Somewhere between the gleeful amateurism of early The Fall and the interstellar ambition of Hawkwind, between small amps and big ideas, sits Rhonda Is A Dead Bitch, unafraid to ride a two-note riff as far into the cosmos as it will take them. And a fun ride it is when they do. At Saturday night’s release party show for the Laos EP however, following fine opening sets of electro-noise-pop from Golden Veins and one-man indie-sludgegaze from Distant Trains, RIADB largely kept to shorter numbers that comparatively seemed almost like GBV vignettes; according to guitarist and apparent bandleader Jason Warden, this was a conscious decision in order to present a wider range of material. But I think hey, it was their party, they probably could have gotten away with a longer set. There were still some [nice]( jammy moments, just reigned-in a little, and [nice]( mixed in with some definite verses and choruses. The show drew a respectable crowd for such an artistically-inclined bill.

I bought a copy of the 180-gram-12″-only EP despite the fact that I don’t have a record player. I’m planning to get one as soon as I can, and to motivate myself, I’m gathering good excuses:

  • Rhonda Is A Dead Bitch – Laos EP
  • Samuel Locke Ward & Darren Brown – From The Privilege Of The Grave (even though I already had the “original” CD-R version with the uncleared sample, probably impossible to find now, I’m looking forward to the experience of listening to this one on vinyl)
  • Samuel Locke-Ward & The Boo-Hoos/Mumfords split 7″ (Still waiting for this one to arrive in the mail)
  • Miracles Of God – O’ What A Wonderful Day (ditto)
  • Orthodox – “Matse Avatar” 7″ (“An old lady mermaid sings like Geddy Lee.” Another song referencing Moby Dick, perhaps.)
  • Hallways of Always (William Elliot Whitmore & Jenny Hoyston) – Magical Mind
  • The Bassturd “Dirty Dirty South” 7″
  • Why Make Clocks The Transient Swivel 7″ EP (despite being a member of this band now, I have yet to hear this)
  • Coolzey – Eat the Roach EP (Grace really wanted me to have this)
  • Monotract – Pagu (Bryan Day gave me this one, I have no idea what it sounds like)
  • Derek Higgins/Dino Felipe split 7″ (ditto)

What with the holiday season however, I’m likely to find my money going elsewhere than buying this gift for myself — specifically, presents for the kid and a few others… or alternately, towards getting my ’72 Fender Super Six out of the shop… or, as we are in need of some new living room furniture at my apartment, maybe there will be a good sale on some. But seriously dammit, I’m getting a record player soon I swear.

In fact, I’m starting to feel inclinations to become a mostly vinyl music buyer, once I have suitable equipment. I’ve never really liked CDs, they seem so disposable. I remember when CDs came out, how on the one hand the record companies told us that our CDs would last forever, then in the very next breath told us that we must never ever touch them anywhere but on the edges, and never ever bend them — and then gave them to us in these plastic cases that you couldn’t get them out of without bending them… at least until the tiny plastic pieces that go hold it by the center hole broke off, which they inevitably did and then rattled around in the case against the playing surface, scratching it up, about the same time that the ridiculously frail hinges to the front cover also broke off. Despite your best efforts, you find that after 5 years or so half your CDs don’t play worth a shit anymore. Nowadays, CDs are the best physical medium to rip mp3s from, but anything you want mp3s of you can probably download them for nothing without too much effort. Everybody likes to see good cover art at fill size, and not though a scuffed-up plastic jewel case front. Records just seem cool, like a real serious artifact for the serious music nerd, something actually worth spending money on.

Anyway you can also get this EP at Red Rooster, ZZZ, Mars Cafe, and maybe if you’re not in Des Moines you can work something out to get it sent to you, I don’t know for sure. RIADB’s Facebook page, linked above, has a couple tracks from it, which have also been previously posted here, so you can get a taste. I’m looking forward to hearing it all the way through

Hope you had a fine Thanksgiving feast, if you do those. I retreated to my parents’ place in Bloomington, WI (in the obscure southwesterly Grant county) for about three and a half days, which is always a lovely time. I’m not kidding. I have the best family ever.

