Last month Los Angeles-based punky indie rockers Worriers — the project of songwriter Lauren Denitzio, who is currently joined by band members Atom Willard (Against Me!, Social Distortion), Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady), Frank Piegaro, and Cayetana’s Allegra Anka — released Trust Your Gut, their second full-length of the year, following up April’s Warm Blanket, both courtesy of Ernest Jenning Record Co. However, during a recent phone chat with Denitzio, from the back of the tour van, I ask if the albums serve as companion pieces, and they definitively tell me, “No! I think that Warm Blanket was almost a side project… Trust Your Gut is the next true to form return of the band, an evolution in our sound.”
Coinciding with the album release, Worriers dropped an official performance video of opening track “Hold My Breath,” which Denitzio describes as having a “darker power pop” vibe, which builds on the brand of indie rock that they’ve been churning out since 2011 EP Past Lives, and sets the tone for the LP. In addition to representing an evolution of the band’s sound, Trust Your Gut also has Denitzio approaching writing in a new way, telling me, “It had me writing music that’s not fully dependent on three other people onstage… and we’d just figure out how to play it live later.” They also tell me that the songs — which revolve around longstanding themes of the band, like gender identity and heartbreak — seem to have taken on a slightly different tone from previous releases: “I wanted to write a record that could be fun, while also talking about things that are important to me.”
Worriers have played countless shows in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection over the years (and Denitzio even lived here for a couple of years, before moving to LA in 2019), including dates [upstairs] at Kung Fu Necktie (where I first met Lauren in 2014), Boot & Saddle, Long In The Tooth, PhilaMOCA, and, most recently, a stop at Johnny Brenda’s this April, on the eve of the release of Warm Blanket. They’ve also found themselves opening many of our mega-venues for the likes of The Wonder Years, The Hold Steady, The Menzingers, Brian Fallon, and Jawbreaker, which Denitzio cites as likely the reason that Worriers’ audiences have become so eclectic: “So many different demographics come to our shows, so many different scenes… It’s a space that is safe for everyone. We’ve toured with a bunch of different types of bands, and we’ve gotten fans from all of those scenes.”
Late last month Worriers kicked off the Trust Your Gut U.S. Tour. I’m speaking to Denitzio after the first two dates, which they tell me were quite different shows, but equally inspiring experiences: “For the first show, we played a lot of alternate versions of songs, acoustic things, and then the second show was a full-band show… We’ve played a lot of songs in the past two nights that we’ve never played live before.” Although opening night was the only date that would have Denitzio performing this stripped down/acoustic set, next Friday Worriers will be returning to Kung Fu Necktie for a show that’s certainly sure to be special in its own way: “It’s Friday the 13th, but it’s Friday the 13th and it’s in October! So, it’s extra spooky.” They tell me that they’re actually hoping to get a Friday the 13th tattoo in or around town prior to the gig, but that they’re also currently figuring out how they can make the show special for the holiday: “We’ll find a way to make it a spooky show!”
“We’re just excited to finally have new music out and be able to tour as much as possible,” says Denitzio. And while Worriers, on their current and upcoming jaunts (They’ll spend a decent chunk of November in the UK, playing a number of places with which they’re not super familiar: “We’ve played in the UK a lot before, but it was always bigger, more obvious cities.”), will be playing much of Trust Your Gut, they assure me that they’ll be playing songs from all the records. And they tell me that their most recent music has also likely inspired an evolution in their live sound: “We’re doing a lot of fun stuff… The new songs sound just as big as you’d think they would. I think we sound bigger than maybe we’ve sounded before in Philly.”
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