7 Songs, 13 Minutes


About The Max Levine Ensemble

Washington D.C., pop-punk band the Max Levine Ensemble was formed in 2000 by singer/guitarist David Combs, bassist Ben Epstein, and drummer Nick Popovici. Named after Combs' high school friend Max Levine, who first turned him on to both punk music and radical politics, the trio turned in a pair of homemade CD-R releases in 2001 and 2002 that were later reissued on Fight the Octopus Records. Their quirky sound blended playful lyrics that were socially and politically aware with rousing, melodic pop-punk. Their third LP and first proper label release, How to Build an Intergalactic Time Machine, arrived in 2003 and was followed by a couple of split 7" releases with Operation: Cliff Claven and the Spirit Animals. Throughout the decade the band continued to tour frequently, releasing their fourth album on Plan-It-X Records and taking part in the label's bus tour. After being ridiculed on punk singer/radio host Ben Weasel's ESPN radio show in 2008, they took their revenge on a track called "Ben Weasel Thinks We Suck" which posed as a fake collaboration with Weasel by sampling material from his show. A 2010 EP on Asian Man Records was followed by the anthology Mr. Gikokovich 2000-2005: A Retrospective. After 2011's The Elephant in the Room EP, the band remained relatively quiet with Combs dedicating time to his solo project Spoonboy. In 2015, the Max Levine Ensemble returned with Backlash, Baby, their fifth album and first full-length release in eight years. ~ Timothy Monger