Thursday, November 26, 2015

We Reluctantly Review Adele's Album Breaking Record

I bought the new Adele album because why the fuck not, everybody else did. It's bold  and it's exciting and frankly, your grandmother would love it. And I like your grandmother so it's a win win for everybody.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eleven Things I Learned Going on Micro-tour with Dead and Company

I learned that this latest incarnation of the Grateful Dead is a force to be reckoned with. I seriously had my doubts when I heard the band was teaming up with John Mayer (just like I did when they tabbed Trey to play the Fare Thee Well shows) but being at the shows in St. Louis and Minneapolis this weekend changed my attitude completely. 

I saw the Dead when they toured with Warren Haynes in 2004 and I left disappointed. The performance I saw lacked depth, feeling, and soul. The music was flat. I came to prefer Ratdog over Further, The Other Ones, and Phil and Friends. I wasn't cool with the choices to "replace Jerry" and basically swore off the Dead forever under the assumption that nobody would be able to create the sonic masterpieces that Jerry did. Well of course their music had become tattooed into my soul, and staying completely away from it was never a realistic option. 

John Mayer was an interesting choice for the lead guitar part, but now having seen him play, it all makes sense. Not only is he capable of hitting the notes in a soulful way with exceptional tone, he's also able to mark the songs with his own signature in a way that doesn't step on the toes of the songs themselves.  Plus his energy really seems to be combustible  - Bob Weir hasn't looked this young and vibrant in years, and it was great to see him smiling again and having fun.

I learned that Oteil Burbridge is a damn incredible bass player and I was reminded that Jeff Chimenti is a beast on keyboards. I also learned that Chimenti has been with the band for 13 years - making him the longest tenured keyboard player in the band's history. 

Phil Lesh never shook his ass when he played. Oteil does it every single night.

I realized that I miss the Bob Dylan songs the Dead used to play. Wish they'd mix one in now and again, especially when playing Minneapolis, which is Dylan's hometown.

I was reminded a Dead show is an ever-revolving guessing game. Knowing this, the band is extremely subtle about creating their set lists and often throw curve balls when doing so. For instance, where was "Big River" in St. Louis and/or Minneapolis? As much as it seems to be a no-brainer, the Dead ignored it - but not completely. Their performance of "Mexicali Blues" in Minneapolis is in itself is a nod to "Big River." Dead Heads know what I'm talking about.

I realized that Mickey Hart really has no value in the band other than the sounds he makes during Drums/Space. Billy Kreutzmann is more than capable of holding down the drum duties on his own, and while I understand that Hart is a renowned percussionist and a legend in his own right, he really seems secondary and unimportant in his role as a drummer for the Dead. (If you disagree, listen to anything the Dead did from 1971 through mid 1974 when Hart took hiatus from the band.) This is something that I've considered for several years but was validated this past weekend when somebody else brought it up in conversation.

I realized that cowboy boots are great to travel in because they are so easy to kick on and off. But by all means don't leave home with just cowboy boots. A comfortable pair of tennis shoes would have gone a long ways considering how much walking we did and how often I found myself standing in one place for long periods of time.

I learned about Reverb, a non-profit organization that is committed to keeping concert tours as green as possible. I volunteered to sell Nalgene water bottles to help raise money and awareness for this organization in exchange for free admission to the Minneapolis show. Reverb goes through the trash at the end of the night and separates recyclables from garbage that belongs in the landfill. They also go through garbage in the concession stands, removing leftover or thrown away food, and they turn it into compost. It was a great experience even though I missed the entire first set of the show and some of the second. (I could hear, just not watch.) I was given a kick-ass shirt for volunteering and it gave me an opportunity to hear the band sound check before the doors were opened to the public, and that was definitely cool. 

Water bottles for sale

I realized that getting stoned and trying to sell water bottles to strangers can be a very strenuous and difficult task. If given the opportunity, I won't make that mistake twice.

I learned that sometimes you get lucky and get travel companions that, even though you don't know them well - or even at all - they turn out to be the best travel companions in the history of the world. I'm not exactly sure what happened that put me in the same car as Trucker and Jezebel, but the stars must have been shining because it was PERFECT. Big thanks to those two for the 1400 miles of endless conversation and general feeling of togetherness. I actually felt like I was in a tribe. 

(I love you fuckers!)

I realized that the Dead are the last bastion of American rock and roll. No other band comes close to providing the experience you get when the Dead comes to town, and I would venture to say that no other fan base anticipates the music as much as Deadheads do. There's a reason people quit their jobs to join this circus, and while most regard that act as irresponsibility, it is a thing that happens and I totally get why it happens. 

I'm still trying to figure out a way to make the New Years Eve shows in Los Angeles a reality. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Psychedelic Pop Group AVERS To Play Vaudeville Mews on Wednesday

Avers, from Richmond, Virginia, kick off a tour tomorrow night and will be bringing their psychedelic bubblegum act to Des Moines on Wednesday. 

Since their release of debut album Empty Light in 2014, Avers has made quite the splash opening for The Foo Fighters, Real Estate, Tune-Yards, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Cloud Control, and being invited to play SXSW, Hopscotch, and Austin City Limits. The Daily Beast dubbed Avers the "winners of SXSW" and the band made Esquire' Magazine's "10 Bands you need to know from SXSW."

From Daily Beast: Sounding reminiscent of a more melodic and put together Sonic Youth, the six-piece has the advantage of being comprised of veteran musicians. Drummer Tyler Williams is from indie folk darlings the Head and the Heart, and the instrument-trading, vocal-duty-sharing wall of five front folks are all heavy hitters in the Richmond music scene.

There's a ghostly psychedelia to their sound, reminiscent of the British garage pop that is currently sweeping across Europe. Melodic keyboards entwined with razor sharp guitar riffs set a serene background for the lofty vocals of whomever takes the lead on any certain song. Circling guitar notes flutter upward through the atmosphere like lazy smoke from a campfire. In an era when rock music has become over-produced and stale, Avers is writing and performing songs the way music was meant to written and performed. There's nothing prefabricated with Avers, just raw psychedelic power, trippy melodies and spectral vocals, all of which delightfully gets encircled within a melty dreamscape. 

Their sophomore album is set to be released this fall and their newly released single "Vampire" is quickly gaining the respect of music aficionados, radio stations and journalists alike as they embark on this new national tour. SXSW was a huge success for them, and now with a rejuvenated vigor, Avers is ready to show the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Avers will play at Vaudeville Mews on Wednesday, July 27 along with Leggy and Ramona and the Slimdudes. Show begins at 9:00.

