Tuesday, July 30, 2013


There’s something thoroughly unique and liberating about music that’s down-tuned, too loud and features essentially a single sort of plodding riff, for as long as you want. If you’ve ever made the journey of Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” or Eyehategod’s “Dopesick” records on headphones, or a pretty solid set of stereo speakers, you know what I’m talking about. I picked those not because the word "dope" is in both titles (it’s a different kind of dope that each is talking about), but because of the sheer sonic heft of each.
There’s a commonly heard couple of critiques leveled against loud raunchy music by squares and newcomers to the stuff: 1) “I can’t hear what they’re saying” and 2) “it’s awfully repetitive.” These are interesting critiques examined individually because they sort of start with the premise that lyrics must be understandable (typically lyrics can be read when they’re not readily discernible) and the more complex a music, the better. When you really think about both those things, they’re a little counter intuitive. 

Sometimes, delivery of a weird set of god-knows-what-the-fuck-this-is-about-anyway lyrics is what it’s all about. And sure, that delivery makes understanding the whole thing a little harder, but who said life was easy? Especially with music that is about addiction, like Dopesick is. The words sound like they’re causing somebody pain, or are just belted in such a forceful way that they could be reading the Book Of Mormon and it wouldn’t matter. Then, on to this “gosh, it’s awfully repetitive” critique: Sure it is. But sometimes when you’ve got a good riff, what you want to do is simply repeat it for 30 minutes, and let it take the listener somewhere unique. The band Om with 2/3 of  the Sleep personnel have taken that idea to perhaps it’s full zenith, where it's either completely sublime listening or it’s an exercise in patience for the unprepared. 

I tend to think this is a world where technical virtuosity and guitar music can co-exist really well, but so often in the case of music attempting to be heavy, it’s a net loss when it’s too complex. Certainly dudes like Mick Barr and Colin Marston are some good exceptions to that rule. To me at least, heavy music is all about the feeling. The viscera-pummel, the Crover drums, the feedback, the great tones, and all of that. That’s what it’s about. And seeing it live is the best entre, as with most things rock and roll. 

With that intro, we offer up the band Towers from Portland, Oregon. Land of the tall cedars, deep canyons, high deserts and err, all that. Towers are touring with Dead, are stalwart riffers, and they’ve got a unique heavy vibe we’re stoked to see/hear and feel what they do!


We're just over two weeks away from this year's Total Fest. We're extremely proud of the line-up and couldn't be more excited to see everyone again this summer. It's a testament to our mission statement that bands and people from all over the country, continent, and globe make special trips to Missoula for Total Fest each year. It's really humbling.

By now you know that we do everything that we can to keep Total Fest an all-ages, not for profit, volunteer driven festival. This requires additional costs on our part. We're not here to massage some guilt ridden sympathies from you but to acknowledge all the hard work our sponsors and volunteers put in to help keep Total Fest rolling all these years.

Our biggest fund raiser and what is essentially our Total Kick-off happens this Sunday, August 4 at BigaPizza. Between 5 and 8 PM all you have to do is pull together $10 or so and head down to Biga for one of the best deals of the summer. That's right. $10 gets you all you can eat pizza and salad. This isn't some cardboard crust, ketchup and string cheese pizza, either. Bob Marshall and his fabulous staff compose some of the most blissful creations. Try the Caramelized Goat (caramelized onions, goat cheese, fresh herbs, mozzarella, roasted garlic & olive oil), or the Fennel Marmalade , Bacon & Gouda (housemade fennel marmalade, local bacon, gouda cheese, mozzarella & olive oil), or the Mushroom and Arugula (portabella and button mushrooms, herbed mascarpone, roasted garlic, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, arugula & olive oil), or the Meatball Verde (broccoli rabe, local beef, herbed mascarpone, mozzarella, garlic, olive oil & housemade cilantro-jalapeno sauce). Hell, with this deal you get to try them all and whatever other magical creations Biga has in store for you.


