November 27, 2012


Pissed Jeans Chronicle Office Life Through Sludge Rock

Sasha Morgan
Sasha Morgan

Having an office job can be tough, soul-draining work. You're trapped inside all day, perhaps in a cubicle lined with purposefully-designed bland and "soothing" color schemes, trading away your mortality for a probably underwhelming paycheck. If you feel like this at all applies to you, and you're also a fan of more aggressive music, then Allentown, PA band Pissed Jeans (whose frontman Matt Korvette works as an insurance claims adjuster during the day) should be your new favorite band.

Their music is often labeled post-hardcore, a definition, which, loosely, means the band has a loud, aggressive and sludgy scream-filled sound. Lyrically, their songs detail the tedium and indignities that come with the less pleasant parts of adulthood: jobs, corporate dress codes, soy milk. Think of them as sort of a counterbalance to the National, who also made their name describing similar emotional territory (sans the soy milk, perhaps). If you listen to the National while sipping wine and considering the various failures of your life, then Pissed Jeans are more the band you'd enjoy while getting plastered on whiskey shots and shouting/slurring along in a mosh pit. But, differences in listening styles aside, their message is often the same: how did I get here, and what am I doing?

Which is not to say Pissed Jeans lack humor.  "I've Still Got You (Ice Cream)" is a hilarious but bleak ode to the dessert ("I gotta have it/With cookies on it/I've still got you ice cream/Cause sometimes my life is less than a dream").  Other song titles include "Boring Girls" ("Oh I want to touch those boring girls/I hope I'm not too much for boring girls") and "The Jogger" ("The jogger/Whole Foods/Matching outfit/Ford Explorer.") And if you've ever wanted to hear a song dedicated to the art of scrapbooking, then Pissed Jeans have you covered.

Of course, some songs are more immediately bleak than funny, such as "Dream Smotherer" (sample line: "I don't mind stacking up papers in a pile/And I don't care if it takes half an hour to get there…No I don't mind wearing a plastic smile"). But still, the band portrays the tedious everyday existence of white collar ennui better, louder and more hilariously than anyone else.

But why should you care? Because we've all felt some version of that crushing boredom at one time or another. Plus there are very few bands are as excellently ferocious as Pissed Jeans, especially live.

Take a listen and judge for yourself. Here's a link to their new single, "Bathroom Laughter," off their forthcoming album, Honeys, which is out February 12 on Sub Pop.  And below that, enjoy some of their older tracks, including my personal favorite, "Secret Admirer."

Pissed Jeans, "False Jesii Part 2"

Pissed Jeans, "I've Still Got You (Ice Cream)"