Avers - Photo by Matt Cairns


Pertinent Links:

Avers on Facebook
Avers on Instagram
Avers on Twitter

Avers Official

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

And Now, A Damn Good Story About A Motorcycle Gang

In 2007 David Allen Coe played Boone, Iowa and I remember thinking it was a pretty big deal.

I had been living there for several years by that time and it seemed odd to have a country music legend playing in what amounted to being small town Iowa. The bars in Boone were pretty standard, with each having a steady stream of regulars who frequented the establishments at particular times during the day. 

Lynn's had the morning crowd which consisted mostly of railroaders who worked the overnight shift for Union Pacific. You had Wilson's across the street that maintained a steady rotation of bar dwellers from early in the morning until late into the night. Down around the corner you had Ooops! which was famous for it's greasy but delicious breakfasts. Out on the south side of town there was the night clubs and the restaurant bars. Boonies enjoyed drinking and like the creatures of habit that most of us are, they enjoyed drinking at the same places during the same times of each day. 

So when The Venue opened on the edge of town, it didn't cater to a huge populous of Boone's regular bar hoppers, as established drinkers weren't likely to stray far from the circuits they frequented. The Venue was huge by Boone's standards, built into an old abandoned warehouse. When it first opened it billed itself as a "Honkey Tonk" which is not a horrible thing, but it created a clientele that consisted of cowboys and farmers dubiously mixed in with the Affliction t-shirt wearing crowd. No woman in her right mind would go in there by herself without fear of something scary happening. The place was high on testosterone and low on common sense. 

The building was too big to build a crowd to capacity on weeknights, and even if there was 50-70 people there on the weekend, it seemed like a small crowd because of the excess space. Naturally, the owner needed a way to draw in larger crowds, so he built a stage in the wide open room and started booking national bands. 

It was a big deal to have David Allen Coe come to town, and the Boonies seemed pretty excited about it. I think Drowning Pool might have played The Venue along with a few other shitty radio bands of the time, but booking Coe seemed pretty big by Boone standards. 

Personally I was ecstatic  - My mother had played his records all throughout my childhood and I knew all his hits and most of his B-sides. In 2007 I had no idea that David Allen Coe was still touring, let alone willing to play a "small" bar in Boone, Iowa.

I bought a ticket and took the ride, as they say. 

It was a rainy night, I remember that. The lot hadn't been properly graveled and it was very muddy. There were several people who needed a tow by the end of the night. Interestingly, the heavy rain didn't deter a long line of motorcycles from being lined up near the entrance of the bar. 

I walked in and instantly caught a vibe I hadn't felt before. It was tense and dangerous, with a heavy anxiety settling over the pace. The bar looked tiny - it was absolutely packed to it's brim with bikers and cowboys, but mostly bikers. The Sons of Silence had always had a strong presence in Boone, and it seemed like the entire gang had made it out to this concert. People seemed unsure of one another, and I didn't feel particularly safe for reasons I wasn't quite familiar with. When people say that you can cut the tension with a knife, I know what they are talking about. It was THICK... like a cloud of danger and uncertainty. 

I bought a beer and found a spot where I could stand against the wall. I liked knowing that I had nobody behind me and that I could see peripherally across the room in case something were to happen. I just knew that something was about to happen, and I wanted to be see it coming, and escape the room if I felt the need to.

A friend walked by and I mentioned the tension to him. He told me that it was rumored that a rival motorcycle club was in town from out of state who had some unfinished business with the Sons of Silence (was it the Mongols?) and that there was likely to be a confrontation during the concert. More so, it was rumored that factions of that group were already in the building wearing plain clothes which would give them the element of surprise if there was going to be an attack. Having my back against the wall seemed like a very smart move at that point, but I was still dealing with a high level of uncertainty and the unsettling feeling of not being completely safe. I stood there waiting for the show to begin, cautiously eyeing the crowd, careful not to make eye contact with anybody for too long for fear of that person coming over and bruising my ego. I've never been in a tougher crowd in my life.

Suddenly the lights went down and the stage lights came on. The packed house moved as one, standing up and cheering for the show which was just about to begin. The band band came out oblivious to the tension, it seemed. 

Then Coe came walking out onto the stage to a thunderous roar. Very slowly he swaggered up to the front of the stage and stood staring out into the audience, as if he were looking for somebody he knew. Then, he plugged in his microphone and said, "Let's get one thing straight right now. I am the baddest mother fucker in this room, and if there's going to be any trouble here tonight, it starts up here on the stage with me!"

David Allen Coe clearly doesn't give many fucks.

Everybody in the crowd went nuts, and the tension in the room instantly thinned, as if somebody had let the air out of a balloon. There was no trouble to be had on that night, just good ol' bottle chucking honkey tonk country music. The biggest mishap occurred at the end of the night when people had to call a tow truck to yank their cars out of the muddy parking lot. 

Whether you like David Allen Coe or not, he is a hell of a showman, and this concert on a Wednesday night in Boone remains one of the more memorable performances that I've seen.

And I never did find out if the Mongols(?) were actually in Boone on September 19, 2007.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Afroman Puts Out Statement, Says He's Done Performing Live Concerts

The following statement was posted on Afroman's Facebook page on February 23rd. A video of what he calls a "slap" against a female fan who climbed on stage can be viewed at the bottom. 