Bob's been a long time supporter of Total Fest. Volumen have played a handful of times, including the inaugural Total Fest that birthed all of this craziness. Bacon &Egg have played a few times over the years as well. It's been an awesome and rewarding relationship. We count on the proceeds to help us out with venue costs, extra staffing to keep things all-ages, pay bands, buy food for bands and volunteers, etc. etc. We'll also have PBR on tap for $1 per glass so save a little room for beer.

Like last year, the VFW will open up their doors for additional seating. Directly following Total Feast will be an rollicking show, featuring three local bands that have deep ties to Total Fest: The Hounds, Hammshandy, and a Bauhaus cover band. Who says Sundays are quiet?

Monday, July 29, 2013


Watt's "Pedro" is that kind of mythical part of L.A. that's  a world unto it's own, if you're a punk fan. Officially, San Pedro is part of the "harbor area" west of Long Beach and is a self-enclosed, working class enclave in the massive metro area of Los Angeles, formerly a separate city. For most of us, it's notable because it gave the world one of the most inspiring and excellent groups of the 20th century: Minutemen.

At some point in the 2000s, with the work of people like Todd from Recess/FYP/Toys that Kill, Craig Ibarra and the Rise and Fall Zine and Water Under the Bridge label, bands like Killer Dreamer, Stoned At Heart etc. etc. the place started to flourish again, or at least from up here in Montana it gave the outward appearance of being a really, uh, generative, inspiring and fun scene. With mandatory halfpipes at/in house shows, great bands and fun folks.

So, when I hear about bands from Todd Recess, I'm normally less skeptical than in my standard assessment of things. I'm normally pretty sure there's something I'll dig about them. Call it a trusted source or call it a bias, we get stoked about Recess bands. But that's the long way around to introducing this band who helps us open Total Fest on August 15: Benny the Jet Rodriguez. Which I guess is the reference to a movie call the Sandlot, which I haven't seen. As you see from the post title up there, I've got Elton John on the mind when I hear about "Benny" and "Jet" anything... I was born in the '70s and was harmed by classic rock radio, I guess. Anyway, they play punk tunes worthy of singing along, pogoing to, and just plain ol' having a good time with. Join us in doing all those things with Benny the Jet Rodriquez, man!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DEAD ... no seriously .... DEAD!!!!!!!

We're beyond excited, stoked, pants-pissing happy to announce that DEAD,those lovable, thunderous, dudes from down-under, will once again grace our landlocked festival this August. It's been an arduous process for Jem and Jace to secure the funds, plan out a tour, and to negotiate all of the other logistical nightmares it takes to get over here from Australia. It almost didn't happen. Hopes were tied to a grant that never materialized, but about a month ago Jem emailed to say that they bit the bullet and are coming with or without the grant. 

Let that sink in.




My head was close to exploding. This year's line-up is already super stacked, but the addition of DEAD to this year's schedule may be way too much for one human being to handle.

Who is DEAD? They're long time bros. Not enough? Check out WeEmptyRooms. Wantage released their debut album, Thundaaaaah. Jem plays drums in Fire Witch. Both Jem and Jace play in Fangs Of ... . Still not enough?

Did you listen to the records? 

I'll wait.

Seriously awesome stuff.

Where's your head?

Jem and Jace lay down the heavy. Straight and simple. Melvins vibe? check. KARP / Big Business / Melvins type of lyrical craziness? check. Crazy ass riffs and vocals that somehow devolve into something that reminds me of how I would love Rush to sound? check. (I could be wrong on that one. I'm not the world's biggest Rush proponent, but around the 5 minute mark of "Prick Rodeo" I tell myself that's what people find good in  Rush). Dudes who never look like it's a chore to play? check. Awesome? check. Just hit you in the gut, head, and stomped on your ankles? check. Apologized and bought you a beer? .... well, probably not.Still smile? check. Possibility of Jace playing bass with his bare ass? check!

