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Brand New: Science Fiction

Regrets, I’ve had a few. Like back in 2005 when I went to see Dashboard Confessional in Washington DC. I remember people going nuts about the tour and stating that the openers could not be missed. People that have seen a lot of shows usually try to catch the openers because you never know when you might stumble upon the next… Brand New. Well, obvi I wanted to see D/C. Don’t judge! I also really wanted to catch Rooney, for some reason. When we arrived at the venue, I had to get my gameface on, they weren’t allowing beer in the auditorium. You had to drink outside. As I sat there sipping my Heineken, sounds leaked out from under the door; sounds being made by Brand New. All the kids were milling about in their bright red “Brand Nizzle” T-shirts. I thought about buying one. Haven’t seen one like it since, couldn’t even find it today on a Google image search. I think that some of those sounds leaking from under the door made it into my ears, and into my brain. When I finally broke down and bought Deja Entendu, the first listen was like being reunited with an old friend. I had DE on 24/7 for a few months and then I had to ration it out a bit. I grabbed a copy of Your Favorite Weapon which helped to scratch the itch. Then came TDAGARIM, Daisy. I’ve seen them quite a few times since then and they always bring the house down. I wish I could go to that auditorium in 2005, see them play their new stuff off of Deja Entendu. Unfortunately, sometimes you just don’t get a second chance.

So where are we? 2017? In 2005, Donald Trump was in his third season of the Apprentice, “You’re Fired” reverberated through the country as the catchphrase of the day. Now Donald Trump is President of the United States. Back in 2005 it seemed we were on the upswing. Having made it through Y2K and 9/11, the future looked bright. Today, although unemployment is at an all-time low and the stock market is at an all-time high, a lot of people are angry, the hatred and anger flowing out into the streets. This country has evolved, some might say devolved, and we need voices that can provide sanity and consolation to the disaffected masses. Back in 2005, Jesse Lacey was touring on a record that had just begun to scratch the surface of the deeper thoughts in his head. What does he have to say in 2017? Can he and his mates in Brand New provide some solace in these maddening times?

I guess I’m not the only one looking for comfort right now as Science Fiction debuted at number one on the Billboard Chart, Brand New’s first number one record; proving the masses have not completely gone mad. I’ve had the album on heavy rotation for the last month. My quick thoughts are that it’s eminently listenable. The 60 or so minutes just seem to fly by. I remember an interview in which Lacey said that this record will go in a direction Brand New could have gone in rather than the one that led them to Daisy. Science Fiction certainly eschews the trademark screams and call-and-response choruses for more introspective and mature deliveries. Mike Sapone, long time Brand New collaborator, does an exceptional job manning the boards. Brand New just sounds fuller on this record; every track on the board has something going on. Science Fiction rewards the repeat listener with new subtle nuances. I really get the feeling that Brand New and Sapone spent time crafting this record, they use discordant noises, overdubbed soundbites (a la Lacey’s BAE The Smiths), Keys, and even background singers. It’s almost as if BN had gone back to the 70s and created a record like Kansas or Pink Floyd.

The album opens with a bizarre recording of a woman in psychotherapy. She’s discussing a dream where she’s at a convention feeling out of place. She concludes, “While I don’t mind having all this going on inside of me, it’s sort of–I think I’m going to be relieved when it’s over, when I can sort of settle back down.” Brand New spends the rest of the album echoing these sentiments in one form or another. Lit Me Up almost sounds like it could have been on TDAGARIM. It reminds me of Sowing Season a bit. When Lacey drops the line “You lit me up like a witch in a puritan town,” he demonstrates that he hasn’t lost his penchant for turning a clever phrase. Track two, Can’t get it out, opens with a strummed acoustic guitar, another recurring theme on Science Fiction. In fact, I think there is an acoustic guitar somewhere on every track. This song will definitely please the Brand New purists and represents the most traditional Brand New-sounding song on the record. Waste comes next, and I’m getting the Kansas vibes here as Lacey drones over acoustic and feedback, “Every night you were tripping out. In the morning you were coming down. If it’s breaking your heart, if nothing is fun. Don’t lose hope, my son. This is the last one.” Is he talking about life on the road as a musician? Is he foreshadowing the end of Brand New? I’m catching a lot of Smiths on Could Never be Heaven, it reminds me of Back to the Old House, although CNBH is a beautiful tune in its own right. Same Logic/Teeth will also please the purists, and we even get some screams here too!! But there is something untraditional about the Sergeant Peppers-esque goofy line “At the bottom of the ocean fish won’t judge you by your faults.” Beautiful and powerful encapsulate my thoughts of Science Fiction and the next song 137. “Let’s all go play Nagasaki, we can all get vaporized.” Lacey sounds defeated, as if he is resigned to the fact that the system can’t be changed and he’s embraced his fate of turning to ash. This song resonates with me in our current political climate where the system seems to have failed us and the only thing we can hope for is a quick and painless end. It could also be construed as an odd allegory on the end of Brand New.

