Standout Track: No. 2, “The Box,” a ferocious hardcore punk thrasher from a diverse pack of D.C. musical mainstays, including Brandon Moses from Laughing Man, Ryan McLaughlin from Typefighter, Matt Dowling from Deleted Scenes and the Effects, Dan Ramspacher from Pray for Polanski, and Erik Sleight from Br’er. “There’s no freedom in that box,” screams Moses, the urgency and frustration in his voice echoing the song’s overload of distorted guitars. “The Box” comes out on a limited-edition cassette, Other EP, on Oct. 21.
Musical Motivation: Still reeling from a bad breakup, Moses’ lyrics deal with the destructive things people do to themselves when experiencing emotional pain. “Right now you feel free/But there’s no freedom when you’re stuck/In your room/Making marks with a razor,” he sings. “‘The Box’ is about self-harm,” says Moses. “There’s a big community of people who have dealt with a lot of bullshit and are looking for a safe forum for being themselves.”
Something to Do With My Hands: In Joy Buttons’ early days, Moses was tapped to play bass and sing. But he quickly figured out that he wasn’t as good at multitasking as he thought, leading the band to bring in Dowling and have Moses just handle vocal duties. The transition didn’t jibe well with Moses at first. “It was a hard decision,” he says. “It took me maybe a month to settle on [the idea] that I wasn’t going to play bass.” But, thanks to Dowling, Moses can now live out his dream of having free hands onstage. “[It was] my general desire to play in a band where I didn’t have to worry about playing an instrument while singing.”
Stream “The Box” below. Joy Buttons play Paperhaus on Oct. 17.