Posts Tagged ‘Pup’

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Taking the piss of Halloween themed TV specials, Toronto’s Pup present “Growing Up Ghouls”, aka their new visuals for ‘Morbid Stuff’ fave ‘See You At Your Funeral’.

Titled “Self Care: A Horror Story”, it follows different lols and spooky themed tricks to stop you from feeling heartbroken, including to exercise (your demons) and achieving inner peace. Easy, eh?

Taken from their third record ‘Morbid Stuff’, when we spoke to them back in April about the album, frontman Stefan Babcock explained of its origins: “I was bored as fuck, sitting around thinking about all this morbid stuff. Like if anyone I’ve slept with is dead and I got stuck on death and dying and obsessive thoughts that won’t let up […] I think that’s part of growing up and becoming more mature, realising that it’s just not gonna fucking work out. It’s just not going to. Being able to let go, for better or worse, makes it become a bit easier with each passing year.”

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A new PUP video is always an event. Over the past six years we’ve seen the Toronto punks impaled, demolished, and nearly killed; covered, 8-bitted, and animated and today, we get a stylish crossover of their two preferred genres.

The new clip for “Sibling Rivalry” blends the body horror imagery and cartoon aesthetic of previous videos to riff on the anxieties of travel, with exaggerated safety brochures and warning signage to complement Stef Babcock’s furious lyricism inspired by a camping trip gone awry.

Additionally, the video offers autobiographical insight into the essential track from one of thebest albums of the year (so far), contextualizing the lyrics as stemming from an actual series of camping trips Babcock has taken with his sister. Things end a little sweeter than they began when the video concludes with a dedication to the band’s siblings, before a brief stills montage of PUP on tour together.

Things end a little sweeter than they began when the video concludes with a dedication to the band’s siblings, before a brief stills montage of PUP on tour together.

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“Should” is a tricky word. It sets unrealistic expectations. It’s guilt-inducing. I should go to the gym today. I should hang out with my friends more. I should be happy. PUP drummer Zack Mykula knows all about this: “The expectation that you’d be happy just because you’re a semi-successful touring musician—it’s like the other side of that sword is the self-shame that comes with acknowledging you should be happy,” he says. “‘Should’ is the operative word because ‘should’ is inherently a self-shaming word.”

Some might place this burdensome expectation on the Toronto punk band because the members have done a lot since they released their self-titled debut album in 2013. But even saying “a lot” is an understatement: The four-piece set a goal to play two hundred shows that year, and they played over two hundred and fifty. They followed up their beloved debut with another critical darling, The Dream Is Over, in 2016To top it all off, the band releases music videos that can be described as nothing less than iconic.

Now, PUP who are made up of singer Stefan Babcock, bassist Nestor Chumak, and guitarist Steve Sladkowski, in addition to Mykula are back with their most ambitious album yet, Morbid StuffOn the surface it’s a fun, bopping record with nearly forty minutes of rambunctious headbangers and mighty anthems.

But leading up to the creation of Morbid Stuffthe four guys were going through some bleak times.

Hiding in plain sight, beyond the commanding guitars, pulsing bass, and red-blooded drumming, this impassioned album is dark. Real dark. Babcock explores the shadowy recesses of his mind—the parts that most of us would prefer to avoid—to dive into ideas of self-destruction, numbness, restlessness, and isolation.

“We should be really stoked on life,” Babcock says. “That can be a tough thing to deal with, because your happiness or sadness can exist totally independent of things that are going on around you. We were always wondering what was going to come next for us in our lives.” .Luckily for PUP, these are the conditions in which they thrive creatively. But instead of extracting musical inspiration from other artists, Babcock turned to an unlikely medium: podcasts. He explains that when he’s deep in the writing process, listening to music can be the last thing he wants to do in his spare time. His favorite podcasts include a smattering of hockey-related series, as well as true crime pods Dirty John and Dr. Death.

