Showing posts with label Robert Dean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robert Dean. Show all posts

Aug 22, 2019

New Blood: Los Angeles’ ASHRR

By Robert Dean

If there's one genre of music that can go either terribly wrong or perfectly right it's the 1980's goth-inspired new wave some bands are traipsing into lately. Lately, it feels like if you're in rock and roll, you're Sabbath inspired, and if you're playing anything with synths, it's gotta be dancy and Bowie. Most of the time, in both cases, the bands who are trying really hard to pull this off can't, and it's transparent. 

Los Angeles' ASHRR, on the other hand quietly dropped their debut record, Oscillator, and let me be perfectly clear, you need this record. A little boozy, velvety and dark, ASHRR has given us an exceptional debut that moves in waves, it dances in the realm of Depeche Mode, The Cure, Talking Heads, Radiohead, and yes, some David Bowie. 

There's a textured nuance throughout the record, everything feels like it should: like a blackout drunk night in a smoky club where people are doing coke and fucking in the bathroom. When I hear music that's dark and moody, I want to know people have banged to it and ASHRR delivers. 

The record's opener, "Waiting for Silence" is the best track on the album; it feels straight off the soundtrack to American Psycho or a roving scene of kids being terrible in Less Than Zero, it's a musical Brett Easton Ellis moment. "Made up Your Mind" definitely has musical nods to Radiohead's "Hail To The Thief" era, while still keeping the identity of being slinky and ultimately dancey. 


"Paper Glass" feels straight off the end credits of an 80s flick like Weird Science or a car whipping through the Hollywood hills as someone has had a long night fighting with someone they love. Teary eyes, broken spirit, mad driving, killer tune. You know what I'm saying. 

As a child of the 1980's, ASHRR calls back to a time when I remember seeing all of the aforementioned bands played on MTV, seeing the mall culture of America open up to girls in black dresses, with their long Madonna gloves while guys fell down the rabbit hole of Robert Smith or Echo and The Bunnymen. That authenticity sets Oscillator apart from the pack because the dudes in ASHRR are scene vets, all of them have been playing music for well over two decades, they've been through the meat grinder of the "trying to make it."

You can hear the honesty in the music because it wasn't crafted to get people to notice them or to get chicks, it was happenstance. These guys are all studio musicians who worked on a recording together and figured out the magic potion was there, just some dumb luck.

 And through that unexpected musical bond, there's something there that can't be packaged by some dude in a heroin chic white suit, ASHRR is real, it's identifiable, but it's also very, very good. Goth clubs, 80's nights, local dives, everywhere the synths pump hard, they should add this record to their playlists, Patrick Bateman demands it. 

Get out and buy a record. You can order one directly from the band on their Bandcamp. Streaming is cool, but let's start putting money in these folks pockets, too. 



Aug 21, 2019

Black Pumas Are The Next Great Import From Austin, Texas

By Robert Dean

Ask anyone in Austin who the best band in town right now is, and you’re likely to get the same answer each and every time: Black Pumas. 

While there’s no disrespect to the plethora of bands who are amazing in Texas’ capital city, what Black Pumas are doing is taking the state, and the world by the throat and demanding that we all pay close attention to them. And you know what? Those red marks are ok. 

Comprised of singer Eric Burton along with guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, who also happens to be the man behind the Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma, Brownout and the Black Sabbath worship act Brown Sabbath, the Black Pumas haven’t just dropped a new record that people can’t get enough of, the band is suddenly finding themselves in some strange, new places, too, namely at the top of plenty of tastemakers lists across the country. 

On their ATO Records self-titled debut, The Black Pumas aren’t just that little band from Austin any longer, but instead are now labelmates with groups like the Alabama Shakes, Old 97’s, and Lucero. 

The songs are dirty, funky and bluesy with a deep Texas groove that shares the same DNA with Gary Clark Jr, Leon Bridges, The Suffers, acts which cross barriers by not only race but sound, style, and pure fury. 

