The Homeless Gospel Choir Announces New Album ‘This Land Is Your Landfill’ via A-F and Hassle Records – Shares New Song “Young and in Love”

February 17, 2020
photo credit: Martyna Wisniewska

The Homeless Gospel Choir Announces New Album
This Land Is Your Landfill Due Out April 24th
via A-F Records (North America) and Hassle Records (UK/EU)

Shares New Single “Young and in Love”

Preorders Available Now

North American Touring w/ Good Riddance, Harley Poe

The Homeless Gospel Choir, the musical moniker of songwriter Derek Zanetti, has just announced a brand new full-length, This Land Is Your Landfill, due out April 24th from A-F Records (North America) and Hassle Records (UK). Since 2009 the Pittsburgh, PA-based project has mostly been a solo affair, rooted in Zanetti’s blend of singer/songwriter intimacy and punk rock delivery, but the release of This Land Is Your Landfill marks a reinvention for The Homeless Gospel Choir. Driven by personal upheaval, Zanetti gathered an all-star cast of punk collaborators to create the kind of ruckus, full-band album that he’d always dreamed of.

The Homeless Gospel Choir has shared a taste of this new direction with “Young and in Love” a blast of fuzzed-out, ’90s-inflected guitars and roaring bass that finds Zanetti paying tribute to the freedom that can come from artistic expression. The song reaches an anthemic conclusion with a triumphant refrain and vocal contributions from Zanetti’s fellow musicians. 

Preorder This Land Is Your Landfill:

On This Land Is You Landfill, Zanetti is joined by Matt Miller (Endless Mike and the Beagle Club, Wingnut Dishwashers Union), Maura Weaver (Mixtapes, Ogikubo Station), Megan Schroer (Boys, Kitty Kat Fan Club), and Craig Luckman (Small Pollen, Belly Boys), along with producer Chris #2 (Anti-Flag, White Wives) and more, to help create a loud new chapter for The Homeless Gospel Choir. After the passing of his father, Zanetti sought a new kind of comfort from music–a need for big, cathartic songs, and the solace of the community he’d found in the punk scene. The band’s sound may have changed drastically but Zanetti’s unique lyricism remains, and This Land Is Your Landfill deftly balances the personal (grief, aging, self perception) with the sociopolitical (environmentalism, toxic social media, the hate and ignorance fueled by the Trump administration). The result is an urgent album that captures The Homeless Gospel Choir as the punk rock family it was always meant to be. The Homeless Gospel Choir will be touring throughout 2020 in support of This Land Is Your Landfill, including upcoming North American runs with Good Riddance and Harley Poe. See full itinerary below.

This Land Is Your Landfill track list:
1. Global Warming
2. Don’t Compare
3. Social Real Estate
4. Art Punk
5. You Never Know
6. Young and in Love
7. Lest We Forget
8. A Dream About The Internet
9. Blind Faith
10. Figure It Out
11. Punk as Fuck

Tour Dates:
04/10 Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme ^
04/11 Berwyn, IL @ The Wire ^
04/12 Louisville, KY @ Diamond Pub ^
04/14 Columbus, OH @ Skullys ^
04/15 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk ^
04/16 Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall ^
04/17 Providence, RI @ Fete ^
04/18 Long Island, NY @ AMH ^
04/19 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery ^
04/21 Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight ^
04/22 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall ^
04/23 Greenville, SC @ Radio Room ^
04/24 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade ^
04/25 Orlando, FL @ Wills Pub ^
04/26 West Palm Beach, FL @ Respectable Street ^
04/27 Tampa, FL @ Crowbar ^
04/28 Gainesville, FL @ The High Dive ^
04/30 Nashville, TN @ The End ^
05/08 Brooklyn, NY @ Kingsland *
05/09 Asbury Park, NJ @ House of Independents *
05/10 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Music Hall *
05/11 Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club *
05/12 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen *
05/13 Hamtramck, MI @ Small’s *
05/14 London, ON @ Rum Runners #
05/15 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace #
05/16 Montreal, QC @ Pouzza Fest

^ w/ Harley Poe
* w/ Good Riddance, Death By Stereo, Clowns
# w/ Good Riddance, Clowns

Since 2009, Pittsburgh, PA-based musician Derek Zanetti has been making records and touring the world as The Homeless Gospel Choir. The ever-evolving project has roots as a solo act with a deep yearning for community and connection, channeling singer/songwriter intimacy through a punk lens. But in the wake of personal upheaval and within the unrelenting turbulence of modern life, Zanetti felt driven toward reinvention, and aimed to create an album that reflected a communal spirit more explicitly than ever before. The result is This Land Is Your Landfill: a raucous, urgent, full-band record that finally captures The Homeless Gospel Choir as the punk rock family it was always meant to be.

