Single Premiere: New Hampshire’s Badfellows take the guitar-pop blame on ‘Awful Anxious’


“Get in, say what you need to say, and get out” — that’s the motto of Badfellows’ singer/guitarist Evan Benoit when it comes to making tight tunes like “Awful Anxious.” The latest single from the Manchester indie band, who release new album Personal Beehive next Friday (August 26) via Granite Tapes, moves exactly at the clip of budding apprehension and impressively taps into the chaos of the 21st century in the span of a mere two minutes.

“This is one of a couple of songs on the record that, once we recorded them, we sat down and listened and said ‘this is only 2 minutes long?’” Benoit tells Vanyaland. “It really doesn’t feel that short, to me, because I feel it’s complete and concise.”

However, from the sound of the track, Badfellows would have you fooled about the song’s length. With a chugging chorus of acoustic guitar licks and a rapid fire of two frenetic verses, the tune remains complete, even in spite of its brevity. “I went to school for illustration and one of the keys to being a fruitful and successful illustrator was keeping it simple.” Benoit says. “For years now I’ve kept that same approach with music, trying to cut some of the fluff from songs. This album actually sees us extending songs a bit, giving them room to breathe.”


“Awful Anxious” evens out the overall tempo of Badfellows’ forthcoming album with its harried cadence, making it a racing anthem in comparison to many of the other songs from the record. “I kind of went in to writing ‘Awful Anxious’ knowing we needed something a little peppier and tonally different. A lot of the album is kind of mid-tempo, I guess,” Benoit adds. “‘Awful Anxious’ is one of the more positive sounding moments on the record. You need those tonal shifts from gloom and doom to more bright and snappy. The key is trying to make those changes sound natural and not forced.”

Lyrically, Benoit says the song is an ode to the nature of dealing with conflicts and the frenzied culture of finger-pointing and scapegoating: “The song is kind of a coalescence of every argument I’ve had as an adult where I start off with the best intentions and end up making things worse.”

In the end, the only outfit to blame for this feverish jam is the budding Manchester band themselves. Personal Beehive gets the release party treatment at Fuzz Hut in their hometown on September 2 before Badfellows make a pair of September appearances in our ‘hood: They’ll be at Cambridge’s Plough and Stars on September 8, and O’Brien’s Pub in Allston on September 21.


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