Having released two beloved albums in the early noughties, ferocious post-hardcore New York group Glassjaw have unleashed their first new song – the pulsating ‘New White Extremity’ – since the 2011 EP Coloring Book. Ahead of their upcoming tour, they also announced an incredibly intimate show at the 150-capacity East London pub The Old Blue Last. With the band expected to release an new album expect this year, we rounded up 10 Glassjaw tracks you can’t be without.
10. ‘You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)’
Don’t be fooled by that timid, 90-second timid drum loop at the start. If you are, you’ll be caught out, as this blistering 2011 single suddenly bursts into life, with vocalist Daryl Palumbo shrieking the thrillingly nonsensical lyrics (“Burning shut / Work shut / It’s serenity for worms”) against a pile-driving guitar riff that’ll knock you sideways.
9. ‘The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports’
Taken from Glassjaw’s second album, Worship and Tribute, this showcases the post-hardcore group’s more melodic side. Shimmering, arpeggiated guitars, jazzy drums and Palumbo’s weary croon, “We were the best of friends”. You almost forget you’re listening to such a ferocious band – until those trademark heavy guitars garrote you by the neck. And then… wait, is he rapping?
8. ‘Her Middle Name Was Boom’
Glassjaw’s version of a love song. Yes, this is heavy and has bags of attitude, but you could also quite feasibly describe the song as swooning and epic, sort of a post-hardcore power ballad, which is definitely a thing.
7. ‘Trailer Park Jesus’
The chorus of this Worship And Tribute cut is a delicate slow burn, the spindly guitar slinking away in the background, until the chorus blooms and Palumbo wails, I jumped ship to a burning sow / Had a ball, atom bomb.” Apparently the lyrics depict post-9/11 paranoia and the climax of the song, smothered with backing vocals, has a deeply claustrophobic atmosphere.
6. ‘Ry Ry’s Song’
Forget slow burns. There’s no fucking about with this punked-up number, which begins with a scream and bows out with an infectious, cyclical earworm of a guitar riff. It all gets a bit Brand New in the middle-eight as the guitars disappear and Palumbo’s scuzzy vocals are backed only by percussion, offering a real sense of vulnerability.
5. ‘Ape Dos Mil’
Palumbo often seems more interested in finding a groove, lyrically, than telling a straightforward narrative and the first minute of this track sees the words bounce along against chugging, minimalist guitars. Of course, the calm doesn’t last for long…
4. ‘Siberian Kiss’
Taken from debut album Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence, this crushing track consists of guitars that sound like circular saws, but there’s a really beautiful melody lurking in there too – you just have to really look for amid the thrash-metal squall that book-end it.
3. ‘Pretty Lush’
For the most part, this is what we expect and want from Glassjaw – obtuse lyrics spat at 1000 miles an hour, guitars played so ferociously they sound like they’re being chopped in half and idiosyncratic melodies. But ‘Pretty Lush’ is really interesting for the breakdown at the 20-second mark, as everything slows down and Palumbo gets to let loose with his soaring vocals.
2. ‘Lovebites and Razorlines’
It is possible that Daryl Palumbo has never sounded more upset than he does when he gurgles and spits through the jazzy refrain of this track, which – characteristically – somehow also features really beautiful, delicate melodies.
1. ‘Cosmopolitan Blood Loss’
This is so insidious, so claustrophobic, as scratchy guitar underpin Palumbo’s sneering lyrics, “When people whisper it makes her nervous”. However, the chorus shows a glossier, more – dare we say it – poppy side of the New York group. Thrash metal riffs, slinky grooves, pop-punk choruses, howling, industrial guitars – this might be the most Glassjaw thing Glassjaw have ever done.