Archive for the ‘PUP’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PUP-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #149 (January 21, 2021).

A lot of Tiny Desk Concerts are by bands I don’t know (and then really like).  Some are by bands I don’t like.  And every once in a while they have one by a band I like a lot.

Pup is a hugely popular pop punk band from Canada.  I’m bummed I didn’t get to see them when they played around here, but I wasn’t really aware of them at the time.

I have since come to enjoy their music quiet a lot.

“Rot” (from the group’s aptly-titled 2020 EP, This Place Sucks A** ) opens with some fast drumming from Zack Mykula, then Stefan Babcock starts singing and playing rhythm guitar.  After the first verse, Steven Sladkowski adds higher harmony notes–a simple but cool effect.  It’s not until the (outrageously catchy) chorus that Nestor Chumak adds the bass notes and, suddenly, the song feels huge.  I really like that Babcock adds some noisy harmonics and mini feedbacks into the chaos.

The other fun thing is that everyone except Babcock is wearing a mask–even while signing backing vocals (it’s not hard to wear a mask, people).  For a fast punk song, it’s actually quote long–over three minutes.

“My neighbors hate us, and I don’t blame them,” Babcock said.  The Toronto group refused to dial down the volume, filling Babcock’s neatly-furnished living room – complete with an Ontario pennant – and just maybe making a few enemies down the street in the process.

“Kids” (From 2019’s Morbid Stuff) opens differently–bass and harmonics for the first verse, before the rest of the band crashes in. There’s even a harmonic-filled guitar solo.  I like in the middle when it’s almost only drums and Mykula plays some cool rhythms on the floor tom.

Up next is “Reservoir,” a track off the group’s debut.  It’s full on with lots o crash cymbal, and lots of fast playing from everyone during the chorus.

“Scorpion Hill” runs to almost seven minutes and has several parts.  It opens quietly with just Babcock singing and playing.  After the first verse the whole band joins in including backing vocals.  But it’s still fairly quiet until after a pauses a n a misdirecting guitar strum, the song rockets off with lots of thumping drums and bass  After a couple of lengthy section, there’s pause and then a simple riff during which everyone sings “ah ah ah oh.”

This was a wonderful set.  And the even better news

the handmade “Ceci n’est pas une Tiny Desk” (“This is not a Tiny Desk”) sign serves as a warning: When the Tiny Desk returns to NPR HQ and the U.S.-Canada border reopens, prepare to have your workday interrupted.

[READ: February 1, 2021] “Comfort”

This story seemed rather different from Munro’s usual work.

It is about Nina and her husband Lewis. Lewis was a teacher at the high school left until he left under less than positive circumstances.

Nina met with Margaret (another former teacher who left on good terms) at the high school tennis courts.  Nina had not set foot on high school grounds since Lewis had left

When she returned (victorious from her matches), she discovered that Lewis had taken his own life.  They had talked about Lewis doing this, but Nina always thought she would be there–a ceremonial act of some sort.  But clearly Lewis didn’t want her to see him do this.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PUP-“Rot” (2020).

Pup has a new EP coming out in October.  It’s called This Place Sucks Ass. Ha.  This is the first single.

It’s three minutes of angry catchy punk (so a PUP song).  The verses are sung by the lead singer while the chorus is sung by the whole band–chanted and rocking.

The bridge changes things a little bit and adds some tension to this otherwise catchy but dark song.  It celebrates the paradoxes of life

The more I’m reckless The less I break
The more I care about money The less I make
The less I care about everything The better it goes
And the better it gets The more I lose control
And when I’ve lost it all I self-sabotage

Looks like PUP has been busy over the quarantine.

[READ: September 18, 2020] “Along the Frontage Road”

In this story, the narrator remembers going to pumpkin patches as kid around Halloween.  I love that his father is fastidious and hates to get his hands dirty–especially with food–but is also a surgeon and has expert precision as he operates on the pumpkin.

But he now lives in the city and instead of farm pumpkin patch, they go to an abandoned lot on the frontage road where every year people set up a booth with pumpkins and Halloween items. It slowly morphs into a Christmas store and then disappears again until next all.

The narrator is sad that his son, Nicky, seems to love this otherwise gloomy stretch of land.  His son was intrigued by the decorations–a rubber snake crawling through a skull’s eye socket.  The scarecrow at the entrance had a pumpkin for a head and wore a Friday the Thirteenth goalie mask

I forbid myself absolutely to consider the proposition that in the orchards of my youth it would neve have occurred to anyone to employ a serial killer motif as a means of selling Halloween pumpkins to children.


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SOUNDTRACK: PUP-“Free at Last” (2019).

PUP has been on my radar for a while now–I’ve heard amazing things about their live shows, although I always seem to miss them. I was really surprised to find out that this year’s Morbid Stuff was only their 3rd album (for about 100 minutes of total music released), because they’ve been touring forever.

I was very amused to see that at the beginning of the video for this first single they wrote

Prior to its release we wanted to see if anyone would cover our song “Free at last” without hearing it first.  We posted the lyrics and a basic chord chart.  The rest was up to interpretation.

253 people tried.

The beginning of the video shows many of these interpretations (wonderful variety) before the song properly starts.

The song is a wonderful punk blast of fast chords and a big chanted chorus of “Just ’cause you’re sad again, doesn’t make you special at all.”

What I particularly like is the slow heavy metal sounding opening guitar riff (it seems like it should be a very different song from the way it starts).  I also love that Eva Hendricks from Charly Bliss gets a cameo line “Have you been drinking?” although I wish she was a little louder in the song, because it goes by so fast.

I will keep an eye out for the next time PUP comes around.  I hope to catch them.

[READ: April 20, 2019] “Dominion”

I really enjoyed this story, the way it unfolded and the way it was broken into relatively discreet sections.  I found the ending to be really unsatisfying, though.

The story opens with Michael and his wife talking to their son Paul.  Paul is 12 and wants to go hunting with his father.  Michael thinks that when he’s 14 he’ll be old enough to go on this annual trip, but that right now he’s still too young.

Paul gives the unexpected argument that in Christian Ethics class, he debated that man has dominion over the animals and that hunting them is okay.

His parents are on the fence about sending him to Catholic school–they both had horror stories about their own upbringing.

The ironic thing is that Michael himself doesn’t really like hunting.  He often walked the woods with the dog ostensibly hunting for pheasants.  But that was mostly because he liked walking in the woods and fields.  The locals though there was something suspicious about you if you didn’t have a gun in your arms doing it.  So he carried a shot gun and planned on shooting nothing.  Of course, if the dog spooked a bird he would try for it.  If he did hit it, it was just more work because he felt compelled to eat it. (more…)

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