"Especially when I'm writing about drinking, I think people tend to misinterpret me in a big way," says Rosenstock. "People have found my phone number on the internet and been like, 'What's up, are you wasted right now?' Someone actually came up to me at a show and said, 'I was in rehab, but I broke out because of you!' And it's like, 'Maybe you should go to rehab.'"
It may not have been a conscious decision, but the band's new record, Vacation, is less of an ode to self-destructive self-loathing. "Our last EP was super dark," says Rosenstock. "After it was done, I decided not to write anymore. But things started to turn around a little in my life." Bumped from several flights, Rosenstock suddenly found himself with over a thousand dollars in free airfare, and, on top it, a steady job. "I decided to try to harness the times when I feel good," he says. The result isn't just a sunnier incarnation of the band's sound, but a more thoughtful, nuanced exploration of influences ranging from Superchunk to vintage Elvis Costello; lyrically, it eschews the point-blank anger of the band's past. "I don't think anyone wants to hear someone complain about being a headcase 800 times," laughs Rosenstock. "I don't want to be a headcase forever. It's about trying to conquer the things that I don't want to cripple me for my entire life."