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Donovan Rice, staplegun by Nick Wosika/Letter 3 Photography

John Armendariz, Back Tail by Nick Wosika/Letter 3 Photography


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Cover/Contents: Longtime contributing writer Chris “Yanks” Yerks takes a stab at photography and gets two shots of JJ Wollak killing the YMCA park in Edina.

Contributing Photographers Nick Wosika ( Laura Austin ( Desiree Haggberg Sam McGuire Ashley Brookins Chris Yerks Rebirth Artists Jimi Nguyen Alison Bromander Chris Yerks Paul Pernula Chris Pernula

Contributing Writers Elijah Collard Chris Yerks

Editors Chris Pernula Adam Sever

Swimmer’s Ear is a product of SUBTITLES PUBLISHING

Contact/Contribute/Support P.O. Box 1616 Monticello, MN 55362

Memo: Skating for President
During John Kerry’s presidential campaign, a photo surfaced of him strapped to a snowboard, proving to all of the young voters out there that he was hip, with it, and definitely not a square. I mean, I didn’t see George W rock climbing in Nevada or street luging through the hilly streets of San Francisco. How un-extreme can you get? He probably doesn’t even drink Mountain Dew, or use that deodorant with that power strip thing. Although I’m sure it impressed a few kids, it seemed pretty obvious that Kerry was just posing for the cameras. Plus, with just a photo we can’t even prove he was moving, let alone shredding the gnar. If he had posted a YouTube video of himself riding he definitely would have won the election. Which brings me to my idea for the 2008 elections... forget voting altogether and get all the candidates together for a Best Trick contest to prove their skateboarding skills. Nobody cares about politics anymore anyway, so wouldn’t you much rather watch them skate than debate? I know I would. Also, there won’t be a separate heat for women, so Hill-Rod is going to have to step up her game. -Chris
Sweet Pussy Phil knows a bumper sticker doesn’t get votes. A bumper slide on the other hand... Photo: Nick Wosika/L3P

You’reNot Welcome Anywhere

Chris Pernula

All Teeth and Knuckles Club Hits to Hit the Clubs With All Teeth and Knuckles, ATAK for short, is Patric Fallon’s (ex The Evaluation) new project where he teams up with synth player Giovanni De La Cruz to create some interesting electronic hip-hop under the guises of “Sick Face” and “Gio fo Rio”. It’s hard not to take ATAK seriously with their lyrics and clichéd hip hop beats. The three tracks The Real San Francisco”, “Fuck Your Jacket”, “Look So Good” are the definite stand outs on the album, while the two interludes could have been scrapped, just like on a real hip hop album. ATAK’s music may sound fun but their lyrics contain more variances of FUCK than the movie Scarface. (Lujo Records)

Beowulf Westminster & 5th With the opening song titled “NASCAR Fan” and the lyrics about a NASCAR race, my first impression of Beowulf would be as boring as a NASCAR race is on TV. And I wasn’t far off on my impressions. I’m sure this kind of thrash punk with guitar solos and 3 part harmonies was innovative when the band started in the 80’s but Westminster & 5th is unoriginal and fairly boring. (I Scream Records) The Brokedowns New Brains For Everyone Loud, fast, and gruff throaty vocals make for a well-done punk album. All of the songs are under 3 minutes with the exception of the closing track “Coke Mule Blues” which comes in at just over 7 minutes. (Thick Records) Buck-O-Nine Sustain Sustain is Buck-O-Nine’s first album of new music since 1999’s Libido. From the way it sounds, they picked up right where they left off with Libido and didn’t loose a beat along the way. The first few songs on Sustain are fast ska jams that will have you skankin in your office chair. Then they slow things down a bit with a little bit of reggae/dub/two tone style ska which are just as good as previous BuckO-Nine recordings. (Asian Man Records) Chase Pagan Oh Musica! Chase Pagan has a voice like the lead singer from Saves the Day or Kiss Kiss, vocal ambitions like Thom Yorke and channels a little Freddie Mercury on a few tracks. There are a few gems on Oh Musica! such as “Waltzing in the Sky” and “Push My Buttons”. (The Militia Group)

The Ants Ideabreaker I was excited when the first song popped on. The vocalist had a Davey Von Bohlen / Bob Nanna feel along with the music and I thought I had this album pegged. But from there the album gets more classic rock, bluegrass, country and vaudevillian. It’s a good release but tends to be all over the place, which can be distracting. (Sickroom Records)

Bear Claw Slow Speed: Deep Owls Bear Claw is a two bass and drums band and their latest release was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini and mastered by Bob Weston. Slow Speed: Deep Owls has gains influence from bands like Unwound and Shellac, but also sounds like Pinebender just not as slow or epic as Pinebender. It’s heavy at parts and slow, but the groove is always noticeable so the listener won’t get lost. (Sickroom Reocrds)

Avagami Metagami Avagami is a blend of Stylex, Rah Bras, and Get Him Eat Him. If those bands don’t sound familiar, it’s okay, they’re not well known, but it’s the closet thing I can narrow it down to. A largely synth heavy album, with many vocals effects used differently on each song, makes the songs sound different but there is a slight cohesion through out the album. If any of the previously mention bands sounded familiar, then I suggest checking this album out. (Lens Records)

The Conformists Three Hundred Recorded by Steve Albini, The Conformists return with Three Hundred which is hard to peg to a certain genre or influence. One thing is for certain though, each song will intrigue you, and you will be a better music fan for listening to it. (54º40' or Fight!)

