As the debut album from Philadelphia hardcore/noise rock solo outfit, END YOU, Aimless Dread, nears May release via Pax Aeternum, No Echo is now hosting a premiere of the album’s lead track, “SLPWLKR.”
It’s not uncommon for punks approaching the golden years of their late thirties to undertake a solo project. They might want to indulge their sensitive singer-songwriter side, they might have gotten really into DJing house music, or they might just be tired of dealing with drummers. But while the inclination towards going it alone isn’t rare, the approach taken by former The Catalyst frontman Eric Smith for Aimless Dread, his debut solo release as END YOU, eschews so many of the cliches that the phrase “solo project” evokes, opting instead for a set of the most intense output Smith has ever released. A vicious yet cerebral set of material calling to mind the dissonant brutality of Deadguy or Breather Resist as much as it does the smartass noise rock of Karp and Born Against, the album would be impressive even if it had been the creation of a full band, but the fact that one person could be behind this whole endeavor (though Smith did have a little help from engineer Steve Roche and former The Catalyst bandmate Michael Backus) makes the whole project that much more potent.
The song whose lyrics inspired the album title Aimless Dread, END YOU presents the track “SLPWLKR” through a premiere at No Echo. Smith offers, “This is a song I wrote about the conflict created when a person with bad social anxiety tries to give up being alone. I spend so much time glued in my own skull that sometimes I find it hard to relate to other people. The most casual of conversations can get drowned out in the echo of my own self-doubt. It’s named after a phrase carved into the pavement outside of my subway stop, which I would step over at the end of many a late and lonely ride home from work. This is one of the first songs that came together for the record. It doesn’t have a traditional verse/chorus structure, and I always kind of thought of it as an intro to something bigger. Which, I guess, is what it ultimately became.”
No Echo writes, “Writing in his cramped South Philadelphia apartment, he pulled influence from the likes of Born Against, Drive Like Jehu, and Botch, bands that might not fall under the same umbrella, but all share a heightened intensity everything they ever wrote and recorded. Listening to END YOU‘s forthcoming debut album, Aimless Dread, it’s not hard to hear Smith also delivers that fierce kind of focus into his own material.”
Listen to END YOU’s “SLPWLKR” first through No Echo now at THIS LOCATION.
Aimless Dread will be released on May 21st via Pax Aeternum with a concurrent cassette tape release via The Ghost Is Clear Records. Find digital preorders where “The Call” and “Alt Delete” are streaming HERE and cassette preorders HERE.
Watch for additional singles and updates to post over the weeks ahead.
END YOU‘s Aimless Dread tells a story common to a generation that watched thousands of people die on live television while still teenagers — the creeping realization that perhaps nothing good will ever happen again. Lyrically, the album darts artfully from the personal to the political and back again. From Smith’s struggles with social anxiety and substance abuse to ruminations on contemporary issues like rampant police brutality and the resurgence of international fascism, Aimless Dread takes stabs at various demons both real and imagined.
Drumbeats were banged out on desks and steering wheels before being painstakingly programmed, stroke by stroke, using live samples. After recording a series of home demos and adopting the nom de guerre END YOU, Smith headed into Permanent Hearing Damage Studio at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result of all of this is nearly forty-five minutes of trudging, soul-crushing, noisy, punk bash-and-roll, brimming with urgency and sorrow, at once both dissonant and melodic, full of hooks and nods to the many heroes of the genre. A debut many years in the making, and a potential future classic if it reaches the ears that most need it.
Plans are in place for a live band featuring Smith on guitar/vocals and Roche on drums, if and when the world stops ending. Writing for a follow-up is already well under way.