Thursday, July 21, 2011


Do you know in the Commodores' song Easy, when he's all "I wanna be free, soooooo free.. free to know things I do are right...." and how it just kind of captures a lot of the uh, human experience. We know it, we sing it in the shower.

Well, we've been doing Total Fest for 10 freakin' years now, and we're proud of that. We know it's important to have good bands, and to work hard to make it an event that's ultimately about community rather than commerce, and I think that's kind of our secret.

Lots of platitudes here, but our point is that it happens because of people who love music and love seeing it live, and love sharing that feeling with others. It's pretty simple really. To honor that sentiment, and to say thanks to people who have given us ten great years, we've put together a package called the "Total Friend" this year. It offers something unique to the people who make total Fest happen by watching, listing, participating and patting backs and buying records and clearing out their spare room. You know who you are. For sixty bucks, a Total Friend package gets you a three-day all-show pass, a unique T-shirt (Wantage design), an ultralimited koozie and a thank you in our program. It's a 10-year anniversary only sort of deal, so don't expect next year. We'll have a preview of the special shirt design up here soon. the Total Friend is among the Purchase Passes and Tickets tab.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


When it comes to late editions, one hardly seems more relevant than Japanther. Total Fest pioneers and perennial Wantage artists, Ian and Matt supply some of the best summer time beats that you desire ... and a ton more than you thought that you'd want. Let's be frank: Japanther kicks ass. If you don't dig on their sound, well go back and hate on your grandmother some more. Japanther asks us to take notice of the world we exist in but not to be cynical shits. You have to dwell in it, but you also need to create. There's enough to bitch about; what do you celebrate? And once you celebrate it, you need to move on and find something else. Their records do the same thing as they shift gears, tweak tempos, mix-in art house, noise, lo-fi and punk. It's a virtual stew of influences and impulses, and, well, like every other thing in this world, Japanther appropriates them and weaves them together into something that in theory seems overly complicated, but in practice seems simple and seamless. We're preaching to the choir here. You want Japanther. You have Japanther. This is happening! Come ride the train or get the hell out of the way. In the words of Flipper, "life is the only thing worth living for" ... and these cats give you the soundtrack.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Really, that's all that should need to be said.

Joe Preston possesses a teeth-kicking resume that puts Chuck Norris to shame (you know who he's played with). Thrones is one of those groups that helps you to organize your friends (if you're one of the chosen few riding the google + comet, the first thing you should do is create a Thrones circle and non-Thrones circle ... and then never speak to the non-Thrones circle again). A one-man orchestra, Thrones moves away from the "days-of-yore-two-degrees-of-separation" indy-metal and strips it down to its most primal parts.

Thrones has released a slew of albums in its close to two decades of existence, but for my money, 2000's Sperm Whale is like staring into the mirror at 4am -- hide the tweezers and razors because Joe composes layers of sound that are thicker than any Rothko painting. You want to lie belly down in it and dig in your fingers, but you soon begin to lose your limbs. It's hard to swim so it's better to just let go and hope that the teeth that are mashing you save your brain for last. You need to feel it. A friend recently told me about centipedes in Maui that still bite weeks after she cut off their heads. This seems like an apt metaphor for Thrones -- an unstoppable, nightmarish beast that keeps calling you back for more. You brave the bite because the experience is therapeutically surreal. Adjectives are pointless here. This is the stuff that crafts your dreams.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You all know that among the bands playing the Total Fest start-up event, Thursday, August 18th at the are radical, free-rock and roll bro-sis, windy city, Bus Beaver Button Co. employees and ginger ambassadors (drum roll): White Mystery. They're a heap of fun rolled up into a single two-piece band, with some stuff that sounds like the Gories and Cramps, some stuff that sounds like yadda yadda, and an awesome, participatory live show and good vibes galore. It's killer, just g'head and find some and listen for yourselves.

So what's Bad Naked's deal? Well, you know, local misanthrope, music dork, radio guy, punk show promoter, weirdo about town, vegetarian, photographer... you know the type. In short, awesome dude all rolled up into a one-man, gluten free spazz fest. And, he does a radio show on KBGA called Naked Missoula.

Interested in hearing what happens when that selfsame KBGA DJ and local performance art wild man interviews Chicago rock and roll duo White Mystery? Wellsir, look no further than thisahere LINK to the interview. It was nicely engineered by Duane Raider!