Deathkiller New England is Sinking Deathkiller is like the poor man's Rise Against. They have the talent and the musical chops to make it, but lack of publicity and interest won't have this band headlining any major tours any time soon. New England is Sinking is a great debut and shows major promise for future recordings. (I Scream Records) The Encomiast S/T This recording by dark ambient/drone genre purveyors Encomiast is all about feeling. One hour of feeling. The only feeling I got from this album was boredom. And to think these guys have been doing this for nearly a decade, and all they can come up with is music to walk through a sewer system with. I’ve heard better dark ambient noises on a Halloween cassette tape. (Lens Records) Everybody Else S/T Everybody Else plays catchy innocent pop rock that sounds made for radio. Sure it’s infectious and your tougher friends may punch you for making them listen to it. It would make a good soundtrack to one of those teen high school movies starring Hilary Duff. (The Militia Group)

The Forms S/T The Forms self-titled sophomore effort was recorded in 50 consecutive days with Steve Albini. It turns out that these guys are perfectionists when it comes to music. I had such high expectations of this album, because of the time spent on it, that if it didn’t completely blow my mind, I’d be disappointed. Well, it didn’t completely blow my mind, but its good none the less. It has a slight Burning Airlines/Dismemberment Plan feel, but with a fairly original sound. (ThreeSperes)

Gena Rowlands Band Flesh and Spirits Gena Rowlands Band sounds sort of like The Dismemberment Plan but more mellow. The opener “Fuckups of the World Unite” is probably the stand out track and “Hope, For Want Of A Greater Word” is a close second. (Lujo Records) Get Him Eat Him Arms Down Rhode Island's Get Him Eat Him are back with their most recent release Arms Down, a step up from their previous self titled album. Arms Down shows the band at its finest, more mature songwriting and an equally better sound all around. (Absolutely Kosher)

Fall of Troy Manipulator Fall of Troy has good intentions. They went and wrote all this really good metal music and went and ruined it with the vocals. The growling vocals are actually okay; it’s the high pitched vocals that ruin the album. (Equal Vision)

Field Music Tones of Town Field Music is similar to the Shins, except the guys in Field Music are from England and their lyrics are more direct. Tones of Town is a great follow-up to their last self-titled album. Each song has its own element that makes it stand out from the rest of the songs, while still remaining catchy and infectious. (Memphis Industries)

Guff Symphony of Voices You’ll find that Athens, GA Guff has similarities in sound with Bad Religion, Nofx and Blink 182 on their latest album Symphony of Voices. With 10 years of experience behind this album and a cover of an unreleased Journey song “I Can See it in Your Eyes”, complete with Journey’s lead singer Steve Perry on vocals, Guff might start getting the recognition that they deserve. (Go Kart Records)

Holy Roman Empire The Longue Duree Holy Roman Empire’s long awaited full length, The Longue Duree picks up where their previous EP left off. Each song is lead by Emily Schambra’s strong beautiful voice and the guitars and drums don’t disappoint. It seems though that the album rests on Schambra’s vocals alone and some of the album comes off as “Sparta with female vocals”. With their Lost in Landscapes EP, it felt like they were experimenting a little with their sound to work with the vocals, but on The Longue Duree it feels like they didn’t explore enough with the instrumentation. It’s worth picking up, because this band is on everyone’s radar this year, and you want to get in before everyone else does. Let’s just hope that this band doesn't go through the No Doubt syndrome, where everyone focuses on the lead female singer and forgets about the talent behind the sound. (HeWhoCorrupts) Hot Rod Circuit The Underground is a Dying Breed Hot Rod Circuit’s latest since their 2004 Reality’s Coming Through shows the band maturing and experimenting with new instruments. The most immediate change you will hear is the prominence of the steel guitar in the album’s opener “Stateside” and in “U.S. Royalty”. They use it well on both tracks, but restrain themselves from using it too much throughout the songs. HRC goes a little country western with their bonus track, “Camo” at the end of the disc. “Camo” has the steel guitar and drums played with brushes instead of sticks. It’s a nice song and may be the predecessor of what a lot of punk singers are doing today, releasing country albums. (Immortal Records)

Jet Lag Gemini Fire The Cannons JLG's debut EP showed a band with a lot of musical talent and promise. Their first full length follows the same formula as their EP, with showing slight growth in their sound. I was a little disappointed because Fire the Cannons doesn't show anything new from the band, and if you’re familiar with their EP, this album seems more of an extension of the EP than a different album. (Doghouse) The John Francis On the Moments We Share The John Francis is the solo project of San Francisco singer/songwriter Jack Francis and this is the first release from Rerum Novarum Records. The John Francis has a similar sound to The Jim Yoshii Pile Up and The End of the World mixed with the vocals and lyrical wordsmanship of Cat Stevens. (Rerum Novarum)

Josh Small Tall by Josh Small Josh Small is a member of Tim Barry's touring band, and Tall by Josh Small is his first solo album. This album has the same sincerity and lyricism as any album by Portastatic, it's just stripped down to banjos and slide guitars with the occasional piano and organ in the background. This would be perfect music for a coffee shop or a book store or just relaxing on a warm summer Sunday afternoon. (Suburban Home) Ladybirds Regional Community Theater Ladybirds features former rock publicist/ Virgin Records A&R Teeter Sperber on vocals and a gaggle of emo all-stars behind the scenes or singing duets. The main man behind this project is Gym Class Heroes’ Tyler Pursel who controls the knob twiddling on the synth/beat machine. Guest artists on this album include Say Anything’s Max Bemis, The Get Up Kids’ Matt Pryor along with Justin Johnson from Philly area band The Danger O's and Neil Sabatino from Jersey-based band Fairmont. There is a certain charm to this band, but when a 6 year old girl asks if the song is on repeat then you've got a problem. I listened to this album while I was working in the garage and had the album looping because its just over 35 minutes long. I probably listened to it 5 times and the only thing I remember is the chorus on the title track Regional Community Theater. Not a whole lot stood out on this album, but it's worth a listen. If the names and bands of the guest artists can't draw people to listen to it, then I don't know what can. (Creep Records)

