The Menzingers’ eagerly awaited fifth full-length ‘After The Party’ is finally going to presented in Amsterdam. After the Party’s sophisticated yet emotionally raw songwriting also owes much to The Menzingers’ broadening their palette of influences in recent years. May, for instance, mined inspiration from the off-kilter song structure of Regina Spektor. Listening to her made me realize that you can go in with an idea and build the song around that, without it really having to go anywhere in particular,” he notes. Barnett, on the other hand, found himself swayed by their bus driver’s constant spinning of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell on a summer 2015 tour of Europe. You can say what you want about Meat Loaf, but his ability to craft catchy melodies is absolutely insane, where there’s ten of the strongest melodies ever written all just in one song,” says Barnett.
Considering this is a band whose last lead single was called I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore,” the lack of humor and personality here is particularly surprising. While Rented World may have been overproduced for a punk record, at least the lyrics kept it firmly planted in the genre. After The Party feels lost between old-school rock ‘n’ roll and nasally pop.
For our 30th episode, we are joined by Tom May of The Menzingers Tom talks up through his musical journey from growing up in Pennsylvannia, the artists that influenced him and the first bands he formed. We discuss how The Menzingers’ sound has evolved over the years and their rise to fame. Tom talks about his love for the UK and his many friends here. On the day of recording, the band had released the first single ‘Anna’ from their upcoming album. We get into what The Menzingers have planned for the coming months and what we can expect from the new record.
They are such an evocative and lively act who have no issues invading the crowd through the show and jumping along whilst getting totally lost in the bold riffs and thumping bass lines. They all jump in unison yet the musicians never drop notes even though the sounds are pretty chaotic at times. They have already worked out which songs go down best with the crowds and stick primarily to these so that the pace remains lively and anthem. It culminates in a round up of their most momentous songs so far including ‘In Remission’ ‘Sun Hotel’ and finally ‘Casey’.
What I’m trying to get across on the song is obviously the idea of going to a friend’s funeral who was, when you were growing up, a best friend, a very close friend. And how intimate that relationship is when you were young and you’re just getting your friends and you’re discovering the world, and then you grow older and you grow apart and they almost become an acquaintance. And it’s a pretty wild song that people could be so close to you at one point and then not so close.
The Menzingers were the first band I could truly say was my own. I was twenty-one when On the Impossible Past came out, and looking back, I’m not sure there was ever a better time to be that young. For myself and others, the Menzingers had just written an album that could be considered as monumental as Reinventing Axl Rose or Caution. And since then, they’ve toured endlessly and continued releasing quality albums. Sure, they’re not as fast and screamy as they used to be, but they’ve settled into a comfortable niche within the greater world of punk and indie, and more importantly, they occupy this space with consistently poignant songcraft.
After the Party is the quintessential jukebox record: an unstoppably melodic album primed for bar-room sing-alongs. Delivering anthemic harmonies, furious power chords, and larger-than-life melodies. With its delicately crafted storytelling and everyman romanticism, After the Party ultimately proves to be a wistful but life-affirming reflection on getting older but not quite growing up.
Previously, the split between songs led by Greg and Tom has been roughly even. Here, nine of the 12 songs are Greg’s, and much of the album revels in his wistful romanticism as a result. The title-track’s tale of a man haunted by summer love grown cold benefits from Will Yip’s (The Wonder Years, Code Orange) wide-open production, giving the moseying beach bar groove space to breathe. Not that Hello Exile sits around navel-gazing. The Tom-led Last To Know is a seething rocker, and the just-audible off-mic yell before the guitar solo showcases a band as exuberant as ever, even as Joe Godino’s beats hammer down like a hangover.
Although 2017’s After The Party was an attempt to reckon with the sudden entrance of their thirties, it felt more like them desperately reaching for the dog’s hair to quell a hangover than an actual moment of clarity. On the Pennsylvania quartet’s sixth album, Hello Exile, the boys soberly confront the consequences of their reckless abandon, and question whether clinging to their supposed glory days came at the expense of their futures. Many of Barnett’s lyrics stare down alcoholism, political anxieties, and myriad regrets without the rose-tinted glasses of his previous records. However, his fixation on what’s behind him hasn’t faded.
With each new album from The Menzingers, it always feels like the band has reached their peak, like they can’t get any better than this. At this point, though, I shouldn’t be surprised when they simply outdo themselves every single time. With their latest album, Hello Exile, the band has taken what made their previous release, After The Party great and simply ran with it. Filled to the brim with emotional lyrics about existential dread, the fear of growing up and holding on to one’s youth and the people they love, Hello Exile is sure to hit home with the band’s fans who are going through similar things.
Pulling stories from the lives of those around him was something Barnett experimented with for the first time on Hello Exile, and it resulted in an album that frequently extends beyond their personal bubbles. The record’s fiery opener, America (You’re Freaking Me Out),” is one of the most overtly political songs they’ve written in years, and it’s an effective Menzingers song because it includes observations about both Barnett and the world around him. After setting a scene of homeless tents next to pricey condos and bigoted religious billboards on Southern highways, Barnett acknowledges his own inaction and commits himself to making change in the world rather than merely dwelling on his anxieties.
We spent our 20s living in a rowdy kind of way, and now we’re at a point where it seems like everyone in our lives is moving in different directions,” says May of the inspiration behind After the Party. Adds Barnett: We’re turning 30 now, and there’s this idea that that’s when real life comes on. In a way this album is us saying, ‘We don’t have to grow up or get boring—we can keep on having a good time doing what we love.’” Bad Catholics” follows the release of After the Party’s lead single Lookers,” which premiered on Noisey in August.
