Tenement - Bruised Music Volume One (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Bruised Music Volume One (2015)

Grave Mistake/Toxic Pop

“You guys wanna hear some cool bullshit? Are you ready to hear the best pop punk record ever created by Jesus?”

With these spoken words, Bruised Music Volume One begins, a collection of singles by Appleton, Wisconsin’s Tenement, one of the most exciting young bands currently playing punk rock. Sounding like a darker, more depressed Midwestern version of the Descendents, Tenement’s brand of pop punk is heavier, harder and better than most of their ilk. Their last full-length, 2011’s Napalm Dream, was one of the best (and most under-appreciated) punk rock records of the past ten years, and the singles assembled for Bruised Music Volume One reveal a band developing and refining their sound.

Led by singer/guitarist Amos Pitsch, Tenement come loud and guitar-heavy, with lyrics centered largely around themes of depression and dysfunction, both personal, interpersonal and familial. Throughout the ten songs assembled, an image of Midwestern restlessness and darkness is rendered with an energy and catchiness that lifts Tenement head and shoulders above many of their contemporaries, striking a balance between pop punk and the more rocking alternative bands of the '90s, such as Dinosaur Jr., “Sitcom Moms,” the first track on the collection, could be mistaken for a Descendents song in the best way possible, if not for Pitsch’s distinct voice and heavy guitar tone. ”I can’t believe that you can still put up with me,” Pitsch sings in its chorus, an example of Tenement’s less-than-glowing lyrics. “Spaghetti Midwestern,” “The Best and Worst of Times” and “Icepick,” three of the best songs on the collection, would have fit in perfectly on Napalm Dream, and serve as perfect examples of why Tenement is a band that should light up on any discriminating punk rock fan’s radar.

I can only assume that there will be more volumes to follow Bruised Music Volume One, which should tide listeners over until their next album drops. If the quality of the songs on Volume One serves as any indication, there’s a lot more goodness to come out of Appleton, Wisconsin.