“Especially listening to Dr. Death and Dirty John, I would be like, ‘Man, everybody’s life is way more fucked up than mine,’” Babcock laughs. “This isn’t that bad.” In Babcock’s words, Morbid Stuff became like his own personal podcast. One where he could be utterly vulnerable and comfortable with himself.

“I felt like I was just figuring out my voice, and figuring out how to say the things I wanted to say properly, and just ran with it,” Babcock says. “Sometimes probably too much. Should have fucking reined it in a little bit.”

It’s true—Babcock doesn’t shy away from divulging his most intimate thoughts on this record. From wondering whether he should have given in to his demons on “Kids,” to not being able to recognize himself in the mirror anymore on “Scorpion Hill,” he lays it all on the table.

You can find the fun dotted throughout Morbid Stuff,  in the form of wry jokes and black witticisms. At the end of “See You at Your Funeral,” Babcock throttles up to a panicky scream: “I hope the world explodes / I hope that we all die / We can watch the highlights in hell / I hope they’re televised.” And in the middle of a Satanic ritual (or is it just a trip gone wrong?) described in “Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley,” Babcock grills the listener, asking an important but ridiculous question: “Do you prefer Ashley or Mary Kate?”

Uniting all eleven tracks is the idea of sticking together. Despite the self-loathing, despite the apathy, the band members still have one another. Even though Babcock decries the “mind-numbing reality of a godless existence” in “Kids,” it ultimately doesn’t matter, because he’s “pretty happy lying here with you / It’s pretty good to feel something.” We may all be losers, but at least we’re losers together. That’s what makes our pretty terrible world a little more bearable—and what makes this record a delight to listen to.

“Morbid Stuff” out on April 5th

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This is three minutes and thirty seconds of bombastic youth, all ramshackle and rambunctious, full of sweaty anxiety and shouted brashness, and I love it more than I should. Also: we should all admire the way lead singer Stefan Babcock pulls off his wordy, Craig Finn-like disregard of the rhythm/time signature. Also: more songs with words like ‘calamity’ in them please. Also: I am a sucker for hook-laden melodic punk that reminds me of when I was much younger/not so, so, so old.

“Kids,” the lead single from the Canadian punk outfit’s forthcoming album Morbid Stuff, careens in the background with their usual furious energy as PUP find themselves in Toronto in the year 2059. They’re not exactly where you’d expect. Bassist Nestor Chumak is dealing with a resentful daughter, Zack Mykula plays drums on the street for apathetic passersby, guitarist Steve Sladkowski clings onto his youth with an ageless head device and as for vocalist Stefan Babcock—well, you’ll have to watch to find out what happens to him.

We are so so stoked to let you know that our third album, MORBID STUFF, will be out on April 5th! We worked so hard on this thing and cannot wait to share it with ya!!! If you ordered our latest zine, you’ve probably already heard our new song “Kids”. New album ‘Morbid Stuff’ out April 5th

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PUP - The Dream Is Over

 

This quartet of childhood friends play a highly infectious propulsive brand of punk rock. There’s a touch of At The Drive-In in their unrelenting use of anthemic group vocals, but these guys are a lot more fun than the El Paso legends.  Their humble claim that they are, “4 dudes who play punk rock. That’s all,” belies the ambitions of their self-titled debut album, released via Side One Dummy Records, which deftly and effortlessly explores indie, classic rock and punk. Aptly, the moniker PUP is an acronym for Pathetic Use of Potential, and their lyrics largely deal with the lethargy and desire to escape that are synonymous with the dichotomies of youth.

The Toronto punk band open their second album, The Dream Is Over, with “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will,” a portrait of punk rock van life that’s darker and nastier than any I’ve heard at least in song. These guys are waking up on the same living-room floors for months on end, hearing each other tell the same jokes over and over again, wearing on each other’s last nerves. And it’s gotten to the point where every new van haul feels like a prison sentence. “Everything you do makes me wanna vomit / If this tour doesn’t kill you, buddy, I’m on it,” frontman Stefan Babcock hollers. And then: “You think you’re so original / I can’t wait for your funeral!”