While singer Eric Burton isn’t a Texan, he was a California beach bum playing for change on the boardwalks, but once he got to Austin, dove into the scene, he’d realized he’d found a home in Texas’ capital city. When he hooked up with Quesada, everything changed. And now, thanks to their partnership we’ve got the Black Pumas. 


The record is lush, it’s old school. There’s some Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Al Green, Otis Redding, the soul of Black Pumas is on full display. If there’s any band you need to get on your radar, it’s these guys. There’s an unaffected cool about the songs, the vibe of the group, that despite their present-day existence, that they should be played on 45 in a jukebox in bars around the world. 

“Colors,” “Black Moon Rising,” and “Fire” all are slinky, night time tunes for rooms with low light, they’re moody, brooding and precisely what you want to put on over a Jameson neat or a glass of Merlot. Whatever your poison, the Black Pumas are the next big band out of Austin since Gary Clark. Believe that. 

Aug 20, 2019

Penguins with Knives Have Come For Your Daughter, Chuck

By Robert Dean

Penguins with Knives is a goofy name for a band. But you know what's not goofy? The jams these dudes from New Orleans crank out.  The band's debut record Those People Are Dead, PWK is a subtle mix of bands like DOWN, Acid Bath, ZZ Top, and a little Memphis soul all wrapped in a filthy, dirty gas rag. 

There's some experimentation going on throughout the record, but the identity of the music never waivers off into unfocused territory. Instead, what PWK do is level an attack that's balanced and heavy, but also palatable thanks to how the vocals are phrased. Despite being four guys used to hammering back some whiskey shots with plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbon chasers, the sounds on the record are a solid batch that offers a lot of promise. The New Orleans spirit comes through via the sonic grooves stitched throughout the album, giving frontman Benjamin Deffendal plenty of chances to capture his moods across the songs showcased. 

"Pickpockets and Loose Women" is a New Orleans sludge banger with all of the requisite head-bobbing riffs one needs while keeping their beer close. The smoke-infused intro with its wailing feedback is straight from the Eyehategod playbook, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. "Tale of The Wandering Witch" is distorted, nasty and heavy but keeps the groove at the center of the song, always keeping its foot on the gas.  


Trying to stand out in a town like New Orleans is hard. When you do breakout, you become canon immediately, it's just how serious people take the metal that comes from the Crescent City; it's dirty, it's flawed and always fucked up, but it's also delicious. Penguins with Knives is no expectation. If they continue to make more music, this is an excellent starting point, it can only get weirder, darker and sludgier from here. And you know, what? The world needs more bands that make you want to hoist your drink while making the nasty doo-doo face while you silently whisper to yourself, "fuck yeah, that's sick." 

Check out Penguins with Knives on Bandcamp today. Don't be a cheapass, buy the record. They put some elbow grease into it. 

Jul 25, 2019

Rock & Roll Book Review / Drew Fortune / No Encore

Who Doesn’t Love Rock and Roll Stories? I know I do.

By Robert Dean

Who doesn't love rock and roll stories? Now that our world has been scrubbed of fun thanks to everyone being mad at everything, every five minutes, it's refreshing to read about the world of music. From Van Halen's brown M&M's to David Bowie's time living in Berlin, who doesn't love this stuff? 

In Drew Fortune's new book, No Encore, Fortune rounded up an all-star cast of miscreants and got them to tell their most insane stories both good and bad, or at least the ones they were willing to get on the record. (Some things you just can't print – think of the children!)

There are blackouts, fistfights, a lot of drug abuse, and GG Allin smearing crap all over himself. Surprisingly, a lot of bad shows happen in San Francisco, must be the ghost of the city before the tech bro's ruined striking back for something cosmic. 

Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr/Sebadoh tells the story of his wicked addiction to speed, along with his first time tasting it – just before their much-hyped set at the Reading Festival. Barlow doesn't spare details explaining  Courtney Love screaming at him for fucking up in front of so many people, drugged out of his mind, while she too, was drugged out of her mind. Lots of heroin in these pages. Lots of it. 

