Progressive post hardcore act BARES HIS TEETH avoid the trappings of cliché, with smart songwriting, interesting incorporation of varied influences, and almost dramatic vocal pathos in their new impressive single ”Hope Like The Ocean”, comfortably speaking to their potential. Today, we’re stoked to give you its full stream, along with new music video above, band commentary, as well as special list of songs that have influenced BARES HIS TEETH, with accompanying Spotify playlist!
Scattered throughout a pandemic-haunted American Midwest, BARES HIS TEETH features former and current members of a host of influential hardcore, metal, indie, and emo bands. Their first single, “Hope Like the Ocean,” will be released across all online platforms on September 24th and will be featured on tape-based label, FRIEND CLUB RECORDS’ first compilation, “On Second Thought, Vol. 1”.
Born during quarantine, the post-hardcore band includes guitarist Matthew Hartman (formerly of Indiana metalcore act, SUBSIST, and Chicago hardcore band, DEAD TO FALL), guitarist Nat Fitzgerald (also of Indiana post-shoegaze act, SPACESHIPS), bassist Daniel Johnson (co-owner of FRIEND CLUB RECORDS and half of folk duo, THE BELL AND THE HAMMER), drummer Matthew Putman (who has played with ESO-CHARIS, LIVING SACRIFICE, NORMA JEAN, BEAR COLONY, LOVEDRUG, and UNWED SAILOR), and vocalist Adam Baker (whose previous musical involvement has largely included his illustration and graphic design for the likes of CASPIAN, CLOUDKICKER, GIFTS FROM ENOLA, and SCALE THE SUMMIT).
Few members of the band have ever met in person, with the majority instead coming to know one another through online friendships developed over social media and shared interests. Mutual fans of one another’s bands. The songs are built piece by piece, sharing parts recorded in home studios and mixed through the collaborative efforts of band members. The single and additional songs are being mixed by Jesse Cannon (The Cure, Animal Collective, The Menzingers, “Weird” Al Yankovic, Brand New, The Misfits, Limp Bizkit, Basement, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Lifetime, Saves the Day, Acceptance, A Static Lullaby, Dalek, Kevin Divine, NOFX, Man Overboard).
“Hope Like the Ocean” lyrically explores the tension found in Adam Baker’s near-decade of former experience as a professional clinical counselor. Having provided therapeutic support to young survivors of sexual assault and neglect, Baker found the raw honesty of those counseling sessions to offer a lot of opportunity for mutual growth. As much as he sought to comfort and support his young clients, Baker also found himself developing an everdeepening awareness that each and every person bears their own history of trauma, grief, loss, pain, and ragged hope. “Hope Like the Ocean” invites the listener to lay aside any denials of their own struggles and hurt, finding instead some form of connection and catharsis in being open with others about what they’ve gone through and survived.
“We’re living in a world that seems fundamentally dependent upon the illusion that our only options are binaries,” Baker says. “I’m either happy or sad, angry or content. If I have political or social convictions, that means that I’m either a Republican or a Democrat, conservative or liberal. Even in regard to gender, sexuality, and orientation, we’re still largely hyper-focused upon a declared male or female dynamic, ignoring the wide-ranging spectrum of difference that exists between and beyond those subjective points. The reality is that each and every one of us exists in a place of tension and dissonance, shifting between points of definition, and sometimes on a daily basis. I’m direct about identifying this in “Hope Like the Ocean,” encouraging the listener to know that ‘you can doubt and trust, and at the same time’. There’s space for uncertainty, be that in regard to matters of science, politics, society, or faith. There’s life to be found in being generous and gracious with one another about such things. We can be people who are finding joy and delight even as we carry very real wounds. Both can be true, and at the same time.”
Songs that have influenced BARES HIS TEETH (and accompanying Spotify playlist):
Matthew Hartman (guitar):
… And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – “It Was There That I Saw You”
During the days when I listened to metalcore, this was one of my favorite post-hardcore bands. I always loved the simple repeating guitar figurations and the complex layers of sound. This is the album I keep coming back to when I’m trying to write any lead guitar parts.
Deftones – “Change (In the House of Flies)”
I love the big distorted guitar in this song. When I first heard these big chords in drop C back in 2000, I thought they were so awesome. I still find myself falling back on them when I want to write a super thick and heavy chorus riff.
Matthew Putman (drums):
The Smashing Pumpkins – “Drown”
The underplayed delivery, mastery of quiet/loud dynamics, and smooth ghost notes of this song have been a huge influence on my playing. Jimmy Chamberlin remains my favorite drummer.
Jawbox – “Excandescent”
The syncopated beat, interesting fills, and overall feel in this song are everything that I love about great drumming. Zach Barocas is slept on as one of the greatest post-rock drummers.
Fugazi – “Sweet and Low”
This was the first time that I ever heard a drummer play the snare rim as opposed to the hi-hat. The fast jazz fills into and out of each chorus come out of nowhere and transport you from section to section. This song is a short masterclass in tasteful playing and the power of dynamics.
Daniel Johnson (bass):
Cool Hand Luke – “Destroying Transduction”
Cool Hand Luke was one of the fullest sounding 3-piece bands that I’ve ever heard in my life, and it was due in extremely large part to Brandon Morgan’s hypnotic, lilting bass lines. Hearing this song for the first time was one of my first realizations that bass doesn’t always have to be solely relegated to a supporting role.
The White Octave – “Style No. 6312”
This band has always been incredibly important to me, to the point that I had a major part in facilitating this album’s first ever vinyl pressing. Lincoln Hancock’s bass parts cut through like melodic razors in every song, and ‘Style No. 6312’ is no exception. The trebly dancing part ensures that this song reaches EPIC status.
Nathaniel Fitzgerald (guitar):
Fugazi – “By You”
I’ve always thought of Fugazi as almost a jazz band: Joe and Brendan lay a tight groove while Guy and Ian float almost entirely untethered from the rhythm section (except for when they aren’t playing huge riffs). I’ve always loved their balance of deliberate heaviness and chaotic exploration.
mewithoutYou – “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)”
For all of mewithoutYou’s punk energy, they have an atmospheric sensibility that cuts through their music. This is largely courtesy of the other Weiss brother. I’ve always wanted to be in a punk band where I didn’t have to play like a punk guitarist. That’s been my MO in Bares His Teeth.
Adam Baker (vocals):
Sense Field – “Leia”
I can’t listen to this song without remembering the fire I felt hearing it for the first time in 1996. Jon Bunch’s transitions between keening beauty and shouted encouragement have stuck with me throughout the decades since, and I won’t begin to apologize for how directly the final “sing on… live on… leave your light on” chorus directly influenced the chorus of a Bares His Teeth song.
James – “Sometimes”
Laid is 1993’s album by the British rock group, James, and their cheeky, upbeat single of the same name on this record always got the most press. It’s the rest of the album that has always made it one of my favorites, though. Tim Booth’s vocals build, whisper, and soar over songs built on moody dynamics, pulling you in and under and along. “Sometimes” is emblematic for me of sustained, intense melody that continues to breath. It’s a deeply personal song, and it taught me how to howl as I listened to it on late-night road trips.
Further Seems Forever – “Light Up Ahead”
I’m a member of that small, fiercely devoted crew who considers this album to be FSF’s finest work. For me, this is largely because Jon Bunch’s passionate, deeply sincere lyrics and singing. I’ve always felt like an old friend was singing to me when I listened to him, someone doing their best to remind me that hope is stubbornly difficult to kill. Jon freed me to fuse relentless hope and honesty about pain in my lyrics. I’m forever indebted to him for that.