GDP 2016 In Ten Words



Gross Domestic Product is this Saturday, May 28. It takes place in the East Village, is a showcase of homegrown talent and I love it more than I love beer and tacos and at least one of my pets.

Tickets are available for the low price of $15 until day of and everyone should buy them.

Now the kick-ass writers over at DSMShows (if you read me and not also them, you’re outside your damned mind) have a write up of each band that goes a little more in depth. I, however, have been too busy writing about my shitty brain to do the same. Plus, I have this channel on my Roku that just shows dirt indie wrestling from public access around the world and it’s really taking up a chunk of my time.

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to sell you on each band in ten words because I want you to go and I want you to listen to them, but I also want to watch this Fred Yehi vs Colby Corino match that looks like it was filmed in someone’s filthy basement in front of 12 people. Priorities.

Lineup (all bands can be heard right here.):

Wooly’s (All Ages)

5:00pm – Foxholes – They’re like super good at music. They’d better play “Drive”.

5:45 – Courtney Krause – Really smart and pretty storytelling. She also seems really nice.

6:30pm – Fetal Pig – Released one of my favorite albums ever. Listening right now.

7:15pm – Agrinex – God dammit, my hearing. Fuck it, who needs to hear?

8:00pm – Tires – My favorite band in the world. Not even kinda joking.

8:45pm – Media Fresh – I bought their album at their last GDP. Yes, bought.

10:00pm – Green Death – Megadeth approved, so I approve. I saw Megadeth at Supertoad.

The Blazing Saddle (All-Ages until 9pm/21+ after 9pm)

6:45pm – Glitter Density – Usually angry at talented youngsters but I don’t hate this.

7:30pm – The Vahnevants – Like if you hit The Beatles with a steel chair.

8:15pm – Bob Bucko Jr – There’s so much happening here underneath the seemingly simple production.

9:00pm – Nostromo – If you need this recommendation, you haven’t listened. Listen. Now.

9:45pm – Odd Pets – They’re my new obsession. Garage music is the best music.

10:30pm – VaJ of Courage – I think my friend Rachel is in this. She’s neat.

11:15pm – Alex Body – Like a level of Mega Man 3, but with lyrics.


So there you have it. 140 words should be enough to convince you, but if you need more, click the links and listen and make up your own mind. You’re all smart and you should be smart and go to this.

My 2016 80/35 Schedule


Holy crap. It’s basically summer. That means it’s basically time for 80/35. The lineup is full, the schedule has been released and now we agonize over who we’ll have to pick and choose. So, let’s talk.

If you haven’t bought tickets yet, you have until May 17th for discounted tickets. Also, check out the full lineup and make up your own mind (and while you’re there, click around on the band links. I wrote several of them and I’m so proud of them, I got excited about music again and I restarted this blog). At minimum, there are three free stages, so you should really make plans to attend.

Here’s how this works, there are bands I will see no matter what (Black Lips, Wolf Parade, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Colleen Green and Dilly Dally), there are bands that I would really like to see and in all likelihood I will be at that set barring disaster or demands from children (which, c’mon one in the same) and there are bands I really want to see, but they conflict with another band I also really want to see. Here is where I fight through those and then I can go in with a loose battle plan that will get blown to shit somewhere around 1 pm Saturday.

Craig Finn – 8:15 Kum and Go Stage vs Holy White Hounds – 8:15 Nationwide Stage

The one Friday conflict for me and it is a doozy. Craig Finn is the lead singer of The Hold Steady. His solo work is great, but The Hold Steady, man. The Hold Steady. HWH are from Iowa and I’ve been following them for like a decade in whatever incarnation they’ve been. They finally got signed to a good label and have been touring like maniacs. This set may be the Iowa coming out party. Hell, it may be the last time they get to be “Iowa’s” before they get to be “The World’s”. It’s a pretty rare occurrence to watch an Iowa band actually break out.

Since there is a very real chance if I go to see Craig Finn expecting to hear “First Night” but only end up hearing his (albeit excellent) solo work, I think I’ll take the sure thing.

