indie rock

Plaza Records • Carbondale: Enchanters CD release party / David Brown / Commander Keen / Kim Curlee Band / Toy Cowboy

Secondary Modern - Bridge Street - Thin Cities

Bridge Street

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Secondary Modern - Clean Black Coats - Secondary Modern

Clean Black Coats

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Secondary Modern - Dart Board Black List - Venus Birds

Dart Board Black List

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Secondary Modern - Dismissed - New Colony

Dismissed

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Secondary Modern - He's Got the City - Vaudeville Ghosts

He's Got the City

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Secondary Modern - Money Well Spent - New Colony

Money Well Spent

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Secondary Modern - One-Twenty-Seventh - Vaudeville Ghosts

One-Twenty-Seventh

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Secondary Modern - Pictures Of The Sun - Thin Cities

Pictures Of The Sun

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Secondary Modern - Terrible Things - Vaudeville Ghosts

Terrible Things

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Blue Eyed Bettys: From Theater Stages to Bandstands

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9


Who: Blue Eyed Bettys
What: indie-folk-pop
Where:
When: 2017-06-23
The Blue Eyed Bettys bring a blend of indie rock, folk, and bluegrass Friday, June 23 to the Hangar
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

The Blue Eyed Bettys bring a blend of indie rock, folk, and bluegrass Friday, June 23 to the Hangar 9 and Saturday, June 24 to John Brown’s on the Square in Marion.

Featuring Daniel Emond on banjo, Sarah Hund on fiddle, and Ben Mackel on guitar, the group of singers and storytellers from the Sunshine State sends waves through three-part harmonies in each tune.

For more information, check out <http://www.TheBlueEyedBettys.com>.

 

Nightlife talked with Hund about going from performing on stage as thespians to rocking on stage as bandmates, not staying in the confines of music genres, and returning to Southern Illinois.

It’s fascinating that you all met while acting in a play. How long have you been playing together?

We’ve been playing and singing together for about three years. We met doing a new play called Poems, Prayers, and Promises at the Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, in 2014. It had a lot of songs by American songwriters of the sixties and seventies, like Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and the like.

Though we all lived in [New York City] at the time, we had never met each other. We all hit it off right away, and we started hanging out and playing music during our off-time. Before long, we were writing songs together and playing open-mic nights in Sarasota. We all had to get back to New York City after the production ended, so we decided to tour our way back, playing shows along the way. And now it seems we just can’t stop touring!

When did you first know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I think all three of us decided to pursue acting at first. But we’ve all been drawn to music throughout our lives. When I was ten years old, I asked my parents for a violin for Christmas. They were a bit surprised, as no one in my family was particularly musical at the time, but they decided to rent a violin for three months, wrap it up, and put it under the tree. I’m so glad they did! I’ve been playing ever since. And as an adult, I’ve found that there are a lot more acting jobs out there if you can play an instrument or two.

What are you guys working on now? Any recording projects? Plans for the summer?

We’re in the midst of recording a new original album. We’ve recorded five songs so far, and we’re hoping to lay down another six or seven over the summer. We’ll be back in Sarasota for five weeks this summer— the same theater where we met has hired us as part of their summer cabaret series. We’re hoping to have some time to write and record some new tunes while we’re there.

How would you describe your sound?

Gahhh— don’t put us into a box! Ha!

We describe ourselves as a harmony-driven string band. We’re sort of indie-folk-pop, I suppose. We are heavily influenced by bands like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but, you know, we play banjo, fiddle, and guitar. And we sing a lot of three-part harmony.

What goes through your mind while you are performing?

Because we are all actors by profession, I suppose we think a lot about the words we are singing. And I love looking at the audience, too, to see how they’re taking it all in.

What would you like to accomplish with this band?

I’m very much looking forward to writing more together. I think the songs we write together are some of our best.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

We can’t wait to play Southern Illinois again! We had a blast the last time we played John Brown’s, and Hangar 9 looks like a very cool spot. I grew up in Saint Louis, so it always feels more like home when we play nearby. I love seeing those Cardinals hats!

who: Blue Eyed Bettys

what: indie-folk-pop

where: Hangar 9

when: Friday, June 23

Bobby Conn: An Early Celebration for Record Store Day

Bands
Flowers of Evil

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Flowers of Evil

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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9
Hard Copies Records
Joe's Records

More Articles
Flowers of Evil, the Heat Tape, and Kentucky Knife Fight: Reverent Roots, Progressive Pedals, Malevolent Melodies
Flowers of Evil: Dreamhead Blooming
Flowers of Evil’s Rubber Seoul and The Life and Death of William Feigns


Who: Hard Copies and Joe’s Records
What: Record Store Eve w/ Bobby Conn / Flowers of Evil (indie rock)
Where:
When: 2017-04-21
Underground glam-rock musician Bobby Conn headlines Friday, April 21 at the Hangar 9 as part of an e
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

Underground glam-rock musician Bobby Conn headlines Friday, April 21 at the Hangar 9 as part of an event that celebrates the venerated vinyl one day early. Also performing that night is local band the Flowers of Evil.

Conn, né Jeffrey Stafford, spent much of his young life growing up in the Chicago suburb of Saint Charles. His high-school hardcore-punk trio the Broken Kockamamies, or the BKs, made a name for themselves by using eight-foot strobe lights on a darkened stage, which they referred to as the “pillars of fear.”

In 1989, Conn became the guitarist for Chicago avant-garde band Conducet. The eclectic sound was born from improvisation and then cultivated on the open-mic circuit.

In 1994, after Conducet broke up, Conn embarked on a solo career. He went on to release six studio albums: Bobby Conn (1997), Rise Up! (1998), The Golden Age (2001), The Homeland (2004), King for a Day (2007), and Macaroni (2012), plus a live album in 2005 and the EP Llovessonngs in 1999.

Conn’s colorful interview statements, press biographies, and releases have included claims of imprisonment and diabolical parentage.

“I always thought it was part of the creative process,” Conn said in an interview for Magnet magazine. “Creativity is lying. My own story doesn’t seem very interesting to me... You don’t want to be who you are onstage everyday. What’s the point in that?”

