Rock & roll band, Graduating Life have announced their new LP “Grad Life II”, out July 9, 2021 on Pure Noise Records. Fans can already pre-order the LP here. To celebrate the release they have shared two new tracks today – “In The Back” with an accompanying music video, as well as “Let’s Make a Scene”, both off of the forthcoming record.
On “In The Back”, lead vocalist, Bart Thompson, shares:
“I wanted to do more electronic stuff – I’ve always had synths, but wanted to add more. ‘In The Back’ is fully made up of parts made on my computer. I brought it to a studio and we re-recorded the vocals for it. I like it because it feels indicative of what I’m going to be moving into with what I try next”.
He continues on “Let’s Make a Scene”:
“Obviously, I’m a huge fan of Say Anything and I like Weatherbox too. And I feel like once I was done writing it, it sounded like a Weatherbox rhythm. It’s kind of got that feel to it. The beginning is about being stuck in the past and dealing with people that are two-faced and the whole “holier than thou” thing. It’s a mix of me writing about this experience I had with a friend and then kind of leading into that middle section which is how I feel about people who act like they’re so perfect. It’s no one’s fault that everyone is forced to perform on the internet and it’s really sad. You wanna be like “fuck those people,” but it’s no one’s fault. If you’re not on the internet then you’re the odd one out and you’re not going to feel that sense of community, but that sense of community can be destructive to itself”.
It’s a good thing that Bart Thompson doesn’t believe in fate. If he did, he might have followed the signs that the universe was giving him and not made this second Graduating Life full-length. Not only was the first tour for this once-but-no-longer solo project cancelled midway through because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but Thompson didn’t have a particularly enjoyable time recording it. Most artists would shy away from being so candid about the negative aspects, but Thompson isn’t most artists.
“The recording process wasn’t that fun”, he admits. “There were moments that were, but I had this falling out with the friend who was tracking us. We’re fine now, but it kind of made me realize that I just I don’t fucking care about that shit. It ruins it for me, in a way. Then when that tour, which was first tour I was able to do with Grad Life, was cancelled, it was almost like if there’s a God, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not supposed to fucking do this! It really bummed me out”.
Thankfully, Thompson – who also plays guitar in emo outfit Mom Jeans – didn’t let any of that stuff get to him. Instead, he looked at turning the negatives into positives, and that attitude of overcoming adversity flows through this record from beginning to end. It might start at rock bottom – ‘I have nothing left to lose’ he proclaims on “Photo Album”, a musically chirpy opener that defies its lyrical content – but at no point do these songs succumb to the darkness, to the idea of giving up. Rather, they fight back, landing punches against defeatism to ensure that, however tough the going may get, it doesn’t win. A lot of that manifests itself in the music itself – feisty, buoyant, quirky melodic not-quite-punk rock that’s full of the spirit and energy that has defined this project since Thompson started it in 2017. That’s because, even if the recording process itself wasn’t ideal, he still utterly adored – and adores – writing the songs themselves.
“Even though that first track is super defeated,” he says, “it was still fun for me to write and play. I really like the sounds on it. But that’s what all the Grad Life stuff is – a way for me to have fun and practice songwriting. I want to listen to as many bands as I can and get as much knowledge as I can and apply it to how I see songwriting and structure and stuff”.
“I feel like I learned that I can do something better,” he says. “I’m always worried that I’m not good enough at doing something. And this record made me feel like I can write stuff that I’m still proud of, and it can still reflect on myself and I don’t have to sacrifice how I’m feeling. So instead of wallowing in something, I can put my head down and just write constantly and in the process have fun and also get over certain things. And have fun, as well”.
Grad Life II Tracklisting:
1. Photo Album
3. Let’s Make A Scene
4. In The Back
5. Crushed & Smothered
6. Five Years
7. Black Skinny Jeans
8. Not That Bad
9. 19 Stars
10. I Wrote You This Song
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