I think that's it. DEAD is the perfect combination of bare bone heavy, labyrinthine lyrics, straight-up balls-to-wall performance, technical changes and genre-bending force, and playful but in your face DIY aesthetic that puts them in an entirely different category than other bands.

Recently, they've released Idiots, which is one of the best records that I've heard since the last DEAD record. These dudes are legit (and some of the sweetest dudes on the planet). They've sketched together an awesome tour  with Towers and a few other bands in order to play Total Fest and launch their U.S. release of Idiots on Eolian Empire on August 13 (not to mention that they'll be recording some new tracks with  Toshi Kasai while they're in LA). If you're anywhere near where they are playing, catch them as often as you can. They design and print their own merch so you're a lucky devil if you score one of their hoodies (serious cred). Jace is designing the Total Fest shirts this year so you can hang your hat on that, but don't sleep on this stuff, total people. I seriously can't tell you how lucky we are to see these dudes again.

Here's a tease.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Hey Festies, got extra cashola? Need to exercise those slam-dancing muscles before Total Fest? Then y'all should totally check out the first-ever Richard Dreyfest, an all-ages shindig happening down in the Magic City Aug. 2 and 3. Venues include the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Col, Yellowstone Art Museum and Harper and Madison. Tickets are a whole ginormous $6 per day, or $10 for the two-day pass.

Bands include such notables as Friends of Cesar Romero, Mr. Dad, Noise Noise Noise, Mr. Dead, Shramana, No Cigar, Shramana, Part Time Ninjas and Duffy and the Beer Slayers. Who knows, maybe even Richard Dreyfuss will show up. Go check out the blog: It features goofy interviews with a bunch of the bands. Or listen and download free Bandcamp samplers of the artists.
-K.Dubs P.S. Email missoulapunknews@gmail.com if you're interested in carpooling from Missoula to Billings and back.


This First Friday gallery walk will offer a little something more than the usual vino/foodies discussing the "contemporary" art at the Dana and Monte Dolack galleries.  There will be no paintings of horses, no photographs of tree trunks and absolutely no ceramic birds to buy and put in your yard.  

VISUAL AUDIO CLUB: The Art of Total Fest XII guarantees to "get-you-off" by marrying the music by J. Sherri to the art of "punk" outsiders from Missoula and beyond.  This exhibition will remind viewers of the intimacy of art and music making this year's Fest "TOTAL".  The artists are: Lukas PhelanAl GaitherAdelaide Gale EveryKia LiszakMichael WorkmanTim Fox, Kari Workman, Jack Metcalf, Dane HansenAdam Lynn, Jazmine Raymond, Ryan Slevin, and Jace Rogers. 

Viewers will be exposed to the under, arguably un-, represented group of punks and amateur artists inspired by music, beer, drugs and sex (those things that really inspire us).  J. Sherri will play on a Science Fiction themed stage in the band-practice-space-turned-gallery I am calling "The Final Frontier Space".  Located next to "Frontier Space" in the alley between Pine and Spruce, "The Final Frontier Space" will provide you will an "out-of-this-world" experience and it is guaranteed that you will see new and exciting objects and images.  

Bring shirts, bags, fabric and paper to get a Total Fest XII tee early!  Press Release Press will be set up in the alley for live printing of Total Fest related designs and more!  

The show will be open 5-9pm, with music from 7-8pm.  Expect to be inundated by crass humor, sarcasm, and perhaps and amateur usage of media, in a one-night-only show of visuals and audio.

THE FINAL FRONTIER SPACE (alley between Spruce and Pine)

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Da ZACC, pre-Block Party
Unless you live under the proverbial errr, inanimate thing, you know about the ZACC. It's an all-ages show space (show this Friday, July 19th with some great bands), it's affordable artist studios, it's art classes, gallery space and so much more lodged deep in the heart of Missoula, on our North Side.

