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Premiere: The Follies Reach for Crisp Pop Sounds Without Betraying Their Gritty Sensibilities on "I Idled"

Comprised of members from various garage punk acts over the years (see: Vanity, Vexx, Ajax, Twisted Thing for more), New York City rockers The Follies have shared with us the first single from their forthcoming debut album Permanent Present Tense, out February 23rd on the ever-reliable Feel It Records (Sweeping Promises, The Cowboys, Silicone Prairie). The new single "I Idled" bolts out of the speakers with its rippling jangle and unpretentious pop smarts that echo the prism of 1970s New York. Along with the premiere, we also caught up with the band's guitarist-vocalist Evan Radigan all about the origins of The Follies and their collective ability to synthesize the past into the present.

Photo by Alex Mctigue

First tell me what you've been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Evan Radigan: Really just been trying to get through this dead of winter stretch! But it's been sunny here the past few days, so I'm grateful for that. Just this morning actually, I finished a Tintin comic book Mike from the band loaned me written by an anarchist publishing collective from the UK in '89 called Breaking Free. Tintin's a hard drinking construction worker who gets radicalized and ends up leading a mass strike against their Thatcherite bosses. Lots of violence and dirty words, and if you can believe it our protagonist even learns a thing or two along the way. Entertainingly well worth a read.

Take us through the origins of The Follies. How did you all meet and decide to form a band? 

We've all known each other from playing in mostly punk bands in NYC over the years. The Follies came about at a time when we were all adrift, so to speak, so an opening presented itself for us all to try playing together and it's worked out quite lovely.

Do you play in any other bands currently? 

Chris [Bowman] and I have a long-standing-little-producing metal band that's coming back to life called Somnol we're excited about. Think the rest of the focus is centered on The Follies currently.

Today we're premiering your new single "I Idled" off your forthcoming LP for Feel It Records. What can you tell us about how this song came together and what was envisioned for it?

Almost four years on, it feels like a bit of a cliche to invoke pandemic moments for personal or artistic reckoning, but for this song, I remember clearly it came about a morning in May of that first year when it was sunny and I went out for a walk for the first time in a long while. I was listening to I think The La's and had a sort of feeling of not hopefulness or elation, but more a sense of "...but life goes on" that was good enough for right then, and I remember wanting to write a song that felt like that moment. 

How exactly did the ten tracks come together for your forthcoming debut album Permanent Present Tense. The new album has been described as "a new beginning with familiar roots." How exactly did this album come together?

We individually had some songs kicking around from before we all started playing together that formed the basis of the record, I suppose. Once we began really playing those together a lot over a period, we got a sense of what kind of songs we wanted this album to be composed of, so the rest came from that. We recorded it in November and December of 2022 at our pal Chuck Betz' lovely studio in the basement of his East Flatbush home. 

Which song from the record means the most to you (and why)?

Maybe the last track on the record, the bookending "I Tried." When I can't sleep at night and my brain is stuck in an endless default social organizing churn, the thing I most frequently try to tell myself is "Well, I tried," which is then followed immediately by "...right?" I don't see an end to that coming any time soon [laughs].

How excited are you for the release of this album and what can fans expect? 

Very! I'm excited for people to hear the whole record in sequence, if we can be so fortunate as to have 27-odd-minutes of their time. We wrote songs we'd want to listen to: memorably catchy and concise, and we feel that applies to all ten songs on there. 

Permanent Present Tense is out February 23rd on Feel It Records.


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