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The Menzingers


Greg Barnett (vocals, guitar) - Tom May (vocals, guitar) - Eric Keen (bass) - Joe Godino (drums)
Since forming as teenagers in 2006, The Menzingers have shown their strength as
rough-and-tumble storytellers, turning out songs equally rooted in frenetic energy and
lifelike detail. On their new album Hello Exile, the Philadelphia-based punk band take
their lyrical narrative to a whole new level and share their reflections on moments from
the past and present: high-school hellraising, troubled relationships, aging and alcohol
and political ennui. And while their songs often reveal certain painful truths, Hello Exile
ultimately maintains the irrepressible spirit that’s always defined the band.
The sixth full-length from The Menzingers, Hello Exile arrives as the follow-up to After
the Party: a 2017 release that landed on best-of-the-year lists from outlets like Clash
and Noisey, with Stereogum praising its “almost unfairly well-written punk songs.” In
creating the album, the band again joined forces with producer Will Yip (Mannequin
Pussy, Quicksand), spending six weeks recording at Yip’s Conshohocken, PA-based
Studio 4. “That’s the longest amount of time we’ve ever worked with Will,” notes Barnett.
“We wanted to make sure these stories didn’t get lost in the music, so we kept it to a lot
of room sounds with the guitar and bass and drums.”
Despite that subtler sonic approach, Hello Exile still rushes forward with a restless
urgency—an element in full force on the album-opening “America (You’re Freaking Me
Out).” With its pounding rhythms and furious guitar riffs, the viscerally charged track
provides a much-needed release for all those feeling frenzied by the current political
climate. “We’re living in a pretty insane time, where all you can think about every single
day is ‘What the hell is going on with this country?’” says Barnett. “But as I was writing
that song I realized that it’s kind of always freaked me out, especially coming-of-age
during the Iraq War. I love so much about America, but I think you can’t deny that there
are some people in power who are absolutely evil.”
Elsewhere on Hello Exile, The Menzingers turn their incisive songwriting to matters of
love and romance, exploring the glories and failures of human connection. A wistful
piece of jangle-pop, “Anna” paints a portrait of lovesick longing, complete with dreamy
recollections of wine-drunk kitchen dancing. And on “Strangers Forever,” the band shifts
gears for a searing tribute to parting ways, backing their spiky guitars with brilliantly
barbed lyrics (e.g., “Maybe it’s for the better if we both stay strangers forever”).
An album fascinated with home and displacement and belonging (or the lack thereof),
Hello Exile takes its title from its heavy-hearted centerpiece. With its aching vocals,
graceful acoustic guitar work, and beautifully lilting melody, “Hello Exile” draws
inspiration from Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog” (a short story set in the Black
Sea resort city of Yalta). “I grew up in a tiny town that’s essentially a cross between a
summer-vacation spot for New Yorkers and a retirement home, so for most of my
childhood there were always people coming in and out of my life,” says Barnett, who
hails from Lake Ariel, PA. “Reading that story made me think of how isolating it felt

when my friends would leave to go back to the city at the end of the season, and I’d still
just be stuck way out there in the woods.”
In looking back on the songwriting process behind Hello Exile, Barnett points to the
starkly confessional “I Can’t Stop Drinking” to illustrate the band’s commitment to total
candor. “We’ve written so many songs about fun times with alcohol—but the older you
get, it’s not always fun anymore,” he says. “With ‘I Can’t Stop Drinking,’ I wanted to be
completely truthful and get away from glorifying anything. Sometimes it’s tough to look
at yourself and at others that way, but it felt important to make it as real as possible.”
With the band achieving that soul-baring intimacy all throughout the album, Hello Exile
emerges as The Menzingers’ most emotionally daring work to date. “We’ve always been
in love with good songwriting and the beauty of taking a song to its fullest potential, but
with this album I feel like we’re really becoming the band we’ve always wanted to be,”
says Barnett. Not only a creative turning point for The Menzingers, that uncompromising
honesty helps fulfill their mission of leaving each listener with a potent sense of
solidarity. “A lot of these songs are looking at different life challenges—they’re stories of
people at some sort of crossroads,” Barnett says. “We might not have the answers for
anybody, but hopefully the songs will help them to see the light at the end of the tunnel,
and know that they’re not alone in whatever tough decisions they’re facing.”


  • Sat, September 18, 2021
  • Doors - 7:00PM
    Concert - 8:00PM
  • Tellus 360
    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • $30 advance, $35 day of show
  • 21+