Quite the character, Conn described in another interview the “egomaniacal delusions that I’ve had since I was a kid— I tried to hyperbolize them to see how far it would go. To me, when I came up with the whole idea of trying to promote myself as a potential Antichrist, I figured that no one is going to take this seriously or even acknowledge it, because it’s about the dumbest thing you could say.”

Josh Stockinger of Hard Copies and Joe’s Records said he was introduced to Conn’s music about a year ago. He said in a matter of weeks he scooped up every recording in Conn’s discography.

“One of the things we like to do is to introduce and let our customers know about different artists that they might not have known about otherwise,” Stockinger said. “Bobby Conn’s like David Bowie and Prince all rolled into one.”

Started in 2008, Record Store Day was set up as a way to revere the culture surrounding the nearly 1,400 independently owned and operated record stores that exist in the United States. It has since become a day to honor limited-edition special releases and products made especially for the day. “We have ordered a bunch of the exclusive merchandise for Record Store Day, but like other years, we won’t know what we have until it arrives,” Stockinger said.

Stockinger said the idea for a Record Store Eve show came about when trying to book Conn for a gig in Southern Illinois and seeing how it coincided with the calendar.

“That was the day that he had available,” he said.

Also playing in the show is the Flowers of Evil, which has a couple employees from Hard Copies and Joe’s Records as part of the band. Stockinger said the show is also a chance for store patrons to support a local band and check them out in another element.

“It’ll be great for them to see them in a way other than in the store,” he said.

For more information about Bobby Conn, visit him on Facebook. For the complete list of items that will be released for Record Store Day, log on to <http://www.RecordStoreDay.com>.

who: Hard Copies and Joe’s Records

what: Record Store Eve w/ Bobby Conn / Flowers of Evil (indie rock)

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Friday, April 21

William Feigns: Metaphysical Rock ‘n’ Soul

A trio of local bands is about to show what kind of a rocking weekend can ring in a fall semester in
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A trio of local bands is about to show what kind of a rocking weekend can ring in a fall semester in the ‘Dale.

William Feigns is coheadlining Saturday, August 20 at the Hangar 9 with deep-blues band the Mudsills and the psychedelic Flowers of Evil.

William Feigns, a self-described Americana ghost-grass group, consists of Josh Murphy on guitar and vocals, Jeff Beers on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Wittman on drums and percussion.

Originally from Berkeley, California, Murphy started writing songs and poems when he was fourteen. The band’s name comes from a pseudonym Murphy used for his poetry, photography, and other works he created in his youth.

A singer and songwriter on the Southern Illinois music scene for numerous years now, Murphy has also played with Wild Murphy and the New Year and the Black Fortys, the latter of which was named the Best College Band in 2008 in a contest sponsored by Rolling Stone. The Black Fortys also took home Nightlife’s Band of the Year honors.

Murphy has also continued to release work under the William Feigns moniker, including The Life and Death of William Feigns in 2013 and the first two parts of the three-volume Soul Remains collection (of which the final installment is due later this year).

Murphy reiterated something he told Nightlife last fall— that his goal is to make “a soundtrack for what’s going on in life.”

“It varies depending on what I feel and I am going through at the moment,” he said. “It usually depends how I feel at the moment.”

Listeners may stream Soul Remains Part I and II on BandCamp. Tracks for the EP were recorded at the Bomb Shelter Studio A in Nashville, Tennessee, last spring and fall. Murphy and Marcus Lappin produced, Billy Bennett engineered, and the Copyrights’ drummer Luke McNeill mastered Soul Remains.

Murphy added that songs from the third and final part of Soul Remains continue in the same vein as many other collaborative jam bands of the past, but with William Feigns’s own blend of inspiration.

“We’ve been told that there is a lot of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground influences in our music,” he said.

William Feigns has a grit, an eerily familiarity that resonates with the rock heart. In between Beers’s busy fingers on the bass and the heart-pumping percussion work from Wittman, Murphy and his simple and clever lyrics shine. Songs on the EP range from the mellow, Bob Dylan-istic “Strange, How Strange” to the hard rocking “Come On, Tell Me.”

The aim is to make the music resonate with all parts of the human anatomy.

“It incorporates mind, body, and soul,” Murphy said of the three-part EP. “I like to think of things as in three parts.”

Murphy added that he is looking forward to playing the upcoming Hangar show with both of the bands on the bill.

“Flowers of Evil haven’t played around here lately, so it is going to be a good show,” Murphy said. “We are excited to get to play with both of these bands.”

For more information, check out William Feigns on Facebook or BandCamp, and purchase Soul Remains Parts I and II at Plaza Records.

who: Mudsills / William Feigns / Flowers of Evil

what: deep blues; indie rock

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Saturday, August 20

Diane Coffee’s Psychedelic Motown Glam

Bands
Hans Predator
Secondary Modern

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Secondary Modern

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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

More Articles
Hans Predator: Local Garage Rockers Don a Mars Tuxedo
Secondary Modern: A New Colony and a Great Cause
Secondary Modern: A Twist on Contemporary Indie Pop
Secondary Modern: The Animals Behind the Chatter
Secondary Modern: The Haunting Melodies of Vaudeville Ghosts
Secondary Modern: Venus Birds Flying South by Southwest


Who: Diane Coffee / Idle Bloom / Hans Predator / David Brown and the Tomorrowmen
What: indie-rock showcase
Where:
When: 2016-03-05
Diane Coffee is currently on their winter 2016 tour in support of last year’s album Everybody’s a Go
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

Diane Coffee is currently on their winter 2016 tour in support of last year’s album Everybody’s a Good Dog, released on the Western Vinyl label. Their travels take them Saturday, March 5 to the Hangar 9 where they’ll perform with Nashville’s Idle Bloom and Carbondale’s own Hans Predator and David Brown and the Tomorrowmen.

Diane Coffee is the project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Fleming, a former Disney voice actor, film actor, and live Foxygen drummer. They’re solidly rooted in the tradition of soulful rock ‘n’ roll and New York Dolls-style glam rock; the band’s own Facebook page describes them as psychedelic Motown.

