Gloom Balloon, Mumford’s and Why Change Matters

Mumfords-Immediate-Family-Cover

I don’t like change. It makes me feel weird. It is part of why 2013 has been such a rough year for me. It is not just the bad things that have happened (and bad things have happened), it is that even the really good things have resulted in my life being completely different than what it was and that throws me in a tailspin, too. Its like I can’t handle change and I can’t accept the way things are. My brain is awesome.

Laziness is a big reason why I have kept much of my life stagnant for so long, but it is also just a desire for normalcy. It is that normalcy that let’s me know, even if things aren’t good, at least to know what to expect. That fear of the unknown, of somehow things getting worse, forced me to keep things into a gross and unacceptable normalcy; one that sucked the life completely out of me and made my life worse for my family. After much procrastination, I left the career I had simply accepted yet loathed and finally moved on to something different. It has been hard. I didn’t expect the learning curve to be so sharp. I think I have been more stressed with learning something new than I ever was by being in a miserable job that I knew I could do well, but, you know, hated.

Fear of change might also be why I fought having kids. Being responsible for two lives, making sure they’re fed and they’re clothed and bathed and kept warm, is instinctual and primal. It is also really fucking hard. Not just the physical and emotional drain loving these two beautiful idiots puts on you. I have to make big changes in my ways to make sure their lives are as easy as I can possibly make it. I have to put away all of the selfish stuff about myself aside and, dammit, I thrived on selfish stuff. I lived for it. I have a hard time turning that off. It is that acceptance that life is a different from what it in April, what it was in January, what it was in 2008, and what it was in 2003 that seems to elude me sometimes. These little people needing me more than I need myself is a lesson that I have to remember.

Also, we got a puppy and I hate her, I think. She won’t poop outside and is constantly trying to make out with my baby. She is currently scratching at my arm with her sharp claws and dropping her slobbery toy on my keyboard. She is super annoying.

It seems fitting with my year of change, of new lives, of new tasks and of untimely passings, that the last two albums I will likely review in 2013 are both steeped in introspection and a startling change in tone and in presentation from what we expect. Two Iowa artists either not afraid of change, or at minimum accepting that change and doing something with it.

Mumford’s and Patrick Tape Fleming of Gloom Balloon have a long history together. They share Ames roots, and they share a record label. What they also share is an understanding that doing the same thing over and over again can be rewarding, but eventually things change. You can do two things with that change: you can ignore it and try to keep doing the same things even if you want to do something else, or you don’t love those things, or that those things aren’t available to you anymore or you can make things better.

For Mumford’s that change is in presentation, in perception and in tone. Their most well-known songs have always had something to say hidden under the rapid fire lyrics and the quick guitar and horns. But their new album almost ditches the Mumford’s we all know and love. Instead of the quick beats and manic vocals, Mumford’s is a more reflective, mature and, well, not more interesting, but a different sort of interesting. Lead singer Nate Logsdon’s time as a solo artist, both under his own name and as the androgynous Beef Cake, has helped Mumford’s become this unflinching, sentient pop machine full of reflective prose and hum-able melodies.

Stylistically divided with soulful singalongs, outlaw-country tinged ballads and introspective, slightly rambling acapella stories, Immediate Family takes on many of this generations problems and how past generations can shape the solutions to the problems, and be the cause of them. “Caster” bravely and melodically shows an acceptance and celebration of transgender people in maybe one of the most endearing and just plain wonderful singles of the year. It could’ve turned into a song where they try to show just how progressive they are, but they don’t. It’s not pandering; it’s poetry. Another track, “Family Circle”, takes a close look at how your family can shape you and each generation of your family, fractured or no, bedded by a beautiful piano riff and a sneaky violin.

This is Mumford’s most incredible work to date. Mumford’s built its name on its sweaty live shows, so to make an album this deep and poignant had better work well, and luckily for them, it works in spades.

gloom

For Gloom Balloon, it took a near-complete breakdown to make something this deep. Patrick Tape Fleming is best known as singer, guitarist and complete ball of energy in the Poison Control Center. Exuding that much energy and emotion for the better part of decade can lead a man to continually seek that endorphin high that only performing can give. When PCC decided to take a break, Tape Fleming lost that outlet and slipped into a depression. His suicidal thoughts, unhealthy malaise and loss of his hero (Olivia Tremor Control’s Bill Doss) caused him to re-examine his artistic output. This lead to Gloom Balloon, a very different project than PCC, and yet still rooted in what makes that band work.

