The Bronx VI

The Bronx VI

After four self-titled albums, LA punk staples The Bronx switched it up a little bit on 2017’s V to mark their fifth. Nearly 20 years into their career, they’re back at it with Bronx VI, their first to feature new drummer and former Queens of the Stone Age member Joey Castillo. Remarkably, it’s also the first Bronx album to include some songs not written by guitarist Joby J. Ford and vocalist Matt Caughthran. “That was pretty paramount to the sound and structure of the record,” Caughthran tells Apple Music. “For the first time, we have other members contributing songs. Everyone has their own unique identity songwriting-wise, so it gave the album a sense of balance and everything feels fresh.” Below, he details each track. “White Shadow” “That's a pretty quintessential Bronx song, and it’s one of my favorites on the record. Lyrically, it's about coming unglued a little bit. It's about feeling the pressure of life and the pressure to be the best person that you can be and live the best life you can, but it's just not in the cards for you because you don't have the skill set or the tools necessary.” “Superbloom” “That song's a trip, man. It was written by our bassist, Brad Magers. The chorus was an idea that Joby had, so there’s a really cool push and pull between the two of them sonically. I caught up with an old friend of mine that I hadn't seen in years, and we spent some time in the California superbloom wildflowers, just kind of tripping out and talking about life. It was a really cool experience and conversation, and stuff like that means a lot to me. When I left the flower field, I knew I wanted to write a song called ‘Superbloom.’” “Watering the Well” “That’s a rocker jam with a big, arena-style opening. It's funny—a lot of people say that song has got some KISS feel to it, which I'm totally okay with. Lyrically, it’s almost kind of trying to fall into a Thin Lizzy ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ type of vibe, where it's just a feel-good rock ’n’ roll song. It's just about going out, letting loose, looking for some trouble, finding some trouble and being okay with it.” “Curb Feelers” “This is one of the more important songs on the record. We call it a ‘backbone track’ or an ‘anchor track’ because when you start writing a record, you’re looking for something that feels like a good direction. For this record, ‘Curb Feelers’ is that song. It’s about the ironies and funny shit that comes along with being an older punk.” “Peace Pipe” “There’s always a song or two like this on every Bronx record—they’re kinda like weird sidesteps musically. Lyrically, it’s about being oblivious to what’s happening around you—or in denial of what’s happening around you. It’s a thin line between living your own life and not giving a fuck what’s happening around you without being the person who has no concept of reality. There’s a lot of crazy shit happening in the world, so you have to figure out how to balance your own life with what's happening around you and how much you want to participate in things that aren't directly on your doorstep.” “High Five” “This song is almost like two songs in one. Melodically and lyrically, I was stuck between two different ideas, and we couldn’t figure out what to do because they both sounded good. We were just fucking around with it one night, so I plugged both lines into the song and it just felt really cool to have a stacked melody like that. Lyrically, it’s about people that you don’t really vibe with anymore. Maybe you’ll see someone you grew up with posting some crazy-ass shit online and you’re just like, ‘What the fuck?’ It’s just a playful tune based around growing apart from people.” Mexican Summer “We have a mariachi band called Mariachi El Bronx, and for a long time we tried to keep the bands pretty separate sonically. But then we did a livestream over the pandemic where both bands played, and it just felt right. So on this song, we definitely incorporated a little bit of that rhythmic El Bronx vibe into the verses. Lyrically, it’s about the rise and fall of a drug lord, with a Scarface kind of finale, where he always knew being on top was going to be temporary because it comes with the territory.” “New Lows” “This song is about two people who don't necessarily know what they're doing or might not belong together, but they're giving it their best shot. They both might know that it’s not going to work, but that goes undiscussed because they’re just trying put their best foot forward. When they’re together, it’s super chemically charged, with high highs and low lows.” “Breaking News” “This is kinda our ode to ‘Media Blitz’ by the Germs. There’s so much happening in the world via media information, and everyone struggles with it because the line is so blurred between what’s real and what’s fake. I feel like there’s a link or a story to support literally any theory you can possibly come up with. A lot of it just doesn’t hold water anymore, whether it’s coming from a major network or the dark web. So this is just a classic anti-authority punk rock song about not giving in to the bullshit they try to feed you.” “Jack of All Trades” “We always joked about writing a song that’s based on the Logjammin’ porno from The Big Lebowski, so that’s kind of what this is. It’s just that attitude of the ’80s porno guy coming over to…fix the cable. People might be like, ‘Is he trying to be sexy? What the fuck is going on here?’ But the song is super tongue-in-cheek.” “Participation Trophy” “We have a history of ending our records with songs that are slightly out of our comfort zone, and this is a pretty groove-heavy, almost classic-rock-style song, which is something that we haven't really done before. But when we were writing it, it just felt so good that we decided to do it. It’s short and sweet and it’s about aliens coming and taking over the planet—a classic rock song about space invasion via The Bronx.”

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