While listeners can hear the influences of the Beatles and David Bowie, for example, Fleming is also inspired by James Taylor and Diana Ross. As he explained to the VinylMePlease blog, the latter had something to do with the band’s name: “At the time when I was making the record, I was listening to a lot of Diana Ross and also this kid named Nathan Pelkey, who was a singer/songwriter from L.A. and had put out this cassette tape of three songs. One of them was called ‘Mister Coffee,’ and that tape blew me away completely. After he made it, though, Nathan just disappeared, and no one knows what happened to him, so Coffee is an ode to a songwriter who could have had an amazing career and it just never happened.”

Diane Coffee is also Fleming’s performance persona, which seems fitting given his acting background. Although Fleming uses studio session musicians, which means lineups will vary, live members from a previous tour included Joey Lefitz on drums, Jared Walker on guitar, Emily Panic on bass, and Steve Okonski on keyboards.

Diane Coffee’s first album, My Friend Fish, released by Western Vinyl in 2013, features a cover picture of Fleming that recalls Ziggy Stardust. As he told the Western Vinyl blog, the lyrical content was largely derived from his relocating to New York from California. While fans loved this album, some have criticized how the drums were recorded on an iPhone and a detuned guitar took the place of a bass.

Everybody’s a Good Dog, released in September 2015, is a proper studio recording that features strings, horns, and guest appearances to help further manifest Fleming’s musical vision. This time around, Fleming’s lyrics are based around yet another move: from New York to Indiana.

Nightlife readers can also check out the band in the “Everyday” video, a song that became the first single from Everybody’s a Good Dog. They’ll be hooked by the infectious chorus as they watch Fleming assemble an impromptu band to play a talent show.

In Youtube videos, Diane Coffee plays hard-driving pop-rock numbers as well as quiet, heartfelt ballads; sometimes they switch into frenetic noise sections that make for a refreshing, fun, diverse sound. For their appearance on National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concerts, Fleming played guitar while singing; the band also featured a small classical-string section.

Find out more at <http://www.DianeCoffee.com>.

David Brown, meanwhile, is fresh from the breakup of Secondary Modern. He will release a new, self-titled album that night, on which Brown played nearly every instrument. Listen to it on Bandcamp. The show, Brown says, is a “one-time-only full band version of my new project.”

who: Diane Coffee / Idle Bloom / Hans Predator / David Brown and the Tomorrowmen

what: indie-rock showcase

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Saturday, March 5

William Feigns Releases Soul Remains Part II

Bands
Copyrights
William Feigns

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Copyrights

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William Feigns

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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

More Articles
Copyrights' Trademark Punk Rock
Copyrights, Masked Intruder, and Not Scientists: Pop-punk Tour Brings the Noise to Illinois
Copyrights: Stranded on North Sentinel Island
Copyrights: Carbondale’s Premier Punks Issue a Report
William Feigns: Psychedelically Spooky


Who: Copyrights / Mizzerables / William Feigns
What: Soul Remains Part II release party
Where:
When: 2016-02-19
Josh Murphy was born with a curious and creative mind. Murphy was raised in a small town in Southern
Alex Kirt
Video Comentary

Josh Murphy was born with a curious and creative mind. Murphy was raised in a small town in Southern Illinois where the conservative values of the working class, coupled with the moral teachings of Protestant Christianity, reigned supreme. As Murphy grew older, he sought to find the answers to many of his questions outside the realm of understanding that was presented to him in the region of his upbringing.

Murphy, known to many as William Feigns, recently completed the second of a three-part musical odyssey entitled Soul Remains.

For the recording of Soul Remains Parts I and II, William Feigns and his collaborators embarked upon a journey to a recording studio called the Bomb Factory in Nashville, Tennessee, where sound engineer Billy Bennett used his vintage studio equipment to capture the sounds. Feigns’s musical collaborators on this project include bassist Jeff Beers, drummer Chris Wittman, percussionist Jimmy Beers, and coproducer Marcus Lappin.

Soul Remains Part I was unveiled in digital form on the world wide web in December 2015. A release party for Soul Remains Part II, which will come out on audio cassette tape, will take place Friday, February 19 at the Hangar 9. There, Feigns will share the evening with local pop-punk greats the Copyrights and, from Chicago, the Mizzerables. (The final installment of Soul Remains will be distributed on compact disc in late March or early April, featuring the Soul Remains project in its entirety.)

Feigns and his collaborators have internalized the artistic practices of expressionism and surrealism, interpreting these artistic practices into musical expressions coupled with a healthy helping of psychedelia, random ponderings, and various ruminations, resulting in a tremor that tenderly fondles the hair cells of the inner ear.

Feigns acknowledges that some listeners may equate the sounds of Soul Remains to the bygone era of flower power. Yet one cannot simply chalk up Soul Remains as just another tip of the hat to the Leary generation, for there is much more to this collection of refrains. It is not an uncommon occurrence to witness young musicians seeking to emulate their heroes, but Feigns and his collaborators have reached their creative maturity and are well beyond imitations in their work. In true artistic fashion, Feigns references his sources rather than plagiarizing them. He builds upon ideas rather than borrowing them. Metaphorically speaking, he is creating his own landscapes— he just happens to be using the same brush and canvas as his sources.

Whether we are talking science, engineering, art, music, dance, theater, or language, all creations and inventions are derived from other sources, just as the twigs of a tree bring forth new fruit. Soul Remains represents the fruit of William Feigns’s twig on the branch of the limb of the tree of our collective musical history, with veins extending down beneath the surface into the roots of human communication and self-expression. By paying careful attention, listeners will likely find that although William Feigns may create sounds that vaguely ring of the Velvet Underground, the Byrds, Red Krayola, or Hawkwind, his twig has deviated and morphed into a fruit of a new and different variety.

This is an example of exactly what every “original” artist has done throughout the known history of humankind. They learn from their teachers, through observation, and employ their education to make their own statements from their own unique perspectives. When others find that they can relate to and identify with an artist’s work, internalizing the work by likening it to one’s own life experiences— this is how I identify a successful work of art. To my ears, Soul Remains fits neatly into this definition.

