By Josiah Martin | Staff Writer
On Sept. 7, indie punk-rocker Jeff Rosenstock publicly celebrated his birthday with the release of a new single, “Wave Goodnight to Me” and announced that he will be releasing a new solo album, “Worry,” on Oct. 14. This will be Rosenstock’s fourth solo effort, continuing a decades-long career in music that has seen him either at the front of or behind the scenes of multiple bands, some under his own record label.
He has spent these past two decades slowly climbing the ranks of the music industry, and he’s just getting started. Let’s take a look at his career and see what brought him to the indie-rock juggernaut status he is at today.
Rosenstock, of Long Island, New York, started making music in 1995 as a member of the band Arrogant Sons of Bitches, a ska-punk band that released its first LP, “Built to Fail,” when Rosenstock was, amazingly, only 15 years old. The band broke apart and reunited several times over the following years and currently have not toured together since 2012.
The second group to feature Rosenstock as frontman, Bomb the Music Industry, consisted of many former members of Arrogant Sons of Bitches and featured a broader musical range. Beginning in 2004, Bomb the Music Industry displayed Rosenstock’s first forays into more contemporary forms of punk rock and indie rock that would eventually become the focus of his solo work.
In 2007, Rosenstock founded Quote Unquote Records, a record label which distributes all of its artists’ music for free, running on only donations. Bomb the Music Industry performed under this label, as well as the band Pegasuses-XL, for which Rosenstock played keyboard. This label remains active, and Rosenstock still releases his solo music, for free, through it.
Rosenstock’s first solo record under Quote Unquote Records was 2012’s “I Look Like Shit,” a collection of home demo recordings, some of which were unfinished Bomb the Music Industry songs. Though the album received little immediate publicity, it was reviewed well critically and paved the way for more of Rosenstock’s future work. He followed immediately with 2012’s “Summer,” yet again a well received, if still relatively unknown, album.
After releasing this string of quality music with little recognition, Rosenstock was due for a surge in popularity. Luckily, the following few years brought exactly that. Rosenstock spent time writing and recording new music while acting as producer for the album “Throw Me in the River” by the band Smith Street, and he saw an opportunity when the band AJJ (then known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) invited him on its tour as a solo artist in 2015. It was during this time that Rosenstock released his third solo album, “We Cool?,” now with a new backing band that supported him through the tour.
The publicity of the AJJ tour in conjunction with the release of his new album brought newfound attention to the solo work of Rosenstock, and “We Cool?” proceeded to debut at No. 43 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart. “We Cool?,” like his other releases, was fairly well-received, but unlike his other work, it finally reached a wider audience. Released under SideOneDummy Records, demand for the album apparently crashed the record label’s website upon the record’s release.
This success brought Rosenstock to his current fame in the indie rock scene. He and his new backing band followed the positive reception of “We Cool?” with a European, Australian and United States tour in 2016, as well as an upcoming fall tour in the U.S. with acts Hard Girls and Katie Ellen. Rosenstock was also one of the acts in the “Rock Against the TPP,” a rally against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Two shows in October will be celebrating the release of Rosenstock’s upcoming album, “Worry”: one in Los Angeles, CA on Oct. 14 and the second in Tijuana, Baja California, in Mexico on Oct. 15. “Worry” will be available on Oct. 14, and like “We Cool?,” will be released on SideOneDummy Records. This new album is sure to make the biggest splash of any of his works so far, and will no doubt meet and exceed the quality standard Rosenstock has set for himself over the years.