Small Town Artillery: The Story
When we were writing the music that would fill out the walls of these EPs, we wanted to tie them into a narrative. What would it be? Concept album about a dystopian parallel world? Character-driven fantasy saga? After a few discussions together, the challenges of our own personal lives & how they were reflected through the world at large felt the most real - a saga in their own right.
With a large bundle of half-finished tunes, we used the 4 Stages of Self-Actualization (Unconscious Incompetence, Conscious Incompetence, Conscious Competence, Unconscious Competence - or Bright Side Bandits, A Knock At The Door, ???, and ???) as a way to organize and complete them. 2019 was a year of development for each of us, finding our own ways to be more accountable, kind & speak up for what we hold true. The songs on this 2nd EP pick up where the more sure-footed and self-assured "Bright Side Bandits" left off - a more introspective dive into murkier waters, the soft fleshy stuff under the shiny exterior. We wanted to talk about the slow death of toxic masculinity and colonial thinking, the endless hours of grinding it takes as a working, touring band, the barriers standing in the way of self-actualizing... keep our little flashlight on these things so ourselves and the people around us can see them a little clearer.
What's incredible is that between the release of these two EPs, chapters if you will, of already finished music - we encountered a landslide of resistance, support & growth, and some critical lessons about standing on principle. A version of the story we hoped to tell through our music happened to us in real life, leading to a slew of cancelled shows before COVID even hit and opening our eyes further to the harsh divide that unnecessarily exists between points of view. It is remarkable & humbling, a type of benevolent sorcery, to finish a painting and walk out the door of your house right into the very tableau drying inside on the easel.
The last song on this EP is called "Trauma Below" and though we are a couple days past May 5th and the MMIWG National Day Of Awareness, I dedicate this song to all the mothers & family members who bear the burden of a missing/murdered daughter or an unresolved case. Perhaps it can help someone. Maybe it just shines a little light for you as a reminder of our recent past as a nation.
While these songs have their messages, musically they are some of the heaviest, gnarliest tunes of ours to date - after the bigger stages and busier tour schedule of last year, I can hear their spaces, timbres and tempos reflecting our own.
In closing, we are damn lucky to have a platform & an audience, and with touring off the table for a while, this is especially heartwarming. Turn these up. Tell us how they make you feel!
Derek & Carson, thanks for you. Philip Austrom played Trumpet on these, Alex Maher played Sax. Kent Wallace of Five Alarm Funk & I wrote the horn parts. Kaj Falch-Nielsen manned the studio helm & mixed it, Erin Hunt the studio socials, JumpAttack Records provided the label support, we are proud to be a part of the family (Eli Kai we see you) Jen & Fritz Media the publicity outreach, Suite Sound Labs on the mastering. Attached photo by Christopher Edmonstone Photography taken at The Rickshaw Theatre in March during what would be our 3rd-last show of the year. Looking through my hand in the photo is part time band member full time friend Chelsea Kathleen. The cover photo of the EP itself is part of a picture our pal Louis Bockner took.