Tag Archives: feeding frenzy

Paul Baribeau, Kimya Dawson, Dan Firmin, Joe Ransdell Green

I went to a lovely outdoor concert last night. It was at the Jack Townsend Point, where Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre has shows.


Paul Baribou

Paul Baribeau

Paul Baribeau. He sang sweetly about depression. Most of his songs seemed to be about growing up in Michigan. He reminded me of “Gregory Pepper and his Problems” because they both play catchy short songs.



Kimya Dawson

Kimya Dawson


Kimya Dawson


I was so glad she played “same shit/complicated” because it has a real sweet message that I love. “There are some mean teachers, but no one can be mean all the time, and no one can be nice all the time.” I was hoping she would play Loose Lips, “we won’t stop until somebody calls the cops, and then again we’ll start again and just pretend, nothing ever happened.” It was on the Juno soundtrack, so she might be sick of playing it by now. I can’t complain, she played a very intimate show with lots of personal stories and conversations with audience members. She is touring with her kid! Proving that it can be done.


Dan Firmin

Dan Firmin

Dan Firmin, to hear his music click here.



Joe Ransdell Green

Joe Ransdell Green

Another great opener wasJoe Ransdell Green. He will play at the Fair on August 2.



Thank you Nick Meurlott for bringing these fantastic, nationally touring acts here to Fairbanks, and thank you KSUA for organizing the show!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Feeding Frenzy

Feeding Frenzy

Feeding Frenzy played at the Beer tent at the Tanana Valley State fair. Their blend of pretty sounding folk with wild punk energy is a perfect mix. Songs that are sentimental, meaningful and poignant. Excellent musicianship and stage presence to spare. I’m proud to know them and consider them my friends.


Ava Luna, the Bundles, El ten Eleven, Great Lake Swimmers, Avalanche City, Geography, Built to Spill, Tycho, 2:54, The Horde and the Harem, Deerhoof, dark dark dark, Tasahi Miagi, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Cults, Daniel Johnston, The Purity Ring, R Steve Moore, Cavemen, Dinosaur Feathers

Clucking Blossom is the 19th. I play at 4 with Travis on drums.

then I go to anchorage to play the S lounge on the 25th and Trapper Creek the 26th.

In June I will have an “Isaac And friends” show, with Sabe, Bernie, and maybe Annie, a bright new face who plays blues!

Wow. I made a lot of drawings at SXSW and here are a few more of them. Let me just say a few words about these amazing bands.


Ava Luna was impressive, they are a funk/ soul band from Brooklyn. Several keyboard players, two female backup singers who sometimes take the lead and lots of energy. This band was off the hook.

El ten Eleven. I have listened to this band for years and it was fun to see them live, though they played only a few songs but they did play “my only swerving.” They are a 2 piece, drums and guitar, their guitarist plays a double neck and manipulates loop pedals. Great show.

The Bundles opened for Daniel Johnston and Built to Spill. I adore Jeff Lewis and he played his very touching and beautiful song about how you and time can make a trade. He also did his piece about the first occupy movement- the french revolution! It was awesome. He always suprises me with his creativity and warmth. Kimya Dawson was likewise compelling and fantastic. She brought me to tears with a song I haven’t heard before about how not all teachers and not all cops are mean! Don’t hate all cops just because one was mean and no one can be mean all the time like no one can be nice all the time. She had a beauty and grace about her in a live setting that didn’t come across on recordings and photographs.

Dark Dark Dark was such a touching show, verging on religious ceremony. Gorgeous vocals, and sometimes trumpet and clarinet. I can’t describe them other than touching, heartfelt folk from a full band. They are kinda like a female fronted version of Bower Birds. I love them.

Geography and Royal Teeth were opening for Fun, and both were much better than Fun! Geography was like a live version of radiohead’s Kid A, with an impassioned front man who had great range and a live electric cello going into dozens of pedals. Royal Teeth was just a crazy party of very attractive people, playing their hearts out and having a blast. They played pop, kinda like Mother Mother and Talking Heads.

Built To Spill was magic. They look like they could be carpenters and plumbers, gruff and tough old guys. They kicked ass, a wave of recognition flushed over the crowd as they began the first notes of “the plan.” It was transcendent.

