Wednesday, November 4, 2009


According to these two goats, we've locked in dates with the venues for Total Fest IX!

Those days are August 19-21, 2010, 8PM-2AM will be the times, and we hope that you'll be there to get rad with us.

We'll open up officially for submissions this weekend!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To all who volunteered, played, roadied, attended, supported, enjoyed: thanks a ton, this was our largest TF yet both in terms of attendance (roughly 400+) and number of bands (50). We who put it together appreciate the energy and community spirit, and it seems to get better each year. Thanks again.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Muchas gracias are due to KBGA, the radio station responsible for underwriting the travel of Drunk Horse! Drunk Horse play tonight, Saturday night, at the Badlander.

Two days and a Big Dipper Record Swap Matinee later, we're well into Total Fest VIII. Highlights thus far are too numerous to mention, but here's a short list: Le Force, heavy, fast, agressive. Blind Shake: focused, powerful, excellent creep! the Bugs: charmariffic and a new record along to boot. Underground Railroad to Candyland: Beautiful, fun, tight. Rebreather: heavy, cinematic. Razz M'Tazz: loud! Reptile Dysfunction: rocking and focused.

Tonight's logical highlights are many and varied: Japanther, Glassell Park 3, Pine Hill Haints, DRUNK HORSE, This Runs on Blood, Socks and Sandals, etc. etc. etc. We'll see you there--

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Whether you are a Western Montanan, anti-government type from an enclave like Noxon (MT), or a Spokanite, looking to get away from the town with the gayest...yet weirdly anti-gayest mayor ever (or, we guess "former mayor"), Total Fest VIII is anticipating you, and awaits you with arms spread wide. Or as wide as you could expect from friendly Missoulians who spend the better part of 9 months making sure these three days rock hard as fuck.

It's hard to talk globally about a festival that goes to painstaking lengths to choose individual bands that we think represent the best shit going on in music currently, but hell, what's the harm: I honestly believe that we are proof that a festival can be thoroughly non-commercial, but feature some awesome talent that you'd be hard pressed to find at any larger/expensive/bogus fest. This year we've got rap, folk, punk, hardcore, metal and boogie rock, and everything in between and it's all unified by the same oneness of purpose: Quality. If you're these parts, please come out and bring a friend with you! Thank you, and we'll see you at the Badlander Thursday, August 20th!

Monday, August 17, 2009


"Punk as Folk,” on a perpetual broken string count, and some of the best good-time sounding, acoustic punk, The Hail Seizures embody the DIY spirit that sits at the core of Total Fest. They’ll set-up shop on the street corner, curbside, parking lot or available open space and pound out the catchiest, scream-filled tunes from a set of guitars, a cello, snare, violin and toy piano. Their positve, crusty and honest vibe is epidemic in its ability to stretch a smile across your face – the spirit of resistance is alive and well, my friends. The band is taking a hiatus at the end of the summer so we should all heed their request to “please come dance, sing, and spit beer at us. it's been endlessly fun, thank you so much for being our friends in real life. stay punk."

watch for the tie around the 0:42 mark

Saturday, August 15, 2009

(Transmission from Total Julie):
Everything is unknown but understood in this collaboration of Lauren K. Newman (LKN) on drums and Terrica Kleinknecht, guitar. Righteously synched, Palo Verde follow each other's cues while drawing on each other's chi, man. Amid bombastic jungle toms swirl Champs-like endless riffs... A runaway freight car travels backward downhill into a hedge maze somehow executing each turn. Take a cue from this playbook, enter the audience blindfolded and try to score.

Friday, August 14, 2009

(Transmission from Total Organizer Bobby):
In three short years, The Damage Done have become a northwest favorite. From house shows to opening for MDC, the Real Mckenzies and Mike Park, the Damage Done’s “happy hardcore” keeps sweaty kids singing along and wins over even the most jaded punk rocker (read: old). Their energy and passion is welcome in such a vast and saturated scene. TDD’s pulls its self-described “aggro pop” sound from influences ranging from Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio to Tom Petty and Thin Lizzy. Their great sound isn’t the only root of their popularity. These guys tour hard and put on an intense and genuine live show. Lead singer Ryan Korseki’s stage presence is insane – I’m telling you, this guy really commits to providing the audience with a wild show. He keeps you singing along while he screams until his eyes pop-out. This is The Damage Done’s 2nd appearance at Total Fest, and with a record coming out on the 16th, you’ll want to be sure to catch them again this year.

(in fairness to bobby, "old" is a josh h. annotation. put the teeth back in the jar.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Missoulian by birth, Spokanite by choice, James Two (AKA "James Nasset," of the musical-as-all-hell Missoula Nasset clan) is half of the hip-hop duo known as Jiggywatts. The other half, Locke (AKA "Andrew Walters") is from the gritty, self-proclaimed capital of the "Inland Empire," Spokane, Washington, the current home of Jiggywatts.

