Big Ups – “National Parks”

Full disclosure: the dudes in Big Ups are friends of mine, but we only really became friends because I went to all of their local shows at a certain point in my life when I was trying to find footing in the DIY music scene. I premiered their 2013 single “Wool” when I was an intern at Stereogum and soon after, I ended up meeting the band’s lyricist/vocalist Joe Galarraga when I was working on a story about Rough Trade Records. It is not a big deal to meet a dude in a moderately well-known punk band in Brooklyn. Every dude in Brooklyn is in a punk band. They are literally everywhere and it’s awful. That being said, it is rare to meet the people in your favorite band and find out that they’re actually cool/nice/stand for everything they carry on about onstage.

This is an important tidbit, because most Big Ups songs start at the end of a finish line. They’re about achieving something big and being perplexed when the crushing weight of responsibility doesn’t ease up, it just continues to bear down on you. In short: they write songs that are about being overwhelmingly unsatisfied all of the time, which isn’t really that novel. Some of the greatest songs of all time are about being unsatisfied. Sometimes, having that kind of existential malaise makes it really easy for your band to be painted as disaffected, angry youths who whine a lot but don’t really do that much to Fix Things. That is OK. Music is supposed to remind us that it is good to feel things, and Big Ups do their part to remind me that I should feel outraged by the world’s many injustices literally all of the time. I should take them personally. We all should. That’s what the first single off of the band’s forthcoming LP Before A Million Universes did extremely well. Not unlike some of the tracks on their debut album Eighteen Hours Of Static, “Capitalized” illustrates how rampant consumerism eventually consumes us. However, their latest is a very different kind of Big Ups song. The first time I heard the band perform “National Parks,” Galarraga said that he wrote it about his mom (which Noisey confirmed when they premiered the track today) and knowing that small fact makes its rambling narrative sound less tempestuous. “National Parks” breaks my heart a little bit every time I hear it, and I’m still trying to figure out why. In all honesty, I re-wrote this sentence ten times trying to figure out why. Listen to “National Parks” and check out Big Ups’ tour dates below.

Tour dates:
01/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg #
03/09 Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong ^
03/11 Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover
03/12 Nashville, TN @ Freakin Weekend @ Exit/In
03/13 Denton, TX @ 35 Denton
03/15-3/20 Austin, TX @ SXSW
03/28 Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
03/29 Manchester, UK @ Gullivers
03/30 London, UK @ Lexington
03/31 Leeds, UK @ Headrow House
04/01 Bristol, UK @ Louisiana
04/02 Birmingham, UK @ Sunflower Lounge
04/04 Lille, FR @ La Peniche
04/05 Paris, FR @ Mecanique Ondulatoire
04/06 Brussels, BE @ VK
04/08 Groningen, NL @ Vera
04/09 Eindhoven, NL @ Area 51 Skatepark
04/10 Cologne, DE @ MTC
04/11 Vienna, AT @ B72
04/12 Bologna, IT @ Freakout Club ~
04/13 Milan, IT @ Ligera
04/14 Munich, DE @ Kranhalle
04/16 Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
04/18 Berlin, DE @ Cassiopeia
04/19 Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
04/21 Amsterdam, NL @ OT301

# w/ Metz, Bully
^ w/ Washer

Before A Million Universes is out 3/4 via Exploding in Sound.

Tags: Big Ups