In addition to the vibrational musings of Soul Remains, Feigns has labored diligently throughout his most recent trip around the sun, producing an impressive variety of creative endeavors. Two items that may be of special interest are his twenty-one-page poetry booklet, Wall of Sound, and the cinematic production entitled Watersnakes, starring Dylan Frost, Maren Celest, and Laura Partain. Watersnakes was written and directed by Murphy and produced by William Feigns, who describes the project as “A silent film about a young prince under a spell that takes him on a hallucinatory journey through illusions and madness.” The film is dedicated to Carl G. Jung and Luis Bunuel, the latter of whom seems to have provided no small measure of creative inspiration to Feigns.

Watersnakes, Wall of Sound, and Soul Remains are for sale at Plaza Records, or at any William Feigns live performances, or online via the William Feigns Bandcamp page.

who: Copyrights / Mizzerables / William Feigns

what: Soul Remains Part II release party

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Friday, February 19

Tweak Bird: The Bird’s the Word

Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

More Articles
Tweak Bird: Enchanting Any Ol’ Way’


Who: Tweak Bird / Bad Taste / Pigeons
What: Indie rock
Where:
When: 2015-11-13
A former Carbondale band comes home to roost this weekend in a homecoming show fit for all fans of f
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A former Carbondale band comes home to roost this weekend in a homecoming show fit for all fans of flight.

Tweak Bird rocks into the Hangar 9 this Friday, November 13 for an indie-rock showcase. Bad Taste and Pigeons will warm up.

A family band of two brothers, Tweak Bird consists of Caleb Benjamin and Ashton Leech. They grew up on a twenty-acre family compound located in Jackson County, where they lived in a house with no running water. Both boys became big fans of their father’s Black Sabbath mix tapes and King Crimson LPs, as well as Pink Floyd’s The Wall. All three artists were instrumental in Benjamin and Leech’s songwriting and recording.

In 1994, the brothers started making their own music and gigging around Southern Illinois. A decade passed with the assembling, reassembling and re-reassembling of various local bands before Benjamin and Leech started setting their sights for sunnier shores. California dreaming, the brothers took to Los Angeles, where Leech began drumming and Benjamin played guitar.

The first show where the brothers played as a duo occurred in 2006, before the newfound project even had a name. Tweak Bird was, at first, a sarcastic suggestion after the brothers noticed other bands’ adaptation of a spirit animal as monikers.

Tweak Bird’s 2014 album, Any Ol’ Way, was produced by another former local musician, David Allen. The brothers sound like they’re in a dreamy, fantasy-like state. Leech previously called the songs an accumulation of all the influences and music he and his brother have been exposed to. But it’s all rock ‘n’ roll in one form or another.

“It’s enchanting,” Leech told Nightlife in 2014. “You have all these different elements, but it’s all rock ‘n’ roll— psychedelic, garage, progressive. You can hear all these different influences that we’ve had over the years.”

Tweak Bird has shared the stage with Tool, the Melvins, Big Business, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and Black Mountain.

Leech has explained that the pairing of Tweak Bird with other rock showcases has attracted different audiences.

“From my perspective, there [are] two different types of crowds,” Leech told New Noise magazine in 2014. “There are crowds that stand and watch, and crowds that freak out. We usually get a pretty decent mixture of both no matter who we play with. When we play stoner-rock shows, we’re the wimpiest band of the night. When we play punk shows, we’re like, ‘Whoa, we’ve got way too many amps!’ If we play with some poppy psychedelic bands, we definitely have too many amps and not enough people in the band. Whatever, we’re just having fun. There’s a big difference in reactions, but the genuine people are all in it for the same thing. They’re feeling excited when we’re done, just like we are. We see some of those people at every show.”

Through their musical journey from country beginnings and borrowed albums to the group they are today, Leech has said that he and his brother have always kept a collaborative and open mind when it comes to their music.

“Caleb and I have always dabbled in something or another,” Leech told Nightlife in 2014. “It’s something I’ve known since I was a little kid that I wanted to do. It’s something we’ve both known.”

For more information about the band, check out Tweak Bird on Facebook.

who: Tweak Bird / Bad Taste / Pigeons

what: indie rock

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Friday, November 13

William Feigns: Psychedelically Spooky

Bands
William Feigns

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William Feigns

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Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres


Who: William Feigns
What: indie rock, Americana
Where:
When: 2015-10-24
Local band William Feigns brings a spooktacular, ominous sound Saturday, October 24 to Tres Hombres.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

Local band William Feigns brings a spooktacular, ominous sound Saturday, October 24 to Tres Hombres.

 

The band’s name stems from a pseudonym guitar player and lead vocalist Josh Murphy used for his poetry, photography, and other creative works in his youth. Originally from Berkeley, California, Murphy began writing songs and poems when he was fourteen years old and has continued ever since. He released his first solo album, The Life and Death of William Feigns, last Halloween.

 

What influences him to write often hinges on when Murphy decides he wants to create.

 

“I have a varied style,” he said. “It usually depends how I feel at the moment.”

 

Murphy has been on the Southern Illinois scene for a number of years, also leading Wild Murphy and the New Year and the Black Fortys, the latter of which won a Rolling Stone-cosponsored best-college band contest in 2008 as well as Local Band of the Year honors in Nightlife.

 

When playing as a band, William Feigns consists of Murphy with Jeff Beers on bass and backup vocals and Chris Wittman on drums and percussion. Murphy said the band collaborates to establish a self-described Americana ghost-grass sound.

 

“I wanted to surround myself with great musicians,” he said, “and I’ve done that with [Beers and Whitman].”

 

In August 2014, Murphy recorded a live show at Studio 9 in Berkeley under the William Feigns name he released it last summer. The solo acoustic performance features the hauntingly beautiful “Celestina.” Singing “Like a dream within a dream,” Murphy weaves a tale of breathy wonder about the titular character. Listening to the song immediately conjures Bob Dylan, and Murphy likes the comparison— on the William Feigns’s Bandcamp page, a digital album, Bob Dylan’s Seventy-fourth Birthday Bash, includes eight Dylan songs recorded live in May.

 

Dylan continues to be a force in Murphy’s songwriting process.

 

“He’s one of the most inspirational songwriters to me,” Murphy said.

 

Currently working on new material, William Feigns is evolving.

