What is Dead Nostalgia?

Photo by Laura Meek

Have you ever had that moment where you wonder what you’re doing with your life? It could be when you wake up and it dawns on you that you’re going into the same job you’ve been going to for five years straight. It could be when you’ve had one too many drinks and you’re sitting outside a bar at 2 AM on a Tuesday night wondering what exactly you’ve done with your life. This is your life. Are you going to spend it wasting away having meaningless conversations at bars? Are you going to spend it working to live? Some people can only live in the past, and talk about their glory days. Others live with the constant hope that the best is yet to come. Is your nostalgia dead?

Dead nostalgia surrounds Junior Astronomers vocalist Terrence Richard.

“You get to a point where you don’t even know why you’re doing any of this stuff. You don’t remember why you’re going to these spots. You don’t know why you’re talking to these people. You don’t know why you really give a fuck about that.”

After releasing their first EP in 2009 Junior Astronomers went through the motions. They settled into a routine of playing shows, partying, and living life as a young 20 somethings in a popular local band.

“That’s what dead nostalgia is about. It’s about my two and half or two-year period where I didn’t do shit. I didn’t do shit, but drink and think I did something with those EPs and go on tour. I didn’t do shit. I haven’t done anything.”

This is where we Richard and I start to disagree. It took these two years of so-called dead nostalgia to become who he is today, and to form what Junior Astronomers has become. Those two years of shooting the shit at bars, are the same ones that built relationships. The tours, the sex, the booze, the fights, are all what made the new record. It makes you wonder what they could have become had they somehow been working hard for the last two years. Whatever that could have been is surely worth less than the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Junior Astronomers trip to SXSW earlier this year turned out to have some defining moments for them as a band, just not the kind that you might think. They weren’t on any official showcases in Austin, which makes playing shows there difficult. They used this time not only to hop on as many unofficial showcases as they could, but to connect and show support for fellow bands. It was at a showcase for The Weeks as they played for Serpents and Snakes Records that Richard realized he was more than in a band.

“I was crowd surfing during The Weeks set, so the bouncer pulled me down by my neck and choked me, so Eli comes up and sticks the dude in the face. That’s when I felt like, we’re actually a band. As ridiculous as that sounds it felt like we were family.”

As a band on the rise, the shows are going to gradually get bigger. After O’Brother helped reel them into the Favorite Gentlemen Recordings family, those connections alone have pushed them to another level. Short runs with O’Brother, who have risen to national prominence over the last year have helped, but so has playing The Stuffing, an event hosted by Manchester Orchestra the night before Thanksgiving that has sold out two years running. Now they look ahead to opening the Favorite Gentlemen tour, surrounded by fellow community bands Harrison Hudson, All Get Out, and Death on Two Wheels. No matter how large the show, there will be no more defining moment than realizing that your band is also your family. With this realization they’ll have to be unlike the Gallagher brothers, who are not only family, but are fans of punching each other in the face.

The recording of Dead Nostalgia is close to complete, and compared to their past two releases it’s not as big of a jump as they thought it was going to be. Richard describes the album as “catchy” all in the same breath as describing it as tougher than he had imagined it would turn out. While it might sound as tough as recordings that come out of Lgt Biz sound, it’s also as emotionally raw lyrically as anything he has ever written.

“The dirty parts are what really matter. I talk about cumming, I talk about this virgin girl that it didn’t work out, because I didn’t know that I could deal with not being able to be physical.”

It’s these very real situations that he confronts constantly on the record. The failed relationships and booze fueled nights of the dead nostalgia period of his life, that he unloaded on paper, and then into the microphone during the recording of the new album. Spinning each phrase to target the way society is today, where people are afraid to be real. Too scared to be daring. Richard throws caution to the wind and writes what he writes, and it shows his guts. His guard is down, and that’s why we can tell who he is and trust in the music completely.

From the first time Junior Astronomers got together as a band it was about more than the music.

“The first time we got together as a band we got drunk and talked about what we wanted to do. What we wanted our lives to be, and what we wanted out of life.”

And that’s what their music is about. A bursting sort of unpredictable energy. A kinetic sound that’s impossible to pin down, but tears at the seems with the emotions of life.

Dead Sessions is a series of videos, photos, and merch that follow Junior Astronomers through the journey of recording their first full length album titled Dead Nostalgia.

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