There is nothing truly ordinary about Bomb the Music Industry! and how such a band exists given the state of the music business. Perhaps Jeff Rosenstock has just always been ahead of the curve. When bands and labels were trying to make the move to a digital-first era, BTMI! was letting us snag their records for practically nothing. Sure, you don’t make money this way, at least not a ton of it, but Rosenstock has done enough to secure a near-cult following in the underground punk scene by keeping tours, merch and records on the cheap without sacrificing the tedious musicianship that he puts into each release. He has always had a bite to his approach though – Punknews posters, bands in Alternative Press and that one guy who complained about him touring a full band record acoustically can all vouch for this. In any case, Rosenstock’s nearly yearly output for Bomb the Music Industry! has this time yielded Vacation, a record slathered in melody and thoughtfully penned lyricism that not only holds up to the band’s back catalog – it surpasses it.
Vacation is proof of both Rosenstock’s passion and ability to meld sounds from all sides of the spectrum into one fluid thought. “Campaign for a Better Next Weekend” rolls smoothly with a fluid piano line and Rosenstock’s croon setting the slowly building crescendo of ticking clocks, drums and programming. While it starts the record out at a crawl in terms of tempo, Rosenstock’s eerie storytelling of a bike accident fuels this anti-indie-pop jam into a crunchy punk number by its last third – apexing with a gang chorus finish that will have you singing along by its end. Where past BTMI! records find Rosenstock pointing the finger at others by the fistful, Vacation is more of a personal pouring out of emotions and stories that teeter between heartfelt and smartass. “The Shit That You Hate” battles the hateful ambiance that emits from people on a daily basis, culminating in an epiphany of ‘The shit that you hate doesn’t make you special.’ What makes this track excel though lies in the playful, yet sullen instrumentation of delicate melodies and grandiose buildups of drums and strings to this cathartic climax.
Musically, Bomb the Music Industry! certainly still wave the flag of a punk/ska/whatever band at heart, but Rosenstock has transformed the speedy blitzkrieg of sound he deployed in much of his early work into stronger songwriting that gets his words across with much more impact. Vacation boasts slick melodies that are as memorable as they are optimistic, as the band swerves through fuzzy pop-rock, punk and straight-up rock in the 11 tracks and two interludes crammed into this record. The addicting melodic assault of “Vocal Coach” structures itself well with the self-loathing lyricism, adding a strong backbone to the quirky songwriting this band has become known for. “Everyone That Loves You” gets you hooked with its charming melodic spurts from nearly every instrument, as the upbeat tempo and crunching backbeats demand your attention as Rosenstock’s trademark bark makes for an instant classic in the BTMI! catalog. Closer “Felt Just Like Vacation” is another barnburner, slamming swirling synth licks every which way during another trademark BTMI! cut. Throwing in slower cuts like “The Shit That You Hate”, “Can’t Complain” and “Campaign for a Better Next Weekend” only add to the diversity here, as Rosenstock owns such tracks like he has been writing them all along. Granted, they might not make for the strongest tracks of the bunch, but they further prove a solid effort to move away from the spite-filled tracks that we’ve come to love but can’t have forever.
While often spastic at times, Bomb the Music Industry! seems to be stronger than ever in their creation of Vacation. Keeping old fans happy while pleasing the pop-rock fan in all of us doesn’t sound like it would be easy, but Rosenstock and company nail the punk-influenced melody mash he has been perfecting for years with this album. Optimistic and memorable, Vacation is a perfect soundtrack for those summer driving days, proving Bomb the Music Industry! hasn’t lost any of the luster that made us fall in love with them in the first place.
2. Vocal Coach
3. Everybody That You Love
4. Sponge Board / Baby Waves
5. The Shit That You Hate
6. Hurricane Waves
7. Sick, Later
8. Why, Oh Why, Oh Why (Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh)
10. Can't Complain
11. Everyone That Loves You
12. Sunny Place Shady People
13. Felt Just Like Vacation
Bomb the Music Industry! (commonly abbreviated as BtMI!) is a musical collective originally from Baldwin, Nassau County, New York. They write, produce, record, and distribute all of their music under the leadership of songwriter and producer Jeff Rosenstock, and you can get their albums FREE at quoteunquoterecords.com ... read more