I've been rapping professionally since the year 2000. Early in my career I have had problems with people jumping on stage grabbing the Mics , spilling beer , on equipment and ruining a show . I had a special clause put in my performance contracts that demands security watch stage and politely discourage anyone from jumping on stage. In my 15 years of performing I noticed once one person jumps on stage 100 people jump on stage. In 2007 I hired a CPA to do my taxes. I had several accounts . Before getting sign to Universal I worked regular jobs where the employers took the tax out before I received the check. After signing with universal everyone would give me the money upfront and it was my responsibility to take out the taxes. To help checks clear I would transfer money from time to time. The CPA I was using at the time didn't know that and she was counting the transfers as profit deposits. This was money I had in the bank already. To make a long story short she told the IRS I made over 700,000 that year . When it was more like 200,000. I tried to explain this to the IRS they told me to pay the tax on the 700,000 and they will give me a refund later. Frustrated because I was over taxed I took a deep breath and begin paying unfair over Tax which is still collecting interest might I add. Not to mention things are a lot slower than they was in 2001. Two divorces didn't help me none either. I got blessed one time and played six shows that paid me 10,000 each . The last show paid me 7,000.
On Dec-4-2011 the st Charles county police dept in Missouri pulled me over and took all of the money I earned from the shows. When I asked them why they claimed I was a drug dealer. I told them I was a Grammy nominated singer/rapper they chuckled and Stuck to their suspicions. Before I got pulled over I gave a couple thousand to my mom and use some for myself I was down to 64,000. The DEA reported 54,000 indicating to me that either the St. Charles Police Department or the DEA stole 10,000 unreported dollars from me. Lloyd Cueto a lawyer I hired at the time took the DEA all of my tax records , and tax returns , musician plaques verification that I am a taxpaying working citizen of the United States verifying I made two to $300,000 a year legitimizing why I might have $64,000 of cash on me. After all of that the DEA refuses to give me my hard earned money back. Since I owed back taxes I figured the DEA would turn the money over to the IRS. The IRS fully aware that the DEA is illegally holding money and that they illegally robbed from me on the side of the 70 freeway 12-4-11. yet and still the IRS refuses to ask the DEA for the money. One branch of the government is telling me to pay my taxes the other branch of the government is Robbing the money I'm trying to pay my taxes with. I have been working hard trying to pay off the IRS and get my money back from the DEA. I keep the faith like all will work out in due time , but it's 5 or 6 years later interest is rising with the IRS while the DEA continues to read a newspaper and ignore the fact they have rob me for my money. The DEA never pressed charges . They just kept my money . I am working too hard for a crooked government . My patience has become short and I am losing my mind. I don't care if I pay the IRS or not. If they really want a payment they can take the money that the DEA stole from me. While I was paying unfair taxes working for the IRS I was also getting frustrated at a lack of security at a lot of my shows. We go over everything over and over again on the phone then when I performing the whole crowd jumps on the stage pours beer all over everything and I have to buy equipment the next day instead of make a profit. I figured everything would come together in due time I underestimated the frustration and anger in my life coming from everywhere and I tried to work and make everything work out. In my frustrating ambitious efforts ,the IRS , DEA , lack of security and other pressures in my life have busted my pipes to the point where I have disrespected another human being twice.
IT WAS A SLAP/PUSH !!! And she quickly recovered. This situation is still bad however I must clarify its not as bad as lying news publications would have you believe.
The incident with the guy in Cincinnati did not happen the next night like mediatakeout lied and said it did . It happened last year. is a fake afroman site
Ran by an anonymous stranger just like @afromanmusic is on Twitter that is a fake account ran by an anonymous stranger. My real twitter is @ogafroman. My actual website is
Young lady I do not know your name
I want to truly apologize for slapping you. I understand if you never forgive me ever.
Young man whoever you are I want to apologize again for throwing you off stage. I understand if you never ever forgive me also .
I just got accepted into a anxiety anger mgt class . I start Friday .
I no longer have the desire to perform for people . I will continue to record I will continue to make albums I will continue to make videos I will continue to make movies .
Forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors . I want to thank all the fans that forgave me . At one point I hated Ofc. Wilson now I am Ofc. Wilson or catching a similar fraction of the type of hate he caught
Don't hate because you might become the victim of your own hate. 

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Former Iowa Lawmaker to Begin 400-mile Walk in Lee County

Former Iowa State Rep. Ed Fallon will begin his 32-day, 400-mile walk along the length of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline in Keokuk on the morning of Monday, March 2nd. The exact time and location will be announced later. Fallon’s route will take him north along the Mississippi River to Montrose, then through New Boston and Donnellson, veering northeast and crossing into Van Buren County south of Houghton on March 4. Fallon will walk an average of 15 miles each day. He is working with pipeline opponents in Lee County to set up a public meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd (time and location TBD) to listen to area residents’ concerns about the proposed pipeline. Fallon will share his own concerns about climate change, water quality, private property rights and the what he sees as the often heavy-handed use of eminent domain.

Ed Fallon at the Ritua Cafe (Photo by Bigfoot Diaries)
As a lawmaker, Fallon floor managed a key bill on eminent domain in 2000, and was involved in helping to craft the eminent domain laws that passed in 1999 and 2006. From 1998-2004, both as  a lawmaker and as director of 1000 Friends of Iowa, Fallon traveled the state working with dozens of communities opposed to what many saw as the misuse of eminent domain.

“We won a majority of those battles,” recalled Fallon. “I saw how deeply Iowans valued their land and their quality of life. And when pushed by a developer who sought to take their property for the private gain of someone else, people banded together and fought and won. I doubt that has changed much in the past decade, and I am optimistic that the Texas corporation that wants this pipeline can be stopped.”

Fallon believes his lengthy experience preventing the abuse of eminent domain could be helpful to landowners opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline. But he feels strongly that climate change must be part of the conversation as well.

“We have to grasp the seriousness of the climate crisis,” said Fallon. “While this pipeline is wrong because government shouldn’t take people’s land so an oil company can get rich, it’s also wrong because it deepens our dependence on fossil fuels and slows the expansion of renewable energy. And renewable energy is doing a lot more for Iowa’s economy than oil ever will.”

Fallon commences his walk on March 2nd, one year and one day after the March 1st, 2014 start of the Great March for Climate Action. Fallon initiated that March and walked every step of the eight-month, 3,000-mile trek. Fallon served in the Iowa House for 14 years before running for governor (2006) and US Congress (2008). Since 2009, he has hosted the Fallon Forum, a talk show available online and on three Iowa radio stations: KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines), KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) and KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

BREAKING! Roommate To Actually Pay Rent On Time


We just received word that Annie will actually be able to pay rent on time for the month of February! 

Annie is that one roommate that everybody has - the one who typically drinks her rent money away, and has only half the amount on the first of the month. Because of the awkwardness this creates, she typically stays out late on a normal night and leaves the house early in the morning to avoid any unwanted conversation with her roommates.

Despite having her complete rent payment, Annie chose to eat alone.

"Guess who can pay rent on time this month?" Said Annie to a stunned table at the weekly household brunch. Ed, the eldest member of the household nearly choked on his breakfast.

"That's incredible!" he said, wiping pancake off of his his mouth. "I'm stunned. I don't know what to say."

Annie grabbed a bowl of scrambled egg mixture and headed back to her bedroom, something she usually does in order to avoid the awkward conversation that typically occurs at the brunch table.

