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Glazed put the pop back in punk

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The four members of Jacksonville’s Glazed are of that rare breed: successful self-made musicians. And, after more five years together, the pop-punk veterans are off to a promising 2019, with a SXSW co-headlining tour with Atlanta’s Blis and a new EP set to be released this summer.

Glazed is Justin Belichis (guitar, vocals), Brian Wright (bass), Reid Johnson (guitar) and Liam Murphy (drums). The band members came together slowly in the tweens of our millennium, having known each other from previous projects—including a proto-Glazed outfit called Locals. The name “Glazed” crept up on them. It was first deployed as the title of a Locals demo in 2013. Belichis in particular was haunted by the word.

“I think Glazed is a feeling,” he told Folio Weekly. “It’s how I felt being a college freshman going to FSCJ South Campus on weekdays, delivering pizza at nights, and falling in love with the budding Jacksonville DIY scene that I’ve grown to love so much.”

That 2013 cassette demo was a watershed moment with the new players and new sounds. A new name was inevitable. “We are aware of and appreciate the music we’ve made in the past,” Murphy said. “But we are always looking forward to develop it in better ways.”

Locals had seen the future, and it was Glazed. The band was rechristened in 2014, and that’s when they released an official Glazed debut EP, & Confused. (Ha!) The six-song set was able to hold its own as a straightforward emo record from the era. Their sound might be indebted to the vocal stylings of Taking Back Sunday and the rhythmic hooks of Title Fight, but the result is all Glazed.

They followed up in 2016 with You’ve Changed, a full-length that broke Bandcamp and made Glazed the flavor of the year among Jacksonville punk purveyors. That name on a flyer made any show an automatic must-see. Glazed became part of the Bughouse clique and often shared stages (and living room floors) with hardworking scene bands like Intervention and Teen Divorce.

Part of the reason You’ve Changed was such a success: Belichis, a journalism major, and Johnson, a creative writing major, collaborated to craft lyrics that spoke to real issues. Belichis cited Kanye West as an influential lyricist and trailblazer; as West challenged pop-rap tropes of wealth and fame, Glazed consciously strayed from the eye-rolling tales of heartbreak that take up valuable real estate on most emo records.

Years of gigging together have cemented an enviable bond among the crew. Their camaraderie extends beyond the music: They’ve cliff-jumped together in Nashville and moshed with Blake Anderson of Comedy Central’s Workaholics. They’re like The Beatles in all those goofy films, but real.

Riffing on shared experiences and influences, members bring ideas to the table, and help workshop lyrics and song structures. They like to keep each track under the radio standard of 3:30. “We hate filler, so adding another verse or chorus or whatever to beef up songs isn’t our style unless it feels genuine,” explained Johnson.

Glazed recently teased their upcoming album with a digital single. If “New York City” is any indication, the new disc will be their most polished release. The making-of story is classic emo.

“I wrote most of the songs holed up in my one-bedroom apartment in Virginia Beach in 2016,” said Belichis. “Isolating myself with a tiny interface, a stage microphone and my guitar, when not working as a radio news journalist in the daytime, did something to my songwriting.”

When the singer got back to Jax, Glazed went to work recording with Josh Cobb, ex-guitarist of Palm Coast’s My Getaway. “We decided to hire Josh Cobb to track and produce the new songs at Rockbot Studios in Riverside,” Belichis said. “It was comfy there and we’ve always looked up to Josh as a musician.” Indeed, Belichis and Johnson used to listen to My Getaway in the Myspace Stone Age.

The new Glazed, tentatively titled 1999, drops this summer. The band will celebrate with two extensive tours: a West Coast exercise with fellow Jax rockers Runner’s High and a fall New England tour.

In the meantime, Glazed has two shows this week. On Saturday, April 27, they (and Sleepless) are the entertainment for a graphic novel signing at Coliseum of Comics in Riverside. (The book is Nicholas Aflleje and Sarah DeLaine’s Little Girls, released by Image Comics.) On Tuesday, April 30, Glazed opens for touring Ohio emo band Heart Attack Man at 1904 Music Hall. It’s a reunion of sorts, according to Johnson. “Heart Attack Man is held kinda close to our hearts,” he said, “because we had the pleasure of opening for [Heart Attack Man singer Eric Egan’s former band] Ages at Burro Bar back in the day.”

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