The Drums will release its fifth album Brutalism via ANTI- on April 5th, and today the band shares the record’s second single. Listen to the nostalgic pop song “626 Bedford Avenue” below.
“I’m a big believer in making yourself vulnerable in personal relationships and keeping your guard down. This song talks about how I sometimes make myself fully emotionally available to people who can’t reciprocate because of their own insecurities, and the frustration that ensues … This song is my tongue-in-cheek exploration of those ideas – being kind, not taking shit from anyone, and learning to hold people accountable for their own choices, while still holding some empathy for them.”
The Drums released the critically acclaimed “Abysmal Thoughts” in 2017, marking the band’s first release as a solo project from Jonny Pierce. Now, two years later, The Drums will release Brutalism, quite possibly the best collection of songs in the band’s ten-year career. Like Jonny Pierce, who co-produced the album, Brutalism is a bicoastal record – written and recorded between Upstate New York and a studio in Stinson Beach. Following a painful divorce and an incredibly difficult stint living solely in Los Angeles, Pierce decided it was time to face his demons, and the making of this record is a part of that process. “I was exhausted, depleted and sabotaging myself, partying so much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral.” Pierce knew it was time to go to therapy and begin to reckon with his depression. “It was do or die,” he says. While he focused on his mental health, the making of Brutalism became an extension of self-care for Pierce and makes for some of his most honest and relatable music to date.
The Drums frontman Jonny Pierce on the new song:
On Brutalism, a lot is different. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but it doesn’t provide all the answers. It’s rooted in an emotional rawness, but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt. Pierce was more open than ever, keeping his control freakery at bay while working with others to produce and record the album. He brought in Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands, Amen Dunes) to mix it. If there was a guitar part he wanted to write but couldn’t play, he brought in a guitarist. It’s also the first Drums record with a live drummer. Delegating freed up Pierce’s time to produce a more specific vision.
The past year has been transformative for Pierce, who may a permanent rain cloud above his head but is working towards a better, healthier headspace. “I don’t think I’ll ever really find myself,” he says. “I don’t think people do. I don’t think there’s a day that you wake up and you go, Now I know who I am. The best way for me to be an artist is by taking a goddamn minute, being still and listening to what it is that I want and need.” It was a real year of growth for him, but growth towards what? “I don’t really know, and that’s OK.”