"You don't have to eat by yourself upstairs!" Ed called out to her as she headed upstairs. 

This will be the first time that Annie has made a full payment of rent on the first of the month since before October.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Grant's Tomb - Waxing Poetic: Beyond The Making Of The CARE EP

You all know someone like this. They sit at home, at coffee shops, on the toilet, with their phones, tablets or computers, reposting and sharing memes, petitions, and edgy blogs all in the name of the unholy social media god Activism. Comfortably in their pressed shirts or sweatpants, it doesn’t matter, you all know someone like this: Spreading fear, misinformation and flat out lies. It’s a social pandemic, especially among my generation (the so-called “Millennials”), its rallying cry a hash-tag. You saw it with the Occupy movement; a movement that any honest person would recognize amounted to less than a bowel in the grand scheme of things. It’s a way for them to say “I’m doing something about injustice!” without actually doing anything.

I’ve never been a huge fan of overtly political music, mostly because none of it aligned with my own views, but mainly because those kinds of bands always became a caricature of themselves. When Rage Against the Machine espouses the evils of capitalism, but turns around and sells a box set for over $100.00, you have to stop and go “huh, something isn’t adding up here.”  

Before we even had a drummer, Joe and I would spend a lot of our Friday nights working on music together. One song that he brought to the table early on was a fast and short slab of punk rock that cut out all of the filler found in modern hardcore. In its initial stages, the song barely broke the minute mark. As the song progressed and we had more band members in on the writing sessions, it extended out to just over 2 minutes. A perfect length if there ever was one. 

When picking song titles, I never tried to take things too seriously and have fun with it. Some of our previous working titles have included such gems as “Tacocat is Tacocat” and “False Meat,” but with this one, I knew I wanted to make a statement, even if we didn’t have any lyrics written for the song. 

There is an individual that members of our band, myself included, have had dealings with over the years. I believe deep down that this person has a good heart, but at the end of the day the first paragraph in this entry sums up their use of social media. Things like Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, and YouTube are all great tools. They allow the sharing of ideas and thoughts to happen freely and instantaneously, but they can also be abused. This person was an abuser and they would viciously attack anyone who didn’t agree with them. Instead of being able to articulate a single thought, they resorted to personal attacks. Ad hominem much? We agreed on the title “Armchair Activist.”

Panthallasa at House of Bricks in June of 2014 Photo by Bigfoot Diaries
 (Click to enlarge)

I’m sure I had heard that phrase somewhere else before, but I couldn’t tell you where. It’s a direct title and it leaves its meaning up to no question: someone who sits in a chair and talks about all of the problems in the world, how they should or could be fixed, but doesn’t actually do anything about it. The music fits the title perfectly. From the start, the song kicks into high gear and is really a testament to the speed and dexterity of Joe’s playing ability. 

I’ve stated before what an awful guitar player I am, well maybe not awful, but certainly not the greatest. This song is fast, I can’t stress that enough, and while I can’t tell you the exact bpm, I can tell you that when we went to record the song I wasn’t comfortable actually playing the rhythm track on it. The great thing about playing in a band with such talented musicians is we always have a contingency plan in place. Dan, our bassist, graciously stepped up to the task and recorded both the rhythm guitar and the bass tracks on this tune. This wouldn’t hinder us however; I had actually been using my down time from playing the song to incorporate electronics into the song. For my part, I wanted to add in sounds that would keep the song on edge and almost uncomfortable. I used a white noise filter and something resembling air raid sirens as well as a bass synth to keep the song menacing without overpowering the strings. 

Our drummer Shane is a gift that keeps giving. Not only is he one of the greatest drummers I’ve ever heard locally, but he’s (and he’d probably laugh this off) an extremely poetic lyricist. He nailed the theme of the song perfectly with the lyrics. He captured the sarcasm and “holier than thou” attitude that I was looking for. I’m sure Matt may have rephrased some sections of the song, but they remained largely untouched.

Shane Mills is a gift that keeps on giving. Photo by Bigfoot Diaries
“Armchair” is a real barn burner and its one of my favorite tracks to go back and listen to. Our producer, Griffin, added in the guitar noises/feedback to bridge it to the next song…

Sequencing any release is an under-appreciated part of putting something together. Forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but an improperly sequenced album or ep can be disastrous for the listener. For the kind of music we play, front loading an album (or in this case ep) with the heavier or louder songs would leave the listener winded by the time they got to the more subdued and softer tunes. The opposite is also true; by putting the more melodic leaning songs up front, it could potentially lull the listener to sleep when the primary goal should be to have them actively listening and enjoying the music. 

In the 11th hour before we went to record I sprung a new song on the guys that I really wanted to include on this release, however I knew it was going to increase the recording budget and add more stress on the guys by them having to learn a new song with less than a month to go before tracking started. The guys were gracious enough, agreeing to add it to the recording. 

The song itself was written in a single afternoon, on a hot Sunday in August. I had some free time that afternoon after church and I jammed through it without over thinking a single part of it. I’ve always felt that the best songs capture an intense moment of passion, be it guilt, love, anger, fear or even sorrow and I’ve tried to convey whatever emotion it is I am feeling into my writing. It’s another fast punk rock anthem that has very sludgy ending. I had several ideas for the title, but in keeping with the spirit of not over thinking things, I opened up a search engine and typed in random words eventually landing on something called a “Skinwalker.” 

I’m an avid fan of the horror fiction genre, be it video games like Silent Hill, the original Resident Evil or movies like Dawn of the Dead or The Thing, something about it gets my adrenalin pumping. Skinwalkers primarily show up in Native American folklore and there was even a case of a lawyer suing someone accused of being one. I didn’t want the title to be directly influential on the lyrics, and instead went with “Skinwalk and Rupture.” It leaves a bit of mystery and ambiguity to the title of the song and also serves as a break between the two very distinct sections of the piece.

Guitarist Joe Curry: Photo by the Bigfoot Diaries

Lyrically the song is a continuation of “Armchair,” but on a broader level. The line “Can you form your own opinion without parroting everything you read” is the greatest indictment of my generation; even I’m guilty of it at times. Matt actually flipped the lyrics around between the bridge and the chorus to fit the song better, it kept the message intact which was pretty cool. 

