Today, Caveman share a brand new single and video “Work This Hard” alongside the release of their new album Smash. On the track, singer Matthew Iwanusa says, “Work This Hard is really about finally saying alright I have a choice to continue to sit in my depression and sadness or go out and find ways to be happy. not necessarily letting go from the memories and the feelings but letting go from the constant weight of sadness.” He describes the inspiration for the accompanying video: “I thought it would be fun to connect all the videos for this record together, but in a fun way. So a few friends and I went up to New Haven with our iPhones and said, let’s film Superbad meets Ferris Bueller meets Billy Madison.”
Smash is the first new Caveman record since 2016’s “Otero War.” Much of it was composed just after the death of Iwanusa’s cousin – her nickname Smash becoming the album title and much of the music inspired by her.
Their previous album was released on hip-hop label Cinematic Recordings (best known for Joey Badass) after a run with Mississippi label Fat Possum. On a whim early last year, they connected with old friend Peter Matthew Bauer of the Walkmen and his label Fortune Tellers to quickly release “New Sides” a series of recordings they had freed up the rights too while waiting for what would become “Smash” to return to their control. Basically dropping the EP five days after it was mastered, it was an early step to just get out into the world again a little with the song “You Got A Feeling” getting picked up on several major playlists and radio stations. “It was just great for people to hear something from us,” says Iwanusa. “It feels like it’s been forever and now we’re sitting on so much new music that’s finally able to get out into the world.”
Since Caveman began in 2010, they’ve released 3 full length records, toured endlessly (sharing stages with The War on Drugs, Jeff Tweedy, and Weezer, and playing festivals including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits) and received accolades from everyone from Pitchfork to the New York Times.
Now in 2021, they have become one of the mainstays of the New York music world. More than anything, Caveman are the band that everyone seems to know, who always seemed to be out on the town for many years if you needed someone to meet up with late into the night, the throughline to a dozen disparate crowds of artists.
Led by Matthew Iwanusa, lifelong city resident, they are a quintessential New York band, a long time presence, and one of the few remaining centerpieces of the city’s fleeting indie music scene. Matthew was the child of two jazz musicians who grew up a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus. When he was 13, he met guitarist Jimmy Carbonetti (who grew up on Roosevelt Island) and quickly started their first band in high school, going on tour with bands such as the Walkmen alongside two of their teachers. At age 18, they met Jeff Berrall (bass) while he was bartending at Bar Sine’ in the East Village. It was there they also met Nick Stumpf (French Kicks) who would go on to produce their first two records.
Nowadays, they’ve grown from young punk kids into statesmen of sorts for New York indie music. Jimmy’s Brooklyn shop The Guitar Shop NYC is a city institution as well as a clubhouse for the band. Practicing and working out of Williamsburg nightclub Baby’s Alright during it’s down hours, the band are just beginning to recreate the momentum of their early career after a period of false starts, legal issues and frustrating delays that slowed the release of their new record for several years.