The Mystery of Brand New's Missing Lyric Booklets
Pages from the long-lost lyric booklet for Brand New's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Photos courtesy of John Guzzardi
When Long Island quartet Brand New hit the scene in 2000, no one could have predicted the mystery that would someday surround them. Now, 15 years after their formation, fans and critics alike are beginning to unearth the meaning behind a string of easter eggs the band seems to have planted throughout their career.
To fully understand, though, you have to travel back to 2006, when demos to Brand New's would-be third album were leaked.
It was a pivotal moment for the group, which had established quite the name for themselves after their sophomore album, Deja Entendu. That album was a considerable step forward, stylistically speaking; 2001 debut Your Favorite Weapon skirted the lines between second-wave emo and melodic pop-punk so obviously it didn't quite have the same impact as its successor.
But to this day, Deja Entendu remains quite distinct when compared to albums that were released the same year (2003), especially in song structure and lyrical content. In essence, it was a statement that this material couldn't be cast aside as the same brand of angst-filled emo-punk that was flooding music rags that year.
But despite their upward movement, the band began to pull away from the media and other promotional tactics; their last known music video was released in 2003 for the single "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades," while the band began to frequently decline interview requests.
Perhaps that's why, in the early months of 2006, curious fans leaked the demos for Brand New's would-be third album, causing an understandably upset group to shelve the record entirely.
The album that was released in its place -- The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me -- is a highly personal collection of songs written during what is described to be one of the most challenging times for the band, both personally and professionally. It also seems to be the pinnacle for when Brand New began to shield themselves the most from the outside world.
Because of this, The Devil and God... seems to have a folklore surrounding it. Perhaps it always will.
Though most of this could be attributed to the fact that no one -- not even the band -- may ever know what would have come of that album had it come to fruition, it's important to mention that Brand New decided to forgo a lyric booklet. Instead, instructions were made in the album sleeve to "send a dollar to the address enclosed" if you wanted a copy of the lyrics. However, those booklets were never received, despite Brand New's fan base checking social media for information throughout the years.
Since then, the band has released their fourth studio album, 2009's Daisy, all the while making some strange changes to their Web site.
Most notably, in 2014, a placeholder was put up on the site with an announcement that the band was currently in the studio. In addition, the words "Procrastinate!", "PoGolith" and "Earth Sound Alliance" were present, along with a hidden link to the music video for "PPL MVR," a song performed by a trio of sasquatches that go by the name, "the one and only PPL MVR."
The hidden link was changed about a week later to say "NODE," which directed traffic to a specific page on a Web site titled Fusion Anomaly that talks about the effect of radio waves on humans. (The page, although no longer linked on Brand New's site, is still live at press time.)
The band has never given any information as to what any of the information meant, but many dedicated fans and critics have kept track, and the clues are beginning to accumulate into tangible information.
Story continues on the next page.
For instance, Procrastinate Music Traitors is a record label formed by the members of Brand New, which released Kevin Devine's Put Your Ghost To Rest in 2006. Additionally, a search of the words "Earth Sound Alliance" brings up information about the company, which is registered to Brand New's own Brian Lane. According to trademark documents, a trademark is in progress for a company called Earth Sound Research, which will produce "sound amplifiers, sound effect pedals, loud speakers, cabinets, audio cables" and clothing, "namely shirts, sweatshirts, and headwear."
But the biggest twist of all? Fans are beginning to receive those once-forgotten lyric booklets they paid for nearly a decade ago.
The title, "POGOLITH ISSUE #000," is stamped into a black, matte, cardstock cover for lyrics and illustrations clearly written amid grayscale renderings of the album's cover art. A dollar bill is also enclosed with the words "You will get it when it's finished," stamped on the face of the bill.
Inside the packet, a flyer boasts the numbers "218114414523" above the words, "RIP 2018." The numeric code spells Brand New, leading many to believe that the band is foreshadowing their own breakup. Another enclosed flyer claims that the leaked demos will finally be released on cassette tapes, and will have the capability of being shared "without the Internet;" at the bottom, instructions state that anyone who travels to the Wardenclyffe Tower (the radio tower built by Nikola Tesla on the north shore of Long Island) may receive a copy.
So far, no tapes have been reported, but this might explain that weird "NODE" link they had up for some time. No further information regarding PPL MVR has been unearthed.
For those interested, the band is currently selling a second printing of the Pogolith at their concerts as well as in their online merch store. You can also purchase their newly released single, "Mene," on iTunes.
Like what you read? Or are we missing something? We'd love for you to join our team.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.