#AlternativeFacts Podcast: The Movielife Plots the Perfect Punk Band Reunion

The Movielife, 2017
Shervin Lainez

The Movielife

Also, what makes a band reunion cathartic or embarrassing? And what other band might be getting back together?

About 10 years ago, it seemed almost all of the great punk and hardcore bands from the '90s and early aughts had broken up. Now, it’s almost expected every last one outside of Fugazi will reunite. Jawbreaker even just played some shows! Nostalgia’s a powerful force and there’s not much like it when the legends make it count, but an awkward, uninspired, cash-grab reunion can be uniquely grotesque. Fortunately, the Movielife know what they’re getting into. 

“Not many [bands] do pull it off, which is why it can be a grave conversation to have,” guitarist Brandon Reilly says, speaking on the Movielife’s new album, Cities In Search of a Heart (out Friday), their first since splitting in 2003. “I can put the record on and actually enjoy listening to it. I bet you there’s a lot of bands that can’t say that; they’re just tied to this thing they’re doing.”

Lead single “Mercy Is Asleep at the Wheel” is a jarring, three-minute melodic punk double-take; have they actually gotten… better? The guitar punch/counter-punch is mighty and concise and Vinnie Caruana’s voice has dropped much of its nasal sneer for energetic grit. He’s hitting notes and setting the tone across the comeback LP, the main topic of discussion on this week’s #AlternativeFacts podcast. Hanging out in Billboard’s New York office, his excitement was subtle, but palpable: “I feel like people are just gonna… get into it.” 

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The episode kicks off with a conversation with Stereogum managing editor Michael Nelson, who recounts memories of being a part of the Long Island punk and hardcore scene during the Movielife’s first run. We’ve got takes on what makes a band reunion cathartic or embarrassing, a first-hand report of which side Jawbreaker’s fell on and insight on which of the famously never-reuniting punk bands might actually get it together soon. Feel free to disagree with us, but just keep in mind how you felt about the prospect of new Jawbreaker shows five years ago.

Listen to the podcast above, which also features a plea from the Movielife to some old Long Island friends/bandmates who just released a No. 1 album: “I think it’s a terrible idea for Brand New to break up.," Caruana says. "They have the dream -- a band that plays by their own rules.” 

#AlternativeFacts is a weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.