Raw and emotional, You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Disaster/Fix The Sunshine Pts. 1-7 (An Ode To Bill Doss) doesn’t entirely leave the PCC aesthetic behind. Most of the tracks fit into that less-than-or-equal-to 3 minute pop ditty. The presentation is so much different than the four piece, guitar-heavy PCC we all know and love. Gone are the pop rock guitars and sometimes shouty vocals. In its place are electronics and samples and saxophones and violins and a severe downturn in tempo. “Fix The Sunshine” has that same sort of PCC vibe, but the vocals and presentation changes the vibe entirely.

Take, for example, PCC’s well known oft-concert ender “Magic Circle Symphony”. The chorus is “Love. Love is the answer. Until you get cancer. Then you’re lying, dying, dead.” Somehow the music makes that repeated affirmation somewhat joyous and acceptable. Similarly, “Fix The Sunshine” has a chorus that goes “All the children in the world are one day gonna die and so will you and I” and it still feels okay, and yet I was much more reminded of mortality rather than joy. Where “Magic Circle” gives you optimism “Sunshine” seems to slap you with reality.

This has to do with the presentation of the album as a whole. Each track is deliberate and somewhat manipulative. If you pay close attention to the lyrics, you could feel one thing. If you pay attention to the instrumentals, you could feel another. Yet,you somehow understand both the instrumentals and the lyrics better because of their intricacies and occasional dichotomies. You get the joy and sadness of both mixed beautifully.

What both of these albums succeed with is an understanding that life is change. Life is maturing, growing up, letting friends move away, letting family pass on. And if you can accept that change, your life will be better for it. You will likely not be the same person you were, but you will, surely, be so much more.

I can see that change paying off. I can see it for Mumford’s, I can see it for Patrick Tape Fleming and I can see it for myself. Now rounding out of the steep learning curve, I question why I waited so long to make a change. I am still learning, improving, getting better, but I enjoy waking up in the morning more. I enjoy going to work and doing what I do. Gone, for the most part, is that anxiety of where my life is heading and how it will end. Parenting will always be a challenge, but I understand, now, that I can no longer just give a shit only about my hobbies, my activities and my social desires. Those two come first and I come after.

Hell, even the puppy is now resting comfortably at my feet instead of tongue kissing a baby or jumping on my head. Change is hard, change is scary but change is sometimes what is needed to truly succeed.

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Dave Cleans Out His Inbox Vol. 1 feat: Annalibera, The Wheelers, Little Ruckus, and New Member Charles

I started this blog a year and change ago with the idea that I would talk about the world of music, and some Iowa stuff. I kind of segued that into Iowa stuff, mainly because very few people gave a damn what I thought about things outside of Iowa. It has since segued further into a music themed blog where I vent my own neuroses. I kind of like what I have written here lately, but I have seemingly left behind a lot of what I set out to do with this blog originally. I guess this is a long winded way of saying I have been a little up my own ass for this last year and less up Iowa music’s ass.

I have been trying to keep up with my Des Moines Is Not Boring stuff, but I try not to cover the same band twice with that column. Since I have fallen behind on some stuff I wanted to review, and it would break a rule that I have done fairly well of keeping (Parlours and Maxilla are the only two featured bands I have done twice and Maxilla was as BumRap, so I think that counts as two different bands. So, just Parlours). Here, in one big blast, I will attempt to clean up some stuff I have missed. Plus, I have been slightly under the weather today, so this seems like a perfect lay on the couch activity.

Annalibera – EP

Annalibera has been a bit of a startling revelation on the Iowa scene in 2013. Beautiful voices, heavenly instrumentals and a ghostly vibe, Annalibera has gotten a lot of push from a lot of people for an important reason: they’re very good.

On their three song EP, Annalibera gives us a taste of what the band has to offer, and a glimpse of what could be in the future. From the live shows I have attended, they seem to have picked the three songs that stuck with me the most. “Clouds” is a beautiful duet with Ryan Stier of River Monks fame and lead singer Anna Gebhart that has hints of post-punk and new wave. I, however, think the next two tracks are going to have a serious fistfight for my favorite track of the year.

I am a crier. I cry. It happens. I am not ashamed of my visceral reactions to things. I was engrossed in “Vermillion” the first time I heard it live, and recorded, it loses nothing. I could actually feel myself choke up a bit from the beauty. Gebhart’s voice is perfect, the instrumentals are perfect. Its beautiful.

Somehow, despite “Vermillion” just wrecking me, “Battle World” might be a better song. It is slightly less subtle but the guitar work is stronger. It feels like “Battle World” is the single, and “Vermillion” is the song the deeper fans like. Like when you go to an, I dunno, Green Day concert and people pop for “Longview” but a small group of people lose their heads for “Going to Pasalacqua”. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but you’ll have to excuse me, I don’t feel well and I’ve been crying.

The Wheelers – The Wheelers

The first time I reviewed The Wheelers, I said that they were a lot more contemporary band than the 90’s bands they pointed towards as their influences. On their first full-length album, The Wheelers decided to prove me wrong by doing their best Nirvana impression. I should put best in bold…hang on… their BEST Nirvana impression. This album is truly an incredible throwback to those who listened to Nevermind and decided their favorite tracks were “Lounge Act” and “Territorial Pissings”. It is dirty and filthy and grimy and beautiful all at once. There is no wasted notes or vocal chords left unstrained. Just an incredible amount of passion and noise that I couldn’t help but listen to it three or four times in a row.

Little Ruckus – American Confetti

I have been a rather vocal supporter of Little Ruckus, and with good reason. He is chaos and control all at once. He is charming and optimistic and hard to hate, and uses his powers for good, I think. His first two albums are amongst my favorites. What I like best about those two is they seem like part one and part two of a story. Part one, We Love Evil, seems to introduce you to a guy you think is a little bit of a troublemaker, but who also wears his heart on his sleeve. The boy from the wrong side of the tracks you find yourself becoming enamored with. Part two, Tank Girl vs. Cape Girl, makes you realize you’re dealing with a someone special and someone who believes in himself and in you. So while his heart is on his sleeve, he does so because he really wants to be your friend.

American Confetti is part three. It is the celebration Little Ruckus throws you now that you’re friends. It is loud and quick and sample heavy (Dire Straits, X-Files, Britney Spears and so many more). It sneaks in the Star-Spangled Banner in the middle. It is a lot more instrumental than the prior two. Standalone, I didn’t like this album as much as the other two, but as part of an ever evolving story with Little Ruckus, it is an important and necessary step. If all he talks about is sweating and dancing, then when it comes time to sweat and dance it better be a chaotic mess of dance and sweat and this is that dance party. The usual Little Rucks stuff is in there, as is his ever present Sandwich Eating Crew, but this is certainly another step in the narrative. It makes me wonder what’s next and if maybe I am writing this story myself, or if that’s what is intended.

New Member Charles – Spooky Batches

So, I know I haven’t really spoke of New Member Charles before, but I figured four seems like a good number for Volume 1 of what may be a multiple volume series (or may just be a one volume series; I’m tricky like that). New Member Charles is fun alt-pop-rock. But it is a different type of fun than say Poison Control Center. While PCC and NMC share some similar sounds, NMC seems to be a little more mischievous. Like, where PCC sings songs about love, NMC might sing songs about blowing up mailboxes (I don’t know if they have a song about blowing up mailboxes, but it seems like they could). For instance, “Boner Party” sounds a lot like PCC, however I don’t feel like they would have a running lyric of “Fuck! Shit!”, or would they call a song “Boner Party”. They might have a song like “Rubens Paul”, but even with that one NMC brings their own panache. Like a refrain of just shouting “Cat murder!” (at least I think that’s what they’re yelling. Man, I hope that’s what they’re yelling) So yeah, it’s pretty stupid and adolescent.