 

“It’s going to be a little bit different,” Murphy said, “but we’re really looking forward to getting it out there for everyone to hear.”

 

Murphy said that writing poems and songs are not entirely different. With each finished work, Murphy strives to produce tangible, genuine songs that reflect the world and the experiences around them.

 

“What I really want is for music to be like a soundtrack for what is going on in life,” he said.

 

For more information, search for William Feigns on Facebook and Bandcamp, the later of which includes a stream of a live show from June at the Hangar 9, among many other solo and band recordings.

Secondary Modern: The Animals Behind the Chatter

Bands
Black Fortys
Jenny Johnson
Secondary Modern

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Black Fortys

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Jenny Johnson

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Secondary Modern

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Secondary Modern

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Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

More Articles
Black Fortys: Revisiting the Past, Previewing the Future
Black Fortys’ Voodoo Moon: Moodier, Darker, and Groovier
Jenny and the Johnsons: Burning it Down with Torch Ditties
Jenny Johnson: In Tune for InBloom
Secondary Modern: A New Colony and a Great Cause
Secondary Modern: A Twist on Contemporary Indie Pop
Secondary Modern: The Haunting Melodies of Vaudeville Ghosts
Secondary Modern: Venus Birds Flying South by Southwest


Who: Secondary Modern / Jenny Johnson Band / Black Fortys
What: CD release party (indie rock)
Where:
When: 2015-10-03
Looking to warm up on a chilly October night? Come out to Tres Hombres Saturday, October 3 and check
Brent Glays
Video Comentary

by A. Writing *

Looking to warm up on a chilly October night? Come out to Tres Hombres Saturday, October 3 and check out Carbondale trio Secondary Modern as they perform songs from their new album, Animal Chatter.

David and Danny Brown are brothers who grew up playing music together.

“That doesn’t mean we liked each other,” David says. “We didn’t like each other for a long time. But eventually we got over that.”

The brothers started playing shows while attending Marion High School. While performing, they met another musician— Matt McGuire— from Herrin High School. They’ve been making music ever since.

“I guess some version of it started when I was a senior, which was ten years ago,” David says. “So the constant has been my brother and me, but the three of us have been doing it for about six years.”

And in that time they’ve accomplished a lot. Animal Chatter is their eighth full-length record, and like some of their other work, is being released on LP. The record will also come with a download code. The band avoids recording on CDs, but does like to use an eight-track analog recorder in the studio.

“You have to know what you’re doing [with an 8-track],” David says. “It makes pre-planning a big deal, because if you mess up, it’s on tape. There’s only eight tracks, so you can’t really do it over again, fix things.... [I]f you’re not any good it’s going to be really hard to sound good on tape. But if you’re all right, and you’ve practiced, you can do just fine. The sound is better. If you did a take on a tape machine and a digital machine, and listen to it blind, every time you’ll take the tape mix. It just sounds better.”

“In a hundred years, vinyl will still be there,” Matt adds. “CDs get scratched, messed up; it’s dated technology.”

The band has also recorded in some unusual locations, including an old abandoned post office, a house they call “the Mansion,” and a place in Chicago called the Observatory.

“There’s an aesthetic niceness to a place like [the Mansion], recording there, that isn’t necessarily a studio, but it’s turned into a studio,” says Matt. “There’s a lot of living around you. Same with the Observatory in Chicago— there’s two rooms that are devoted to being a studio, and they’re great, but there’s so many other things, you know? There’s like nine people that live there, and it’s also a venue as well.”

“A lot of freeloading,” David explains. “My brother was housesitting for a friend— that’s how we got in the Mansion. It was a nicer house than I’ve ever been in for more than, say, twenty-five minutes. I think our friend’s dad owned the post office.”

All three maintain regular jobs when not on tour, and aren’t relying solely on their art as a means of support.

“It’s more like, we have jobs, and we have free time,” Matt says. “Use your free time. I mean, we were lucky to have started this when we were really young— learning and starting to play— to gain momentum, when we were in our parents’ homes, so money and time weren’t an issue. We practiced a lot. So now it’s just ‘Use your free time.’”

“There’s a lot of things we could be doing right now, and not simply to afford us the time to do this,” David adds. “If we were going to be accountants or something, we would have by now. So to our families it may have seemed aimless— although they have recently stopped calling them ‘your little tours.’ The word ‘little’ got struck, which is pretty cool, and I think it’s because people are actually starting to review our records, sometimes. Anyway, it’s clear that we aren’t going to stop. Which is our problem. But yeah, you just sort of make the decision to sacrifice the life that a lot of people seem to think they want— the nine-to-five existence— in favor of doing something that’s a little more interesting for yourself and, you know, I’d say that there’s probably a large amount of people we grew up with that haven’t seen a lot of what we’ve seen, but they have a lot more money than we do. And I hope they’re happy, but I bet they’re not.”

Maybe going to the show will change that. Secondary Modern is currently touring the East Coast, and the show at Tres Hombres will wrap up the tour.

“I think you’ll have a good time,” David says. “I think you should try out all kinds of different stuff. I grew up going to all types of different shows— it’s a good way to meet people, find people that you have things in common with.”

“You’ll enjoy it,” Matt adds. “Really, we do this without a particular audience in mind, but we want an audience. We work really hard for this, actually, so an audience makes it complete in just all types of ways, you know? I do feel like we write good songs and play them well. Maybe we would play anyway if we thought that we sucked— and people do— but I think we’re good at what we do.”

And they are. Their music has been described as indie rock, but the band prefers to call it “mood music.” Matt points out that there is no definition of indie rock, but their music is like any art— it tells a story, their songs have beginning, a middle, and an end, and David says they should be looked at like a painting. They’ve covered an entire Beatles album before, then a second time by popular demand to raise enough money to press the album.

“It’s weird that we play pop music, considering it’s such a small part of our repertoire,” David says.

“Well, if you say ‘pop music,’” Matt explains, “you’re more likely to think of N’Sync or something, and that’s not what he means. We use the pop-song format, but if you were to listen to the first part of a song, stop paying attention to it and come back, it just wouldn’t fit. You’d have missed the pieces. Not just our music, any art.”