I was bored by We Were Promised Jetpacks, they did not seem happy to be there. I have enjoyed their albums, but live they just stared at the floor and plowed through 10 songs without any smiles or charm. Deerhoof was not particularly interesting either, I think I would have liked them more if I had seen them eight years ago.

Tycho was atmospheric instrumental guitar rock like the old version of Thought Trade. Purity ring was fun to watch, combining electronica with a strange beautiful live show.

R Steve Moore played some wierd songs. His is among my favorite of the drawings. Daniel Johnston played only 2 songs, they were wild and rocking though. He shook and trembled as if he was extremely nervous, though that may be a part of a condition he has. It was fun to see him live and he certainly channeled a strange energy.

Cavemen and Dinosaur feathers were pop. I think they are both from Brooklyn. More from me later.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lisa O’Neil, Jukebox the Ghost, David Dondero, Elenor Friedberger, Rebecca File, Feeding Frenzy, Deleted Scenes, R. Steve Moore, Purity Ring, Daniel Johnston, Ava Luna, Cavemen, Cults, Dinosaur Feathers

I drew dozens of bands at SXSW, but I’m having trouble photographing the drawings and posting them. The light in my cabin is bad, my camera sucks, the gray of the paper is too similar to the gray of the pencil, etc. Here are a few of the drawings. If you like them, please give me credit before you use them. If you are in the band, management or whatever, let me know.

David Dondero came to Fairbanks, Alaska. He played an intimate house show on February 22, with Rebecca File opening. He was awkward and shy, seeming genuinely glad that we had turned up on a weekday to see him. His guitar playing is excellent, and he shared with us some politically charged songs, and many personal stories. He explained that “the one that fell from the vine” was about a friend who was a junkie and a kleptomaniac. He lived in Alaska before, I hope this isn’t his last visit.

Lisa O’Neil played at the Ireland party. She had a compelling, affected voice when she sang which was much different than when she spoke. I remember her song “England’s got my man.”

Yelle played at Mess With Texas,  a free show in a warehouse on fifth. A drawing of her “band” is coming. She was very cute, and I drew her as if she was an Archie character. (Sorry) She played the electro rap hits off her album as a medley, did a fine job. In her videos she is all dolled up like a french Lady Gaga, but here she danced around goofy in her long socks and long  t-shirt as if she had just woke up. None of the hipsters danced to her dj’s, though they were repeatedly encouraged to; everyone just stared at the stage.

Elenor Friedberger (of the Fiery Furnaces) played a short show at Hotel Vegan (Hotel Vegas, under the control of Brooklyn Vegan). She played a delightful song about a girl realizing she was lesbian. These folk tunes are quite different than songs in the Fiery Furnaces, but quite enjoyable.

Jukeox the ghost are a very fun live band. I heard of them first from “Oh My Rockness” who recommended them and mentioned words like “Ben Folds Five” and “Billy Joel.” They played many new songs and the crowd favorite “Good Day.” Even though it was the last show of SXSW, and they must have been exhausted, their faces always exuded smiles of joy as they played.

Deleted Scenes were a fun poppy band from Washington, DC. They had to open the night at Swan Dive on March 17. The lights were on and the crowd wasn’t drunk yet; the show wasn’t as epic as what was to come later that night. It was a showcase for the bands on the Red Rider booking agency. I had gone to see Dark Dark Dark,  and the Great Lake Swimmers (drawings are on the way) but I was blown away by Typhoon!

Feeding Frenzy came down and played a little bar on sixth called “Tin Roof” alongside Brandon Reid. I tried to draw their whole bodies and some of the background. I’ve reviewed their album before, scroll down a bit to find it.

More to come soon! Including Cults and Daniel Johnston, Kimya Dawson, Built to Spill.








Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feeding Frenzy, Saucy Yoda, Brandon Reid, The Fastest Bear.

Feeding Frenzy

Positive Vandalism

Sunnyside Studio, Produced by Feeding Frenzy, recording engineer James Bartlett

Mastered by Frank Steiner Jr.

