Tony Bonton and the Mimzees “Sheltallica”

Tony Bonton and the Mimzees “Sheltallica”

Song cycles were once a prominent form of presenting music. A song cycle (or “Liederyklus” in German) is a group of songs with some type of coherence bringing them together. For Tony Bonton and The Mimzees‘ “Sheltallica” it is the words of Shel Silverstein. Those words have long resonated with Tommy Boynton, who composed 9 out of 10 songs in the cycle. Boynton’s musical prowess is evident and expanded upon by an incredible performance from Brendan O’Donnell on viola, but it isn’t really the music that strikes me as much as how they play it. I’ve never seen Tommy more at home than when he plays these songs. They are a part of him, and with a master like Brendan next to him, the confidence of the duo soars. The two weave their way through the mystical yet natural world of Silverstein, playfully changing pace and mood throughout the cycle, but always moving forward through the ebbs and flows. And that’s it. The playfulness. The youthfulness. The lack of a filter. That is what is important.  The ability to play is often forgotten once adulthood visits us, but Boynton and O’Donnell haven’t lost it.  This video, these songs, they are two people doing what they love to do most, while expressing their condition and the condition of others through the words of a true master. But even childhood is not without hard lessons. Silverstein’s words have never been empty, they are rich and full of knowledge and of heartache. Songs like “The Little Boy and The Old Man” are the perfect example of the cycles of life. We start much...
DTCV at Vaudeville Mews, Sept. 3

DTCV at Vaudeville Mews, Sept. 3

DTCV is a band I mostly know about because of their recent music video for their song, “Historie Seule”, which was made by Steven Soderbergh. The video, inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinema is itself a strange study. The history presented by both Detective and Soderbergh is complex and challenging, but is just about that: history. Both approaches are difficult to understand. The lyrics because they are in French and the video because there are not many obvious links from the subject matter to the visuals. Both parties — DTCV and Soderbergh — make you work for it. There are layers to the music of DTCV that are not at first understood, but being confused is underrated. Being confused reminds us how little we actually know. Being confused forces us to pause. At the very least, DTCV, paired with Soderbergh’s visuals, has lead me down a few new mental avenues and made me ask a few new questions. Mainly, what is this all about? I don’t think anyone, including DTCV or Steven Soderbergh, has any idea what this is all about, but I’m damn glad people like them are asking the questions, in what ever form those questions may come. September 3 10 PM Vaudeville Mews 21+ $7 DTCV Easy Fruit Volcano Boys Greg Wheeler and The Polygamist Mall Cops More information available...
Downtown Skatepark Fundraiser Show at DMSC, July 16

Downtown Skatepark Fundraiser Show at DMSC, July 16

Skateparks hold a place near to my heart. For me, it started with Rampage Indoor Skatepark (RIP) in Davenport, Iowa. I would get dropped off at the park as a 14-year-old by my parents, where I would be left to grind and air until I could no longer move. As a middle schooler, my good friend, Dan Madesian, started a petition that later lead to a skatepark being built in our hometown of Bettendorf. A few years later, skateparks started popping in surrounding towns like Moline (Illinois), Eldridge, Le Claire, and eventually Davenport. The 32,000 square foot Davenport Skatepark is one of the premiere skateparks of the Midwest, but the installation of this park called into question one thing for Des Moines residents: why does Iowa’s state capital not have a premiere skatepark as well, when every other large city in Iowa had one (Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City, Mason City, and Ames)? This question is finally being answered, and in the true spirit of skating, many people have been instrumental in furthering the movement. Local skater and musicians, Justin Runge, aims to reinforce the movement and raise some funds by organizing the Des Moines Skatepark Fundraiser Show slated for July 16 at the Des Moines Social Club. Runge took some time out to answer a few questions about the event. Bruce Bales: Justin, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions about the Des Moines Skatepark Fundraiser show. Firstly, what was the motivating factor for you to put your time and energy into this cause? Justin Runge: I’ve been skateboarding for a long time, almost...
Interview with Ryan Stier of Extravision

Interview with Ryan Stier of Extravision

Since the band’s inception nearly two years ago, Des Moines’ Extravision has gone on to tour both of the United States coasts, waded in the festival rounds, and completed a Daytrotter session. Anchored by Ryan Stier, the band’s cast has transformed from show to show, allowing opportunity for the audience to witness the way a song can continue to transform after it has been written. Extravision will play a string of shows throughout May in celebration of the band’s new EP, “Nothing Will Remain”, alongside Iowa City’s, Brooks Strause. Thank you for taking some time to discuss the upcoming Extravision happenings with us. Firstly, tell us about the tour you are about to embark on. Very excited for this trip. Iowa legend Brooks Strause and I will embark on a three week tour out to the northeast and back through the Midwest in May. We traveled a similar route in October 2015 – a route we threw together very last minute – but the world showed us a lot of kindness and we couldn’t resist returning to see all the beauty of the northeast and the amazing people we met along the way. Our tour will include a healthy mix of house/living room shows, venues, and DIY spaces. It always amazes me how many people out there are willing to work so hard to find a venue and local musicians or an existing show to hop on, or put together an event in a home and invite friends out. If you’ve lost your faith in humanity because you spend too much time reading politically related articles on Facebook like...
Quilt at Mission Creek Festival, April 5

Quilt at Mission Creek Festival, April 5

We root for the underdogs. In music journalism, this often means writing about an opening band instead of the headliner. For myself, one of the bands I am most looking forward to seeing at the Mission Creek Festival this year is Quilt. The band, who opens for Caroline Smith along with Des Moines’ own Karen Meat on April 5 at The Mill, will undoubtedly be the surprise performance of the festival for many. Quilt’s sound is hard to pinpoint. It’s tinged with familiarity, but in ways you haven’t heard before. I believe Quilt appeals to many generations because of the aforementioned thought. Parts of their music bring back memories of songs from a variety of different decades of music. While listening to the bands newest single, “Eliot St.” and their NPR Tiny Desk Concert, I felt nods or textures or touches that reminded me of other bands or songs, but they were more like feelings than sounds. It’s as if the disenchanted, post-flower child psychedelia of the late 60’s and early 70’s had crashed into the aimless, slow-moving generation of the pre-Internet era of the late 80’s and early 90’s. That variance in Quilt’s music is what appeals to me. They have so many different eras of sound across their catalogue, yet all of them work so well in conjunction with each other. This show is going to open some hearts and souls. From Karen Meat’s light-hearted honesty, to Caroline Smith’s empowering presence, and Quilt’s unique psychedelia, I’m picking this show as the dark horse of the festival. Let’s find out if I’m right. April 5 8 PM The Mill Mission Creek...