By Bobby Benedict
Much like my waistline around the holidays, the Sioux Falls music scene is expanding immensely. The past couple months have just been announcement after announcement of great things happening for the scene. 2016 will bring three very distinct record labels, a new recording and performance studio from Last Stop, and whatever the Soulcrate and Later Babes guys are cooking up in their new space. It’s hard to know where to start with all this good news but let’s dive into the latter.
Wes Eisenhauer announced on his Facebook early December that he and a choice group of other Sioux Falls creatives purchased a space in Sioux Falls to run their respective outlets out of.
From the post itself: “It will be the new office and studio space for Wes Eisenhauer Photography, it will serve as a shared headquarters for Soulcrate and Later Babes, Danny [Eisenhauer] will be utilizing the space for his photo work, and a brand new business that Corey Gerlach and I will be launching in January of 2016 will be located within these walls.”
The aforementioned “brand new business” is going to be a coffee roasting company, according to the Argus Leader.
Another huge announcement came in the form of two local titans announcing what has been dubbed “Last Stop Studios.” The White Wall Sessions is working with Last Stop CD shop to bring a brand new studio space for recording, rehearsing, and performing. White Wall Sessions is a broadcast that takes regional musicians and puts them into a small white-walled rehearsal space to play live, this studio will be their new home. Along with the live studio space will be the recording area run by a man of many talents, Chad Konrad who is the audio engineer for White Wall Sessions, owner of Pony Creek Studios, and singer/guitarist of local folk favorites The Tinderbox. The whole studio will be multipurpose in that it can be an intimate music venue and it will be a small art gallery on top of being a production studio.
If there wasn’t so much to be excited about, I’d almost feel like I’m burying the lead here but if you’ve missed any of the three record label announcements, then I’ve got some real news for you. Come 2016, Sioux Falls will be able to look toward Different Folk Records, Total Drag Records, and Loud, Broke, and Dumb Records.
Total Drag Records may come as the least surprising seeing as how the spirited all-ages venue/record shop has been making all sorts of splashes in the scene since its inception in 2014. Their first release is a cassette tape split featuring local synth-pop Angie Hosh and North Dakota shoegaze Disappear Forever. The mid-December cassette release was celebrated with a show featuring the tape’s artists as well local garage rock Androgynous Squash.
November had us celebrating Different Folk Records with a launch party featuring many of the labels owners/contributors. The official first release was split of Union Grove Pickers and Jami Lynn, both wonderful folk acts of different stylings from around the area. Other releases you can currently find from Different Folk are a Burlap Wolk King and Ryan Kickland split, and a Jack Klatt 45. The major distinction between Different Folk and other labels is that they have decided to have their focus be strictly on vinyl records. With the success in the resurgence of vinyl and the amazing artistry these people have already shown, I think this can go a long way.
Coming in as the punk underdogs of the local hullabaloo is Loud, Broke, and Dumb Records which is being spearheaded by Brian Hoffman of Stay Lucky and Hunter Johnson of International Cover-Up. They don’t have much together yet and they aren’t exactly seasoned business professionals, but they run on pure heart and determination. With their first release already planned for March 2016, the boys are working to get local punks Damn Your Eyes ready for a full length release. There’s even some rumors floating around social media of international folk-punker Greg Rekus thinking of releasing something through these guys, so don’t count them out in all this excitement!
I think Sioux Falls has a lot to offer. I know there are plenty of people in the city that haven’t taken in a local band since Nodes of Ranvier or bought a vinyl at any of the multitudes of local shops you can do that at. Though these labels and studios are going to take time, they can only serve as an asset to take what this city has and amplify and refine it. So if you are apprehensive about supporting bands that might not be here tomorrow, then support the institutions that will help these artists stick around.
If you don’t want to shell out 20 bucks for a new vinyl, then grab a cassette with a download code or a 7-inch. Drag a friend to a show, it’s not fun to go alone; talk to the bands, if you can’t drag a friend then make some friends! We’re still a small scene and there is so much more that can happen but what is happening is huge.
5 Albums to Keep Your Christmas Punk
If I’m gonna start right off the bat with an album, and band, that can ruffle some feathers. Those “real punks” will tell you that Bad Religion are sellouts and that this Christmas album is just another money grab or cast-off of true punk ideology. Well, I love Bad Religion. I love Christmas music. I’m also fairly certain that Dr. Greg Graffin, the author of a dissertation entitled “Evolution, Monism, Atheism, and the Naturalist World-View: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology” has mulled over a great deal of the pros and cons of this endeavor from both his punk and secular-humanist point of view.
Alright, admittedly this album is completely not in the punk realm coming from a nerd-rock superstar and an indie rock icon. One listen to this album though and you’ll find a snapshot of the modern Christmas in more angles then any other musician can capture it. From the typical antics of the black-sheep “Uncle John” to a look into the mind of a child who just wants one thing for Christmas (no, it’s not teeth). This album captures Christmas perfectly to me and though it may not punk I believe it shares some of the same ethos in its execution.
Volume 1 of this series of Christmas albums has some great gems from some pop-punkers of my youth. From Blink-182’s “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” to MxPx’s “Christmas Night of the Living Dead” this album knows what it is and embraces it. It also features a very young Fallout Boy doing a song called “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out” which is sort of interesting to look back on.
Guys, it has Rise Against doing “Making Christmas,” I mean, COME ON!!! I know, this was formerly some scene-girl, Hot Topic garbage, and some people may still view it that way. Fine, do with your brain whatever you please. I still think that this album is a great compilation with some interesting interpretations of a modern classic. If it all really bugs you that much then maybe try thinking of it as a bunch of famous people covering Oingo Boingo.
“Gun For Christmas” is the single most punk rock Christmas song of all time. I think I accidentally found this album back in the days of file sharing while looking up Weird Al songs. This album doesn’t take itself too seriously but it doesn’t let itself get too comfortable either. Also, because of a scheduling conflict with its recording Josh Freese, the drummer for The Vandals, couldn’t make it to record most of the tracks so we get to hear the drumming styling of legendary punk drummers like Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion), Rat Scabies (The Damned, and Eric Sandin (NOFX).
Read more from Bobby on his blog, I Don’t Wanna Be Scene.