By Tom Smith
Ok I’m not trying to be the next Hedda Hopper but I must offer congratulations to Matty Day of the Muddy Udders on the joyous news of his engagement to Jaci Anderson. Take my word for it, this is the coolest and cutest couple currently residing in N.E.W. In the 10 plus years I have known them, they never cease to amaze me with their unadulterated zest for life. I predict a long marriage filled with happiness and love for great music. Matty, of course, we all know for his expert musicianship in the Muddy Udders. Also, I have been told that he is quite the talented writer and I’m hoping one day that the powers that be at the Scene wise up and bring him into the Scene family.
We also must give congratulations to Green Bay native and good friend Jim Runge. Jim on February 21st at the 25th Annual Pollstar Awards held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium-The Church of Country Music- accepted an award for Road Warrior of the year. Jim earned this award for his work as Tour Manager for the Black Keys and Wilco. The Green Bay music scene, I would hope, shares the sense of pride I have for one of our favorite sons done good. Jim Runge was one of the lynchpins in the hardcore/punk rock scene in Green Bay in the early eighties that evolved out of the Northside Bowling lanes era. Jim helped organize and promote shows and was the lead singer of the now legendary hardcore band No Response. Jim Runge also owned the Bat Cave Record Store that had two different locations in Green Bay. Jim Runge, I’m sure, will be heavily featured in the upcoming documentary “Green Blah The History of Green Bay Punk Rock.” In fact, if you go to the Facebook page for this movie set to release next Christmas, his charming face is what greets you. I have said it before and I will say it again, if it wasn’t for the efforts by a group of individuals that included Jim Runge, I would never have promoted shows. My only disappointment is that, when Jim received the award, it wasn’t presented by Legion of Doom member Animal with Animal proclaiming for all “What a rush.” Speaking of social events of the year the Anti-Lunatic Squad is once again presenting a salute to Green Bay’s coolest bar ever, Lefty’s. This two day event is Friday April 4th and Saturday April 5th. The lineup for day one is not complete, but so far, bands confirmed are Fun W/ Atoms, Gary White and the Rockets, and Tim Schweiger & The Middlemen. Day two, which is almost complete, confirmed bands are Rev. Norb & The Onions, Go Go Slow featuring Dan Kubinski of die kreuzen, Fun W/Atoms, and Scrap Heap Kings/Moral Disgust. This two day event is free at Phatheadz. Phatheadz also is hosting the Green Bay CD release show for The Sleepwalkers “Lost My Mind in Stereo” on Friday March 28. Appearing with the Sleepwalkers, Wes Hollywood Music from Chicago, Beach Patrol, and new Green Bay band Of the Moon. This is also a free event. Since we are on the topic of the new Sleepwalkers “Lost My Mind in Stereo,” I have a novel idea. I will do a review of this release.
Lost My Mind in Stereo IJGFM Records
Timebomb Rating 14 out of 13.
Yes, the glass ceiling has been shattered by a band from Oshkosh Wis. my first ever 14 of 13 rating. Why this shocking rating? One simple reason: I really feel and I know this is only February but this could turn out to be the album of year. I kid you not. This album is fantastic and is one of those albums where the band is in a zone just belting out one great infectious song after another. Since this album was recorded between November of 2011 and June of 2012 in three different studios; Howl Street recordings in Milwaukee, The Mystery Room in Milwaukee, and the now defunct Topsoil Studios in Oshkosh — way to go to the Sleepwalkers for staying in the zone. The Sleepwalkers make music that will resonate with fans of bands such as the figgs, Replacements, Elvis Costello, Kinks, Redd Kross, Old 97’s, Rebel Waltz, and R.E.M. The songs of “Lost My Mind in Stereo” launch themselves directly into the area of the brain that refuses to forget things. The album starts out with the Pretty in Pink sounding riff of “My Best Was Never Good Enough” followed by “It’s a Good Day to Watch the World Go By” which really should be at the very least a top 10 hit. No chance to catch our breath because track three “Come Around” continues the non-stop rock action. This song also has backing vocals by thee Timothy Schweiger. The Sleepwalkers can bring the tempo down and do so with track four. “Safe for the Ride” this song has some great keyboard work by Ian Olvera — the Sleepwalkers singer, guitarist, and spiritual leader. Track five “Primetime Syndication” keeps it slow and is a beautiful song with perhaps great advice and the aura of George Harrison. Track six “Big Hoax” and it’s back to rocking in this very R.E.Mish track sung by bass player Connor Lamue. You may also know Connor from his other band the Midwestern Charm. Track seven “Chicago” is back to the down tempo. Track eight, the rollercoaster is pointed back in the direction of up with the very upbeat “Talking out of Turn” which I can see as a top 40 hit. Track nine, the rollercoaster is going down tempo again with the acoustic jangly guitar of “Bottom of the Hill” which features the dreamy clarinet of Eric Van Thiel. Track 10 “In a Station” reminds me of Teenage Fanclub. Track 11 “In & Out” as many of the Sleepwalkers tracks reminds me of one of my absolute favorite bands of all time, Redd Kross. Track 12 “The Reckless Kind” is the conclusion of this soon to be pop masterpiece. This song reminds me if we took the Rolling Stones “Some Girls” era and merged it with latter day Paul Westerberg. I also must mention that the Sleepwalkers drummer Ryan Gracyalny does an outstanding job on every track. There’s no info on when the vinyl of this will be out, please pick the Compact Disc up at their release show March 28 or at the Exclusive Co. in Green Bay, Appleton, and Oshkosh.
The Rapid Shave
Timebomb Rating 11 of 13.
This is the fifth solo release of Mike Gent of the figgs. The figgs have a long hallowed history in Green Bay dating back to their first appearance in Green Bay opening for the Knack at the Orpheum Theatre. I always have wished I could have been 14 years old when the Beatles broke in America and have had a jealous reverence for people like local musician Dale Anderson who got to have that perspective. Nothing I can do about that, but I consider the figgs my consolation prize. That’s the impact the figgs have had on me, that is how incredible of a live experience the figgs are. The bar has been set high of what I might expect from a solo release from a member of the figgs. Lucky for all of those involved, Mike Gent and his fans, “The Rapid Shave” is no let down. Music fans unfortunate to have not yet discovered the figgs, I will try to describe their sound. The figgs are a combination of the Beatles, Kinks, Who, Replacements, Joe Jackson, the Jam, Undertones, Cheap Trick and the Small Faces. “The Rapid Shave” is of course, not limited to these influences. This album has rockers and more laid back fare. Stand out tracks that are more laid back are “The Plot,” “Feline Blue,” “There are Times…,” and “Under a Soft Rock.” Stand out tracks that rock harder are “Shutting Down,” “Proper Opera,” “Arriving in a Drum,” and the strongest track on the album “Last Boat to Japan.” This song is one of the greatest power pop songs of all time but with a heavy crunch-like swing to it. I know it won’t happen but this should be a number one hit. I like that the studio this was recorded at is named Ice Station Zebra. I’m just going to assume they named it that because NFL immortal Jim Brown is in the movie Ice Station Zebra.
How about that NFL immortal Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl?
Make Green Bay Weird. ν