The great Samuel Locke Ward has seen fit to hit us with a feast of news and music: his latest blog post links to a free download live album of the Boo-Hoos set in Brooklyn, NYC from their recent tour with Joe Jack Talcum in which they also served as his backing band The Powders. There are at least two songs on it I’ve never heard before, “Do The Pinewood Box” and “This Edison Nightmare,” which I imagine will be on his next album which he mentions having 10 songs down on tape for. He also laundry-lists somewhere in the neighborhood of a half-dozen other projects he has underway, including a collaboration album with both Darren Brown (with whom he collaborated on From The Privilege Of The Grave) and Manhorse (likewise, We All Love Candy, which I still only have an mp3 rip of that I made at Aaron Hefel’s house when Why Make Clocks played in Dubuque, it’s a tough one to come by). The post also has a video of Joe Jack Talcum and The Powders performing my all-time favorite Dead Milkmen song “Life Is Shit.” Go check all that shit out.

Lincoln, NE indie-rock outfit Pharmacy Spirits have gone out and got themselves a Bandcamp account. This is awesome news. It means not only can you now buy a download of their Teen Challenge album at a very reasonable price, but now for the first time ever you can also see what it’s freaking song titles are!

Also up on the site are the band’s 2007 debut EP Every Song Ended In 1994 (which I’m listening to as I type this), but also the proto-Pharmacy Spirits outfit The Bad Sects’ 2005 album Of Growth, Kindness & Threats.

Fetal Pig are soon to head out to Flat Black Studios in Iowa City to record songs both old and new. If all goes well, we will end up with a totally insane record with no definite plans on how it’s to be released 😀

Why Make Clocks will once again be on the bill with Mark Mallman at Vaudeville Mews, Wednesday, November 10 at 7:30 pm. So is Black Ambient Manifesto.

Unable to put the time together to rehearse with a live drummer, and not wanting to do a guitar-songwriter-folkie set, I spent money on a software drum machine to run on my laptop, meaning Distant Trains is back! I’ll be opening Rhonda Is A Dead Bitch’s‘s release party for the Laos 12″ EP, also at Vaudeville Mews, 9:30 pm Saturday November 20. You should seriously consider picking up this RIADB record they’ll be flogging, not only because it’s got good music on it (look around elsewhere on this site for videos of a couple of its tracks), but also, it has gone through hell to get to you — first the pressing plant had plates come out bad and get broken, then the first batch of the records got mistakenly delivered to Jason Warden’s now-vacant former residence, left on the front porch, where they were absconded with by persons unknown — who apparently, upon opening the boxes and apprehending the contents, graciously returned them to where they had found them the following day. A really nifty band called Golden Veins will be in the middle slot, you should definitely check them out too, they’ve got folks from Beati Paoli involved.

Speaking of release parties, there’s one coming up for the hotly anticipated Samuel Locke Ward and the Boo-Hoos/Mumfords split 7″ at the Blue Moose Taphouse in Iowa City, 10pm on Friday, November 12, and probably not long before they get the record up for mail-order.

I’ve listened to this thing a few times in download form. The band is from Spain. The A-side sounds like a mixture of Om and Hawkwind with a big sludgy bass sound, and the B-side sounds like Popol Vuh with a big sludgy bass sound. If you want the 7″ though, you pretty much have to mail-order it from this label in the Czech Republic, so it will cost you. The B-side is instrumental and I’m pretty sure the first verse on the A-side ends with the words “just like Geddy Lee.”

Canyons, the new band put together by Des Moines songwriter Gabe Cordova, made its debut last night at Vaudeville Mews, and sounded good despite Gabe’s voice being a tad bit under the weather. Dan remarked to me that they sounded rather like Palace Brothers. Crystal City‘s winsome folk sounds got the night started, and following Canyons we were treated to really [nice]( atmospheric electro-pop sounds from Beach House territory by Portland duo Hosannas. One guy in the place was breakdancing to them. I left too early to catch Seedlings.

