When Jeff Rosenstock’s band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches broke up in 2004, instead of starting a new band he decided to record a bunch of weird songs alone on his computer and just give them away for free on the Internet. He called this project “Bomb the Music Industry.”
“When I realized I could record in my room, I went wild,” says Rosenstock. “I recorded everything I was thinking. Instead of waiting for people to practice or CDs to be pressed, if I thought of a song, I just recorded it and put it out.”
Seven years later, Bomb the Music Industry, now a five-piece band, is one of the most important names in the underground punk rock scene. It’s gained a reputation for being all over the map, music genre-wise, and playing insane, cathartic music with a no-holds-barred attitude.
Bomb the Music Industry is constantly evolving. The early albums were just Rosenstock. Then he went the other direction and recorded with a rotating cast of 30-plus musicians. Over the past couple of years, he’s formed a more consistent band to tour and record with. With its sixth and most recent release, Vacation, Rosenstock has created his most unique and interesting album to date, a work marked by restraint and subtlety. The opening track, “Campaign for a better next weekend,” begins with a two-minute keyboard/vocal drone. “Sponge Board/Baby Waves” is a 40-second Beach Boys-esque vocal-harmony-laden interlude. “Sick, Later” sounds almost like a Superchunk song.
What’s missing are some of the key identifying traits from his past albums: there’s almost a complete lack of ska, hardcore and synth sections on Vacation. “I was trying not to add unnecessary parts, basically. I was trying to not put a ska part in or a hardcore part just because we’re a band that puts ska parts and hardcore parts in,” Rosenstock says.
Another big change this time around was that Rosenstock decided to start his own record label, Really Records, and release Vacation on it. Even though Bomb the Music Industry has always given away its albums on its website (and continues to do so), the physical CDs and vinyl were always released by Asian Man Records.
“We were really comfortable with Asian Man Records,” he says. “With this record, we were like, ‘Let’s make ourselves a little bit uncomfortable.’”
BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY with Classics of Love, the Sidekicks and Dan Potthast
Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 8:30pm