But you know what? Spooky Batches holds its own. It isn’t a gimmick, it’s just silly and fun and a good way to remind yourself that art doesn’t always have to be super-serious. Like, I don’t think a NMC song is ever going to make me cry, but I’m sure it will make me laugh. Hell, “Boner Party’s” line of “Fuck! Shit! Let’s get a pizza!” get’s me every time. And that’s great that an album can make you feel okay with juvenile thoughts while also bringing excellent instrumentals and fun.

Just Family Stuff: The 2013 80/35 Festival

The only pic I took this weekend was from Wavves set. I cashed in a favor to get backstage to see them. I left halfway through one song because its more fun to be out front.

The only pic I took this weekend was from Wavves set. I cashed in a favor to get backstage to see them. I left halfway through one song because its more fun to be out front.

Jeff Jarrett is a professional wrestler of some acclaim. He was actually an above average talent, but lots of learned people (yes you can be learned about pro wrasslin’) absolutely hated. Not in a “boo, you’re a bad guy way” (because if more people did that, he’d likely be more famous), but in a “gee, that guy is boring and I don’t feel like watching him” way. He was a world champion during WCW’s dying days, was fired from WWE on live television (For real, not storyline. Well sort of, but I will spare you the story) and started his own semi-big league organization, the often laughable but occasionally great TNA (that name is not one of their occasionally great things). I was always a fan of his because he did some great work and was often more interesting a performer than people were willing to credit, but as people who read my work often can attest, I am not always the most critical and often find things entertaining that others don’t (see: Pryde, Kitty). So while he’s not exactly a wrestling legend on par with the Stone Colds and Hulk Hogans of the world or anything, I have always been a fan. Jeff Jarrett also has maybe my favorite quote ever about his so-called sport. In an A&E Documentary that came out 15 years ago or so, he was asked why there are so many die hard fans of wrestling, and why there are so many who would be so quick to deride it. His response was (and I may be slightly paraphrasing):

“To those who love it, no explanation is needed. To those who don’t, no explanation is acceptable.”

I had been thinking about this quote for a bit in regards to 80/35. There seems to be some backlash and anger towards the event, most of it directed at the events organizers, The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition. The detractors say that DMMC could do more to ingratiate themselves into other aspects of our scene; away from just indie music or the people they’re comfortable with. They say that a lot of the same bands are repeatedly given a shot at exposure, while many others are ignored. They say that friends and confidants are helped more than they should be, in compared to the array of talent this town has. I honestly think that some of these are solid talking points and are worth further discussion (I also think some are slightly overblown). I had a long conversation with my friend Chad on that subject, where he took the side of those asking the those questions and I took the side of trying to answer them, even if we, in all reality, sit closer to the middle. But while I found myself nodding along with some of his points, I was always quick to have the back of the festival, itself.

Where I get lost in this whole discussion is that because of the perceived flaws of the DMMC, it means 80/35 is an event that is not beneficial to our community and should be flamed and ignored. That you can’t love the event, warts and all, without offending their sensibilities. It’s as if battle lines are clearly drawn, and you’re either with or against. As often with this world, it isn’t that cut and dry. I think people who hate this event, no explanation is acceptable. To those who love it, no explanation is needed. But, I’m going to do my best to offer an explanation as to why I love it.

Musically, I am unabashedly pro 80/35 and always will be. I think that this event, now in its 6th year, is what it is. It is a festival that helps the community, that uses a ton of local talent, not just on stage but also behind the scenes, and it makes bands who normally wouldn’t come to Des Moines start looking closer at our town. It probably will never be a fest for fans of metal. It will likely never be an event that everyone can agree on. But, again, at year six, I think we all know what we can expect. I don’t go to Lazerfest and get mad that Deerhunter isn’t playing or The Big Country Bash and wonder where the hell Maxilla Blue is, because I know what those events stand for. Could 80/35 bring in other genres or bring to light some metal acts? Maybe. Could there be more mainstream pop or modern country? Possibly. But I think at this point in time, we know what 80/35 stands for, warts and all. And simply enough, I like this event because it is mainly the type of music I like listening to. We are far enough down the timeline that we know what 80/35 is, musically, and may always be.

