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PWR BTTM announce new LP ‘Pageant,’ share “Big Beautiful Day,” expand tour

PWR BTTM
photo by Ebru Yildiz

PWR BTTM have been talking about their second album (and first for Polyvinyl) for a while now, and it’s finally announced. The album’s called Pageant and it drops on May 12 via their new label home. The lead single is “Big Beautiful Day” and it’s another dose of their emotionally bare pop punk, but clearer, sharper, and bigger sounding than anything on their debut. It’s great stuff, and you can watch the video for it below. The video was directed by Christopher Good, and it stars both members of PWR BTTM and features a cameo by Diet Cig singer Alex Luciano. Here’s some more insight on the new album:

“I want to challenge people to conceive of a record that is personal and political,” Bruce says. “The two don’t need to be in conflict.”

Pageant—so named for the duo’s shared interest in high-femme glamor, systems of gender, identity performance, and all things drag—switches from clarion call to cathartic meditation from song to song, sometimes even verse to verse. Take “Big Beautiful Day.” Over soaring chords and percussion, Hopkins rips into the “men who live to bring you down” and the culture of toxic masculinity that enables them. He later shifts the narrative, wondering if we still have a chance at saving the little boys locked within those men “who never had a choice but to grow up and be scared to be your friend.”

On “Answer My Text,” Bruce tackles the gendered power dynamics of dating and how they, more often than not, tip the scales against women and femmes. The song is bratty and immature—way more concerned with the dumbass who hasn’t texted the narrator back than with the system of gender that taught him it’s OK for him to be so callous. But it speaks truth to power with every shouted refrain of “ANSWER MY TEXT, YOU DICK!!” and invites the listener to claim that power for themselves if they’d like to shout along.

Reclamation is a recurring theme throughout Pageant. There’s “New Trick,” in which Bruce flips the cis gaze on its head, along with sister tracks “Sissy” and “Silly.” The former has Bruce finding power through being “a big, bad sissy,” who, perhaps channeling late visual artist Mark Aguhar, is “determined to be anything but a man.” Album opener “Silly” features Hopkins growing comfortable with a word that has been used against him his whole life.

“‘Silly’ is my least favorite word. When I was a kid, people would use it to belittle me when I was feeling sensitive or anxious or worried—feelings that could be described as ‘feminine’ or ‘girly,’” he says. “My parents would say, ‘Stop being silly.’ or ‘Take it on the chin.’ You know, ‘Be a man.’”

PWR BTTM also have upcoming shows, including one at Knitting Factory Brooklyn on Saturday (2/18) (which was moved from Shea Stadium). That’s sold out.

They also added many more shows, including another NYC show on June 21 at Webster Hall, which is by far their largest headlining show in NYC yet. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (2/17) at noon with an artist presale starting Wednesday (2/15) at 10 AM.

All dates are listed, along with the new song stream, album artwork and tracklist, below.

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PWR BTTM

Tracklist
1. Silly (2:35)
2. Answer My Text (2:48)
3. LOL (2:47)
4. Won’t (2:20)
5. Now Now (2:23)
6. Sissy (2:25)
7. Pageant (2:29)
8. Oh, Boy (2:47)
9. New Trick (2:27)
10. Wash (2:45)
11. Kids’ Table (2:20)
12. Big Beautiful Day (2:49)
13. Styrofoam (2:53)

PWR BTTM — 2017 Tour Dates
Wed, Feb 15 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern Café + Music Hall
Thu, Feb 16 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery**
Fri, Feb 17 – Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA**
Sat, Feb 18 – Brooklyn, NY – The Knitting Factory**
Sun, Feb 19 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theater**
Thu, Feb 23 – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club**
Mon, Feb 27 – Los Angeles, CA – Highland Park Ebell Club**
Mon, Apr 10 – Dublin, Ireland – The Workman’s Club
Tue, Apr 11 – Manchester, UK – The Deaf Institute
Wed, Apr 12 – Sheffield, UK – The Harley Hotel & Bar
Thu, Apr 13 – Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
Sat, Apr 15 – Glasgow, UK – Centre for Contemporary Arts
Sun, Apr 16 – Bristol, UK – Exchange
Mon, Apr 17 – Brighton, UK – The Haunt
Tue, Apr 18 – London, UK – The Garage
Thu, Apr 20 – Nantes, FR – Stereolux
Fri, Apr 21 – Bourges, FR – Printemps de Bourges
Sat, Apr 22 – Paris, FR – Venue TBA
Mon, Apr 24 – Lille, FR – L’aeronef
Tue, Apr 25 – Rouen, FR – 106
Mon, Mar 13 – Sun, Mar 19 – Austin, TX – SXSW 2017
Fri, May 26 – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
Tue, May 30 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean
Thu, Jun 01 – Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
Fri, Jun 02 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Mon, Jun 05 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada
Tue, Jun 06 – Austin, TX – Barracuda
Wed, Jun 07 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
Thu, Jun 08 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
Fri, Jun 09 – Tallahassee, FL – The Wilbury
Sat, Jun 10 – Orlando, FL – Backbooth
Mon, Jun 12 – Atlanta, GA – Hell @ The Masquerade
Tue, Jun 13 – Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
Thu, Jun 15 – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
Fri, Jun 16 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
Sat, Jun 17 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Mon, Jun 19 – Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Tue, Jun 20 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
Wed, Jun 21 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
Fri, Jul 07 – Pittsburgh, PA – Cattivo
Sat, Jul 08 – Columbus, OH – The Basement
Sun, Jul 09 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway
Wed, Jul 12 – Tucson, AZ – 191 Toole
Sat, Jul 15 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
Sun, Jul 16 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Tue, Jul 18 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
Wed, Jul 19 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
Fri, Jul 21 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret
Sat, Jul 22 – Spokane, WA – The Bartlett
Sun, Jul 23 – Missoula, MT – Zootown Arts Community Center
Tue, Jul 25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
Thu, Jul 27 – Denver, CO – The Bluebird Theater
Sun, Jul 30 – Lakewood, OH – Mahall’s
**Sold Out

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