Drew Fortune
However Fortune got these folks to open up, he did a bang-up job. The stories are vivid and wildly entertaining for anyone who's fascinated with the culture of music. People assume once you've got a record out you've got it made, the cash rolls in and everything is cool. Nothing could be further from the truth, because for just about every working band, they make their lives on the road. And for every killer show, there's always a clunker waiting to rear its head, reminding even the best of us that we're human. 

Apparently, Dave Navarro used to play in rock and roll bands before becoming famous for being a shirtless guy with nipple piercings who judges tattoo shows. Some band called Jane's Addiction was playing a radio festival in LA at the height of Fiona Apple's celebrity and considering Navarro was a full-blown junkie at the time, he shot up and then wrote he loved her on the wall in his blood. Fiona Apple and her people were not amused by his ode of respect and adoration. Even weirder, Navarro had a habit of doing this to a lot of people and would shoot up in his friend's homes and spray blood on the walls. This even grossed out Marilyn Manson. Navarro's TV wife Carmen Electra was into it and thought the heart he made for her was touching, and that's why we got a gross reality show out of the deal.

If you're into Ween, Dean Ween tells the hilarious story about the time they played a college – with Busta Rhymes and hardly anyone showed up to see Ween. Shirley Manson shares her story about being at the height of the Garbage's fame, but still managing to get booked at a picnic in Germany to a massive crowd of 30 families enjoying a quiet meal. 

From Debbie Gibson to Taleb Kwali to Alice Cooper, they're all in here. If you want another hardcore heroin story, Al Jorgenson from Ministry has got you covered. And this was when Ministry was "Ministry" the 1994 dark as fuck Ministry that was riding high of Psalm 69. 

Sean Yseult from White Zombie shares her experiences with Dimebag Darrell and Pantera, while also talking about her time in White Zombie. At a show with 10,000 people, Dimebag and the Pantera roadies apparently poured ten dollars-worth of pennies down her boots. Sadly, we don't see a lot of Sean these days, she was always a force of metal. While on the subject of White Zombie, The Melvins Buzz Osbourne absolutely shits on Rob Zombie, talking about much he sucks. Osbourne doesn't save any love for the powers that be running Ozzfest, either. The Melvins were booked on Ozzfest 1998 as a contract requirement to land Tool, and all through the tour, the Melvins were miserable. (I know because I was there at Alpine Valley and the Melvins played one slow, one-note song for their entire set.) He didn't blame Ozzy for how his band was treated, though. "do I hate Ozzy or Sabbath? Absolutely not! He's got bigger things to worry about like what's two plus two than worrying about us." If you want some pure Buzz Osbourne fury, it's right there and mean.

Foster the People talk about fingers in butts, David Yow explains his habit of getting naked at Jesus Lizard shows, and who knew some of the guys in Slipknot were into Third Eye Blind?

One of the best stories in the book comes from Brent Smith, the singer of Shinedown. Smith talks about their time opening for Van Halen and the time Eddie Van Halen pissed all over a deli tray. 


Drew Fortune put together a fun book that's a perfect addition to any rock and roll nerd collection. There are plenty of moments of cringe, but there's a lot of heart and hilarity there, too. He did talk to Insane Clown Posse, but you're going to have to buy the book for that story because come on, you know it's wild. Have you ever seen footage of one of their shows? 

No Encore is available everywhere you buy or download books.

Jul 8, 2019

Che Apalache Are Here to Give Us Their Everything

By Robert Dean

When I sat down to listen to Che Apalache, I had no expectations. I didn't have any preconceived notions, because I'd never heard of them, they were just another email in my inbox. Upon listening to their new record, Rearrange My Heart, everything stopped, because in what's one of the rare times in a music critic's life, what's there is something new, something different, and truthfully, it's hard to put a pin on precisely what Che Apalache is doing because it's important. 

