Judge Grumble are an indierock/indiepunk band from Richmond, Virginia. They recently released their second album, Overruled! It’s the second act in a trilogy of concept albums and it’s quite the trip. Buckle up for an eclectic mix of poppy indiepunk tracks (Shy Guy, Kudos To You), quirky indierock (Literati, Quiltbag), and sketches that are plain weird. I asked the band to explain the origins of their cartoonesque bandname and the spoken word sketches on their record. “Back in high school we had this joke where we would come up with random phrases and call them “indie band names.” I’m not 100% sure but I think Judge Grumble was one of those. Waaaay way back in the first iteration of the band (2012 or so?) the “character” of judge grumble became an inside joke. We’d do the whole voice and improv little skits during practices and stuff. Eventually we decided we wanted to bring some of those skits to life in between the tracks for fun (and also to pad the length).”
Given the variety of songs, and the quirkiness of the sketches and some of the songs, it’s unlikely that you will like every single track on Overruled! But, Judge Grumble have made an album that is definitely worth your time. I particularly like how the band aims to make every song interesting. Listen to the many elements they’ve stuffed in Chewed Out for example. Right before the 5-minute song appears to overstay its welcome, the band introduces a pretty cool group vocal harmony that transitions in a punkrock fade-out. Judge Grumble doesn’t need to be quirky or eclectic to be interesting though. The straightforward indie rock of Braindead is one of my favorite songs on the record. But the song that especially drew me in to Judge Grumble is Weehawken, a throwback to the emo poppunk of the early ’00s with an infectious chorus. The band explains: “On the surface, Weehawken is about a little town on the far north side of new jersey and the ennui of a guy who commutes between there and NYC. But none of us have ever lived in NY or NJ… we just really liked the name—it sounds slangy, like “are you hawkin’? cause we hawkin’.” Somehow Alex turned that wordplay into something more meaningful.” Download Overruled! now on Bandcamp.
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