Bomb the Music Industry! began seven years ago as a rotating Punk collective, exploring a sound one critic described as “Ska for smart people.” But the conceptual aggregation has since evolved into more of an actual band with a slightly more conventional Indie Rock presentation. That evolution is clearly evident on BTMI!’s sixth album, the just-released Vacation, a work that was conceived while frontman/spark-plug Jeff Rosenstock was chilling in Belize but thinking about the grounded experience of making a home.
In addition to BTMI!’s core band, Vacation features cameo performances from members of Bayside, Fake Problems, Andrew Jackson Jihad and Good Luck, and stands as the first recording that Rosenstock has subjected to professional mixing and mastering. BTMI!’s instrumentation has increased exponentially as well, giving Vacation the sound of Elvis Costello, Weezer and Superchunk filtered through a furious Punk kaleidoscope.
Some things remain blissfully unchanged in the BTMI! universe, specifically the band’s practice of giving away the fruits of their labors on their website (
www.bombthemusicindustry.com). Their last album, 2009’s That Scrambles , has been downloaded over 60,000 times and, in a paradigm that flies in the face of RIAA lawsuits, hasn’t hurt the band’s physical CD sales in the slightest.
From a growth perspective, BTMI!’s somewhat permanent lineup has allowed Rosenstock the luxury of more fully exploring his sonic possibilities, simultaneously dipping back into the frenetic Punk of his early days while expanding into more reflective Pop directions. And he still writes engaging and powerful songs with the best titles. Witness: “Campaign for a Better Next Weekend,” “Sick, Later” and “The Shit That You Hate.”
And it looks like Bomb the Music Industry’s longstanding tour feature of offering stage time to anyone who learns a BTMI! song and brings an instrument is still in place as well. Bombs away!
BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY! plays Baba Budan's Sunday, Aug. 28 with guests THE SIDEKICKS. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.