By Jonathan Murden
With his band Bomb the Music Industry playing their last show in 2014, and with his marriage last year, it would have been reasonable for Jeff Rosenstock to take a short break from music. He responds to this query with characteristic frankness; “Nah. I’ve been on tour more with the solo band than I ever have before, and when I’m not on tour, I’ve been working on music almost constantly, whether it’s writing my own shit, doing Antarctigo Vespucci stuff [another of his bands] or producing records. That all came as kind of a surprise to me … I got lucky.”
This energy and creativity make sense when you take a quick glance through his discography. Rosenstock has had at least one new album every year since 2000, except 2003. A self-described control freak, most of his music was written alone first, “just cause I wanna hear how it will sound before we do the real thing… But playing with the guys in my band and producing other people’s stuff has helped me get away from the bad parts of that.”
The creativity that comes through collaboration shows all through his music, right up to his latest release, WORRY. In both his collaborations and his solo work, Rosenstock has demonstrated himself to be a master of upbeat records with angst-ridden lyrics. “I was probably always drawn to those songs as a depressed kid so that’s in my DNA.” Yet, on this album, Rosenstock turns his eye towards more political themes. “I was trying to write more love songs to be honest…but the things that occupied my thoughts at most times were the things that were breaking my heart – racist police brutality, gentrification, the corporatization of humanity, blah blah blah.”
Even with this overt politicism, Rosenstock has lost none of the essential humanity that makes his music so comforting. “Since I was thinking about all this shit as I was getting married, I was drawn to the momentum of the world being at odds with love.” And when more and more people feel powerless and abandoned by those supposed to represent them – in the media and in the Government – this humanising of the issues is more important than ever.
WORRY. was released in October of last year. Jeff Rosenstock plays at the Durham Students’ Union on 20th May, with Spook School, Doe, and Bad Moves.