Dang. Forgot A Couple of Things

421861_274154966048922_901360835_n

Dammit. There were totally three things I meant to talk about both here and at Des Moines is Not Boring and I blew it. So lets do one more quickie post.

-Tonight at Beechwood Lounge is a free show featuring Diamonds For Eyes, Wrestling With Wolves, Strong Like Bear and Dan Mariska. This is a great show, especially for free. Diamonds For Eyes also released their 2011 album The Era Of Our Ways, so you should check that out, too.

-Gas Lamp also has a cool show on Monday April 15. Good For You plays a 21+ show, and you should check that out. Good For You features Greg Ginn of Black Flag and Mike Vallely, who you may know best as a pro skater. Should be a blast.

-Also there is a cool art festival held in Monmouth, IA called Seldom Seen. It features art of all kinds, music, film lit and more. This year’s event is June 28 and 29 and features the band PHOX, but also blog favorites like Trouble Lights and Alexis Stevens. They have also launched a PledgeMusic page you should check out and maybe throw some money towards. More info right here.

Two Awesome Shows Tonight, Plus, What I’ve Been Up To Lately

There are two incredible shows tonight, so you have your work cut out for you, Des Moines.

First, Clutch w/ Orange Goblin, Lionize and Scorpion Child play Wooly’s. Clutch was the first in a long line of bands I fell in love with out of nowhere. Back when you could get a dozen CD’s for a penny from a magazine ad (yes youngsters, this was a thing that happened) I purchased an album called The Elephant Riders because I thought that was a funny thing to title an album, and I had only 11 CD’s picked out and needed to fill my order. I actually put it in right away when the package arrived, and was blown away. Here we are 15+ years later and I still listen to it regularly, along with a whole lot more of what Clutch has released. I also have it on good authority that Orange Goblin is incredible.

The second big show tonight is B. Dolan, Toki Wright, Mike Mictlan and prettygirlhatemachine at Vaudeville Mews. I spoke of the incredible Toki Wright last time he was in town. Now he brings with him Mike Mictlan from Doomtree and B. Dolan, who is a lyrical genius and world renowned poet/MC. For real, watch that video I posted and check it out. These three are among the smartest, most gifted and most thoughtful talents in the world. They are joined by Des Moines’ own prettygirlhatemachine, a pretty awesome group in their own right. This show may sneak by a few people, but do your best to get to it.

Hit the jump for some housekeeping type stuff and a few links to some other pieces I have been working on:

Continue reading

Snow Sucks. Let’s Go Do Something This Weekend

2013-02-22 14.58.33

I work retail, so it’s not like I get snow days or anything. During the mega-super-blizzard back in December, the idea of us closing early was not only denied, but met with derision from our corporate overlords. But today I ended up with the day off anyway, so I made a bucketheaded snowman with my daughter. It is always a little weird how Iowa handles inclement weather. Sometimes even the thought of flakes can shutdown the entire state. Don’t do that. Don’t fall into the trap of big weatherman. Ed Wilson cackles to himself when you stay home because of a slight amount of snow. Don’t let Ed Wilson win.

There is a ton of stuff to do, and as usual, I outlined some highlights in my Des Moines I Not Boring column this week. Also, check out that album from Angle it is good. (Aww shucks, here you go.) But let me highlight four here if you don’t feel like clicking on the column:

Backstage Ball – Val Air Ballroom 2/22 7pm

Okay, I’m getting honored by DMMC. Whatever. That’s not why I bring this up. I want you to go to this because they do a lot of cool stuff, and the $75 really does go to good things. Here’s a video of the honorees discussing Des Moines and stuff. I made it all the way through only sort of looking like a dork. Okay, not I didn’t. I look like a total nervous dork who says dork things and does dork stuff with his hands. And somehow, I am the freeze frame when you go to play the video. Shut up. I’m not good on camera or talking in public!

Dylan Sires and The Neighbors, Twins, Gloom Balloon – Vaudeville Mews 2/22 10pm

I put this show in here because it is awesome, because Gloom Balloon’s Patrick Tape Fleming is doing an entire set of only 60’s covers and because I promised I would review Twins’ album prior to their Des Moine.s shows, and due to some unpleasantness, I didn’t get a chance. Go to this show and redeem me. You can make it both the Backstage Ball and this show.

Wrestling With Wolves, Seedlings and Canyons – Vaudeville Mews 2/23 10pm

Josh Putney from Diamonds For Eyes will be playing this show with Wrestling With Wolves. And what do you know, Diamonds For Eyes have a new video. Check it out.

Diamonds for Eyes “No Lament For True Lovers” from DEFT on Vimeo.