Jiggywatts' rhymes and stories flow, mesmerizingly, like a calm wind over a wheat field, or something equally E-WA. Rooted in less-serious subject matter than the solo work of Locke and James two, this group has a great knack for self-reference, and making the listener hungry for pizza. Recent tours/shows have seen Jiggywatts opening for Akil from Jurassic 5, and Crown City Rockers, among others. We're stoked to finally have hip-hop at Total Fest, and we're ultra-stoked to see Jiggywatts!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Round about 1994, three University of Montana students started playing music together. Long-haired and somehow cut from a different fabric – one the son of a K-Tel exec, one a Masshole, and the third a Michigander with a Subaru – thee Hedons shirked the common wisdom of the day for bands in Missoula: either "be a godawful hippy jam band or try like hell to be close to as good as the Fireballs of Freedom.” thee Hedons were formed with the singular mission of bringing authentic, reverb-irrigated surf music to Missoula and Montana. thee Hedons practiced, played and honed their sound for several years, until at the end, their surf acumen was pretty damned impressive. Generally speaking, wearing a heavy Link Wray/Trashmen influence on your sleeve is a commonplace theme, but remember, these were the days before Pulp Fiction, and every fratboy wasn't yet familiar with that spooky, pioneering work. Josh May, Greg Twigg and Scott Moore did something notable in keeping the strong tradition of landlocked surf music alive and well, in one of the last places for the music to touch. Twigg for years hosted the region's only surf-themed radio program on Missoula's KBGA, and thee Hedons regularly traveled up the Mission, over the Mountains to Bozeman, and around Montana plying their trade. Their music was loud and clear, and flowed like the froth of the pacific after a huge beach break. Now, re-united if-ever-so-briefly, Total Festers will get to enjoy a unique taste of the famed '90s Jay's Upstairs scene.

Monday, August 10, 2009

(Total Transmission from Organizer Marty) The old school country and punk fans unite when Minneapolis' Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels take the stage at TF8. Dual electric guitars, stand-up bass, high tempo drums and an acoustic guitar thrown in the mix come together and ring forth forlorn tales for the heartbroken, weary, drunk and damned. The outlaw chords and lyrics could surely make the legends proud. Haggard, Jennings, but maybe more specifically Jones surely could have penned the lyrics: "This life that I live/ It don't go nowhere at all/ It just intersects with loneliness and alcohol/ The hardest part of living/ Is living with myself/ And if the drinkin' don't kill me I'll think of something else."

PBT&TFNAS are not another hop-on-the-bus alt country band.......these fellows are prairie-sourced, county-punk at its damned finest. Throw your arm around your best-bud, raise your glass and have a blast with Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

(This Total Transmission from Organizer Lou)
These Tacoma, WA gals, Justine Valdez (drums) and Hozoji Matheson-Margullis (guitar/bass), return for a third time to Total Fest. Hooray! Prepare yourself to be lulled into a false sense of whats-to-come-next by body-swooning melody; pulsing, almost tribal, drumming. Serenity is suddenly annihilated as crushing guitar, and crashing cymbals bear down upon you. Rhythmic chanting will swerve you through sweet melodies, only to crash into more rhythmic chanting. Then there you are again, right back where it all started... with your body swaying from side to side, and left wondering if you didn’t just help summon the spirit of Lozen, herself. And like their namesake, who led hundreds of native woman and children to safety, Lozen, the band, wants to take you on a journey that is for your own good as well. Let them. You won’t be sorry.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

If occupying the aural space halfway between Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live and (circa British Steel) Judas Priest is something you think sounds excellent, then I'd like to introduce you to a band called Filth Mattress. Originally introduced to Missoula on the FilthHawk tour of 2008, along with equally epic, and unfortunately RIP'd, Doomhawk, Filth Mattress ripped from the outset. Their short, NWOBHM-inspired hardcore blasts were a fresh-assed treat from a too often dreary genre. Their energy is infectious, with one of those front people that knows it's his job to loosen people up, and thrash, but not to intimidate. I've had their Longway-released 7" on perma-repeat for the better part of a year. Prepare your inner Hessian and malt liquor-drenched crusty for this onslaught of excellence.

Friday, August 7, 2009

(Transmission from Total Organizer Niki)
"Young bucks (and one buckette) playing strummy, Nuggets inspired folk-psych. Rea-al excellent!" I couldn't come up with a more accurate, concise one-liner to describe this band so we'll start there. You might remember The Sherlocks from last year's Total Fest, similarly young and talented, kicking out lengthy psychedelic jams and dreamy lyrics. I always got a 13th Floor vibe from those kids, how I loved them... and how I love The Electric Dandelion. More mature, more psychedelic, more keyboards, less tambourine, ex-Sherlocks and friends continue to do what they do best. Filling a hole in Missoula's music scene with a youthful, yet decades old, psweet psych psound. While I hear comparisons made in local crowds to The Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3 and the Kinks, I'm also reminded of more contemporary favorites, Liverpool's The Stands, Brooklyn's Oneida and Olympia's Nudity. It's good, it's everything.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(Another transmission from Total Organizer Wendy)

Remember when rock was fun? Well, get ready for some good-time rock-n-roll with The Coloffs. Everyone needs to enjoy a band like this. No gimmicks. No pretense. Just squealing guitars and a pulsing back beat. So if you’re looking for the answers to life, love, and the universe…look somewhere else. These boys are here to party! Hailing from the Seattle/Tacoma area, these veterans of such bands as Midnight Thunder Express, The Valentine Killers (editor's note: Midnight Thunder Express are vets of TFII!), and the Kansas City Faggots are here to get the party started. So grab a beer and raise it high and get ready to have yourself a blast!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You may find it hard to narrow down exactly what Birds Mile Home
sounds like. None have yet been able to staple these guys. This may be one of the greatest factors to their appeal.
Not quite punk, not really alt-country, not folk-punk; yet, definitely a little country, sure enough punk, folk in story-telling, a whole lot of DIY and a deep love for music should put these guys on anyones must see list.

