The Menzingers celebrated the release of their sixth album, 2019's Hello, Exile, with some acoustic in-stores, and now they're releasing a whole stripped-back, acoustic, folky version of the album, From Exile, digitally on September 25 via Epitaph and physically on November 13 (pre-order). The whole thing was recorded from the band members' respective homes while in isolation during the pandemic, as singer/guitarist Greg Barnett explains:

The live music industry vanished before our eyes, and just like that we were out of work like tens of millions of others. As the weeks progressed the upcoming tours got rescheduled, then rescheduled again, then effectively cancelled. There were times when it all felt fatal. There’s no guide book on how to navigate being a working musician during a global pandemic, so we were left to make it up as we went along. We wanted to document and create in the moment, and though we couldn’t be in the same room together due to social distancing lockdowns, we got creative.

[...] We would track the songs from our own home studios, share the files via dropbox, and pray it all made sense when pieced back together. Initially, we planned for the album to be similar to our acoustic demo collection On The Possible Past, but we quickly found out that this batch of songs benefited from more detailed arrangements.

We rewrote, and changed keys and melodies. We blended analog and digital instruments in ways we never had before. We dug through old lyric notebooks and added additional verses. We got our dear friend Kayleigh Goldsworthy to play violin on two songs. No idea was off limits. Hell, I even convinced the band to let me play harmonica on a song (no small feat!). The recording process ran from mid-March till June, and upon completion we sent it over to our dear friend and close collaborator Will Yip to mix and master.

As you can hear from the just-released versions of "High School Friend" and "Strawberry Mansion," they did indeed give these songs detailed arrangements and genuine reworks, and this seems like it's going to be more than your "average" acoustic album. The songs sound great in this format, and they really hit in a different way than the original album versions. Listen to both below.

The Menzingers also recently released a new protest song, "America Pt. 2," and assuming live shows return by then, they'll be playing The Fest in 2021.

Menzingers

Tracklist
1. America (You're Freaking Me Out) (From Exile)
2. Anna (From Exile)
3. High School Friend (From Exile)
4. Last To Know (From Exile)
5. Strangers Forever (From Exile)
6. Hello Exile (From Exile)
7. Portland (From Exile)
8. Strain Your Memory (From Exile)
9. I Can't Stop Drinking (From Exile)
10. Strawberry Mansion (From Exile)
11. London Drugs (From Exile)
12. Farewell Youth (From Exile)

--

See The Menzingers featured in Best Punk & Emo Albums of the 2010s

See albums 100-26 here.