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If you’ve ever been in a touring band, or been friends with someone who is, then some of this might ring true. It sounds fun — packing all your shit in a van with your friends, leaving your life behind for a few weeks, playing loud music for strangers, seeing the world. But every dream job eventually becomes a job, and this one happens to be a low-paying, transit-heavy, privacy-annihilating dream job. If you talk to enough people in bands, and if they’re willing to puncture your romantic image, you might learn that  for instance  going to Europe sucks because nobody has good weed and because you’re always dealing with customs people.

And yet the way PUP play the song, it still sounds fun. PUP have levels of on-record energy that I’m just not used to hearing in 2016 — from a punk band or from any other sort of band. They play with a rocketing urgency, charging headlong into every chorus with guns blazing. They’re unapologetic disciples of the whole EpiFat sound — the ’90s variation on melodic California pop-punk that briefly conquered the world. And they play it like it’s new, that combination of all-out speed and sugary melody and snot-rocket sarcasm. Babcock’s voice is a passionate nasal harangue, and every time they get the chance, his bandmates join in on some gang-shout singalong shit. They’ve also learned from emo and post-hardcore and fuzzed-up revivalist Japandroids-style indie rock, with all these chords crashing and dynamics switching up in profoundly satisfying ways. The Dream Is Over is a short album, just a hair over half an hour, and it never lets up. That’s good.

But while the music is hurtling along, Babcock is putting all his energy into making twentysomething life sound like a living hell. “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You” is the only song that explicitly addresses the day-to-day realities of being in a band, but the rest of the album is all about that stage of life, how much it can fucking suck. When you get past that time, it takes on a rosy glow, but when you’re in it, the puke-sticky floors and day-long hangovers and warning-your-account-has-dipped-below-$25 emails seem like they’re never going to end. Again and again, Babcock sings about himself as a drunk loser who can’t keep a relationship together — partly, at least, because so many of his relationships are with other drunk losers. “I’m sick and tired of blacking out on my carpet / And waking up all alone / So I brought you home,” he wails. Then, later: “I can’t stand you trying to save me / It’s so fucking frustrating.” And nothing drives him more nuts than the people who express concern over his wellbeing, to the point where his most self-deprecating line almost registers as a gloat: “They used to say, ‘Don’t quit your day job!’ / Guess what? I never had one!”

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Before the band recorded the album, Babcock went to see a doctor because his throat was hurting. The doctor told him his vocal cords were damaged and that he’d have to stop singing. That’s where the title came from; the doctor actually told him, verbatim, “The dream is over.” Babcock, of course, decided that no, fuck that. If anything, he’s yelling even louder on The Dream Is Over than he was on PUP’s 2013 debut. But you get the sense, listening to the album, that this whole thing could end anytime. His voice could just give out on him completely, and he knows it. So he’s packed all his angst and anxiety into one furiously fun 31-minute album, knowing that it could well be his last. And more than any rock album I’ve heard in a long minute, he sounds like he’s saying things that he absolutely needed to say. Sometimes, you see, your own body and your own friends can seem as malicious as a pack of machete-wielding white-nationalist skinheads. And sometimes, you just have to yell about it.

In 2014, actor Finn Wolfhard appeared in the music video for Canadian punk rockers Pup’s song “Guilt Trip,” playing a younger version of lead singer Stefan Babcock in a fictional depiction of the band’s origin. Since then, Wolfhard starred in a show called Stranger Things and has gained a couple of new fans. But Pup, have a new song out, and Wolfhard hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

“Sleep In The Heat,” off of the band’s adrenaline shot of a second album The Dream Is Over, is about the passing of a beloved pet, inspired by the death of Babcock’s chameleon Norman. The song is about the death of a pet and the video stars a dog, so be prepared to feel all the feelings. Babcock expressed his support for the younger versions of the band, saying, “Big shoutouts to the little Pup’s in this video, too—watching them bond and then say goodbye to that dog is one of the most heartwarming and heartbreaking things I can imagine. RIP all of our little friends. We miss you.”

PUP – ” Pup”

Posted: April 7, 2014 in MUSIC
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