When I was a sophomore in high school, I met my first punk friend, Erin. Before her, I would just tag along to shows with my sister; but Erin had a car and was always nice enough to give me rides. It was, seemingly, the beginning of the rest of my young, idiotic life.
Erin eventually took me to see one of her favorite local bands, The Please & Thank-Yous. They had one really good song on MySpace which, then, was reason enough to go see a band. The show was at a place called Swing State, a half-hookah bar, half music venue, which had a reputation for being trashy in a way that was kind of alluring. We were in a room of maybe 15 people (5 of whom I knew) and everyone was dancing. My really tall friend Jakub smashed a disco ball off of the ceiling and we stomped on it when it fell to the ground. There was a mosh pit and crowd surfing. It was, and remains, the most fun I’ve had in that small of a space.
The next time TPATY played, I had to work and missed the show. They, however, showed up crazy drunk and got kicked out of the venue. I thought that it meant I wouldn’t really ever get to see them again, but I was insanely wrong.
Not too long after, I started my own “punk” band which was really just kind of wimpy and untalented. We didn’t really have anything other than a kinda funny gimmick and aggressive pop songs, but The Please & Thank-Yous kept inviting us to play with them. TPATY eventually became really good friends, and I have probably seen them play more shows than any other band.
It is strange to listen to an album you’ve never heard before and be able to feel nostalgic about it. This album’s recording has been a long time in the process, even though it was released last week. I first heard these songs in 2010 and have seen some of them live so many times I know all the words.
I know this album won’t mean as much to people outside of Chicago, but I think that this distinctly “Chicago” type of pop-punk is one that people are instantly drawn to–regardless of having grown up here. It’s everything that’s great about the aggressive side of punk with innocence imbued in sensitive but self-aware and self-mocking “emoboy” lyrics and pop hooks. TPATY manages to sidestep all the things that most pop-punk bands are doing wrong in creating music.
TPATY is comparable, I guess, to all of the midwest emo revival stuff. They are also a bit like Weezer. The guitars are all nineties–back when people weren’t afraid of mad riffin over 3-chords–all Get-Up Kids or Superchunk-y. Their drummer used to be a scene kid and his former musical interests sometimes surface in a strange yet awesome way in the background of the tracks. They are the perfect mix between fast and slow–good dancing music and good music to listen to in the car. Sometimes their lyrics are almost too cheesy, but they’re always the type of thing you can relate to and don’t mind singing along with.
This new album is incredible, and I want everyone to hear it. I can’t wait to listen to it in the car with Erin. I think everyone has a couple local bands that showed them why live music is important, and this is definitely one of mine.