Monday, March 30, 2015

Gut Feeling: Jeff Rosenstock - We Cool?

Jeff Rosenstock – We Cool?
Quote Unquote/Sideonedummy, 2015
I swear, once a week I sit and quietly reflect upon all the music I love that I’m not listening to. I’d never heard of Bomb the Music Industry! until I took a flyer on frontman Jeff Rosenstock’s latest solo record after seeing his name pop up on Facebook. After an exhausting decade of trying to keep up with everything, my new year’s resolution was to quit reading music reviews in an effort to put a stop to the little voice inside my head that plays when I listen to music (“It only got a 5.4 on Pitchfork, hmm”). I’m a much happier person. And it makes way more sense getting clued in by people I actually like and trust. So there you go. Jeff Rosenstock’s name pops up in my Facebook feed and I A.) Know I need to get all of those Bomb the Music Industry! albums B.) Found another dude who totally nails that poppy bedroom punk sound that is maybe my favorite sound and C.) all of a sudden have a valid album of the year contender.

We Cool? is a messy and urgent examination of that late 20s/early 30s unhappiness (“Nothing makes me happy/ I’m like a shitty child”) and general ennui. A sort of “Well OK what now.” It’s not exactly uncharted territory, but Rosenstock has so much fun with the subject matter and the songs it makes for a fun journey down this well trod path. A poppier Andrew Jackson Jihad was an immediate touchstone and wouldn’t you know it, they’re cohorts (and tour mates, who just played Lawrence last night and were I still a member of that unattached late 20s/early 30s crowd I would have been there hell/highwater style). The epic power pop of early Weezer are also present, but its honestly more akin to Weezer acolytes Ozma who had a sweeter, synthier vibe. Either way, We Cool? is insanely catchy and infinitely relistenable and it’s sneakily become my go-to record for 2015. Bad day? Put on “Hall of Fame” in the car and make everything better. Feeling pissed off at everything? That drunken Ben Folds-y piano and chant-a-long chorus on “Nausea” does the trick.

I’m thinking We Cool? is exactly what I was looking for and I’m glad I stumbled across it (and Rosenstock’s own Quote Unquote records which offers free downloads of the labels albums and asks only for donations). When you go through the motions of modern music and hype and label spin on a regular basis, finding a pocket of that pure, amazing, unaffected DIY spirit is like finding a woman you want to spend the rest of your life with. So pure and good and right. For someone (like myself) particularly susceptible to that aforementioned spin, hype, and bias, this music feels like home. 

Get it here.