Fairbanks, AK

This band, now two years old. released their first full length: Positive Vandalism. Daniel Firmin, primary vocalist has a tone that is tender. He sounds like an old friend giving kind advice. On track 4, Sleep, this “Wise Uncle persona” is demonstrated to great effect. With cello and toy piano making a gentle lullaby, this is the best of the slower tracks. Ryan Bateman’s voice is thrilling to hear, it creeps along lower than Daniels, less confident but compelling. “Lay your ahead down try to get some sleep.” and the tone of what he sings about is often darker as well. The lyric, “Tell all the jokes that we already know,” is an effective way of communicating cabin fever and the darkness in Alaskan winters. Rebecca File’s vibrato weaves in and out, I have often called her tone “operatic,” her own material is impressive, though here she is often a backing vocalist. On Rambler she takes the lead, and tells a story of a troubled family. This song really has a pleasant feel, with piano, twinkling banjo and a chugging guitar that manage to never get in each other’s way. Having three vocalists fills the album with variety. Take me to the River has some creepy overtones, and a set of wood blocks sound like clopping horse hooves. Cheat and Steal has a trumpet played by guest Shane Artz. This slower, New Orleansy style is a big improvement over their version on their previous EP. Now Chad File is a bonafide member and his drumming is a welcome addition on tracks like Take Me to the River. On some tracks he backs off and plays only a little percussion. Rebecca’s melodica lines bring a pleasant counterpoint to the vocals and violin. Sometimes Ephy Wheeler can chug along confidently with her cello, other times she plays the violin like a shuddering orphan weeping in the rain.

I asked Ryan for a few details about the recording process and he said, “it was really fun working with James. He’s just a really cool all-around guy.” We discussed the recording process and he gave a few insights: “The recordings are like a time capsule of how we played the songs six months ago. It was tough to lay down tracks in April and then in July get back in that mood we had been and do overdubs. ” The album has many “just right” moments, where the banjo and voices combine in a way that is quaint, familiar and charming. Feeding Frenzy succeeds at combining Appalacian folk with pop and revealing a darker edge; they deliver ten amazing songs, full of emotion and weight.



ffo: Old Crow Medicine Show, Asylum Street Spankers, Avett Brothers, Decemberists Tom Waits, Murder By Death

Saucy Yoda

Dysfunctional Dingus Cafe

Portland, Or.

Saucy Yoda busts out of portland, playing house parties, bars, underage clubs and anywhere the masses gather. She’s there with her mp3 player in hand to crank out some party jams and elicit laughter. Her rhymes fly so fast and furious, its impossible to catch it all on one’s first listen. References to 80’s nostalgia, jokes, innuendo and unguarded observations are flung overwhelmingly at the listener: some couplets resemble yearbook scribblings, others: bathroom stall wisdom, filthy children’s hopscotch songs, and the rest, the kitchen staff’s secrets you weren’t supposed to hear. She starts the party off with a very silly rap full of puns and metaphors comparing asian food to sex. Album opener, Wanton has much less of the slick “produced sound” its got real drums and an acoustic guitar. “He’s going down to sushi town for a spicy tuna roll.”

  She performs alongside indie rock bands as opposed to other female rappers…because there are no others like her! I think she might find a welcome audience alongside comedians. She’s better (and less arrogant) than Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim, but the radio djs don’t know yet. She shows she’s not a one trick pony, she can rap about sex, drugs, and beer! Her first cd, “Return of the Douche” had tight radio friendly beats and samples with a fast delivery and lots of vocal overdubs. The newer cd has a more organic sound, with a live bass on many tracks and much more guitar. Both albums deliver laughs and “oh shit” moments in spades. I liked the first one more, as it seemed more personal and the tempos were faster. There are no tracks here asking the deep feminist issues/social questions like, “isn’t makeup a form of a lie?” Its just a party, backing off from the social commentary and the philosophical, but still demonstrating that Saucy is smart and ridiculous.