The Deer Tracks w/ Analibera and Ramona Muse – Vaudeville Mews 2/24 7pm

I want more people to want to go to this show. Des Moines doesn’t get a lot of catchy, Swedish electronic pop duos. So show Deer Tracks we love them. Check out their video for “Lazarus”.

The Legendary M-Shop Releases Its Spring Lineup


Here is a performance from one of the Ames Winter Classic bands Mumford’s shot at the M Shop. Check out The M Shop or on Facebook

I went to Iowa State for a year. I spent most of that time either hiding in my dorm room or in Des Moines playing hockey. This includes the times I was supposed to be in class. I wish I was a little more stable so that I would’ve appreciated my surroundings a bit more and actually done things like go to the M Shop and make friends. I did not, however. But I try to as much as I can now, and so should you because the M Shop is awesome. Here are a list of shows for the upcoming semester. These are open to the public, for the most part, so you should totally go. And don’t worry about being the creepy old guy at the college show, because I will hopefully be at some of these, and I will out creep you any day of the week, jack.

January
17 – Julian Lage
18 – Snowmine w/ The Olympics
19 – 2nd Annual Ames Winter Classic feat. Mumfords, Surgery and more
23 – Kopecky Family Band with The Eastern Sea
25 – Sixpence None the Richer

February
1 – Danika Holmes
2 – David Zollo
8 – Erin McKeown with Jenn Grant
15 – The Waymores
22 – Haley Bonar

March
6 – The Dangerous Summer
8 – John Primer
14 – Work Drugs

April
2 – Hayes Carll
5 – Hey Marseilles
6 – The Last Bison
10 – Jefferson Starship (author’s note: what!?)
11 – Kelly Richey
13 – The Dear Hunter
27 – The Envy Corps
28 – Schematic Tour with Dave Elkins of Mae

So there are some cool shows in there. Envy Corps and the Winter Classic event feature some great Iowa bands. I love Hayes Carll and Kopecky Family Band. Sixpence are better than you remember. And seriously what the fuck are Jefferson Airplane doing in there? That’ll be something. Tickets are available at Midwestix.com.

Tires and Is Home Is In A Town Near You

Catch Tires and Is Home Is in a city near you.

Catch Tires and Is Home Is in a city near you.

According to my metrics, it ain’t just people from Iowa who come to this blog. Hopefully, it is people who are trying to learn about Iowa bands. Well, Tires and Is Home Is are two of my favorites, so if you are one of the latter group of people, you should go see them.

Look at that picture above. Find a town near you, hope TBA is a town near you and go see them. Simple enough.

This Week @ Des Moines Is Not Boring

I reviewed the new compilation from Max Ames Records. It is all songs inspired by Iowa City.

Okay, here is the thing. I had a little bit to drink when I wrote this, and sorta forgot to edit properly. There should be a sentenece in there right after the first one that would say:

“That friend seems to think it is uncool to be a Hawkeye fan without, you know, ever actually going to The University of Iowa.”

As is, that paragraph is just a jumbly mess of Rumchata fueled nonsense. Anyway, click the banner and then click the article and read from paragraph two on. Thanks much.

From The Vault – Bright Giant – King and Queens of Air

I’m still napping. Here is a review of Bright Giant’s album Kings and Queens of Air that I wrote a few months back. Bright Giant plays tonight at 7pm on the Kum & Go Stage.

Head here for the review. While you’re there maybe check the archives. I also wrote about Maxilla Blue and Mumford’s and Christopher the Conquered and a whole lot more.

Meet and Greet Schedule

The Avett Brothers

I’m not one for meet and greets. Mostly because I’m terrible at small talk. I kind of don’t know what to say at these things. Do you just walk up and tell them they’re awesome? Do you act like you’ve been friends for years and their presence does not faze you? Do you try and think of an interesting question to ask? After you do that, do you then listen intently or just smile smugly knowing that you are smarter and better behaved than these other mongrels in line who probably burst into tears and screamed “I love you” to Seth Avett? Are you then the biggest asshole in the world? Do you burst into tears and scream “I love you”? These are all options and all things I’d like to avoid. Anyway, here is the schedule. The meet and greet spot is in the free area on Locust and 12th St.

Friday
6:00 Dustin Smith & the Sunday Silos
6:15 Pieta Brown
6:30 Avett Brothers
7:00 Seedlings
8:00 Dumptruck Butterlips
8:30 Bright Giant

Saturday
2:30 Maxilla Blue
2:45 Love Songs For Lonely Monsters
3:00 Delta Rae
4:00 Christopher the Conquered
4:15 Mark Mallman
4:30 Sun Company
4:45 Greensky Bluegrass
5:00 Leftover Salmon
6:30 The Sundogs
7:45 Mantis Pincers
8:15 Leslie & the LY’s (Also, did you know it isn’t The “LIES”, it is The “EL WHYS”. That shit blew my mind when I found that out, yesterday. I had been saying it wrong for years!)

