stream Young & Heartless’ new album ‘$ERMON’ & read their track-by-track breakdown
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania emo band Young and Heartless first won us over with their 2014 debut LP The Pull of Gravity, which helped them ink a deal with Hopeless Records, who released their 2016 sophomore LP Stay Away, but they disappeared for a bit after that until finally resurfacing this year, and now they're set to release their third album, $ERMON, this Friday (5/29).
The time away has only helped Y&H expand their sonic palette, which is now more atmospheric and has more of an electronic-tinged art rock vibe than ever. They're still very much an emo band, but they pretty much entirely avoid the loud, roaring post-hardcore choruses of their early work, and the reinvention suits them well. (Stay Away hinted at this direction, but $ERMON completes the transformation.) Compared to their earlier sound, $ERMON is like the How It Feels To Be Something On to their Diary, the Peregrine to their The End of the Ring Wars, the Alchemy Index to their Illusion of Safety, the Nearer My God to their The Albatross, or for something less in the emo niche, the Kid A to their The Bends. If you like all of those examples, you should check out $ERMON too. A full stream premieres in this post.
We also spoke to the band, who has whittled down to the core duo of Jeremy Henninger and Bryan Tricarico, about this record, and they gave us a track-by-track rundown of every song. Read on for what they had to say, as you listen to the new LP...
Jeremy: At some point Bryan and I decided we were just going to write this album between the two of us. I believe this song was the first one I sent over, recorded on my phone, and it gave me some confidence that this might be possible. "AVVAY" describes a childhood memory, where I attended a local baseball game and afterwards went to a party that we had no business being at. The first thrills of independence and the fear that goes along with it.
Jeremy: Probably one of the oldest demos we used. "JAW$" was written, thrown out, reworked, then thrown out again, just to make a final rework that landed it on the album. Definitely not the easiest thing to do as our band, most songs that die with us, die for good. JAW$ is an existential nightmare. Counting up all of your successes and looking around to see everyone is exactly the same as you. No one is applauding, they are all looking past you to the next gratification, as quickly as possible. "JAW$" is the scary moment when you stop looking forward and the dread of nothing sinks in.
Jeremy: While writing WA$P, I thought it would be fun to have a whopping 220 bpm on a strange Cursive/Algernon [Cadwallader] composition and I think it worked. "WA$P" is about contemplating suicide. Embarrassed by how much potential you've wasted.
Bryan: Influenced heavily by the latter half of the Sleep Well Beast album by The National, and an attempt to do something different, "JOHN WAYNE" and "TIDE," musically, were part of a collection of four songs that were born out of a devastating year of problems beyond one's control, and not knowing how to handle them.
In 2018, a series of unfortunate events began chipping away at my mental state. The band had begun deteriorating, my mother had been dealing with some serious health issues, and my brother had passed away. These tracks were an outlet of sorts.
The goal with "JOHN WAYNE" was to write a long chord progression that repeated itself without sounding too stale or contrived and have it build into something bigger. It is the first track to really rely heavily on electronic elements.
Jeremy: The chorus says it all, "Money's in the way of everything". How whether it is too little, or too much, its value defines us. The first verse describes a drunk, who spends all of his time complaining that he needs more money and how he could use a break. The second verse describes a man who has excess, and his frustration that the money he has can't fix the fundamental flaws in his life.
Jeremy: Written in Bryan's bedroom by the two of us, this was truly the first song we finished and left untouched. "IDIOT" is a cry for attention. A constant need of approval from those around you.
Jeremy: A stand out single from the album, mostly from its step away from the past Y&H sound. Poppy and upbeat, not something we are used to. "$ERMON" describes how each of us feel a lack of something within us. Something we feel is wrong with us that no one else can understand and how it devalues our positive qualities entirely.
Bryan: "TIDE" is perhaps the most personal of all the tracks for me, written almost immediately after my brother's passing, on our bus somewhere in New Jersey, while on tour with Blue Heaven in June 2018, using almost exclusively a Teenage Engineering OP-1 and a guitar. I wanted to try and keep it as simple as possible but still emit some sort of emotion.
Jeremy: In this song, it describes how you can be dying your whole life if you allow yourself to and how difficult it is for people with chemical imbalances to see things positively.
"WAY OUT OF EVERYTHING"
Bryan: "WAY OUT OF EVERYTHING" is another "old" track. It was one of the last song written with our drummer Jake (Lepley) before his departure from the band.
Jeremy: "WAY OUT OF EVERYTHING" depicts a man who stalks a girl from his hometown to Las Vegas, just to find himself accidentally starting a new life there without her.
Bryan: "F00L$" was written after about a month or so of getting super into David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, more specifically Twin Peaks and the Julee Cruise album Floating Into The Night, which was written by Lynch and Badalamenti. The entire song was written and demoed on my iPad using primarily Cubasis 2, of which almost all of those files were used in the final recording.
Jeremy: "F00L$" is about two lovers who stay in an abusive relationship with each other because they are "in love."
Jeremy: "LURE" is about how messy doing the right thing can be. How opinions lay the groundwork for "truth" in some scenarios, and how difficult it is to remain on the right side of history.
Jeremy: Flashback to 2018 when we wrote this song. We were commuting to Maryland twice a week to try to put together some songs with the help of Matt Full and Connor Bowen, formerly of Blue Heaven. Unfortunately, this is the only one that made it onto the album from the several we recorded down there. Not for lack of trying though, I believe many of the songs written then didn't make it on because I felt so much different in the following year that I couldn't get into the same head-space to write honestly and confidently. This song did ring true however and it turned into one of my favorites on the album. "CUR$E" is about a man who visits a Fortune Teller weekly to unload his life story. He finds she is therapeutic, regardless of his doubts of the mystic
$ERMON officially hits streaming services on Friday (5/29) and vinyl copies will ship later this summer. You can pre-order it here.
Since it'll be a while before Young & Heartless can get back on the road, watch this video of them at Wrecking Ball 2016 to tide you over: