On the Up: Tenement

by Steven Spoerl

There will be a lot of bands mentioned on this site in addition to the fair few that have already secured coverage. Of all of those bands, however, no band is likely to come up more times than Tenement. Having first encountered the band nearly six years ago, it’s been nothing short of an honor to watch them grow in both form and recognition. Now, on the verge of releasing an early recordings compilation via Grave Mistake and a record of brand new songs on their new home, Don Giovanni Records, they’re primed for a serious breakthrough. CMJ has already posited them as one 2014’s breakout acts, which follows a similar claim made by NME at the start of 2013.

Everything this band has released, even their earliest 7″ recordings, has been nothing short of outstanding. They made their biggest impression around the end of 2011 with their knockout 1-2 LP combination of Napalm Dream and Blind Wink. A lot of people took notice, several of them had both records (along with the Taking Everything EP) as selections for their respective year-end lists. Since that whirlwind of material, Tenement’s toured hard and let themselves continue on the weirdo punk path that Blind Wink strongly hinted at (their recent Sick Club 7″ being the best example of this).

Having run a very successful house venue kept the band very well-connected in their formative years and, unsurprisingly, their distinct sound earned the unfailing admiration of most of those connections. One of the most important may have been Screaming Females, who they recently put out a very well-publicized split with. Everything has been adding up in a continuously-expanding momentum build, with a trajectory that’s set to skyrocket. No band right now can match Tenement for some of punk’s most defining (and honorable) aesthetics; humility, frustration, respect, a heavy DIY emphasis, camaraderie, literacy, and inventiveness. Additionally, they’re consistently one of the best live bands playing their respective (or any, for that matter) circuit.

From one song to the next, it’s impossible to predict where Tenement will take their sound- but it’s guaranteed to be worthy of investment. Go to their bandcamp and take a stroll through their deeply impressive discography so far. Keep both eyes peeled for their upcoming releases and watch a few videos spanning Tenement’s career (all courtesy of Heartbreaking Bravery) below.