Brendan Lukens has always compared his band Modern Baseball to a journal for him and co-songwriter Jacob Ewald.
The band is known for easily relatable songs that are earnest, direct and highly personal, so even as the band's sound changes and evolves—as it does on the new, surprise EP—the essence of Modern Baseball remains.
"Modern Baseball was started to be an outlet for the two songwriters, Jacob and I. It's always been our journal and we're still the same hyper-personal people," Lukens says.
"But we're been listening to so much music and coming together and learning how each other plays, and it's broadened our imagination to try new things and give the cool stuff we want to do a shot, not be pigeonholed in any genre. It's a very natural progression."
Formed in 2011 when its members were still in high school, the Philadelphia pop-punk quartet, with Ian Farmer on bass and Sean Huber on drums, released the breakthrough You're Gonna Miss It All in March 2014. The album was a surprise success, peaking at No. 97 on the Billboard Top 200 and even topping the Vinyl Albums chart its debut week.
The band did four full U.S. tours in support that record, along with their first international touring. While the initial plans were to take time off to write and record for their third album, the band decided to take a batch of songs and put together a new EP to release, giving fans new music earlier rather than later.
Led by the singles "Revenge Of The Nameless Ranger" and "The Thrash Particle," the new project was released on the band's own Lame-O Records, with the purposefully over-the-top title MOBO Presents: The Perfect Cast EP Featuring Modern Baseball.
"We just wanted to put music out and give the fans that had been supporting us something," Lukens says. "We wanted the title to be very, very ironic. We've always been silly guys and there's a lightheartedness to life that we want to show."
The songs are crafted with a bit more nuance than the full-speed ahead pop-punk of You're Gonna Miss It All and the band's 2012 debut Sports. But the witty, true-to-life lyrics from Ewald and Lukens remain front and center.
"We're definitely trying to do something new," Lukens says. "We've all grown as musicians and that's naturally showing in the band. We're not making any effort to go to an extreme length to do something crazy, we're all just ourselves, but we're better."
Just four months after recording The Perfect Cast, Modern Baseball went back to The Headroom studio to record their third record. No release date has been scheduled, but Lukens says to expect Holy Ghost sometime in 2016.
For now, Modern Baseball is mixing in songs from The Perfect Cast as well as still-unreleased material into the live shows. The fall tour features a typically diverse lineup, including PUP, Jeff Rosenstock and Tiny Moving Parts.
"The reason we wanted to spread it out a bit, besides loving all the bands, is it had always worked for us in the past, whether we were doing pop punk tour that had quote unquote emo bands or whatever," Lukens says.
"Whether small DIY shows, or giant shows, we've noticed the more variety we have on the show the better it goes and the more fun people end up having."