To say the boys of Criminal Hygiene have had a very busy year would be quite the understatement.
Run It Again, the band’s impressive Dangerbird Records debut which was released on Friday, March 1, 2019 went on to receive nods from the likes NPR Music, FLOOD, Kerrang!, and Under The Radar Magazine who deemed the album “a classic-indie-rock referencing bar-room beauty” due to its fresh perspective on a raw style of garage rock, chock full of melody, smart lyrics and hooks for days. Recorded at Future Shock with Alex Newport (Death Cab For Cutie, Frank Turner, Bloc Party), the album is a punchy and at times introspective showcase referencing hollow relationships, drunk friends, R.E.M., and East LA’s Purgatory Pizza, the location of the band’s inception. The release of the album would lead to an appearance at this year’s SXSW Music and Arts Festival in Austin, TX and a full North American tour supporting Failure as well as English shoegazers and Dangerbird labelmates Swervedriver.
Rebounding off the band’s successful year on the road, Criminal Hygiene will release a companion piece to Run It Again titled the Again EP on Friday, October 4, 2019, a small collection of songs that were left off of the original album as well as a reworking of two tracks. When narrowing down the tracks that would comprise Run It Again, the band collectively agreed on 10 out of the 16-20 songs they had written for the full-length, setting aside the rest that didn’t quite flow within the sequence as well but would certainly see the light of day eventually in some capacity.
“I think these songs on the EP really show the depth and range of the band,” frontman Michael Fiore said. “Especially the quieter stuff like ‘Mississippi Belle’, which was definitely influenced by Big Star and generally the early ‘70s ballads like early Faces and the like.” Elsewhere, the acoustic version of “Rearrange Me” [“Rearrange Me (Rearranged)”] – a song the band has reimagined a few times over its career and which has taken its rightful place as the band’s ‘signature song’ of sorts due to this fact – came about when Fiore played it at one of his best friend’s weddings last September.
“I was in the hotel room after the reception playing it for them,” he recalls. “And after the first time through, they asked me to run it again. Right before that, though, my friend Sosie walked in the room, sat down and started singing harmonies. It was such a spontaneous moment, but the way it sounded was perfect and we knew we should record a version like that. It was kind of like ‘A Star Is Born’ except I was drunker and way less handsome than Bradley Cooper and I’m still very broke. One day I’ll piss myself at the Grammys, I just know it.” From these additional experiences and having a clear idea for a more concise package to showcase these songs, the Again EP bridges new ideas with the old and is a bright snapshot of where the band currently is, creatively.
Formed in 2011, Criminal Hygiene are a band comprised of founding member Michael Fiore (vocals, guitars, keys), Michael Hiller (vocals, bass, guitars) and Sean “Birdman” Erickson (drums, percussion). Over the period of a couple years, they wrote-recorded-practiced and performed themselves into the ground, releasing 5.5 singles, an EP and two albums. They’ve played literally hundreds of local shows as well as national dates with the likes of Twin Peaks, Bleached, Together PANGEA and The Whigs, among others.
Criminal Hygiene’s recorded output officially began in November and December of 2012 with the release of back-to-back singles “Blak Water” and “Rearrange Me.” The first album followed in January which led Consequence of Sound to rave, “All that academic negligence paid off … an LP that’s as reckless and carefree as it is determined and lethally efficient … balancing the evocative with the asinine … crafting a rocking LP that pays homage while blazing its own trail upward and onward.”
The continued quality of Criminal Hygiene’s writing and performances are sure to be recognized by the portion of the global music community who listen carefully, however large or small that may be. After all, it’s an empirical fact that the cream always rises to the top, isn’t it? With the band releasing Run It Again and its forthcoming companion EP, that is certainly an adage we can all believe in and be mighty thankful for.
- Greetings From A Postcard
- Feel Alone
- Mississippi Belle
- Rearrange Me (Rearranged)