Winner: Holy White Hounds

Druids – 1:30 Main Stage vs Ravyn Lenae – 1:45 Kum and Go Stage

Our first Saturday conflict, and they are very different acts, to put it mildly. Druids are a riff heavy, psych/doom metal band and Ravyn Lenae is a 17-year old Chicago R&B singer. Lenae is really close to becoming a household name; she has the talent and the right people singing her praises. Druids are the first metal band (or rather co-first with Green Death, also this year) to play 80/35 and I’m interested in what they can do for a crowd who may not be expecting this. This is a really tough one. I will probably end up at Druids, because my kids are usually down there around this time and they like to play in the stream running through the grounds and I will be very happy, so I will give the non-committal, cheap win to them.

Winner: Druids

Vic Spencer – 4:45 Kum and Go Stage vs SIRES 5:00 Nationwide Stage

Spencer is a poet. From Chicago’s South Side, he uses his background and upbringing to create beautiful works . SIRES is the former Dylan Sires and Neighbors. They’re tweaking their sound a bit and working with a new label and are in the process of releasing a new album, so I will be interested in seeing where they’re at in their rebirth. This is another one I may regret years from now (like the time I choose not to see Kendrick Lamar. Stupid.) but I really like the old DS&N so I want to see what SIRES can do.

Winner: SIRES

Black Lips – 7:00 Main Stage vs MAIDS – 7:00 Nationwide Stage

Sorry, Mickey and Danny. If you’re freeloading, go see MAIDS (and make a donation to the DMMC.)

Winner: Black Lips

Lizzo – 8:15 Kum and Go Stage vs Green Death – 8:15 Nationwide Stage

Green Death are a thrash metal band. They’re playing a free stage where a lot of the people will be sunburned and drunk and ready to throw down (in a good way, I hope) so I kind of want to see the whole thing unfold.

Lizzo, though, is incredible. Rap, sing, perform; she can do it all. So, uh, her.

Winner: Lizzo

So here is what my schedule looks like:


Wolf Parade
Dilly Dally
Holy White Hounds


Easy Fruit
France Camp
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Colleen Green
Black Lips
The Decemberists

Honestly, this is one hell of a lineup and I can’t wait for July. This is a rare year where I’m more excited for about a dozen other bands before the headliners, and I really like the headliners (not like the year it was Of Montreal and Girl Talk, of whom I’m both indifferent.)

I guess the big thing I’m missing in my schedule are jam bands (or jam band adjacent). Lotus is pretty good, and there’s some solid bluegrass. But, I dunno, this many quality acts, I’m not going to force myself into something I’m not 100% into. I guess if I could sum it up:

yano shrug.gif

As far as under the radar acts: France Camp, Colleen Green and Dilly Dally are the big three I would recommend. I like Courtney Krause, but she’s opposite Wolf Parade, so I’m going to miss her. But if you’re into pretty voiced folk/country/Americana, give her a whirl. Also, check out MaZoo. She’s a smart, tough MC who has the poor placement of being opposite Colleen Green. However, if Green isn’t for you, check out MaZoo. She runs with a solid crew, so I’m sure there will be some quality guests, too.

Just under two months. Y’all ready?

Review – Goldblums – Heels


Goldblums were the first band I wanted to write about when I came back.

Their songs are grimy and gross garage punk.

They last about 90 seconds.

They’re rad as hell.

The album really captures them in their element: a chaotic, fuzzed-out alternate universe where time and space mean nothing.

Your feelings shift from the simple joy of the slight head bang to maybe even fear thanks to the paranoia inducing riff of “Juicer”.

I often find myself completely unclear on what is happening in the songs.

I think that sort of delirium and confusion is intended.

Also, they have a song about professional wrestler Art Barr. He was called The Juicer in WCW.

