Monday Motivation: Romp

If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

The best music has the ability to transport us from wherever we are on this spinning rock we call home and place our feet in the shoes of another. Be it a bird in the sky or a first date at a punk rock show, music offers us perspectives and experiences in life that we may otherwise never be able to experience. For a few minutes, or maybe even just a few seconds, music allows us to shed the trappings of our skeletal cages and explore the endless possibilities of the imagination.

Romp, hailing from same New Jersey stomping ground that gave bands The Gaslight Anthem and Thursday their start, offer listeners the chance to view life through their eyes. Lead by vocalist and keyboardist Madison Klarer, the group blurs the lines between punk, indie rock, and revivalist emo to deliver anthem tales of love, life, exploration, and heartache with deeply personal lyrics that all but reach through the speakers and grab you by the collar. Like the influential bands that hail from their hometown, Romp find relatable in the minute details of existence. They find the simple beauty of a an everyday moment and through doing so create art that can and often will stop you in your tracks, or in the midst of yet another text, and demands you not only pay attention, but fully submit to the sonic adventure they wish to share.

Listening to Departure From Venus, the band’s full-length debut out this month on Bad Timing Records, is akin to sharing memories, problems, and aspirations with a close friend over coffee in the dead of morning or night. You know, when the sky is as quiet as the city streets and for a brief span of time you feel as if you and your friend are the only two people on the planet? This is album is like that, only in in musical form. Departure From Venus is a crash course on the band, its members, and who those members are as individuals channeled through anthemic choruses and hypnotic melodies meant to move your feet just as much as your soul. You could argue that other albums accomplish similar feats for their creators, and you may be right, but none of them hum with the emotional intensity or lyrical whimsy present in every note shared by Romp. This is their adventure, and they are guiding us as only they know how to do.

All of this musical magic would make a lot more sense if it had come from a band with years of shared memories and experiences behind them, but that is not the case with Romp. Two years ago no one in Romp knew the people who would soon be their bandmates, and it’s only because of a chance meeting through Tinder that the band even had a chance at being forged into existence. The fact their artistic chemistry mixes as well as it does at such a young age, both as individuals and a group, would be considered a miracle if not for the profound dedication and work ethic shared by the group’s members. You cannot find a person in alternative music who knows of Romp and does not swear by their talent. People have been cheering for this group long before they were being promoted by one of the hottest young alternative labels in music, and that fact speak entirely to their talent which, at the end of the day, is what always matters most.

As you head into this week, make time to experience Departure From Venus and allow yourself to fully engage with what you hear pouring through your speakers. Put down your phone, close your laptop, pour some coffee, and lose yourself in everything that Romp has to share. Their music, while riddled with angst, is as beautiful as anything laid to tape in the last year. It’s a sudden rush of pure energy and excitement for life, delivered through music, that will lift your spirits and make you think differently about the world around you, as well as how you deal with any hurdles in your way. Romp provides a soundtrack for self-acceptance that begs the listeners to embrace their every flaw with the same confidence as they do their strengths, and the best part of it all is that they’re only just getting started.


James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.