The Bombpops “We put a lot of thought into being able to tell stories with these songs,” says Jen Razavi who, along with Poli van Dam, founded The Bombpops in 2007. Together, Razavi and van Dam became the band’s backbone, writing songs that highlighted their dual guitar attack and were carried by their pitch-perfect vocal harmonies. It’d take the band a decade to release their first full-length album, but 2017’s Fear of Missing Out was a perfect distillation of everything they’d been working toward. And now, with the Dear Beer EP, they’re proving that there’s plenty more where that came from.
The four new tracks that make up Dear Beer are as distinct as they are powerful. “The song ‘Dear Beer’ was collectively everyone in the band’s favorite song,” says Razavi, and it’s easy to see why. Where Fear of Missing Out saw Razavi and van Dam throwing out pointed lyrical jabs, Dear Beer ups the introspection. Make no mistake, there’s still a bit of bile getting spit up, but there’s just the right amount of levity mixed in. It’s what allows these songs to work as stories, ones that are resonant for the band members, and will surely hit home for anyone who plays Dear Beer all the way through.
“I love a song where the lyrics tell a story, and although I may have never experienced anything like what is happening in that story, the song allows me to put myself in that person’s place,” says Razavi. The Dear Beer EP finds unity in the thematic elements of each song, as each one sees The Bombpops offering up personal anecdotes and crafting songs that have, as Razavi and van Dam intended, a narrative arc. It’s seen in “Dear Beer,” where they swear off drinking alone and vow to stop being “a fucking downer,” a mantra that enables them to cut out the source of the toxicity without a second thought. But even when it gets a little heavy, The Bombpops find ways to make it all feel uplifting.
“‘Dear Beer’ and ‘Turn up the Thermostat’ are particularly dark,” says Razavi, “They’re a bit self-loathing and reflect on negative experiences.” While the lyrics on Dear Beer are culled from difficult experiences, The Bombpops use their buoyant music to push back against the things weighing them down. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that they throw in just the right amount of self-deprecation to keep themselves from ever making it too much of a bummer. “We intentionally put those lyrics to playful, poppy melodies. It weirdly has a therapeutic effect in the long run,” says Razavi. “Making them light and playful makes the thing that seemed so dramatic to us at the time something to laugh about now.”
That balance between the series and the lighthearted is what makes Dear Beer not just the logical evolution of The Bombpops sound, but also the start of a new chapter for the band. It may have taken them a decade to release their first album, but as Dear Beer proves, the wind is at their back, and nothing is going to keep them down.
Decent Criminal With a sound reminiscent of ‘90s alternative, punk, surf, and power-pop, Northern CA's Decent Criminal offers catchy, upbeat songs that mercilessly collide with abrasive and often melancholy undertones, to bring forth a style that is both playfully compatible, and inadvertently raw.
In 2014, brothers Hunter and Tristan Martinez took what was already an active touring act, and rebuilt it from the ground up, giving the band a new sound and set of players. Hunter, the band’s only original member, switched from guitar/vocals to drums, and the band never skipped a beat. Tristan, who was at one point the band’s fill in bass player, took on the key roles of guitarist and primary songwriter. The two brothers enlisted the services of bassist/vocalist Alex Kouninos, and later guitarist/vocalist Brian Gellman to round out the sound. The new band quickly developed their own style, with unique three part vocal harmony permeating their recordings, and live performances.
Since the overhaul, Decent Criminal has released a 7” split in 2015, a self-titled debut LP in 2016, and has most recently released their sophomore LP "Bloom” via Dodgeball Records in 2017. Over the past few years, Decent Criminal has picked up some serious momentum, thanks to a combination of prolific songwriting, and a relentless drive to tour and play live.
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