Dead To Me, Banner Pilot

R5 Productions Presents

Dead To Me

Banner Pilot

Luther

Sat, October 22, 2011

6:30 pm

The Barbary

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00

This event is all ages

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Dead To Me
Dead To Me
For as great of a band as Dead To Me is, they’re so immersed in style and culture that they’ve always seemed almost as much like an art collective as a rock and roll outfit. They draw on such disparate sonic, visual and intellectual influences as Brit rock, graffiti, Slavic prison tattoos, Midwestern punk, reggae, Day of the Dead iconography, old school hip-hop and modern American History. Dead To Me’s current incarnation finds Ian and Chicken joining forces with Ken of Enemy You/Western Addiction fame and Sam from New Mexican Disaster Squad to put forth their latest effort, Moscow Penny Ante, recorded with the handsome and talented Matt Allison at Atlas studios (Alkaline Trio, Lawrence Arms), due out on Fat Wreck Chords on October 25th. As usual, it’s nothing less than the exact opposite of what you’d expect from Dead To Me.

After 2009’s critically acclaimed African Elephants, which was as much pop, reggae and dissonant experimentation as it was punk rock, Dead To Me is back with an album that revisits and updates the classic sound that first caught everyone’s attention on 2006’s Cuban Ballerina. This is anything but a retread, though. On Moscow Penny Ante, DTM is more dynamic, more pummeling and more downright awesome than ever before. Remember Rocky IV when Rocky went up to the mountains to train at altitude in order to be able to match his strength with the vastly bigger and more handsome Ivan Drago? Well, consider the wild departure of African Elephants to be the altitude training for the explosion of footwork and uppercuts that is Moscow Penny Ante. All the experimentation and quirky left turns of Elephants sharpened the DTM guys’ sense of melody and arrangement. Now that they’re back at sea level, they’re cranking out the punk rock songs they’re known for with an intensity and skill that can only come from working outside of your comfort zone for a long time and then returning to what you’re best at, with a new take on your classic technique, just like Rocky did when he beat Drago, blew the minds of the Russian crowd, and singlehandedly won the Cold War.

However, believe it or not, my clever Rocky IV analogy is NOT why the new album is called Moscow Penny Ante. True to form, Dead To Me have drawn from their idiosyncratic bag of influences and repurposed Malcolm X’s term for the small time hoods, or “penny ante thugs” and self-deprecatingly applied it to their own unique take on making music, noting that their “penny ante punk” has recently taken the band all the way to Moscow on tour, where they presumably didn’t have to explain all the Cyrillic text that litter the designs on their t-shirts and hoodies. It’s a bit of false modesty, as one listen to Moscow Penny Ante clearly reveals four guys brimming with technical skill, confidence and passion for what they do. Dead To Me may not be selling out large theaters all over the world, but they’re sure as hell pummeling their own take on modern aggressive music and rocking a style that can’t be easily pinned down or copied. The classic Dead To Me themes of brutal introspection and revolted frustration-with-the-shitty-world-we’re-stuck-in are still the bread and butter of Moscow Penny Ante’s lyrical content, and the band has never sounded more sincere or pissed.

Fresh off a huge US tour with Off With Their Heads and Riverboat Gamblers, Dead To Me’s latest incarnation is well oiled and ready to kick ass worldwide this fall on behalf of Moscow Penny Ante. Expect dates with Banner Pilot and stops at CMJ and the Fest in Gainesville, just for starters. For now, just sit back and listen to the hardest edge of the most dynamic band currently evolving in the underground today. Go see them live when they come to your town and watch Chicken piss off half the crowd with his irreverent wit, then win them back with his wide-legged stance and bass mastery. Watch Ken and Sam shred like they’ve been doing it together for fifteen years. And for fuck’s sake, check out the drummer. God, he’s handsome.
Banner Pilot
Banner Pilot
In all the years that mankind has been using the wheel, nobody has been able to effectively reinvent it—only to refine it—and that’s exactly the approach Banner Pilot took when writing and recording their new album Souvenir. “The idea was to do something that sounds different from previous stuff but not to overshoot: make sure it’s still recognizable as Banner Pilot record, but not totally out there,” says bassist Nate Gangelhoff. “On one hand, you don’t want people to say “You guys only do one thing,” but you also don’t want What are you idiots doing, you changed your sound! There’s a sweet spot in the middle, and we wanted to do what bands like Against Me! and Superchunk do, where it’s obviously still that same band but they’re always doing a few different things they didn’t do before.”