Art Barr is an interesting subject. You see Art Barr was one hell of a professional wrestler, but he was also convicted of sexual abuse prior to him really developing into a great wrestler. So, I guess the question is can you separate the art of the artist? Like Roman Polanski or R. Kelly or Chris Benoit. Can you forget the horrible things they’ve done and just appreciate the beautiful things they can do? Like, can you forget about what Polanski did and just enjoy Chinatown? I understand the concept of not wanting to support the person, but can you ignore great art just to punish a bad person? Or, is the badness of the person overriding their art? Is there a scale of level of bad thing to how good they have to be? Like, we can easily forgive Winona Ryder for her little shoplifting incident because Heathers was boss. But like do you have to have something as great as, I dunno, The Pianist to forget about Polanski raping a teenager? Is it easier to watch a Chris Benoit match knowing that his brain was legit broken when he committed those terrible atrocities or does it make it worse knowing that his art is what broke his brain? If Chris Brown were better at music, or even more apologetic about his actions, would we more be eager to ignore the fact that he’s a shitball? Also, does it matter that Barr has been dead for nearly a quarter century? Can we look back on his work with fondness as a respect for the dead or does his transgression haunt him even in the afterlife?

I have a hard time with it in that I wish I were more bothered by how much I enjoy “Ignition Remix” or Los Gringos Locos vs Ocatgon and El Hijo Del Santo, but I forget about the transgressions, no matter how little I want to support the person who did it. Hell, I even bought a Love Machine (Barr’s name in Mexico and yes there is something a little icky about a convicted sexual abuser being named Love Machine…) mask. It was a knockoff I bought from a different Mexican wrestler, so Barr didn’t actually receive any money from it. Turns out it was actually a Mil Mascaras mask, which sucks because I hate Mil Mascaras. He’s probably the worst legendary wrestler of all time. Although, he looks rad, all barrel-chested and colorful in his high-waist pants. Anyway, I’m digressing.

My point is, I think art can exist in a vacuum where you don’t really have to say “I like this person and their art is great.” I mean, there are a ton of people who hate Kanye’s music because he’s a weird dickhead, and he hasn’t even done anything near as horrifying as R. Kelly. I think to enjoy art, you just have to enjoy art. But also, maybe pirate their work or something so they don’t see any money from it.

Also, Barr’s dad was a famous promoter and wrestler, as was his older brother, so there is also the subject of nepotism and should someone who had access to he finest training and was easily able to network be held to a higher standard vis a vis the art they create. For instance, should the first thing we note about, say, Allison Williams is that she got her career because of who her dad is, or should we treat her work on the same level as someone who worked their ass off to be mediocre? But that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway, the album is like 7 minutes long and it fucking rules.


Well. This is Awkward.



Uh. Hi there.


It has been almost two years since my last post. I had to re-buy the domain and everything because I let it expire because I sort of thought I was done here. But, I dunno. I guess not.

What have I been up to? Well, I got a job. Then I got fired. Then I got another job. Then I got another job, and I hate that job. I hate it so much, you guys.

My kids are grown now. I mean, they’re 6 and 3, but they might as well be. Lorelei likes cartoons, basketball and the song “Back That Ass Up” by Juvenile, apparently. Quinn turns 3 in just a few days and he enjoys yelling, throwing things and generally ruining my life.

Let’s see. What else…

Chuck Grassley unfollowed me on Twitter because I sent him a DM about the Supreme Court, but re-followed me because I called him out.

Oh! I played video games with Paige, Xavier Woods, Sasha Banks, Lana and Rusev. That was neat.


Last week I went to a Cardinals game with my dad and Fredbird brought me pizza. I was on the Jumbotron and everything. That was also neat.


Hmmm. There has to be other things…Oh! I had a mental breakdown just the other day. Went to the emergency room and everything. I’ve deleted that story a couple of times, but we’ll get there. That was less neat.

Currently, I’m drinking. This is a sour beer. It’s a Grimm Echoplex.


But yeah. Let’s go back to the other thing. You know, the hospital thing. I think that’s the main reason why I started this back up. Even with as little as I paid attention towards the end, this blog was always a way for me to export some of the thoughts that ran around in my head and get them out. Now, they’ve just been stuck in there, wrecking me. So, along with the cocktail of pills and the likely upcoming therapy, I’m restarting this blog.

Plus, I’ve missed out on so much: releases from favorites, new artists making noise, live shows that demanded attention and with GDP on the horizon and 80/35 before we know it, there’s lots of stuff to talk about.

