Angel Du$t’s newest record, Brand New Soul, out now on Popwig Records, is—as the title promises—a fresh perspective on the band’s journey to authenticity. With each record since their inception in 2013, Angel Du$t have only leaned more into their raw, unapologetically thrashy yet bop-able persona.
Originally composed of members of hardcore bands Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice, singer Justice Tripp had to switch things up after Turnstile’s latest record, Glow On, was released, and the group was on tour constantly. Both Angel Du$t and Turnstile have proven themselves to be ahead of their time, like riff sommeliers of the modern age. Bringing aboard new members was like “building a new band with the same mentality.”
“We’re sharing members with Turnstile, and they were busy,” Tripp says. “Honestly, it’s like the dream scenario just landed in place. The exact people that I wanted to (be in) the band with me just happened to be able to make it happen, and I think this record is a good timestamp of the band taking on a new life, a new lineup.”
Taking on a new role with producing, Tripp was able to step back and let new musicians Daniel Star (guitar), Steve Marino (guitar), Zechariah Ghostribe (bass), and Thomas Cantwell (drums/percussion) sprinkle their proverbial magic dust on the record showcasing the band’s “brand new spirit” and their “love for rock n’ roll and hardcore.”
Angel Du$t were not always seen as disrupters and ground-shakers. Tripp is no stranger to being underestimated and misunderstood. After taking a break from his monumental hardcore band Trapped Under Ice to play more melodic and catchy rhythms in Angel Du$t a decade ago, people didn’t get it at first. Wanting to challenge himself and evolve, the band has released iconic records and songs like “On My Way,” “Turn Off The Guitar,” “Let It Rot,” “Ready 2 Receive U,” and “Big Ass Love,” defying genres and societal norms of how hardcore can’t rock.
“I think it was cool to just come out of the gate doing something that would challenge how people perceive bands,” Tripp says. “This is Angel Du$t. I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain it to people who don’t get it. It’s important, and it’s special, and it’s exciting. Get on now, or get left in the dust.”
Pulling up their roots and pursuing their authentic selves, Brand New Soul blends the group’s catalog into a rollercoaster full of rock ’n’ roll twists, dynamic scales, and uber-cool melodies reminiscent of finding your dad’s old Talking Heads and Prince CDs in the basement. The vibrancy and change ring true on songs like “Born 2 Run,” “Love Slam,” and “Very Aggressive” with wacky percussion, snappy tambourine, and wistful reverb. With “Very Aggressive” featuring Mat Kerekes of Citizen, Tripp likens the track’s “double meaning” to be about how passive aggression is actually very aggressive.
“It’s (a) double meaning (on) speaking about my personal relationship and how passive-aggressive nature really hurts,” Tripp says. “Making music that is not directly and obviously the heaviest thing you ever heard, but it hurts.”
Never shy about their lust for creativity and inspiring others to “create and be themselves,” Tripp has shifted his inspirational material to nature, like birdwatching and foraging mushrooms, trees, and flowers (yes, really).
“Right now at (this) time, it’s like, the iron’s hot, and people are really open to expression,” Tripp says. “I hope that this record can help people see hardcore and punk rock music differently and see it as a vehicle for expression—not just the genre of music or a cool fashion.”
Photo courtesy of Quinten Koroshetz.