As algorithmic playlists continue to dictate our sonic preferences in this age of digitized soundscapes and ceaseless social commentary, the work of bands who stray from the well-trodden mainstream pathway takes on a special resonance. This week presents a brief departure from the usual fare, as we’re excited to exclusively premiere Social Caterpillar’s new music video, “Smells Like Middle–Aged Apathy,” right here on IDIOTEQ.
The timing is potent. As we toe the line between late-stage capitalism’s ennui and a retro-flavored nostalgia for an era that never really existed, Social Caterpillar lends a score to the proceedings.
A full release is expected on October 7th under Softseed Music, with the song available on 12″ vinyl and tapes, formats that pay tribute to a tangible interaction with music in a streaming-centric age.
While many may be tempted to hear echoes of Gen X’s angsty lore in the title, guitarist and vocalist Kial draws inspiration from a rather intimate place—a backhanded compliment from a family member about the musician’s age.
If brevity is the soul of wit, then this critique was, as Kial elucidates, “heavy on the backhand and light on the compliment.” The song serves as a retort that delves into the shallows of this person’s hobbies—mainly an ire towards those who kneel during the national anthem and an aptitude for distilling hatred under divine pretenses.
From a musical standpoint, Kial’s riff in the song’s tail section borrows its emotional texture from “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but reincarnates it within a 5/4 time signature. It’s a subtle reshaping of the familiar—a metamorphosis that is at once comforting and disorienting.
Behind the kit, drummer Derek, who, along with Kial, has navigated three recording journeys with Greg Norman at Electrical Audio in Chicago, heralds the song as a “good demonstration of our continual progression towards new sonic territories without abandoning our core sound.” It’s a careful balance, one that risks neither ostracizing long-time fans nor being musically stagnant.
The visual component of “Smells Like Middle-Aged Apathy” showcases the handiwork of Chloe Corcoran, a consistent artistic affiliate with the band. Add to this ensemble a Trumpet’s cry—thanks to their friend John Larkin—and you have a piece that is multi-layered both in composition and implication.
We live in an era that lends itself to apathy; that’s undeniable. And yet, “Smells Like Middle-Aged Apathy” doesn’t seem to languish there. It critiques, it laments, but it also beckons for a deeper engagement with the world around us.
“Smells Like Middle-Aged Apathy” comes as an early dive into disaffection comes ahead of the band’s full release on October 7th via Softseed Music.