For what it’s worth: I haven’t even heard a “no comment” in response to asking about this, but I read it on the internet, so it’s gotta be true.
In 2006, Brand New were a band known mostly for their work as one of the Long Island based pop-punk bands that managed to make it to a national stage. They were winding down from the success of their 2003 sophomore record Deja Entendu, an album that saw the band eschew the pop-punk tag in favor of more complex and dynamic songwriting, in addition to exploring more introspective themes than their contemporaries.
The sonic shift experienced between those first two records was nothing, however, when compared to the shift between the second and third. Complications arose in January of 2006 when nine demos leaked. This leak stalled the band’s creative process, further delaying their third LP. Though the band was vocal in their disappointment about these songs making it to the internet, it may have been for the best. And then, on November 21st, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was unleashed onto the world. I think it’s fair to say that most of the people who have listened to the record have found themselves greatly affected by it. Why is that? I can only really answer by explaining my experience.
I don’t know specifically how the band first came to see the image. The band presumably first saw the image at my solo show at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City. I assume there was one person who made the first suggestion to use it, though, and I don’t know who that person is. The band didn’t reach out to me directly; rather, Interscope Records (Universal Music Group) contacted my gallery, so there were several intermediaries involved. Originally, when Yossi first told me about the offer—and before I even knew which band was behind the request—I declined. The band was very committed to this image, though, which meant something to me, so I asked a few more questions—chiefly, about which band was behind the request, and their intended treatment of the image. Interscope sent me an advanced copy of the album, and listening to it clearly sealed the deal. I agreed to cropping the image to a square, but I didn’t want any text on the cover which, I think, makes the cover much more compelling and intriguing—though it did seem to confuse David Letterman.
Brand New’s co-headlining trek across the country rolled into Philadelphia last weekend at the beautiful local amphitheater, the Mann Center for Performing Arts. The perennial favorites were unquestionably at the top of their game on this night and gave a whirlwind of a performance that consisted in equal measure of fan favorites, rarities, and deep cuts. Check below for a full gallery of the images I took from this show, as well as to read some brief thoughts thinking of the band’s career and legacy.