THE DANGEROUS SUMMER signed their first record deal as high school seniors and quickly established themselves among the alt-rock world’s elite. Passionate delivery, confessional authenticity, and deeply resonant musical storytelling define their sound. The band writes hooks that serve as soundtracks for important life moments for a diverse group of listeners spread across the globe.
The Dangerous Summer audience is more family than a fanbase. The community feeling is apparent at every gig, from Slam Dunk to Riot Fest, from touring with State Champs to headlining shows. Cofounding frontman AJ Perdomo (vocals, bass), his longtime collaborator Matt Kennedy (guitar), Christian Zawacki (drums), and Josh Whitenshaw (guitar) put everything into anything they do.
“The Permanent Rain,” “Way Down,” and “No One’s Gonna Need You More” (among others) are part of the fabric of beloved subculture songbooks, from pop-punk and emo to swirling, anthemic, stadium-sized rock. TDS shifts seamlessly from evocative outpouring to balladry and back again.
They are a “band’s band” among dedicated musicians and highly cherished by fiercely loyal diehards. “We write emotionally-driven songs of hope, about feeling like you can get through something,” Perdomo says. “It’s something people have connected to. A lot of them have tattoos of the lyrics.”
Arriving more than a decade since their debut, Coming Home will fire up the faithful all over again.
Rock Sound described the title track as a song about “what it means to own every part of who you are; rousing, heartfelt, inspirational and brimming with the most beautifully uplifting melodies.”
“We put everything we had into this album,” Perdomo says. “We put it all on the table and went as hard as possible. There’s a spectrum – heavy rock songs, quiet emotional moments, a full-on acoustic song. It takes elements from all of our eras and really encapsulates what our future sound will be.”
Reach for the Sun is the record that “shot them into the pop-punk pantheon” (Kerrang!). The album continually finds itself on lists of the most crucial genre staples in pop-punk and emo, often cited alongside massive records from Green Day and Paramore and underground classics by Dag Nasty and Sunny Day Real Estate. Powered by unshakeable, enduring alt-rock anthems like “Where I Want to Be,” “Weathered,” “Surfaced,” and “The Permanent Rain,” the Ellicott City, Maryland band’s debut album made them heroes of the Warped Tour world, all while they carved their own unique path.
War Paint was a sophomore-slump-smashing follow-up, putting the band on the Billboard 200 for the first time upon its 2011 release. The album masterfully mixed raw anger and pathos, melody and melancholy, transforming the anxious vulnerability of its predecessor into something stronger. The weight of songs like “Everyone Left” notwithstanding, War Paint persisted with hooky optimism.
Grantland likened the “tall and wide” riffs of 2013’s Golden Record to The Hold Steady and U2. (“Catholic Girls” even earned The Danger Summer praise from the famously discerning Pitchfork.) Although they fractured the following year, TDS regrouped and returned with a vengeance in 2017.
Alternative Press saluted The Dangerous Summer as a group that stayed true to their sound, praising the songs on their 2018 self-titled comeback album as equal parts charismatic and addictive. The long-running publication even put them at the top of their list of “10 reunions we never thought we’d see happen,” sharing space with improbable returning champs Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance.
NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. discovered The Dangerous Summer via Pandora and became a fan, eventually striking up a friendship with Perdomo, and secretly holding out hope TDS would reform. They filmed the video for “Ghosts,” from The Dangerous Summer, on his North Carolina property.
The band’s fifth album, Mother Nature, followed in 2019. “Bring Me Back to Life” and “Blind Ambition” combined fury and motivation, channeling a storm of emotions with an uplifting bent. 2020’s “Fuck Them All” became one of their biggest songs, appearing on the All That Is Left Of The Blue Sky EP which featured Aaron Gillespie of Underoath and The Almost behind the drum kit.
Coming Home ushers in a new era for TDS. They’ve shaken the snowglobe a bit, adding longtime touring guitarist Withenshaw (ex-Every Avenue) as an official member alongside Zawacki, as well. They recorded with Will Beasley (Turnstile, Asking Alexandria, Emarosa), a protégé of producer Paul Leavitt (All Time Low, Yellowcard, The Used), who worked on a large swath of the TDS catalog.
“We named the album Coming Home because it’s about coming back to ourselves,” Perdomo explains. “A full rock band vibe centered around driving guitars and emotionally heart-wrenching lyrics. It felt like a full-circle moment. It was the first time the four of us got in a room, lived in the studio for almost two months, and dug deep with sleepless nights and everything to get it done.”
The Dangerous Summer never sacrificed their unique, diverse sonic identity, one that appeals to fans of everything from Kings Of Leon and Coldplay to Jimmy Eat World and Bright Eyes.
Coming Home is a triumphant summary of what The Dangerous Summer is all about, past, present, and future.