- 24pt Reverse Board Jackets
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Sometime around 2002, Jordan Chmielowski picked up his first guitar with only one goal: to learn songs by blink-182. After stealing a friend’s first-edition copy of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket at nine years old, the Connecticut native followed in his hero Tom DeLonge’s Macbeth footsteps.
Posture & the Grizzly would evolve in Hartford, first as a scrappy solo project retooling songs from teenage Jordan, then as a full-band studio project for the 2014 debut album Busch Hymns. “It was fast, fun and all about not giving a shit,” he explains. “We were in and out of the studio in three days and I thought we killed it.” The songs show off this loose mock-seriousness, a collection of stringy pop-punk tracks littered with cigarette butts and bloodshot eyes. Shortly after its release, a move out of an area punk house and a relationship’s drastic end would inspire a darker second act, one which was written and largely recorded with acoustic guitars. (It’s important to note that the version of TOYPAJ Jordan studied was the “Pants” version, featuring two bonus acoustic songs performed solely by DeLonge.)
I Am Satan—receiving a five-year anniversary reissue!—began with Christians and Freemasons Will Kill Me, a three-track EP uploaded online months after Busch Hymns. It’s a return to Posture’s solo DNA and a convergence of its main influences: bleeding-heart statements, full-strength chords, and a vocal tone that sharpens and rises as syllables stretch to their limits. The 2016 revamp of those bedroom demos were written in collaboration with Brian McFarland (For Everest) and Josh Cyr (TWIABP). The added personnel didn’t slow Posture’s knack for jittery efficiency. After live demoing the full album in two days, it was recorded by Chris Teti in five.
Years of personal agony later, I Am Satan was uploaded online in May 2016 with no fanfare, no TRL premiere. It didn’t really need the red-carpet rollout: the record was soon appreciated for its loving links to DeLongian songwriting, but also its venomous self-loathing and crises of conscience. These tracks are directly ripped from experiences Jordan wrestled with at twenty years old, and they bruise with the same glaring intensity nearly a decade later. “I Am Satan was very drug- and alcohol-induced. I was doing a lot of molly and chasing whiskey with water daily. It cost me some friendships, almost my job and landed me in a mental hospital for two weeks. It really was a journey of finding myself and dealing with a lot of hidden trauma that I hope transcribed in the songs.” This delirium state is crystallized on “Mandy,” locked in the LP’s hit spot for a reason. It’s relentlessly catchy, but it doesn’t shy away from continuing threads of intense self-medication and codependence.
There are a lot of moments like this here, where pop-punk firestarters share their mangled insides. “Raspberry Heart” is a buzzing shout-along drenched in body dysmorphia and the insecurities that rattle with it. “Kill Me,” returning from Freemasons, bolts past a galloping acoustic introduction into an anxious, then expansively cathartic, meditation on a steady diet of pills. But for every reminder of summery tones, Posture & the Grizzly shovels in more hard lessons. “The Undertow” might only last for a minute, but its singular verse looks up from rock bottom. “Delete Me” implies at least one death at the end of a life’s chapter, and the album’s “Real Doctor” bookends plead for trust and connection when the wires between two people have exploded and frayed. Summer fun time album this is not, but you’ll be humming it anyway.
I Am Satan was followed by 2017’s There’s Something About Kairi, 2020’s “Fixing What Past” single, and will be answered by a third full-length later in 2021.
200 Bubblegum Marble
300 Green/Pink/Yellow Tri-Color
100 Japanese Obi Strips
20 Test Presses w/ Screen Printed Jackets