Los Angeles' Militarie Gun announces their debut album Life Under The Gun, due June 23rd via Loma Vista Recordings. The 12-track project will include the previously-released single "Do It Faster," as well as today's new single "Very High," which arrives with a Mason Mercer-directed music video. "Very High" distills vocalist and bandleader Ian Shelton's uncanny ability to marry instantly-memorable hooks with classic punk anthems, this time letting the song's soaring chorus take the spotlight. It is quintessential Militarie Gun while marking their most direct and accessible musical statement to date.
Speaking about the new single, Shelton says, "'Very High' centers around the desire to escape the embarrassment of day to day life as much as possible. From the lyrics, to the video to the cover art of the album, it’s about struggling with something no one else sees, 'I’ve been feeling very down, so I get very high.'”
Life Under The Gun is almost impossible to describe without bouncing between contradictions. Is it abnormally aggressive pop music or is it unusually catchy hardcore? Is it deeply intellectual or is it satisfyingly primal? Is it a vulnerable attempt to unpack lifelong cycles of hurt, or is it a collection of world-beating, absurdist punk anthems? In the end, the answer is obvious: it is all of it. It is Militarie Gun.
Since forming in 2020, the group have been releasing music and touring at a startling rate, and while Life Under The Gun feels like a culmination of this recent hard-earned momentum, the record is inextricably linked to Shelton’s past. “I grew up in a household with family members struggling with addiction,” he explains. “It was an oppressive force. We were always wondering, ‘Is it going to be a good day or a bad day? Are the cops going to come today? What am I going to come home to after school?'” The challenges of his homelife were only exacerbated by living in Enumclaw, WA, a sparsely populated rural suburb where Shelton spent his formative years longing for a way out. In this difficult and stifling environment, the roots of Life Under The Gun began to grow. As he began to pick up instruments, play in bands, and write his own songs, music quickly became a vital outlet for self-expression, but Shelton couldn’t shake the idea that it was also a literal escape route.
What followed was a flurry of activity that still hasn’t let up. After relocating to Los Angeles and forced to stay put during the 2020 lockdown, Shelton’s restless creative drive took over and he spontaneously wrote the first songs that became Militarie Gun. The sound was decidedly new for him: firmly rooted in punk and hardcore but more hook-driven, pulling from influences like Guided By Voices, Fugazi and The Jesus Lizard. Shelton quickly recorded Militarie Gun’s 2020 debut EP, My Life Is Over, by himself, then rounded out the lineup with guitarists Nick Cogan and William Acuña, and drummer Vince Nguyen (Max Epstein played bass on Life Under The Gun). 2021 saw the release of the dual All Roads Lead To The Gun EPs and the start of a seemingly endless run of tour dates. In 2022, Militarie Gun teamed up with Dazy for the critically-acclaimed collaborative single “Pressure Cooker,” which was soon followed by the band signing to Loma Vista Recordings and releasing a deluxe edition of the All Roads Lead To The Gun EPs that included even more new material.
Militarie Gun soon had the makings of Life Under The Gun: the kind of debut album that feels like a true arrival, one forged by a lifetime of experience and effort that’s now allowed an artist to fully come into their own. Engineered by Taylor Young at The Pit Recording Studio, the album’s 12 tracks take all of the best parts of Militarie Gun’s earlier work and amps them up to the highest possible degree. It sounds massive without sacrificing the punk spark–full of driving drums, distorted bass lines, and of course Shelton’s instantly recognizable roar–only this time everything is bigger and even catchier. “This is what I thought we sounded like all along,” Shelton laughs. “It’s always felt like a melody-forward band to me, but I think now we’re finally achieving what I was always setting out to do.”
Life Under The Gun track list:
- Do It Faster
- Very High
- Will Logic
- My Friends Are Having a Hard Time
- Think Less
- Return Policy
- Seizure of Assets
- Never Fucked Up Once
- Big Disappointment
- Sway Too
- See You Around
- Life Under The Gun