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Answerman unleash garage rock from hell with ‘Black Heart’
The Boston band makes a bold reintroduction with new single out March 10
Debut album ‘Black Light Poster’ set for April 21 streaming release
Photo Credit: Pat Piasecki
BOSTON, Mass. [March 10, 2023] -- Not every band can unleash garage rock from hell. Because after all, it takes a certain type of pain and anguish to end up down there in the first place. But Answerman are crawling back from the depths, and the Boston psychedelic garage rock band are throwing down the rock and roll gauntlet with fiery new single “Black Heart,” which hits the streams on Friday, March 10.
The spiky “Black Heart” is the first single from Answerman’s forthcoming debut album, Black Light Poster, set for release on Friday, April 21, with the record release party going down the next night, April 22, at Faces Brewing Co. in Malden with special guests The Love Shamans and The Grubs. The new single marks a bold and brash comeback story for the quartet, which resurfaces after a few years on hiatus and off the stage. If the world we find ourselves living in often mirrors our own idea of hell, then Answerman have returned at just the right time. And “Black Heart” acts not only as a portal of what’s to come, but a reflection on how we’re all feeling right here and right now.
“‘Black Heart’ is about living with depression and anxiety,” says vocalist and guitarist Sam Pitino. “It's about the thoughts that keep repeating in our heads while we're in that hopeless state. It's a feeling that we can all relate to – you just retreat inside your head and get on this treadmill of negative existential thoughts. It's not a good place at all. You feel trapped, alone, isolated and like there's no way out.”
But “Black Heart,” with its sonic DNA that spans a spirited spectrum of garage rock, psych, post-punk and surf-pop, is all about trying to break free from that depressive state of mind. Because let’s face it, while it’s warm and sunny in hell, nobody actually wants to be there.
Pitino was feeling that way – and looking for a way out – over the past several years, especially after Answerman took a break from the scene back in 2016. But some challenging life situations kept drawing him back to music, and he turned once again to songwriting to cope and help guide him through it. Two distinct songs came from those stressed-out writing sprees, and one was “Black Heart.” Pitino re-engaged with his Answerman bandmates, guitarist Tommy Murphy and bassist Walt Enright, and soon a path emerged for the band to start once again making a noisy racket. In 2019, Chris Orcutt rounded out the group on drums, and Answerman was reborn – new songs, a rekindled focus, and a reignited drive to take the songs they’ve been jamming out in their practice space and craft a long-awaited debut album.
“We're finally embracing who we are as a band and how all our influences can come together to make something we all love,” Pitino admits. “I'm a big metal guy – I previously was in a Black Sabbath tribute band. Tommy is more of a proto-punk historian. Walt's the indie rock lover and Chris comes from the ‘90s punk and surf scene in New York. And you can hear that in all the songs. Previously, we let all those influences go into different song directions and I don't think we were terribly successful at presenting a united front with the music. With this track and album, we wanted to pull all those things together into one cohesive sound.”
Adds Enright: “Answerman is a reflection of our combined love for the rock n’ roll form. It is our unique take inspired by past heroes and our current vibe. I like to think our songs are delivered with energy and passion and are meant to move the butt and soul.”
And “Black Heart” is exactly that. It’s not only the opening track to Black Light Poster, but also its musical table-setter, welcoming the listener back into their refined orbit. Answerman released three EPs between 2012 and 2016, showing those off around the greater Boston area with nearly 60 live performances during that time, becoming familiar faces at known venues like The Middle East, T.T. The Bear’s Place, O’Brien’s Pub, and a bunch of places no longer with us. But Black Light Poster finds the veteran band back in the game, a light glowing from unlikely places, and with a more ambitious plan and cohesive message than before.
“This is our first full length album,” Pitino notes. “We've written a lot of songs over the years, but we've only produced a couple four- or five-song EPs, historically. So this is a lot more focused – there was a real effort to make something that sounded like one unified album… like if you removed one song, the whole thing falls apart.”
The inaugural pillar is “Black Heart,” an urgent tune that races across its four frantic minutes, Pitino detailing the darker side of his songwriting like a man with a lot to say and not a lot of time to say it, and the band cranking along a propulsive path of rock and roll fury that’s upbeat and determined.
“We wanted it to sound big – it deals with heavy stuff,” Pitino says. “Mental illness is no bullshit. So we wanted it to reflect that head-on approach of someone screaming into the existential void. Sonically, we wanted to turn up the psychedelic feel, so you could turn it up loud and just let it all wash over you. ‘Black Heart’ is sort of the entry point into all this heavy stuff. I see the album as a sort of tapestry of challenges that life springs onto you when you're most vulnerable. Depression, death of a relationship, workplace anxiety, politics – but also the importance of holding onto friendships through it all.”
Sometimes you just gotta write what you know. And sometimes returning from hell never sounded so good.
‘Black Heart’ single artwork:
Design Credit: Manuel Cetina / @el_sititch
Sam Pitino: Guitar and vocals
Tom Murphy: Guitar
Walt Enright: Bass
Chris Orcutt: Drums
‘Black Heart’ production credits:
Written by Answerman
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Will Holland of Chillhouse Studios in Charlestown, MA
Answerman secondary press photo:
Photo Credit: Pat Piasecki
Answerman short bio:
Answerman are a Boston-based garage rock band from hell. Led by Sam Pitino, the quartet’s gritty band of psych-dosed rock and roll has returned after a brief hiatus, reclaiming a place in the New England music scene with blistering debut album Black Light Poster. Set for April 2023 release, the LP is led by singles “Black Heart” and “No Complaints.” The record release party goes down at Faces Brewing Co. in Malden on April 22.
Media praise for Answerman:
“Rockin” _Bishop & Rook
“[T]hey sounded like a bunch of guys just hammering it out in a garage somewhere – and that's not a knock. It was loose garage punk that had the love of rock and roll in it.” _Boston Groupie News
“A band named Answerman should have a proper retort to every question posed. On the Boston rock quartet’s latest EP, SWYM, the answer depends on the question. …The songs weave together elements of punk, dream-pop, bits of Americana, and some good old-fashioned Feelies-inspired rock and roll mixed in here and there.” _Vanyaland