The Menzingers have announced a new album. On October 4 the Philadelphia punk band will release Hello Exile via Epitaph The album was produced by Will Yip and features songs about high-school hellraising, troubled relationships, aging and alcohol and political ennui,” according to a press release. The first single is titled Anna,” and you can check it out below, along with the album’s tracklist. That’s the album’s artwork above.
On the Impossible Past went on to be voted “Album Of The Year” 2012 for both and It was also voted “Album Of The Year” by RockZone magazine in Spain. With each album they add more to their story, and the underlying emotional connection to the band and their songs is what grows in intensity.
The Menzingers consists of bass guitarist Eric Keen, drummer Joe Godino and guitarists and vocalists Greg Barnett and Tom May. The Menzingers’ new album Hello Exile is due out October 4 via Epitaph Records.
Emotionally, there were a couple that were really, really difficult to write, lyrically. There’s a song called High School Friend, which was a difficult one. We had been working on it for a long time, and nothing was really clicking, and then I really wanted to go back to the drawing board. I had some really emotional connections with some friends back home, and I just drew on those stories. I think there’s something really powerful about what you share with friends that you grew up with, that no-one else can ever really relate to. You have these bonds with these people, and they know you, your families, and they know everything about you. As you go on, it’s really important to keep those people in your life, and that song in particular is about that, and about coming through difficult chapters in both of our lives.
Then again, Barnett’s father never played in a punk band. Time moves faster in music than in the real world. One day you’re the new kids on the scene and the next you feel aged out of it. When Barnett started The Menzingers as a quasi-ska project with three high school friends — Tom May, Eric Keen, and Joe Godino — in Scranton, he was a baby-faced teenager who got teased by older, more established bands.
It’s very easy to start a punk band. It’s very difficult to keep that punk band going for a decade and these days, it’s almost impossible to make a living from that punk band. Almost. The Menzingers have been around for 13 years, countless shows, six albums and zero line up changes – they are the ones who made it out, the heroes of Philly house shows now safely ensconced in theatre-sized venues thousands of miles from home.
Recorded with Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios, “Peach” is an eclectic album that represents a band finding their sound, and that sound is anything they want it to be. The album sees the band lean full tilt into the Nuggets-inspired garage punk only hinted at on their more hostile early work, throwing keyboards and even the occasional string arrangement on top of their distorted attack. The result creates a barrage of outsider earworms that might be hard to label, but aren’t hard to sing along to instantly. This refreshingly try-anything approach to songwriting makes for an unpredictable listen that is somehow simultaneously cohesive, a testament to Culture Abuse’s ability to wrestle disparate styles into something all their own.
Proving the punk obsession managed to escape the confines of California, Pennsylvania outfit The Menzingers are doing punk rock in their own way. In less than a decade they have recorded and released four solid albums packed full of punk inspired gems adored by critics globally and have toured extensively. The lack of commerciality does not effect either the group or the fans as they both live for the live shows and getting to share the music together.
A Menzingers live show is always one of the hottest tickets in town and rightly so. They are fantastic at what they do and put a huge amount of energy and passion into their performances however the real stars at a Menzingers gig are the crowd themselves. There are few live bands that garner as much enthusiasm from the crowd as The Menzingers.
Specifically, the band opted to utilise the sound of the room at Studio 4. They littered the place with microphones, leaving Joe Godino’s drums as a huge, boomy centrepiece with everything else orbiting them: bassist Eric Keen’s varied tones, tailored to each song for the first time on a Menzingers record, plus Barnett and May’s jousting vocals and guitar lines. As a duo, they pulled apart their contributions, ensuring that they would balance each other out rather than stepping on each other’s toes.
While the 12 songs on Hello Exile don’t sonically deviate too much from the rest of The Menzingers’ previous six albums from the past decade or so, it offers a level of introspection relatively unheard in their genre. It’s an honest portrayal of where they are at this point in their life: not ready to settle down and give up the 4 A.M. nights at the dive bar down the street, but also realizing that those around them are in the process of doing so.
If After The Party felt like growing up, then Hello Exile is finally accepting it, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Musically, the album is the band’s most mature and diverse release yet, and lyrically, it’s filled with some of their most personal and emotional songs they’ve ever written. Combine the two, and Hello Exile is absolutely in the running to become The Menzingers’ best album yet. Although, I’m sure they’ll just go to top it again with the next one.
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After the Party refers to both an after-party and the fact that the band members are slowly approaching 30 and leaving their sex, drugs, and rock and roll” days behind them. What are we gonna do, now that our 20s are over?” asks Barnett on the first track Tellin’ Lies.” The answer? Apparently, make a disappointing, paint-by-numbers rock record.
After the Party” is the fifth full-length album by his band, the Menzingers, a shaggy punk band from Scranton, Pa., that for more than a decade has been snotty but not wistful, driven and not much for the rearview mirror. It has honed an extremely reliable and almost romantic take on blue-collar rock, largely avoiding the lyrical in favor of throbbing, pulsing id.
The Menzingers are an American punk rock band from Scranton, Pennsylvania , formed in 2006. The band consists of Greg Barnett (vocals, guitar), Tom May (vocals, guitar), Eric Keen (bass) and Joe Godino (drums). To date, the band has released six studio albums, with their most recent, Hello Exile, released on October 4, 2019.
In their 13-year career, Philly quartet The Menzingers have not only built up one of the most dedicated fan bases in punk, but also a deserved reputation as consistently excellent songwriters. That doesn’t mean that frontman Greg Barnett is any less nervous when the band have something new to unveil, though.