But there is more to it than just my choice in music. This event feels like home to me now. I walked down the streets and constantly saw people I know and not just know, but people who are happy to see me, even if it’s just for a quick hug or high five on our way to different stages. I mentioned this in the previous post on this site, but just getting to chat with people I don’t see as often as I should, or meet and get to know people who I have just a passing familiarity with is a big deal to me right now. Those five or so blocks one weekend out of every year all feels like home to me. I go to a stage and hear a band I love and it feels right to me. I pop in on a vendor or get some food and they’re all super nice and I overflow with civic pride. I see friends, nay, family that I love at every turn, and I just can’t ask for more.

This is an event I brought my three year old daughter and two month old son to (yes, they had ear protection) and let them enjoy the area without fear of them tripping over someone already too drunk to stand at 1pm or overly rude people. She listened to music, and played in the water, and got into a squirt gun fight in the kids zone with some awesome volunteers and ice cold water. She ate pizza. She met other kids doing the same thing. He mostly slept. It was very cool. My wife and I discussed how awesome it is going to be when they grow up and start making up their own minds on things and maybe we get to share these experiences on a whole other level. I can only hope that they want to come to this with their old man, and I get to have an experience like my friend Anne did when she hung out with her daughter and partied to Trouble Lights. I was happy to have two generations of Murphys present, but I can’t imagine how Anne felt to have her daughter be into the same things she’s into. It is my most selfish dream as a parent to be friends with my kid once we’re adults, so I felt like family just getting to share in Anne’s joy and dream about that for myself.

This was an event I was also happy to use to re-introduce this city to someone who maybe didn’t realize what it had become. My cousin and her boyfriend had just moved back from Minnesota, or in his case had just moved here for the first time ever. Having just moved back, money is tight and they were looking for something inexpensive to do. I couldn’t think of a better place than 80/35. We bounced back and forth between stages, catching bands like Water Liars and SP3. My cousin is an awesome young woman, who seems to have a great guy, so I was eager to show them what Iowa has to offer. I literally couldn’t think of a better event to show off the town. They got to be frugal, they got to have fun and I got to hang out with more of my family. I hope they had a great time, and I hope the opportunity comes where we can do it again. I hope they grow to love this city, and it loves them back.

Good families make you feel comfortable and for a lot of people, this festival is comfort. It is that cozy, familial feeling that helped give Mumford’s Nate Logsdon chutzpah enough to pop the question to his girlfriend, Trouble Lights’ Adrien Daller, live and on stage. An event where David Byrne felt comfortable enough to just wander around town, and not worry about being hounded. An event where a band on the brink of a breakout, like Dylan Sires and Neighbors, Tires or HD Harmsen or even veterans like House of Large Sizes can plan one of their best shows in front of strong crowds and do what they do best and either continue to be or grow to be respected and accepted.

I struggled for a bit to find an angle for this review, because as some may know, I don’t just like talking about the music and that’s it. I like doing a sort of “Bart’s People” thing with a lot of these pieces and talk more what it means to be human and not just what it means to be a music critic. I wanted to talk about how I thought this was the best year for hip hop in the six years its been running. Or how with St. Vincent, Prissy Clerks, Escondido, Annalibera, Trouble Lights and so many more, that this was a great year for women. But I couldn’t find the right way without just saying those things. Hell, re-reading this, I realized that I didn’t talk at all about how the bands were musically other than some passing platitudes. After putting my thoughts on the back burner, I took a break and ran into another of my friends, Anna, while waiting for Wu Tang. I tried to share some unsubstantiated rumors regarding Wu Tang with Anna (because I was waiting slightly impatiently for them to come on). She replied with simply, “Man, that just sounds like family stuff to me. They’ll be fine.” Then Wu Tang showed up (fashionably late, but they did show up) and absolutely killed with Method Man (a guy at the center of a lot of rumors) looking less like a man twenty years removed from their debut album and maybe tiring of it all and more like a man happy to be doing what he was doing and supporting his brothers. Because when you’re a family, like Wu Tang, the Murphys or 80/35, you love them, warts and all. And no explanation is needed as to why you would do so.

My Tentative 80/35 Schedule

Tires has a new EP available on their website. Click to listen to it. Photo by Tony Galloro and borrowed from their Facebook.