Their country tinged-punk paced songs will sure to inspire the first circle pit hoedown in Missoula with the stories they tell. From tales derived from Sherman Alexie( Family Portrait) to inspiration from The Minutemen (San Pedro Blues) to (Winona) a tale of a trip to Minnesota last fall. Not only will Birds Mile Home inspire all to dance, sing and have fun they will cause you to think too.

Monday, August 3, 2009

(Transmission from Total Organizer Wendy)
The Limbs is a very unique act, creating a creepy beauty – a refined rawness that can only be accomplished when all members works as one. This band has that down, considering they’ve been working together as a team, whether playing music or not, for quite some time now. Formed in the 70’s (without even realizing it at the time), The Limbs is one of the longest-running acts to play Total Fest . And yet the music has not become stale…. the passion to create together is still fresh. Good thing for head guy John Mazzucco, since this is a one-man band! And The Limbs may be the only one you’ve ever heard that will make it hard to believe that it’s true. That one person can be this coordinated is still amazing to me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

(This transmission from Total Organizer Wendy)
Rarely does a band come along who can mix soul-pounding heaviness with trance-inducing melodies. Rebreather is one of those bands. Formed in 1999 in Youngstown OH, Barley, Chad and Steve create a musical dichotomy that is as seamless as breathing. Harmonic riffs give way to screeching guitars as the the rolling bass and driving drumbeats keep everything moving in sync, while the vocals take you on a fantastic voyage to the depths.

One night only alert: Biga Pizza's third Total Feast fundraiser is tonight, Sunday August 2nd! $10 buys you all the Biga pie and salad you should eat, and all the proceeds go to benefitting Total Fest, our bands, and the our all-ages-welcomeness. See you there! (Biga Pizza, 241 W. Main, Missoula)

Friday, July 31, 2009

A raucous teenage trio from Browning, MT. playing their own brand of punk, rock-n-roll, and country to the listener's delight. They are tight but not polished and nor should they be; their energy is too raw to harness. Even at their tender young age, these boys write and play songs that would surprise even the most music-snobbish, thirty-something, intellectual hipsters yet they never let the depth of their material interfere with their passion for high-voltage fun and energy-driven, scathing live shows. As if this wasn't outstanding enough on its own merit, they put mighty good use to the cowbell like any bitchin' band should! GODDAMMITBOYHOWDY will leave you more than aurally satisfied and wishing that you were as cool as they are. Don't miss the shining stars of the Hi-Line or their GODDAMMCOWBELL!!! -MT

Ladies, and perhaps gents, we present for your pleasure... Mr. Justin Lawrence Esq. of Hell House Sound. Justin has been placing microphones and turning knobs for Total Fest since our first, back at Jay's in 2002. He's a professional, an enjoyer of Irish whiskey, and used to play bass for Humpy (and a Texan death metal band called Auschwitz). Recently Justin has broadened his Hell House Sound team to include Matt Swofford (of Mahamawaldi fame) and these two gents will be reason that Total Fest sounds so sweet. Applaud him. Stroke his hair. Stay clear of him when he's going between stage and soundboard!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The gents and ladies of Missoula's
El Zombi Gato are more than wee bit on the "aged" side of the spectrum, but rather than detract from their intensity, EZG's age helps them concoct a wicked, noisy powerhouse of a sound, akin to Dead Moon, Radio Birdman, and some midwestern shitrock outfit, like the Pagans.

Part parole officer and part parolee, part tile layer and part coffee roaster, El Zombi Gato parts are old and crusty, but their sound is fresh as a daisy blooming at the dump. EZG combines members of the Oblio Joes, 5 in the Face, thee Hedons, and Sasshole and Missoula Legend, Mike Doerner. Mike's been perfecting a bearing system to overcome friction and finally master the magic of perpetual motion. That's when he's not blowing sax and pounding Wurlitzer in El Zombi Gato.

