Their origins are self-described as very average. Sprouting up in the area around D.C., both in Virginia and Maryland, Guitarist Brendan Stephens and Ted Gordon, Bassist Matt Wojcik, and Drummer John Crogan formed in 2008-2009 during the second wave of activist emotional rock. Yes, their music tends to lean more on the emo side of rock, but there is something special about this record that makes it worth telling the band’s story as well. Besides a very lovely 10” record that deceived me with some unsavory sounds, this record was my first introduction to the emo side of that activist revolution. They capture themes similar to that of Flobots, who most of you should know from “Handlebars” and more recently “Handle Your Bars” (If you are unfamiliar with the latter, I implore you to check it out on YouTube). After their Debut self-titled album, they would go on to release three split singles and records before their second album in 2012. Beyond the music, Brendan Stephens, lead singer, appears to be quite the interesting man. Focusing on writing, He taught for several years in the same town his band formed. Since the group’s last effort, Manifesto, in 2014, Brendan Has pursued writing in many capacities. The latest I have seen of him was last month, as he was taking a writing PhD. course. In other blogs and online personals by him he has referenced his work with the punk music scene and his time running a label. For those interested, I’ll leave a link here to a piece he wrote. I highly recommend it.
“This record is dedicated to conscientious objectors, war deserters, and those that pursue non-violence in their daily lives.” Coming from the Credits section on the insert, I couldn’t have described the album better myself. The full name of the album is Old Wounds: Warmth in the Winter of 1914 – 1915. There are moments of real passion, akin to their emotional style on their other records, but also a lot of smooth post-punk sounds that feel inspired by the hardships of war, and really bring the listener in to the scene of the battlefield. Woven throughout the record are snippets of propaganda and interviews with veterans that make it all more real. I find this to be the perfect music to listen to while working. Something about the storytelling style and high energy just makes getting stuff done so easy.
Count Your Lucky Stars, the label that carried the group’s albums, pressed a total of 500 vinyl copies of this record. Half of them were the white color I have here. Though not the rarest of them, one of 250 is still quite rare. The white vinyl is beautiful, and is a little off white. Everything through this piece is solid and fits like a complete work of art. The sleeve is pretty fantastic, the album art is really what drove me to this album. The symbolism of the cross throughout the cover and record is the key that ties the whole piece together.