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All Music Guide:
Bomb the Music Industry! is more of a ska/punk collective than an actual band. It's centered around chief songwriter Jeff Rosenstock, who formed the group in late 2004 in Nassau County, NY, after his former band, the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, went on hiatus. Most all of the band's recordings were done from a home computer, and Rosenstock was usually joined by a rotating cast of friends and contributors for both recording and touring purposes. Though the name was taken from a graffiti term that pretty much means "extensive tagging" (and not as a malicious plea for violence), the band still operated in a rather anti-music-industry manner. Rosenstock felt it a hassle to invest money he didn't have (and wouldn't see again) into pressing records and printing shirts, so he instead decided to just give away BTMI's music for free on their website, asking only for voluntary donations in return. His small label, Quote Unquote Records, operated in the same donation-oriented manner. BTMI even went so far as to bring stencils and paint along on shows for kids to make their own "official" shirts; fans just had to bring their own shirt. The band issued two albums in 2005, Album Minus Band appeared in February and To Leave or Die in Long Island followed that October. Goodbye Cool World was released in June 2006, and that fall, an incarnation of BTMI hit the road with Mustard Plug and Against All Authority. As always, anyone at their shows who knew a song and brought their own instrument was welcome to perform with them on-stage. Not completely forgetting about record-collecting nerds, vinyl versions of BTMI albums were further released through Asbestos Records, though the music also remained for free download online. In the spring of 2007, BTMI signed with California-based D.I.Y. label Asian Man Records for the proper CD release of Get Warmer that July; Quote Unquote handled the free digital version.
Bomb the Music Industry! (commonly abbreviated as BtMI!) is a band from Baldwin, Nassau County, New York. They write, produce, record, and distribute all of their music under the leadership of songwriter and producer Jeff Rosenstock.
Rosenstock and several other contributors were previously members of The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. As that band was breaking up, Rosenstock recorded the first BtMI! song, "Sweet Home Cananada," using his PowerBook's built-in microphone. "I wrote that song and put it out to see if anybody wanted it. That was how it started, people showed interest and I like recording stuff."
The band is known for their DIY punk ethic, embodied in actions such as distributing six albums worth of their own material for free on their website, and offering free stencils and paint for fans to create their own T-shirts. They also have offered fans a chance to perform on stage if they learn a song and bring their instrument to the show. Since April of 2009, the band has made it a point to play all-ages shows with ticket prices of $10 or less.
Over time, the band's lineup shifted from "pretty much a free-for-all" to a fairly steady five-member lineup. In 2012, the band announced an indefinite hiatus, stating that their summer US tour would likely be their last because "the 9 - 10 months of our lives when we are not playing music are not fantastic." They added, "We are beautiful complicated fucking snowflakes that blow wherever the wind takes us and you better fucking respect that shit, maaaan." However, as of November 25 2012, Bomb The Music Industry! has a tour listed on their website for the end of 2012.
BTMI recordings have been featured on television shows such as Weeds and The Office.
Bomb the Music Industry! plays a blend of several musical styles anchored in ska and hardcore punk. The influences go deeper than ska and punk, however, as studio experimentation, synth-pop, and DC hardcore can influence the music. Rosenstock says bands such as Harvey Danger and Neutral Milk Hotel are as much an influence as evidenced by tracks such as "This Graceless Planet" (an adaptation of a song by We Versus The Shark into the musical aesthetic of Bomb the Music Industry!), "Stand There Until You're Sober", and many other songs' meter experiments (which feature, respectively, prominent synthesizer playing, backwards looping, and time signatures such as 23/4). In live performances the band has begun using digital technology to create breakdowns that are meant to sound similar to music from 8-bit video games. Tracks such as "Sweet Home Cananada" and "Future 86" strip down the arrangements to loops and guitar, with the latter (a previously unreleased Arrogant Sons of Bitches demo) featuring a full brass section but lacking the upstroke rhythms on the guitar, a key element of third-wave ska.
Lyrically, BTMI! songs vary widely from rants about corporate rock to ordinary stories about finding a job. They also use humor, as in "Can I Pay My Rent In Fun?" and "Sorry, Brooklyn. Dancing Won't Solve Anything." One interviewer described the band as "ska for smart people." Jeff Rosenstock responded, "...you could call us ska music for smart people or indie rock for dumbasses at the same time. That's nice that somebody thinks we're smart."
Bomb the Music Industry! has toured as a duo consisting of Rosenstock and Rick Johnson of Mustard Plug. Both carry vocal responsibilities while Rosenstock plays guitar and Johnson plays bass. Both play a variety of instruments as well, such as theremin, tub drum, and saxophone. Additionally, Rosenstock has been known to play keyboard with his feet. Often, this incarnation of the duo performs accompanied by an iPod wired into the venue's PA system that supplies all of the instruments that the duo themselves cannot perform live.
Bomb the Music Industry! has also toured as a duo consisting of Rosenstock and multi-instrumentalist Matt Kurz. During this tour, Rosenstock fronted the band, playing guitar and saxophone. Kurz sang backup and played bass. As with the Rosenstock/Johnson combo, the rest of the instruments were played through an iPod. Fans were encouraged to join them onstage and play instruments.
In December, 2006, Bomb the Music Industry!, this time as just Rosenstock and Johnson, toured the United Kingdom as part of the Ska Is Dead tour with Mustard Plug and The Planet Smashers.
On May 19, 2007, Bomb the Music Industry! headlined Skappleton 2007, a ska festival in Wisconsin.
Throughout June 2007, Bomb the Music Industry! embarked on what its website describes as the "Real Bands Tour?". On this tour, the band sidestepped their regular, thrown-together arrangements and opted to perform with a full rock ensemble, consisting not only of Rosenstock as frontman but also of two keyboard players, a bass player, an additional guitarist, and a drummer. The decision to play with this ensemble reflects upon the style of their 2007 album, Get Warmer, which was recorded with a similar ensemble of live players as opposed to by mainly Rosenstock. On October 4, 2008 the band entered the studio to record their next album titled Scrambles, which was released February 15, 2009. The album Others! Others! Volume 1 was released on May 7, 2009, an album of demos, unreleased songs, and bonus tracks.
In 2008 the band played "A Song Dedicated to the Memory of Stormy the Rabbit" with Andrew Jackson Jihad during their performance at the Soapbox Laundrolounge in Wilmington, N.C. Members played a saxophone, keyboard and percussion instruments.
In an August 8, 2009 blog post on their MySpace, Bomb the Music Industry! announced the creation of their first music video for the song Wednesday Night Drinkball. Directed by Bryan Schlam, the video depicts Rosenstock and fellow band members singing to the song and handing him instruments to play as they drive through a city at night.
It was announced in July 2010 that filmmaker Sara Crow would be making a documentary about the band and other bands on Quote Unquote. On Kickstarter she successfully asked for donations to fund the film, which would record their upcoming summer tour and focus on their D.I.Y. philosophies.
For their 2010 summer tour, the band made printed t-shirts to sell for the first time.
In September 2010, they released a video for their song Everybody That You Love, using footage from live shows and their summer tour.