Now, on to Vera! (this from Total Organizer Milli) A lot of people, gender notwithstanding, are full-on suckers for chick bands, even when they totally suck the big one. Well, let me tell YOU, Mister and Missus, VERA is not a novelty and not just aesthetically pleasing. These girls play their instruments like bonafide rockstars with a 60's garage-ish type vibe but with their own, bigger sound. VERA is a locally grown duo that have already marked their local and national territory: Cyndie, from Spanker and Sharky on git box; and Jenny ("Jenima") Jen, from Sasshole, hittin' the skins. They've been somewhat tagged with being the "Mom Rock" band, and granted, they are both hot mamas and there's a few songs about parenthood. But who said parenthood was cuddly?? There is some serious righteous rage in their self written, well-arranged songs that is mediated only by their melodic, sometimes dischordant, but always harmonious, shared vocal duties. I said "duties." -MT (Editor's note: Vera get props for having a framed Total Fest II Tom Dewar poster on their practice space wall)
Oi Vey--classic street punk at its best! These local boys have been around forever and they keep getting better as if a fine, audio wine. Wicked distorted riffage, throbbing, walking bass, and on-the-spot drum fills with throaty vocals, REPTILE DYSFUNCTION is a fast and furious, (working) class act. A definite throw back to early, safety pin punk, they don't rip off the 77 forefathers like so many other bands do; they are as refreshing as a Pabst stubby at beer-o-clock. REPTILE DYSFUNCTION has an on-stage and musical piss-off attitude that comes natural, unlike the aforementioned identity crisis, work hard to be like so and so "musicians" who only end up looking like d-bags. REPTILE DYSFUNCTION will leave you feeling like you were punched in the a good way. Maximum Rock & Roll loved them, why wouldn't you??--MT

Monday, July 27, 2009

(This from Total Organizer Genna): An eight piece modern Americana outfit, Wartime Blues provides narratives reminiscent of a Steinbeck novel and driving the straight-aways of the Great Plains in an old pickup truck. Featuring haunting cello lines, mandolin, banjo and an occasional saw, these Missoulians tell stories apt to the classic Montana environment. From 24-hour travel plazas and small, tightly knit towns, the Wartime Blues articulate it all.

Continue south on Higgins Avenue and the first shop on the 800 block you'll need to swing by is Rockin' Rudy's Record Heaven. This is the vinyl satellite of the main Rudy's, which is just a skosh further down Higgins on Blaine. Rudy's is the O.G. Missoula record store, and their Record Heaven (821 S. Higgins) has a huge, competitively priced stock. Their world, folk and new release sections run particularly deep. Next door (829 S. Higgins) is Nature Boy, your one-stop store for the new family that wants its landfill footprint to be as light as possible. Nature Boy features all-things nursing, diapering, child carrying, and even features their own line of "Mutha," "Brutha," "Fatha" shirts! Julie and Bryan are looooooong-time Total Fiends. Julie's made our passes for the past 7 years, and Bryan currates the Record Swap! With no storefronts to call home, the fine folks at How's Your Network and Astarna Inc. are no less approachable for your internet needs. Astarna Inc. is a web development company, and Hank and Amy's work can be seen at the site. Incredibly professional, knowledgeable and thoughtful about getting folks the right tool for their needs. How's Your Network is Shane Volumen's business, and he does all things network. Shane's a hell of a guy, and a saavy as hell computer nerd.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oakland, California's a town with a musical pedigree. From Tower of Power to the Coup, and back over to High on Fire, Brainoil and the Fleshies Oaktown's a powerhouse. Sitting well atop the pile of talent that decides to call the East Bay home is Drunk Horse. Drunk Horse's dynamic, loud rock and roll is the kind of music that you don't hear in crappy punk clubs, unless ... it's Drunk Horse playing. Lyrically, Eli Eckert's words deal with a wide range of themes, from the biblical to the Bach, and back over to (Cormac McCarthy fare like) man's fallibility.

They started their career on Frank Kozik's upstart imprint, Man's Ruin, and released an epic couple of records, Drunk Horse and Tanning Salon/Biblical Proportions, and then moved along to Tee Pee, a New York label with a long history of putting out great bands (like Brian Jonestown Massacre, Logical Nonsense, Witch, etc. etc. etc.).

Somewhere along the line, they hooked up with the Fucking Champs, Cherry Valence and Federation X, played Total Fest I (in 2002) and toured like men posessed. They went to Slovenia. They came home. They put out the Prince covers 7"s on Wantage. Their most recent, 2005's In Tongues, upped the ante for the Drunk Horse deal. It brought their straightforward hard-boogie sound to new levels, and left fans with the record left on perma-repeat for months. Songs like Reformed Asshole and Vatican Shuffle showed that they were erudite dudes who could fucking rock. And then, right around the 10th anniversary of the 'Horse's founding, they began to play a lot less. Cyrus upped his commitment to equally shredding Saviours (Total Fest VII), Eli stepped up his fathering duties, and the Horse came galloping through much less frequently.

Well, that all had to change, and the forces that be at KBGA decided that to commemorate year eight of Total Fest they'd invest in bringing this crew back up to the Treasure State. Total Fest happens August 20-22 in Missoula, Montana at the Badlander/Palace. Drunk Horse will be there.

Friday, July 24, 2009


This from Total Organizer June:
Recently named “Olympia’s New Party Band,” Socks and Sandals is joining the Total Fest lineup for their very first time! This pop punk quartet stays true to their genre with short songs filled with distinct electric organ voiced riffs, up-beat drums, fast guitars and happy yelling. Socks and Sandals shares members with other pop punks from Olympia, Washington such as Chin Up, Meriwether! and the Hail Seizures, and their high energy will surely make you dance your socks and sandals right off your feets. Either that or they’ll make you want to start wearing socks with sandals to be just as cool.