Brandon Reid
Stuck in the City

Kung Fu Bakery

There are some singer songwriters who write songs about being cassanovas and dandies, and they brag they haven’t worked a day in their life and you believe them. But when Brandon sings about working hard- it sounds so genuine and world weary you trust that this voice has traveled some roads and lifted some heavy things. Brandon sings with a tenderness, an authentic honesty.  There is a timelessness and an integrity so I trust that when he sings of breaking his back it has come from a genuine experience.
On this, his first album, he has some fantastic musicians helping out, and some beautiful female vocals from Kelli Schaefer. He demonstrates control in the vibrato of his voice, that ads that extra touch of sympathy to his poetic observations. The last track demonstrates this as he stomps his foot on a wooden floor. This track has an interesting choice in equalization that makes the track sound like it came from a radio 80 years ago.

Somehow in his lyrics regarding relationships with women he strikes the nail on the head with lines like “golden girls can’t fall in love with anyone.” Another tear jerker is the line, “I know that many men have tried at winning you, I’ve got nothing to prove but I would lie that down and raise the stakes, cuz I ain’t got no place without you.” In his lyrics about love he sings about a man deciding he is ready to commit, and feelings of fear over being rejected. He will break your heart with lines like “take your hand in mine, (let’s) go as fast as we want it to.”

A surprisingly sweet moment comes when he voices that something important to him in a wife; one who “wouldn’t correct me whenever I had an idea in my head.” I suppose we all want that, but do we have the balls to ask for it?  He sings of his unborn children, and his love for them and his plan to “teach them to work hard so the land wouldn’t starve them.” It reminds me of Jeffrey lewis’ “Back when I was Four” as he muses about his unwritten future. Other times, Brandon reminds me of David Dondero or Van Morrison.
Many of these songs are about God, the devil and a wandering soul trying to make sense of it all.  On first listen, you might confuse it for a gospel album.
I talked to him about why he writes songs about god. He said ” I did feel awkward about it once. I was afraid that people would judge me, but as those songs came out I saw they just couldn’t be any other way.”
Kelli Schaefer’s vocals are a delightful frosting on the cake. Supposedly,  after she played a show, Brandon approached her  and told her “I like your voice- please sing on my record,” and she did!

He has toured in Australia and the states. This is his first album and it is fantastic. Listen, share it with your friends, your mom, your pastor, and everyone.


The Fastest bear
Yes Dumping
Anchorage, AK, 2011

The Fastest Bear play spastic frenetic math rock, alternating between clumsy and precise.  Tempo changes and odd time signatures are the norm here, and an idea never drags on so long it becomes unwelcome. Most of the guitar playing is rapid tapping through a overdriven amp.
Occasionally Justin lets loose some jazz chops, other times chugs away at the double bass pedals, emulating a staccato palm muted metal bassest.  At 1:30 “Yes Dumping” even becomes melodic, if only for 15 seconds. The instruments are mixed well, the disc sounds like they are playing right in front of you.
Live, Jay puts on a show of his messiness, sometimes dropping the guitar, playing only a few notes as the minutes drag on and Justin keeps the madness going.
I have seen a few math rock bands play live, this one is among the best, even with only two members and no vocals. The delivery is fast, and there’s a certain charm to Jays lacklackluster delivery of his ironic song titles. “Interested in metal, here for friends” is a song name that stuck out for me, but I certainly can’t tell them apart.

This 2 song sampler gives an idea of their sound and introduces you to them; acts as a business card; and it is fine for what it is. I hope they will deliver a full length soon.

For fans of: Hella, Russian Circles

Tagged , , ,

Willis Fireball, Avery Wolves, Feeding Frenzy, Pretty Birds that Kill

Willis played with John Keech and Caressa at a house party in Fairbanks last week. It was a fantastic show, he played his originals, songs about traveling, Caressa songs, Mountain Goat songs and even a Muldoonies cover! He hasn’t played in Fairbanks for years and it was a real treat to see him live. He most recent album “Secret Grey City” is a real treat from start to finish. One to listen to as a whole album.

The Avery Wolves are a fantastic Rockabilly band. One thing I love about them is that their drummer plays standing up, and their bass player has made his own bass. They have fantastic fast energetic songs including “Psychobilly Jesus!” I have seen many incarnations of Nathan’s bands before, including “Black Noir,” and “Aces and Eights.” It has always been good but his current incarnation is fantastic and very tattooed.

