I first met Shawn Clancy, lead singer of Ocean County band Meteor Police, when our friend Ed “the Punk” Wood invited him along to an afternoon at Neck of the Woods Brewery in Pitman. While we were all enjoying IPAs, sours, and porters, I was immediately struck by two things that can be sorely lacking in some other musicians–intelligence and wit. This was before I even listened to his band. We talked about many things but of course mostly about music. He mentioned their debut album would be released soonish. The band finally released New Type Destroyer last month and we should be happy. It is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale landscape. Genres be damned, there is no way to pigeonhole the record into neat little categories. Not that it hasn’t been tried. I’ve seen the music described as hardcore, punk, post punk, surf rock, prog, goth. Whew. I suggest you just listen to it and make up your own mind. Whatever description you come up with it is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year.
Opener “In the Beginning: There was Disaster!” starts the album off in a very theatrical manner. A simmering and slow build up of guitar and bass hint at the hardcore, punk and pop to come while Shawn issues the challenge “What can you do?” Metaphorically, given the past few chaotic years we have all been asking ourselves this question. Swimming for your life being the prevailing option. This is a positive choice. It beats sinking. “Incel King” is a manifesto taking down the idiotic toxic masculinity prevalent in our culture. Those fragile men get the scorched Earth treatment and I am here for it. I doubt they would even get the meaning of the song. The band also takes the opportunity to show off their virtuosity. Tempo changes and some deft guitar add to the fun of calling out these xxxx. Shawn channels Jello Biafra in “We Killed Davy Crockett” a wonderfully potent song on the hypocrisy of slaughtering native people in the name of expansion. A very timely song as have we really leaned anything?
Other highlights are the single “Nihilist Jazz” which is downright groovy punctuated with a sinister, dare-I-say disco influenced bass line. It’s damn catchy. Another bright spot is “Brick Thief” that pulses along with a bit of a pop influence mixed with some Gang or Four / Wire post-punk guitar. It’s quite jaunty. Closer “In the End: There was Survival!” lets us know the lads came though their disaster alive and kicking.
You can check the band out when they play the Wonder Bar on August 28th as part of the Happy Mondays series. They will be joined by Candy Cavity and Reese Van Riper. We saw them recently at the Meatlocker in Montclair and their live show is not to be missed.
Now on to the pizza! After many schedule negotiations we were finally able to get Shawn, guitarist Dustin James, bassist Matt Pelli and drummer Justin Wright together.
We met up with Meteor Police at Crust & Crumble in Asbury Park to discuss the record and whatever else came up. We ended up talking for almost two hours over pizzas and a garbage plate (stay with us!). We got yelled at twice for trying to sit together in the back room at Crust & Crumble so we ended up kind of sitting among three tables because we weren’t allowed to move the tables or even the chairs. It was a slow Sunday afternoon so we weren’t sure what the problem was with us sitting together but we ended up laughing it off. And, once the Ultimate Pepperoni pizza showed up, we quickly forgot about how far away some of our guests were. It had a big doughy crust and had a good (but not great) amount of pepperoni and garlic pieces.
Our other pizza was the Hot Buzz which came with arribiatta sauce, buratta cheese, giant slices of soppressata, arugula, and a drizzle of hot honey. This crust was even bigger. They’re serious about the crust at Crust & Crumble… I guess that’s part of the charm?
Our favorite item was the Vegan Garbage Plate, despite the name. You can choose between cheeseburger, hot dog, and “chicken” fingers. We went cheeseburger and the vegan burgers were delicious! The burgers came on top of fries, macaroni salad, chili, onions, and mustard. I want this again. But we won’t try to eat there with a group!
Over pizza we got to ask the guys a few questions.
Meteor Police. Where did the name come from?
Shawn: Meteor Police is just some random thing. Dustin, you had the Instagram account, right? He had that sitting around for a year or 2 saying “I’m gonna use this for something.
