PREMIER: Ogbert the Nerd drop “Bike Cops”

Ogbert the Nerd, rising sophomores in the New Jersey emo scene, dropped “Bike Cops” at midnight tonight, the second single from their yet to be announced second record due out hopefully later this year. This is a day of joyous celebration for long time Og heads as “Bike Cops” has been a staple of their live set for at least a year now, and the recorded version retains every bit of the debaucherous hysteria that the song has live. I am really not sure how they captured that energy at the studio either to be honest. The band recorded the track at guitar player and occasional vocalist Ross Lane’s Dad’s studio, Studio Six-Fifty, so maybe Doug Lane and Max Rauch who mixed and mastered the track got a mosh pit going in the booth to keep the gang in the zone. Whatever they all did the track feels every bit as rowdy as it did the first time I heard it live. That being said, this recorded version of “Bike Cops” outdoes any live version I’ve heard if not just for the incredible fucking horn section. At the eleventh hour drummer Matt Renzo called his buddies trumpeter Bryan McNaughton, trombonist Kyle Couter, and tenor saxophonist Ben Dunford to give the track a little extra somethin somethin. Thank the Good Lord he did too, because those three fellas on the horns give “Bike Cops” such a massive, dare I say Springsteen-ian, sense of weight and purpose, especially in the back half of the track where the brass really shines. (Another staple of Ogbert’s live set is their lead singer Madison announcing almost every track as a cover of “Born to Run“ and there is nothing funnier than seeing some Johnny-come-lately in the crowd scratching their head after falling for the bit.) “Bike Cops” is not a sprawling epic in the Springsteen tradition however, but rather a personal story of someone struggling to be understood by the people they love the most. Wasting time is presented almost as a sacred act. It’s absolutely sublime when time is wasted between people who understand each other and a ceaseless hell when the time wasting is born out of misunderstanding. It hits me like a ton of bricks every time I hear Madison crescendo into the massive closer, “Don’t talk to me if you don’t wanna say anything. I don’t wanna be some lower level obligation,” because holy shit! How awful is that polite suffering we put each other through to make ourselves feel like we are doing enough to check the box. The covering of tracks that we do with our lives, especially with people we are supposed to love the most, which is most especially awful when you are the box being checked!  Madison closes the track screaming “You couldn’t see it the way that I see it, we could waste our lives together… like you wanted,” as the band lets out one last collective gasp, like this weight is finally being lifted off their shoulders, at least until they catch their breath.  

I recently saw Ogbert play a killer show at Pino’s in Highland Park, NJ with Forests, Ben Quad, and Invalids, and I was able to get my younger brother Liam, who doesn’t know fifth wave emo from the fifth wave at the beach, to accompany me because he loves live music and really liked the Forests shirt I got him a few months back. When I heard Renzo come in with “Bike Cops’” propulsive introductory drums I turned to Liam and said “it’s not out yet but this is their best song.” Afterwards, I asked Liam if he liked the track and he thought deeply for a moment before saying to me, “If Ogbert was playing at Madison Square Garden, I think I could trick my friends into thinking they’re Blink 182.” Regardless of your opinion of Blink (me and Liam happen to think they kick ass) he obviously didn’t mean it literally and absolutely meant it as a compliment. Liam meant it as a testament to the fact that this shit isn’t just for the DIY punks scrobbling as they reorganize their collections on Discogs. “Bike Cops” absolutely has mainstream appeal, and that is because the track is catchy as all hell without losing an iota of the raucous frenzy that made us basement show dwellers fall in love with Ogbert in the first place. I hope and genuinely think it’ll become the first track a whole legion of new Ogbert fans hear, the track has just had some special sauce in there since the first time they played it live. I will tell you one thing for sure, I could not be more excited for the eventual album Ogbert the Nerd has in store.  

If you’re looking for more, check out our interview with Ogbert from 2020 on the release of their debut album I Don’t Hate You. “Bike Cops” album art was made by Quartz Morrigan.

Liam Higgins‘ live reaction to “Bike Cops” at Pino’s

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