How you describe the band is a lot of things, it's like, queer Latin country/gospel/bluegrass? 

Whatever you call it, the music, the vibe, the sound is not your run of the mill yodeling over some banjos we've heard time and time again. Instead, the music on Rearrange My Heart is all over the place, it's a little bit of the hills, but then has world music baked into the soul, as well. Trying to place your finger on what Che Apalache is doing is hard, there's just so much going on, but that's also probably reflective of why world-renowned musician and bandleader Bela Fleck got involved and produced the project. 

The themes featured throughout Rearrange My Heart aren't good timey songs about running from the law or drinking dark whiskey in the hills, but instead, run much deeper. "The Dreamer" tells the story of Moises Serrano, a queer DACA recipient from North Carolina, while this story is heavy-duty, it also doubles with intensity considering bandleader Joe Troop is queer from North Carolina, who also happens to be a polymath, polyglot, and a world traveler – I told you there was a lot going on here.

Needless to say, the record is filled with many heavy themes, broadcasting identity notwithstanding. Troop was raised in the North Carolina Piedmont, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and learned his craft hitting bluegrass open mics and all-night jam sessions. But, Troop didn't stick around in the area for long but instead split for Europe's friendlier climate. Troop was a young, gay, musician raised deep within a red state, so instead of battling it out, he studied Spanish in Spain, spent summers in Morocco, and eventually moved to Japan. 


But, despite all of the moving around, Troop kept playing and forming the idea of Che Apalache, while infusing flamenco, jazz, and swing. In 2010, Joe immigrated to Argentina and began teaching bluegrass.

Almost a decade later, Che Apalache, led by Troop, features three powerhouse Latin American musicians – two from Argentina, Franco Martino (guitar), Martin Bobrik (mandolin), and one from Mexico, Pau Bajau (banjo) – and are blowing people away with the album's eclectic mix of sounds, styles, and harmonies. Some tunes are crazy political, while others are sung in Japanese. There are no dull corners for Che Apalache, and throughout the record, there's a never-ending supply of though-provoking progression that simply doesn't sound like anything you've heard. If you're looking for your next musical challenge, this is an excellent place to start. 

Jul 1, 2019

No-Sleep Roundup ft. Hollis Brown, Black Pumas, ASHRR



By Robert Dean

Hey friends, compatriots, Commies, and everyone in between. Down here in lovely Austin, I’ve been busy as hell. Lots of articles and essays to write, and I’m even making a tv show. My therapist wants me to sleep more, so I’m doing that and eating healthier. I haven’t had bread in over two weeks. I miss tacos. 

But, that ain’t what you’re here for. You’re here for the latest and greatest of what the fuck is going on in the world of music. And I’m here to tell you. So, let’s get sloppy. Let’s Roundup. 

ASHRR have just dropped their debut and holy shit if you like David Bowie, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Radiohead, and The Talking Heads, you’ll freak out. How this record isn’t blowing up is beyond me. It’s easily something I’ve listened to over 100 times since dropping last month. It’s synthy 1980’s dancey rock and roll with very little fat on the bone. The record is sleek and sexy and you need to own it. 

Another record I absolutely love right now is the debut from Austin’s own Black Pumas. Think Leon Bridges, Cee-Lo, Sam, and Dave but musically closer to neo-soul without drifting into a place that’s too nichey. When Black Pumas blow way up, you’re going to remember this little tidbit and wave your finger in agreement. 

Hollis Brown is back with a new record Ozone Park and it’s taken a new direction. On this one, the boys from New York are a lot less country and more dialed into Vampire Weekend meets Kings of Leon. It’s pop-driven and definitely the kind of stuff you’d hear on a mainstream station. If that’s your bag, you can find it wherever you’re streaming music. 


The mighty dark bastards in Cult Leader have a new video for their gloomy banger, “A Patient Man” and like everything these dudes do, it’s dark as fuck. 

