Artist Of The Week: Modern Baseball
by Erik van Rheenen
Sports was always meant to be a personal project, a still life of a few twenty-something Drexel kids set to lyrics and insights from Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald, a portrait of the uncomfortable and unsure college students as young men. There were no expectations, no limitations, no reservations: Sports was a challenge to get some hyperpersonal songs down on paper and those songs onto an album and that album onto wax.
“As reliable as your friends are, you can’t always spill your heart out to them,” says Modern Baseball wordsmith Ewald (a role he splits with Lukens), “That’s what the songs were an outlet for.”
What few prospects Ewald hoped for were modest at best — all the singer wanted was for a basement of kids to scream his songs back to the band in full force. The band would play two local (the City of Brotherly Love, for the geographically uninclined) shows a week — Ewald says when he wasn’t doing schoolwork or rehearsing, he was in the van.
Modern Baseball kept Sports — a collection of songs Ewald admits came from “a pretty pissed off place” — in constant rotation when it first came out. At its heart, the record was really a conversation between Ewald and co-lyricist Brendan Lukens. Ewald explains that writing much of Sports was more like the duo expressing their thoughts and emotions to each other than actually writing an album.