The North Side West Side Block Party's the ZACC's annual summer fandango and it's as solidly a fun time as you'll find in Missoula. Skin Flowers play, food is eaten, beer drunk, friends caught up with, art projects done, etc. etc. etc. It's a great time, and we're not just saying that because our friends work there. It really is Missoula at its best. This Saturday, July 20th. Right in front of the place. Get there.

T-Fest happens to have branched into the most shall we say, noble of lines of fundraising activities this year, that is the hawking of old junk used treasures from the organizers and pals that support Total Fest. We hope to have Colin Johnson's old gym socks and Faith No More T-shirts from high school. We hope to have Josh Harteis's prize copy of Frampton Comes Alive (with a white-out corpse-painted Frampton), we expect to have Bryan Ramirez's "rare" Poor School test pressings and Julie Tompkins' doubles of books on the Mansons. We're not sure if we'll have any of those things, but we'll definitely have a booth and it will have some weird stuff you can buy. Mikki and Adelaide Needlecraft will be taking stuff donations between 10AM and noon on N. 1st street at the ZACC, on Saturday the 20th. Feel free to stop by with your carefully-selected, someone-might-actually-want-it, stuff to drop off.

See you there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


New Federation X
LP gets released this month.
Federation X are using the occasion of Total Fest XII to release the fifth LP of their fifteen year career. We kind of feel like our work (in 2008) may deserve a cover of Peaches and Herb's "Reunited"  for breaking the several year log jam of borderline-break-up stasis following 5 years of grueling and near constant touring and recording. It took calls to different members, it took travel underwriting from KBGA. It took the guarantee of a Missoula/Total Fest audience (which we'll put up against Bellingham -their original hometown- or any other place's audience any day of the week), but they did it, and we were stoked at how good it was. 
Here's the thing we wrote about Federation X in 2008: "Federation X or “Fed X,” as they're known to fans, straddle a couple of types of music so effectively that it's hard to really categorize them. Not exactly metal, punk, stoner or “punch the clock rock,” but with parts of all of the above cobbled into as cohesive a sound as has ever come from the Northwest. Their music definitely tips its cap to heavy forebears like the Melvins, Unwound, Steel Pole Bathtub and KARP.... Fed X’s newest material has the quasi-Springsteen...stamp of the disaffected patriot songwriter who’s alternately sad, reflective and defiant..."
Below follows Aaron Beam's (bassist, Red Fang) guest review of Federation X's new We Do What We Must LP which comes out on the the Molasses Manifesto and Recess labels this month, pre-orders here:
Aaron Beam: bassist, writer, Unwound shirt-wearer
I planned to do a more thoughtful, thorough review of this record, but as soon as I threw it on my iPod I found myself blurting a bunch of stuff out, and it seemed more appropriate. So here it is...
Ok, I am listening to this record for the 3rd time in a row, having seen them play it live about 5 times now.
First thought - my biggest problem with this record is that there are so many great songs, I can't easily figure out which one is my favorite. Thanks, guys. Alright, moving on...
Federation X write songs I wish I had written. They have mastered the evolution of the riff. Establish a simple theme, then expand and transform/embellish the theme until it becomes more and more intense/driving/fucking awesome and orgasmic. They are like a Pacific Northwest hard rock version of Otis Redding. Does that sound crazy? Seriously, though, they build songs to emotional climaxes in a way very reminiscient of the master.
"We Do What We Must" is a more fully realized vision of the songwriting power hinted at on their previous efforts ("Hatchetman" from "American Folk Horror") . Apart from being filled with shit kicking riffs, a more mature melodic sense pervades. "Sight on Demand" might be the poster child for this transformation, but the album abounds with instant classics - "Bitter Hands," "So Tired," Sight on Demand," and "An Nur" are those songs that are all vying for top spot. I am listening to "An Nur" again right now, so it is currently in the lead. However...

