Milwaukee’s Telethon are releasing their new album The Grand Spontanean on September 29 via Halloween Records. It’s a similar kind of high-spirited, unselfconscious, ambitious pop punk album to Jeff Rosenstock’s great WORRY. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense that they went with producer Jack Shirley, who produced WORRY (and Deafheaven and Joyce Manor and more), and the album features vocals by Jeff Rosenstock collaborators Laura Stevenson (on “On Companionship” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”) and Chris Farren (on “Stillwave”). The big-name guests don’t stop there though. The Hold Steady‘s Franz Nicolay plays keys, accordion, banjo, and harmonica all over the record (and does a spoken word portion on “The Sudden Walk”), and his presence is noticeably felt. There are also guest vocals from Less Than Jake co-frontman Roger Lima (on “The Runner’s High”), and strings/horns by Peter Hess, who has worked with The Hold Steady, TV on the Radio, and countless others.
We’re premiering the Laura Stevenson collaboration “On Companionship,” which shows off the album’s mid-tempo, jangly rock side, as well as “Punctuation!,” a dose of rollicking, anthemic punk. Watch the lyric videos for both below. Regarding “Punctation!,” Telethon’s Kevin Tully tells us:
This song begins Act II of the record. It takes place right after our protagonist discovers a mysterious website detailing the impending apocalypse scenario — coming in just 37 days. Something about the website makes him begin to believe its prophecy, but he’s seemingly the only person who’s found this website yet, so he’s stuck all by himself panicking and trying to figure out how he can possibly handle being the only guy on the planet who knows how and when it’s all gonna end.
And for “On Companionship,” he says:
This song takes place right in the middle of Act IV of the record. Our (egocentric/self-serious/twenty-something) protagonist is on a bit of a high, living fast and wrecklessly in the midst of incoming doomsday as the rest of the world deals with it in their own ways. During his manic frenzy, he waxes nostalgic about the times he spent with his ex-significant other (who he broke it off with in an IKEA Parking Lot back in Act II), so he ventures off to find her. He eventually does, and she tells him exactly what she thinks of him in no uncertain terms.
We wanted this song to feel like “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” in its back-and-forth… except way more bitter and one-sided. From the beginning, we envisioned Laura Stevenson as the ideal person we’d want to play the part — so we were stoked beyond belief when she was able to make it happen. Pretty surreal.
Pre-orders of the album will be up on Bandcamp soon. Listen to the new songs: