As far as album titles to encapsulate the state of the world in the year 2017, Survival Pop is about as on the nose as you can get.
The sophomore outing from punk rock four-piece Worriers — the project of singer / guitarist Lauren Denitzio, who relocated to Philadelphia from Brooklyn last year — boils over with rage and frustration in an era where the rights of marginalized members of American society are under attack.
For some of our friends, neighbors and fellow human beings, life this past year has meant more than mere grumpiness over a divisive statement that an elected official made or something aggressive that a person in power did, or threatened to do. It’s meant being the direct target of those statements and actions, rather than just a person comfortably watching from the sidelines.
It really is about survival, in a visceral sense. But for Worriers, the response isn’t retreat, nor is it chaotic catharsis, but a measured, melodic counterpoint; an answer that’s catchy, potent and highly personal.
Denitzio and their bandmates — Lou Hanman shredding on lead guitar, Mikey Erg pummeling the drums, Nick Psillas holding the fray together with punchy bass — released Survival Pop on SideOneDummy Records in September, and have been touring in support of it for the past month. It’s the follow up to Imaginary Life, Worriers’ 2015 outing on Don Giovanni Records, produced by Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace. Performing live in the studio at WXPN, Worriers showcases two songs from each release.
“They / Them / Theirs” from Imaginary Life is a takedown of the gender binary, while “Plans” skewers the toxic forces and persons we all encounter in our lives. Both the songs from Survival Pop are about escaping from that aggression and toxicity — not wishing to escape, mind you, but the actual act of doing it. “The Possibility” can on the one hand be read as a breakup song — but told from the perspective of the person leaving, it’s also about the empowering feeling of taking control of your life. And in “Future Me,” Denitzio’s narrator consoles a younger version of themself — this is difficult, it seems to say, and the road won’t be easy, but you will get through it. You will survive.
Tonight, Worriers’ tour rolls through Philadelphia for a headlining jaunt at Johnny Brenda’s with Katie Ellen — listen to their Key Studio Session here — and Thin Lips. Tickets are still available, more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to Worriers’ Key Studio Session in its entirety.
The Key Studio Sessions, Worriers