SCHENECTADY – This week, the local indie rock band E.R.I.E., led by Schenectady guitarist and vocalist TJ Foster, premiered its new single, “My Rusted Armor,” an anthemic song with crunching guitars, catchy choruses and a down-to-earth, working-class vibe that recalls modern heartland punk rock like the Gaslight Anthem as well as the downbeat yet uplifting indie rock of Death Cab for Cutie.
Things are looking up for E.R.I.E., a quartet that also includes members from around the area: Levi Jennes on bass, Chad Flewwelling on drums, and Matt Delgado on guitar.
E.R.I.E signed with Mint 400 Records back in 2020 and are about to embark on their first tour of the Northeast, which brings them back to the Capital Region in the fall for several shows, including one on Sept. 10 at Singlecut Brewing in Clifton Park and one on Sept. 16 at Albany Distilling Co. The band is also working on finishing a second full-length record.
Despite all the positive news of late, E.R.I.E. formed under more dire circumstances. Several years ago, Foster was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night with an acute heart condition.
“They had to perform emergency heart surgery, and I found myself holed up in a hospital bed for a few days with a lot of time to my own thoughts. I decided right then and there that I needed to focus more on what made me happiest — and that included music,” Foster says.
“It had been a few years since I’d been in a rock band,” Foster adds, “and I missed everything about it. So, I figured why not start something? I’m sort of an impatient person when it comes to songwriting, so I did things a little backwards. I wrote a record [“Don’t Wanna Live, Don’t Wanna Die”] and then assembled the band after the fact.”
The band’s debut album covered themes of mortality and the importance of making the most of life, which also echo through the “My Rusted Armor” single.
“The single is a reflection on all the things that ail you, realizing how much control you have and yet, despite that, doing almost nothing about them,” says Foster. “I like to think of the song as me slapping myself in the face. I think it’s a relatable sentiment today, that despite a constant push for self-care and self-improvement, you can still be starved for energy or motivation because something as trivial as say, doom-scrolling, sucks the life out of you.”
After over two years of pandemic, the idea of experiencing melancholy mixed with joie de vivre is a relatable one.
“What’s inspired me since day one with the band is the feeling I had when I was a teenager, just starting out playing messy punk rock in garages and basements,” Foster says. “It was loose and fun and there was no pressure. That’s how I approach everything with E.R.I.E., even more so since the pandemic hit. You never know when all this could be taken away, so it’s very important to me to enjoy every second of it.”
Check out “My Rusted Armor” on major streaming sites and visit abandcallederie.com for news about the band.
The Week Ahead
— Jazz on Jay continues in downtown Schenectady today for the second-to-last week this summer of free lunchtime jazz at the corner of Jay and State streets. Curley Lamb Nu-Soul-Jaz Quartet features vocalist Ria Curley with pianist Chuck Lamb. Lamb has performed all over the world with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (BBQ), while Curley is an accomplished songwriter with a velvety voice. 12 noon-1:30 p.m.
— Groovy space age sounds, twangy tremolo and vintage vibes permeate the pleasing pop of Los Angeles quartet La Luz, who bring their 10th anniversary tour to Empire Underground (93 N. Pearl St., Albany) on Saturday, Aug. 27, with opener Ghost Funk Orchestra. The all-women surf-garage group is known for layered vocal harmonies and energetic live shows replete with Soul Train-inspired dance contests. 8 p.m.
— The same night, Philadelphia’s Boyz II Men reprise ‘90s hits like “End of the Road” and “Motownphilly” at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). One of the best-selling R&B groups of all time, the ballad- and acapella-driven crooners have been touring as a trio, down one member from the original quartet. 8 p.m.
— British songwriter Richard Thompson appears at Caffè Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) next week for an unprecedented three-night stand, starting on Tuesday, Aug. 30. This is a rare opportunity to see the legendary folk-rocker in the small confines of Caffè Lena. Among Thompson’s many accolades, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed him with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) and Rolling Stone magazine named him on of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” 7 p.m.
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