American Culture – “Let It Go” (Feat. Midwife)

American Culture – “Let It Go” (Feat. Midwife)

The Denver band American Culture has been around for about a decade, making a blurry and psychedelic form of DIY punk. Their album For My Animals came out in 2021, and the band has had to deal with serious life situations since then. Today, American Culture announce their new LP Hey Brother, It’s Been A While. The band recorded the album with Beach House/Tennis drummer James Barone, and it has a lot to do with singer and guitarist Michael Stein’s experience with homelessness and addiction.

American Culture co-leader Chris Adolf, who started the band as a solo project, says”

Michael was homeless last year — he was a missing person for three months. We thought he was dead. So a lot of his songs are about that experience, and then my songs are about the other end — thinking my friend is gone. It’s almost as if we were writing back and forth…

It was like a Coen Brothers movie, trying to track down these drug dealers just to get leads on where to find him. Eventually, the missing persons report helped his parents figure out where he was. When his dad called me and said they’d found him, my first question was “dead or alive?”

As it turns out, Michael Stein was stranded in Las Vegas, living in the tunnels under the city after being robbed. He says:

I’d messed with heroin on and off since I was 21, but it amped up around Covid. My jobs have always been working in local music, so when that shut down it pretty much took away everything I did that wasn’t heroin. My life warped to revolve around drugs, and by the time shows even came back, I was a mess… I sort of just gave up and decided to be a junkie. I was accepting that was just going to be my life…

I’d hit rock bottom in a really heavy way, but I’ve finally been able to stop struggling with this thing. Chris came out to visit me, and we started playing some music just for fun. I wasn’t even in the band again yet — I had nerve damage in one of my hands from sepsis — but it ended up being the start of the record.

“Let It Go,” the lead single from Hey Brother, It’s Been A While, is a groovy, melodic rocker with backup vocals from Denver DIY great Midwife. The song is catchy, but it’s also got a bone-deep weariness to it; you can tell these people have been through things. Taylor Stribrny and Young Nick Farrow directed the video, which shows American Culture playing while friends dance in slow motion. Below, check out that video, the album’s tracklist, and the band’s upcoming shows.

01 “Let It Go”
02 “Human Kindness”
03 “Survive”
04 “Body Double”
05 “Heavy Feeling”
06 “Break It Open”
07 “What I’d Do”
08 “Circle The Drain”
09 “Lost Puppy”
10 “Two Coyotes”

4/05 – Colorado Springs, CO @ What’s Left Records
4/06 – Kansas City, MO @ Farewell
4/07 – Springfield, MO @ Lindberg’s Tavern *
4/08 – Springfield, IL @ Dumb Records
4/09 – Chicago @ Subterranean Downstairs
4/10 – St. Louis @ The Sinkhole
4/12 – Wichita, KS @ Annex1

* with Conservative Military Image

Hey Brother, It’s Been A While is out 5/3 on the great Denver label Convulse Records.

Josh Massara

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