The album has already been released and is available at Plaza Records in Carbondale. Those interested in hearing it may visit Secondary Modern’s Bandcamp page— or they can go to the show, meet other people, hear something new and fun, and give these artists an audience.

* Brent Glays’s English 290: Analytical Writing class at SIU conducted an interview with Secondary Modern and he wrote the above story with his students’ help. The following students helped with the interview and contributed to the article: Mahongany Barlow, Adam Bertacchi, Won Jun Choi, Samuel Drever, Clay Edwards, Andrew Freije, Colin Golding, Breanne Harrell, Kristen LeVine, Drakkari Lott, Shane McNamee, Cheyenne Mitchell, Vanessa Morales, Tykia Neal, Zachary Peel, Jerry Ransom, Emerald Sanders, Kyle Sherrill, Billie Swanson, Drake Sweeney.

who: Secondary Modern / Jenny Johnson Band / Black Fortys

what: CD release party (indie rock)

where: Tres Hombres

 

when: Saturday, October 3

Thelma and the Sleaze: Hard-rocking Women with Hearts Like a Fist

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Secondary Modern

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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

More Articles
Secondary Modern: A New Colony and a Great Cause
Secondary Modern: A Twist on Contemporary Indie Pop
Secondary Modern: The Haunting Melodies of Vaudeville Ghosts
Secondary Modern: Venus Birds Flying South by Southwest


Who: Thelma and the Sleaze / Secondary Modern / Scifislands
What: punk, indie rock
Where:
When: 2015-02-12
Once in awhile a band comes along that you can’t help but notice. Maybe because it’s because the mus
leah Williams
Video Comentary

Once in awhile a band comes along that you can’t help but notice. Maybe because it’s because the music is so piston-pounding, soul-screeching, in-your-face that looking away might incite a riot or a chemical implosion.

Thelma and the Sleaze is that kind of band. These chicks rock that hard.

The girls from Nashville, Tennessee, take no prisoners Thursday, February 12 at the Hangar 9. Also taking the stage that night will be locals Secondary Modern and Scifislands.

Thelma and the Sleaze features a self-described “three-piece and a biscuit,” a concoction that has L.G. on vocals and guitar, Chase on drums, Baby Angel on the boom stick, and Gigi “Thunder Stick” Gallagher on bass. The band recently released Heart Like a Fist, which a She Shreds magazine review called “dark and scary and graceful.”

For more information, check out the band’s Bandcamp profile, which features tracks from a live best-of album.

Nightlife recently heard stories from Chase about gearing up for the band’s first album, getting in trouble with the law, gender equity in rock ‘n’ roll, and striving for the forever tour.

How did you all meet and start?

Backyard wrestling and tequila.

What have you been working on lately?

We’re working on a ton of new material and getting ready to record our first full-length at our friend Dave’s studio in Joshua Tree this May. We’re stoked because Dave is a pro with lots of pro gear. L.G. has also been real busy booking another forever tour. We went out for five months last year. Ready again!

I’ve seen you describe yourselves as “Southern Sludge.” What sort of elements incorporate into that style?

All our influences at the same time: Leon Russell, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Sabbath, Jucifer, and our favorite food, biscuits and gravy.

I have to say I have had a lot of fun looking up articles about your band and some of the back stories you have— the pastor selling you a van before leaving town, the section on your live album about Wynonna Judd’s margarita, and so many others. What are some other crazy or weird things that have happened to you either on tour or on stage?

GiGi and I were detained at a Rite Aid in Salt Lake City, Utah, because the cops thought [we] were trafficking humans. True story. Literal police words.

What can a person expect at a Thelma and the Sleaze show?

To feel sexy and scared at the same time. Witty banter and anecdotes about butt play. A thorough sonic and visual lashing.

You’ve mentioned rock influences like Thin Lizzy and Sabbath but have also said you’ve been drawn to blues tunes as well. How do those different genres help mold your sound?

Now that we’ve added a second guitar and an extra stack of amps, our sound has all the double-guitar Thin Lizzy shimmer magic and bottom-heavy Sabbath thickness you could cream about— but if it was all stripped down its core, it’s magma would be fueled by the eternally burning spirits of our divine blues mothers: Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, Elizabeth Cotten, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Amen.

What is your take on women in rock music today?

Thanks to the internet and our favorite magazines Tom Tom and She Shreds, there’s a lot of highly visible platforms for girls to get recognized beyond the wayyyy outdated novelty of playing rock ‘n’ roll music while simultaneously having a vagina. You can thank Sister Rosetta Tharpe sixty years ago for that— Elvis did. There’s a lot of great female rock ‘n’ roll bands today. A lot of great male ones, too. We’re all rock ‘n’ roll bands.

What is something that you would like to accomplish with this band?

Go to Europe. Tour forever. Open for ZZ Top. Make fifty records. Meet our hero, the [professional] wrestler Chyna.

who: Thelma and the Sleaze / Secondary Modern / Scifislands

what: punk, indie rock

where: Hangar 9

 

when: Thursday, February 12

Fabulous Decline: A Rising Local Band with a New CD

Bands
Fabulous Decline

Venues & Businesses
PK's


Who: Fabulous Decline / Secondary Modern / Corkbush Field Mutiny
What: CD release party (indie rock)
Where:
When: 2014-11-20
The Fabulous Decline celebrates their latest EP, Sweet Talk, with a release party Thursday, November
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

The Fabulous Decline celebrates their latest EP, Sweet Talk, with a release party Thursday, November 20 at PK’s. The show also includes sets by Secondary Modern and Corkbush Field Mutiny.

The band— which includes Jon Teutrine, Jim Thorne, Mort, and Alan Mabee— has bonded deeply since last fall.

“We are all just like a bunch of brothers now,” Thorne said. “We’re like a family.”

Sweet Talk was recorded and produced at MisunderStudio in Murphysboro. For the cover, the Fabulous Decline used work by a Dutch artist named Manouk Dehaas. The portrait features lips heavily coated with large-grain sugar crystals.

Mort explained the shorter releases are preferred because it provides a more frequent schedule for new material.

“We can put out six or seven songs on an EP quicker than we can full albums,” he said. “We can get it out to the people quicker.”

