Today, August 5, The Menzingers have announced details of a stripped-down reimagining of their 2019 album, Hello Exile, appropriately titled From Exile.
Recorded from the bands’ respective homes while in isolation, the album is more than just a re-recording of the album; it features new instrumentals and even new lyrics to Hello Exile’s tracks.
Singer/guitarist Greg Barnett says: “We would track the songs from our own home studios, share the files via dropbox, and pray it all made sense when pieced back together. Initially, we planned for the album to be similar to our acoustic demo collection On The Possible Past, but we quickly found out that this batch of songs benefited from more detailed arrangements.
“We rewrote, and changed keys and melodies. We blended analog and digital instruments in ways we never had before. We dug through old lyric notebooks and added additional verses. We got our dear friend Kayleigh Goldsworthy to play violin on two songs. No idea was off limits. Hell, I even convinced the band to let me play harmonica on a song (no small feat!). The recording process ran from mid-March till June, and upon completion, we sent it over to our dear friend and close collaborator Will Yip to mix and master.”
The band felt the full force of COVID-19’s impact on the music industry on March 14 when their Australian tour was abruptly cut short and they were sent back home to Philadelphia.
Barnett comments: “The tour was cut short, and we flew home the next day on the first flight back to Philadelphia. After 25 hours of travel, we all entered our respective homes and dimmed the lights. The United States was not the same as how we’d left it. To put it bluntly, the shit had hit the fuckin’ fan. While we were beyond lucky to have our health intact, the live music industry vanished before our eyes, and just like that, we were out of work like tens of millions of others.
“As the weeks progresse, the upcoming tours got rescheduled, then rescheduled again, then effectively cancelled. There were times when it all felt fatal. There’s no guidebook on how to navigate being a working musician during a global pandemic, so we were left to make it up as we went along. We wanted to document and create in the moment, and though we couldn’t be in the same room together due to social distancing lockdowns, we got creative.”
From Exile is out September 25 digitally and November 13 physically via Epitaph Records. Pre-save the digital album here (and listen to the reimagining of “Strawberry Mansion” and “High School Friend”), or pre-order the physical record from the bands’ webstore here.
Watch the video for the original version of “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” below.