Philadelphia-based punk band The Menzingers have today announced a new album, which is a stripped-down version of their 2019 release Hello Exile.

From Exile was recorded from the band’s respective homes while in isolation during Covid-19 stay at home orders. It will be released digitally on September 25 and on vinyl on November 13.

Today, the band shared two songs from the forthcoming release, High School Friend and Strawberry Mansion.

 The Menzingers were on tour in Australia when the world came to a stop due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the band to cut their tour short and make their way back to Philadelphia.

“The live music industry vanished before our eyes, and just like that we were out of work, like tens of millions of others,”said singer/guitarist Greg Barnett. “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.”

Over the next few months, the band re-recorded Hello Exile from their separate locations. “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,” said Barnett. “Initially, we planned for the album to be similar to our acoustic demo collection On The Possible Past, but we quickly found out that this batch of songs benefited from more detailed 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!). The recording process ran from mid-March till June, and upon completion we sent it over to our dear friend and close collaborator Will Yip to mix and master.”

From Exile track listing
1. America (You’re Freaking Me Out) (From Exile) 
2. Anna (From Exile) 
3. High School Friend (From Exile) 
4. Last To Know (From Exile) 
5. Strangers Forever (From Exile) 
6. Hello Exile (From Exile) 
7. Portland (From Exile) 
8. Strain Your Memory (From Exile)
9. I Can’t Stop Drinking (From Exile)
10. Strawberry Mansion (From Exile) 
11. London Drugs (From Exile) 
12. Farewell Youth (From Exile)

The Menzingers in Newcastle during their UK tour for Hello Exile. Pic: Gary Welford.

Since forming as teenagers in 2006, The Menzingers have released six studio albums, with their heart-on-the-sleeve blue collar punk storytelling connecting with fans around the world.

Hello Exile (reviewed here) saw The Menzingers take their lyrical narrative to a whole new level and share their reflections on topicvs including high-school hellraising, troubled relationships, aging and alcohol and political ennui.

The Menzingers are singers/guitarists Greg Barnett and Tom May, bassist Eric Keen, and drummer Joe Godino. Fans can pre-order the vinyl now via the band’s webstore here.

Gary Welford owner