So. Hi. Welcome back. Let’s have some fun and thanks.

Make a Mixtape, It Always Helps- 80/35 Music Festival 2014

Chris Ford and Patrick Tape Fleming of Gloom Balloon

Chris Ford and Patrick Tape Fleming of Gloom Balloon

I almost bought into it. I did. I dunno if it is my natural depression, my often weirdly intense paranoia or the fact that I spend too much time on the internet, but the somewhat harsh outcry and the excruciating six week wait between band announcements and I almost caved into a thought that I just wouldn’t like this year’s 80/35, or maybe even worse, I nearly became apathetic to it. I knew I would go, and all the good things about the festival that I have spoke of the last two years were going to happen: the community building, the resume building, the memory building would all be there. But would I care? Continue reading

80/35 Schedule – Let’s Fight the Conflicts Together

(Here is The River Monks video for “I Am A Lake” shot by the good people at DEFT.)

Last week 80/35 released their schedule. When I first read it, it seemed kind of cut and dry as to which shows I would go to, so I didn’t think the column would be necessary. But now that I have actually sat down to officially plan out my schedule, it turns out there are a few absolutely brutal conflicts. So, let’s power through this together.

Don’t have tickets to 80/35, yet? How dare you.

If you do decide to head down and just go to the free stages (which I would support because those stages are awesome), please buy your beer there and maybe an 80/35 t-shirt. Or even just donate $10 to the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition. They are a non-profit, afterall, and I would like them to continue doing this each year.

Here is the full schedule, in chronological order, for your reference. 80/35 also has an app you can download if your phone is not a bunch of garbage (Incidentally, a solid fuck off to US Cellular for changing the date of my eligibility and destroying their phone pricing model, but I’m digressing) (MS – Main Stage, KG – Kum and Go Stage, HV – Hy Vee Stage)


12:00 p.m. Brother Trucker -MS
12:00 p.m. Quick Piss –KG
12:00 p.m. M34n Str33t HV
12:45 p.m. Fury Things – KG
1:00 p.m. Fire Sale HV
1:30 p.m. Gloom Balloon – MS
1:45 p.m. Chicago Farmer – KG
2:00 p.m. TWINS HV
2:45 p.m. TREE – KG
3:15 p.m. Dawes – MS
3:00 p.m. Cirrus Minor HV
3:45 p.m. Circle of Heat – KG
4:00 p.m. Bonne Finken HV
4:45 p.m. Black Diet – KG
5:00 p.m. Best Coast – MS
5:00 p.m. GoodcaT HV
5:45 p.m. Pert Near Sandstone – KG
6:00 p.m. MAIDS HV
6:45 p.m. The Hooten Hallers – KG
6:45 p.m. Ziggy Marley – MS
7:00 p.m. Max Jury HV
8:00 p.m. Surfer Blood – KG
8:00 p.m. The River Monks HV
9:00 p.m. Conor Oberst – MS


12:00 p.m. Boy & Bear MS
12:00 p.m. Dat Dude Biggz KG
12:00 p.m. Volcano Boys HV
12:45 p.m. Har-di-Har KG
1:00 p.m. Zeta June HV
1:45 p.m. Soap KG
1:45 p.m. Raz Simone MS
2:00 p.m. Foxholes HV
2:45 p.m. Shy Boys KG
3:00 p.m. Kris Adams HV
3:15 p.m. The Envy Corps MS
3:45 p.m. Useful Jenkins KG
4:00 p.m. James Biehn HV
4:45 p.m. The Whigs KG
5:00 p.m. Parlours HV
5:00 p.m. Xavier Rudd MS
5:45 p.m. Caroline Smith KG
6:00 p.m. Aquamarine Dream Machine HV
6:45 p.m. King Fantastic KG
7:00 p.m. Holy White Hounds HV
7:00 p.m. Dr. Dog MS
8:00 p.m. Those Darlins KG
8:00 p.m. The Maytags HV
9:00 p.m. Cake MS

(I didn’t include the late night shows because sadly, I will not be in attendance for them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, if that’s what you desire.)

