Possibly one of the more interesting, fascinating, and refreshing transitions sound-wise in 21st century punk rock lies within the confines of alternative rock band Brand New‘s material. Although they are more generalised into the alternative rock genre presently, the band evokes a lot of punk, emo and, earlier in their discography, pop-punk influences.
Formed in Long Island, New York at the turn of the century, Brand New began their journey amongst the independent hardcore punk scene situated in Long Island. Comprising of Jesse Lacey (rhythm guitar & vocals), Vincent Accardi (lead guitar), Brian Lane (drums) and Garrett Tierney (bass), each member had ties within the hardcore scene of Long Island, making the implementation of the band amongst the punk genre unsurprising (initially).
Growing amongst the scene alongside the likes of Glassjaw, Brand New managed to expose themselves to the scene instantaneously, with the band being signed to Triple Crown Records after playing only two shows. Through this label in 2001, the band released their debut LP, ‘Your Favourite Weapon’. With a more pop-punk approach to their sound in comparison with the hardcore scene they once settled in, Brand New managed to receive favourable reviews and significant support slots on tours with the likes of Taking Back Sunday and Finch. Although the record only managed one single release in the shape of ‘Jude Law And A Semester Abroad’, the record provided substantial exposure for the band.
After extensively touring ‘Your Favourite Weapon’, Brand New came out of life on the road with a second record already written. ‘Deja Entendu’ was released in 2003 to critical acclaim, and saw the band evolve from the archetypical pop-punk outfit to a mature rock band with an abundance of influences fixated into 11 tracks. ‘Deja Entendu’ champions some of Brand New‘s most famous material in the likes of ‘The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows’, ‘Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades’ and ‘Play Crack The Sky’. Not only did Brand New‘s sound mature, but so did the lyrical subject matter, evolving from the narrow, anguished view of relationships and break-ups to the more meticulous matters of sexual relations and regret.
The band’s sophomore effort still resonates around the music scene and mainstream television even years after its release. ‘Deja Entendu’ was certified gold four years after its initial release. Music television networks are still playing ‘The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows’ repeatedly and MTV even touted the record as a “landmark for emo punk music”. Eventually, Brand New began to consider a third record, deciding to release their next release on a bigger scale by signing to Interscope Records.
Inspired by a conversation with a friend with bipolar disorder, Jesse Lacy decided to title Brand New‘s third record ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me’. Released on November 20th 2006, the band finally made their major label debut. Although they were halted in the production process in January 2006 due to leaked demos, Brand New managed to release a record that was lauded amongst critics. Picking up where ‘Deja Entendu’ left off, ‘The Devil And God…’ marks another development in the band’s emotional intensity through their sound and signature lyricism. From the simplistic yet incredibly beautiful single ‘Jesus’ to the intense tales of ‘Limousine’ and ‘You Won’t Know’, which deal with the burden of bereavement, ‘The Devil And God…’ amounts to an eclectic collection of emotional inspiration and culture.
After two years of touring and setting up their own record label, Procrastinate! Music Traitors, Brand New announced that they were recording their fourth LP in October 2008. After months of speculation and interviews regarding the highly anticipated record, the band finally released ‘Daisy’ on September 22nd 2009. Described as an “exhausting” and “quite dense” record by Jesse Lacey himself, the record received generally positive reviews from critics. The LP received acclaim for its experimentation, sticking to its guns and its accomplishment through a familiar sound in areas. Though the record didn’t become an iconic album amongst the mainstream music scene like the band’s two previous efforts had, it did however, and still does, provide further evidence of their incredible evolution as a band.
At the moment, Brand New are reportedly working hard on a follow-up to ‘Daisy’. In the meantime, the band has put out a vinyl edition of their debut record ‘Your Favourite Weapon’ through their label. With the prospect of a new album in the pipeline, the demand for details on the album is highly anticipated. As of yet, there are no details on when the album will be out, if it has been recorded, or even it has been written. The future for new Brand New material is hidden, as usual, but it’s all so exciting.
Check out our playlist below, compiled with what we think are some of the best Brand New tracks in the band’s catalogue, both for newcomers to the band and already firmly established fans.
Below is our choice of the most accessible Brand New records. With such a choice of acclaimed, lauded, stylistically evolved music, it may be a tough choice to know where to begin. Leave it to us to pick the three essential LPs below.
Released: June 17th, 2003
Brand New‘s most highly acclaimed, first evidence of maturity, and most accessible record of their collection. With signature lyricism, a collective amount of substantial instrumentation, and an underlying punk emphasis underneath all the maturity, Brand New succeed in defining a genre whilst captivating the listener in the process. So, with that said, where better to begin listening to one of the most talented alternative acts than where the evolution began?
Best tracks: Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades / The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows / Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t / Play Crack The Sky
Released: November 20th, 2006
Their first release on a major label proved to equal and accomplish the sound of their previous release. Balancing the substantial scope of melody, emotion and intensity, whilst tackling the emotive void between band and listener, Brand New produce their most celebrated grand release without compromising their sound or process of evolution. ‘The Devil And God…’ provides a sound which will appropriately resonate even when not present. Effectively welcoming and more satisfying than it may initially be perceived, ‘The Devil And God…’ doesn’t outstay its welcome, only presenting itself when needed, which is whenever you wish to treat yourself to it.
Best tracks: Sowing Season / Jesus / Limousine / You Won’t Know / Luca
Released: October 1st, 2001
Perhaps you don’t wish to throw yourself amongst the already accomplished material of Brand New. Instead, you want to start where it all began; good old power chord lead pop–punk, the album where it all began. Although it may be one-dimensional in its subject matter, pure angst for the ex-girlfriend that broke you down, it proved to be the first stepping stone in an eight-year evolution for the band. Providing a simple, run-of-the-mill, early 21st century pop-punk LP, ‘Your Favourite Weapon’ is perfectly enjoyable and interesting to take note of when looking at Brand New‘s material to date.
Best tracks: Jude Law And A Semester Abroad / Mix Tape / Last Chance To Lose Your Keys / The No Seatbelt Song
Written by Calv Robinson (@CalvParty)