"So Tired" is the song that perhaps first brought to mind the Otis Redding comparison. but now that I listen to it again, it seems like it could almost be like a modernized Shangri-Las, given the sparse, tom-heavy backbeat, and plaintive vocals over muted guitar riffs. Shit, this is a good song!
Ok, I just went back and listened to "Bitter Hands" again and I think that one is the clear winner. Well, until I listen to one of these other songs again. Oh, and don't that because I keep mentioning these four songs that the other songs on the record are worth skipping! "Bear Hug" is a barn-burner, "Anna Mist" a tear-jerker, "Maybe We'll Die Young" jumps out of the gates and is a perfect opener to the record.

Goddammit, I am starting to get mad that I don't play in this band. Maybe I can convince them they need a bass/keyboard player? Hmm...

I don't know what else to say except I love this album and it will be on very consistent rotation in the tour van for the next year. (Aaron Beam)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Do you know about Buzludza in Bulgaria? It's a worth looking up thing, if you're at all into Hothian
architecture, abandoned soviet era stuff, and massive public works projects that seem to serve exactly no current purpose. Also, it's kind of nice to say the word "Buzludza."

Missoula's Oll Breds are band that came onto my radar only pretty recently when their kind of outsider pop/garage two-piece whatever rock and roll just started to take over my mind. I saw them first only in the late spring of this year, and I think they'd been playing for at least the previous year. Something about the sound of "bread" in a band name really can apparently hit a nerve with me. Can't help but think of the multi-platinum selling, dollar bin cluttering 70s soft (not-quite) rock dentist office hitmakers in the band Bread. You know how there are certain smells you associate with things and they're totally powerful? Like, you associate the smell of weakly made Maxwell House with uh, having to go to church maybe. Well, seeing  a Best of Bread LP at a thrift store is one of those things that happens at least twice a year, and it always has that subconscious-triggering bummer effect on me. I know it's not really logical, but who said being a music fan had anything to do with logic? And, the fact that I associate Bread with the nitrusy smell of dentist's offices, and by default don't like any music with the sound of "bread" anywhere near it isn't wholly illogical. So what's actually the deal with these Oll Breds?

I don't actually know a ton of the back story, man, but I saw them play a riveting kind-of-Modern-Loversy with kind of a little-bit-Richard-Helly-vocals set that stuck with me hard a couple months ago. Nice simple chord progressions, good tones and  that's about all I need to be stoked about a band, I guess. This (below) live recording of Leave Across America (song starts after about a minute) kind of captures it best, I think. And it has some nice Osprey baseball footage. Their internet presence (and that of their members) consists of about six kind of random, impenetrable things, which tells me they don't give a damn about making music for anybody but themselves, which is nice.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


The bodacious babes (including Clark, natch) of Needlecraft hit the Total Fest stage this year, bringing a brand of bubblegum pop that ain't your grandma's knitting. (Maybe that was a weird metaphor. Whatevs.) The Indy has called them "catchy, punchy and worthy of more than a few shimmies." So far, the band has only tightened up with its delivery of snappy songs that celebrate excellent things like tacos and crushes on rando boys.

It sounds like Needlecraft's spring was pretty wild, what with their first record release and a taco-licious tour all the way down to SoCal. The band appears to be chilling out for a bit, but we suspect they'll ramp up with a vengeance come August.

Check out Needlecraft's disco here.


Once upon a time, I rolled out of bed at 4 AM, grabbed my bags and headed to the airport for a flight. It only occurred to me while standing in line for the security screening that I was wearing the shirt I slept in; a shirt with a domestic terrorist on the front and a rather incendiary phrase:

 The first TSA lady who took my pass asked, "What's your shirt say?" And because I am not very subtle at 4 AM, I said, "Nothing!" and tried to sling my purse strap across my chest.

So anyway, you can get through airport security in a Buddy Jackson shirt, but it is nervewracking.

Lessee. What else is there to say about these guys? This Missoula trio of dimwits plays some of our finest, catchiest punk rock. It's loud, too, as we've all learned. You can listen to all their shit on Bandcamp.

And Grant, you are the glue that holds the band together.