BRETT NEWSKI will release Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down (pre-order). The album is a call to arms against whatever destructive forces we may find ourselves battling, from our individual struggles with toxic relationships, low self esteem, loneliness, and apathy to the more global challenges facing us in 2020: The erosion of face-to-face human connection, the breakdown of the proverbial village, the destruction of the planet, and the myriad ways in which our social media addictions amplify these problems. Depression and anxiety are at all time highs, with many, if not most of us, struggling to preserve our optimism.
Today Brett Newski shared “Fight Song” from the upcoming release with Milwaukee Record. On the song Milwaukee Record says, “It’s a gorgeous, desperate-teenager-at-1 a.m. ballad that tears your heart out (‘Sitting in silence is one of the worst ways to fall asleep,’) before offering a beacon of power and hope (‘There is still a fight song left to write’). Brett Newski adds, “High school was a pretty brutal time for me as a kid. It was a social territory war and people were pretty mean to each other. I didn’t have much self-confidence, which invited more abuse. People will become friendlier and more appreciative of each other after quarantine is over. I do believe this.” “Fight Song” will be on all streaming services this Friday.
Last month American Songwriter premiered “Last Dance” from the forthcoming album. The song was was co-written with Grammy-nominated songwriter Pat mAcdonald (‘Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades’). About the song BRETT NEWSKI tells American Songwriter, “‘Last Dance’ is realizing you can’t please everyone, and you certainly can’t invest energy into those who drain your battery. All you can do is put the horse-blinders on and focus on your own mission. Inject positivity into your peripheral. It comes back around. Let the shit-talkers, complainers, and energy vampires self-destruct.” “Last Dance” is now available on all streaming services.
Brett Newski launched a new web series Killing Time in Quarantine for music needed comic relief in the time of COVID-19. Stream the series HERE. “The internet right now is a massive buzz kill. It’s filled with bad news, desperate flailing for attention, and the same white gentlemen with an acoustic guitar playing a concert into his phone at 480p,” Newski says. “Killing Time in Quarantine is kind of dumb, but it is an effort to boost your morale. I know it’s a terrible time for many, but the virus is going to get people off the hamster wheel and have a healthy new perspective. It will give people much more clarity as to what’s a priority in their lives.”
On Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down, BRETT NEWSKI asks, how do we regain control and stay hopeful in the face of today’s challenges? Perhaps it’s less screen time. Perhaps it’s changing the way we approach our tiny pocket TVs. Perhaps it’s discovering or recommitting to our passions. Perhaps it’s getting our hands dirty in pursuit of real solutions to our problems (instead of just complaining online). Perhaps Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down can shed some positive insight.
In “Last Dance” (co-written with Grammy-nominated songwriter Pat Macdonald, ‘Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades’), Newski lays bare the highly relatable challenge of trying to stay informed and engaged while simultaneously staying afloat psychologically: “I ain’t trying to build the ark, I just really wanna learn how to swim / Thru a sea of plastic bottles, all the refuse, the mess we are in.” In “Grow Your Garden,” Newski issues a wake-up call from the hypnotic, numbing effects of living with our eyes glued to our screens: “If I was the dirt beneath the sneakers on your soulless feet / I’d nudge you far from the mirage so you could see the water.” On “Lousy T-Shirt,” Newski describes the traps of social comparison in these “tiny TV times”, in which we so often compare ourselves to the “greatest hits” of others’ lives. (“I ain’t making any headlines / It’s a failures parade / I drove all the way to Hollywood and all I got’s this lousy t-shirt.”) He doubles down on this theme in Buy Me a Soul, singing “Step out from behind these little screens that rule our lives / I’m sick of highlights / Cause we’re an empty shell and we’re on earth but we’re in hell / Can anybody hear me? / Is this a permanent bad dream? Or is it too much reality?” What could topically threaten to amount to “too much reality” for the listener is buoyed by Newski and collaborator Spatola’s signature blend of largely up-tempo, guitar-driven alternative with splashes of what they describe as “Geek Rock”, “Happy Punk”, and “Diet Grunge.” The band has had a busy few years, playing alongside acts like PIXIES, Courtney Barnett, Violent Femmes, Better Than Ezra and Manchester Orchestra, and will be touring extensively later in 2020 in support of their upcoming release.