Rustbelt Shares “Running Thru The Rave” Single + Visualizer via EARMILK Nov 01, 2023
Last month, Rustbelt (the solo project of artist John Chiaverina, formerly known as Juiceboxxx) returned with the announcement of a new EP, You Got Nowhere To Go But You’re Going There Tonight (out January 19, 2024 via Dangerbird Records).
Following the release of singles “Oh My God Here It Comes Now” (on which he documented both the absurdity of aiming for greatness as well as the beauty of trying anyway) and the record’s title track, Chiaverina now shares the EP’s newest single, “Running Thru The Rave,” alongside an accompanying visual. The track itself features Lily Konigsberg of Palberta on backing vocals.
As Chiaverina wrote concerning this new release:
“Running Thru The Rave” is about going on tour way back in the ‘blog house’ era. I traveled all around the world, playing shows for kids who wore American Apparel and white sunglasses. I was very young. The song is a portrait of kids living inside of a certain window of life, a window that is by its very nature fleeting; a window that, when it closes, opens up more questions than answers. But nothing matters when you are running through the rave, not yet on the other end of it, living in a moment whose reverberations might curse you forever.”
Stay tuned for the full-length EP You Got Nowhere To Go But You’re Going There Tonight, out next year via Dangerbird Records.
|Ambition exists at the edge of a hopeful cliff, acknowledging the possibility of failure without falling all the way into the abyss. Rustbelt’s John Chiaverina knows about this dance of endurance, and his new EP, You Got Nowhere To Go But You’re Going There Tonight, out January 19 from Dangerbird Records, encompasses the variety of perspectives he’s experienced along the way.|
“All your hopes and all your dreams / they never really die,” Chiaverina sings on the title track. He’s been working on the song for over 10 years, which means it’s been sitting on his hard drive as he continued to write and perform as Juiceboxxx, but this song kept pulling him back in somehow. “With Rustbelt, I’m trying to give myself room to move outside of my narrative a tiny bit,” he says. “These songs are like alternate timelines for myself.”
In some songs, he’s looking back at his life, and in others, like, “Oh My God Here It Comes Now,” he’s imagining a different version of it, one outside of the complexities of big city ambition. “I wanna live by the airport / I wanna watch the planes go by,” Chiaverina sings, and you can almost feel the weight of his desires falling off him. He continues, “It’s been a life caked in failure / I’ve seen enough dreams up and die.” Rustbelt documents both the absurdity of aiming for greatness as well as the beauty of trying anyway.
But even within this fantasy of giving up and living a “normal” life, Chiaverina knows he’s destined to strive, even when he’s not sure what he’s striving for. Chiaverina makes what he calls Underdog Pop: The music itself is singular and energetic, but there’s a tension between the lyrics and the music, which draws on Chiaverina’s love of the broader American pop continuum—everything from radio hits to scrappy DIY singles.
Chiaverina says listening to rap music while growing up in the Midwest introduced a theme of dissonance that’s played itself out in his music ever since—rap was about flaunting ambition, while the Midwest underground scene he came up in was skeptical of it. He says that his lyrical world in Juiceboxxx was more about creating an “amplified, funhouse mirror version” of his life, while Rustbelt lyrics make more room for narrative freedom.
Each Rustbelt song begins on Chiaverina’s computer before getting reverse engineered with a band, this time in Chicago. Willy Dintenfass, a collaborator of Chiaverina’s for over 20 years, plays bass and guitar. Dan Didier from The Promise Ring plays drums, Jeff Graupner from The Hecks contributes piano and synth. Lily Konigsberg of Palberta sings backup vocals on “Runnin’ Thru The Rave.”
On Rustbelt’s Instagram, you’ll see several photos of Chiaverina posing with custom Rustbelt disposable cups (he had 2,000 made; it was the minimum order). He explains that this kind of “truck stop design language” contains an element of vernacular Americana he’s influenced by. This likely has something to do with his history of touring on Greyhound buses, showing up at DIY venues to perform with only an iPod, and even, somehow, making his own energy drink. There is a sense of loneliness in these songs, a questioning: Why do I do these things to myself? But by the end of the EP, the listener understands the answer is simply: there is no other option.
You Got Nowhere… is quintessentially American music—we don’t know exactly where we’re going and we don’t even know what we’re hoping to find, but we move forth regardless.