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Last fall, Philadelphia punk band The Menzingers released their sixth studio album, Hello Exile. Now, after months of pandemic-induced isolation, the band reimagined and re-recorded the album from their homes. From Exile will be out digitally on September 25 and on vinyl November 13.

When COVID-19 brought the music industry and the wider world to a stop, The Menzingers were mid-tour in Australia, forced to cut their tour short and return to Philadelphia. Singer/guitarist Greg Barnett says,

The live music industry vanished before our eyes, and just like that we were out of work like tens of millions of others. As the weeks progressed the upcoming tours got rescheduled, then rescheduled again, then effectively cancelled. There were times when it all felt fatal. There’s no guide book on how to navigate being a working musician during a global pandemic, so we were left to make it up as we went along. We wanted to document and create in the moment, and though we couldn’t be in the same room together due to social distancing lockdowns, we got creative.

In the following months, the band would re-record Hello Exile from their respective homes. Barnett explains, “We would track the songs from our own home studios, share the files via Dropbox, and pray it all made sense when pieced back together.” Originally imagined as a collection of acoustic demos, the re-recording process inspired more creative arrangements. “We rewrote, and changed keys and melodies. We blended analog and digital instruments in ways we never had before. We dug through old lyric notebooks and added additional verses. We got our dear friend Kayleigh Goldsworthy to play violin on two songs. No idea was off limits. Hell, I even convinced the band to let me play harmonica on a song (no small feat!).”

From Exile is available for pre-order here. In the meantime, listen to new versions of “Strawberry Mansion” and “High School Friend” now.

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