Last year while trying book my band a show in Richmond I was furiously searching the Internet for some exciting bands to share the stage with. Richmond is a medium sized city about 100 miles south of Washington DC and isn’t particularly well known to the outside world. I never did manage to get my band that show, but I did find a rich music and arts scene in this central Virginia city and standing out most of all was Young Scum and their super catchy Zona EP. Now they’ve followed that EP up with an 8 track self titled album out on cassette label Citrus City and Pretty Olivia Records in Europe.
Interweaving guitar melodies introduce us to the lead off single “Wasting Time“. Singer / guitarist Chris Smith nonchalantly sings about a youth spent slacking off. As depressing as that might be, it’s hard to commiserate with him when the chorus makes you want to jump and dance around the room. If he’s spends his days writing catchy songs though is that really wasting time?
“Freak Out” follows with a similar uptempo jangly refrain contrasted this time against a wistful verse and nostalgic lyrics about lost summer days.
The themes of daydreaming though wasted summers continues on “Sloth“, another quick upbeat tune with a noisier guitars. “Dirt” picks up where its predecessor leaves off with distorted guitars accenting an otherwise twee pop tune. Smith sings “listen to the album twice through, wondering if the words are true” as if he’s urging the listener on. If he isn’t singing about personal experience then he paints a very vivid portrait of what it’s like being a young adult still unsure where to go in life and missing the carefree days off youth.
“Itchy Sweater” and “Tonight” explore themes of indecision and escape from modern life while the band puts their distortion pedals to use more than anywhere else on this record.
“Crying at Work” is perhaps the most amusing anti-work song since “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. On the album’s finale “Hard” Young Scum slows the pace, detailing a shy student’s lovesick inner monologue.
Chris Smith‘s lyrics can sometimes be painfully relatable for those of us new to adulthood or remember that feeling. Sometimes yourself or those around you build up expectations of who you should be and what you should do with your life. It’s easier to waste time thinking about the past, but there’s also a lot of hope in this album too. These eight songs are filled with an energy and excitement that things are going to get better.
Interview with Chris Smith:
How did the band first come together?
The band first came together in the summer of 2014 after i graduated from college. I was bored, feeling pretty aimless, and hadn’t played music live for a long time. So I asked my friends to play some of these pop songs I was writing with me and things just got rolling!
How would you describe the local scene in Richmond?
The scene here in Richmond is amazing. It honestly comes and goes as people move in and out, but there are always so many bands / artists playing. It’s been getting harder and harder to book shows here because all the venues just have such amazing shows every single night of the week. It just keeps getting better. Especially with Manny from Citrus City Records booking a lot of the best shows!
How was the process of recording an album compared to your previous EPS?
Recording this time around was kind of similar to our previous sessions. We recorded the entire LP in our friend Tim Falen‘s practice space behind this brewery (Hardywood). And we tried to do too much in one weekend and it kind of backfired. We had to redo a lot of the guitar tracks later at Ali and I (Chris)’s house with our friend Mitch Clem, who then later mixed and mastered the record. I will say the quality of our recordings has improved over time. The first EP we did in our guitarist Ben‘s kitchen and you can tell… haha
Are you planning to tour in support of the new album?
No plans for tours yet! We’ll be writing new material and hopefully hit the road in 2019! We’ve been playing these songs live for a long time and there’s going to be some big changes for the band in the near future, it feels like time to start working on something new.
What’s your favourite song from the new album are you most proud of and why?
My personal favourite on the record is Itchy Sweater. It has this super fun jangly feel to it that reminds me of The Feelies or McCarthy and I think we really nailed that vibe. I’m really proud of how it turned out and every time I listen to it, it reminds me of how much time and effort we put into the entire record.
Highlights: Freak Out, Wasting Time, Tonight, Sloth
For Fans of: Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Swimming Tapes, Day Wave, Night Flowers