SUNN O))) have a new record. If you’re into doomy, droney low stuff, you’ll have a chance to see them if you’re in Texas or on the West Coast. 

Summer shows - Europe
July 30  Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg w/ Caspar Brotzmann
July 31  Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg w/ Caspar Brotzmann
August 1  Amsterdam, NL @ Dekmantel festival

September 2019  - U.S. West Coast
September 1  Dallas, TX @ Granada *
September 2  Austin, TX @ Emo’s *
September 4  Denver, CO @ The Gothic *
September 8  Los Angeles, CA @ The Mayan *
September 9  San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore *
September 11  Seattle, WA @ Showbox ^
September 12 Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall ^

* w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
^ w/ Papa M

October 2019  - Europe + UK
October 7  Munich, DE @ Backstage Werk %
October 8  Karlsruhe, DE @ HfG / ZKM %
October 9  Basel, CH @ Kaserne Basel - Rosstall %
October 10  Leipzig, DE @ Felsenkeller %
October 11  Krakow, PL @ Unsound Festival
October 13  Vilnius, LT @ Kablys %
October 14  Tallinn, EE @ Vene Theatre %
October 15  Helsinki, FI @ Kulttuuritalo %
October 17  Stockholm, SE @ Kraken
October 18  Oslo, NO @ Kulturkirchen Jakob
October 19  Oslo, NO @ Blä *duo show (Greg and Stephen only)
October 21 Copenhagen, DK @ Koncerthuset
October 22  Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje
October 24  Bristol, UK @ SWX
October 25  Glasgow, UK @ QMU
October 26 Birmingham, UK @ The Crossing
October 27 Manchester, UK @  Albert Hall
October 28  London, UK @  Roundhouse

Hesitation Wounds (Torche Amor, Slipknot, Trap Them, Hope Conspiracy) have a new song, “Paragon of Virtue” and of course it goes hard AF. If you like grinding, straight up hardcore, these dudes bring it every single time. 

Jacob Bannon of Converge has a side project called Wear Your Wounds, which is a continuation of this new trend of heavy bands writing super slow scary sounding music that’s straight from a horror flick. Originally conceived as a collaborative thing with rotating musicians, Wear Your Wounds has an official lineup now along with a new record, Rust on the Gates of Heaven.  


The official lineup features some hardcore all-stars, to say the least:

Jacob Bannon (Converge), Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Unraveller, etc), Adam McGrath (Cave In, Nomad Stones, etc), Sean Martin (Twitching Tongues, ex-Hatebreed, ex-Kid Cudi), and Chris Maggio (ex-Trap Them, ex-Sleigh Bells, etc). The record also features musicians Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe, White Horse) and Gared O’Donnell (Planes Mistaken For Stars, Hawks, and Doves) collaborating throughout.

The band has a tour on the books as well: 
WEAR YOUR WOUNDS, ON TOUR:
May 8 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar 
May 9 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle 
May 10 Toledo, OH @ Ottawa Tavern 
May 11 Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary 
May 12 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop 
May 14 Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5 
May 15 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery 
May 16 Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge 
May 17 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus 
May 18 Boston, MA @ Sonia 
May 26 Seattle, WA @ Highline 
May 27 Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge 
May 28 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop 
May 29 Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite 
May 30 Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room 
May 31 San Diego, CA @ Casbah 
June 1 Mesa, AZ @ Underground 

Boris is back with two reissues of Akuma No Uta and Feedbacker via Third Man Records. They’ve also got a new record dropping, their first in two years: LφVE & EVφL and look, this is what the press release says about the record, “LφVE & EVφL exist as two independent works, encapsulating conflicting connotations that interweave and become intricately entangled with one another, gradually eroding before becoming utterly singular. Continuing to tinker and toil with their sound since the release of DEAR, Boris have pivoted onward a more organic, non-grid literary style that LφVE & EVφL showcases.” 

Did you expect anything less from Boris? I didn’t. Anyhow, they’re coming back to America, too. 