So let’s talk this out, and maybe we can figure this out together. It will be okay. It will all be okay.

M34N STR33T vs Brother Trucker vs Quick Piss – July 4 Noon

The festival kicks off with three quality bands in three different genres. M34N STR33T is a hip hop act from Omaha, Quick Piss is grimy punk and Brother Trucker is good old-fashioned rock and roll. I really like all three, but I sort of feel like I can see some version of Brother Trucker a lot this summer, so if its a three way tie, sadly they’re probably out. The remaining two are super unique and I’m having a tough time picking. I would really like to see the show with the full projection art, though, and I worry that at noon, M34N STR33T aren’t going to have that element. But Quick Piss is playing an aftershow with Surfer Blood that I hope I can go to. It’s a tough call.

WINNER – Quick Piss

Surfer Blood vs The River Monks – July 4 8pm

Three months ago and this is a no brainer. Surfer Blood are awesome and they rarely come through here, if ever. The River Monks are a local, and they get gigs, so I could miss them and not fret. It’s just that River Monks put out the album that I am listening to more than any other right now, and I sort of feel I should see them play stuff off of it. Again, Surfer Blood is playing an aftershow, so I could conceivably just go to that, but I really like Surfer Blood. Guh, this one is going to hurt.

WINNER – Surfer Blood

Raz Simone vs Foxholes – July 5 145/2pm

The hip-hop acts have all been revelations this year. TREE, King Fantastic, Dat Dude Biggz, Kris Adams and M34N STR33T all have a ton of ability. The best of the bunch might be Raz Simone, a no-nonsense writer who speaks from the heart and from the soul. Foxholes have been a revelation themselves, bursting onto the scene with a riff and a yell. Maybe the toughest call of the fest and one I will probably catch a little of both. If I have to choose one, though, I think I know which way to go.

WINNER – Foxholes

The Whigs vs Xavier Rudd – July 5 454/5pm

I normally wouldn’t be that into a guy who appeals to the jam crowd, but Xavier Rudd is different. His sound is so unique and his live show sounds incredible due to the sheer amount of instruments and sounds he makes by himself. The Whigs are getting a lot of press and they have this classic rock grind to them that makes them special. Solid choice either way.

WINNER – Xavier Rudd

King Fantastic vs Dr. Dog vs Holy White Hounds – July 5 645/7pm

Three tough choices. I will probably catch the first few minutes of King Fantastic, so that may suffice, but they are so good. At 7 both Holy White Hounds and Dr. Dog play. Every Dr. Dog song I have heard I have liked, but Holy White Hounds are really putting together an awesome live show. I regret missing their turn at GDP, so I may have to rectify that here. The problem with the whole national vs local is that the locals really go all out for 80/35, so you can’t always just say “I will catch them another time” because another time won’t be as special. This feels like a set that is going to be special. Fuck it, going with my gut.

WINNER – Dr. Dog

So Friday looks like: Quick Piss, Fury Things, Gloom Balloon, TWINS, TREE, Dawes, Bonne Finken, Best Coast, Maids, Ziggy Marley, Surfer Blood, Conor Oberst

And for Saturday: Boy & Bear, Har-di-Har, Raz Simone, Foxholes, Envy Corps, James Biehn, The Whigs, Xavier Rudd, Caroline Smith, King Fantastic, Dr. Dog, Those Darlins, Cake

Best laid plans and all that, though, right? We will see where the days take me in just under two weeks.

Review: Emily Reo, Tires, Cuddle Formation and Ramona Muse @ Des Moines Social Club

2014-06-21 20.27.45

That’s a wallet I bought from Cuddle Formation. It’s pink and has stars. On the inside is scrawled “Balance: LOL” and “PIN: 6969420”. This is my wallet now. The one I use everyday to house my driver’s license and health insurance card and such is pink and has stars and says “Balance: LOL”. I threw away my brown leather wallet and transferred all of my identification and other personal effects into this wallet. I am almost 34 years old.

