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Watch Proper Nouns’ new “Post-Everything” video via BTRtoday; debut LP out on 4/23

Feel Free is due 4/23 via Phone Booth Records
pre-order the LP here

WATCH: “Post-Everything” – 
BTRtoday / YouTube / SoundCloud

Today Proper Nouns are sharing their new single/video “Post-Everything” via BTRtoday. Check out the premiere here. (link) Proper Nouns’ debut, Feel Free, is due next Friday, April 23rd via Phone Booth Records.

Spencer Compton gave some words on the song’s meaning:

“‘Post-Everything’ is about obsessions with authenticity, uniqueness, originality and icon worship. We frame these with genres, periods, categories, styles, each with their own protagonists and success stories, but there’s so often a commodified tinge to it all. Today declaring yourself in one way or another is so important, although what does it mean for emancipation to be turned into just another commodity with inflated exchange value?”

As a teenager, Proper Nouns singer/guitarist Spencer Compton was diagnosed with an unusual brain lesion – and briefly became a medical curiosity. Unsure how to treat the novel (but benign) condition, his doctors did what seemed obvious to them: they hustled him into unnecessary surgery. Its vaguely preventative goal failed; afterwards, he was left with epilepsy, memory loss and a second surgery. But, for Compton, it’s the situation’s odd inevitability that continues to haunt. “It was a weird kind of malpractice,” he says. “Like an ideological malpractice through medical health washing – surgeons saying, between the lines, ‘Sure, there’s no symptom to treat, but this is what we do.’ An institutional scam.”

That frustration with groupthink forms the backbone of Proper Nouns’ debut LP, Feel Free (Phone Booth Records). Engineered and mixed by J. Robbins (Against Me!, Two-Inch Astronaut) and mastered by Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Snail Mail), the album finds the Baltimore-based Compton exploring not just his medical disaster, but the kinds of ideological “common sense” that allowed such blasé violence and disconnect to prevail. On tracks like first single “Known Unknowns,” “Redeeming Qualities,” “Emma,” and “Situation Undone,” he takes neoliberal tendencies to task, noting a leftist tendency towards soft-power blind spots; elsewhere, he mourns the limits of freedom in late capitalism (“Post-Everything,” “Feel Free”). Coming on like Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside on a frenetic Minutemen kick – or, perhaps, Glenn Tilbrook after a long night of Deleuze and Guattari – Compton runs each song like a sharp, witty poli sci salon, coating complex ideas in punk energy and power pop candy-floss. On Feel Free, he aims his heady songs at the gut, letting the personal and the political swing in unison.

Still, at its heart, Feel Free is the sound of Compton in mid-appraisal, attempting to make sense of a world where ideological “isms” aren’t just lazy shorthand – they can be weaponized. Many tracks dig into his invisible disabilities, pondering both symptoms (“Nowhereland,” “Y2K”) and social fallout (“Fear to Care,” “Isms”). But, for Compton, the point is that these private matters exist in the same world as his other concerns; the macro affects the micro, and vice-versa. He points to the double entendre of the album’s title: “It’s ‘feel free’ as in don’t let the world eat you alive, but also as in the cynical neoliberal mantra. In other words, nice freedom if you can get it.”

Proper Nouns
Feel Free
(Phone Booth Records)
Street Date: April 23, 2021

Track List:

1. Known Unknowns
2. Feel Free
3. Situation Undone
4. Emma
5. Borrowing from the Future
6. Twenty Teen
7. Terror by the Book
8. Redeeming Qualities
9. Nowhereland
10. Y2K
11. Fear to Care
12. Post-Everything
13. West of the Hills
14. Isms