Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ohioans playing scuzzy, blown-out rock and roll is a phenomenon that goes back about as far as rock and roll goes. Proto-punk/punk bands like Rocket from the Tombs, Pere Ubu, the Pagans, Mike Rep and Quotas all made substantial wagon ruts in the landscape of rock and roll. The nineties saw Guided By Voices, Brainiac, Gaunt and the New Bomb Turks continue the trashy traditions set before them. More recently, groups like Pink Reason, Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit have continued embracing the part-outsider/part-rock and roller tradition of the Rust Belt. It' s refreshing as shit to hear a band in the O's sound like obscure and excellent groups like the Icky Boyfriends and Gerty Farish.

We here at Total Towers don't embrace the term "shit gaze" as a genre, and therefore expect no more mention of it. We do like Siltbreeze, Columbus Discount, and this Psychedelic Horseshit quite a bit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What do Facedowninshit and Disgruntled Nation have in common? Stumped? Us too. About as much as Greensboro and Kalispell have in common. But for some reason, we thought we'd mention the past bands these dudes were involved with.. before mentioning the current bands. Facedowninshit were (are?) a band fron Greensboro, NC that brought an awesome, somewhat bluesy swagger to the world of crushing metallic punk rock. They also brought something totally rare in genre, a sense of humor. Their last record, Nothing Positive Only Negative is a good example of that. Attitude Problem have a couple of the dudes from Facedowninshit, and play excellent dirgey punk. Jason from the Minneapolis band Faggot sings. That's nice.

Disgruntled Nation on the other hand started in the middle-90's in Kalispell, Montana. They were a scuzzy political punk band that played excellent, short intense blasts. Later in their life, they picked up Dave "Humpy/Sasshole" Parsons, and kicked out jams until about 2001. The put out a solid set of 7"s, covered Montana's state song on a comp, and then unceremoniously called it a day. Disgruntled Nation's Brent Shultz (whose website has recently been all aflutter with all manner of Total love, critique, etc.) went on to pick up a guitar and form Ass-End Offend. Disgruntled Nation's excellent, hard-hitting drummer Matt Lawlor is the thread that goes forward to Valsalva Maneuver, which is the band that's actually playing Total Fest VIII. The band's got a handful of ripping track's on the Repetively Futile Montana 7" comp. that came out last year. VM seems to wholly embrace 80's west coast hardcore/skate rock, and they don't attempt to fix anything that's not broken with the genre. Short, fast, loud, dudes. SFL.

Monday, May 18, 2009


You may know Todd Congelliere from his early '90's
vert skating professional (vert pro, dude. vert pro) past, or his guitar playing and screaming in F.Y.P., or his starting and running of the punk label of the west coast, Recess (congrats on release #100!) or his other band Toys That Kill, or from hanging around and going to house shows in San Pedro, or from the fact that he's a sweet, down-to-earth, awesome dude who'll chat up anybody (and he rereleased all the freakin' Dwarves records!).

But that's not why we've gathered here today, friend. It's because Todd's gone and gotten himself a new band called the
Underground Railroad to Candyland. We had their Bird Roughs CD on the KBGA charts for a while this spring, and I fell in love with the thing. It's got a similar vibe to FYP and Toys That Kill (the guys got a Joey Ramone style nasal quality about his singing) but the overall vibe is a wee bit more surf feeling, sort of more fun and and the record even has a couple of epic, 'verbed out instrumental tunes, and a song about Sudanese super-baller Manut Bol.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Former Missoulian Kelly "Gator" Gately's a one man nonstop JamestownNorthdakotafuckinCornKingdaddypowerblast of a guy. He started bands called "Hensquirt" and "Honky Sausage." He led what's still Montana's most widely recognized punk rock export, the Fireballs of Freedom for years. Career highlights include playing to 20,000 screaming Basques in front of a Jumbotron screen and playing with the Stooges and Cramps.

He's still doing the Fireballs of Freedom thing from time to time, when other members' schedules allow, and not to be kept down, the guy's gone and joined an awesome newish group,
Leaders! And, as luck would have it, Leaders have confirmed for Total Fest VIII.

Somewhat less, uh... scuzzadelic compared with some of Kelly's past work, and a bit more of a careening/SK-1 keyboard-powered, stompy punk blowout, Leaders just released a killer handful of songs on one of the most excellent punk labels ever, Regal Select. Regal Select's so O.G. it doesn't appear to have a website. That's what happens when you put out the Puget Power comps, okay? You don't do a web presence. So, ahem, right less about Regal Select, more about Leaders. Their songs say about 1500 times more than these words do, so go head and give Electric Cadaver a spin and report back in 5 minutes.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Seattle band with quite a pedigree, Helms Alee have confirmed for Total Fest VIII. With members of (Total Fest V and VI alumnae) Lozen, and Harkonen (!!) this was a bit of a big deal here at the Total Acres. We think the world of Lozen and secretly have wished for a Harkonen reunion ever since we heard the story (from Early Humans) about the tour they did with a full PA system replacing their injured drummer. Turns out he was able to record himself playing with a broken arm, and engineer the sounds to sufficient volume to work along with the band. Brilliant!

But we're talking about Helms Alee here... So, Hozi from Lozen, Ben from Harkonen and Dana James. Three western Washingtonians who've (quite purposefully) repurposed yesterday's metal in an awesome, spacious way. They've got heavy. they've got melody. They've got space. They've got a fresh way of doing things in the O's. They've also won Jake Stratton's (Bloodhag) Rock and Roll Grudge Match quiz show.

Amazon customers who bought their newest record, Night Terrors (Hydrahead) also bought the new Kylesa and Harvey Milk LPs, dude.

Read an interview with Helms Alee here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

San Franciscans and Crucial Blast records dudes, Wildildlife have confirmed for TFVIII. Familiarize with their excellent, progressively crucial total rock at their website.

Read an interview that Jay Hellride did here.

We've been hearing great things about this group for a couple of years, and lo and behold, the rumors are founded in reality. Brooklyn Vegan describes them as what would happen if Animal Collective discovered doom metal. I don't know exactly what that means, but we like experimentation and doom. There are three free Wildildlife MP3s here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Total Fest VIII Line-Up
We're planning to do this a little differently this year, and rather than drop the whole big list off at your door at once to be looked at, semi-digested and then forgotten, we're planning to trickle our line-up out in bits and pieces. This week, we're pleased as punch to start moving this forward with the announcement that Huntsville Alababma's Pine Hill Haints are playing.
They're a band that needs little introduction, they've toured the nation (and other nations) dozens of times. Their music is a mix of old-time instrumentation (washboard, wash-tub bass, squeeze box, banjo, trap set, etc.) and Faulkner-style southern stories. It's a pretty special thing to witness in the live setting, and their big handfull of recorded output is a thing to behold. Its depression-era laments, love songs and tales is only too fitting for today's tough times.