The Hot Toddies Smell The Mitten The Hot Toddies are like an all female version of The Wonders from the movie, That Thing You Do, but with naughtier lyrics. Not naughty like perversive, but the kind of naughty that make you blush, gasp and giggle a little bit. Lyrics like “I miss my boy when I’m in Seattle, I like to ride him like a horse without a saddle, I like to spank him with a big wooden paddle, I get so horny when I’m in Seattle” from the track “Seattle” or the song HTML that reads like an episode of Dateline’s To Catch a Predator. I’d say that most of the lyrics are tongue and cheek and not to be taken too seriously. The music has an innocent Doo Wop feel which works well against the lyrics. (Asian Man Records)

Lovedrug Everything Starts Where It Ends This album starts off with a similar guitar part from the latest Lola Ray album, if you’ve heard it you’ll know. Everything Starts Where It Ends takes musical cues from bands like Coldplay, Radiohead, and Muse but maintain some originality. Most of the songs are kind of quiet and slow then explode in the chorus into a rock anthem or are slow piano ballads. (The Militia Group)

Mannequin Men Fresh Rot Chicago's Mannequin Men have a familiar sound but an original take on it. They sound like a 60's garage rock band more so than the Deathray Davies ever did. The opening track "Private School" is nearly over then the chorus finally kicks in at the 3 minute mark of the four and a half minute song. The rest of the songs stick to a pretty standard format. This album would fit right in next to your Kinks collection. (Flameshovel) Maritime Heresy and the Hotel Choir Heresy and the Hotel Choir is the best thing these boys have ever made including anything done by their past bands. Maritime has finally hit their stride with this release and it will be a shame if this band doesn't get recognized. It's hard to pick out a stand out track, because each one is good in its own unique way. There are no clunkers on this album. (Flameshovel) Mass Shivers Ecstatic Eyes Glow Glossy Mass Shivers sounds like a lot of things and not a lot a things at the same time. It seems like each songs is based around a single repetitive drum beat or guitar part and built upon from their. Frenetic guitars and vocals. A live show might be in order to determine if this album is worth it or not. (Sickroom Records)

The Menzingers A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology The Menzingers have the political prowess like Anti-Flag, the musicianship like the Lawrence Arms, and sort of sound like a heavy Saves the Day. The opening track “Alpha Kappa Fall Off a Balcony” is probably the fastest and the best on the album. The rest of the songs are just as good, but some show a softer side of the Menzingers. This is probably one of the best independently released punk albums of 2007. (Go Kart Records) Minus the Bear Planet of Ice I’ve said it before but I have a love/hate relationship with Minus the Bear. I think they write great songs in an interesting style and Planet of Ice is no exception. It’s just that I never feel in the mood to listen to it and when I do, I rarely get through a whole album. Planet of Ice is the exception though to that second statement. As with their last release, Planet of Ice, shows the band growing in their sound, trying new things, and throwing in new elements along the way. Maybe a few albums from now, I will have a love/love relationship with this band. (Suicide Squeeze)

Matt Nathanson Some Mad Hope Some Mad Hope is San Fransisco resident Matt Nathanson’s second major label full length album. It is easy music to get into and would fit right in with an adult contemporary radio station. It’s pretty straight forward pop rock that is played well and sounds good. The songs are about relationships good and bad, loved and lost, but are done in a beautiful inspiring way. (Vanguard Records)

Mt. St. Helens Of Others At first listen, Mt. St. Helens vocalist had a Billy Corgan/Steven Brodsky sound, but the music leans more towards “Antenna” era Cave In and not Smashing Pumpkins in the least. The opening track “The Time of Low Volume” is an all out rock song but ends with electronic influenced sampled violins. The whole album has this feeling that they are a rock band dangerously close to being a electronic or new wave band but they never step over that line. They mish mach genres like fellow Chicagoans Archaeology. Of Others is a short listen that is well worth it. (Two Thumbs Down Records)

MxPx Secret Weapon I’m on the fence about MxPx’s latest album Secret Weapon. On one hand, it’s their best album since Life in General. And on the other hand, there are a few songs on this album that hearken back to the days of The Ever Passing Moment and Before and Everything After. With their next album, they should just stick with the faster paced songs like “Shut it Down” and “Secret Weapon” and drop the slower songs like “Top of the Charts” and “Sad Sad Song”. (Tooth and Nail)

Mustard Plug In Black and White After a 5 year hiatus after their last album Yellow #5, Mustard plug is back with their most realized and mature album yet. In Black and White is classic Mustard Plug through and through, but this album sounds so much better than their previous albums. I don’t know if its the production or what, but it sounds so nice. “Hit Me! Hit Me!” is the obvious stand out on the album that is up there with other Mustard Plug favorites. I hope it doesn’t take another 5 years for the next album, this shit’s too good. (Hopeless Records)

Nurses Hangin' Nothin' But Our Hands Down Once in a while a band comes along that is so far out in left field that it leaves you either floored or in disgust upon listening to it. Nurses is one of those bands. It may be hard for some people to get into it because none of it is expected, it’s all a surprise and it’s different. They blend so many genres together, with different vocal deliveries. Hangin' Nothin' But Our Hands Down is a rousing, rocking, weirdly awesome debut. (Sargent House)

Page France ...and the Family Telephone With a voice similar to Daniel Johnston and song writing skills like Ben Gibbard, Michael Nau and his band, Page France, are back with their second release on Suicide Squeeze Records . They get an “A” for effort but can’t quite pull of the charm and goodness of their previous album Hello, Dear Wind. ...and the Family Telephone has its moments, but it falls short when it comes to matching Hello, Dear Wind’s simple songs and instrumentation. (Suicide Squeeze) Pinback Autumn Of The Seraphs It seems that everybody loves Pinback, and who can blame them, they play some really catchy music that is good. Autumn Of The Seraphs is as good as any Pinback album they’ve done, but their latest album has them coming up with new tricks and melodies. Take for instance the track “Good to Sea”, it’s got the standard Pinback feel, but they throw in these keyboard bleeps that keep the beat along with the drums and it really drives the song. It’s these kinds of things that keep Pinback interesting with every release. (Touch and Go)