(Ed. note: Socks And Sandals features former Missoulian and Total Organizer Peter "Chin Up" Dolan and more than a couple of rat tails!)

Stream Socks and Sandals' "OKC":

Each year, we ask a handful of our friends (who own businesses) if they'll throw in some money or stuff to help us make Total Fest happen. This year, the Hip Strip is representing hard! Let's take a tour, shall we? Starting with Shakespeare And Company facing the Clark Fork right on the South side of the Higgins Bridge on 3rd. Shakespeare's a wonderfully thorough and knowledgeably-staffed shop with great music, nonfiction, travel books and zines! Next up, Betty's Divine, a local clothing shop for women and men is at 521 S. Higgins. Betty's supports local designers, stocks ethically made clothing and also is packed with good people. Follow Higgins south to 4th and make a right, and on the left hand side is Le Petit Outre, Missoula's first-rate French bakery, coffee, cheese/butter and olive oil shop. Niki subsists on their ham and cheese croissants. Continue around the corner of 4th on Myrtle to the Kettle House, and their tap room/growler fill. Fresh beer, good people, KH has been a Total Fest sponsor for years! Swing back to the east, to the corner of 5th and Higgins and have a cone at the Big Dipper. BD's been offering their parking lot to Total Fest's Saturday Record Swap for the past 6 years! Cross Higgins at 5th and head into Ear Candy Music. John, Marty, Kalen, Adelaide and the crew at Ear Candy know their stuff, and set you up with the Merzbow, Can, or Oneida record you've been dreaming of! Walk north, to the business next door, Edge of the World. EOW's a shop that caters to the active-lifestyle liver. Everything from kayaks, to skate and snow boards, to clothing and etc. Thanks, sponsors.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This from Total Organizer June:
Seattle, WA’s own Atomic Bride has been confirmed for Total Fest VIII. This rock and roll foursome is fronted by dynamic female Astra (aka Cat-Astra-Phe) and Chris Cool, and supported by members with equally interesting names, including Avtar, Rachy (baby) and Collin Monoxide. The band describes their music as “art-damaged wasteland rock and roll trash” and certainly is reminiscent of punk, surf, and rockabilly sounds. With some ties back to Missoula and as former Total Fest attendees, Atomic Bride will extend the boundaries of their rockin’ grungy music to other stages of the
pacific northwest!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If Utah were Middle Earth, Le Force's Orc metal would be the soundtrack always playing over the loudspeakers, from Deseret Industries thrift stores, to Maverick gas stations, to the epic sandstone fins of the south and salt flats of the West. It's epic, storytelling stuff, and a hell of a galloping, riffing racket for just two players.

Le Force are vets of Total Fest II, back in 2003, and have been coming to Missoula and Total Fest ever since. They have the rare ability to both conjure comparisons to some of the genre's best (Fucking Champs, Don Caballero) while retaining their own triumpant, uniquely flavored vibe. Among their other accomplishments is being video'd by Total Fest's favorite animator, Andy Smetanka. Oh, and Herb Hogen plays air guitar to 'em. Voila (commence the mind-break):

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If you've ever heard a pdf, you know. They shred! A lot more than a Jpeg. I mean, a jpeg's like a Kramer and a PDF dude, it's like a ... Guild. Or a Gibson Les Paul Gold Top.

Muchas gracias, Señor Greg Twigg! We've got the colorized Damm Total Fest Flier with our final line-up ready to print. Have a gander over at the fine print, and fill in the details. We will continue to update, preview and contextualize here at Thanks for keeping tuned-in.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I like people who like Dune, or who make me think of it, more than I like Dune itself. All the ingenuity and nuance is maintained that way. Two parts Akimbo and one part Ruby Doe, Seattle’s Sandrider is every bit the recipe for bad-ass rock that your spoon licking gluttony should expect. Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm have been playing together for over a decade, and Jesse Roberts is a seamless addition. The songs ebb from beer raising, vocal-peppered riffs to hair growing, sludge ridden blasts. Guitar driven vocal hooks steer you into a bass and drum-accentuated stupor. All you love about hardcore, metal and good old fashioned fun is harnessed and manipulated into a brutally drawn out and rolling release that is refreshing and familiar. Matt Bayles recently recorded their EP so keep your eyes open.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Say you love satan! I love you mom!" Seems like a wicked combination of expletives, adjectives and other shit's always on deck when somebody's writing about Japanther, whose noise blast sound has grown into its own melodic, punk rock deal over the past three years. In 2009 they sound more like the Beach Boys and the Ramones, versus the Screamers --a band I regularly compared them to when they started. They still like to confront, get in your face, encourage behaviour changing, room-cleaning, swimming, etc. but now they are accomplished songwriters and Japanther's melodies are some of the hummed-est around this household. Start with their Skuffed Up My Huffy LP and then work through the catalog. Stop at Master of Pigeons and spin I-10, head over to Wolfenswan and get your noise-skuzz fill, work back to Operating Manual for Life on Earth and be greeted by the voice of Jimmy Carter. It's an ambitious, eclectic, varied body of work these guys have whipped up in their short career.

