August 21, 2017 | BY: Craig Jenkins
Rock bands used to be mysterious organizations. Fandom was an exercise in extreme patience. You whiled away the hours in monk-like private study of records, lyrics, and liner notes. A new song or video or interview hit like a scientist’s “eureka” moment, offering a new lens through which to explore familiar worlds more closely. But there were weeks and months where you heard nothing and pure enthusiasm and hope had to suffice. This was decades before bands sagely buttered all their favorite publications with access and exclusives come album time, before every inch of every performance was broadcast to the world across intersecting planes of social media. I miss the quiet of the ’90s sometimes, and I have a funny feeling a lot of working musicians do too, now that everyone feels the same icy pressure to inflate every album release into a multimedia event.
It seems increasingly obvious that Brand New — the Long Island emo quartet turned inscrutable art-rock project responsible for both Alt-Press–core nuggets like “Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades” and the windswept, nihilist rock of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me — favors a bare-bones, old-school rock stardom. Brand New appears and disappears as it pleases. It no longer bothers with official merch or music videos. Tours and interviews are scarce. For a while now, singer-songwriter Jesse Lacey has been saying that his band’s days are numbered, but this month, a vinyl preorder for the long-awaited fifth Brand New album appeared and sold out in a blink, and lucky fans were blindsided with hard copies of the thing in the mail. By week’s end, the new Science Fiction was available for purchase, closing the eight-year gap since 2009’s Daisy without a hint of what it means for Brand New’s present or future.