The Narrator All That To The Wall The Narrator’s stunning debut full length Such Triumph was enough to make me a fan for life. Everything that made Such Triumph great is on All That To The Wall, though it might take a couple of listens to fully appreciate this album. Don’t let the Bob Dylan cover of “All the Tired Horses” fool you into thinking that they have slowed down their sound, it’s still pretty quick and angular but it’s played differently and better. (Flameshovel) New Atlantic The Streets, The Sounds and The Love The Streets, The Sounds and The Love is an album for all those emo kids that have grown up a bit and gotten laid. It’s a highly polished album and it has a nice sound similar to Copeland and other bands on The Militia Group label. It sort of reminds me of Push to Talk without the new wave feel. (Eyeball Records)

The Polyphonic Spree The Fragile Army The Polyphonic Spree is like an old friend visiting you after a 7 year absence. Little did I know that the 3 main members of The Polyphonic Spree were in the 90’s indie band Tripping Daisy. I’ve been a fan of Tripping Daisy for years, and had I known that they went on to start The Polyphonic Spree, I would have got into them sooner instead after their third release. The Fragile Army sounds and feels a bit darker than their previous releases, but still keeps the same full 24 member vibe. You can tell the influences of Tripping Daisy in the music almost like if Tripping Daisy was still together, this is the kind of music that they would have progressed into. (TVT Records)

Reel Big Fish Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free Now that Reel Big Fish have been released from their major label hell that they have endured for the past few years, I think they missed an opportunity to really go for it with Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free. Tracks 1-10 are all new songs, while tracks 11-17 are songs re-recordings of songs from previous early releases and a b-side from We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy. And a Reel Big Fish album wouldn’t be complete with at least one cover song. This album’s cover is Phil Collins’ classic song “Another Day In Paradise”, which is quite good, almost as good as their cover of “Take on Me”. Monkeys for Nothin’ is a good album, but it seems like RBF is stuck in a groove of releasing albums with similar themes; excessive swearing, beer, cover songs, songs about hating/loving someone, etc... They really need to experiment with their sound and lyrics and to stop using the same formula. (Self-Released) Rob Crow Living Well Pinback’s Rob Crow’s solo album is essentially a Pinback album. Both have relatively the same song structure and sound. When I first listened to this album, I noticed that the songs were kind of short and it felt like the songs were never completed. It’s like Rob wrote 3/4s of a song and then fades it out. It’s a pretty good album though. It’s no Pinback album, but it’s close enough. (Temporary Residence) Seven Storey Mountain At The Poles If you’re a fan of early Foo Fighters or Jawbox then Phoenix, Arizona’s Seven Storey Mountain is for you. It sounds nearly identical to Foo Fighters, just faster, more angular and more punk. It took me a while to listen to this album, and now I’m kicking myself for not discovering it sooner. (Thick Records)

Six Parts Seven Casually Smashed to Pieces Kent, Ohio’s Six Parts Seven are back with their 5th release and most focused. Gone are the days of albums with epic 8 minute plus songs in exchange for 5, 6, and 7 minute ones, and a few songs under 3 minutes. One thing you’ll notice is the trumpets and clarinets, which are played beautifully throughout the album. Casually Smashed to Pieces is another excellent album to add to your instrumental collection. (Suicide Squeeze)

Street to Nowhere Charmingly Awkward Many of these tracks on Charmingly Awkward suffer from genre schizophrenia. Some tracks sound like Conor Oberst’s Desaparecidos ( Leave The Cameras On), or Bright Eyes (Georgia, Can You Hear Me?), other songs are drunken sing-a-longs (Tipsy), or songs that burst into Weezer-esque choruses (Miss Rolling Eyes). There is enough talent and ideas on this album to make 3 or 4 wildly different albums. The songs are good but with all the tones and pace switching around it almost feels like a rollercoaster, but at least this rollercoaster doesn’t make me puke on my shoes. (Capitol)

Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga I really enjoyed Spoon’s Kill the Moonlight, and was bummed on Gimme Fiction, so I was a little weary going in to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. After first listen I was pleasantly pleased that Britt is done singing like a girl and each song is way better than the ones on Gimme Fiction. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is sure to win the band more fans, which is good, because they deserve it. (Merge Records)

Sound the Alarm Stay Inside This PA band first got together in 2000 when they were still in their early teens. After seven years of practice and releasing a couple of EPs, they finally release their stellar debut full length on Geffan Records. This album is full of crunchy guitar hooks and catchy lines. They have a style of Jimmy Eat World mixed with Spitalfield, and somehow don’t show any inexperience with their music for such a young band. This band has the talent to go on to produce many more albums of similar caliber or better. (Geffen)

The Toasters One More Bullet The Toasters have been playing ska for well over 20 years and haven’t missed a beat yet. One More Bullet falls into some of those ska cliches, like undefineable made-up words (what the hell is a “Gwan”), overly repeated lines and cover songs (“Bits and Pieces” by the Dave Clark Five and “When Will I Be Loved” by The Everlys). The album is quite good though despite those factors. The Toasters know how to make a good ska album and they’ve done it again with One More Bullet. (Stomp Records) Token Entry The Re-Issues This CD has re-issues of NY Hardcore/Skate Punk band Token Entry’s albums, Jaybird and Weight of the World. If you know anything about NY Hardcore in the 80’s then I’m sure you know about Token Entry, the band that gave Gorilla Buscuits their first show at CBGB’s and helped inspire bands like Youth of Today, H2O, and Bouncing Souls. Jaybird and Weight of the World is like Operation Ivy’s Energy for the East Coast hardcore scene. Definitely something to checkout for the history of this band alone. (I Scream Records)