Dustin: We formed in 2021 but I had the name back in 2018 for another project. I was basically a patent troll. I’m a patent troll with band names. Register the name, register the name! In case I want it, I have it.
When did it go from an idea to an actual band?
Shawn: I’m in another band Vessels and our original bassist Bill said to me I want to start another band, a punk band. I said I know a guy who can play bass so I talked Dustin and we all got together and jammed. Within 20 minutes we switched instruments and Bill was back on bass again. We were originally going to be Vampire Squid but there are many bands called that.
Dustin: We started playing out pretty quickly. Everyone was itching to play as it was right when the world was opening back up. We took our lives in our hands as our first show was in a poorly ventilated basement. We made it out though!
This is your first album and has been a while in the making. Why so long to release?
Justin: We were throwing around different ideas and we just kept writing songs. Recording also took a long time. A lot of back and forth was happening.
Shawn: We recorded it with Pete Andrews at Submergent and he seems to be a popular guy. Also, we were going to do an EP and then we had one more song which made us think a few more songs and we have a full album. We wrote the first 6 or 7 songs really fast and the next 3 took over a year. Every show I’d tell the band I think this is gonna be done in a month guys. I think it took another 8 months.
Dustin: It’s been a long, gestating thing and I love the way it came out. When you listen to the songs, I hear the growth period of the songs. I hear the last songs and think this a more mature, comfortable band.
How would you describe your band to someone who has never heard you before?
Matt: It’s kinda like Jane’s Addiction.
Dustin: One of my favorite bands is The Minutemen. That idea of funk, jazz, punk. A little post-punk angularity to the music. I don’t want everything to have one genre. I want a melting pot of different genres.
Shawn: I wanted Matt to answer first as he came from the outside and he had an impression of us to begin with. We’re in 2 different scenes. We play with hardcore bands and play with punk-adjacent indie bands. I like to think a lot of our stuff starts as straight up hardcore then it evolves into more interesting things over time. Like Fugazi and Unwound.
Matt: When I’m describing our sound to people who aren’t really in tune to rock bands I would say heavier, cooler Red Hot Chili Peppers. In the sense that you have your abstract guitar lines, a bass part leading the songs, sometimes funky, sometimes crazy. Some Pixies in there.
Justin: A lot of my playing comes from an early influence of prog rock. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve craved simpler, more aggressive music. Now I’m into garage rock, psychedelic stuff. That is all in there.
The new album is already available on vinyl. How hard was it to get vinyl?
Shawn: Well, there are internal band disagreements and some compromise here. I’m a super anti-streaming for ethical reasons. The compromise was we will put about half of the record on streaming but if you want the rest you have to buy it. Vinyl is the primary physical medium for our genre now. There was one pressing plant in New Jersey but they only deal with major artists. One place in Philly told me a year and a half. A friend told me I should hit up A to Z Media. They were able to get it done in 5 months.
Dustin: It’s cool for me as of all the bands I’ve ever been this is the first that’s put out an actual vinyl record. The tangibility of holding in in your hands. And immediately it went right on my wall. Look at this!
Any other things on the horizon?
Shawn: We’re trying to record a Halloween EP. Many years ago AFI put out All Hallow’s E.P that I really loved. Everything I wanna do is a subtle ripoff of someone else.
Dustin: You just have to wait long enough that people ask “do people still remember this?”
Shawn: I don’t know anyone else that put out a specific Halloween EP that has the staying power of All Hallow’s E.P. We want to do something like that. We pretty much have the songs done.
Dustin: I’ve always just loved the idea of having seasonal EPs in general. A lot of bands I liked would have a Christmas Eve day drop.
Shawn: No Christmas stuff. No Christmas stuff..ever!
Justin: The closest Shawn came is one time we played around Christmas and he had a Santa hat on his helmet.
Shawn: Look, I’m not writing anything holly jolly. At the same time I don’t want to be grim, dark, edgelord tearing everything down either so I don’t know where I can go with that. Maybe some meditation on the pagan roots of Christmas?
Matt: We can write about Krampus.
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