Something that I feel is missing in punk rock, hardcore and metal is music with substance. We’ve made a conscious decision to never push a message on our listeners, but instead to have them question themselves. Why do you believe what you believe? Is it because they were your family’s values or your own? And if these beliefs are yours, do you hold them sacred or just when it suits your own needs and desires?

By Grant Peter


Panthallasa is having it's EP Release Party on Valentine's Day at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines. It's a 5:00 show and will include The Maw and Creation Complex. $10 gets you in the door plus a copy of the EP.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five Question's With... Ben Crew of In Defence

In Defence from Minneapolis will be bringing their tooth chippin' style of DIY thrash punk to the Underground Rock Shop on Tuesday, February 3rd. This early show (doors at 5:00) will be a great opportunity to get out and relieve some of that pent up winter stress.

While they like to joke that they are rip-off artists, In Defence purely does things like nobody else. Other bands eat pizza... In Defence prefers tacos. Other bands fear the law... In Defence thinks The Police are rad. (Well, technically they are referring to the band, The Police.) Other bands encourage moshing, In Defence coaches the the circle pit method. Most bands spell "Defense" with an "S"... In Defence uses a "C."

The show on Tuesday night promises to be a night to remember, and frankly, the kick in the teeth that Des Moines severely needs. Other acts on the bill are Ghostbusters, Nancy Grace Death Squad, Dark Mirror and Traffic Death.

I was able to chat with Ben Crew - the man in front of the band - and ask him a few questions.

Do you believe in the mental trick of spoon bending?

Yes. I believe in the power of the mind and the power we have to bend spoons and shape our reality. This is a very deep subject. I'm surprised you started out by asking it. If I took time to elaborate I'd never get to the other questions so I'm gonna move on now. But we can talk meta physics and perceptions of reality later.

Rumor has it that you gave Fat Mike a tattoo once?

Um... I think you've might have heard several  different stories.... I was on tour with Dillinger Four and NOFX. The guitar tech for NOFX had a tattoo gun and gave me a tattoo at the last day of the tour. I am also in the NOFX video for "Seeing Double At The Triple Rock" but that has nothing to do with tattoos... but one time In Defence played a tattoo parlor in Texas. It was wild. I ended up naked. This guitar tech dude whipped my ass with a studded belt. It bled. He was so amazed that I took it like a bad-ass that he made me give him a tattoo right there at the shop. I should let you know I'm not a tattoo artist. I never gave a tattoo before or since. But it sounds cooler to tell people I gave Fat Mike a tattoo so lets keep spreading that rumor.

Tattoo given by Ben Crew to Guitar tech dude

Tell me another punk rock story.

Oh shit... There are so many but now that you asked my mind is blank. Oh... I made out with the singer from GWAR once! We'll... We kissed... ok I kissed him...  but he wanted me to. Ok it's really not that exciting. In Defence was playing a show in Richmond. Gwar lives there. I was told that they might be at the show but I didn't know anybody or what they looked like with out their costumes. So I was getting nervous. I didn't know what to do. I'm like if Gwar is here and everybody else here has seen Gwar and Municipal Waste and Lamb of God and all these other awesome bands from Richmond there is no way in hell we are gonna impress anyone. Cuz once you get to taste the best everything else just tastes bland ya know?! So I'm like ok fuck this! My new goal is to make these people unimpressed as fuck. I want to underwhelm the shit out of these people. I want them to leave and go "that was terrible... the worst show I've ever seen... wow that band stinks". So I get up on stage as we are about to play and start taking off my clothes. Not in a sexy way.  Kinda like the way an out of shape depressed middle aged man would... Then I start talking to the audience about how depressed I am. How my life was a failure. How I had no real family and this band was just a way for me to try and get some attention. Try to get someone to love me.... I was really trying to weird these people out. Then a voice rang out from the audience "I'll love you!" So I walked into the crowd and started kissing him. He came up to me after we got done and introduced himself as Dave Brockie (Orderus Urungus) lead singer for the band Gwar. He was like "our bands should tour together sometime! I think it would be fun."

What's the most interesting experience you have ever had that involved a cop?

The most interesting experience I've had with a cop was when In Defence was playing a house show in Kansas City. The police came to shut it down. Then somebody gave them a copy of our record and told them we had a song called "The Police Are Fucking Rad!" and they were like "we'll I guess we can let you guys play". So they left and show was raging!

If music didn't exist, what would you be doing?

Sitting on the couch watching the TV show  "Its Always Sunny"  over and over and over again.

I wanna live to be 100. Got any advice for me?

I have no clue. I just turned 40 this year but I still feel like a kid inside and I do stupid shit a teenager would do just cuz it's fun. My mom died when I was 13 years old. I learned at a young age you never know how long you got so you gotta make what you got count! Apparently I just do stupid shit. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chattanooga's STRUNG LIKE A HORSE To Release "FREE" Album

After a few years mesmerizing countless audiences on the road with a unique brand of gypsy punk inspired bluegrass music Strung Like a Horse are proud to announce their first full length studio album, “FREE.”  

The band is employing kickstarter, a crowd-funding site to raise the funds to properly release and duplicate their latest work. To help spread the word they are releasing a zany and captivating rib-tickling video folks are bound to watch over and over. At press time, they have received almost 2/3 of the amount they need. 

The two previous releases from the band, “Live at Lindsay Street,” and “Glad,” have been well received both in the US and in Europe.  In their new work, Strung Like a Horse has chosen to expand their palate and explore more diverse soundscapes.  For example the title track “FREE” is a bouncing melodic anthem with a nostalgic feel, while “Trailer Park Astronaut”  is a slow bizarre ballad.

Strung Like a Horse (Press Photo)
Current fans will identify with the fast-paced violent humor in “Prequel” and “Horizontal,” and the slightly naughty swing tune “Dangly Bits.” All in all, “FREE” is a well-paced album with world wide appeal and a bargain at any price.


Strung Like A Horse Official

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

UK Band Astronauts to Release "In My Direction" on January 19

Those Brits and their silly one man psychedelic bands!

The Bevis Frond fooled me for years into thinking that they were a five piece outfit - a fact I'm not ashamed to admit. After all, if a band sounds like a multiple unit ensemble, why would one assume otherwise?

Dan Carney, aka Astronauts
The same can be said for Astronauts, or Dan Carney as he is also known as in the London music scene. He enjoyed a fruitful 2014 with the release of his debut single "Skydive" which hit No. 3 on the Hype Machine, gathering 150,000 hits in a week via his Soundcloud page. This set the table for the well-received debut album 'Hollow Ponds', and the recent mini-collection of extras, the 'Four Songs EP', which made the UK iTunes homepage in its first week of release.

