The Lawrence Arms
The Lawrence Arms got together in 1999 after the departure of Chicago pop-punkers the Broadways, Slapstick, Baxter, and Tricky Dick. The collaboration of Brendan Kelly (vocals/bass), Neil Hennessy (drums), and Chris McCaughan (guitar/vocals) produced music in the same vein of their previous bands: clever -- often politically inspired -- pop-punk with an aggressive, gritty edge. Asian Man Records released the Lawrence Arms' first album, A Guided Tour of Chicago, in November of 1999, while their second album, Ghost Stories, followed six months later. Present Day Memories, a split release with Asian Man peers the Chinkees, appeared in summer 2001. After 13 straight months of touring and drunken debauchery, the Lawrence Arms joined forces with Fat Wreck for 2002's Apathy and Exhaustion. The Greatest Story Ever Told was issued in September 2003; two years later Cocktails & Dreams, a compilation of B-sides, live recordings, and stray tracks, surfaced. Their next full-length, Oh! Calcutta!, came in March 2006, followed by a statewide tour with NOFX. With the exception of an EP in 2009, the wryly titled Buttsweat and Tears, the band was not to release anything further until 2014, thanks to the members' involvement in side projects the Falcon and Sundowner, and Hennessy's stint with Smoking Popes. In fact, some believed the band had split completely, until they announced in late 2013 that they had signed to Epitaph and would be releasing a new single, "News from Yalta," and a full-length album, Metropole, in January of the following year. The album had a melodic, accessible sound and was hailed as their most mature effort to date. In 2018, nearly 20 years after forming, the band issued the 29-track best-of compilation We Are the Champions of the World. Spanning their entire career, the album also featured unreleased tracks taken from their 2006 sessions for Oh! Calcutta. ~ Mike DaRonco
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