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Joywave

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Joywave

Genres: Indie Rock

  • Doors 7:30pm
  • 18+
Standard Buy now
  • Artist bio

Joywave are at an exciting point in their career. Not only have the act survived the pressures of
their major-label debut and the dreaded sophomore slump, they’ve established themselves as
the kind of band that you’re as likely to hear at a hip record store as you are at the grocery
store. There is a difference between ubiquity and evolution and with their fifth full-length
Permanent Pleasure, Joywave—vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Armbruster, guitarist
Joseph Morinelli and drummer Paul Brenner—lean into guitar and string sections without
sacrificing the signature sound that’s endeared the band to countless fans, whether they know it
or not, over the past eleven years.

Rochester, New York, isn’t necessarily known for its bustling entertainment industry, but it is rich
in culture and creativity. The trio’s hometown is integral not only to the theme of Permanent
Pleasure (audio samples from 1984 historical compilation release, The Rochester
Sesquicentennial, bookend the album), but also to Joywave’s overall identity. Despite
international acclaim and major-label success, the band maintain a DIY work ethic that keeps
them grounded in the present moment while always reaching toward the future. We go to our
studio and make a record with total creative freedom and we turn it in and the label tells us we
did a great job,” Armbruster explains. This arrangement is a rarity in the music industry these
days—but like all things Joywave, somehow it works out in a way that makes perfect sense for
them.

Once again produced by Armbruster at the band’s own Rochester-based studio, The Joycave,
Permanent Pleasure is an unfiltered vision of the band’s creativity that sees them stepping
outside of their sonic comfort zone. “I think this is probably our least keyboard [heavy] record,”
Armbruster explains, adding that in some ways Permanent Pleasure was a reaction to the more
cohesive and linear construction of 2022’s Cleanse. “On Permanent Pleasure we blew
everything apart again: We’re switching out drum components and everything we can between
songs and freeing ourselves again from the box of ‘it has to be super cohesive’ because I
always want to rage against what we did last time. But five records in, we're a lot better at
writing and recording, so it’s bringing back a little bit of the all-over vibe of the first record, but on
the other side of the experience. We’ve gone through a wormhole.”

That feeling of artistic liberation is the unifying sonic characteristic of the album, from the
futuristic downtempo groove of “Sleepytime Fantasy” to the hypnotic dancefloor vibe of “Brain
Damage.” Permanent Pleasure also sees the band expanding their own musical conventions,
the most obvious being the fact that they enlisted an actual orchestra to play on these songs
instead of relying solely on software as they have in the past. “We’ve always done virtual
instruments before but we wanted to have it real this time around, so we had the Rochester
Philharmonic Orchestra play on five of these songs,” Morinelli, who wrote out the sheet music
for them, explains. That amalgamation of electronic and organic instrumentation is evident on
songs like “He’s Back,” which is political, personal, petrifying and playful, seemingly all at once.

However as much as Joywave are pushing toward the future with this album, there’s also an
element of nostalgia present in these songs as the trio look back at what they’ve built since they
began playing together as on shimmering pop songs like “Swimming In The Glow.” “That song
harkens back to an era of Joywave before we were in the beam and before anyone really cared
what we did; it really draws lyrically on that time in my life of feeling like me, Paul and Joey had
everything all together,” Armbruster explains. “Sonically, I think that song is a side of the band
that I think people who have heard our 2012 EP Koda Vista know is there. It’s a side of the band
that I think people who saw us in our very early days at local clubs like Bug Jar know is there,
but I think it’s something that deserved to be in the spotlight.”

“I want to touch you but I’m scared,” Armbruster sings on the infectious single “Scared,” an ode
to codependency that’s as much about connection as it is existential dread—and ultimately that
dichotomy between humor and hopelessness lies at the core of Permanent Pleasure. “I think
the job of an artist is to explore any side of being a person and self-awareness is a huge part of
being a person,” Armbruster summarizes. “I think artists who ignore humor aren’t being true to
themselves and it’s a huge part of who we are despite having thoughts on the record that are on
the darker side of things. I feel like you have to wink a little bit to make it okay. You have to
make a joke about the asteroid as the asteroid is about to hit.”