Hunger Anthem
Gig Seeker Pro

Hunger Anthem

Athens, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Athens, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Indie




"Bringing the rock with Hunger Anthem"

Bringing the rock with Hunger Anthem 
Athens rockers invade The Jinx on July 12
By Sean Kelly
Hunger Anthem @The Jinx
Fri., July 12, 9 P.M.
Hunger Anthem’s music is a heady mix of angular alternative rock and piercing guitar pop, taking cues from both of Bob Mould’s influential bands—Husker Du and Sugar—and heavy, noisy bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth.
The band, who is currently in the process of recording a new album, is set to play The Jinx on July 12 in the middle of a lengthy run of shows. We spoke to bandleader Brendan Vaganek ahead of the gig.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to the music so far—I definitely heard some Sonic Youth in the way you approach guitars on these recordings.
Vaganek: You’re pretty spot on. I’m also a huge fan of where Husker Du came from. Heavier, driving music but with a distinct sense of pop.
So like the Mould solo stuff or Sugar?
Vaganek: That band, too. And Sonic Youth for sure, with the noisy aspect. I use a lot of full, open chords so I like how some of that dissonance plays into rock songs. Bands like Superchunk, Guided By Voices, that sort of thing.
Has that always been your M.O. musically? How did you guys land on what you do?
Vaganek: Yeah, personally it kind of has been. I also started with a bit of a punk edge, leaning towards stuff like the Sex Pistols. When Cameron [Kelly, drummer] and I met some years ago here in Athens, the pop aspect really clicked right for us.
We kind of related through GBV and The Thermals. And having a similar approach, a real DIY approach to things. And all three of us also have a really good work ethic, which is essential these days for moving forward in any way [laughs].
Your first record came out in 2011?
Vaganek: Yeah! I started doing a lot of things lo-fi, and I did that record on a four-track.
In true Guided By Voices style!
Vaganek: Exactly. I played every instrument on it, too. You become pretty adept at using that technology when there’s only four tracks available. But I always wanted to get other people involved. Some years after that, we released the EP Cut The Chord, which is a full band thing. Recently we recorded a full-length, and that's what we're focusing on a lot now. We did it here in Athens with Mike Albanese at Espresso Machine Recordings. We're looking at the fall for release, and we recently did a video for a single called "Remedy."

There's a really rich history of alternative music in Athens, which makes it feel like you guys fit in very well there.
Vaganek: It's pretty fertile ground. There's a really good musical community here. Everyone's pretty connected.
Is there still a place for indie rock and stuff like that there?
Vaganek: Oh, definitely. There's a lot of bands who are active right now that are doing good stuff. For instance, at this Savannah show we're playing with our friends Mean Queen. They're really good. They just did a record with Mike as well at Espresso Machine. Our friends SHEHEHE have been around for a bunch of years, and they've been killing it.
Tell me more about the new record? Is there anything you can pinpoint that's evolved or different from past releases?
Vaganek: It's definitely an evolution of stuff we've previously done. It's still in that guitar-driven vein, but there's a lot more dual vocals on this. Margo [Fortune], our bass player, has been with us for a few years now. We've been focusing a lot more on dual voices in our songs. If I'm singing lead, Margo's great at doing harmonies and finding spaces to sing.
As far as the songwriting, too, we’re definitely keeping things tight and [focusing on] knowing what’s needed and what’s not needed [laughs]. When it comes to songwriting, I’m really about the least common denominator. I put something in a song because I feel it needs to be there. A couple of songs are a little pulled back, but it’s definitely a rock record.
And aside from being a great engineer, Mike is a friend. He’s really straightforward with us. If something’s slightly off, he’ll say, ‘Let’s try that again.’ It really pulls out you’re best performances. We’re really psyched about sharing this record.
Tags: Music Features, Hunger Anthem, Rock, Indie, Sonic Youth, Bob Mould, Dinosaur Jr, The Jinx - Connect Savannah

"Threats and Promises"

Hunger Anthem made good on their promise and released the five-song Cut the Chord. It bursts with urgency and is packed with jaw-droppingly great tunefulness. If I’m forced to pick a favorite, it’s “Soul Of Clay.” Everything anyone ever loved about Archers of Loaf, Superchunk and those early Five Eight records is wrapped up in that one song like it's a brand new concept. And that's exactly what a great song is supposed to do: make the listener feel like he's never heard any of this before. The record was recorded by bassist Jesse Stinnard (Tunabunny, Antlered Auntlord), and I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't also mention the rock-solid backbeat of drummer Cameron Kelly. - Flagpole


Now this is what I'm talking about. I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't get into the webzine business in hopes of getting free records by unknown artists. We've gotten a few in the RetroLowFi mailbox, but Hunger Anthem is exactly the type of thing I pray will drop into our promo pile every single day. Just an average guy that holes himself up in his bedroom to make records that are way, way above average.

Hailing from Buffalo, this record is one well-kept secret. It's low-fi because it doesn't need to be any cleaner. It's DIY because he's doing just fine without anyone else's help. And here's the best part: the album's only thirty minutes long. That's right, Hunger Anthem jumps into your listening space, says "Hey, I'm really fucking good" and leaves before you have a chance to get bored.

