Brooklyn’s I Am the Avalanche is a band that’s been around for 15 years and counting, and while their career has been filled with challenged — both personal and professional — nothing has been able to keep down forever.

Their phenomenal new record DIVE is out today via I Surrender Records, and is their first since 2014’s WolverinesDIVE confronts a crushing year for independent musicians, and comes out guns blazing, with wall-to-wall anthemic post-hardcore songs that fan will find comfort and familiarity in. Recording sessions for DIVE wrapped March 15th this year, the weekend where much of America first came to terms with the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After some last-call lyrical additions (notably the title track’s resounding salvo, “We suffer together / no one’s alone”) vocalist Vinnie Caruana fled North Jersey’s Barber Shop Studios to quarantine with his wife Laura in Brooklyn. Nevertheless, they both quickly received some crushing news. “We both got sick with coronavirus and quarantined together,” Caruana says. “Having her with me was a huge part of why this year wasn’t as dark as it could have been.

Caruana can acknowledge the good fortune of their recoveries after a couple bedridden weeks, along with the fact most of DIVE’s most dire lyrics were penned before the country went on lockdown. “This has been coming,” he insists. “Pre-pandemic, things were still shitty. Our country has been turned upside-down by the current administration. So the songs that sound like they were written yesterday… I don’t think that’s going to change.”

And so if you ask Caruana how it feels to finally have DIVE out, where the lyrics have truly aged like fine wine and I Am the Avalanche has never sounded better, it’s what he imagines a good dream feels like. “I only have bad dreams but having ‘DIVE’ finally be out today must be what a good dream feels like,” he says. “I Am The Avalanche has finally released a new full length record into the world and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. I hope this gives you a place to go, and reminds you that you aren’t alone. This record is for you. Yes, you.”

Today, Substream is thrilled to be teaming up with I Am the Avalanche to bring you an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of the record, taking you behind what went in to each song on DIVE. Hit play on the Spotify embed below, and then read Caruana’s breakdown of the record as you shift through each song. You can pick-up a copy of the record here.

“Better Days”: “We need hope to get us through this winter. Here’s an anthem to keep us warm. I’m thrilled with the reaction this song has received. Already an Avalanche classic.”

“You’re No Good To Me Dead”: “There’s a lot of darkness in my brain and I need to make sure I practice what I preach. A positive exterior with a negative interior won’t lead to happiness. It will burn from the inside out.”

“Dive”: “This is for my friends and family who are suffering. Pull up a seat. We suffer together. No one’s alone.” 

“Fake Weed”: “I was smoking a lot of weed in the studio that was very low in THC, which I enjoyed cuz you can smoke all day and be high and still get your work done and be inspired and creative  without curling up in a ball in the corner.” 

“Love Song 69”: “Title is an homage to ‘69 Love Songs’ by The Magnetic Fields. I wrote this one on my mini guitar/ukulele in bed feeling extremely hung over and grateful. This is my favorite love song I’ve ever done.”

“Are You Listening?”: “This was the second song we wrote for the album. We truly are all in this human experience together. Some have it easier than others. I don’t find life to be a breeze whatsoever. I battle every day and I know I’m not the only one.”

“Tokyo”: “In this song we pay homage to a man who showed I Am the Avalanche the utmost love and support when we were getting our start. Mikey had this riff and we jammed on it and it felt very No Use For A Name. So I carried that into the lyrics. Rest well, Tony Sly.”

“Concrete”: “This song was in the first batch that we wrote the music for. I get so sick of myself sometimes. Grateful for my family and friends who continue to be there for me. That must be daunting. Respect.”

“Earthquake Weather”: “Don’t you want to live to see the day that your enemies suffer,  and the ghost that’s been haunting you moves on to another? Me too.

“The Morning”: “This was always intended to be the last song on the record. Definitely written in the spirit of a song that would be on the second half of a Jets to Brazil record. Those who know will feel that.

i am the avalanche dive