Published Nov 04, 2013Not since the early '90s glory days of bands like Jawbreaker and Samiam has the melodic punk scene been so relevant as it has been the past few years. As a groundswell of bands playing what's been coined by some as "gruff punk" keep forming, Long Island's Iron Chic currently sit atop the heap as they prepare the release of their second album, The Constant One.
Released tomorrow (November 5) on Bridge Nine Records, the 11-track album is a bombastic, slightly irreverent but always fun punk-rock romp done by dudes (including ex-members of Latterman and Small Arms Dealer) who may be finally ready to make a go of being a full-time band.
"Yeah, that's always our ultimate end goal," vocalist Jason Lubrano tells Exclaim! "It's hard with everybody's real life and families and jobs, but we'll do our best and if we have to hit the road with guys filling in for the people who can't go all the time, we're definitely going to make an effort to tour more consistently than we have been. We're trying to push it to as close to a full-time thing as we can get it."
Formed in 2008, Iron Chic released their debut album, Not Like This, in 2010 and became somewhat legendary on the East Coast for their fun live shows, snarky lyrics and a high-octane melodic punk rock sound. The new record, although not a concept album, is a lot more cohesive and has a different vibe than the last one, according to Lubrano. It also features some stellar guitar work by Phil Douglas, who also produced the album with a live sound in mind.
"We have a rule where we don't like to do too much on the recordings that we can't pull off live," explains Lubrano. "We always try to keep in mind that the albums don't have all of these crazy sounds that we could in no way come close to duplicating live. So with this one we recorded most of the music live and just went back for vocals and a few guitar things, but we try to always record as much as we can live because it does suck to sound clinical when record track by track."
Lubrano also says the band had a bunch of friends in Long Island come in to the studio and do "gang vocals" to give the songs that "extra swell of sound that we get when we play live and people are singing along." And while the thought of "gang vocals" brings to mind tough-guy New York hardcore mosh crews, Lubrano points out that this is a different kind of gang we're talking about.
"Yeah, you can get a gang together and it could be a Scooby gang, too," he laughs. "We're usually lucky enough to have a bunch of kids singing along at our shows, so that kind of informs the way that people hear our band, so we wanted to get a little bit of that in there in the studio, too."
Lyrically, Lubrano tends to keep the exact song meanings to himself, but he does mention that the process of writing the band's fist-pumping anthems happens pretty naturally and the themes they've tackled on The Constant One are universal.
"It's always hard to talk about the song meanings," he says. "I guess this one's a bit more about personal relationships than the last one, and also just the larger themes of your place in the world. Some songs are more about soul-searching, dealing with things that have happened to you in your life and finding your way forward from there. I don't really have a pre-thought out idea of what songs are going to be about when I write them, so they just come together when they are done. Also, I'm pretty aware of the negative aspects of the lyrics, so I do try to temper it a little bit just to not make it so bleak."
As for that band name Iron Chic, it's pretty much what you would expect: the result of a old-school wrestling joke gone wrong.
"We were just sitting around throwing dumb names around and someone mentioned the wrestler the Iron Sheik, and someone else said it was a good name, and then the next one of us said we should change it to the stupid spelling, and for whatever reason it was just the funniest one at the time and it stuck. We definitely had that period of regret when it was too late and we couldn't change it. It is what it is, and it's definitely silly; but it's a fun memory."
Iron Chic have a few shows lined up in the U.S., and you can see their currently confirmed schedule here.