Fake Boyfriend – “Bumtown” (Stereogum Premiere)

Philly trio Fake Boyfriend use familiar sounds and make them feel like revelations. The project began as something of a challenge for the band’s members, who each took up a different instrument than they were used to and learned how to play it in order to keep things fresh. They take to their new tools well — each note sounds coarse and exploratory. Their upcoming debut EP — Mercy, recorded with Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald — is filled with the sort of hard-hitting, blisteringly confessional punk that has the power to reorient your world if you let it.

“Bumtown,” the band’s first single, starts with a smoldering intensity that inevitably bubbles over. All three members of the band — Ashley Tryba, Sarah Myers, and artist to watch Abi Reimold — chime in on vocals as the song escalates, each voice a raw nerve ending. “Why do I cling to the threads that mean the least?” they ask as the song collapses into noise. Sad over a relationship that was never meant to be, that never meant anything in the first place: “It’s easier to blame you instead,” they sing, pushing their real issues even deeper to deal with a trauma that is more easily understood, more fixable. It’s self-help that borders on exorcism, an angry plea to do better the next time: “I need to learn how to be told ‘no,'” they scream in unison. Listen below.

The Mercy EP is out 2/26. You can pre-order it digitally and on cassette here.