And the music's only about 75% of the deal with the band. Every time one turns around, there's a wild audio/video/visual/puppet art blowout going on at the Whitney or at PS122 or in Marfa... or at Art Basel and invariably, Japanther are putting something together with Dan Graham (Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty) or a handful of other seriously creative types. Japanther played Total Fest I in 2002, and since then they've gone around the world a few times, played hundreds of shows (recently with the Dillinger 4 and Against Me!), but they continue keep Total Fest and Missoula directly on their radar. We love Japanther. They play from their guts, they do what they feel, and they work like mad to make their music and art happen, and on their own terms to boot.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

(This from Total Organizer Lou)
Denver. The Mile High City. Closer than you think. Farther than you’d like. Git Some’s Home Base! This is actually all I can come up with before my brain stops working. So I call Git Some's singer (and Kingdom of Magic guitarist/singer) Luke Fairchild and ask him if I can use an excerpt from a blog they posted before heading to Europe last fall. It goes a little something like this:
“We are gonna spill our guts in ancient cities! We are gonna throw-up blood, chunks, and rock-n-roll on the pretty shoes of all you people! We will cough and hack up filthy, perverted guitar chords! You won’t smell the same as when you showed up to see us! We are gonna put out cigarettes on all the safe comfortable feeling you get when you think about rock; or punk; or metal; or whatever the fuck you kids call it at the moment! We’re gonna blow loads out of our cerebral cocks onto the brains of those that shine so brite! We want you people to fuck under the stars and the trees under the face of the moon; grit your teeth and scream like a panther! Live this day like you fuckin’ mean it! ROCK IT LIKE A FUCKING WOLF!”
… Um … Take that!
Plus, this is what I was going to say anyway.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Minneapolis' Blind Shake make music that makes me think of some of my favorite noise rock bands of the 90s and 00s. Their bassplayerlessness and songwriting makes me think of Federation X at their most economical. If that's a reference that's lost on anyone, I have to withhold apology. Federation X were an against-the-grain (read uncool), powerhouse of a band whose most memorable attributes were the way their two guitars wrapped around each other, their spartan riffs, and the way it was all supported by behemoth, dynamite drumming.

All those same attributes are present in the Blind Shake, and we're pretty sure that the cosmic paths of the two groups somehow never crossed. The Blind Shake
have crossed paths recently with seminal psychedelic boogier, Michael Yonkers. That meeting resulted in a sweet, ultra-limited 12" on the Learning Curve label, to be released at the end of July. Hopefully they have a few of those along with 'em!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

(This from Total Organizer Lou)
If you were lucky enough to catch Rad Touch at last year’s Total Fest, then you know. But, if you missed one of Seattle’s best kept secrets, then let me tell you … Rad Touch is well, Rad! Do yourself a favor and don’t allow the word “Rad” to connote any visions of the 80’s. That’s like comparing Bangkok (my hometown) to Vegas!! It just doesn’t work. But, RT Does! And how! Metal, rock and hardcore mayhem with a sprinkling of tongue-in-cheek (“Hottest Bitch at the Beach” is about a dog and not you ladies!) is what these boys are about. Who else is gonna have you chanting “Shark week”? Get “Touched” and you’ll know who!

(Editor's note: It's nice to see a Seattle band comfortable in flannel.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

(This from Total Organizer Nicole) The world is not going to end, so we better start doing something. In Missoula, there is no other who works harder to spread the DIY spirit. Through radio, one man bands, pockets full of handmade handbills, word of mouth and hard work, Tyson Ballew has been marching to his own beat for the best cause, for a long time.

His most recent Club Shmed studio recording, Fruit Trees for Cassowaries, is a dynamite, refined example of his earnest folk, pop punk musical persona. Tyson tells true stories of a kid underground, doing what he believes in, believing in what he's doing. This world is full of kids, and he's going to make some honest friends.

Friday, July 3, 2009

This from Total Organizer Neight:
the Blank Its are future primitive just like Lance Mountain. Where other bands went for Total Recall, the Blank Its gave us Westworld, and made other bands want to give us Westworld, who instead gave us Terminator. They blew my mind in 2004 with their first record, and they will infect yours with their infection now.

It seems to me that there used to be be this genre of music called "garage rock," or "thrash punk," and that it has evolved into something else. That something else is pretty cool too... and then there is this band the Blank Its whom I've heard called a "more accessible A Frames," and perhaps that's a bit true, but they are garage rock and the new wave as well... Empty Records and Sweet Rota had released their music and the bands cites "crappy childhoods" as their sole influence.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm not sure if there's a punk rock argument akin to the "Beatles or Stones?" question posed by rock and roll, but if there were, I'd like it to be: "Hüsker Dü or Replacements?" Growing up listening to KATS, 94.5 FM, Yakima's classic rock station, I was at least sort of familiar with a Replacements song or two. Somehow they occasionally squeezed Alex Chilton in between More Than a Feelin' and Barracuda. All this to say that I did not grow up with any sort of affinity for the Replacements, and furthermore, still associate them to an unfortunate degree with Bob Seger, Heart and Bad Company. So when I got Hüsker Dü's New Day Rising LP from Ron's Roost, in the fall of 1992, I was blown away. It was a trebly mess of fast, strained punk rock. I thought it was my shitty dorm room hybrid-boom box system, but when I finally got the record running through a decent receiver/speakers, it dawned on me that the band's sound was totally intentional. So, all this to say, in terms of influential-as-hell Minnestota punk bands, I liked Hüsker Dü more. In the past handful of years, I've come around to the fact that the Replacements always deserved way more attention. Thanks for nothing, KATS FM.

