My baby’s in Massachusetts
And all this booze is useless
Sunset sing my scratched out sighing soul to sleep
And the cashier here is ruthless
Jeanette, I wrote your name down
But I’d hate that job as much as you do
If I was stuck between Barton and Binghamton too
I don’t know about you, but these lyrics from “Mass” by Modern Baseball appeal to my sad boy sensibilities. Clever one-liners like “my third wish has always been three more” and “locked your love in a screenshot” stick out like sore thumbs caused by long days spent texting the one you’ve been infatuated with. I only bothered to select lyrics from the album’s opening few tracks but the entire work is absolutely littered with literary gold. For lyrical content alone, Modern Baseball’s new record, Holy Ghost is a masterpiece.
And I am not alone in making that assessment.
Zack Zarrillo, pop-punk blogging legend and founder of Property of Zack, described Modern Baseball’s position in a punk-scene gone toxic thanks to bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic! at The Disco’s rapid accession and Top-40 success.
“Concrete was paved all over the entire scene and it took a while for Modern Baseball to be the flower to push through it.” (so emo and poetic, waaaoow)
The sound of the Philadelphia four-piece has been described as emo / indie rock / folk punk and got their start playing basement shows around Drexel University. The band grew up playing shows in a hotbed of great bands and followed in the footsteps of local acts like The Menzingers and The Wonder Years.
Their first record Sports came out in 2012 to critical acclaim followed by the also well-received You’re Gonna Miss It All two years later. After an unsurprisingly good bridge EP in 2015, the band has given us yet another delicious offering to consume.
I would have written about them regardless, but their skyward trajectory has brought them to new heights and made Holy Ghost a home run of a pick for a weekly feature (minus points for making a tacky baseball reference about a band named after a book about the sport’s playing techniques).
The journey to the top, however, hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. After coming home from their largest tour to date last summer, the band members parted ways to rest and recharge. This sudden isolation caused singer and guitarist, Brendan Lukens’, bipolar disorder to lead him up to the roof of his house where he contemplated thoughts of taking his life. A well-timed, spontaneous text message from bandmate Jake Ewald changed his mind and Lukens soon thereafter checked himself into a program to help him work through his bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction.
Ewald, the other guitarist and song-writer in the band, had his own issues to cope with too. The passing of his grandfather made a huge impact on him and his family and is reflected in his lyrics. This YouTube documentary does an excellent job of illuminating the issues the two vocalists worked through and gives an engaging history of the band.
Run For Cover Record’s page for the album describes the work as follows:
“Holy Ghost covers an impressive emotional range, with co-songwriters Jacob Ewald and Brendan Lukens literally splitting the record in half. The record kicks off with six songs from Ewald and ends with five from Lukens. What they ended up with was a complete record of the past two years – the highs alongside the lows, tales from the road and glorious days at home alongside songs of heartbreak and personal struggle.”
That description in itself is a freaking turn on, man!
The album has been covered in Noisey and reviewed by both Spin and Pitchfork. And did I even mention that the New York Fucking Times did a write up about them!??
Listen to their new album. Listen to their old albums. Watch their music videos. Read the articles. Everything that they do is absolutely excellent!
If you vibe with this current then you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. There is much to click on and watch in this write up. Go crazy, kids.