When their previous group Rivethead disbanded shortly after the dawn of the new millennium, Gangelhoff and singer/guitarist Nick Johnson started toying with drum machines and melodies, writing songs they confess were initially terrible. Their Midwestern work ethic made them keep plugging away, though, and eventually—along with a fleshed out band lineup—the two hit upon an eminently toe-tapping sound and introspective lyrical approach reminiscent of ‘90s post-hardcore greats from Jawbreaker to Knapsack to Samiam.

After several years of establishing themselves in the musical hotbed of Minneapolis and recording a debut album they describe as “kind of a mess,” they decided to step up their game and asked their friend Billy Morrisette of Dillinger Four if he could get their demos into the hands of the team at Fat Wreck Chords. With that punk rock imprimatur, and sensing the untapped potential shown in their songwriting, the label welcomed Banner Pilot to the fold starting with their splendid second album Collapser in 2009. Touring the States and Europe on that album, the band built a passionately devoted fan base and continued honing their craft, dropping the more refined Heart Beats Pacific in 2011.

With a warmer, more mature sound than their previous releases, and with recurring lyrical themes of reflecting on the past while looking to the light, Souvenir is a living document of a band approaching their ten year mark.

When it came time to lay down the tracks for their latest opus, it was a no-brainer to re-team with Minneapolis homie Jacques Wait at their favorite studio The Terrarium (which features the sound board that recorded no less a masterpiece than Michael Jackson’s Bad). Continuing their sonic evolution, the band played around with some new chord stylings while simultaneously dialing back some of the production elements from their last release. “We spent the most time on this one: 32 days, but it was all efficient. Collapser was a learning experience, then we used those lessons for Heart Beats, and now we totally know how Jacques works, he knows how we work…it all comes together really well.” And of course, it doesn’t hurt that in addition to top-notch gear, the studio features a lounge equipped with stereo, TV, and video games; a fully stocked fridge and pizza machine; and is situated in a neighborhood rich with bars and restaurants. “You don’t get stir crazy stuck in a single room 15 hours a day. It doesn’t feel like work—you look forward to getting there every day.”

The recording process this time around was interrupted by a trip to the legendary Gainesville, Florida punk rock cavalcade known simply as The Fest, where the band graced numerous stages. The lapse didn’t faze the Pilots, though: “Every record we’ve done, we’ve done in blocks—five days, a week off, the four days, a week off. There are always tours, jobs, and other stuff that break it up and it’s kind of nice to take a step away from it so you can come back and hear it differently,” expresses Gangelhoff. “Going to Fest and playing our old songs, then going back to listen to the mixes of what we’d done, we can actually take a fresh look at it. It seems natural to us to do it that way.”

Tour plans aren’t yet established, although at the very least you can expect to see Banner Pilot playing some festival stages this spring and summer. One thing that’s for sure is that if you live in a warm climate, you can expect a visit from Nate and the rest of the band when the cold season settles on Minnesota: “Next winter I definitely want to be on the road somewhere warmer than here. When I see bands in Minneapolis doing winter tours and then going to Canada and the northeast, I just don’t get it!”
Luther
Luther
LUTHER has a hard time standing still. After two years and hundreds of shows, LUTHER has put the finishing touches on their debut full length. "Let's Get You Somewhere Else" finds LUTHER honing their nervous energy to create not only a more straightforward, driving album but also a momentum that will keep the band from slowing down anytime soon.
Venue Information:
The Barbary
951 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
http://www.myspace.com/thenewbarbary