Tenement - Stupid World
Origin: Appleton, Wisconsin, United States
Genres: Rock, punk, pop
Years active: 2006–present
Labels: Don Giovanni Records, Mandible, Cowabunga
The great expanse of Wisconsin to this day remains a wild frontier to many. Even to its own sons and daughters, the thought often persists that perhaps there are demons in the woods, or something unknown in the water. It can be no mistake then that Tenement were raised in these woods and drank of this water.
Over the course of their nine year career to date, their work ethic and musical ideas have often been attributed to an outsider mentality and a stubborn individualism. The energy they conjur at will might also at times seem just short of some kind of sorcery. Now, with the release of their newest double record, Predatory Headlights, their place in the modern world of music has become distinct. They're no longer only an obscure punk band from the farthest reaches of society's consciousness, but also one of America's great outsider pop groups.
The principal songwriter of this trio is Amos Pitsch. He founded the group in 2006 with bassist Jesse Ponkamo, and the two embraced Eric Mayer as their full time drummer some years later. As a live act, they're an assault on the ears, a confusing spectacle, and a dispensary of remedies for the lonely and misunderstood all at once. In a studio setting, their touch is delicate and thoughtful even at its loudest moments.
You can hear the strong influence of bands like The Descendents, The Ramones, and even more primative groups in the playing and execution. Upon repeated listening, you might be able to catch an array of other influences, ranging from northern soul to exotica to the avant garde. These are stirred in with ease; something Tenement does naturally, as their intention is always steadfast and absolute. In other words, when something needs to be pretty, they make it pretty. And when something needs to be ugly, they leave no gloss, shimmer, or sheen. They strangle the song bird of its TWEET TWEET - and let it cough.
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