For years, people have been saying that “the album is dead.” It’s a dialogue that’s pervaded the music industry in the wake of digital downloading and streaming services, as the focus shifts to the single and not extended works. By that logic, the double album has been dead even longer, but none of these conversations make a difference to Appleton, Wisconsin’s Tenement. After partnering up with Don Giovanni Records, label owner Joseph Steinhardt suggested the trio try a double album. Now, three years after starting work on it in 2012, the band is ready to unleash its 25-track, 80-minute double record, Predatory Headlights, on June 2.
Tenement has been a favorite in the D.I.Y. community for years, but Predatory Headlights is sure to extend the band’s reach. Following in the footsteps of such classic, sprawling works as Zen Arcade and Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, Tenement shows each side of itself on a double record that’s as dense as it is catchy. Whether it’s a 10-minute jazz track that guitarist-vocalist Amos Pitsch says was inspired by Duke Ellington or the power-pop jangle found on the band’s recent 7-inches, Predatory Headlights proves that the album, when in the right hands, is as vital as ever.
It’s a feat that Pitsch approached with trepidation. “I felt kind of afraid to do a double LP rock record because it’s kind of hard to pull off…but we eventually just decided to give it a try,” he says. This attempt is what put four years between Tenement full-lengths, and in that time the band’s shifted away from its noisy take on pop-punk to something far more grandiose. “We started writing Predatory Headlights in 2012, and that’s already three years ago. Naturally, the music’s going to be a lot different,” said Pitsch.
Along with announcing Predatory Headlights, which is available for pre-order through Don Giovanni Records and iTunes, The A.V. Club is proud to premiere the album’s first track, “Dull Joy,” ahead of the album’s release. It’s a track that shows Tenement’s scope, as the band distills ’60s pop, jazz, and weirdo hardcore influences into something wholly its own. Though it doesn’t speak to the album’s full breadth, “Dull Joy” gives old Tenement fans a glimpse of the future and newcomers a reason to start scrolling through its Bandcamp and playing catch up.