I have a problem where I forget just how old I am. This has been a long-standing issue where I don’t realize just how a person of my age and responsibilities should behave. In my teens, I still collected toys. In my twenties I worried and fretted about what people I went to high school thought about me. Now, I often forget that I am in my thirties with two kids and no job. Time just moves quicker than I realize.

Here is the thing about mental age: the rest of the world just keeps right on spinning. Time refuses to stand still, even if you do. People change and expect you to have done the same. People get older, sometimes they pass, and as you age you have to realize that more and more of the people you grew up with are gone, if not physically then they are different people than they were, and you probably should grow, too. Your possessions increase and so do your responsibilities, which then means that your possessions need to change to match your responsibilities and if you remain attached to things to showcase your youth while also trying to match your responsibilities you suddenly have a house full of crap you don’t really need. Even if you want to pretend you’re still 22, the rest of the world expects you to be 34. There are certain expectations of what a mid-thirties father should probably be. He should be working towards something, and should be well on his way to getting there. He should already have a moderate amount of success and should be parlaying that success into even more success so his family doesn’t have want or need.

That’s the dream, right? Or at least that’s my dream. To be as aged as the rest of the world sees me and needs me to be so my family can always be taken care of. I suppose the real dream is that the world just leaves me be and I can somehow co-exist with what I want to be and what I have to be to make sure my family is always taken care of, but the sad reality is that you need to have some sort of conformity. I need to give up the some of the trappings of youth and just get with the program. To grow and understand just what my position in life should be, but I often fall back into the trap of immaturity. I feel like once I realize that I am an adult and also how to be an adult I can then go be an adult.

It’s thoughts like that that lead you to going to shows with the fight of being in your thirties but wanting to behave like you’re in your mid-twenties. You overcompensate. You go with the thought that you can experience art, but you end up networking. You go with the idea that you can write things like:

“Cuddle Formation has a sound that differs from their band name. To me, I expected bouncy, peppy and happy. Maybe even cartoony. But it turns out it is weird, ambient and slightly dark. Also, beautiful as Cuddle Formation plays with noise, sound and light in a way that brings out a pulchritude that you wouldn’t expect. Maybe just an appreciation and joy of beauty that can bring people together. Maybe they’ll even embrace because of it. Huh, I guess Cuddle Formation is apt, afterall.”

And actually get swept up in that thought and not just write it. (It’s true, by the way.)

Instead, you spend a whole lot of time analyzing why you’re there and not trying to find a job and being insular when you should appreciate what you have in front of you. You end up envying Ramona Muse because of the freedom and confidence she exudes and then almost cursing her for the same things because you are no longer young and free and are super jealous. You end up missing a dynamic talent like Emily Reo so you can talk to someone who could potentially impact your career aspirations, whatever they may be. You worry that Tires is going to destroy your hearing instead of being excited that Tires is going to destroy your hearing (thanks to legendary and award-winning Iowa concert goer Andrew Smith for giving me an extra pair of ear plugs. They were needed.) You have constant internal debates as to whether the money for cover, beers and one accidental over-priced bourbon (C’mon, Bulliet is like the same price per bottle as Jameson, no way it should be four dollars more per glass) could’ve been better spent on things like toilet paper and applesauce. Then sometimes after consuming those drinks your brain revolts with this being old bullshit and you buy a pink wallet with cartoon stars. LOL.

It is the balance that needs to be achieved. Aging is fine, and should be understood and accepted, but not at a complete loss of what makes you you. If I could offer one piece of advice to a graduating class it would be, “Live in the now, appreciate the then and anticipate what will be.” But this mindset doesn’t happen immediately. It has to be developed, cultured and nurtured. If you push too quickly into it, you buy a wallet that is pink and has stars and says “6969420” instead of household goods so you can rage against what the world needs you to be in the silliest way possible.

I woke the next day completely embarrassed by my purchase, but I realize now that there has to be that balance. That I still have a little bit of that immaturity to me while trying to improve. So, I’m going to keep it as my wallet. I wanted that wallet, so I have that wallet. It will be my link to the past as I move toward the future. A reminder of the person I was and the person I am and the person I will be. I did end up scribbling over the inside stuff, because I am for sure too old to have a wallet that says “6969420”.