After two decades of timeless records, Oklahoma City’s Traindodge continues their post-hardcore dynasty with the release of their eighth LP, ‘The Alley Parade’, due out on September 22, via Spartan Records.
Upon the release of the album’s third single “Living Proof”, vocalist/guitarist Jason Smith says, “‘Living Proof’ is about finally getting out of a dark place but not realizing it and not recognizing anything you remember — being unsure of what you actually have at the end of the day can feel weird. I was writing as someone navigating that confusion.”
While the band’s collection of canonized albums have become required listening for every budding heavy band since the 90s, and their legacy of hundreds of shows (sharing stages with the likes of Mudhoney, Cursive, Avail, and Botch, to name a few) has impacted thousands, perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding Traindodge is how under-the-radar this band has flown throughout its prolific career. Whether it be a nod to the band’s integrity or an unwillingness to conform for commercial success, as journalist Jason Heller put it, “Unlike the hordes of post-hardcore wannabes who think screams, noise and posing make the band, Traindodge synthesizes brainpower and horsepower into a contorted, rock-heavy wallop that’ll leave you scratching your head as much as banging it.”
In 1993, brothers Jason and Rob Smith joined bass guitarist Chris Allen in a pre-existing band. Over the next three years, the three musicians connected deeply over a shared love for the harder side of indie rock – Fugazi, The Jesus Lizard, Jawbox, and much of the already buzzing Kansas City scene. After endless amounts of writing and some natural lineup shifting, Traindodge was born.
“At the time, the loftiest goal I had was to go on tour and if we were lucky, make one album. I figured we’d maybe last three to five years. That’s a long time when you’re 22. None of us knew anyone who’d had a band that long,” says Jason Smith (vocals/guitar). “One thing that shifted for me [early on] was realizing that the more I invested myself in the band, the more satisfying it got. Getting on the road and meeting like minded people confirmed for me that even the midwest can seem like a bigger place. Even through the flimsy ‘networks’ we were stumbling through in our first few years, I could gradually see the reality of being that band that traveled around and woke up some unsuspecting crowds. Maybe it’s a defect I have, but I just found that lifestyle really addictive. I still love it. Even in the down times we’ve had, I’ve always felt like I’m where I belong.”
Fast-forward twenty seven years later, The Alley Parade is the band’s eighth full length record, and first since 2016. The lineup also features second guitarist Ross Lewis who joined Traindodge full time in 2011. “We’ve been chipping away at writing this record more or less since the last one came out, which, with all of us not in the same city, and a global pandemic to boot, took a sec,” says Rob Smith (drums/synth). “Some of these songs were written in 2017, and some were finished weeks before we went into the studio last year. That gives the newer songs a more spontaneous feel, while the older ones feel a bit more ‘lived in,’ and I think that’s a strength of the record – it is the most immediate, accessible thing we’ve ever done.”
While new in approach in some ways, longtime listeners of Traindodge can rest assured that The Alley Parade packs just as much grit and punch as any of its recorded predecessors.