We are “playing” some HARDBALL today with the debut of the band’s brand new single “NRA.”
It’s often said that you have your whole life to write your debut record but a much more protracted time to produce its follow-up. The latter part is yet to be determined, but this Vancouver-area trio certainly took their time in writing their self-titled debut full-length effort. And judging by this first single, it was time well spent as we await the record’s release on July 21st.
With the title “NRA,” you probably already have some idea of where the band is going with this. Punishingly heavy and powerful, the band members go absolutely musically berserk on this one, throwing everything they’ve got against the wall, with the song’s intensity matching the weight of its message. Gun control is an issue we hear about in the news virtually every day. HARDBALL have stepped up to the plate here with a representation of the anger many of us feel about these societal challenges.
Elaborating on the context of “NRA,” HARDBALL bassist Jamie Black states:
“‘NRA’ is one of, if not the oldest song in our catalogue. I love the pace and energy of this one, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out in the studio..
“It can be hard in that setting, to like really let loose. Everything is real quiet and clean, there’s a bit of pressure on, and you want to do everything perfect, but we felt this one needed all of the raw, intense emotion that was present when we wrote it. I think the result was the first point in the recording process (for me anyways), that we’d actually captured the energy of the band. Hearing that gave me the same feelings I get when we play it live, and I think that was a bit of a breakthrough moment as far as understanding, how to actually make a Hardball album. Something that cleans up in places, it’s presentable but also knows when to lean into its naturally chaotic tendencies.
“The song itself came from a place of outrage, confusion, and overall helplessness as we were kind of coming of age in this new era of school, and workplace shootings. It takes a very blunt, and cynical stance in its lyrics and there’s sort of a back and forth thing between the egregious glorification of violence, and then screaming back in it’s face. Since this song was written, there have been over 300 school shootings which is something I don’t think any of us could have imagined at the time. The fact that the message, and the feelings we expressed in this song, are still so relevant today might be the most upsetting part of it all.”
Joining Budgie in this power trio are bassist Jamie Black and drummer Jeremy Head, known for being a part of The Motion Picture. This incoming debut record has been a labour of love for these three men, a group of songs that have literally been in development for years. The recording process was befallen by numerous delays and problems that arised during the production process. There was a point where the album was well over halfway complete when the band decided to throw many parts of it in the garbage, and retrack musical parts of eight of the ten tracks. Even the vocals were tracked literally dozens of times, in an effort to make everything sound the way they wanted it to.
It comes as a great relief to Budgie and his bandmates Black and Head that their album is now done and almost released, and with that so-called monkey off of their back, they can proceed smoothly and confidently into that sophomore phase of their career.
HARDBALL Track Listing:
1. Just A Tree (3:55)
2. Worried As Shit (2:21)
3. NRA (2:33)
4. In The Mail (4:16)
5. Me And You (2:47)
6. Chili (5:55)
7. Talk To Me (5:25)
8. Ian’s Song (2:36)
9. I/O (3:18)
10. Open Air (9:47)
08/04 – Vancouver, BC – 648 Kingsway – w/ Paul is Dead
08/06 – New Westminster, BC – Bully’s Studios
08/09 – Nelson, BC – Kootenay Co-op Radio – w/ The Tarholes
08/10 – Edmonton, AB – The Buckingham – w/ Take Sides and Umi Yokai
08/11 – Calgary, AB – TBA – w/ Pizza Bath
08/12 – Oliver, BC – Firehall Brewing
08/26 – Salmo, BC – Hogkegger Fest w/ Rad Dog