Mabee agreed, adding: “The more often you can get something out there, the more likely you are able to get the eyes of someone who is listening. It’s always slow going anyway, especially nowadays.”

Part of that lesson was learned, they say, when the band released their previous EP, Grin and Bear It. The band says that while the effort resembled what they sounded like at that time, by the time it was finished, the music had evolved.

“When we stared we were an all-acoustic band,” Teutrine said, “very heavy but all-acoustic. Now we are just a straight rock band. We are the rock band that doesn’t exist anymore, is how I like to bill us.”

Often audience members listen in on a Fabulous Decline show and leave feeling a sort of nostalgia, comparing them to some faraway memory of a group on which they just can’t put their fingers. Some even come up to the band and make suggestions of who the band sounds like.

For the Decline, the compliments speak to an increasing need for more rock in the ‘Dale.

“I think there has been a lot lost as far as rock goes, and I think it shows around here,” Mort said. “It seems like rock music has gotten kind of cheap, modern rock gotten overproduced. Hopefully we’re not sad, old bastard rock, but I think when people hear us they hear some of the earnestness that we all grew up on. And I think that is the part that they think sounds so familiar. Hopefully we are fulfilling some part of that without doing some of the same.”

Thorne adds: “We want to fill that void.”

Part of the eclectic rock sound that has become the Fabulous Decline’s signature stems from their various musical backgrounds. In fact, band members admit that as long as music conversations stay in the creation realm and out of suggested listening, they hardly ever fight. They say they never wanted the Fabulous Decline to be a cover band for that reason.

“We have three cover songs that we can pull out at any time to play,” Teutrine said. “All the months we’ve been together, only three.”

One of the EP’s killer tracks, “Cold Confidential,” came into being during a jam session one evening. Its origins are a testament to how well the band members know each other musically and are able to feed off each other creatively.

“It was one of those songs where [Jim] started playing, Alan started playing and I started singing,” Mort said. “It was one of those things where we still play it like the first time we ever played it.”

“It’s funny about the song that when we first started playing it, we had just got done maybe a half hour before that, we were going to start to get more serious at practice and get more serious with songs,” Mabee said. “Jon was getting mad at us. He thought we were playing a cover. We had just wrote this song out of nowhere. And he is in the corner getting pissed at us.”

After Teutrine came on board and added new lead guitar work, the band recaptured the magic with the help of an iPhone and cemented the blueprint for further performances of the song.

Another favorite on the new EP, Mabee said, is “Siya,” a song that was also reinvented during practice.

“That was one that got tossed around,” he said. “I liked it a lot. I did kind of reimagine the drumbeat that is called a cheater beat.”

“To me,” Thorne said, “it sounds like you are messing up, but you are not. You are meaning to do everything that you do.”

For more information, visit <http://www.FabulousDecline.com>.

who: Fabulous Decline / Secondary Modern / Corkbush Field Mutiny

what: CD release party (indie rock)

where: PK’s

when: Thursday, November 20

Black Fortys: Revisiting the Past, Previewing the Future

Bands
Black Fortys
Jewels

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Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

More Articles
Black Fortys’ Voodoo Moon: Moodier, Darker, and Groovier
Jewels: Introducing a New Local Jazz Trio’s Debut CD


Who: Black Fortys / Jewels
What: CD release party (indie rock)
Where:
When: 2014-11-01
On Saturday, November 1, homegrown indie band the Black Fortys will celebrate a dual CD release at T
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

On Saturday, November 1, homegrown indie band the Black Fortys will celebrate a dual CD release at Tres Hombres. A reformed version of indie-jazz group the Jewels will warm up.

“We have printed up the entire Black Fortys catalogue in a new package,” frontman and Black Fortys founder Josh Murphy told Nightlife. “One album is called The Early Years, which features songs and recordings from 2007 to 2010, some of which are unreleased. The second album is a repackaging of our 2011 album Voodoo Moon.”

The group is also working on a new album, which at this time remains untitled, but it should be available in a few months. “The songs we are performing [at Tres] are the songs that will be the new record,” Murphy said. “We are basically playing a new album live.”

Fans may preview a few of these songs before the show. “We will be doing a Six Feet Above recording session that will be hosted and engineered by Dylan Frost,” Murphy said. “We will feature one or two of these songs on WDBX Thursday, October 30 between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.”

The Six Feet Above session will be available in its entirety November 5. Until then, head over to the Black Fortys’ Bandcamp page to hear the full-length release Voodoo Moon and one of their two EPs, Kaskaskia Island.

The Black Fortys were founded in 2007. The group won one of fifteen slots at the North American Union Music Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they supported Bob Dylan and Spoon, among other huge names in the industry. They currently consist of Murphy on guitar and vocals, Kevin Ohlau on Fender Rhodes and bass, Nathan Doyle on guitar and bass, and Jimmy Beers on drums.

During a somewhat enigmatic seven years, the Black Fortys have come to represent the quintessence of a quote/unquote indie band for many regional fans and musician peers alike. But it is difficult to fit them into an ultra-specific genre. They describe themselves as a progressive dark-pop band, and pull from all sorts of influences and styles. Their music is simultaneously subterranean and pop-sensible, classic and fresh. Murphy is a prolific, educated, and tasteful songwriter. The entire band is undoubtedly tasteful, technically superb, and eclectic as far as their influences and range of musical reach.

In addition to this band, Murphy continues to stay busy under different mediums and monikers. He plays in two other local groups, Wild Murphy and the New Year and William Feigns. He has written, produced, and scored an independent film, Water Snakes, with Marcus Lappin of the Flowers of Evil and David Brown from Secondary Modern; the movie will premiere November 1 at Tres. Murphy is also releasing field recordings he has made of local bands on his William Feigns Bandcamp page.

The next Black Fortys’ album will take exciting directions.

“There is a Brazilian influence on this album that makes it different from anything we’ve done before,” Murphy says. “As usual for us, there are many juxtaposed influences and styles happening simultaneously, so it’s hard to pin the music down as one particular style. We focused on rhythmic elements and keeping the songs simple and allowing space in the music.

