On PWR BTTM’s new album ‘Pageant’ (May 12/Polyvinyl), glammed and glittered duo Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce tackle their diary-like explorations of life, identity and existential crises head-on. ‘Pageant’ is a vital exploration of self that’s hot with friction, angst and hope, both hilarious and heart wrenching. Following a 2016 where they didn’t release a new record, but performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk and landed at #6 on Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Songs of 2016” list, PWR BTTM return in triumphant fashion with one of the year’s most resonant, revelatory records.
‘Pageant’ is ferociously emotional, with passionate narratives set to cutting rock and roll anthems. The album builds upon PWR BTTM’s sensational 2015 debut ‘Ugly Cherries’ with a further refined song craft and sonic flourishes including horns, flutes, keyboard and even an impromptu choir. The result is 13 original songs that burst with laughter, tears and triumph. ‘Pageant’ was produced by Christopher Daly and Cameron West, and was recorded primarily in the top floor of a furniture factory in Geneva, New York.
Ben Hopkins takes his guitar playing and vocal fierceness to new heights, and with newfound openness. Songs like the self-titled “Pageant” have a visceral pain, wherein Hopkins has an internal dialogue, asking, “Jesus Christ, why don’t you love me? I’ve been feeling so ugly.” The duo swap instruments on the record and live, constantly alternating between Hopkins’ finger-picking solos and Liv Bruce’s tremendous drumming. On “New Trick,” Bruce takes the insensitive cis gaze and turns it into a sing-along, while modern-day queer anthem “Sissy” sees them reclaim the micro-aggressive song title, embracing the line “Cuz I’m a big, bad sissy, and I’m gonna make you listen when I say!”. “Answer My Text” includes a titular chorus clarion call of “ANSWER MY TEXT, YOU DICK!” combining comedy and reality in a uniquely PWR BTTM way.
Watch the new video directed by Christopher Good for “Big Beautiful Day” where a normal morning of breakfast and couch sitting turns into a fully-fledged, glitter-fuelled dance party with crowd surfing, fireworks, and confetti: http://shorefi.re/2kDjbi7
PWR BTTM will tour extensively in 2017, appearing at SXSW 2017 and playing some of their biggest venues yet including a headlining show at Webster Hall in NYC. All dates go on-sale at 12 noon local time on Friday, February 17. In a recent glowing live review, The New York Times deemed PWR BTTM “part theater, part punk, entirely captivating.”
Ben Hopkins identifies as queer and uses he/him/his and they/them/their pronouns. Liv Bruce identifies as queer, non-binary, and transfeminine and uses they/them/their pronouns.