Random Records with Steve O

Whelmed - Whelmed

Steve O - July 6, 2017


Bloomington is famous for folk punk, thanks to the Ghost Mice/Plan It X history. But with Plan It X calling it quits, it’s about time to recognize some of the other fantastic new music coming out of here. Whelmed’s debut, self-titled EP is a good starting point. Though, to be honest, this isn’t exactly “new” in a sense; 2/3 of Whelmed also play in CTR faves High Dive. But Whelmed is full of 2-3 minute fun, catchy pop punk songs. Nothing groundbreaking, but here are four solid songs that remind you why you listen to this music and why punk is so important.

“Empty Vessel” is a great opening track—simple with a super catchy chorus. It’s the kind of self-reflective punk song that we all need to sing along to when we’re having a rough day or a reminder that we’re all in this together. And goddamn, that chorus just begs you to sing along at the top of your lungs. “Slow Jam” is perfectly named as it is exactly that; a chill, slow-tempo reflective song featuring the brilliant line of “Shut your shit-storm of a mouth / Some silence helps you think.” The last minute picks up the pace, with the hopeful refrain of “Maybe we'll do better next time,” really adding to the reflective nature of the song. “Leech” closes the record out with the shortest song here with another self-reflective pop punk song, reminding us that it’s okay to ask for help when we need it. These are songs that are super easy to connect with; they’re all of the ‘we’re all in this together’ mindset of pop punk. It’s awesome and it’s supportive and it’s uplifting in its own way, especially when you’re afraid to read the news every day (dear god I don’t want to know what Trump did today).


But the best part here is “Song for Ian Stark.” This is a total Bloomington song. Bloomington is a super liberal town in a super not state. So Bloomington has a bunch of social services that surrounding towns don’t. So in the winter, they drop their homeless off here, where there are services available. As such, Bloomington’s got a relatively large homeless population compared to the size of the small city. And that’s what “Song for Ian Stark” is all about, a homeless victim of a cold winter. It’s emotional and it’s powerful. It’s a reminder of what we don’t like to think about. It’s addressing a political issue in a very personal way. It’s reminding us to value what we’ve got. It’s exactly why this music is so important and why we need explicitly political songs like this.

Give Whelmed a listen below and follow along with what they’re doing on Facebook.