it turns out, is very similar to what happens on the road, too.

"I always find there's two types of days on tour," says Babcock. "Eight or nine out of 10 are the best days of my life, and then one or two are literally the worst fucking thing I can imagine. So it's just like a rollercoaster ride. There's no middle ground. And that's where a lot of the record is coming from - Accepting the bad with the good, because on good days, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world."

As such, The Dream Is Over is the sound of a band not just surviving the storm, but thriving in it. It's a raw and honest account of real life - which is precisely what their dream turned out to be. Yet if these songs cater to specific experiences, they're also wholly relatable to a whole lot more. "Sleep In The Heat," for example, is a jilting, angular anthem that's also a poignant tribute to Babcock's late pet chameleon Norman - they'd met onset during the band's "Mabu" video and he took her as his own, but after an infection led to her tongue needing to be surgically removed, she refused to eat and sadly died. Elsewhere, "The Coast" is a dark, doom-laden track that shudders and shivers with anxiety and neurosis but which rallies against those very emotions and grows stronger by confronting the emotions which inspired it, while "Old Wounds" is a blistering, straightforward hardcore punk song which bursts with energy of the kind you only get when you're really, truly experiencing everything life can throw at you.

"In the end," contemplates Babcock, "I'm happy to have shitty experiences like that. I didn't expect this to be an easy road. The past couple years have really given us a whole new perspective."

That new perspective is - ironically - in full force on The Dream Is Over. The bulk of the music was written last spring in a brief period of downtime between tours, and recorded in the fall at home in Toronto with David Schiffman, who also produced the first album. And as if to prove the age old cliché that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, The Dream Is Over, for all the trials and tribulations that inspired it, finds PUP as confident, as tight as a musical unit and as in tune with each other as they have ever been. It's a very conscious act of rebellious defiance that turns this crazy dream of theirs back on its head.

'We had a clear idea of what we wanted to do this time around," says Babcock. "We knew that we wanted it to be heavier than the first record, we knew that we wanted to keep all the weird, quirky time signatures and we knew that we wanted to have banging choruses. We went into it with one mindset and everybody knew what their own individual goals were on the record."

As for that self-aware, tongue-in-cheek title? Everybody at the show in Brooklyn could tell it was ironic, that it's as far from the truth as anything. One listen to these songs will confirm the same.

"What can I say It's a brazen title," chuckles Babcock. "It's a fuck you to that doctor who told me I may never sing again. It's a fuck you directed at ourselves for every single moment we ever took for granted. And it's a snotty reminder that shit happens, expectations change, but we're still doing what we wanna do. This is life. This is the fucking dream."
Cayetana, a three-piece from Philadelphia, PA, formed a band and a great friendship in early Fall 2011, creating indie punk poppy jams full of raw sound and energy.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123