Tim Kinsella Field Recordings of Dreams Tim Kinsella is in a place in his career where he can record anything he wants, no matter how abstract or obtuse. Everyone has gotten accustomed to Tim’s creativity and eagerly wait to see what he does next. It’s always a surprise when it comes to Tim’s recordings. Field Recordings of Dreams is no different. Thirteen of the songs are instrumental, while 3 of the songs, including the 36 minute closer, are simply a narrative story revolving around a boy’s baseball game with only Tim’s voice. You may think that listening to Tim speak for 36 minutes would be boring, but his voice is earnest and compelling while telling the story. The narrative acts as a perfect compliment to the instrumental music. I can only wonder what he will do next. (I Had an Accident Records)

Tyler Read Only Rock And Roll Can Save Us Now There is no one in the band named Tyler Read, strange I know. Only Rock and Roll Can Save Us Now reminds me of when rock was kind of sleazy and had big hair, but the album maintains a modern feel with Queen influences a plenty. (Immortal Records) The Velocet A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Michael Davison’s The Velocet comes out swinging on their debut album A Quick and Dirty Guide to War. The first half of the album starts out strong with Chinatown, O, Concertina, and The Turnstiles among others, and then kind of falters towards the end of the album. The sound is very reminiscent of the Foo Fighters or Ted Leo with a post rock sound. It’s an album worth checking out, but one that might get bumped off the Ipod after a few weeks. (Eyeball Records) V/A Ska Is Dead Compliation Ska is definitely not dead and this compilation proves it. It features over an hour of ska madness by ska mainstays like Buck-O-Nine, Mustard Plug, Big D and the Kids Table, The Toasters, and the Pietasters, plus 20 more bands. This comp is a great way to get introduced to newer ska bands like Bomb the Music Industry, The Flatliners, and Tip the Van. Skank your way to your local record depot and pick it up, pick it up, pick it up this album. (Asian Man Records)

All reviews by Adam Sever!

Picture ME rollin’

Fakie Jamiel Nowparvar, Pivot

a photographic documentation with the mighty roll crew

Brian Heck at Pilsbury

t Board Up Amendola, Fron Jeff

Holdin’ it down since they started in 2003 with Roll One, the chillionaires from Treeroots Productions in Minneapolis and St. Paul haven’t stopped rollin’. Starting out with three VHS releases in 2003 (Roll One: Chill, Roll Two: Still Chill, Roll Three: Chillionaires), then moving on to DVDs (2003’s Treelogy, 2004’s Roll Four: Chilldren, 2005’s Roll Five: It’s Chill or be Chilled, 2006’s The Chills to Pay the Bills, and coming soon, Roll Seven: License to Chill), Roll has remained on the grind, working hard to bring the best of the Midwest to the screen. -EC Roll would like to thank Seth McCallum, Casey Copenhaver, Tony Lanners, Jeff Amendola, Chuck Odima, Dane Vaughn, Mitch Olsen, C.J., Jamiel Nowparvar, Kyle JC, Long Doe Records, Swimmer’s Ear, 3rd Lair, Cal Surf, and all local shops. Contact: Submissions for Roll videos can be sent to 4412 47th Ave. S. MPLS, MN 55406 Photos provided by Treeroots Productions

nt to Fakie Jeff Amendola, Blu

zombie boardshop
15100 Buck Hill Road Burnsville MN 55306 952-892-0047
Interview with Shawn Solem When and how did the store come about? It was an interesting situation. The guy that owned the shop “GLX” was closing the doors, which was weird because it seemed like the shop was just starting to grow. So he gave me an opportunity to open up a different shop, under a different name. A little over two years ago, I took a chance, and a small business loan, and here I am now. Is there a story behind the name? Not really, I was going to be partners with another guy, and we both had a lot of names for the shop, but Zombie Boardshop just seemed to be good. Also, my friend Doug Forbes had some rad artwork that seemed to fit the shop perfectly. How does Zombie stand out from other Minnesota shops? I think there are a few shops that stand out in the local community including Zombie Boardshop that really focus on customer service, which I believe is key to keeping people pumped. As a shop, what is your mission? Corny answer: To provide the community with quality skate and snow gear, and to help the customer from getting a raw deal. Real answer: To keep the local community from blowing their load on crap gear from a chain store. Do you plan on putting out a team video? Ha! Eventually...we aren’t really focused on filming right now. Everyone on the team is just enjoying skating right now, and having sweet dreams about snowboarding.

“Everyone on the team is just enjoying skating right now, and having sweet dreams about snowboarding”

Any plans to expand? I don’t plan on opening any other shops, but I have thought about moving to a more visible location. We are kind of tucked away in a corner right now, and a lot of people don’t even know we exist. Could you talk about Shred ‘til You’re Dead and any other events you guys do? Shred til You’re Dead is a pre-season snow event we try to plan around Halloween. It’s just a way to get kids pumped about the upcoming season, and get them broke off a little before the season starts. We do a lot of events with Buck Hill, and they have been really cool about letting us do what we want with the terrain park. So keep your ears open for lots of shred events this winter. There are a million reasons to shop at Zombie and not the board store at the mall, but can you give us just three? 1. Everyone that works for me skates and/or snowboards. Awesome. 2. We won’t sell you the most expensive stuff we have in the shop, we try to set people up with stuff that will last them a while. Especially the younger kids. They want the best stuff, but the truth is, they grow like weeds. Mom and Dad don’t want to keep buying them new stuff every season. Especially the snow gear... snowboards and gear are not cheap. Unless you buy crap, which in that case you will be buying new stuff every season. 3. We support the local shreds, which is way more than we can say for the big chain shops.


Broken skat they just get eboards don’t die, repainted...

