Brooklyn’s punk quartet Namesake (fka Honduras)announced the October 15 release of their sophomore album Redeeming Features (Get Better Records.) Today they shared the strident album opener “I’m Sick,” which doubles as the LP’s mission statement.
“For me, dealing with a lot of panic attacks, a panic disorder, and agoraphobia, it’s almost the sensation of going into the album with a racing heart,” said Namesake frontman Patrick Phillips. “The last lyrics in that song were written a week before I started therapy. The confusion I was dealing with this album is just so present. It’s interesting to listen back to and there’s some radical honesty happening. And that’s what the whole album is about.”
A combination of Bob Dylan and basketball brought Phillips to New York—but it was the scene at Bushwick’s indie venue Shea Stadium that pushed him to solidify the lineup alongside bandmates Josh Wehle and Paul Lizaragga. Namesake (then called Honduras) experienced some early success with their free-spirited 2015 debut Rituals, including opening for Interpol (thanks to an introduction from Tony Hawk), a wrench was thrown into their beachy punk in early 2018, when Phillips was arrested at work.
As Phillips recalls it, the night cops swarmed the venue where he was bartending was his worst nightmare. However, now he looks at the ordeal, and the night he spent in jail, as a dark stroke of serendipity, forcing him to reevaluate the coping mechanisms in his life that—to put it mildly—was simply not working. It was time to embrace his bisexuality, confront the abuse he had experienced in the past, and address his anger.
“Without hitting that rock bottom, I feel like I could have kind of kept simmering on low and just kept going about my life,” he says. “I needed therapy, and I needed something to happen to get me there. It was a pretty scary experience, and it could have gotten a lot worse, but I really was able to make the most out of a really crappy situation.”
While by no means a self-help album, Redeeming Features benefits from this shift in perspective. Namesake adopted a new name after founding member Tyson Moore left the band during the 2020 pandemic. The band’s bouncy noise rock has become a place for Phillips to explore his gains.
Redeeming Features is ultimately a sprint through the healing process. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a fun listen, evoking both the dark rooms of independent music venues and nights spent driving around hometowns, volume up and windows down. Phillips is proud of how far he’s come and what his band has created. And with a little luck, he’ll be able to infuse other people’s journeys with a sense of joy – especially at their long-awaited album release show at TV EYE in Bushwick on October 19 – only their second live performance in two years.
“There’s just something beautiful about attacking really heavy lyrical matter, but at the same time, you can tap your foot along to it,” says Phillips. “You’re able to acknowledge things about yourself and to be truthful. But you have to tell your story with a smirk, because we all have our own stuff to go through. It can’t be too self-serious! You definitely have to be truthful with yourself.”