Jeff Rosenstock shares his fourth full-length album No Dream today. The LP is out now on Polyvinyl Record Co., and is available for free download via Quote Unquote Records, with all donations going to Food Not Bombs. Today at 12 PM PT / 3 PM ET, Jeff Rosenstock will host a No Dream album stream listening party with a fan Q&A. Tune in HERE,
Newly settled in Los Angeles after a lifetime on the East Coast (namely Brooklyn by way of Long Island), Rosenstock recorded No Dream with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Hard Girls, Joyce Manor) at Oakland’s Atomic Garden, and even took on mixing duties alongside Shirley for the first time. Opting to stay off the computer “even more than usual” and record to tape with outboard gear, the result is a lived-in sound that gives each song its own individual voice and organic energy.
“It was feeling like a very personal record for me,” says Rosenstock. “A lot of it was stemming from the anxiety I was feeling from the last two years, this existential crisis of wondering who I am.” Rosenstock has found himself in a surprising position. As he puts it simply: “I didn’t expect to be doing well, in my life, ever.”
After building a cult following with the acerbic ska-punk of the Arrogant Sons of Bitches and DIY heroics of Bomb the Music Industry!, Rosenstock’s first proper solo record, 2015’s We Cool?, was a step into uncharted territory, fully untethered from genre and expectation. Followed by 2016’s WORRY. and the surprise New Year’s Day launch of POST- in the early hours of 2018, Rosenstock was facing down that least punk of opportunities: a career playing music.
“I got so used to putting out records that only a few people in the punk underground liked,” he says. “And a lot of people in the punk underground also didn’t like them, either.” Except things have changed, and NO DREAM arrives with an entirely new set of expectations in an entirely new era. The greatest surprise is that Rosenstock’s deeply personal self doubt is expressed in a way that captures a universal feeling of shock and uncertainty, his own growing anxieties about his place in the world holding space for our own. “I was trying to not be afraid of using phrases that weren’t immediately clear to me, aside from how they sounded and felt, then allowing them to reveal themselves over time.”
“Music is all vocabulary – you learn new words but you don’t forget the old ones,” he says. Having taken some time away from his work as a solo artist to recalibrate and reset over the last year, Rosenstock stayed busy playing alongside Mikey Erg, recording and touring with the Bruce Lee Band, releasing a Neil Young covers record with frequent collaborator Laura Stevenson, reissuing two of his own out-of-print early albums, compiling a live album which was recorded during a run of four sold-out shows at Bowery Ballroom, making a 76 page photo book, and scoring over 80 episodes of the Cartoon Network series Craig of the Creek. “I thought I had just made a record for no one,” he says. “What’s the point of feeling this way? Does
it help to vocalize it?” Rosenstock’s rhetorical question is answered by NO DREAM, an accidentally universal record for a damaged, difficult time.
Polyvinyl/Quote Unquote Records
1. NO TIME
2. Nikes (Alt)
4. N O D R E A M
5. State Line
6. f a m e
7. Leave It In The Sun
8. The Beauty Of Breathing
9. Old Crap
11. Monday At The Beach
12. Honeymoon Ashtray
13. Ohio Tpke