BrooklynVegan is hosting the exclusive advance stream of Aimless Dread, the debut album from Philadelphia-based END YOU, the hardcore/noise rock solo outfit formed by former Catalyst frontman Eric Smith. The popular site offers the record for public consumption as the record looms on its official release through Pax Aeternum this Friday.
END YOU’s Aimless Dread tells a story common to a generation that watched thousands of people die on live television while still teenagers — the creeping realization that perhaps nothing good will ever happen again. Lyrically, the album darts artfully from the personal to the political and back again. From Smith’s struggles with social anxiety and substance abuse to ruminations on contemporary issues like rampant police brutality and the resurgence of international fascism, Aimless Dread takes stabs at various demons both real and imagined.
With the record just days away, Smith offers, “This is a project many years in the making, and it’s honestly a little surreal to see it finally released into the wild. If you love this collection of sounds, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. This thing had grown a little too comfortable in the womb between my ears. Time to introduce it to the world.”
Writes BrooklynVegan, “The album’s being touted as somewhere between the noisy, sludgy, smartass post-hardcore of Born Against and the bone-crushing metallic hardcore of Deadguy, and that’s a very spot-on description. It’s a loud, heavy, pissed-off sounding album, and it channels that anger in powerful directions, looking outwards at the corrupt state of the world as well as looking inwards at Eric’s own personal demons.”
Stream END YOU’s Aimless Dread in its entirety early through BrooklynVegan now at THIS LOCATION.
Aimless Dread will see digital release this Friday, May 21st via Pax Aeternum with a concurrent cassette release via The Ghost Is Clear Records. Find digital preorders HERE and cassette preorders HERE.
It’s not uncommon for punks approaching the golden years of their late thirties to undertake a solo project. They might want to indulge their sensitive singer-songwriter side, they might have gotten really into DJing house music, or they might just be tired of dealing with drummers. But while the inclination towards going it alone isn’t rare, the approach taken by Eric Smith for Aimless Dread, his debut solo release as END YOU, eschews so many of the cliches that the phrase “solo project” evokes, opting instead for a set of the most intense output Smith has ever released. A vicious yet cerebral set of material calling to mind the dissonant brutality of Deadguy or Breather Resist as much as it does the smartass noise rock of Karp and Born Against, the album would be impressive even if it had been the creation of a full band, but the fact that one person could be behind this whole endeavor (though he did have a little help from engineer Steve Roche and former The Catalyst bandmate Michael Backus) makes the whole project that much more potent.
Drumbeats were banged out on desks and steering wheels before being painstakingly programmed, stroke by stroke, using live samples. After recording a series of home demos and adopting the nom de guerre END YOU, Smith headed into Permanent Hearing Damage Studio at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result of all of this is nearly forty-five minutes of trudging, soul-crushing, noisy, punk bash-and-roll, brimming with urgency and sorrow, at once both dissonant and melodic, full of hooks and nods to the many heroes of the genre. A debut many years in the making, and a potential future classic if it reaches the ears that most need it.
Plans are in place for a live band featuring Smith on guitar/vocals and Roche on drums, if and when the world stops ending. Writing for a follow-up is already well under way.