In Charleston, where there is nothing to do but skateboard, drink “shitty box wine”, and hangout, three dudes in high school formed a band called Heyrocco that personifies the teen angst of growing up in the suburbs.
Nathan Merli sings lead vocals and plays guitar, the guy with the real cool name Chris Cool plays bass, and then there’s Tanner Cooper or “Taco” on drums. Together they make melodic grungy tunes about the awkward, vulnerable, and rebellious feels of being a hormonal teenager.
I first saw Heyrocco back in June at Shea Stadium. Their debut album Teenage Movie Soundtrack had just come out on Old Flame Records and they were about to play their first show back in the US after a super successful tour in the UK.
They opened to a scattered crowd and played songs from the album which covers pretty much every topic that teen-dom entails. Let’s see, there’s girls, peer pressure, horny teens, virginity, clumsy sex, hookups, heartbreak, house parties, hating everyone and everything around you…yup, I’m pretty sure that covers everything.
Heyrocco describe their sound as “disney grunge” and it gives a very 90s feel to them that sometimes (bear with me as I try to compare them to other bands) reminds me of a grungier Motion City Soundtrack but if Conor Oberst was the vocalist.
I wonder if they would hate it if I compared them to Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down” or Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid”…I’m going to do it anyways, because their music reminds me of a time where I would play songs like that on repeat with my bedroom door shutting out the world so I could wallow in my teen angst to the band (the only people who understood me). Dramatic, I know.
It was funny talking about some of the verses with Merli. He stopped mid-sentence at one point and was like, “Oh my god, I sound emo.” Because it’s true adolescent feelings and behaviors can sound pretty ridiculous, especially from an outside perspective. But Heyrocco embraces the humor in it, for example by holding up a t-shirt that says “daddy issues” at the end of the music video for “Loser Denial”.
Other times, especially when they played their song “Virgin”, Heyrocco really sounds like Nirvana.
“Virgin” makes fun of stereotypical macho males bragging about sexual conquests and pressuring others to do the same. They approach many similar themes in the same deadpan style of Kurt Cobain, and to complete my mental comparison for the night, Cooper was wearing the same “Hi, How Are You” Daniel Johnston t-shirt Cobain often wore.
Although Heyrocco claim to be “packing more bowls than venues” I would say they’re doing pretty well. They are currently back touring in the UK, where they have been selling out shows, and are playing in Manchester the 13th before coming straight here to play CMJ on the 14th at Webster Hall. So what’s next? Some touring around the US then on to Canada eh. I also vaguely remember Merli saying something about going in a different direction with their music…but anyways still can’t wait to see what they do next. So cheers Heyrocco, thanks for reawakening the nostalgic angsty teen in me!