The COVID-19 lockdown has turned a lot of us into sullen brats (quaranteens, if you will). We're proverbially “grounded” and relegated our rooms, totally oscillating from extreme despair to rage to boredom. We're experiencing the kind of maniacal munchies that could only previously be explained by a Biblical tide of hormones. Expendable income? Ha! Yes, everything sucks and life is so not fair, but before you ugly cry into your tattered poetry notebook, get this. Michigan punks The Lippies just dropped their surprise EP, Pop 'n' Lockdown, through label Red Scare Industries. BUST is excited to premiere their latest lyric video for the catchy sing-along ode to Trump, “On My Mind.”
All hope is not lost! I suggest you immediately crank it up, punch the crud out of that pillow, and really let out a primal deep-down-in-your-belly scream. Need a little inspiration to form your own mosh pit of one? Peep this video, and soon you'll be slamming whatever liquor you have left in your apartment while guitarist Taylor Shupe's grinding riffs soothe your soul (extra credit for digging up that old studded wrist cuff).
It's been four years since the Grand Rapids-based band (which also features David Sparks on drums and Lawrence Kole on bass) released their breakout self-titled album on Red Scare Industries, but the agency and energy behind these new songs suggest that the Lippies are back. On “Get out of Bed,” a short and deceptively folky prelude, powerhouse vocalist Tonia Broucek reminds us that, indeed, all is not lost during this freakish time—even if the remote is.
With her commanding Penelope Houston-esque vocals, it seems that the fierce frontwoman is accounting for all of our pain—both buried and freshly fear-based—on the final tune, “I'm a Reactor.” “I am burning from the inside/I am burning from the inside/I am burning from the inside out,” she seethes, before lobbing the question back at us.
“Are you burning from the inside?” she asks, pleading for us to prove she isn't alone in this.
Why yes, my friend. I am. I thought you'd never ask.
Broucek digs deeper into that burning sensation and gives us all some advice for dealing with our feelings during these confusing and bewildering times. Listen to the new Lippies EP here, or stream everywhere.
Tell me the thought process behind the song “On Your Mind” and the entire Pop 'n' Lockdown EP.
Originally, we were asked to contribute a song to a concept compilation about 45 (President Donald Trump), but that didn’t pan out for reasons unknown to me. We challenged ourselves and pumped out a bizarre song in a very short amount of time to meet a deadline for a compilation that never happened. Ha! With the 2020 presidential election approaching, we felt the need to release this dumb song before the orange dude gets kicked out of office (hopefully). As far as song content goes, it basically came about when I learned that 45 was six-foot-three, and that scared me because I imagined he was much smaller. The other two songs are just songs that didn’t make it to the full length that, oddly enough, fit the topic of being locked down and blowing up about it.
A lot of artists are dropping albums and songs now during COVID-19. What do you feel the role of The Lippies’ music is, particularly now?
Dude, I don’t even know. We’re just trying to express ourselves and get the bad feelings out... at least that’s what I’m doing. The best possible outcome for me is that listeners feel a little less alone with their feelings.
You had some quick and soaring success when the band first took off (with your 2016 self-titled album). What’s different for the band now that you’re taking a new stab at recording?
I think the biggest difference is that we are taking it far less seriously this time around. I’m pretty busy with my day job for once in my life, which I actually love, and the guys have been so patient and gentle with me when it comes to making time for music. Honestly, they’ve always been patient with me...I’m just stable enough to see it now. They rule.
As a mental health professional, do you have any tips for us living under lockdown, especially now? Not to presume you have all the answers, but a lot of us are going a bit bonkers at the moment.
Establish a routine. More importantly, don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t stick to that routine. If you’re feeling depressed, try doing something to help someone else. If you don’t have the means to help others, take a shower and do something to make yourself feel pretty. After that, go do something active (mentally or physically). Force yourself to draw a picture or write a little song. Make a time stamp because this is a big deal. I don’t know. I’m struggling myself. My partner has been on FaceTime with his boys like 24/7, and that seems to really be helping him. It’s very sweet. Here’s another I like to do when I’m struggling: I imagine I am elderly and sharing my life story with someone. Then, I try to act in a way that I’d be happy to recount. Are you living the story you’d want to tell? Sounds dramatic, but it helps me deal with my depressive tendencies.
Top photo by David Sparks
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Hayley Cain is a freelance writer and guitarist who believes in the power of lipstick and distortion. Find out more at www.isyourboyfriendintheband.com and @hayleyandthecrushers, and email her at email@example.com.