Bad History Month Shares Advance Stream of Old Blues LP on Bandcamp Ahead Of Album Release on Exploding In Sound

April 23, 2020

Bad History Month Shares Advance Stream of Old Blues LP 
on Bandcamp

Album Out Tomorrow on Exploding In Sound

Bad History Month‘s sophomore album Old Blues is just a day away from it’s long-awaited release on Exploding in Sound. The album’s release has been preceded by two well-received singles, the LP’s dramatic opener “Waste Not,” and its follow up “A Survey of Cosmic Repulsion,” and a series of live streamed performances, including a 2.5 hour long set earlier this week, performed from his bathroom in which Bad History Month (aka Sean Sprecher) dug into his extensive back catalog. Exploding in Sound have promised that the career-spanning set will be preserved and formally released online in the not so distant future, but today Sprecher is sharing a preview of his album a day early via Bandcamp.  

An influential fixture on the East Coast DIY scene and beyond, Sean Sprecher has been creating profound and sincere music that deals with unhappiness and its absurdity in equal measure since 2007. He has been performing under the name Bad History Month since 2013, transitioning from Fat History Month, a name he used when playing as a duo with drummer Mark Fede. Despite a career marked by sporadic disappearances and the often deliberate avoidance of public attention, Sprecher was already a cult figure in DIY circles in 2017 when the release of his first album as Bad History Month, Dead And Loving It: An Introductory Exploration Of Pessimysticismbrought him to wider attention, drawing praise from the likes of PitchforkStereogum and NPR who described the album as an exercise in “high grade introspection” that functions “like message meant to be folded into a square, tucked into a pocket, and returned to in solitude during times of distress.”  

Three years on from that release Sprecher is returning with Old Blues, his sophomore album as Bad History Month, due out on April 24th via the beloved Brooklyn indie Exploding In Sound (Pile, Ovlov, Water From Your Eyes). An extremely personal yet relatable album, Old Blues possesses the same combination of unflinching self-examination, wry humor, thoughtful insight and subtle optimism that have endeared fans to Sprecher’s songwriting over the last decade. As Sprecher describes it, it’s an assertion of the hope that there are parts of ourselves and each other that we can push towards being better than our common weaknesses would have us believe.

“Though I’ve become fairly cynical about the human spirit, I still do write songs that strive for hope more than anything,” says Sprecher. “There’s always a reach towards a punchline or a way forward at the end, because all laments and complaints should be leavened with humor and optimism. Acknowledging and laughing at our personal and collective failings is a path towards self-awareness and productive engagement with ourselves and the world. It’s also a path away from the numb escape of endless internet addiction, the anesthetic mental armor of knee-jerk political thought, and the gossipy inanities and complaints-for-their-own-sake that pass for Social Life much of the time. It’s also Aspirational Music in that I don’t currently have the strength to live up to my own values.”

Recorded with longtime collaborator Mark Fede and Greg Hartunian, primarily at Fede’s studio in The Berwick Building in Roxbury, MA between December of 2017 and June of 2019 the album’s title has a layered meaning for Sprecher. “The songs on Old Blues relate to macro and micro scale Bad History,” Sprecher explains. “Childhood trauma dragged into adulthood, the self-doubts and anxieties of aging, problems people have been fighting wars over since the ancients,” and most naturally, “the tradition of channeling hard times into good music.

The album sees Sprecher in perhaps his most contemplative mode to date, stretching out his meditations over minimal arrangements that unfurl in surprising directions over songs that often pack in as many sonic ideas as some bands do on entire albums. The album is book ended by “Waste Not” and “Want Not,” that are among Sprecher’s most ambitious works to date. The opener “Waste Not” ebbs and flows dramatically over a 13 minute run time with almost no repetitions in the arrangement, building from a tentative drum and guitar interplay towards thunderous crescendos as Sprecher unpacks connections between his childhood experiences and his adult depression in ways that become increasingly metaphorical and mystic as the instrumental tension mounts. On standout “Low Hanging Fruit” Sprecher reflects on loneliness and relationships through a typically unique lens, contemplating an embrace of pure hedonism with revelatory force before cutting down his own enthusiasm with a sardonic “it doesn’t work” as the song’s final chords ring out. He returns to the theme on the eerily tender “A Survey of Cosmic Repulsion” which examines the push and pull of attraction and revulsion, concluding “Everyone looks ugly when they’re close enough to kiss/and luckily for me I’m into ugliness.”

In some ways this album is a distillation of the things that have made Sprecher so cultishly adored over his career to date. A fearless, if self-effacing, musician with a sharp eye for poignant details and an utterly unique perspective, Old Blues  is a welcome return from one of a generation’s brightest songwriters.

Old Blues will be released on Exploding In Sound on April 24th. It is available for preorder here.

1. Waste Not
2. The Road To Good Intentions
3. Grudges
4. Childlike Sense of Hatred
5. Low Hanging Fruit
6. A Survey of Cosmic Repulsion
7. Want Not

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