The year ended with his song "Flame Exchange" being used to soundtrack the popular French TV program Rendez-Vous En Terre Inconnue, to an estimated audience of six million.

Now, Astronauts is set to release a new single, "In My Direction" on January 19th. This haunting melodic demon plays like the backdrop to a dream, with whimsical dwellings of folk and and pop swirling around Carney's respired vocals.

"In My Direction" is embedded with a remix of the ‘Hollow Ponds’ track "Everything’s A System, Everything’s A Sign" written by Kieran Mahon, an ambient composer and a long time friend of Dan's. It tiptoes in subtlety, never formally announcing it's presence - yet it's obviously there, if only in glimpses.

The video features Armenian actor Andranik Lavchyan and was created by Manana Films (also Armenian), after contacting Dan earlier this year about doing a collaboration. In it, Lavchyan looms in a ridiculous manner, skirting around the capital Yerevan, appearing rhythmic but strange to those he encounters. It's very cleverly made and it captures a deep European feel.

The single has collected over 3,000 hits on Youtube, despite not being formally released. It's safe to say that 2015 is primed to be another great year for Astronauts. The sky is the limit.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Music Legend Kim Fowley Dead at 75

Kim Fowley died yesterday in West Hollywood, California after a long battle with bladder cancer. He was 75 years old. As a record producer, he is perhaps best known for the work he did with the Runaways, an all-female band from the early '70 that launched the careers of Lita Ford, Joan Jett and Cherie Curie.

Fowley kept the world up to date about the condition of his health via posts on his personal Facebook page. That page is now blank. Sadly, he was recently married, to Kara Wright. We will post more info as we learn more. RIP. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Des Moines Skywalk Mystery: When Exactly Did The Who Play Vets Auditorium?

Out here in the fields, we fight for what's real... 

The Who played a historic concert in Des Moines sometime during the '70s but there seems to be some confusion as to when it actually happened. 

The concert is noteworthy for a variety of reasons. 13,534 fans paid to see this iconic show which goes down as the biggest crowd to attend an event at Vets. Also, an equipment failure stopped the show cold in it's tracks for about 20 minutes, and The Who had to retreat to their dressing rooms while things got patched back together. It's also been said that The Who themselves came out after the show and greeted those who remained at the front of the stage.

The Who in Des Moines (Photo by Brad Harvey)
(Click to enlarge)

Brad Harvey was a sophomore at Drake in '75 and he and three friends - one from Chicago, as Chicago's show was sold out - attended the concert together in Des Moines.

"The official word was that Entwistle's amps blew out and the show was interrupted for about 20 minutes while repairs were made," Harvey recalls, referring to The Who's bass player. "When they came back onstage they said they would continue with the complete show but they didn't do the usual section from Quadrophenia."

Doug Diaz, who also attended the concert remembers Keith Moon saying that the failure of Entwistle's rig "probably blew out the whole town."

One can only assume that Des Moines, Iowa seemed like a small town to a band like The Who in 1975. And as loud as they were known for playing, it's not hard to imagine their sound carrying all the way to Valley Junction. The fact that John Entwistle blew his amp out might not be so unique. It probably happened often on the 1975 tour, but it is cool that it happened at Vets Auditorium, which has become a pillar of rock and roll history.

A placard in the skywalk commemorates the night The Who played
although the date appears to be wrong. (Click to enlarge)
Currently on the west side of the building where the Auditorium meets the skywalk, there is a placard on the wall that describes the evening. It goes into small detail about the equipment failure and the size of the crowd. What is confusing is the date on the placard, which says that the concert occurred on December 2, 1977. There is no other record of The Who playing anywhere in Iowa in '77.

According to Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of The Who 1958-1978 (Written by Andy Neill and Matt Kent) the band played at Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, on December 2nd, 1975. It's easy to see where the mistake is - the person who designed the placard simply got the year wrong.

However, the confusion doesn't end there. In a timeline constructed by The Des Moines Register in 2005 of concerts that occurred at "The Barn," as Vets came to be known due to it's barn-like shape, it lists The Who playing in 1975, but on December 1st.

Ticket display in the skywalk.
(Click to enlarge)
This date is backed up by a giant ticket display that in on the wall just a few steps south of the (old) main entrance to Vets in the skywalk where the placards are. 

The wall is filled with replicas of ticket stubs of concerts that took place at Vets. There is one ticket stub from the concert in question, but it is cut-off and we are unable to see it in it's entirety. However a "1" is clearlt visible, as well as "1975." In other words, the ticket stub replica emulates the same date as the Des Moines Register article (December 1, 1975.)

Now that everybody is thoroughly confused, it gets even more complicated. The website has The Who playing a concert at Veteran's Memorial Auditorium on December 2nd, 1975, which essentially brings us full circle. I think it is safe to say that the concert occurred in '75, but on which date - December 1st, or 2nd?

A partial ticket replica on display in the skywalk.
(Click to enlarge)

So yeah. Confused yet? 

To recap, here is what we just covered:

The placard at the old entrance of Vets has The Who playing on December 2, 1977.

The book, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of The Who has the band playing at Vets on December 2nd, 1975.

The timeline supplied by The Des Moines Register lists the Who as having had played on December 1, 1975, as does the replica ticket on display in the skywalk. records the concert as taking place on December 2, 1975.

I guess until an actual bona-fide ticket stub appears, we should just assume that the concert happened at some point in early December of '75. I'm leaning towards the 2nd, because it seems to me that a published book would have it's facts straight, and this date is "verified" by the setlists website. It should also be noted that other tickets on the skywalk replica display have inconsistencies, such as the misspelling of band names, etc. Maybe accuracy wasn't high on the list of things they were looking for when they hired the display makers.

Other ticket replicas have inconsistencies as well, such as misspelled words.
Molly Hatchet is clearly spelled wrong. Another has Loverboy as two words.

We do know that a helluva concert occurred at Vets Auditorium featuring The Who. It drew a record sized crowd and experienced an unexpected break, and for those who hung around long enough afterward perhaps even a chance to meet the legendary band.

Brad Harvey wonders if this event made a lasting impact on The Who. "They never came back to Vets after that, he states. "They did play at Hilton Coliseum in Ames and the Unidome in Cedar Falls."

