Set to be released on their new record, Self-Acceptance Speech, out October 15 via We’re Trying Records, check out “1917 Cherry St.” from Old News.
Composed of jazz-school graduates and emo scene veterans alike, Old News – and their odd-time take on indie rock – exploded onto the
Midwest, DIY scene in 2017 with three, back-to-back EPs—Consolation Prize, Castro, and Hands Like Glaciers. The group spent the following years honing their genre-bending style, opening for scene darlings like Elephant Gym and The Obsessives and working with the likes of TJ Lipple (American Football, Fugazi) and John Naclerio (My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail).
Lauded for their explosive, live performances on festival stages and in DIY basements alike, the band are never far from their jazz roots, incorporating horn sections, orchestral instrumentation, and heavy improvisational elements within their frenzied, angular, guitar-rock framework.
Following COVID’s slashing of their tour schedule, Old News have used this downtime to gather themselves and put the finishing touches on their debut LP, Self-Acceptance Speech.
“Divorce runs in my family—I think at this point, I’ve had more step-parents than grandparents [laughs],” says Beau Harris (guitar, vocals, samples). “So, growing up, I moved a lot. I think between 6th grade and graduating high school, I had lived in nine different houses, between my parents’ marriages and splits. It was a very transient, tumultuous time in my life and, as a result, I’ve never been comfortable being tied to a single place for too long.
“I’ve had many houses but few homes, if that makes sense. As a human being, I’ve compartmentalized a lot of that childhood trauma within the frames of houses I don’t live in anymore. As a songwriter, I’m interested in exploring the events that transpired within these houses musically. I’m awful at song titles, so most of the time, I’ll just name the composition after the house it’s referencing.
“The year I spent in 1917 Cherry shaped me in ways I wouldn’t recognize until later. I formed my first band in that house. I met my best friends and fell in love for the first time in that house. I watched a marriage implode in real time, witnessed abuse first hand, and lost my religion in that house. I laid my childhood to rest within those walls.
“That house holds so much youth, so many ghosts, and a multitude of memories, yet when that marriage fell apart and my mother, sister, and I moved out, it was just an empty frame. The next family moved in having no idea what happened there. ‘1917 Cherry St.’ documents my last days there—the feeling of helplessness, the bitterness of loss, and the twisted optimism for the future.”
“I think we (Old News) are relatively conscious of our genre-misfit status,” he adds. “We often get caught between being too weird for the emo crowd but too simple for the math-rock heads, and so on.
This pushes us to become more capable, genre-bending players, but on the flip side, it also makes us wary of putting out stuff we think is too on-the-nose and straightforward. As a band, we love the idea of corrupting power pop—messing with the time and syncopation to create something jammable and catchy but also eclectic and off-kilter.
“We often start with a relatively simple, guitar-based concept, make it as lurching and noodly as possible, and then simplify it back down into something memorable. At its heart, Self-Acceptance Speech is a really weird pop record with some dirt and frayed edges.”