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Let Me Know When You Give Up
Joey Cape Let Me Know When You Give Up Punk Rock Theory
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 11:47
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Fat Wreck Chords and singer-songwriter Joey Cape, frontman of the long-standing punk band Lagwagon, are pleased to announce his brand new solo album titled Let Me Know When You Give Up. Out on Friday, July 5, Let Me Know When You Give Up is, conceptually, about giving up a losing fight. Even more so, it's about quality of life and abstaining from the madness that encircles our daily lives.
Leading the collection is “I Know How To Run,” a song Cape wrote about the current social debate and its divisive nature. “People seem more concerned with argument than the outcome,” he says. “The unwinnable fight defines some but you don’t necessarily have to stay and fight. Leaving the conversation is a viable option. As a last resort, you can always run, figuratively or literally.
Joey Cape doesn’t want to call it an epiphany, but in recent years he’s come to a realization about life – specifically, the best way to live it. It’s a simple philosophy: even though we’re living in very troubled times, it’s important to not get bogged down by it all. That doesn’t mean you have to disengage with everything, but one’s survival and, by proxy, happiness both depend on being able to let go of everything a little bit. As he incorporated that mindset into his day-to-day life, it also got absorbed into the music he was making, and serves as the crux of Cape’s new solo album, Let Me Know When You Give Up. While the title itself might sound like it has negative connotations, its intention and purpose is anything but.
Let Me Know When You Give Up is both a response to and an antidote for a fearful, nationalist-friendly near-dystopia the world has found itself in. Cape insists his album is not offering a solution for the myriad problems infecting both the U.S. and the rest of the world in 2019, but provides more a reflection of the mindset – that not-quite-epiphany – that’s helped him deal with everything that’s happening around him.
“I do think there’s an answer below all the noise,” he says, “and that there’s a very simple answer for what makes humans interact and the way that we affect the other species on our shared planet – there are some basic formative actions and ways to live that are close to morals, ways to live that do the least amount of damage. I’m still reading more than ever, and I study my local politics, and I still vote, and I’m very much engaged when I need to be with things that matter to me. I just have a different philosophy about the overall pursuit and what’s important. And that’s not new – I’m just settled in it. It’s kind of a retirement plan.”
As such, this whole album serves as that philosophical escape. Recorded at a home studio built by Cape’s longtime friend, musical partner, and lyrical collaborator Asher Simon, it’s the most expansive, accomplished and ambitious of Cape’s four solo albums to date.  And while it’s a world away from the frenetic punk of Lagwagon, the band he formed in 1990, there are inevitable and unavoidable influences from that band too.  The beautiful lilt of the title track soars with grace and hope, coming off almost like a more anthemic Dinosaur Jr. track, while “I Know How To Run” is a gloomy and lugubrious lament about the breakdown in communication – the ‘death of debate’, as he sings – that dominates contemporary political discourse.
Elsewhere, the country-tinged sway of “The Love Of My Life” and the driving and intense “Fighting Atrophy” both offer a blissful respite from the traumas and malaise of the outside world, while the insistent chug recalls a childhood sense of innocence that seems harder and harder to cling onto with each passing day. It all combines to make a record that captures that very spirit Cape has been relying on in recent years and which has transformed his approach to life. Now that Simon and his studio have entered Cape’s life, Let Me Know When You Give Up marks the start of a kind of renaissance for Cape and his music. Rather than give it all up, he’s going to be doing the very opposite.


Track listing:

  1. Let Me Know When You Give Up
  2. I Know How to Run
  3. Daylight
  4. Fighting Atrophy
  5. Before My Heart Attack
  6. Possession
  7. Andalusia
  8. The Love of My Life
  9. Fall Down
  10. You Should Always Have Something to Look Forward To
  11. The Last Word