Now, uh, I realize this is a long, long introduction for a band from Olympia whose music (just) reminds me a lot of the Replacements stock in trade: earnest and kind of drunk/sloppy, but with an incredible strength and awesome ability for writing a melody. RVIVR is one of those bands whose love of music translates immediately into their stage presence, songs and whole everything. Total Organizer Johnny Fink described them as the kind of "folks who would actually stick around to clean up beer cans after the house show." With Pasties, and ex-Shorebirds folks, one has a hard time going wrong! RVIVR! RVIVR! YES!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If dance parties were invented for two girls on the planet, those girls are Meg n' Shelly Razz M' Tazz. This fantastic, female fronted lo-fi pop group has been in existence in one form or another since the year 2005. They now claim Olympia, Washington as their home, a gentleman from the Pasties as their lone male member (though you might remember an exceptional set with a fella from Hail Sezures at last year's Record Swap) and "Attack with Love" their forever mantra. Razz M' Tazz is a thoughtful, ultra original band that will surely make you feel, dance, love, remember, forget, etc... all with simple keyboards, companion vocals and a not-so innocent sass that will lure you into a never ending friendship for life with Razz M' Tazz.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Flagstaff, Arizona is a town supposedly a lot like Missoula. Mountainous, with a big university, several solid bookstores, a pretty serious Frisbee Golf community, and with a healthy DIY punk scene. Somewhere near the pulsating high-desert heart of Flag's DIY punk heard are the Casebeer brothers, whose persistence in the world of metallic punk is unrivalled.

Had these bros decided upon a more hip/urban zip code from which to base their blown-out, wild musical assaults, I think they'd be on Relapse and touring with Mastodon by now. But that's not their path. This Runs on Blood is a DIY outfit, and that DIYness has allowed them to put out some of the most beautiful (and simultaneously disturbing) releases we Total Fest organizers get to see. Their screen-printed 12" and 7" get passed around the circle to a small chorus of "ooohs" and "ahs." The bands hand-made releases are packed with handwritted serial killer style lyric scrawl, and beautfully executed foldover sleeves and, whod've guessed, blood red vinyl. Meanwhile, the assault of Johny/Greg and Josh pours like an high speed ooze of O- out of the speakers. See also Stab City Slitwrists, JETOMI, and if you want to go waaaaay back, Shitbastard.

Flag Underground - This Runs On Blood from kimball denetso on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

If you've been around Montana in the last four or five years, and are a fan of noise, psych and loud rock and roll, you're probably aware of some of the groups that preceded Red Obelisk. Drummer David Stickney and guitarist Wes Williamson were probably juniors at Hellgate High School when Volumen turned them out to open the record release for Science Faction. That band was called Riddilin Que (pronounced somehow "ritalin queue"), and I never exactly figured out what it meant. The band was a excellent trashy, psychadelic outfit that seemed to draw inspiration equally from Mudhoney, the Butthole Surfers and MC5. They were a loud, wild group and considering their ages (seventeen) it was hard not to like them.

Timed moved on, and the Riddilin Que lineup parted ways. Wes went on to found Shotgun Moses with Blake Bickel and Ian Ford. Shotgun Moses played (by comparison) heavy, slow, riffy metal. David went on to drum for M.O.M.S., a loud progressive double drummer outfit. Just about a year ago, I ran into Wes and he alerted me to his new band, Red Obelisk, and assured me it was more journey to the center of your mind than anything he'd been involved with. When I saw them, I was immediately reminded of the same psychedelic punk vibe from Honky Sausage (later Fireballs of Freedom) shows 15 years ago. Loud, wild, and feedback punctuated. It's music that always seems to be on the brink of total collapse and absolute genius! RED OBELISK! I stake my reputation (as a "fannypack wearin', 90's substitute gym teacher-lookin' wad") at the base of the Obelisk.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Listening to
TacocaT reminds of what I like about rockers like Exene Cervenka from X, Jennifer Clavin from Mika Miko, and Kia Liszak from Sasshole. To borrow from the band's recent Stranger interview, they're all songbirds. They deliver punk goods (beautifully) and move/have moved the music forward with force.

Emily TacocaT's got one of those voices that there's just something about. It renews your purpose! It says "hey, this shit's around for a reason! Turn it up!" The palpable enthusiasm and fun this group brings is half of their appeal. The other half is the fact that they're natural songwriters, and the music stands up tall as a great reminder that sometimes, the rock and roll formula is there for a reason, and that even though no algebraic time signatures, Tuvan throat singing, or noisy skree are part of the package, the music is still fresh and excellent as it was thirty years ago.