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: Every Night's a Saturday Night by Bobby Keys

My life has been unrehearsed as a hiccup. - Bobby Keys, in Every Night's A Saturday Night.

With the death of Bobby Keys on December 2nd of last year, I was moved to read his autobiography, Every Night's A Saturday Night. It's the first book I've read in a long time that kept me awake all night because I couldn't put it down.

In it, Keys tells the story of his amazing life and his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time  - an act he acknowledges happened often throughout his life.

From having an aunt who lived across the street from Buddy Holly while he was growing up in Lubbock, Texas in the late '50 to the contacts he made that created interludes with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Jimmy Page, B.B. King, and others in the '60s, Bobby Keys has experienced quite a journey. His collaborations with Delaney and Bonnie eventually led to the time he put in with the Rolling Stones during the '70s (and beyond) which is what he is most known for. Bobby Keys makes the statement that if you talk to one musician you will be told about two other musicians, and he made his living by connecting potential dots and creating an uncanny chain of events.

Not many musicians can say that they started out at rock and roll ground zero  - and were able to maintain a career that spotlighted them among the most iconic figures in music history. Keys himself compares his life to that of Forest Gump's, and reading the book, you begin to wonder if Keys himself is in disbelief as he recants his life story. Not that his stories are unbelievable - I have no doubt that they are true - but you get the sense that as he tells his story, he begins to wonder if he hasn't lived the life of a movie character.

Obviously his tenure with the Stones lasted the longest and it's what he is most known for. But to have had the experience of watching Buddy Holly play in his garage, and to have the chance to live and/or tour with the likes of King Curtis, Duane Eddy, Fats Domino, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, and Joe Cocker... well damn. What needs to be said? It's amazing that this book is only 266 pages long and not 2660 pages.

Photo from the book: Bobby during the recording
of Exile on Main Street, in France, 1971. 

His book is a tell-all rock and roll adventure that doesn't waste time with boring details of childhood. Keys gets right to the meat and potatoes. Shamelessly, he wastes no time telling his stories and he doesn't flinch when it comes to naming names, especially in association to the illegal drugs that were prevalent during the golden age of rock and roll.

For instance Keys mentions Dan Aykroyd only once in the book in reference to a gig he was playing with the New Barbarians: "We were introduced onstage by Dan Aykroyd," he wrote, "a guy who's always got good pot. He's a big, big pot head."

More so, he relented stories of the times he hung with Keith Richards which surprisingly weren't as scathing as one might imagine. While it's assumed that Keith Richards prefers the hard stuff, Keys doesn't bring it up very often in Saturday Night. The portrait he paints of Richards is that of a hard working, heavy drinking gentleman who enjoys smoking a lot of weed. Heroin and cocaine are brought up occasionally in the book, but mostly it's in reference to his own use, not that of the other Stones. He does however provide a rare glimpse at what life was like on the road with the world's greatest rock band, and while it got crazy at times - and there are great, hilarious stories - it was mostly run as a strict corporate enterprise.  

As I said, Keys goes into detail about his own drug use and especially heroin and the derailment it caused him. It eventually led him to quitting the Stones during the late '70s, and it was Keith who tried to persuade him to stay. Keith said point blankly, "Nobody quits the Stones!" In Saturday Night, Keys claims that he is the only person who quit the Stones and was was eventually let back onboard. But of course it came at a cost. While Keith welcomed him back with open arms, Mick never really seemed to forgive him for leaving.

Every Night's A Saturday Night is a great read for fans of the Rolling Stones, rock and roll historians, or anyone who likes a fun, candid, honest read. It also contains rare photographs that seem to have appeared exclusively for this book. Keys comes off as boastful at times, but humble and apologetic at others. Mostly he seems genuinely gracious for the life that he has been able to live and for the amazing people who helped carry him through it. 

My only regret is that I waited until his death to read it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Story Behind The Song: "Have You Got It Yet?" By Pink Floyd

Imagine being taught a new song only to have it be ever changing, so that just when you think you have it learned, the person teaching you the song comes in and changes virtually everything you've just been taught about it.

That's exactly what happened in early 1968 right around the time David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd. Gilmour had been a friend of Syd Barrett since childhood, and had become very aware of Barrett's progression into a hermetic lifestyle. While once a prolific songwriter and composer, Barrett had become completely indulgent on LSD and his status within the band was quickly diminishing. It got to a point where IF Barrett would show up at a gig, he'd wander around the stage, only occasionally picking up a guitar and being a part of the group. He became a sideshow, which the audiences loved, but the band began to resent it.

Appearing with Pink Floyd on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Barrett became terse while answering questions, coming off as rude. As a guest on Pat Boone's show, he ignored questions all together and just offered a mute stare into the camera lens, refusing to say anything at all. Nick Mason later said, "Syd wasn't into moving his lips that day."

The other band members eventually had enough of Barrett's antics and, in January of 1968, when Roger Waters was driving on the way to a show at Southampton University, the band elected not to pick Barrett up. 

One person in the car said, "Shall we pick Syd up?" and another said, "Let's not bother." Up until then, Barrett had been the primary composer of the band's material, and the initial plan was to keep him in the group as a non-touring member - as The Beach Boys had done with Brian Wilson - but this soon proved to be impractical. Gilmour subsequently became a full-time member of the band, replacing Barrett on guitar and vocals.

The Mad Hatter got the last laugh however. According to Waters, Barrett came into what would be their last rehearsal session together with a new song. He was calling it, "Have You Got It Yet?,"  and the first couple times they ran through it, it seemed simple enough. Soon the band realized that the song wasn't simple at all - Barrett would change the melody and the arrangement constantly with each new practice run - slightly at first, but more and more each time they played it. Barrett would play it again for them, with the capricious structure changes, and each time he would ask, "Have you got it yet?"

Of course, the band never did quite get it, as they were chasing the proverbial carrot on the string. Eventually they realized that they had become victims of Barrett's eccentric sense of humor. In fact Waters stated, in an interview for The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story, that upon realizing Barrett was deliberately making the tune impossible to learn, he put down his bass guitar, left the room, and never attempted to play with Barrett again. Waters had called it "a real act of mad genius".

The song was never recorded by Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Meanwhile, In A Sleepy Bedroom On New Years Day...

The first memorable thing I did in 2015 was, I broke a tooth.

Lucky me.

