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Though their songs are sharp, upbeat, and catchy, Tenement aren't just another pop-punk band (and not just because they don't care for the phrase "pop-punk"); boasting a lyrical intelligence and eagerness to improvise that sets them apart from their peers, Tenement deliver a powerful live show while revealing a more nuanced and experimental side in the studio. Tenement were formed in 2006 by guitarist and singer Amos Pitsch, who is also responsible for the striking collage artwork that decorates the band's record sleeves and posters. Born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, Pitsch started playing drums when he was seven, and soon formed a makeshift band with his cousins. Pitsch moved up to guitar when he formed his first punk band, the Waffles, in 2001. Pitsch met bassist Jesse Ponkamo when they were both attending the same high school; Ponkamo, a sophomore, had been making noise with friends in hardcore and grindcore bands for several years prior to meeting freshman Pitsch. When Ponkamo ended up at a jam session at Pitsch's house, the two decided to form a band named the Heatseekers, but by the time the new group began playing out, the band's handle had become Tenement. Tenement went through several drummers before Eric Mayer signed on as the band's temporary drummer shortly before they set out on a tour in mid-2009. Mayer fit the band well enough that he never left, and later that year the band began making its first recorded appearances on compilation releases and split singles. In 2011, Tenement released their first album, Napalm Dream, a set the trio had been working on since 2009; the group's second full-length release, The Blind Wink, also appeared in late 2011, several months after a pre-release cassette edition was first sold during tour dates. Tenement continued to tour frequently, including playing a string of dates in Japan with Holy Shit!, and slowly but surely they assembled their third and most wide-ranging set to date. Don Giovanni Records released Tenement's long-awaited third album, Predatory Headlights, in June 2015.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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