On September 22, National Voter Registration Day, Philadelphia’s The Wonder Years issued themselves a challenge: to register 1,000 new voters/voter actions by October 20. If the goal was reached in time, they’d release a new song. Well, they did it. In collaboration with HeadCount.org, today THE WONDER YEARS celebrate making their deadline and registering over 1,000 voter actions with the release of “Brakeless”, a brand new song streaming everywhere now. Check out the track above.
Over the course of their career, The Wonder Years have consistently evolved, reaching new heights from record to record. So naturally, they found a way to challenge themselves when deciding how to properly commemorate the upcoming milestones of their earlier work. Written and recorded in the style of their 2010 breakout album “The Upsides”, “Brakeless” is one of two new songs that The Wonder Years crafted to help commemorate the back-to-back 10 year anniversaries of that album + its follow-up, 2011’s “Suburbia I’ve Given You All & Now I’m Nothing”.
“I was going through old hard-drives full of demos and voice notes when I stumbled onto an idea I had that never got brought to the band” vocalist Dan Campbell explains of the retrospective writing approach on the new song. Listening to it ten years later inspired an idea: “what if we tried to go back and write songs that sounded like those records? What would that sound like?”.
Using that voice note as a jumping-off point, the band put themselves back in that headspace, shaking loose old memories to create something that would feel at home on “The Upsides”. To do that, the entire team from that era was brought back to help––Steve Evetts, who produced “Suburbia”, agreed to produce and Vince Ratti, who produced and mixed “The Upsides”, came back to mix. The artwork was also done by Mitchell Wojcik, who created the original and iconic “Upsides” album cover.
And much like “The Upsides” found The Wonder Years and Campbell at a turning point, “Brakeless” came together despite the disruption of a global pandemic and a hurricane that flooded several members basements and the control room at the studio they were recording in. When the band finally came together to record, they did so in masks and face shields after temperature checks and hand sanitizer. It also obviously wasn’t safe for anyone to fly, so through some mix of technology and magic, Steve produced from his studio in Garden Grove while the band tracked at Retro City in Germantown, PA. The result is a song that has the energy and gallows humor of their breakout record but with the experience and creativity that comes with 10+ years of touring and releasing ever-evolving music.
For the last four years, The Wonder Years have put together an incredible “Halloween extravaganza”, featuring a stacked lineup where each band would play both a cover set and an original set. To say TWY took their cover sets seriously would be an understatement––complete with costumes and full-on personality mirroring, they’ve taken on the songs of bands like Limp Bizkit and Queen. Unfortunately this year, with traditional shows off the table, The Wonder Years were once again forced to adapt, but that seems to only have upped the ante.
This year’s “Occasionally Annual Halloween Extravaganza” will feature the six-piece band splitting into two groups for dueling Blink-182 cover sets, as well as a full-band TWY set. It all goes down on October 30 and tickets are on sale now with an option to purchase a ticket alone or get one free with any merch item HERE.
The bank sign out my window is laughing in my face
Cause it’s 7 in the morning and only 4 degrees.
There’s a city budget crisis, they’re closing all the libraries.
There’s no money left for nothing so they’re only plowing Broad St.
I’m picking lunch over the subway. I’ve got 4 bucks to my name.
It’s another morning bike ride in the fucking freezing rain.
I pull a second pair of gloves. I’m tying bags around my feet.
I’m not getting trench foot this week.
I heard a song on the radio
That tried to tell me I’m not alone
But I feel like it today.
I heard a song on the radio
That said “that’s just the way it goes”
And I think I’m gonna break.
I swerve left to dodge a car door at 12th and Cecil B
Caught my front wheel in the trolley tracks and slid across the street
I showed up to work all bloodied up but still got all my teeth
And lately that’s what’s passing as lucky. Lucky for me.
I keep thinking of ways to make it seem like an accident.
I pulled the brake off my bike, so if a bus runs the light, well then…
I keep telling myself that it can’t be that serious
But if I’m talking like this, I guess it is.