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Volunteer Cheerleader

Sounds likeWild Nothing, Cigarettes After Sex, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
LocationNew York

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Volunteer Cheerleader is an indie rock/dream pop band out of New York City comprised of Jordan Sommerlad and Chris Blackman.

Sommerlad and Blackman first met in primary school in 1998, thus beginning their 20 year friendship. After spending their teen years playing in Ohio punk bands together, Sommerlad and Blackman split up, with Sommerlad moving to Los Angeles to work in film, and Blackman moving to New York to complete a graduate program in poetry. Several years later, and having always wanted to live in NYC, Sommerlad returned east and moved into Blackman's Manhattan apartment.

The years spent playing together in basements and dives provided the two of them with a musical shorthand, and Volunteer Cheerleader was born, the first songs written in their shared New York home. The clanging punk music of their teens gave way to something moodier, more textured in adulthood--taking cues from groups like Lush, Slowdive and Dinosaur Jr., Volunteer Cheerleader makes hook-y indie rock with noise and ambient elements.

The self-released, self-titled EP "Volunteer Cheerleader" arrived in 2017. Obscure Sound wrote that the sound was "impressive, contagious" when describing "The City Is A Bone," comparing it favorably to work by the Psychedelic Furs. Other write-ups name-checked Beach House and Wild Nothing, among others.

Sommerlad and Blackman produced a video for the single, "July," in Ohio in the summer of 2017. The video portrays an irony-poisoned hipster as he moves through an empty suburban landscape. Of the video, Blackman said "He's like a hipster Peter Pan when the Lost Boys have all grown up."

Volunteer Cheerleader's lyrics are pointed, and imagistic: inspired by 20th century American poets like John Berryman, John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop, they describe the feelings of longing and isolation expressed so often in mid-century poetry. Blackman's background in poetry allows the band to use a prosody that glides along, while focusing lyrically on the craft of images. Sommerlad's vocals lilt gently over the music with just the right amount of melancholy and force to convey the range of the songs.
The band is currently at work on their next release, expected in early 2019.

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