They are easily one of the most well-known and coveted bands within the alternative rock scene. At the same time, they're also one of the most mysterious. Not a single record from them sounds even remotely similar to the previous, and their sound has drastically changed since the first pop-punk-type album they released in 2001. On top of this, on top of massive critical and fan acclaim and a highly devoted fan-base, they've only released four albums. Most bands have to release ten in order to make half the impact they've made within the music scene. Sometimes quality is seriously better than quantity.
Brand New will be performing at The Greek Theater in Berkeley with alt/indie rockers Modest Mouse. Join us as we take a brief look back at the history of their four studio albums in a feature we like to call Discography Explored.
Your Favorite Weapon
Release Date: October 9, 2001
Label: Triple Crown Records
Producer: Mike Sapone
Their first record has proven to be their largest outlier. Vocalist Jesse Lacey, bassist Garrett Tierney, drummer Brian Lane, and guitarist Vincent Accardi formed Brand New in Long Island, New York in 2000. The first record, drawing inspiration from a more pop-punk range of influence, were written during the band's teenage years, with some tracks being written up to three years before the album came out. The lyrics were angsty, dealing with various feuds and relationships, even though the band admitted they didn't really like the sound of the final product. Upon release, the album received favorable reviews from critics and has attained a cult-like status among fans. By 2003, the album sold 315,000 copies.
Release Date: June 17, 2003
Label: Triple Crown Records, Razor & Tie
Producer: Steven Haigler (Mike Sapone on "Play Crack the Sky")
Perhaps the most widely praised and critically acclaimed album in Brand New's arsenal, Deja Entendu showcased a significant maturation and change of form for the band. The album title is French for "already heard". Lyrical topics were completely different, and the band explored a significant change in sound. The album was written within the tour years the band were touring off of Your Favorite Weapon. Many lines and song titles reference various films, including the foreign film Amelie, Wes Anderson's Rushmore, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and Dogma.
Deja Entendu received massive critical acclaim from fans and critics alike. The album was certified Gold in 2007, four years after its original release.
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Release Date: November 20, 2006
Label: Interscope/Tiny Evil Records
Producer: Mike Sapone
The band had been touring for five years off of two successful albums, and decided to take a break in order to focus on life and other projects. After having ten to eleven songs already written and recorded, the band assumed that these would be the tracks on the next album by the time they were back from their break. After returning to formation in 2005, they decided to start over, due to the fact the music they were playing together was far different from the tracks they had previously recorded.
Brand New entered the recording studio in Oxford, MI with producer Dennis Herring. While they liked his approach and understood exactly what they were trying to do, they went to work with Mike Sapone due to time constraints and lack of money. Fear not, though; Sapone was already very familiar with the work of the band, having produced their first album and a track on the second. Sapone's involvement allowed the band involvement, control, and the chance to experiment far more during production.
The writing and recording of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me proved to be a rather dark time. Every member of the band (including their touring guitarist Derrick Sherman) witnessed death and illness among family and friends at some point during the process. Lacey even recalled that all of them had become "a little too comfortable with the idea of a funeral". The darkness proved to provide an outlet though; they had written and recorded about forty tracks for the album.
The band's major label debut proved to be another critical success for the band, noting yet another shift in their style of songwriting, lyrical content, and it even landed them a debut spot at number thirty-one on the Billboard 200.
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Label: Interscope/DGC/Procrastinate! Music Traitors
Producer: Mike Sapone
Brand New were fresh off of a successful tour, and the inspiration to truly channel the energy of their live performances was hanging in the air. At the same time, Jesse Lacey went on to state that signing to Interscope helped shape the writing the band were going to be doing, saying "we thought it'd be more interesting to put a very un-commercial record out on a very commercial label".
The band returned to the studio with longtime producer Sapone and got to work. A number of songs were already demoed by Vincent Accardi, and the recording began in March 2009 at Sapone's home studio in Bethpage, NY. Accardi ended up assuming a large role in the writing duties for the record, working in collaboration with Lacey to provide both music and lyrics. Brian Lane's drums were recorded song-by-song, rather than all at once, which allowed Lane to mess around and record drums in various ways and places. Additionally, Daisy was the first record that featured far more abstract lyrical compositions than previous albums.
Upon release, Daisy received widespread critical acclaim, but a very mixed reaction among fans. Brian Lane went onto note that fans were split down the middle; they either loved it or hated it.
After the release and touring surrounding Daisy, the band were writing for a fifth, yet-to-be-released record. Lacey went on to state that their fourth record felt like "the end of the road", and expressed how they were looking to take yet another alternative direction to their music. They were booked to enter the studio in 2012, but they opted to take time off and work on other projects.
Silence persisted for years.
On the band's website in June 2014, it was announced that the band were writing and recording new material. A tour shortly followed, with dates selling out all across the United States. In 2015, the band performed a new song called "Don't Feel Anything" (later titled "Mene"). More songs began to follow, and the band even released a limited edition cassette tape entitled Leaked Demos 2006.
But perhaps the biggest thing to make note of in terms of their longevity comes in the form of a merch design. On June 1, the band released a design of a shirt, with the band's name and the dates "2000-2018" written on it. Many fans have speculated that this is the band's way of stating that they will be breaking up in 2018.
Nothing is for certain. No one knows. But what we do know is that Brand New has provided the world a great deal of completely memorable and unique material that has moved and inspired fans the world over. If they decide to break up and "always be eighteen" in two years, then we have some wonderful records that we can revisit over and over again. But it's all the more reason to catch them live, particularly at this moment in time.
We know that all eyes will be on Brand New, whether they stay eighteen or one-hundred and eighteen. Let's embrace them as they are.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.