Over the course of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. The JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records. Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending‘s material, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.
The end result is an album that reportedly retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory. And as a result, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simple of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. So in some way, the album find the band tackling what’s inevitable for all of us — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”
So yes, their current mission is to mirror the inevitably painful struggles of adulthood while tapping into the conflicting relationship between rebellion and revelry — particularly in a period of seemingly profound and unending bleakness. Last month, I wrote about album closing track and first single “A Boat to Drown In.” And while continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting enormous and punishing aural assaults centered round layers of distortion fueled power chords, thunderous drumming and mosh pit-friendly hooks, the song finds them moving away from their grunge inferences and creating one of the most expansive, oceanic tracks they’ve released to date.
Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Hail Taxi” is a deceptive return to form. Yes, it’s an enormous and urgent mosh pit friendly ripper, full of rousingly anthemic hooks, thunderous drumming and Eadkin’s howled vocals — but at its core, the song is full of a aching and deeply adult sense of regret, as the song’s narrator attempt to reconcile who they once were and who they’ve become. After all, being an adult often means making uneasy and uncomfortable compromises; the sort of compromises that an idealistic younger version of you would likely hate and have little empathy for. The end result is a howl of desperation, frustration and fury for what once was and what has to be right now — and for when things seemed simpler.
Directed by A.F. Cortes, the recently released video for “Hail Taxi” was shot in a highly symbolic and cinematic black and white. The video captures and further emphasizes the song’s intensity in its pummeling choruses as we see a woman struggling to keep afloat in the open sea — and her brooding on a rowboat full of trash on the song’s verses. “I wanted to tell a simple story that captures the song’s overarching theme,” A.F. Cortes says of the video. “The idea of longing for the past creates many visual motifs and I wanted to create a piece that feels timeless and conveys a sense of isolation, highlighting that while we can hide our feelings, we can’t run from them.”