Tires has a new EP available on their website. Click to listen to it. Photo by Tony Galloro and borrowed from their Facebook.

80/35 dropped their schedule a few days ago, and it is full of awesomeness and a little heartbreak. It is not as agonizing as last year’s, but there are some definite conflicts that I think we are going to have to deal with. As always food and drink and stopping so my wife can pump and the children and friends and family throw wrenches into these things, but its always good to have a plan. So, let’s get to it.

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Some 80/35 Pre-Shows For You To Check Out and Invite Your Friends To, Please!


Video by Cody Osen of Iowa Concert Photographers

While I have been away from the blog, I haven’t exactly been doing nothing. I wrote a couple of things for Des Moines Is Not Boring. I threw together a couple more band previews for the 80/35 website. I got to San Fierro on GTA: San Andreas. I watched as my wife raise our newborn son. So, you know, I have been busy.

But something I am super proud of is something for everyone to enjoy, unlike most of my writing which is pretty self indulgent, to be honest. Myself, along with Band Bombshell and Iowa Concert Photographers have put together a couple of fun 80/35 pre-shows with some of our collective favorite Iowa bands.

On July 4th from 4-9 head out to the PBR Bar (the outdoor bar next to Vaudeville Mews) for Land of Blood and Sunshine, Christopher the Conquered, Diamonds For Eyes and Is Home Is.

On July 5th from Noon- 4, head down to the 80/35 festival grounds early and head over to Gas Lamp for Peace Love and Stuff, Rebel Creek and Lesbian Poetry. The festival itself doesn’t start until 5, so this gives you a chance to have some music all day and get warmed up for the festival proper.

Oh, and both shows are free. Both shows are all ages. Both shows really want you to come. Pretty please?

Head here for more info on the 4th

And here for more info on the 5th

Gross Domestic Product Is Saturday

House of Large Sizes headlines GDP this Saturday. Click for all the details.

House of Large Sizes headlines GDP this Saturday. Click for all the details.

What can we say at this point that hasn’t already been said. I did a profile of each band last year, this year DMMC did it bigger and better on their website (click the pic to check that out). Now it’s just planning your schedule and heading that way. While all access passes are sold out online, there will be a handful opening up at 5pm tomorrow at the Kirkwood Hotel/Des Moines Social Club for $20. Otherwise, each show is available to purchase separately (Early show (5-9) at Vaudeville Mews, Late Show (930-1 21+) at Vaudeville Mews and 4th Street Theatre). Here is the full lineup:

Vaudeville Mews Outdoor Patio (FREE)
5:30-6:15: Madison Ray and All the Single Ladies
6:30-7:15: TWINS
7:30-8:15: Kris Adams
8:30-9:15: Annalibera
9:30-10:15: Dustin Smith & the Sunday Silos
10:30-11:30: MR NASTI

VAUDEVILLE MEWS EARLY ($7)
5:15-6:00: Jordan Mayland & Thermal Detonators
6:15-7:00: As For You
7:15-8:00: Land Of Blood & Sunshine
8:15-9:00: Handlebar

VAUDEVILLE MEWS LATE ($12)
9:35-10:10: Wolves In The Attic
10:25-11:00: The Wheelers
11:30-1:30: House Of Large Sizes

4TH ST. THEATRE ($8)
5:45-6:30: Is Home Is
6:45-7:30: Lesbian Poetry
7:45-8:30: H.D. Harmsen
8:45-9:30: Seed Of Something
9:45-10:30: The Olympics
10:45-Midnight: Trouble Lights

THE LIFT (FREE DJs SPINNING VINYL)
5pm: DJ Pretty Good, Pretty Bad (Chuck Dusbabek)
6pm: DJ No Jack All Jill (Jill Haverkamp) – Long time DMMC & 80/35 volunteer, owner of On Pitch
7pm: DJ Scented Vinyl (Daniel Bosman) – Host of legendary Scented Vinyl & Barista at Mars Cafe
8pm: DJ’s Roland and Arthur (John Adrianse and Ryan Meier)
9pm: DJ Tone Zone (Tony Galloro) -Local music photographer and DJ of Back Stage Ball 2013
10pm: DJ Mona Bonez (Ramona Muse) -Local musician, artist, member of Leslie & the Lys, and The Lift Pub Quiz host!
11pm: DJ Bob Nastanovich (Bob Nastanovich) – member of indie rock legends Pavement
12pm: DJ Hogstyle (Marc Hogan) – Music writer for Spin, Pitchfork, and Emusic!
1am: DJ Up All the Way All the Time (Brandon Logsdon) –Vaudeville Mews employee

