Doubting Thomas Cruise Control Don't Know the Sex Pistols but Love John Lydon Anyway

Doubting Thomas Cruise Control
Doubting Thomas Cruise Control
Photo by Alycia Kravitz

Record release parties once came with the innate surprise of experiencing new music. You didn’t go simply to see your favorite band; you went to hear your favorite band play new material for the first time, or to be among the first to get your hands on a new record.

But in 2015 internet is king, a fact that makes it hard to keep new music under wraps long enough for release shows to serve as the big reveal they once were. The internet’s insistence on beating distributors to the punch rarely allows for it, something that Bobby Cardos can attest to. Cardos and his bandmates in Doubting Thomas Cruise Control are set to commemorate the release of Remember Me John Lydon Forever, their latest collection of literate, bombastic, Nineties-inspired guitar rock for Fleeting Youth Records, at Shea Stadium on August 13, even though Spotify got its hands on it almost two weeks ago.

“The digital distributor screwed up and released it early or whatever,” Cardos said with a laugh. “It's not a big deal, though. The record is nine songs; a third of it was already out anyway.”

Talking over the phone, the buzz of city conversation not far behind him, Cardos shrugs off the faux pas with likable ease, preferring instead to talk about his band's new slate of tunes. The new record sticks closely to DTCC’s well-honed stock in trade, from the band’s delicate use of ambiance and sonic space to the big guitar sounds, Pavement-like slacker-laureate musings, and curious pop-culture references the group favors. The title is an in-joke, a reference to a friend of the band named John Lydon who has nothing to do with the former Johnny Rotten (“I'm actually embarrassingly unfamiliar with the music of the Sex Pistols, even though I do like some of Public Image Limited,” Cardos admitted).

Still, there’s some noticeable growth at work on Remember Me John Lydon Forever. Recorded over three days with an engineer in tow, the band gave its songs the proper studio treatment this time out, a change of pace from past efforts recorded over time in their rehearsal space. The finessed production paints the DTCC's classicist indie sound in bolder colors, capitalizing more fully on a bigger sound that was only hinted at on their last full-length, 2011’s Build.

“It came together really well,” Cardos said. “It was the record we were ready to make. I kind of think that's all a record ever is: It's a photograph in motion, and we're happy with the photograph we got." 

Lyrically, Cardos curbed the political slant that defined previous efforts like the Appleton and Moonchild/Jailface EPs. The subject matter on John Lydon leapfrogs from the 1994 Winter Olympics (“Lillehammer”) to trailblazing comedians (“Lenny Bruce”), but the stream-of-consciousness approach made for some of the singer’s most personal lyrics yet.

“I like some songs that are lyrically well written, but at the same time, I think I'm more likely to get something that works if I just let things happen,” he said. “At practices or shows or whatever, sometimes I'll just ad lib a verse. But the song still feels the same. That, to me, is the most important thing.”

Spotify leak be damned, DTCC will take the Shea stage alongside their fellow New York noisemakers in Washer, Left + Right, and Bueno, who also will be releasing a tape of new songs at the show. The performance will mark the start of a sixteen-date trek through the States that will take the band through the remainder of August.

“I do all the logistic stuff, so I'm still freaking out about the tour that comes after," Cardos said of Thursday's show. "I think I'll start having a good time at the release show. It's going to be a lot of fun. We haven't done a show in like a month, so I'm excited to do it. That's the point, anyway."

Doubting Thomas Cruise Control will celebrate the release of Remember Me John Lydon Forever at Shea Stadium on August 13. For ticket information, click here.

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