Premiere: Justin Courtney Pierre Shares New EP ‘Permanent Midnight’ – Stream It Below

Dec 09, 2022

By Caleb Campbell

Earlier in the pandemic, Justin Courtney Pierre, frontman of long-running pop punk outfit Motion City Soundtrack, set out to write and record four EPs in only a year’s span. It proved to be an intense and ambitious undertaking, beginning with An Anthropologist on Mars in March of 2021, followed by The Price Of Salt in July and Ghost World in November.

Though an ADHD diagnosis, unexpected spinal surgery, and battles with anxiety all delayed the series’ final installment, Pierre has been steadily rolling it out over this year, sharing two new singles, “House of Strangers” and “So Beautiful and Difficult.” Today, he’s back with the full EP, premiering with Under the Radar.

Permanent Midnight finds Pierre once again in a reflective mood, exploring aging, fatherhood, family, and longing via strikingly personal narratives. The opener “Used to Be Old School” sways and shimmers, ascending to moments of wistful euphoria before returning to a muted meditative murmur. Meanwhile, “Back At 45” offers up a playful rocker, featuring plenty of ad-libs from Pierre’s daughter Max, before transitioning effortlessly into the sweeping indie rock balladry of “So Beautiful and Difficult.”

Finally, following the jangly and hopeful tones of “House of Strangers,” the record finds an extravagant show-stopping finale with “You’re the Reason,” coloring Pierre’s sweet lyrical tribute to his family with ringing bells and marching drums. After a long wait for the final entry in Pierre’s series of EPs, Permanent Midnight, traces a heartwarming portrait of perseverance and warmth, tributing all of the people who pushed him through his battles.

Pierre explains the EP’s story and origin, saying:

“Initially in March of 2020, I set out to record one-fourth of a potential second full-length solo album. I flew home from LA just days before everything shut down. Brett Gurewitz tried for half a year to convince me to just release the 5 songs we recorded as an EP. From March to July of that year I was in excruciating pain due to collapsing in the bathroom and hitting my head, neck, and back on different parts of the tub on the way down. Through a haze of medical cannabis and constantly gritted teeth, I took him up on his idea, as long as I could release 3 more EP’s that were originally going to be part of what would’ve been my 2nd solo effort. I had spine surgery in late July and had to learn how to walk again. In the role of self-appointed physical therapist, my daughter took me by the hand and walked me around the house several times a day. Eventually, I got better, and once I had my mind back I started writing.

I had originally tried to get all these EPs out within a 12-month period (4 months apart), but I ran out of steam on EP 4, which I started recording in December if 2021 while simultaneously trying to relearn MCS songs and prep for the upcoming tour.

A word like brevity implies the shortest possible distance from start to finish. And there is absolutely no place for elongated specificity (my specialty) when tensions are running high and real-life situations require swift action. But sometimes it takes 6 years of constant therapy to finally break through the casing you forged as a small child to house all your emotions and feelings within because you felt so much, all the time, and it was overwhelming.

I’m just gonna throw this out there: if you dig what I do or what I’ve done, and you want to support the cause, just listen to the tunes (whichever outfit of mine you dig the most). And if you feel moved to do so, please share my music with a friend you think might benefit from having heard it. And if you have the money, fucking buy my music (happy god damned holidays), or buy some of my garbage merch that’s just been collecting dust in a warehouse somewhere in California. Look, I’m not good at asking for what I need, so this is me simply suggesting that you support the art you dig, in whatever way you can. Thanks for listening. Much love. I’ll reach out again when I am able to.”

Check out the full EP below and stream it here, out everywhere now via Epitaph.

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