This Week @ Des Moines Is Not Boring (Catch Datagun Before They’re Gone)

Click the pic and head to the site, please.

This was supposed to run over at Des Moines Is Not Boring today, but I sort of failed to use my email properly. So, I am going to run this here instead. Be sure to head over to Des Moines Is Not Boring and read all of the great work on the site. Click the link or the banner

The whole reason I started booking bands in the first place was so I could get Awesome Car Funmaker a regular Des Moines gig. For those unaware, and unfortunately that would be just a whole lot of you, Awesome Car Funmaker was a band from Madison, Wisconsin who played a loud set with a lot of synth and punk rock snarl. They wore ties and had choreography. Sometimes there was a keytar. They were the first band I ever saw cover Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. They were also maybe the best band I have ever seen. It was so much fun to watch their controlled chaos and join in on their sing-a-longs about tiger pirates, zmobies and aliens.

A group of us even traveled around to see them. One time we saw them open a show in Minneapolis. Their set was so incredible that the crowd chanted for an encore. Again, they were the opener. They looked at each other and shrugged and went to play one more song. The sound guy ran from his booth and actually ripped their cords out so they couldn’t play. I also saw them play a show with a band that had a wizard for a lead guitarist. I’m not using that as an adjective; he was an actual wizard.

When I finally got a space to book bands, they were the first ones I contacted. Unfortunately, they had decided to call it quits. Seems that playing amazing, Earth changing, revolutionary shows wasn’t enough to maintain their lifestyle of, you know, eating and paying rent.

Bands break up all the time. It is unfortunate fact of life, especially to someone who follows the local scene. You hear a band you really like; maybe you go to a few shows and even buy a t-shirt and then, suddenly they’re gone. It happens a lot. Kids who start bands become adults with mortgages and children and they get real jobs and can’t play in bands anymore. Sometimes they get to have send-offs, sometimes they just go away.

It is because of Awesome Car Funmaker that I go to so many shows and listen to so many bands. You don’t just have to listen to the biggest bands in the universe all the time, sometimes you can find a band you love close to home. You go to shows and be a part of something small, but the art is still incredible and emotional and the attachment is that much more special.

There is a band from Iowa City that has been around for a few years by the name of Datagun. They are an awesome three piece noise-pop band with an incredibly diverse and unique sound. It sometimes dances between house beats and r&b, and sometimes it is just awesome noise. Vocally, they are a little monotone when needed, a little thrashy, sometimes a baritone reminiscent of The National. The lyrics on occasion are belted at just the right note and sometimes aren‘t, but it still feels right.

Datagun is incredible, but you will never get the chance to truly love them, because after this weekend they will be gone. They will be another band subject to the occasional reunion gig and reminiscing of the people who truly knew them. This is why going to shows and being a part of the scene is so important. Sure, you are supporting artists who will hopefully continue to make art, but mostly you are committing a part of yourself to this. Even as a fan, the smallest of shows has a chance to inspire you and change you and shape you into a person you maybe didn’t know you were, or a person you didn’t know you could be.

There is one last chance to catch Datagun (see below) and you should. And you should love them and get attached to them and listen to them, because even if they aren’t making new music, they still have one last opportunity to play a role in your life. Or at the very least, you should go because they’re awesome, it’s a great show and you will have a good time.

Try Not To Miss Shows – 6/28 – July 4

Datagun w/ Love Songs For Lonely Monsters and Olsen Twinns – Vaudeville Mews June 29 930pm

So here is the show. Go to it. Love it. It will be amazing.

Superchief w/ Fatal Addiction, The Maw and Kingmoon Razor – Wooly’s June 29 9pm

Superchief are awesome and loud. Do you like loud rock and roll? Don’t miss this one.

Still Flyin’ w/ Mantis Pincers and Pink Kodiak – Vaudeville Mews June 30 930pm

Hey, it’s the Mantis Pincers, another band you should catch while you still have the chance. Oh, and Pink Kodiak, who I did not forget.

Bright Giant w/ Love Songs For Lonely Monsters and The Olympics – Gas Lamp June 30 8pm

A chance to see a couple of 80/35 bands before the festival.

Gentleman Savage, Unknown Component, Diamonds For Eyes, Rebel Creek – Wooly’s June 30 9pm

A free show featuring four awesome acts.

