Little Dickman Records continues their home run spread of original music with Fuzz Fest. Comprised of some of the country’s best up-and-coming musicians, Fuzz Fest includes musical contributions from Austin, Texas’ own Ringo Deathstarr, Desert Mountain Tribe from England, Dinowalrus from Brooklyn as well as local champs Dentist, Lunch Ladies and Dan Wazay And The Blackouts, who are said to be the latest and greatest psych band out of Asbury Park.
The goal of Little Dickman Records is to bring more awareness to great music that doesn’t fit the typical Jersey Shore sound parameters. While the job of bringing that awareness to a shore town dedicated to the past is not an easy job, Chris Yaniak and his crew are doing their very best to change the thought process of the past into an awareness of the present and future in a town that has made great strides into a future of popularity and growing goodness.
They’ve been doing that through the smart additions to their diverse label while spending extra amounts of time and effort in the business end of musical things. That effort includes live shows anywhere they can make a real difference. Fuzz Fest marks a fresh direction for Yaniak and his cohorts and looks to bring fresh new faces to age-old establishments that welcome the needed change for an area that refuses to go quietly.
Yaniak promises a brave new direction with musical offerings such as Fuzz Fest. Utilizing The Saint only makes sense as The Saint is a venue that welcomes the influx of forward-thinking music lovers and the bands that draw them in. Just a few words about the bands on this bill from yours truly are in order.
Ringo Deathstarr has been climbing the charts and tour schedules steadily. Ringo Deathstarr is an American alternative rock band from Austin, Texas, which channels such diverse influences as Fugazi, The Cure, The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, and The Velvet Underground. The band was originally formed by singer/songwriter Elliott Frazier in 2007 and released their eponymous EP in the same year.
This was followed by a string of singles and a series of international tours, hitting both coasts and the streets of the UK and Japan. The band’s debut full-length album, Colour Trip, was released in February 2011 by Club AC30. They toured with The Smashing Pumpkins in the winter of 2011/2012. The name of the band is a portmanteau of The Beatles drummer’s name, Ringo Starr, and the Death Star.
The band has been generally described as having a sound that that is heavily influenced by the pioneers of the shoegaze sound, such as Ride, The Jesus & Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine, as well as a drone component inherited through Spacemen 3. Allmusic describes them as “immersing themselves so totally in the style of their influences that they sound exactly like them”, yet also noting that “if you take a more positive stance, you can commend the trio’s skill at re-creation, lose yourself in the warmly fuzzy guitars that flood the album from beginning to end, or let the honey-sweet vocals of bassist Alex Gehring wash away your nagging doubts”.
BBC took a less positive stance, saying of the band that “they offer evidence that ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your band lacks any real ingenuity or originality, because if you play loud enough people will, eventually, begin to notice you”, summarizing the band as “shoegaze drone-noise from Texas, done well but done several times before”.
Desert Mountain Tribe consists of founding members Jonty Balls (guitar/vocals) and brothers Philipp (bass) and Felix (drums) Jahn. The three cut their teeth throughout their formative years, playing together in a multitude of ensembles.
In the short time, the band has been operational, Desert Mountain Tribe have shared the stage with the likes of Damo Suzuki¸ The Wytches, Toy and Wovenhand.
Their début EP, an effort recorded and committed to tape in the trip-worthy surroundings of Oxfordshire’s Shaken Oak Studios, and mastered by Brett Orrison of The Black Angels in 2013, was released digitally and as a limited-edition 12” vinyl in the spring of 2014, amassing a wealth of positive notices.
Desert Mountain Tribe’s start has proved to be an inter-sensual, mind-bending odyssey. Standout track “Coming Down” was featured on Reverb Conspiracy Volume 2, a release double-headed by the equally legendary imprints Fuzz Club Records and Austin Psych Fest. Winter 2014/15 saw the band enjoy a first headline tour of Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltics, footage of which can be seen in a recent video for their single “Way Down”. The band has since performed at leading and well-respected festivals within the psych community like Eindhoven Psych Lab ’15 and Lisbon Psych Fest ’15.
Desert Mountain Tribe was invited to participate in the Converse Rubber Tracks recording project in London earlier this year, where they produced a handful of cool and well-received demos that would ultimately assist in finding an album deal with Membran Entertainment Group in Europe/UK, and Metropolis Records in North America.
Brooklyn’s Dinowalrus initial sprawling and experimental debut was released in January 2010. Comparisons were made to Chrome, Can, DNA, Liars, PiL, Sonic Youth and early New Order. The album received positive reviews across the board as well.
Mini-tours with Fang Island, Tempo no Tempo, and Signals followed during the first half of 2010. Their second album, entitled Best Behavior, was released in March 2012 on Old Flame Records. In February 2012, the band signed with Heist Or Hit Records for release of their second album in Europe.
In 2013, the band returned to the studio to work on their third album, Complexion, which was mixed by Jorge Elbrecht of Violens, also a touring member of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. They released a single entitled “Grounded”, and an accompanying video. They released Complexion in April 2014 via Personal Projects, part of the Frenchkiss Label Group. John Atkinson from Aa_(Big_A_Little_a) also began making appearances on backing vocal and percussion duties. Liam Andrew left the band in 2015 to move to Austin, Texas, and was replaced by Meaghan Omega on bass and backing vocals, and Dan Peskin on synthesizers.
Lunch Ladies hail from the Garden State and combine their own special blend of ’80s New Brunswick pop alternative and beach-flavored indie jangle, lo-fi post-punk shoegaze. Add Dan Wazay newest group of psych-tinted compatriots The Blackouts, along with Dentist, who is fresh off their first big tour and SXSW appearances, and you have a solid team up of fresh new music.
I have been following and writing about Little Dickman artists for a while now and I believe in the vision of Chris Yaniak as a man who truly wants to bring updated musical change to this ever-evolving city by the sea. The show at The Saint will be a very good indication of how many others also feel that it’s time to turn out the old guard for new and exciting sounds along the shore.
Fuzz Fest takes place at The Saint on this Friday, April 8, and the admission price is $10. Admission is 18 and up, 21 to drink. For more information, head over to Little Dickman Records’ Facebook page for the skinny on all the bands and more details at facebook.com/littledickmanrecords.