BORIS — On Tour w/ Uniform: 
August 19 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
August 20 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
August 22 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
August 23 Austin, TX @ Barracuda
August 24 Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves
August 25 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
August 28 Mexico City, MX @ Galera *
August 30 Tampa, FL @ Orpheum
August 31 Gainesville, FL @ High Dive
September 1 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
September 3 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
September 4 Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
September 5 Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival *
September 7 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
September 8 Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall
September 10 Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
September 11 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
September 12 Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
September 13 Montreal, QC @ Theatre Plaza
September 14 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
September 15 Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
September 17 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
September 18 St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall
September 20 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
September 21 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
September 23 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
September 24 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
September 26 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
September 27 San Jose, CA @ The Ritz
September 28 Camarillo, CA @ Rock City
September 29 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex

* no Uniform


Jun 7, 2019

From Amtrak to The Misfits: How I Made it To Chicago


By Robert Dean

Chicago is a place with a lot of memories. It's the city where I was born, and where I'll always cite as home, no matter where I live. It's a complicated, working-class city that takes zero shit. Humble Midwestern town, Chicago ain't. 

When the bat signal went into the sky that the Misfits were playing a show in Chicago, I went numb. They'd played two years prior at Riot Fest, but the impending birth of my second son, Luke prevented me from hopping on a plane to witness Glenn Danzig, Doyle and Jerry Only play together for the first time in forty years. Because our child was on his way, within a matter of days, I watched via live stream in Target. My fellow shoppers were not impressed with my shrieks of joy upon hearing "Skulls."

This time around, a Misfits ticket was my Christmas present. 

Because I lucked out on a cheap flight home, I pulled a few freelance gigs out of the ether. Going up to Chicago from Austin, I took an extra day and booked a roomette on Amtrak. I'd fantasized about writing on a passenger train; I didn't know what to expect. 

Amtrak is not what you think it is. It's ramshackle, a lot of weird, and the experience leaves you to think about the mortal coil. One thing I immediately learned: you're at the mercy of freight trains. I was five hours late getting to Chicago thanks to long haulers clogging up the tracks. 

As the Texas Eagle pulled into the station, I was ushered into my room. While not the most up to date accommodations, the room was clean, and the porter was genuinely pleasant. Whatever millions Joe Biden secured for Amtrak, that cash hasn't funneled down to Texas. 

Riding by train as you might expect is steeped in tradition rather than expectancy. It's not for anyone in a hurry, but instead, is meant to spend the time watching the American landscape whip by from a window while sipping coffee. 

In the dining car I was seated with two older gals from somewhere up in the nether regions of Wisconsin. It’s a pleasant experience mixing it up with complete strangers, people you'd never met in any other circumstance. I had the burger and was surprised at the quality. 

There's something romantic about a sweeping conversation with strangers about love, politics, and our future as collective when you've already forgotten the names of those you're riding with. It becomes less about the pretense of the subject matter and more about honesty. While a steady sound of Motown rocked the car back and forth, the meal was one of the most honest experiences I'd had recently. 

Throughout the trip, I'd stumble my way to the observation car where people talked over hands of low stakes poker, old men chatted up anyone willing to sit down for a cup of joe, and I met an old trucker who told me I was 'cockblocking' him because I was reading and working, but the young stripper who'd just got out of jail wanted to talk to me about what I was reading. "I got my rubbers, and I'm gonna fuck, youngblood.”

I massaged his ego for serving in the infantry and finished my one beer. I gathered my books and laptop and split. Something about a guy who brings crackers and mini-bottles of gin for a train ride doesn't seem like the kind of dude you want to argue with over intention as you're inching somewhere in the middle of a murder dark Arkansas in the rain. 

I met a lovely couple from Belgium, finishing their cross country odyssey through America, sampling our endless supply of meats covered in cheeses and salads topped with fried chicken. 

