The Front Bottoms, 'Laugh Till I Cry'
"Ladies and gentlemen.
Just threw up.
On the dance floor.
Party is over.
It's time to go!"
The Front Bottoms strike my funny bone, my pleasure center and my heart all at once. The New Jersey band has been shouting anthems and fueling fans as a duo, a trio and now more often a quartet, making music to celebrate life and purge angst for the past eight years.
Now we have a fuller sound to flesh out the scream-along songs on a new album called Back on Top and today we're premiering a song from that album called "Laugh Till I Cry." It contains those lines above about the DJ and other, more insightful lyrics, such as, "It's like the blind leading the blind / I'll hold your hand if you'll hold mine / sometimes you gotta to close your eyes if you wanna see the light."
Those words are by one of my very favorite performers, Brian Sella. His songs tell stories that are caring and questioning and they're contagious. Have a look at this low-key fun-house video for "Laugh Till I Cry," shot by friend Mark Jaworski. You'll see seven screens, all with different images, in a space that looks like Pee-Wee's scary living room.
Drummer Mat Uychich helped me decipher the mystery of the screens in an email:
"The largest screen is showing a music video shot specifically for the song. We had more in mind, but we were in Maine having too much fun. The next largest screen is a Native American dancer in Alaska. That man was our 'tour guide.' He picked us up and drove us three hours to his house way out nowhere, let us roam about his yard and danced for us until 4:00 am, then he took us back. The one on the bottom right is Brian riding his motorcycle around the neighborhood in Jersey City. The last screen is the camera following a bird around New York City until it finally flies away."
Singer, guitarist and songwriter Brian Sella told me via email:
"We all got to our friend Dancing Tony's house, set everything up and then we waited six hours until Mark felt the right vibe. Once he had it we shot two takes which took roughly eight minutes. Then it was all over. It's our favorite video that we have done. Fun, easy, lite."
Back on Top comes out on The Front Bottoms' new label, Fueled by Ramen, on Sept. 18, which happily means the band — one that's not to be missed in concert — will be back on tour.