The Seed Of Something, one of Des Moines’ youngest active bands and most promising in their age bracket, have become even younger on average with their recent switch in drummers — reportedly, the new member isn’t even in high school and already a solid player. The new lineup makes its debut at the Mews on Friday opening the all-ages Bad Cop show, doors at 5pm.

Samuel Locke Ward reports being robbed in Detroit last weekend. According to a Facebook posting, “Smash and grab happened during the show. Joe Jack [Talcum] and Chris [Ford] got their laptops stolen. Ipod, GPS, phone chargers, groceries, medicine… Everyone is fine. We still have our gear and the van. Got the window fixed and we are back on track and on the road still. We are doing good even.” Still, I feel for these cats. Losing one’s electronics sucks, as does losing one’s meds.

Seattle-area post-doomsters Roareth are to be short-lived. I found these guys interesting because you don’t usually hear of a band making their recorded debut with a single 45-minute track. It’s damn good too — the CD copies are sold out but you can still grab a download. Reportedly, a member of the group is moving to Los Angeles to take a job at Southern Lord Records, and the bassist, his wife, is of course going with him. Details at The Obelisk.

If you know of Nate Logson, it’s probably either as the trumpet player from Christopher The Conquered’s band whose stage antics rival those of Christopher himself, or from the Ames Progressive. Recently he put together his own band, Mumford’s, and their live shows and YouTube videos thereof have brought them some appreciation. Well, pretty soon you’ll know him for his songwriting, if “The Way That I Live,” Mumfords’ half of the split 7″ with Samuel Locke Ward & the Boo-Hoos (and I think possibly the first recorded things they’ve released?) is any indication of what he’s capable of coming up with. I couldn’t get it out of my head the other day. It’s this laid-back acoustic number with light horn flavoring that turns out to be a kind of first-person account of the experiences of a serial killer. The lyrics are hilarious, too. For their part, Sam and company turn in three quick infectious punk rock gems, of the kind of way that only Sam can write punk rock. Bonus fun factoid, the Boo-Hoos include Petit Mal guitarist Chris Ford, namesake of the Conquered one.

The records arrived at Sam’s just the other day and will be available by mail-order after his current tour with Joe Jack Talcum. If you can’t wait that long to hear it, stream and/or download the tunes here.

Fabulous Iowa indie rock band The Wheelers have made available a download of their now out-of-print 2009 5-song EP “Milwaukee Black & Tan” over here at bandcamp.

As linked to by Mr. Locke-Ward himself on Facebook earlier today, the soon forthcoming split 7″ EP by Samuel Locke Ward & the Boo-Hoos (Sam backed up by members of Petit Mal and Lipstick Homicide) and Mumfords (the awesome new thing headed up by Pennyhawk/Christopher The Conquered trumpet man Nate Logson) can be streamed & downloaded at bandcamp… or at this nifty little widget below, one of bandcamp’s amenities.

Boston psych-doom duo Olde Growth, to whom I gave a shout-out here back in June, announced today via the mailing list gathered from their bandcamp account that they have hooked up with the label MeteorCity (home to another band I quite dig, Black Pyramid), and that MeteorCity will be (re-)releasing the self-titled CD that Olde Growth self-released in a limited hand-made edition of 100 earlier back in March. The news arrived in my inbox not long after I had given their album another spin on my iPod, oddly enough.

Upside: the world will get more CD copies of Olde Growth’s debut; downside: this probably means that the days are numbered for the free bandcamp download of it (the email states, “we will probably keep it up for another week or so”) — so if you haven’t looked into them yet, I’d suggest you check it out while you can, plus it gets you on their email list. It appears they also still have copies of the original CD hand-made release for sale at that same link, so it couldn’t hurt to get hold of that.