Blair Gun Share an Early Stream of Their ’90s-Alt-Rock-Inspired Debut LP “Blaspheme Queen”

Before the album officially drops tomorrow, vocalist Joedin Morelock shares a track-by-track breakdown with us.
First ListenTrack by Track

Blair Gun Share an Early Stream of Their ’90s-Alt-Rock-Inspired Debut LP Blaspheme Queen

Before the album officially drops tomorrow, vocalist Joedin Morelock shares a track-by-track breakdown with us.

Words: Kim March

Photo: Eden Cvengros

March 02, 2023

Last fall, Blair Gun introduced their driving take on punk with their lead single “Lemondrops,” a blood-pumping blend of basement-show energy and angsty lyricism. It wasn’t long afterward that they announced it would open their debut album Blaspheme Queen, a 12-track affair expanding on that sound as it weaves in and out of adjacent genres most commonly reverting to elements of post-punk. 

While “Lemondrops” introduces the record with shades of Titus Andronicus’ bar-band vigor (complete with Patrick Stickles’ vocal tremors), as the band tells it, their influences are more aligned with ’90s alternative rock. With Bends-era Radiohead serving as inspiration for some of these tracks’ melodies, the shadow of Pixies vocalist Frank Black’s solo material looms heavily over vocalist Joedin Morelock’s delivery of tracks such as “Genovese.” Meanwhile, guitarist Zach Cavor invites us to spot the botched Neutral Milk Hotel homage in “Andrew Savage”—a track lovingly titled in reference to the Parquet Courts frontman.

With the record officially dropping tomorrow, the band is sharing a full stream one day early, along with a track-by-track breakdown of the project provided by Morelock. Find both below, and pre-save the record here.

1. “Lemondrops”
“Lemondrops” is about an incurable feeling of dissatisfaction that you can’t escape, that follows you everywhere. It’s about seeking refuge in self-destructive vices and how counterproductive that can be. We wanted Blaspheme Queen to open on a track that started simply—drums and a bunch of noise before we ask, “Are we wasting our time?”

2. “Bennet”
“Bennet” is about a man that I met online. After years of making music and seeing no progress, no fans, no attention, he was making all these posts about giving up on his dreams and his feelings of defeat. It really touched me on a profound level because he reflected a lot of my own personal fears at the time, and the fears of a lot of people that are pursuing a career in the arts [have]. We wrote it in a day and second guessed ourselves for about a year before finally recording it—and it’s since become a fan favorite.

3. “Andrew Savage”
“Andrew Savage” is a song about our love for Parquet Courts, and was written to poke fun at our celebrity-obsessed culture. We had a lot of thoughts about how certain people get deified, and we looked introspectively at some people that we built up to being more than human in our own heads. This song is homage and satire in equal portions.

4. “Man of the Hour”
We had been on a long kick of old-school hip-hop and rap songs, and loved how overly braggadocious they can be at times. We wanted to put our own somewhat nonsensical indie-rock spin on those lyrical themes. “Man of the Hour” was the last song we wrote for Blaspheme Queen. We finished it only about a week before we flew out to the studio in Louisville.

5. “Protozoa”
“Protozoa” was written late one evening after a concert. It’s about feeling small and incomplete, as if through the eyes of a single-celled eukaryote perceiving the world, and is mostly nonsense. It’s about evolving over time and playfully mocks those who overanalyze. All of the keys on this track are a lightly distorted Kimball organ that was lying around at the studio. All of the intricate percussion details made this song the longest we spent recording drums on [out of] any of the tracks.

6. “Genovese”
“Genovese” is about a lack of agency. We describe a scenario where a person is born into a situation that predetermines their destiny, such as with a notorious crime family, and they feel constricted to fulfill a lifelong obligation. Our character here desperately craves agency and freedom to live on their own accord. This is the oldest song on the album and was only the third song we had ever written—it was first jammed back in May of 2020.

7. “Don’t Talk”
“Don’t Talk” describes those aching moments leading up to a breakup. It describes the emotional turmoil of the last 48 hours of a long-term relationship. “Don’t talk, pretend” is about the longing that both people could just pretend everything was fine and avoid that inevitable last conversation. This melody was heavily inspired by the Radiohead songs I was listening to at the time.

8. “Pound Sand”
“Pound Sand” is about romantic disconnection. It’s about knowing what you’re currently doing is pointless and menial because there’s no reciprocation—the work you’re putting into the relationship won’t yield any solutions. It also addresses how easy this situation can be to recognize, but how difficult it can be to move past. This was the first song we finished in the studio. The lyric “I pantomime two of us intertwined” sums up the song’s meaning quite well.

9. “Coke Syrup”
“Coke Syrup” is about all kinds of obsession and addiction. It highlights the denial and emotional roller coaster chemical and emotional dependencies can bring to your life. It was inspired by some of Frank Black’s solo work. It started out as basically a super-heavy grunge song, [but] we ended up shying away from some of the super noisy elements to help it blend with the rest of the album.

10. “Death Wish”
“Death Wish” is about discontent with one’s life direction—feeling bored and stuck in a rut where everything that used to excite you feels bland and boring now. It talks about the search for something new that will inject energy and purpose into one’s life. This song has the most lyrics of any of our songs, and I’ve been singing them wrong for the past six months. By the way, we know that ennui is pronounced “on-wee” and we don’t care.

11. “You’re Not There”
“You’re Not There” is about unhealthy projection rooted in obsession with someone that is no longer in your life. Victimizing oneself often comes with the denial of your own problems. This song has the only ad-lib of the whole album—it was the last song of a long day of recording vocals and I blew my voice out before finishing the final leg of the verse. We never ended up recording those last lines, I really did need a break.

12. “Blaspheme Queen”
“Blaspheme Queen” is about a girl who feels ostracized inside her own community, a community that she used to take comfort and solace in. Even in familiar spaces one can feel like a foreigner. The title track probably took the longest to record of any song on the album due to the many layers of guitar. This was another case of it being a super-heavy song that we toyed around with until it ended up being acoustic-led. This song has our favorite bass line on the album.