The more meals I took in with the dining staff, I was entertained by their lack of fucks. As soon as we broke past St. Louis and picked up new passengers with every stop toward Chicago, they grew less and less patient. Requests for tape, (does this look like Home Depot? Why would I have duct tape in a dining car?) or something free to drink (there's a little store full of chips, sandwiches and plenty to drink. If you're not sitting down for a meal, you can shop there for ten Cokes.) As a whole, though, the Texas Eagle staff were wonderful and accommodating, at least to me.

Waking up in my roomette, my anxiety was in full bloom, I missed my family. Laying there, watching a fog hover over craggy hills of nowhere, Missouri, I battled with existentialist, "what does life mean" moments. Dogs roamed property unchained, staying far from the muscle of the roaring train. People sat behind the wheel of rusted out Toyotas, annoyed they caught the train, but thankful our small convoy wasn't hauling freight. Reaching Union Station in Chicago hours late, I was happy to see the skyline.

Chicago was a hurricane. I had one healthy meal while visiting. In preparation for the Misfits, Preston, my best friend and our friend Ben from New Orleans ate with little scruples in regard to our well-being. We had sloppy beef sandwiches at Al's, hot dogs at Superdawg, along with pizza standing with our friends celebrating the opening of Rocket Tattoo. I chowed down on breaded steak sandwiches with my great aunt at Ricobene's. And I successfully avoided Malort. 

We hit Rainbo in Wicker Park, witnessed the awful yuppification of one of my oldest watering holes, Tuman's. We downed cold ones with my editor Jacob in Bob Inn, listened to the classics at The Exit, and paid homage at the wondrous Old Town Ale House. If there's anything you need to know about Chicago, we appreciate a good tavern. 

Pre-gaming around Wicker Park, we took the EL train to the venue out in Rosemont, but two stops away somewhere near Harlem Avenue, those tall Old Style's needed an exit strategy. Racing off the EL through the one-day "only in Chicago snow-cum-sleet" we ran to a Wendy's bathroom for a three-man race to the finish line pee in two toilets.

Because my brothers, friends, and other randoms were all in the house, we didn't go in till just before Fear took the stage. While I love Fear, Lee Ving and Co. didn't translate well into the room full of onlookers dressed in black, ready for one thing: to hear Glenn Danzig belt out the hits.  

When the Misfits came out at 900 MPH, complete with Jerry Only coming from a fucking coffin, it was one of those few times in life that when you want something so bad, to see it actually deliver. It's was a transcendental moment, the songs I'd loved since I was a boy, hearing them, "20 Eyes", "Who Killed Marilyn" or "She" – I've still got the setlist saved in my phone. I was so happy with the performance, the vibe in the room, that it wasn't a bunch of corporate dudes there to drink beer and sit in the suites, I cried. I was that happy. 

Relentlessly, the Misfits delivered. Danzig sounded a little beat up when he spoke to the crowd, like the throat pipe might burst, but as soon they counted off in their signature “1-2-3-4,” Danzig didn't miss a beat. It actually looked like he was enjoying himself, like sure, I'm making a fuckload of cash happy, but a legitimate joy that I hadn't seen in any of my times catching him previous. 

Spending the $150 for the tickets felt like a fair exchange to hear all of my favorite songs in a row as the encore, including my all-timer, "Hybrid Moments," followed by "Attitude" and finally, "We Are 138." 

I accidentally punched the guy next to me in the face, and Preston's glasses were knocked off and we spilled a few beers. Anything is possible when you're high on seeing Jerry Only do a bunch of power slides across the stage. I mean, those shin guards have to serve some kind of purpose, right? 

Despite my utter joy and later elated drinking with my friends at the Exit, the significant moment of the trip came from the bond between myself, my brothers, and Preston. 

My brother Brandon was tight on cash since finding out he was becoming a dad, Preston stepped in and bought him one, which facilitated him and his girlfriend Katie attending. That was a class move so he could be there with me and my other brother Bryan. 