DES MOINES SOCIAL CLUB (FREE OPEN MIC “OPEN CIRCUS”)
OPEN MIC WITH SPECIAL APPEARANCES.
5-8PM: SIGN UP
8-11:30PM: OPEN CIRCUS

As for me, I will be down there barring a baby appearance. Probably hanging out at 4th Street and PBR Bar, but we will see where the night takes me. Hopefully, I will see you there. If you are there, come say “hi” and buy me a beer because I am poor.

24 Hours Later – A Look at the 80-35 Lineup

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Greater Des Moines Music Coalition released the first part of 2013’s 80/35 lineup yesterday at 10 am. You don’t come to this blog for breaking news. I am aware of this. It’s why I didn’t throw out a post immediately after the 80/35 lineup announcement. Others broke the news, and you likely would’ve got it from other outlets then come here and read the same damn thing. I figured why not give this news 24 hours to sink into the public and then we can talk about it a bit without the either initial disappointment or initial excitement. And from my minor amount of research, there seems to be a little of the former and a lot of the latter.

Just in case you were under a rock yesterday and I AM breaking news, here is the initial lineup announcement:

FRIDAY: JULY 5
————–
> David Byrne & St. Vincent
> Yeasayer
> Tea Leaf Green
> Roster McCabe
> Kitty (Pryde)
> Euforquestra
> Dustin Smith & The Sunday Silos
> Annalibera

SATURDAY: JULY 6
—————-
> Wu-Tang Clan
> Deerhunter
> Umphrey’s McGee
> Wavves
> Mr. Baber’s Neighbors
> House of Large Sizes
> Jon Wayne & The Pain
> The River Monks
> Tires
> Trouble Lights
> Mumford’s

My first reactions are that having someone as legendary and even a little rare as both David Byrne and Wu Tang headline a festival as inexpensive as 80/35 is incredible. Wu Tang especially. Ghostface, RZA and Method Man could all be near the top of this festival solo, so to have them all together is just silly. Maybe I have been thinking a lot about money lately, but it sure seems like $50 for two days and two acts of that magnitude is just an incredible bargain. Throw in the rest, like Deerhunter, Yeasayer and one of my favorite bands in the world Wavves, and it seems like such an incredible no brainer.

I guess the big complaint I have seen is that Wu Tang is washed up, which is super annoying. Ghostface Killah has been releasing critically acclaimed albums for years. I get that we are six years plus from Fishscale, but c’mon, suddenly they’re washed up? Method Man, RZA and GZA have been doing solo stuff for a while, too. So it seems like a silly notion that this is some washed up band from the 90’s and not a legendary group with something to contribute artistically. I even saw someone say that it wasn’t indicative of where hip hop is in 2013, as if WU Tang wasn’t a huge influence on pretty much all of these people, everything from how to market yourself to actual performance. It is super silly to discard them as washed up. Nearly idiotic.

Now to the stuff I don’t like. There are a lot of jam bands. There are always a lot of jam bands, I guess it just seems that this year, there are a lot of well known jam bands. As far as stature goes, UM, Tea Leaf Green, Roster McCabe and Jon Wayne and the Pain are all big enough names that they may take up a spot for a bigger name band I would be more into. Now last year’s late announcements added shit like Jaill and K-Holes, so I am not too concerned and assume there will be more stuff to my liking. I am not as excited about the initial announcement as I was last year, but there is enough good to overcome the, uh, less good.

Oh, and good choices for locals so far. Giving Tires and Trouble Lights a spot on the fest seems like a no brainer and they seem like the two that will steal the show from all the national attention if given a chance. I’m excited for them and hope they get a good spot to showcase what they can do. As for the rest, just pure talent all around. I have zero complaints.