Chris Pernula

Chris Pernula

Chris Pernula

Alison Bromander

Jimi Nguyen

Chris Yerks

Jimi Nguyen

Ashley Brookins

Paul Pernula

Chris Yerks

Interview with Yale Nelson
Your album features everything from trumpet and violin, to glockenspiel and mandolin. Was it always the plan to have such a variety of instruments, or did it start out small and grow? I guess we've always envisioned that very layered sound that you hear on all the Bright Eyes albums and others, but until we started recording this album and getting even more serious about the music, violin and trumpet was never available. We wrote all the songs for guitar, bass, and keyboard, and played them like that for about a year. I guess you could say it started small, but always with the hopes of getting a bigger band. We still really want to keep growing. Going back to the Bright Eyes reference, it would be amazing to do an album with Mike Mogis, if we ever had the opportunity. Pedal steel, woodwinds, and cello are only a few instruments that would be nice to have eventually. Is it hard to find time to practice and perform with such a large group, and when playing live, is it difficult to replicate the sound of the album with so many instruments? Practicing isn't too bad as far as the musical part goes, but our practice space is cramped and gets really hot when you have six or seven people there. Luckily we've been doing the songs long enough that there's usually no reason to have to play them more than once at practice. As far as replicating the sound goes, we do miss out of some minor things when we play our songs live, but not too many. Currently, we have no


live brass instruments, but that's probably our biggest goal for the near future. A lot of the other odd instruments play subtle parts that aren't essential for a live show. I guess you could say that playing the music live isn't too hard, but since we don't have our own sound guy, some sound guys just can't mix the instruments very well. You can play everything exactly right but one knob that's not adjusted right on the soundboard can ruin a whole show and make the band look like they suck. Do you have any formal training on piano, trumpet, etc. or are all of you self taught? I have formal training on piano, but that's been on and off. Jess, our violinist, has had a ton of formal training - since she was like three. She is ridiculously amazing at violin; I can't get over it. The rest are self taught, but still very good. Ben, who did our trumpet stuff in the studio, played trumpet throughout high school, but he isn't a full time band member - he just helped out in the studio so we didn't have to use corny synthesized trumpet sounds. Describe your songwriting process. About 80% of our last album consisted of Jeff or I writing chord progressions and showing them to each other. He and I really seem to be able to complete each others undeveloped ideas. Some songs I do almost entirely, some stuff he does almost entirely, but for the most part it's he and I that work together with chords and ideas to work them into one coherent song.

From there, we have the outline to a song and bass guitar parts can be written, along with working out the details. Most of the lyrics are written by me, but not exclusively. As far as the violin parts go, because Jess actually first began playing with us at the time of our recordings, we just gave her our rough mixes of the recordings and asked her to write her parts, then come back and record them. How long did it take to write and record this album, and what was the experience like? I guess it's hard to give an exact length of time that it took to write the album, because for about half of the songs, we wrote them right when we formed the band, then played them for a long time before recording this album. About four were written in a few weeks, right before we went into the studio. The experience was okay, but it got frustrating. Having the record is a great experience, but the actual recording of it was a mix of good and bad moments. Whenever people have different

teach you in anthropology that people in different places do the same things differently, so that's where I fit Jeff's ideas of the right and left in there. Some societies may talk about directions in terms of east or west, some might just talk about left and right, but it's the same aspect. So I guess I never intended to write about war, but it was nice that we ended up with a deeply meaningful song from a simply odd idea. What kind of music were you into growing up, and has any of it influenced you as a songwriter? I like classic rock mostly, like The Doors, The Kinks, The Who, and of course its not like I never listen to other music, like rap and everything. I guess I don't know much about what the rest of the band really listened to, but I know Jeff likes that same classic rock, along with metal. All of it influences me. People say we're really original, but I really don't know that I create

“Whenever people have different visions for songs, it can get hard to get people to agree on something.”
visions for songs, it can get hard to get people to agree on something. Furthermore, trying to get people to show up on time isn't always easy, since not everyone in the band has easy access to transportation. It really wouldn't have taken that long to record the album, but the process was a little long since we wanted to add the brass and violin parts. We started in February expecting to be done in March, but we didn't have the pressed CD in our hands until July. Some of your songs, such as Two Worlds, touch on the subject of war. Was there any plan to have a theme to this album or was it just a subject that was on your mind while writing? I guess the subject came up. The idea for that song was actually derived by Jeff and was different from what the song ended up being like. He originally told me that he thought it would be cool to write about someone finding a new world where everything was opposite: like everything was mirrored. Therefore, everyone ended up getting really confused. When I started trying to write lyrics about something like that, the concept turned into a story more just about unacceptance. They any new aspects to our music, I guess I just use interesting combinations. I try to incorporate anything from the sounds of Disney music theme song ideas to the sounds of rap songs to ragtime piano. For example, in Value Without Virtue, that repeating riff idea is nothing unlike a typical rap song that samples a riff which repeats, and the middle bridge section is something I wrote when I wanted to write a ragtime song sometime. When I realized they were in the same pentatonic scale, I just put them together into the same song. Another example of the off combinations can be heard in Filled to the Brim. You get a really classical sounding vibe in the beginning, then it blends with Jeff's metal-esque guitar parts in the instrumentals. Do you find people have a difficult time putting your music into a specific genre? Yes, but again, it seems odd that it is that way. Our songs are based on basic chords and simple melodies. There's nothing too odd about it, except maybe the combinations of everything.

Is there a story behind the name of the band? We were just sitting around Andrew's kitchen table spouting out every bad idea that came to mind. He looked at a book with our name on it and said that, and ready for it to suck, Jeff and I said, "That Su....." wait!" The name has some religious connotations so some people think we might be a Christian band, but overall I think the name in the literal sense is pretty cool. I imagine like the physician that could cure Tommy (from The Who's opera, Tommy) I guess overall the names nothing too exciting, but I don't know too many band names that are. I think a lot of time a name just seems cool because you associate the cool music with it, so I'm not too worried about changing our name or something.

Do you buy albums or mostly download in this day and age? Lately I've been buying them. The thing is, I don't listen to that many bands or albums, I just listen to the ones that I like over and over again. So I don't have the opportunity to buy many CDs, but if I want one, I like to have all the goodies that come with the liner notes. Where can people find your new album? Right now, we are actually just selling it independently. If they email us at, we can sell them one. We might work with getting them put in some shops eventually, but I kind like the idea of knowing exactly how many we are selling, and being able to sell them really cheaply.

