Saturday, April 30, 2011

GULL: The Masked Man Confirmed for TFX

Virginia native Nathaniel Rappole is a wearer of many... err masks. He's been involved in some pretty out there, abrasive and unique punk/rock music for awhile now, from his contributions as guitarist/vocalist for Ultra Dolphins to drumming in the ever-morphing instrumental band Snack Truck. A couple years ago he started a solo project called GULL, taking the show out of the basement and into the streets, literally. He started off playing to mystified passerby audiences on the street in front of the local record store and art galleries in his hometown of Richmond. Before long, Nate found himself blowing minds in a variety of unique places around town, joining with other musicians for experimental one-off collaborations, releasing an EP, and touring throughout the US and Mexico. Recently, he returned home from an east coast tour opening for local rocker Jeff Ament's new group, Tres Mtns.

GULL's performances are magical, energetic and almost supernatural - playing guitar and drum kit all at once, and vocals ran through a homemade microphone-fitted mask, he explodes into a hybrid of rhythmic, freaky noise rock and vision quest jams. It's tough to explain in words so you'll just have to witness it for yourself this August at Total Fest X. In the meantime, here are some videos to salivate your senses...

Friday, April 29, 2011


What is it about a two-piece that automatically brings a smile to my face? There's something spontaneous built into it, some sort of give and take that jettisons unity for the sake of clarity -- or maybe not. Maybe it's that this old brain can only focus on two people at once. Whatever it is, two pieces jar me into happiness.

The beyond aptly named Unstoppable Death Machines -- brothers Billy (drums) and Mike (bass) -- produces hard hitting sounds that you'd expect from their name. This isn't some pre-programmed drone-plane assault -- Brooklyn's UDM is a "blown-out distorto-punk-rock freak-show." Does that do them justice? Probably not. I like to think they got their name from the 1995 film , but they've transcended the mechanical, hydraulic visions into a beautiful, brutal chaos. They're sure to draw comparisons to Lightning Bolt. They should. Take the noise/hard core sound, mix it with some no wave aesthetics and throw on some homemade mics, you're bound to take that step. But, UDM is a particularly different experience. If you were lucky enough to catch them when they played the BSMT in March, I'll let you carve out the differences. Their Slumlord EP on Last Ever Records is four tracks of brilliance. It meanders and drives all at once as it smacks you in the face, drinks your beer and eats your leftovers. And we're tickled as punch-drunk lovers to have them back in Montana.

The tag line to the video says it all: "THIS BROTHER DUO WILL RIP YOUR FACE OFF AND KISS YOUR SKULL"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big Business has been a band now for something like eight years. Wantage did their very first wee little Tour I EP way back when. It reminded us at the time of pulling the pins simultaneously on 73 hand grenades. It had that kind of immediate, jump-off-the-stereo kind of vibe. Big sounding, and really in more of a large way, than just a loud way.

Jared of course had the Karp and Whip, err.. deals, in his past and shy of starting a Gordon Lightfoot cover band, it would've been hard for anything he did to bum us out. Coady had drummed for bands like the Murder City Devils and Dead Low Tide. In the early days of Total Fest, before they moved to Los Angeles, when they lived over in Seattle, they were able to make it more regularly. Now, generally, they're on tour with their other band, the Melvins, playing Oslo and Buenos Aires and All Tomorrows Parties.
Well, thanks to KBGA 89.9 FM, Missoula's college radio station, we've got them back this year. And right after their epic tour with Torche, Thrones and Helms Alee wraps up. If you don't know them yet, you're in for a treat. Listen to "Grounds For Divorce", it's got this great line: "I heard he dabbled in the witchcraft, I heard occult. Oh, they're pretty much the same." "White Pizazz" is pretty ripping too.

Anyway, you get the idea. Here's a video of them before they added members.