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The Get Up Kids debut “The Problem is Me”

The Get Up Kids premiere the second song from their upcoming new album, titled “The Problem is Me”. It’s great.

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Eight years since the last Get Up Kids album, eight long years. But it hasn’t been eight years without music by members of the Get Up Kids. They’ve been very busy in fact, producing work from all their side projects that include solo albums, as well as an album as Radar State (recommended highly if you’re missing that early Get Up Kids sound).

But here we are, eight years since There Are Rules and we are on the cusp of the release of Problems, their upcoming sixth studio album. Due May 10th on Polyvinyl Records, Problems sounds like it will be both continued growth of the Get Up Kids sound and one that taps into their roots. The latter is of course, great for old fans like myself, but it is one that the band members have always been wary about.

Guitarist Jim Suptic has said that there really isn’t a “going back” for the band, at least in terms of their songwriting;

“I’m 41 now, I could never write a song like when I was 19—all those ‘I miss my girlfriend’ kind of songs. It’s always important to us to write about wherever we are right now.”

Thankfully then, as you listen to the second song released from Problems, you’re met with the sound of “right now”. “The Problem is Me” is a song about “embracing your own romantic dysfunction”, and it is glorious in all its guitar-heavy melodies and impactful emotional connection- a good sign that “right now” is where we all want to be.

Perhaps The Get Up Kids will never write another Something to Write Home About, but in a sense, that record was a perfect moment in time. And time only moves in one direction. As vocalist/guitarist Matt Pryor laments;

“A big part of the reason why we started writing new songs in the first place is that we have things we want to say about this moment in time.”

We’re listening Matt, we’re listening.

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Berwanger remembers “When I Was Young”

Berwanger preps new album with video for “When I Was Young”

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For those who were big Vagrant Records fans in the late 90s and early 00s, there was one band that flew just under that Get Up Kids / Saves the Day radar. That band was The Anniversary, and while they didn’t quite reach the same heights as some of their more noted label mates, their two albums are still some of the best from that label, not just of that era, but period. Josh Berwanger knows, he was there. As lead singer for The Anniversary, Berwanger’s work along with his bandmates still has resonance to this day.

The Anniversary broke up in January of 2004 but John Berwanger remained busy all through the years after. And even though The Anniversary reunited in 2016, Berwanger continued to release and perform as a solo act under the moniker Berwanger.

Now Berwanger is on the cusp of releasing his new solo album, titled Watching a Garden Die (the follow-up to 2017’s And The Star Invaders). The new album is due June 28th via Wiretap Records and pre-orders are being taken now. In the lead up to the release, Berwanger has released the wistful video for the track “When I Was Young”- an ode to yesterday and growing up, wrapped inside that comforting super-8 video blanket.

The song features that great country-strewn sound of pedal steels and open roads and showcases the backing work of Hot Rod Circuit members Jay Russell and Casey Prestwood. This one is going to be a good one folks, I can feel it.

For those unfamiliar with Berwanger’s work, I would recommend checking out his 2016 album Exorcism Rock and of course, The Anniversary’s Designing A Nervous Breakdown.

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Bruce Springsteen rides the “Tucson Train”

Bruce Springsteen’s “Tucson Train” may be the growing kind, but when it does, all the best qualities of Springsteen shine.

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Few artists have been able to traverse musical diversity with as much success as Bruce Springsteen has. Over the decades, Springsteen’s Americana train has found success on various stops- Top 40 vibes, the solemn echo of stripped back acoustica, baroque- all done with aplomb. Now 19 albums into his storied career, Springsteen is preparing for another ambitious adventure that few have successfully done before.

His new album, titled Western Stars, is due June 14th and as RollingStone has so lavishly praised, is “some of Springsteen’s most beguiling work ever“. But true to that tone, RollingStone also said that the new work is “off-putting at first”, a sentiment echoed after listening to the first two singles “Hello Sunshine” and “There Goes My Miracle“. It’s a little slow burning, a testament to the very 60s/70s pop that permeates these songs. Maybe a little too avant-pop for Springsteen? Nonetheless, the latest track and video, “Tucson Train”, continues the vibe and does so with the same lush, dream-like instrumentation of the first two singles. But as Springsteen treks down this road it doesn’t take long for the familiar to regain its foothold; the gravitas of his voice, the aura, the connection his music (no matter what style) continues to have with the listener.

Springsteen has been very busy over the past few years. While Western Stars is his first album since 2014, his Netflix special and a year-long stint on Broadway is a reminder of how creatively restless and busy he always is.

“Tucson Train” may be the growing kind, but when it does, all the best qualities of Springsteen shine. And as the horizon engulfs the afternoon sun once again, we’re kept warm by the trusted and timeless.

Watch the video for “Tucson Train”:

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