“People say we're really original, but I really don't know that I create any new aspects to our music, I guess I just use interesting combinations.”
Maple Grove seems to have a history for talented bands, and they all connect through mutual friends, like a family tree of sorts. Why do you think that is? Did any other bands from the area influence or help shape this band? Honestly, I think that that Garage Band class at the high school really contributes to that. I never took it, since I didn't realize my interest was in piano till I was done with MGSH, but that class has to be the coolest thing that any school district could do for their musically interested students. Three of the members in our band did that, and I know that bands like Nehemiah that went there had members that took garage band. Also, I think when bands like Dead to Fall or Four Letter Lie are succeeding, it let's other know that it is possible to get somewhere with music if you work at it, it's not just a distant dream. What is next for TGP? Well right now we will just continue to play off this album and work at getting good local shows. We really aren't too interested in touring because there are so many bands that tour, and it seems like most independent bands will probably just end up playing to ten people in a bar, and that includes the sound guy and bar tenders.... I just don't imagine that it would be any different for us, until we get our CD nationally promoted. We have new song ideas to work on for a next album, and hopefully by the time we record that, we will have developed anticipation for the record and maybe even found a record label to work with.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
by Chris Yerks
There you are, Friday night at the same watering hole as usual. You order that same buck fifty stale tap beer and sit down in that perfectly formed nook your ass has made in the dark back corner booth. The bar patrons crowd together making the humming, comforting white noise, soothing you through your skunky yellow flat beverage, until eureka! She walks in, the “she”! The perfect petite brunette thick in all the right spots, rockin’ the style you dig. Aaah shit! Now what? All those nights spent here practicing relaxation techniques (aka drink until numb) and the most intelligence you’ve put into a conversation is describing to your buddy the size, shape, color, and contents of the last mega shit you took. Okay, here’s the plan. Take down a couple shots to loosen up a bit. Shots down! Alright, now go and smoke a cig and think of something to say. Heater’s burnt down to your fingertips and you have a vague plan of attack to conquer the angel at the... where the fuck did she go?

Yanks by Chris Pernula

This scenario repeats itself time after time, day after day in many facets of the average human’s life. Here today, gone tomorrow. None more than in the world of skateboarding. That downtown brick hip you know you only have one shot at before some fat ass security guard bum rushes you. The concrete or steel full pipe sitting in a construction yard. And that marble ledge that they have yet to bolt eight million ugly skate stoppers to. So what do you do about it? You barge the fuck out of it until you stick that trick! You call everyone you know that has the ability to ride! You skate that spot every possible moment until it is literally ripped out from under your wheels, dropped onto the bed of a semi and hauled away! Trust me, it’s worth the fines, and you just might have an even more fun time running from “the man” than you did hitting the spot. When all is said and done, take advantage of life and everything it sets in front of you! Oh yeah, and before I forget... If you are ever presented with the scenario that started this whole rant, fuck it. Ask that brunette broad how many shots it’s gonna take to get her boy shorts to hang from your bed post. It’s worth it. She’s probably pretty skanky if she’s hanging out in some dive bar, and if she slaps the teeth out yo mouf it will still make for a funny story to tell your homies.

“When all is said and done, take advantage of life and everything it sets in front of you!”

Ren egadeeark Skat p
1033 Faribault Rd Faribault, MN 55021 (507) 332-9844 Sessions: Everyday Noon to 3PM, 3PM to 6PM, 6PM to 9PM. $6 for Members, $10 for Non-Members. Second session half price. $75 for a 1-year membership.
Interview with Susio Sanchez Photos by Nick Wosika/L3P

How did the idea to open a park come about and what was the motivation behind opening the park? Mike already had the shop open for about a year. He was putting on mobile skatepark days about once a month. We'd put on contests, do demos, toss out product. You know, everything that is fun about skateboarding. The response was overwhelming. It was just the next logical step.

Colin Hackett, Boardslide

Were there any challenges you faced while getting the park up and running? A ton. We had to go to the city a number of times and get things like parking variances and building codes all squared away. The space we now occupy was a carpet and furniture warehouse. We had to tear out all the carpet. Raise the ceiling and sprinkler system as well as the lights. We had to sound proof adjoining walls. It was a lot of work but totally worth it.

I heard there was an enormous wallride, what other features does the park offer? Bowl, mini, etc. Yeah... people love the wallride. We also have a 32 foot wide mini ramp that escalates from 5.5 feet tall to 7 feet. The "big four" stair set. Loading docks, hubbas, banks, ledges, a 5 foot fly box, flatbars, and handrails. We also have a smaller section for beginners. How many square feet is the facility? 10,000

Tyler Benson, Pole Drop

“The response was overwhelming. It was just the next logical step.”
What has been the response so far from skaters, parents, and locals? The response has been good. We are seeing a lot more kids getting into skateboarding. Dads are getting back into it with their kids. Parents are learning the names of the tricks. It's a cool scene. Is the park strictly skateboarding or do you allow bmx and inline as well? We welcome everyone.

Do you have any special events planned? We have a mini ramp and out contests planned for August. We have an all nighter about every other month. Every Saturday we have band night. Bands play from nine to midnight and it's only five dollars to skate and watch the band. Matt put together a killer sound system. You gotta check it out.

How does Renegade differ from other MN skateparks? We have a lot of fun down here. No attitudes, no egos, no hang ups.

What are your goals for your first year of business? To get as many people hyped on skateboarding as we can and have as much fun as humanly possible.

