Hold on to your Dickies, folks. The Urochromes, weirdpunk pioneers of the Pioneer Valley, have returned to the recording studio. Their forthcoming album, Trope House, is our beloved Urochromes’ first long playah. Following a similar vein intro’d in the duo’s 2017 EP, Night Bully, there’s gonna be frenzy, growl, fuzz, spit, and tasteful men’s apparel. But Trope House also introduces a more pensive, introspective side of the punx.
“Rumshpringa” is a surprising mellow moment on Trope House. Jackieboy and Dick Riddick are thinking about growing up and growing old in a just-under-two-minute basement jam about absence and wishful thinking. Of course, the video (put together by DC Poropat) reminds us listeners that even though the themes are real enough, this is still the ‘Chromes we’re talking about. So you’d best prepare your asses for irony, entropy, performance art, and the all-holy Weird.
And now, a word from lead vocalist Jackieboy on persona, influence, and YES, turtlenecks:
1.So the word on the street is that, within Urochromes lore, you the frontman are a Jewish standup comic from New York. Does that thread continue with this album?
That was more or less my approach when the band started, but the new record moves away from that I think. I’ve still slipped a few jokes in there but lyrically at least I’ve tried to move away from that some on this album. The overall mood on this one is a little more bittersweet and a little more sincere. I am still Jewish though. And from New York.
2.You’ve gotten a lot of love, and not just in Western MA, before ever releasing an LP. How many years in the making was Trope House?
We started writing the album in September 2017 when Dick and I were separately but simultaneously taking part in a month long NASA funded sleep deprivation experiment taking place in Boston. We started recording it in New Orleans and Mobile in April 2018. We’ve been working on it pretty consistently since then reworking songs and mixing with a few different people. I encourage people keep all that in mind while listening.
3.You’ve got a documented affinity for The Dickies and Bikini Kill. What other groups, punk or otherwise, inform your sound?
The song is called MY dickies. Its got nothing to do with The Dickies. Its about my pants. I’ve never really heard The Dickies. I’m listening now its not bad.
Bikini Kill is a great band, what can I say? We cover Resist Psychic Death on the new record. Singing on that one is our friend ORB backed up by her dad Gary Wrong who recorded Trope House. She’s 8 years old and I wrote the lyrics for the Bikini Kill song out for her and she said she knew them all by heart. Cool kid. Some other bands I remember talking about when we were working on this record were Hubble Bubble, The Worst and Chumbawamba. One of our first nights in New Orleans where we were working the record we saw an incredible show that was Mourning [a] BLKstar and chicago legends Ono. Can’t say any of those were direct inspiration for the album but they were on heavy rotation.
4.Other than a shared love of drum machines, what inspired your collab w/ Boy Harsher in 2017?
Jae and Gus are dear friends I first crossed paths with them in Savannah in 2013 when they were living there. They’re in Wmass now and we’re lucky to have them. Sweet, down to earth, beautiful people. Extorting them and their hard earned success for a little free publicity seemed like a no brainer.
5.Any word on the white turtlenecks? A tasteful choice for the modern punk, or something more profound?
I saw the hunky guy on that show Friends do it and thought I’d give it a try.
Keep an eye out for Trope Houseby The Urochromes, dropping 5/31 via Wharf Cat Records