Did I mention the 70s vibe? Out of Mana brings some serious funk feels by using a wah pedal and some kind of synthesized chorus inspired by Boston. In the Water sticks with the 70s mojo, this could be America or the Eagles. Stripped down acoustic, slide acoustic, electric piano, harmonica, it’s a trip! Desert throws some blues in there with a riff that would make Keith Richards jealous, they also stole the Stones backup singers!!! “Don’t come running to me, when they’re coming for you.” Remember Neil Young singing “Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s coming…” No Control brings the nostalgia trip to an abrupt halt. The booming reverbed-out bass hearkening back to the traditional Brand New. 451 does a great job melding the whole blues-come-Brand New sound into one song. The record closes with Batter Up, fans might think Tautou, this tune does conjure up thoughts of the sounds and themes of Deja Entendu. If this is how Brand New closes out it’s career, it’s fitting, “It’s never going to stop. Batter up. Give me your best shot. Batter up.”

Is this the end of Brand New? I think the cryptic messages coming from Lacey and Crew suggested 2018 as their last year. The songs on Science Fiction certainly have a somber tone and there are many allusions to the end, be it “this is the last one” or “Let’s all go play Nagasaki.” If they do call it quits after SN, they will certainly be going out on a high note. For all fans of Brand New, I assume you already have this record on heavy rotation. It is most definitely in my ten best of 2017. With sabers rattling around the world and a demagogue with his finger on the button, might as well float off into oblivion to the sweet sounds of Brand New’s Science Fiction.

5/5 Stars



Kevin Devine joins Brand New as touring guitarist

According to a recent post on his Instagram page, New York singer/songwriter Kevin Devine has joined Brand New as a touring guitarist. Devine says he’s excited about the opportunity, and that his solo work will be “quieting down” for a while.

Kevin released his full-length album Instigator in 2016. Brand New just put out a new record titled Science Fiction last month.



Brand New to headline High & Low Festival

Solid reminder! (Fans of the latest Brand New album better pay attention.) The widely respected emo rockers are topping an incredible bill at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, CA on the 9th of September.  The High & Low festival hits out hard with a line-up that also consists of Death Cab For Cutie, Tegan & Sara, Best Coast, PUP, Kevin Devine and many more.

Head down below to check out the full line-up.



Brand New release new album “Science Fiction”

Brand New unleashed their latest album, Science Fiction, to their fans after 8 years of waiting. The new 12-track record was secretly mailed to 500 fans without their knowledge, with the band throwing it out to the rest of the world only a few hours after the internet had caught wind of what was happening.

Fans reported receiving CDs with a single 61 minute track on it, which almost immediately ended up on the internet and spread like wildfire in an unorthodox move on the part of the band.

The group is currently selling digital copies of the album, which you can find here. Those who want a physical copy will have to wait to October when the vinyl format is shipped.

Science Fiction will be the band’s first album since their 2009 record Daisy.



Brand New confirm new album release

Brand New have confirmed the release of their yet to be titled fifth album. It will be released on limited vinyl this October via Procrastinate! Music Traitors. It is the band’s first new album since ‘Daisy’ in 2009 and will be their first new material since last year’s single ‘I Am a Nightmare’ which you can listen to below.

The band will be playing a few dates later this year in the UK and Ireland, you can find the dates below.



High and Low Festival announces comedy line-up

The High and Low Festival has announced a comedy line-up curated by The Hard Times. The line-up includes Kurt Braunholer, Mike Lawrence, Cameron Esposito, Guy Branum and more.

The festival is September 9th at the NOS Events Center in San Bernadino, CA. Music acts include Brand New, Death Cab For Cutie, Tegan and Sara, PUP, Best Coast, and more. Check out the fest’s event page on Facebook!



Brand New, The Front Bottoms & Modern Baseball announce US tour

Brand New, The Front Bottoms, and Modern Baseball have announced they will be touring the US together this fall. All of the dates and locations can be found below.