Feeding Frenzy is Fairbanks’ current Best Band. I said it- they are much adored and rightly so. Acoustic, with hints of bluegrass and Appalachian folk. Its danceable, its sentimental, its very fun and sweet. Ephy plays cello and violin, Rebecca plays the melodica. Daniel Firmin could grab an audiences attention, make everyone shut up and give him their ears.

Pretty Birds that Kill play fun dancey electro party music. They spent a year in Chicago and toured the states and they are back in Alaska. They play at  Trapper Creek Music Fest on August 14.  They performed a live concert at KSUA, and it will be available on the web soon.

Tagged , , ,

Pub League

Pub League, Fairbanks, AK.
by Isaac Paris

What is Pub League? 20 musicians are put into five groups of four,  and expected to come up with a 20 minute set of material in a single afternoon at our local establishment Ivory Jacks. The goal is to forge new relationships and expand musical talents through exposure to new styles. Creativity, co-operation, leadership skills and time management are of course put to the limit. It’s just like being in a real band on fast forward; as there’s no time to practice but there’s a decent draw with 20 musicians and their friends packing the place. There is a competition, with awards going to best band, best vocalist and best instrumentalist, but tongues are firmly in cheeks and fun is more important than winning.
Pub League encourages you to dig long abandoned styles and influences out of the closet and enjoy a fresh perspective with new faces,” Craig Brookes of Paper Scissors.
I myself am a veteran of Pub League, with three previous adventures under my belt, this time I found myself paired with three people I had never played with before, and we got a late start. The fast paced nature and a desire to please an audience with something familiar leads to playing covers. A previous  winner played an epic mashup of Van Halen’s  “Jump” and Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight.” I may have forgot to mention this was sung as a duet into a vocoder. This was Manboylovecrush69athotmaildotcom featuring Caleb Kuntz of Work, Ephy Wheeler of Feeding Frenzy,  Ben Adamson of The Brine, Casey Smith of Thought Trade, Andrew Paris of Night of the Iguana and Chris Meurlott of The Scurvies.
With that success in mind I suggested to our band that we play some old songs, I imagined a mash up of “Them There Eyes” performed by Billie Holliday and Louis Prima, among many others, and “Digital Love” by Daft Punk. What we ended up doing was playing the old song as an electro jam- and the 90’s hit as an “old timey number” with ukulele and an affected “Loius Armstrong” intonation, of course, both “covers” were radical departures from the original’s melody and timing.
A comment about not being able to find a song on the internet due to a confusion on whether it was Lil Wayne featuring someone or someone featuring Lil Wayne gave us out band name: Lil Wayne (feat. Lil Wayne) which tickled us pink.
At a previous pub league my band Cock Sauce had success with a hip hop song via a writing exercise where 4 or more lyricists write whatever they feel like on a piece of paper and pass it around in a circle. This results in a disjointed “exquisite corpse” style rap, which can be awkward or hilarious, but is perfect for the fast pace and low expectations of Pub League.  So, within an hour we had some ridiculous raps about Buddhists, janitors, contortionists, sexual innuendo and plenty of in-jokes about our friends in other bands.
Hannah Corral of the Ba’cuntry Bruthers encountered a slight disaster at her band’s rehearsal: there was no microphone, no drum set and only a single guitar among four members and so they agreed to be a 8th grade lunch room cover band, Brutal Hate covering hits that were popular when they were 11 and emphasizing their characters in an improvised skit to hide their lack of rehearsal on their instruments.
“I had a blast, its always fun meeting new people and combining different tastes in music, that is what helps you grow as an artist,”  said Dan Vogel of the “real band” Paragraphs. Pub League really wouldn’t exist without the efforts of Connor Rainy, who organizes and makes the phone calls. Are there other pub leagues out there in other towns under a different names? Write me and tell me about them at strangecharm99@gmail.com

And here are links to the band’s webpages that I mentioned:
Look up Work at myspace.com/thesedoors
I play as Isaac and the Awkward Situations, At myspace.com/strangecharm.
To see local mash-up band Turducken play a Modest Mouse song, head to fbxshows.com, and click on videos.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,