80/35 Song of the Day-ish – Leslie and the Lys – Hydrate Jirate (But Mostly an Essay On An Unrelated Topic)

In case you weren’t around for GDP, this will be my somewhat daily feature where I talk about one song from an 80/35 act to get you pumped up for the festival. This year, the festival is Friday and Saturday July 6 and July 7 in Western Gateway Park. Visit 80-35.com for more info and Midwestix for ticket info.

(So very sorry for not being around for the last couple of days, er, well, weeks. Just, sorry, I guess. Also, sorry to Leslie, but I don’t really have much to say right now about the song. Its great and I like Leslie a great deal, but I just haven’t been all that fired up lately. So, I’m going to talk about something else. Watch the video, buy your 80-35 ticket, go party.)

My oldest friend is a man by the name of Eric Runyan. Many of you may know him. He is the current and reigning King of Indianola. He is loud and obnoxious. He has a severe and almost despicable fascination with Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant, The Pittsburgh Steelers and Duke Basketball. But, he’s my friend all the same. We aren’t as close as we used to be, which is unfortunate. Even though we have drifted apart, he was in my wedding and he was there the day after my daughter was born. I think we all have a friend like that, just someone in you back pocket that you know you can count on even though it has been years since you hung out regularly.

He, however, is responsible for a stupid superstition that I still follow all these years later. If you drive over railroad tracks, you have to lift your feet. It actually started on our bikes, as we would lift our feet off the pedals anytime we rode over the un-gated tracks in the industrial part of Indianola, risking life, limb and torn jean cuffs in order to make sure we followed it to the letter each time. It continued on as he drove several us to school with his school permit in his 1983 Toyota Tercel as we listened to his one cassingle (Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”) through a Montgomery Ward brand Walkman and portable speakers (his dash stereo was non-functional) and scraped ice off his windows as we drove (as was his defrost). It even continued through his Fast and Furious faze as he drove his Cavalier 90 mph around corners and darted in and out of traffic. It continues for me as I drive my daughter in our economical Hyundai as I’m sure it continues for him as well.

The thing is, we really had no idea why we would do it other than “bad luck”. That was it. No specifics; just bad luck. It is the same reason I don’t walk under ladders or break mirrors or about a million other random superstitions. It is the same reason I forwarded chain letters when I was 16 from my AOL account. The same reason why I have an almost Turk Wendell-ian amount of superstitions for when I play hockey. I don’t know why, other than “bad luck”.

The kicker out of all this is my luck, in a traditional sense, is terrible. I am not a good gambler, I’ve never really won anything despite being at least above mediocre at card games. I don’t win raffles or contests. Hell, even in two decades of hockey I only have three medals (and only one gold) in any league or tournament I have ever been a part of. So, it’s not like all this random ass shit I used to do, like three laps clockwise, three counter clockwise, wrist shot to the right post, wrist shot to the left to start each warm-up or not wearing socks, ever really mattered. In fact, the only tournament I ever won was the one I had pneumonia, so I probably didn’t go through all the rituals just due to exhaustion and fever.

Today, I find myself with a personal mantra of “Why can’t I get a break?” I seem to chant it to myself all the time. I guess I don’t know what break I am looking for, but as I sit here with a job I hate and an overdrawn bank account, I wonder to myself “Where is all of my luck?” After all of these years of following strict superstitions, and well, here we are.

It dawned on me on my drive home last night from said job. I crossed the tracks at 100th and Douglas in Urbandale and lifted my feet, just like always. Then I started to think about all the crap I do that has gotten me nowhere in life. All the crap that I have done that has attributed to this shitty outlook I have right now, or at the very least done nothing to dissuade it. It was all worthless junk carried on by someone with a possible mental disorder. I followed all the rules; now, where’s my luck?

But then I thought a little deeper about it. I realized that maybe all the shit I have in my life that I love is the good luck. Maybe my reward for lifting my feet over railroad tracks is having a great family with a loving wife and kick-ass kid, but also my huge extended family and friends. Maybe the crap I did before every hockey game wasn’t to help win hockey games, but to make sure I have a roof and food, even if my bank account may be more than empty. Maybe the reason I lifted my feet at every railroad crossing with Eric Runyan was so I could have an Eric Runyan (or any one of the great people in my life) in my life.

I need to accept that luck, in and of itself, isn’t going to bail me out of my list of problems. I guess while I will keep doing the superstitions I grew up with, I have to realize what they got me and not lament what they haven’t. As for the shit I don’t have that’s ruining me right now, well, I guess I better just get my ass in gear, eh? Luck is great, but hard work is better.