Following up last fall's pair of releases, we have the pleasure in sharing today "Self Indulgent Ways," the blazing lead cut to prolific Midwestern unknowns Why Bother?'s anticipated third album, A City of Unsolved Miseries. Along with the premiere, we caught up with the band who tell us more about the new single, the still unsolved disappearance of Mason City TV anchor Jodi Huisentruit, and how they defined yet another chapter of their enigmatic existence.
Since discovering North Iowa's Why Bother? through the go-to punk YouTube channel Tremendo Garaje, I discovered there was no information about the band online at all. They have no social media presence and they don't play any live shows. However despite this, they've been on a roll, releasing some of the best DIY punk in the last couple years, and even got connected with Feel It Records' label head Sam Richardson. Comprised of four Midwestern unknowns named Terry, Speck, Pamela, and Paul, Why Bother's scuzzy basement punk is drenched with haunted poetry, buzzsaw synths, hyper-speed rhythms, and drilling guitars that carve deep into your skull — it's total KBD madness! You're going to get the dreaded Coneheads and Spits comparisons due to the band's Midwest attitude, but their sound is more rooted in channeling the fears and frustration of Mason City caught in the grips of tragedy.
Following last fall's pair of Feel It releases, Lacerated Nights and There Are Such Things, the four-piece returned today with "Self Indulgent Ways," the lead cut to their anticipated third album, A City of Unsolved Miseries. The new track is another fine dosage of primal garage punk that veers into a swampy post-punk territory with its spiraling guitar pattern, pounding rhythms, and ultimate raw production. The new single is a perfect preview to the forthcoming album, showing again the band's unmatched sheer ferocity and seething intensity. Across A City of Unsolved Miseries, the band's patented basement recording setup has yet again captured 13 originals (along with a cover of the Bags' "Prowlers in the Night") that speaks to every outcast living out their days underneath dark, grey skies. Along with the premiere, we caught up with the band who tell us more about the new single, the still unsolved disappearance of Mason City TV anchor Jodi Huisentruit, and how they defined yet another chapter of their enigmatic existence.
Paperface Zine: Take me through the origins of your new single, "Self Indulgent Ways." How did this track come about and what did you envision when initially composing it?
Speck: I wrote the chords and first line of the verse. It was a reaction I had after reading the book, The Society of the Spectacle. Terry wrote the rest of the lyrics and chorus. His angle was more about ''being part'' of the problem and trying to find the beauty in failure.
PZ: This is the lead cut to your forthcoming third LP A City of Unsolved Miseries, coming out March 31st. As a preview to the album, take us through the recording of the LP. Where did you record it and what was the process like?
Paul: We recorded all the songs on the LP at the same place we recorded all of our tracks. It's the only place we will record our music. The recording process seemed to go pretty quickly. As I have said before, we record live then I mix the tracks according to each individual song without an album in mind because we don't really know what songs are going to be on the final cut until we've got at least 15 tracks completed. Other songs go to the junkyard for spare parts. One thing I can tell you about how I mix the tracks is that I never use monitors or speakers. The speaker and the room itself can alter how you are hearing the tracks. I only mix with headphones to eliminate as much space between the noise and my eardrums as possible. So the Why Bother? recordings are really tailored to listening to with a pair of headphones. That way the songs can be experienced in more of a individualistic and personal way.
PZ: I read in a press release that there's another track on the album that explores the disappearance of Mason City reporter Jodi Huisentruit. I remember on your previous album there was the garage punk murder ballad "Oh Jodi," which was written from the perspective of a suspected male killer watching news reports. What made you want to dive into this and what's your take on the mystery?
Terry: I've been interested in all types of cold cases and mysteries for a long time. The Jodi case is a local mystery so I wrote a song about it. The album is shaded with tints of loss and sadness along with other mysterious miseries that seem to be a part of the modern human condition....as far as what I think happened to Jodi... I believe there is evidence of foul play, but anything beyond that is complete speculation. There are many theories about it. A lot of people believe that the police are withholding information. All I know is that the crime is unsolved and to this very day there is a billboard in town with her picture and words saying- ''Somebody Knows Something''... and ''find Jodi'' like something out of a strange television series.
PZ: This third album comes just a few months after last year's Lacerated Nights and Halloween tape There Are Such Things. I recall in our past interview Terry that you had a vision of rolling out three solid albums then possibly calling it quits. Is this still a plan or can we hear more from you?
Terry: We don't plan on calling it quits after this third LP. We could release two more records his year if we wanted to, but it takes about 4-6 months to get the tracks mastered, set a date with a record pressing plant, get them pressed, get the album layout done, and that's if it all goes smoothly. At this point we have 75 or more songs to complete and record so it all depends on what songs make the cut. I think I can say that Feel It Records plans on releasing another 14-track LP at the end of this year called, Calling All Goons and it will have some of my favorite tunes. As far as releasing a cassette?.. maybe in 2024 but who knows [laughing].
PZ: How has it been being part of this band over the last couple years? You've made tons of fans especially online since developing that relationship with the go-to punk YouTube channel Tremendo Garaje for the early singles and EPs.
Pamela: We have been really grateful for Jose of Tremendo Garaje and Sam of Feel It Records. Everything they have done for us has helped keep the band together and rolling. Being in Why Bother? is like having a bizarre and cheap tattoo.....some people can really appreciate it for their personal reason and some people don't. Either way, it's a part of who we are and we are stuck with it until it fades away.
A City of Unsolved Miseries is out March 31st on Feel It Records. Pre-order the album here.