Bryan, like me, is a huge Misfits fan, we both have crimson ghost tattoos. When I rolled into the show, I had my eye on one of the posters. At $30 a pop, it was a pricey piece of memorabilia. I ponied up the cash and bought one, but immediately following found out, they had signed ones for a cool $100. Being that I was already on vacation, spending that extra $60 seemed like a bad idea. I went without. My brother and his wife Samantha knew how much the show meant to me and bought me the signed poster. When they gave it to me, I was touched by their act of kindness. They didn't have to do that. So, by accepting the gift, I gave my $30 unsigned poster to Brandon. 

And now, sitting in my office, I have that poster framed on my wall. It's a reminder that while yes, I had the best time at the show, the bonds with my brothers are unbreakable, despite living across the country. Getting to share that experience with them and Preston and Ben will be a highlight at the end of my movie. A guy can only be so lucky, devil lock or not. 

“In hybrid moments, give me a moment.”





Jun 5, 2019

Say 'How Do' To Austin's The Barnyard Boys

by Robert Dean

Definitely not taking themselves too seriously, The Barnyard Boys have dropped their debut e.p. Barn Yesterday, that covers everything from taking out the trash to just hanging out drinking some beers. And you know what? It's sweet as hell.

While most of the stuff we write about is always super serious and driven by artistic integrity, The Barnyard Boys ain't having any of that. It's fun to hear a band that patently doesn't give a fuck, that isn't chasing stages or streams, instead, these are the kinds of dudes psyched to play their local bar for some friends and drinking plenty of beers in the process. If The Barnyard Boys were a drink, they'd be a cold tallboy of Lonestar; it's accessible, goes down smooth and you can always grab another to keep the party going.  

There are tunes about tractors, getting laid, recruiting new members via song and a whole bunch of other lighthearted concepts. But, while the lyrics aren't serious, the musicianship is top notch. The Boys' don't miss a lick and continue to keep the listener's attention, no matter what rabbit hole they venture down. 

If you're around our fair city of Austin, Texas, you'll probably catch The Barnyard Boys stomping around a local brewery somewhere, or maybe just out playing you know… in the barn. 

Apparently, they play in it every weekend. They even wrote a song about it. Just be sure to bring enough to drink for everyone, it seems like that's their vibe. 





Jun 3, 2019

Album Review / Willard Gayheart & Friends / At Home in the Blue Ridge

Dori Freeman isn't the only person in her family with chops; apparently grandpa has them too

By Robert Dean

In the random goodness section of Farce The Music, I was given the link to check out Willard Gayheart's new record, At Home in the Blue Ridge. While it's straight ahead, down-home bluegrass, that's entirely capable of captivating even the most stringent of fans, what's endearing about the project is that this is Gayheart's first record, and he's 87 years old. 

Gayheart is a famed visual artist in the small town of Galax, Virginia and has been in the bluegrass scene throughout the Blue Ridge Mountain area, but At Home in the Blue Ridge is a substantial collection of songs that is nothing but a sweet surprise. Gayheart should have released a solo record decades ago considering how well the songs are put together. 

The songs on the record are clearly rooted in the Appalachian traditions as well as respect for the local culture. Despite playing in bluegrass bands throughout the years, Gayheart hadn't flexed his songwriting muscles, till it became a family affair as At Home in The Blue Ridge features his granddaughter, the Americana songstress Dori Freeman, her husband Nick Falk, plus Dori's dad Scott Freeman. The record was produced by Teddy Thompson, who's long been a collaborator with Dori.


What gives At Home in The Blue Ridge it's unique and inviting tone is that it was recorded live in Willard's frame shop where he proudly displays and sells his pencil drawings. How homespun is that? One of the most endearing things about Gayheart's songs are the stripped down, honest themes of the bygone days of Appalachia, good times and bad when people still scraped livings from the mountains themselves, growing what they had to eat and sharing what they grew. 

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At Home in the Blue Ridge is available on Amazon and other music sites.

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