Total Organizer Marty's been talking up this Seattle group up for years, and finally, playing their newish LP at one of the (several!) listening sessions, it all clicked into place. The palindrome name. The simple, effective, rad punk songs. The dolphin on the LP jacket. Ladies and gents, voila: TacocaT!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just when you feel that the light of day is a safe place to wander, Total Fest throws Why I Must be Careful at you. Seth Brown and John Niekrasz twist and seduce precise, quick-shift experimental jazz from a rhodes piano and self-described seven surfaces that disables your lizard brain’s fight-or-flight mechanism, only to pepper you with primal vocalizations. This is where you hid as a child. If I were the proverbial atheist in the foxhole, this is the hubris that I would have at the ready. WIMBC returns the watch to the watchmaker. Mark the Record Swap (Saturday, August 22) on your calendar Testers – it’s time to test those waxed wings.

Total Fest PSA:
All bands have been contacted regarding an invitation to play Total Fest. If you are unsure about your band being selected or not, please write to and we will be happy to clear up any confusion.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lately, my favorite local band that brings out the dirty rock goes to
Rooster Sauce. Pounding guitars and smart vocals bring you into a Rock n Roll trance that is tough to match in Missoula’s scene. Rooster Sauce has developed a nice following since they formed in 2007. The dueling guitars of General Lee and David Lee (Rooster) will leave you drooling for more, and the solid drums of Stagger Lee combined with the addition of Sara Lee Rooster on bass round things out. Rooster Sauce is definitely the real deal. Make sure that you do not miss their set and you will know that, yes, Missoula can and will bring you the rock.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Black Elk makes a return to Missoula for Total Fest VIII, and we couldn’t be happier. Last year’s performance was one for the ages. They played in the Palace and brought the crowd to their knees. It was a revealing set that will be remembered for some time. Black Elk consists of Dan Capuano on bass, Erik Trammel on guitar (formerly of Wadsworth), Jeff Watson on the drums and Tom Glose on vocals. This Portland 4 piece will have you screaming for more and they will deliver it. When I hear Black Elk, I get the unmistakable likeness of Jesus Lizard and punk rock sensibilities of Black Flag. Black Elk has torched Missoula more than once, and it is never a show to miss so do not miss these guys as you may see more of them than you would expect.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

If you have never experienced the squawking, brooding, pulsing, wailing, throbbing, droning, hypnotizing tones of Poor School, I am sorry for you. Truly. This isn’t your grand-pappy’s noise. Poor School is everything that you love (or forget that you love) about jazz, noise, punk and, (perhaps a stretch) acid rock all rolled into one cacophonous improvised fertility ritual. Consisting of Bryan Ramirez (Ex-Cocaine, Universal Indians), John Niekrasz (Fly!, Fly!, Fly!, Fly!, Fly!, Why I Must Be Careful, etc.) and Nathan Hoyme (free lance sax wielder and all around swell guy), the trio lurches and rolls over one another with surprising ease as they perpetually delay collision after collision. Niekrasz’s drums provide momentary centering while Ramirez and Hoyme pursue unknown but eerily comfortable caverns on the guitar and saxophone. Their improvised sets violently massage all of your angst-ridden anticipation until your brain drips onto your shoes. Noiseweek’s review offers a telling summary: “They obstensibly play full-tilt improv welded to tribal heavy rock, but there's so much more happening inside the thick folds of their hurtling jams that ripping them open and idenitfying the guts inside is like trying to dissect pudding - eventually you just have to give up and eat it.” Bring your bibs, Total Fest-ers!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A.K.A. "Tipper Gore, look out."
With all the class and the light touch of Luther "Luke Skyywalker" Campbell, Seattle's Lamborghiniz are the absolute antithesis of the intelligent rap that seems to be all the rage these days. In fact, Lamborghiniz subject matter is all prurient, all BOOM and all about gettin' panties off.

Of course, were the music not entirely, unironically in lock-step with the original '89 Miami Bass Sound steez of As Nasty As they Wanna Be, it'd just be a some bogus tribute. However, this crew has jumped into the proverbial deep end and they deliver the goods live, and in-person. Expect a fine drank-flavoured cocktail of offensiveness, mysogyny and dance-party-throw-down in equal parts. Eric from the Stranger's Blog recently posted a show review.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

“Raw” is sometimes thrown around to compensate for a sentiment that isn’t there. Not here. Gritty and simple, Glassell Park 3 pounds out a raucous blues / garage punk from their box n snare, guit-jo and bass that eschews any sense of an orchestrated presence. Bearing the name of one of Los Angeles’s older neighborhoods, GP 3’s sound serves as a constant check to the gentrification and leveling that most neighborhoods experience. This is an active celebration that dares you to resist its train-like pull. GP 3 gathers inspiration and energy from the communal space around them and churns out a foot pounding, sweat milking tempo that is bound to win them an entire set of new friends and compatriots.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My kid likes pop…The perfect pop of Supergrass, Super Furry Animals ... anything super. And he likes The Bugs' "Fuckin' A Right." Never mind that it talks about bad stuff or has bad words, it's the sound that compels him. The Bugs take that New York pared down punk sound - nasal vocals and pissed lyrics combined with simple rhythms and scuzzy guitar - and make of it some danceable drinkable stuff. This is pop for adults, colored with Red #40 and highly addictive.