“Our last album, Voodoo Moon, to me was very intense and seemed like inhaling and holding your breath,” Murphy added. “The new album is a continuation of that feeling, but it is the exhale of Voodoo Moon. It has moments of tension but is more relaxed and groovy while remaining upbeat. To me, the new material gives you the sense of going somewhere or the start of an adventure. It should make great driving music.”

who: Black Fortys / Jewels

what: CD release party (indie rock)

where: Tres Hombres

when: Saturday, November 1

Flowers of Evil: Dreamhead Blooming

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Flowers of Evil
Secondary Modern

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Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

More Articles
Flowers of Evil, the Heat Tape, and Kentucky Knife Fight: Reverent Roots, Progressive Pedals, Malevolent Melodies
Flowers of Evil’s Rubber Seoul and The Life and Death of William Feigns
Secondary Modern: A New Colony and a Great Cause
Secondary Modern: A Twist on Contemporary Indie Pop
Secondary Modern: The Haunting Melodies of Vaudeville Ghosts
Secondary Modern: Venus Birds Flying South by Southwest


Who: Flowers of Evil / Secondary Modern
What: indie rock CD release party
Where:
When: 2014-10-02
The Flowers of Evil will release their new album, Dreamhead, Thursday, October 2 at Tres Hombres. Se
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

 

The Flowers of Evil will release their new album, Dreamhead, Thursday, October 2 at Tres Hombres. Secondary Modern will share the bill.

The Flowers of Evil consist of Kaleb Hunter on guitar and vocals, Joshua Hunter on guitar, and Marcus Lappin on guitar, vocals, and percussion. Dan Tejeda and David Brown are filling in while the band searches for a new bassist.

This marks the fifth album for the local psych-rock group, and technically the second as a full band— Hunter recorded the first three under the Flowers name before the group formed.

David Brown and Marcus Lappin provided the well-executed production. The album is energetic, rockin’, and technically sound where songwriting, performance, and production are concerned. The audio aesthetic from song to song is undoubtedly diverse. A wide range of influences and timelines flow through the Flowers of Evil’s music. Where “Eight Arms to Hold You” is masterfully retro, seductive, and psychedelic, “Harrison Glenn” is pop-sensible and arguably reminiscent of select Ween or Flaming Lips songs from the 1990s.

“I do think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” Hunter said. “It was a lot less-painful than making our last album. David Brown helped produce it. He is a close friend of the band and really understood what we were going for, or was at least sympathetic. David added some real magic to it. Also, Alex Kirt mastered it, and I think he did a magnificent job.

“I’m just relieved it’s finally out because we have already evolved far beyond this record,” Hunter added. “I’m excited about the future. Even with the loss of a band member— we have no permanent bass player right now— it seems like we are really inspired. We have been through a lot of stuff the past year, as a band and personally, and I feel like it’s only strengthened us.”

“The backing tracks were recorded in two sessions in my living room with a four-track reel-to-reel mixer, and David Brown in the kitchen,” Wittman added. “So it’s homespun recording, which is how we prefer to record. The backing tracks were done live as a band. It’s a very live record, and we are happy that we can finally put out an album to encapsulate our unified sound during this period. There were still plenty of sessions for overdubs. For overdubs, we used David Brown’s vintage ADAT machine, which works like tape. We purposely limited ourselves to only eight tracks along with doing a live mix to tape.... It is a group production. Most of us were there for all the overdubs and mixing. It’s a very band-orientated album. All of our ideas are in there.”

They are open to experimentation and evolution. Following a creative whim is a part of the process for them.

“I think our next record will sound a million miles away from Dreamhead,” Hunter said. “I think the point of the whole thing is to progress. I feel like some ‘fans’ of the music have come and gone because we don’t really stick to the script, or really take heed to what people expect from us. We just wanna make our own group art, and that’s what satisfies us.”

Fans can always expect new music from the Flowers of Evil, as the group’s recordings cannot keep up with their writing.

“As far as last words on Dreamhead, I think people are going to be really surprised by it,” Hunter said. “I think some people may have us pegged as a sixties-type group or psychedelic or whatever, but that stuff is meaningless to me. We just make Flowers music, and this new record is very wide in scope and sound.”

“We’re not the type of band that likes to play the same songs too many times,” Wittman said. “We want to move on musically and artistically. Kaleb has a giant batch of new original songs that I’m looking forward to hearing how the band will arrange for the live setting and next album. Our show at Tres will cover a decent chunk of Dreamhead along with a few of these new ones that are on Kaleb’s recent solo album, Footnotes from the Midnight Bloom. Midnight Bloom is currently available at Plaza Records, with Dreamhead following the day after the CD release show at Tres.”

So not only will the Tres audience hear music from the Flowers that is even newer than their new album, but they will also get to hear Brown’s band, Secondary Modern, before that group heads out on tour.

“David [Brown] will also be filling in on bass for our album release show October 2 at Tres Hombres,” Wittman said. “He’s done a great job, and we all enjoy playing with him. The Flowers plan on sabotaging Secondary Modern so he can have time to join us fully. However, since he cannot, this show is our first since June, and it will probably be the only one you can catch us at until we find a full-time bassist.”

Dreamhead comes out on the Plaza Records label and Black Monk Sound Records on cassette, compact disc, and download.

“Plaza Records has begun a label, and we are proud that they want to release this,” Wittman said.

“I just wanna thank Kim [Curlee] at Plaza, too,” Hunter said. “He’s one of the guys who gave me the resolve to start putting this stuff out there for the public years ago. I really admire that guy.”

Listen to two songs from Dreamhead, as well as previous Flowers releases, on Nightlife’s web project at <http://www.CabondaleRocks.com>.

who: Flowers of Evil / Secondary Modern

what: indie rock CD release party

where: Tres Hombres

when: Thursday, October 2

 

Flowers of Evil - Harrison Glenn - Dreamhead

Harrison Glenn

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Flowers of Evil - Heaven Inside Your Mind - Dreamhead

Heaven Inside Your Mind

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Mr. Swamp Fox

  
Band Members
Nathan Gill - vocals and guitar - Wade Keel - vocals and guitar - Brandon Gill - drums - Tyler Cornelius - vocals and bass
Contact Info

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