Self Defense Family - “When the Barn Caves In” b/w “Alan” [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Self Defense Family

“When the Barn Caves In” b/w “Alan” [7-inch] (2015)

Iron Pier


When it comes to music, the argument for quality over quantity always wins. But what about quality and quantity? For the last three years, Self Defense Family have been churning out releases at a dizzying pace. However, not a single one of them feels marginal. 

Their most recent output (though a new EP comes out February 19th) is single “When the Barn Caves In” b/w “Alan.” It continues right where June’s Heaven Is Earth left off. You’ll immediately recognize the post-hardcore backdrop to Patrick Kindlon’s signature, strained vocals. Kindlon's yell used to be raspy and dark (and still is over at Drug Church HQ), but recently, he has not been able to hold back the audible downtempo defeat. And he gets into specifics; spitting vitriol at the mundane hand life has dealt. The most hypnotizing part of “When the Barn Caves In” is his repetition of “I have no portion control” taking cues from Heaven’s “Burnt out. It leaked out. I learned.” It reflects on his inability to control himself but also acts as a metaphor for the population.

“Alan”—named after band member Alan Huck apparently connecting most to the song—features a present bass line and is lyrically as heartbreaking as anything they’ve ever done. “I have a hard time with new situations” is so brutally honest no other band would admit to it. For the record, there are hard times with making contacts, managing conflict, and with any sort of sex too.

The music is stark with this pair of songs credited to producer extraordinaire J. Robbins. But the sound is distinctly the band’s. Self Defense Family get rawer with every release. They are in a league of their own, but it seems to be a lonely place.