Brooklyn trio Proper. today release a brand new single from their forthcoming freshly announced new album The Great American Novel. ‘Huerta’ exorcises lead singer Erik Garlington’s relationship with his ancestry, exploring his Mexican heritage.
Talking about the track he said: “We’re coming up on our third album and I realized I hadn’t written about my Mexican heritage at all. My grandfather immigrated to the US in 50s but died before I was born, cutting off the only tie my family has to Mexico. I grew up romanticizing it and it wasn’t until I was older, when my mom and her siblings spoke out about their dad without the filter one uses when speaking around children, that I began to critically examine what heritage and lineage meant. ‘Huerta’ is about looking at the least traveled part of your personality and day dreaming about the possibility.”
Recorded and produced by Bartees Strange, The Great American Novel will be released on Father/Daughter (US) and Big Scary Monsters (UK) on March 25, 2022, with a UK and EU tour throughout April and May. Garlington explains Proper.’s new record as “a concept album about how Black genius goes ignored, is relentlessly contested, or just gets completely snuffed out before it can flourish. The record is meant to read like a book, every song is a chapter following the protagonist through their 20s. Imagine a queer, Black Holden Caulfield-type coming up in the 2010s.”
Active in the emo and punk circles since 2017 (the band was called Great Wight until 2019) the members of Proper., all of whom identify as Black and queer, found themselves in predominantly white, male, cis-gendered, heterosexual scene. They wrote The Great American Novel with this in mind, using the album to share their experiences and perspectives. “If these audiences are going to be a voyeur to the Black experience, I want them to hear this record and learn about our identity crises, our aimlessness, how many friends and family we know that are dead or in jail by 25. How at eight we are told we were gifted, but by 11 we are told we’re dangerous,” Garlington says.
The result is an album that is both lyrically and musically heavy. Clocking in at 15 tracks, the record includes standout tracks such as previously released single ‘Red, White and Blue’, a commentary on the imbalance between the United States’ everyday citizens and elite class. The songs reflect the overall tone of The Great American Novel – abrasive, powerful and beautifully poignant. Channeling the heavier music he listened to during his adolescence, from At the Drive-In to System of a Down, Garlington and his bandmates, bassist Natasha Johnson and drummer Elijah Watson, push themselves into ambitious new sonic territory.
Proper.’s 2019 sophomore album I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better was released on UK-based label Big Scary Monsters, and caught the attention of Father/Daughter as well as receiving praise from Pitchfork, the Independent, BrooklynVegan, Under the Radar, Afropunk and more.