Arts Desk

Monument Releases More New Old Emo

Seven months after the band released its debut album Goes Canoeing, D.C. new-old-emo act Monument is back at it with a new cassette, Sweatpants Fever. The eight-song effort has four original tunes and four covers, each selected by a different band member. The release's cover even comes with a tongue-in-cheek tease: "Monument plays the hits of yesteryear + the anthems of tomorrow!"

The band had been working on new music since the fall and recorded five new songs, one of which it saved for a forthcoming double-LP comp of new emo jams for newbie Philly label Slow Growth Records. The EP's original tunes would've sat nicely on Monument's 2009 full-length. They're generally breezy, twinkly, and cathartic, but some of the EP's most interesting moments come when Monument pulls in some new sonic sensibilities. The band puts a little shoegaze-style bombast into the opening seconds of "Goddamned Claw Machine," which feels like a cleaned up version of My Bloody Valentine's "Loomer"; and things get a little mathy on "Hey Kid I'm a Computer."

The covers show each member's love for different strains of punk. Bassist and vocalist Dan Doggett selected Superchunk's "Precision Auto," guitarist and vocalist Gabe Marquez chose Wire's "Dot Dash," guitarist Anton Kropp went with Descendents' "Bikeage," and drummer Brandon Korch nabbed Braid's "What a Wonderful Puddle." Kropp says each member selected something they fell for long ago.

"I chose the Descendents song mostly because the Descendents are awesome," he says. "It's a rowdy jam and I thought it was a throwback to our rowdy days...It's funny, everyone had chosen stuff that they really liked, but not what everyone else knew." Kropp hadn't listened to much of Superchunk prior to working on the cover, but he's a big fan now. Same for Marquez and Doggett with the Descendents.

Sweatpants Fever! is a fun listen, and it's clearly the product of a band having fun working on its music. All in all, it's a pretty goofy EP. Take the fourth track, "Fiestival," which "is about getting really shitfaced": The band wanted to make it sound like a celebration, so they decided to throw a big party, record it, and include some of the audio from the night on the last part of the track. Then there's the cover and title of the EP.

Elkhorn, Wisc., label Keep It Together—a cassette label that focuses on new emo and punk bands and released tapes by Monument's hardcore side project Shat Shorts and Kropp's solo endeavor For the Agenda—is releasing 100 copies of Sweatpants Fever! The EP is now streaming on Monument's bandcamp page.

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