I woke up after sleeping in, grabbed a protein bar and bit into it. The tooth broke off on impact and fell out of my mouth. I heard it as it hit the wooden floor. It had been damaged for some time, and was becoming a serious nuisance. I knew it was cracked, but I wasn't sure how badly. I guess I found out.

For now, I'll be eating handfuls of ibuprofen to curb the pain. I realize that eventually I will have to seek out a dentist. Meanwhile I am going to enjoy some tooth-chipping thrash metal.

In Defence will be play the Underground Rock Shop sometime in early February. Stay tuned.


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Thursday, January 1, 2015

On Christmas Day Panthallasa Releases First Single, "Skinwalk and Rupture."

On Christmas day, Panthallasa released "Skinwalk and Rupture," the first single from their highly anticipated EP, "Care."

"Care" will be available on February 14 as Panthallasa headlines an event at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines. $10 will get you in the door plus a free copy of the new EP. The Maw and The Creation Complex will also perform.


Facebook event page

Grant's Tomb: Panthallasa and The Nerve Wrecking Process of Recording

Recording is nerve wrecking. It’s one thing to bash through a song during rehearsal, but to actually sit there with an engineer or producer while you fumble through your parts can be extremely embarrassing.

When it came time to record our first demos, on the advice of Brad West from Heartland/ex-They Will Repent, I sought out Griffin Landa who owns and operates The Establishment Recording Studios. I’d known of Griffin with his prior time playing in Too Pure to Die, and currently Shut In (also featuring one of my favorite vocalists, Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain) and IVA, but I’d never actually met him. I had no idea what kind of a person he was or how he ran things.

Admittedly, I am not the greatest guitar player, not by a long shot. Other than our drummer, I’m probably the least qualified to even be holding a guitar in the band (both my vocalist and bassist actually went to school to learn and play classical guitar), but I had at least learned my way around the instrument enough to know what I was doing.

So, here we were, going to recording with a guy who has toured across the States (and most likely outside of the U.S.), produced and engineered several local and regional bands and I had to play in front of him, a guy who has seen the best of the best play their instruments. To a click. The click is the mortal enemy of any person who can’t count, and I cannot. The running joke is that when I bring a riff to rehearsal, I’m the one who asks everyone else what time signature it’s in.  Fortunately for us, myself especially, Griffin is one of the easiest going people you’ll ever meet. Never a harsh or condescending word left his mouth during the initial recording sessions for the first three songs. It had been such a positive experience we knew he was definitely the guy to do our first official release.

Matthew Burkett of Panthallasa (Photo by Bigfoot Diaries)
I’ve always had an affinity for electronic music, industrial especially. I still remember the first time I heard “Adios” by KMFDM and the chills it gave me with the swirling electronics and machine like guitar riffage. We have three guitars players in the band, including our vocalist, and from the first rehearsals I made it clear I wanted to incorporate some form of electronics into our brand of aggressive music. I wanted to add texture to a genre that in my mind had gone stale by relying too heavily on drop tunings and mindless chugging.

We had been jamming a song since our first rehearsals as a full band that was far different from anything else we were doing, it had more in common with Nine Inch Nails or Massive Attack than it did the obvious Botch or Deftones worshiping the other songs had, but when we first started playing it we weren’t entirely sure it would actually be recorded in a studio. It started randomly enough one rehearsal, I had been messing around with electronic drum software on my laptop that I was running through a bass amp and our vocalist, Matt, started playing these two chords on his guitar with the reverb on his amp cranked all the way up. It was an extremely haunting melody. After Joe, our other guitarist, added his part and the live drums came in, I switched over to an organ snyth using the same software to avoid having too much percussive sounds going on and muddying up the tune. The first few runs of the song stretched out to about 10 minutes oddly enough…it was just so hypnotic and catchy.

Joe Curry of Panthallasa (Photo by Bigfoot Diaries)
For shows we managed to cut it down to just over five minutes and used it as our opener to draw people to the front before we pulled a one-eighty and starting playing our noisy tunes, however we still didn’t have lyrics or a title. As a joke (you’ll notice how this becomes a recurring theme), I suggested we call the song “Closer” because we played it as our opener. The title stuck.

When the song is played live, the electronic drum intro that I play is completely live. I should probably explain: I’m physically pressing down on the pad to trigger the sounds for each and every bar of the phrase instead of looping them or playing a pre-recorded sample. It’s kind of a backwards approach, but every time I’ve tried looping it or triggering a sample, something gets lost in the translation of the part.

Recording the song proved to be a lot less complicated than I initially anticipated. The actual drum phrase was played twice and then looped for the rest of its respective part in the song. The next section of the song features a slight guitar break before the main chorus kicks in. For that section, Joe, Matt and I are all playing guitar. I used a Boss OC-3 octave pedal to add more texture and thickness to it. All in all, I probably only play guitar on that  song for around 10-15 seconds, other than that it’s all Joe and Matt (Matt even plays the incredibly tasty lead towards the end). Dan nailed his bass line for the song, its silky smooth and has a very R&B flow to it. Just what the doctor ordered. If a remix of this track were ever to be attempted (hint hint), I’d direct the primary focus to be on his lines. My favorite part of the song however occurs within the last few seconds. Our drummer, Shane, starts an incredibly on top of the beat snare pattern that just grooves. It is so fun to listen to and the space that Griffin utilizes for recording works perfectly to capture Shane’s drum sounds.

I can’t comment on the lyrics because I didn’t write them, that credit would have to go to Joe. I do know they are probably the most personal lyrics you’ll find in a Panthallasa song. I’ve always tried to stay away from overtly personal lyrics when I write, but sincerely admire people who write them and make them work. Most of Matt’s vocal melody was already in place during the first jam sessions for the track, including the “GO!” to signify the guitar break.

Daniel Powell of Panthallasa (Photo by Bigfoot Diaries)
“Closer” is kind of an oddball for us, not only for the reasons stated above, but stylistically more so and depending on who we are playing with we may not even play it in our set live. I loathe to try and classify us as this or that genre (I’ve heard everything from progressive rock, to post-metal, to hardcore, whereas I just prefer the word “aggressive”), but if you’re going to play with other bands, you need to have some common themes musically. Most of our songs fit comfortably in the hardcore/metal realm, but not “Closer.” It’s very melodic and has a distinct industrial or electronica rock sound. We chose it to open the EP for the same reasons we typically open our set with it, it’s the perfect song to grab the listeners attention and draw them in, almost lull them into a trance.

- Text written by Grant Peter 


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