Zach Toporek spent the last three years on hiatus from his indie rock band, Young Mothers. This summer, they return with new music and a show at Valley Bar on July 20 with The Rifle and Counsel Bluffs.
Young Mothers formed in Tucson in 2008, played regularly at venues like Club Congress and The Living Room, and released a handful of full-length albums and EPs.
But the recording process proved troublesome, and Toporek’s disillusionment with it (and the band) began in 2012. He made an album at Tucson’s Wave Labs, but quickly shelved it because he was self-conscious about his vocals.
“I let crushingly high expectations stop me from releasing any new music, which soured my outlook on everything,” Toporek says.
That same year, he decided to move to New York City, where he worked on a radio show and at a production company. He continued playing with other bands and tried to work on his own music, but further insecurity slowed things to halt again in 2013.
“Rehearsal is for being very critical, very analytic, listening with an ear for imperfections and opportunities to improve,” he says. “Performance is about turning off that part of your brain, expressing yourself, letting your freak flag fly.”
But Toporek got stuck in rehearsal mode, he says. That meant nothing was ever good enough.
An injury in 2014 brought him home to recoup in Arizona, and he decided to move back for good that October.
He delved back into the local scene, playing with bands like The Through and Through Gospel Review and Diners. And he tried recording on his own over the next few years, but it wasn’t until he connected with Jason Roedl (Mergence) and Jess Pruit (Field Trip) that he finally got back into the swing of things.
Young Mothers released a two-song single last month, featuring “They Were Right” and “It’s Hard," and are planning to release more, explore licensing opportunities, and eventually go on tour.
Below is a first look at the lyric video for "They Were Right." Toporek says he created it as "a sunny-sounding rumination on the stupidity of consumer capitalism, depression-fueled isolation, and analysis-paralysis."
“I just feel super-lucky to have great musicians around me who feel strongly enough about the music to be ambitious and driven by it,” Toporek says.
He hopes this newfound perspective translates to the live show, too.
“It feels awful to work really hard all the time and not have anything to show for it, so I’m done with that. And the mechanism for being done with that is actively cultivating not giving a shit,” he says. “I’m hoping that creates a show that’s a lot more fun to perform and consequentially watch.”
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Young Mothers are scheduled to play alongside The Rifle and Counsel Bluffs on July 20 at Valley Bar. Tickets are available at the Valley Bar website.
Correction: This article has been updated from its original version to reflect the correct spelling of Jason Roedl's name.