Brendan, the man behind Hunger Anthem, operates on only two speeds for his debut album: either loud as fuck or quiet and plaintive. There's no inbetween, and the moodshifts come without warning. The album doesn't pander to you, you've got to greet it on it's own terms… and it's always rewarding if you're willing to put in the work.

Highlights from the 'loud as fuck' catergory include, but are not limited to:
1. The mangled vocals and pop strum of "Worm", which clock in at under two minutes.
2. Opening track "A Special Undoing", a song that's very reminiscent of Copper Blue-era Sugar.
3. "Color", which sounds like Tobin Sprout hiding behind a wall of distortion pedals.

And hey, let's not sell the mellow stuff short either, because "Mantle Matches" is some pretty otherworldly acoustic stuff, while the lyrics of "Erase" are exactly the 'moment of zen' you need after a record with random lyrical visuals spread throughout.

Hunger Anthem: the whole reason that DIY still matters. Check it out. - -

"Billy's Bunker"


Hunger Anthem is stark in it's tinsel thin rock songs, and naked-to-the-bone folk rock lyricism. Need seeps out through every line. Brendan J. Vaganek's lines to time tap into the unrequited love of communication and the dream of a common language. He sends out clusters of meaning in phrases like tiny hammers hurled through the "your violence of underrated silence" despite the prevailing "crisis of confidence" to all us folk "banished unto the earth." He has seen the present and it doesn't work. He may be a kin to Sonic Youth. The music matches the message with crisp pop rock power chords recorded XTC thin like early Pete Townsend on a Marshall with a busted bass knob. Each rock song feels like a demo chopping chords on tuned telephone wires beaten with a restless pick. The folk rock songs bare all simple as Seeger with a tension in the sweet and sour descriptions full of pop glitz and hurt into poetry. The surprise filling to this Horehound Drop of a confection is hope itself unspoken. Must be more or there wouldn't be any point in pointing. Taken as a whole, Hunger Anthem is an album in search of a common language. Maybe you can't buy a ticket to the future, but it comes up like a second chance every day. Take a look at those significant new purchases in your arsenal of things to fix the emptiness. Ask the repeated broken question of the album: "What were you thinking now?"

Maybe it's a coincidence, but I hear a direct voice on Hunger Anthem close to what I hear on my new copy of Gang of Four's Entertainment!. I bought that treasured import this week at the Sidewinder coffee shop from the stack just about to be sold at Shake-It to fund a move outa town. Now that's a band Kurt Cobain praised, but who maybe didn't get played on your Clear Channel radio. Hunger Anthem and Gang of Four seem to speak directly to the listener like a plea for reason. And their message is often that something missing in the lyric. Comparisons are the bleakest form of review, but there's something in the language and pared down feeling shared by Entertainment! and Hunger Anthem, and that's high praise. A critique on culture you can dance to is worth my buck any day. It's not a lyric style chosen on advice from A&R men and marketing managers. Once in a while it's good to choose a record that feels like it was sung off a college ruled page alone in a studio. Fact is, every CD is just somebody with a pen and a pick too dissatisfied to stay quiet and play along with what they hear on their TVs. Just some guy with something to say is all it ever is.

Cut to the acoustic message songs and you'll hear a voice sincere as Pete Seeger's crying out for some sort of clean communication in a dumbed by screens. Brendan felt his way through these songs with a English major's sense of cracked meaning. I'm anxious for the state of man listening to this album, though every song is set in the comfortable nouveau pop or acoustic folk rock. This album sounds homemade. This album is personal enough to feel like Brendan is just a guy with a need to tell his story loud with loner's look on why things don't work. Green Day used to sound like that.

The name Hunger Anthem sets the tone as the songbook of a man concerned with what merchandise and common wisdom we need to feel free, which stuff can't help us. That band name is a celebration of the hungry consumer half-life learned from ruthless admen selling the idea of satisfaction stamped on brand name happiness. This music here is a hollow bucket for the emptiness left at the bottom of the box we live in and a hidden pointer to the hope might be the prize if we could find it. Listening alone in a room increases my dissatisfaction with post-free Amerikan excuses for bad behavior and pabulum spouting advice mongers from the White House and the House of Oprah, whichever may be more powerful. The language of this album recognizes the necessity of absurd and oxymoronic speech to power. This album is a story worth telling not the least for its open-hearted malcontented charm. The intended audience are all those of us banished unto the earth. Feels like that to me. - -


Hunger Anthem-"Remedy" single

Hunger Anthem-"Cut the Chord"ep

Hunger Anthem-s/t



Hunger Anthem is an indie power rock trio hailing from Athens, Georgia with an absolute keen bent towards guitar driven tuneful pop bearing a definite punk ethos. Lyrics shooting with immediate urgency straight from the gut with colorful observations of experience and struggle are delivered and realized through male/female vocals and tight live sets. Their unified kinship with each other as well as a positive outlook in a wavering world are two of the primary factors keeping their work ethic consistently strong and their van wheels blazing onward and further.

Recently back from playing Fest in Gainesville, FL, the band will continue to tour regularly in the new year. They recently released the video/single "Remedy", and will be releasing a full length. The have an EP and a previous full length out as well.

Hunger Anthem is:
Brendan Vaganek-vocals/guitars
Margo Fortune-bass/vocals
Cameron Kelly-drums