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The Graduate
Genre: Indie/Pop
Hometown: Quincy, Ill., and Springfield, Ill.
Label Management: ICON MES

Tim Moore, drums
Matt Kennedy, guitars and keys
Corey Warning, vocals
Max Sauer, guitars
Jared Wuestenberg, bass

Musical Influences
From the Band
Young bands struggle – that’s a given. Even young bands dubbed “the voice of a generation” after one album and who land on some of the world’s biggest festival stages will face some unexpected obstacles. It’s how those bands handle adversity that truly defines their legacy. Meet, or re-meet, The Graduate. In 2005, the band formed out of the ashes of two defunct local bands in central Illinois.

By 2006 the new group had already garnered some serious label attention, and within the next year The Graduate had released their first record, Anhedonia. The album earned praise from the likes of Spin, CMJ (where they landed on the cover) and (who coined the “voice of the generation” comment); on the strength of that one release, the group landed on the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, The Bamboozle and the German music fest Rock am See, as well as tours with the likes of Jack’s Mannequin, Secondhand Serenade, Simple Plan, and Ludo.

And then the bottom fell out. The band’s label folded in 2008, leaving the group back at square one, right as the work had started on album number two. “Let’s put it this way – we had expected to work on our second record for two months, not two years,” says guitarist Max Sauer. But even faced with an uncertain future, the band soldiered on, renting a house in their native Springfield, IL, and writing a new record entirely on their own dime. “In a way, it helped,” says Warning. “For this second record, we feel like we delivered an album. The last record was sort of just everything we had written, including some songs from an old EP. This time, we had 30 demos ready by the time we tracked, we had the time to pick the best stuff and work on each individual song.” (During this time, the group also signed a deal with the New York indie label Razor & Tie, home to the likes of Brand New, Norma Jean.)

You can hear the result of all that extra time and attention to detail in the band’s new album. It’s certainly not a trendy release – there are no outside songwriters, pop producers, keytars or Top 40 collaborators here. Nor is the record purposely esoteric. Instead, The Graduate delivers an intricate, dynamic pop-rock record with equal parts aggression and atmosphere – you could fit the record comfortably between Jimmy Eat World, U2, Minus the Bear and even Arcade Fire in your playlist (Yes, we said Arcade Fire. Check out the choruses of “Pull Me In” and “For the Missing” for proof).

Most importantly, the album feels like a natural progression from Anhedonia. Despite the delays and upheaval of the last two years, the group still sounds incredibly comfortable working with each other. “It helps that we all pretty much like the same things in music,” says Warning. “We all write and bring different things to the songs, but it’s really easy when we come together. We take each other’s opinions seriously.”

The band credits producer Brian McTernan, best known for his work with Cave In, Thrice, Circa Survive, and Hot Water Music (among dozens of other A-level bands), for helping the group progress. The band recorded both of their records in the producer’s Salad Days studio in Baltimore, but felt a stronger presence from him this second time around. “The first record, he acted almost as a coach,” says Warning. “With this record, he was almost like a member of the band.” For now, the group plans to hit the road in the fall with Ludo, their tourmates from 2008, and pretty much keep the pedal to the floor. “That’s really what our lives are about – this band,” says Warning. “Even in our off-time, we write, rehearse and just get ready to play these songs on stage. Whatever happens to us, we just concentrate on making this band better.”
"Horrorshow" (2006) "Anhedonia" (2007) "Only Every Time" (2010) "Pull Me In"