A prolific D.I.Y. enthusiast, Long Island native Jeff Rosenstock first built his name fronting 2000s bands like Bomb the Music Industry! and the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, turning his frenetic talents to create blown out punk, pop, ska, and lo-fi rock. Beginning with 2012′s I Look Like Shit, he recast himself as a solo artist, encompassing both the ideals and eclectic sounds of all his previous bands while growing significantly as a songwriter. Towards the latter half of the decade Rosenstock became known for suddenly releasing new albums with no advance notice and earned critical acclaim for releases like 2018′s nervy Post- and 2020′s NO DREAM, which he later re-recorded as a ska album called SKA DREAM.
In the early part of the 2000s, Rosenstock was the driving force behind the bands Bomb the Music Industry! and the Arrogant Sons of Bitches. A major advocate of D.I.Y. ideals since his teenage years, Rosenstock also founded the donation-based indie label Quote Unquote Records in 2006.
From the mid-’90s until their breakup in 2004, the Arrogant Sons of Bitches released three high-energy ska-punk records and various EPs, after which Rosenstock and a couple of other members formed the new collective Bomb the Music Industry! Incorporating ska, punk, hardcore, and even synth pop, Rosenstock stuck to his D.I.Y. ideals both musically and conceptually. The prolific group generally offered their albums as free downloads, kept their concert tickets under $10, and even provided free stencils and paints at their gigs so fans could make their own T-shirts. With a rotating cast of members, Rosenstock was the one constant during BTMI’s ten-year run. In addition to starting his own label and fronting side projects like Kudrow and Antarctigo Vespucci, he also had stints playing in various other punk and ska bands like Mustard Plug, the Bruce Lee Band, and Andrew Jackson Jihad.
Rosenstock’s solo debut, I Look Like Shit, arrived in 2012. By this time, Bomb the Music Industry! had begun to slow down and eventually called it quits in 2014. He delivered his second solo album, We Cool?, the following year, followed in 2016 by the nervy, ambitious Worry., his second effort for SideOneDummy. Written early 2017 and recorded by producer Jack Shirley in a marathon one-week session, Rosenstock’s third full-length, Post-, was released with no advance promotion on New Year’s Day 2018. He issued the album with esteemed indie label Polyvinyl, and in 2019 the label also put out a collaborative EP of Neil Young covers performed by Rosenstock and Laura Stevenson titled Still Young, as well as the fourth LP from his long-running side project Antarctigo Vespucci. In May 2020, Rosenstock released his fourth solo album, NO DREAM, again without an announcement or press lead-up of any kind. In an unusual move, he then re-recorded the entire set as a ska album and released it the following year under the title SKA DREAM with altered song titles to match. ~ Timothy Monger