Five Iron Frenzy has made a triumphant, fan-funded return to recording with their 10th album, Engine of a Million Plots.
In 2011, it took Five Iron just shy of an hour to raise $30,000 from fans new and old. But eager listeners didn’t stop there: The band made Kickstarter history by earning $207,000–almost seven times their initial goal. That singular show of support launched Engine of a Million Plots, their first album in a decade.
With their new album, Five Iron pushes their characteristic sound into new territory. Eschewing nostalgia, the members bring a fresh and evolved perspective to their songwriting. Enjoying complete freedom in the studio, Five Iron was able to exploit their full range of talents without the restraints and pressures of a label. As a result, Engine displays a creativity and confidence of sound that will delight long-time followers and newcomers alike. In it the band explores darker themes, both lyrically and musically, without sacrificing their sense of humor. Available on CD, LP, and Digital Download, Engine of a Million Plots arrives in stores and online November 26th, at the tail end of a Fall tour in support of Reel Big Fish.
Five Iron Frenzy first formed in 1995 with vocalist/lyricist Reese Roper, former bassist Keith Hoerig, guitarist Micah Ortega, and lead songwriter Scott Kerr. They soon added Dennis Culp on trombone, Andrew Verdecchio on drums, Leanor Ortega-Till on saxophone, Nathanael Dunham on trumpet, and Sonnie Johnson on guitar. They gained national exposure with the songs, “Oh, Canada” (Our Newest Album Ever!, 1997) and “Where the Zero Meets the Fifteen” (Upbeats and Downbeats, 1996). Up until they disbanded in 2003, the band entertained audiences with spirited, interactive shows, sometimes in full costume. They announced their reunion in 2011 with the release of their free single, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.”
Fans’ enthusiastic response to Five Iron’s return is a testament to the lasting impact of their music and message. The self-described undead band is excited to make waves in the digital age with genre-pushing new work. Engine of a Million Plots is available November 26th.
Mustard Plug started out in the punk clubs, basements and dive bars of the Midwest, playing punk-influenced ska music before most people in the U.S. had ever heard of ska. They clung to a DIY work ethic that had been ingrained in them growing up in the 1980′s hardcore punk scene and applied it to everything they would ever do together as a band. Mustard Plug released their first cassette tape themselves (1992′s Skapocalypse Now!), and played constantly to earn enough money to record their first album – 1994′s Big Daddy Mulititude. Their debut full length was released on legendary NYC label Moon Records (home of Toasters, Hepcat, Dance Hall Crashers, and pretty much every other 90′s ska band of note). With their new found national distribution and exposure, the band climbed into their van and performed their music to new fans across North America. Twenty-one years, 1500 shows and 200,000 album sales later, it cannot be denied that the band has surpassed all expectations and permanently staked their claim in contemporary music.
For their new album, “Can’t Contain It”, Mustard Plug have returned to the DIY blueprint that the band was built upon, while at the same time embracing all the school of hard knocks craftsmanship and wisdom that the band has earned along the way. The band spent the last several years writing new material that was informed by 22 years of songwriting experience while retaining the youthful energy that has endeared them to their fans. They tracked the record at bassist Rick Johnson’s Cold War Studios, giving them the flexibility to experiment and add new layers and dimensions that were not possible given the time constraints on their previous recordings. Many of their musician friends(Dan Potthast, Sean Bonnett, Mark Petz, Corey Ruffin) were tapped to contribute, creating a denser, more intricate sound.
Once the recording process for Can’t Contain It was complete, the band turned to their fans to help finance the mixing and production of their record. Their Kickstarter campaign surpassed all their expectations, doubling their initial goal and re-confirming the support and love of their audience. The tracks were then sent to be mixed at Bill Stevenson’s Blasting Room Studios where Mustard Plug had recorded 3 of their previous albums (including 1997’s breakthrough “Evildoers Beware” and 2007’s “In Black and White”). The result is possibly their most diverse and best record to date.
After tapping their friends and fans to help out with the recording, the band turned to more of their posse to collaborate on the artwork. Underground icon Jeff Rosenstock designed the album packaging, while noted artists Craig Horkey and Larry Kole created alternative limited edition album covers and posters. The final piece came together when at the last minute, No Idea record founder, Var Thelin heard the record and offered to partner with the band on its release. Mustard Plug is excited to be given the opportunity to collaborate with a label known for its’ strong punk rock ethics and underground credibility.
Ultimately, this release is about the community Mustard Plug has built during its’ 22 year existence. Coming full circle back to the DIY scene and the community that the were born out of has helped them to put out their best record to date.
Mephiskapheles are back in red and black. The band who invented the devilish, whimsical MTV- and radio-friendly genre of Satanic Ska, then defied critics by exploring even greater possibilities for their darkly original ska fusion, have reunited, with new music.
Formed in the East Village of New York City in early 1991 by a group of artists, ad-agency employees, and jazz musicians, Mephiskapheles played their first show on Long Island, and from day one began attracting a diverse, dedicated fan base.
Flash-forward to today; and with Satanic Ska being, without a doubt, the genre of music most relevant to our current times. Mephiskapheles are picking up where they left off, with a reissue program with Jump Up Records, a focused performance schedule, and a new Mephiskapheles album in the works.