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NO DREAM is the fourth full-length from Jeff Rosenstock. It comes at a time of unparalleled chaos and confusion, division and despair, the depths of which would have been impossible to predict when much of it was being written throughout the last few years. And yet the record feels prescient, unexpectedly, and uniquely suited for this moment.
“It felt like a very personal record for me,” says Rosenstock, newly settled in Los Angeles after a lifetime on the opposite coast. “A lot of it stemmed 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: “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?It 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 most little 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 many people in the punk underground also didn’t like them, either.” Things have changed, and NO DREAM arrives with an entirely new set of expectations in a wholly 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 growing anxieties about his place in the world holding space for our own. “I was trying not to 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.”
He would record the resulting songs once again with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Hard Girls, Joyce Manor) at the Atomic Garden, where Rosenstock 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, a lived-in sound gives each song its voice and organic energy. “Scram!” pulls from the overdriven guitar sound of Kerplunk in its mash-up of chugging palm mutes and Weezer melodies, while “Old Crap” mines the pop-punk of Rosenstock’s youth and dares to drop a classic “pick it up!” rallying cry.
“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 out-of-print early albums, compiling a live album and 76 page photo book, and scoring over 80 episodes of the Cartoon Network series Craig of the Creek. In fully returning to his voice, it’s no surprise that Rosenstock’s output has never been more eclectic, reflected across NO DREAM’s 13 songs.
Ultimately, the title track, with its breakneck pivot from dreamy Mazzy Star to careening Minor Threat, gives the album its aching heart. “You can’t help it. You can’t stop it. You see these atrocities and want them to end. But it’s not going to stop, and when that feeling sets in, it’s a full-on panic freak-out.”
It may not be a hopeful message, but it ties together the sense of impending doom and gives it direction, voicing a rage that many struggles to articulate.
“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.
Proof of Vaccination OR Negative COVID-19 Test Required for Entry
At the Tour’s request, to enter the establishment, you must provide proof you are fully vaccinated*OR proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered by or under the supervision of a healthcare provider within 72 hours of the date on which you are attending either show. Proof of vaccination and test results must bear a name that matches the government-issued identification for the patron seeking entry.
Proof of Vaccination
The Tour will accept a picture or scan on your cell phone, photocopy, or original document of your CDC-issued vaccination card.
If you need a replacement vaccine card, you can contact your vaccine provider or local health department.
*To be fully vaccinated, you must be:
14 days after your second shot of either Moderna or Pfizer
14 days after your first shot of Johnson & Johnson
Negative COVID-19 Test
The Tour will accept a printed or digital copy of a negative COVID-19 test result administered by or under the supervision of a healthcare professional within 72 hours of the date of the show you are attending.
At-home tests will not be accepted under any circumstance.
The CDC recommends that masks are worn in public indoor spaces in areas with high transmission rates regardless of vaccination status. The CDC also recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks at all times.