Ricky Prokop, Noseslide


ra K harlie Alan

What draws you to painting on found objects? I’m not sure there is one thing that draws me to paint on found objects. I see them the same way I see a canvas. Everything has an image attached to it, and the artist, whomever they may be, simply does their best to reflect the image they see on the inside and bring it to the surface for everyone to view. Are there certain places you go to find things, and what is the strangest item you’ve found? The world is full of things. We as a society discard things from pencils to vehicles. You can walk down any street at any given moment and find things that at one time belonged to someone and possibly were more than just a piece of trash. Everywhere you look, tiny fractions of our environment are being filled with debris from the lives of millions of strangers. Did you build the wooden toys on your website? Yes I actually did. I have been experimenting with different types of wood for a while and now I use only Poplar. I have much more than what I show on my site, I just haven’t figured out what to do with them yet. I got the idea from getting into the vinyl art toy scene, and though I am intrigued by the toys companies are putting out, I was searching for something completely different. Of course no one has been knocking down my door about them but I like that. It would be a shame to see them disappear as I make them as they are a lot of fun to have around. It reminds me of being a child in a time when plastic and other material was not as readily available.


You have a very distinct style. Did it take a long time for you to find your style of painting? Thanks, I like to hear that, and yes it has taken me about seven years. A lot of that time was spent being young and painting on the street, finding some kind of unique development of self that was a mix of urban art and fine art from abstract masters years ago. I also don’t think I have really gotten to perfect it yet but I hope I never do. I like to see things changing all the time. The characters you paint have a storybook or fairytale quality to them. Is there a story behind all of these characters? Yes, there’s a story, one that has been slowly maturing over my lifetime. Most of everything I paint, though it can be broken down into easily understood technical nonsense, still represent small pieces of me, from emotions to events that plague or glorify my past.

like to see th I hanging a ings c ll t he t ime.”

Are there any artists that influence your style? Sure, a ton! Not too many new ones though, and I don’t say that because there are not artists out there that blow my mind. I say it mostly because I try and stay away from them all. I don’t buy any art and look through very little magazines or books. I am trying to bury myself inside of my own ideas. By doing that my influences remain small and my ideas become fresh and strictly a product of my own experience and not the work of some other amazing artist. I will say though if I get to watch or read on people who I look up to it would be the great masters. I don’t think I need to name names as artists during the past 400 to 500 years are pretty well known. Wait, yes a good friend Gabe Combs. He’s an artist in Minneapolis, and started me painting more than I was. He’s one of those people who makes me angry. Mostly because I think society is missing out on one of the most influential artists of our time when it comes to his work. That and his sketchbooks are a thing of beauty, a quality I have never seen matched before by anyone.

be very d to ten to the idea of I n erfection.” aw r nal p d rso pe

Things outside of art that influence you? Ummmmm... women! There are a lot of things. I tend to be very drawn to the idea of personal perfection. People who have a total calm and balanced lifestyle full of good energy and no little personal conflict. How did the board graphics for the Hot Spot come about? Well, I grew up at that place when I was just a little runt. After being away from there for a while I popped in one day and was like “Josh, I should do a graphic for your board!” Luckily he said sure even though I was all pushy about it. That was when I did the first graphic in black and white. Then a few months ago I kind of said the same thing out of the blue. Once again I was happy they said yes. I have always enjoyed those guys and designing graphics for them is a strange full circle in life for me. It’s also really cool to still be a part of the shop where I spent most of my years as a runt. It’s also very existential. Are there any board artists you admire, or specific graphics that stand out in your memory? I remember a while ago there was a series of decks that were put out by someone that I am not sure the name of. It was a few animals that were also part machine. I really dug those. Other than that I like skate graphics a lot and it’s nice to see people I grew up with like Todd Bratrud and Aaron Horkey putting out some kick ass work.

Do you plan to do more skateboard graphics in the future? I’d love to, I will always do anything the Hot Spot is looking for and they know that. That includes finishing that stinking mural I put up before Linda and Josh ring my neck. I would also love to do some work for companies but there are a ton of great artists out there that would love to do the same. Nowadays it’s all about marketing yourself and frankly I am a marketing bum. I would much rather just sit and paint. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face as a professional artist? Ummm? Making money! I have always been that guy outside of the scene. I see a lot of my friends move past me and I complain to all hell about a lot of shitty art out there that people are paying top dollar for. I don’t know what to say about it without sounding like a jaded prick, but don’t get me wrong, I have had my time to shine in Minneapolis when I was younger and it was great. Since then I have settled down and my personality has fell through the floor. Art isn’t always about the piece or the quality of line work. It’s an industry now just like everything else. With that in mind, people come and go, great illustrators blow up and fizzle out. Great artists do the same. People are painting more and more work that reflects nothing more than society’s obsession with new pretty material goods and less about the raw emotional values of the artist’s self. On top of that everyone in the world is an artist and everyone else wants to be one. Because art is subjective, we’re left with a grand scale of mediocrity that sparks movements reaching further and further from the quality that some 300 years ago was the center for creativity. I’m not sure what will happen when there are more artists than any other productive member of society. Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be great to walk down the street and see five galleries instead of five cell phone shops, but who makes any money and what is good art when everything is considered good, and someone can buy the same thing for a dollar less from some other painter. Whew! A lot of information. With all that in mind, I don’t care much though. I will keep painting and sneaking out into the darkness to write on things. I will do my best to help my audience see the beauty and pain of the world through my eyes and nothing more. Good luck and good night...

“I have al that guyways been o e sce utside of th ne .”

Chris & Paul Pernula


Left: Four Letter Lie Right: Corpse Show Creeps Bottom: A Summary Execution Opposite Top: Modern Life is War Opposite Bottom: Four Letter Lie Photos: Chris Pernula

Ashley Brookins

Close Call by Laura Austin

Laura Austin

Laura Austin

Desiree Haggberg

Left: Evan Nagan Right: Paul Pernula Stills from Mindful Destruction, 1999

Todd Swanson & Jonas by Chris Pernula

Toby Halley, 5-0 by Nick Wosika/Letter 3 Photography

Seth McCullum, 180 Photo: Sam McGuire