In a world of indie pop, it’s nice to have more anthemic rock like that from LATEWAVES. The Asbury Park trio is releasing their new self-titled record today via Open Your Ears Records. This is the band’s first record since signing with the label last summer and second proper full-length. The album’s eleven tracks feature lots of the angsty riffs and sing-along choruses featured on their debut. It builds on the foundation laid by that successful debut, but this time, the riffs are catchier, the guitar work is more elaborate, and there are plenty of three-part harmonies.
LATEWAVES formed in 2016 and made some steady progress with EP releases and East Coast tours. But just when they completed their debut full-length Hell To Pay, the pandemic arrived. They maintained their patience and prepared the best they could, and it paid off. LATEWAVES signed with Know Hope Records, and Hell To Play was finally released in June 2021. The band spent some time touring for that record but wasted no time recording its follow-up when they got off the road.
To coincide with today’s release of their sophomore LP, LATEWAVES singer and guitarist Mike Pellegrino joins us for a track-by-track rundown of each song on the record, recapping their meaning, significance, and background.
“This song has been a work in progress for almost a decade. It asks the question, ‘Hey, why the hell are we still doing this to ourselves, trying to be in a band?’ while also serving as a reaffirmation that we’re doing exactly what we love doing the most. Any ‘unsolicited advice’ along the way, we brush it off, and continue on our own path.”
“‘Frog’ is a ’90s-inspired sitcom theme song about you and your partner in crime. It’s an anthem for the bond you have with the person in your life that you can show your true colours to. Musically inspired by Dinosaur Jr. type/cheeky guitar riffs and a power pop chorus, the whole song sounds like a mischievous grin.”
3. “I Don’t Wanna be Alone Anymore”
“Everyone looks back fondly at the first time they were lovesick. For some reason, we crave the histrionic nature of needing someone or wanting to be needed. This song was the least fleshed-out demo we brought to the table when writing for the record. There was a beautiful moment where Vinnie Caruana (one of our producers) and I got into the room by ourselves and brought this song to life. I vividly recall pacing around the room humming at each other and mumbling gibberish that inevitably turned into the most driving song on the record.”
4. “I Only Dance at Weddings”
“This song was originally called ‘Weed and Caffeine’ and was about how I secretly love having the aforementioned products and dancing to Top 40 songs at weddings. Because I’d never be caught dead in a nightclub; no offense to anyone that enjoys them, but it’s just not my scene. With the help of producers Brett Romnes and Vinnie Caruana, we came up with a more honed-in song subject to sing over the Jellyfish-inspired dance/rock instrumentation.”
“The saying ‘hurt people, hurt people’ reigns true. Lyrically, ‘Hurt’ is as literal as it comes. This song is a direct impact of the feeling of disillusion from ones you thought once held great value in your life. Taking a step back to recognize that destructive relationships aren’t worth the pain. Learning how to grow from the hurt it’s caused and finding the importance in self-worth.”
6. “Italian Smokes”
“Inspired by a panic attack I had on the beautiful streets of Florence, Italy, induced by the graphic pictures of rotting teeth and holes in throats displayed on the cigarette boxes they sell over there. ‘Italian Smokes’ may be inspired by anxiety, but it’s about GRATITUDE. Gratitude for the people in your life who can talk you off the ledge, that you can count on to help you keep going, and your chosen family.
“Musically inspired by the sombre yet happy medium found in The Replacements’ ‘Can’t Hardly Wait.’ Wispy guitars over a Casio-inspired drum beat turned into a real-life performance by (drummer) Shawna Grabowski. It makes you want to cry, but you can’t tell if they’re happy or sad tears.”
7. Pink Cloud”
“‘Pink Cloud’ is a term coined by those who have quit drinking. It refers to the feeling of elation, after the withdrawal period. You get this feeling when you quit, and your head clears up, you get a good night’s sleep, you feel like you can exercise, etc… The point of the pink cloud is that you fall off of it. And you are left with all the unhealed wounds that you tried to cover up with drinking.
“Musically inspired by softer ’90s alt-rock with airy guitar work over it. I played a very expensive PRS for the guitar solos.”
8. “One Day You Just Might Believe It”
“No matter if it’s far, right there is where you are; basically saying you can’t run from your problems. You have to face them and address them, and do the hard work. Moving to a new city or travelling can quell the demons, but they don’t leave until you perform the exorcism. You also have to be careful about how you talk to yourself. If you keep calling yourself a piece of shit, one day you just might believe it!”
“‘Plane’ is a conversation, more so an argument you have with yourself while you’re in the shower. A constant back and forth about self-doubt and blaming everyone and anyone but yourself. The chorus asks if we’re back to where we began, recognizing that we inevitably have to do the hard work and take responsibility for our well-being. Musically inspired by the alt ’90s songs that ended up in teen movies that made us think we were all the main characters in our movies.”
10. “Same Air”
“‘Same Air’ is inspired by the narcissist, whether proverbial or actual, in your life that you let get under your sthree-and-a-half-minutecan never do right by due to their unrealistic standards and false entitlement. It’s a three-and-a-half-minute middle finger to whoever is trying to define you. Don’t let them. Cut out the toxic people in your life. Love yourself. Musically inspired by the power choruses on Oasis’ ‘What’s the Story Morning Glory’ over guitars that sound somewhere in between a dream and a racetrack while the drums blow open the doors from 00:00 until the end.”
11. “Night Terrors”
“This was a song that we’ve had for a while that didn’t quite fit into our last album. We knew it would see the light of day, and it inevitably became the perfect closing track. It breaks from our normal songwriting, and more so goes on like a movie. The chorus is more of a callback, and the song ends enormously. It acts as a bookend to the record as it touches on a bit of everything musically and lyrically; we can’t wait to play it live.”
Upcoming Tour Dates:
10/27 – Asbury Park, NJ @ House of Independents (Album Release Show)
11/24 – New York, NY @ Berlin Under A (w/Dave Mackinder, Vinnie Caruana & Jon Simmons)