“Faye is more punk than you think,” says lead vocalist of Atlanta punk outfit Upchuck, Kaila Turner (AKA KT), speaking of Atlanta singer/songwriter and phriend of PHILTHY Faye Webster, best known for blending alt country and R&B into an indie pop amalgam more likely to inspire bursts of emotional introspection than any sort of moshing or crowd surfing. However, the two artists played a show together in Athens, GA this June, and they’re about to embark on a month-long, sold-out run of mega-venues – which kicks off October 17th at 9:30 Club in DC and includes an October 21st stop at Franklin Music Hall – where Upchuck will be supporting Webster. “We met each other and we love each other,” says KT, while Upchuck guitarist Mikey adds, “We played a show with Faye and we saw the reaction of everyone release, before they cried [laughs].”
The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection last saw Upchuck – who were born out of Atlanta’s skate scene in 2018 and seamlessly combine hardcore, metal, hip-hop, and the heaviest sounds of the earliest years of Lollapalooza — last May, when they were supporting Amyl and the Sniffers at Underground Arts on a run of dates that had them playing notably bigger spaces than the kinds of DIY spots and dives where punk normally finds itself, which seems to have warmed the band up to playing huge rooms. “I mean, I obviously love playing rooms that are like 300, but big rooms are fun, too. We got to do a bit of that with Amyl and the Sniffers,” says Mikey of the experience.
This Friday Upchuck will be releasing their sophomore LP, Bite the Hand That Feeds, the follow-up to 2022 debut full-length Sense Yourself. Both albums have come courtesy of Famous Class Records, which KT and Mikey can’t say enough good things about. “It’s beautiful. [Label founder and director] Cyrus Lubin has done nothing but put us on and show us love,” says KT, before Mikey adds, “He works so hard, and does everything himself.”
The album has already dropped three singles, most recently last month’s “Crashing.” And while the first two singles – “Freaky” and “Freedom” – offer ultra-aggressive, classic punk, “Crashing,” (whose amazingly brilliant music video features a blend of stop motion and live action to tell a tale reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste) boasts a loud-quiet-loud aesthetic reminiscent of late ‘80s/early ‘90s alt rock. (I wasn’t much surprised when I asked the band about their own personal favorite sophomore LPs and Mikey mentioned Pixies’ Doolittle as a definite favorite.)
Bite the Hand That Feeds was produced by contemporary garage rock legend and producer extraordinaire Ty Segall, which Mikey and KT tell me they think enabled them to take their sound to a new level. “Being able to work with Ty, the sound is a lot more professional,” says Mikey of the sophomore LP, while KT adds, “The release gets grander.” Before the run of dates supporting Faye Webster, Upchuck will be playing a Record Release Show this Friday, October 13th, at Aisle 5 in Atlanta, and after that they’re just hoping and preparing to continue touring the new songs. When I ask what the future holds for Upchuck, Mikey tells me, “Do the Faye tour, then get everything ready for next year… Play more shows, go to Europe…”