From the very beginning, The Homeless Gospel Choir has been a search for belonging. “I always felt like a loner and struggled to make friends in school,” Zanetti explains. “But I found acceptance in punk.” After growing up in a conservative, evangelical family, he found a whole new world to explore in the music, camaraderie, and ideals of this subculture. “I didn’t know what I was doing, I just had a bunch of opinions and I could play a few Johnny Cash songs in a punk fashion,” he recalls. “But it was super inspiring to find other people who were interested in creating environments where everyone was welcome. It was truly revolutionary to find that.” The Homeless Gospel Choir began to take shape with only Zanetti and his guitar, and over the course of 10 years, five LPs, and countless shows, the project earned a devoted cult following. Then in 2018, Zanetti’s father passed away and things began to change.

“My dad and I had a hard relationship,” he says. “But he called me days before he died, I was on tour and said he was proud of me. Three days later I got home from that tour and he passed away, so I didn’t have closure with him and this interaction, which could have been the start of a whole other life between us.” Turning to songwriting as a means to process his feelings, Zanetti found that The Homeless Gospel Choir’s usual stripped-back sound wasn’t impacting him as it once had: “I just couldn’t sit there quietly by myself like I had in the past. I was listening to things like The Pixies and those big, noisy sounds gave me a lot of solace.” Zanetti decided to lean into the comfort of loud music, and assembled a gang of friends and co-conspirators to help realize a new version of The Homeless Gospel Choir.

Produced by Anti-Flag’s Chris#2, This Land Is Your Landfill features performances by a cavalcade of punk rock collaborators, including Matt Miller (Endless Mike and The Beagle Club), Maura Weaver (Mixtapes, Ogikubo Station), Megan Schroer (Boys, Kitty Kat Fan Club), Craig Luckman (Small Pollen, Belly Boys), Rick Steff (Lucero), Steve Sobosli (Punchline), and Billy Kottage (The Interrupters, Reel Big Fish). The album bolsters Zanetti’s witty yet unabashedly earnest songwriting with a wall of distorted guitars and pounding drums, creating a dynamic ode to the power of chosen family in the midst of a world that seeks to commodify our every moment. “I think even sad music should be a celebration of some sort and I couldn’t find a way to celebrate these songs until I brought other people along,” Zanetti says. “That’s when I felt that joyous feeling. I felt stronger about the feelings I was having instead of ashamed.”

The fuzz-saturated first chords of opener “Global Warming” make it clear that This Land Is Your Landfill is The Homeless Gospel Choir like you’ve never heard before. The song explodes into an ecstatic chorus where Zanetti’s voice is joined by his fellow musicians, the lyrics attempting to grapple with the sheer existential dread of the global climate crisis. This blend of uplifting melodies and direct lyricism defines much of This Land Is Your Landfill, throughout which Zanetti deftly juggles the personal (grief, aging, self perception) and the sociopolitical (environmentalism, toxic social media, the hate and ignorance fueled by the Trump administration). Songs like “Don’t Compare” and “Social Real Estate” dissect the negative thoughts and unintended isolation that permeates the internet age, both set to bouncing riffs and infectious hooks which reject the ironic detachment that infects life online. “The internet has done a great job of connecting people who wouldn’t typically be connected, but it can also put us in these prisons of loneliness where we don’t interact with anyone that isn’t on a computer,” Zanetti says. “I think in many ways we’re more disconnected than ever and people are longing for a more physical kind of community.”

That need for connection appears throughout This Land Is Your Landfill. “Young and In Love” is a soaring tribute to the freedom that can come from musical expression, while “Art Punk” explores the struggle to create without losing yourself in the process. But the album’s bold sound clearly professes Zanetti’s excitement to be pushing The Homeless Gospel Choir’s sound into new territory alongside other musicians. “I feel like I unlocked a cabinet in my mind. This tragedy and sadness and anxiety happened, but it changed the way I think about music.“ This Land Is Your Landfill, is filled with that palpable sense of catharsis, with each harmonized melody and densely layered arrangement forming a sonic representation of Zanetti’s appreciation for the life-affirming nature of making art. “To have that sense of wonderment and belonging still exist as an ‘aging punk’ is really special,” he says. “People don’t always talk about the intimacy, the salvation that it can provide, but that’s the most valuable part to me.”

This Land Is Your Landfill closes with The Homeless Gospel Choir’s most ambitious song to date: the winkingly titled “Punk AF.”  A nearly five-minute long epic, the song builds to a crescendo tying all of the album’s threads together into a defiant rallying cry for facing the end of the world (“We’ll die young at heart and we’ll die punk as fuck”). “I finally found a family and a place to be accepted, and I think it’s my duty to share that with other people who might feel alone,” Zanetti explains. “And I’m not tired of ringing that bell.”

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