Brand New’s latest album Daisy was released in 2009 on Interscope Records, while The Front Bottoms’ Back on Top came out in 2015 through Fueled By Ramen. Modern Baseball released Holy Ghost earlier this year on Run For Cover Records.



Brand New hint at dissolution of band

Although it’s hardly anything new as it’s been happening for a few months now, Brand New appears to have confirmed the rumors that they will be breaking up the band in the semi-near future. This morning the band released three new shirts on their website, with one design featuring an inverted cross made of roses with the text “Brand New 2000 – 2018.”

Of course, it could also just be a promotional stunt of some kind. They are, after all, releasing a new album this year. Anyway, you can check out the shirt design below.

Brand New recently released a new song titled “I Am a Nightmare.” They will be also hitting the road with Modest Mouse this summer. You can find the song and more tour info here.

Brand New last released Daisy in 2009 through Interscope Records/DGC.



Brand New stream new song “I Am A Nightmare”

Brand New is streaming a new song titled “I Am a Nightmare.” The song is being released as a stand-alone single (for now) and will be available physically on the band’s upcoming tour with Modest Mouse. If you’re unable to attend any of the shows, you can also pre-order the 12″ vinyl here.

You can listen to the song and check out the list of tour dates and locations below.

Brand New last released Daisy in 2009 through Interscope Records/DGC.



Jesse Lacey (Brand New) streams cover of REM’s “Bad Day”

Brand New front-man Jesse Lacey has released a cover of REM’s “Bad Day.” The song was recorded for an upcoming split 7-inch between Lacey and Kevin Devine, as a part of Devine’s Devinyl series. You can listen to the song below, and pre-order the split, which will be released through Bad Timing Records on March 25, 2016, here.

Brand New released Daisy in 2009 through Interscope Records/DGC.



Free Download: Brand New – ‘Leaked Demos 2006’ (aka ‘Fight Off Your Demons’)

Late last year, Brand New sold some copies of their leaked demos from 2006 on cassette. The release was very limited, and as you might have expected, it sold out quickly. But fear not! The band have made the demos available digitally, free of charge. Cassettes are also available again.

You can download or purchase your copy here.

Leaked Demos 2006 , which was commonly referred to as Fight Off Your Demons, consists of songs that were originally going to appear on the band’s third album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, but most were scrapped once they were leaked.

It’s been rumored for awhile now that Brand New will release a new album or EP soon, although details are still scarce. The band released their fourth studio album, Daisy, in 2009.



Brand New announce Canadian tour dates

Brand New have announced they will be playing a short Canadian tour in June of 2016. Check out the dates and locations below, and head over here to grab tickets.

The band’s latest album Daisy was released in 2009, and they are rumored to be working on new music.



Brand New selling leaked demos from 2006

Brand New have made their leaked demos from 2006 available to purchase on cassette. The songs were originally going to appear on the band’s third album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, but most were scrapped once they were leaked.

As of this writing, the cassettes are currently out of stock, but the band does plan to press more copies. You can sign up for an alert once more copies are available to purchase here.

It’s been rumored for awhile now that Brand New will release a new album or EP soon, although details are still scarce. The band released their fourth studio album, Daisy, in 2009.



Brand New will possibly release new music this year

Brand New front man Jesse Lacey recently sat down with Spanish magazine Rockzone, and based on translations of the interview, it looks like fans of the band can expect a new EP or LP sometime this year:

“Yes, I have no problem talking about this with you. You’re the first person with whom I have an interview in a while. We have a new album to get. There is no secret. The thing is that it is not ready, so to speak. Hopefully it out this year, at least that is our aim. We do not know whether it will be an EP of seven songs or so, or the traditional LP of 14 songs. We have many songs that we’ve been working, but hey, I guess sometimes you have to face what you have steeping a little, as I said before. Is something that we have to adapt, one day seems that we will get and the next we were a little farther out.”

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more details on this new release surface.  The band released their fourth studio album, Daisy, in 2009.



Full lineup announced for Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival (Social Distortion, Brand New, more)

The full lineup has been announced for the 2015 edition of the Bumbershoot Festival. The three-day extravaganza takes place in Seattle over Labor Day weekend (September 5-7). Day two of the shindig will feature the likes of Social Distortion, Brand New, The Melvins, Faith No More and a lot of other bands that readers of this site probably aren’t overly interested in (Punch Brothers, Lee “Scratch” Perry and more). Along those lines, you may not be into Days one and three either (The Weeknd, Chance The Rapper, The Airborne Toxic Event, Bassnectar, Ben Harper and more). Anyway, check out the full lineup here.