The Yawpers

The Yawpers

Big Mother Gig

Wed · September 13, 2017

8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

The Yawpers
The Yawpers
The Yawpers’ third album Boy in a Well is a sensational tragedy set in World War I France about a mother abandoning her unwanted newborn child. But, like the band itself, there’s so much more roiling beneath the surface.

Recorded in Chicago by Alex Hall (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, The Cactus Blossoms) at Reliable Recordings with production assistance and instrumental contributions from Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Bash & Pop), Boy in a Well stretches The Yawpers’ sound and ambition in challenging, impassioned, and dynamic directions. To follow up their 2015 Bloodshot debut American Man — which Rolling Stone described as mixing “high-brow smarts with down-home stomp” — the trio left the comfort zone of their Denver hometown in September 2016 to record in a city they’d only briefly visited before.

The story-vision was initially conjured by lead singer Nate Cook, after a reckless combination of alcohol, half a bottle of Dramamine, and an early morning flight. The delusional result is an album of complete immersion and instinct, with personal background (the story removes shrapnel embedded from Cook’s failed marriage) meeting psychological fascinations (German realpolitik, Freud, Oedipus, and the lasting social and cultural fallout of WWI… you know, the usual rock ’n’ roll stuff). Structured, composed songwriting from the band’s freakishly tight backbone — guitar prodigy Jesse Parmet and bulldozing drummer Noah Shomberg — blend with the impulsiveness of their wild-eyed, punk-reincarnation-of-Elvis frontman.

Boy in a Well sounds like Alan Lomax using his field recorder to capture Mance Lipscomb ripping a laced joint (or something much more potent) with The Cramps and strapping their instruments on to let that shit fly. But while the band dials into the finest, frenetic trucker-speed induced scuzz blues, there is patience and dark soul within and between songs much like the blank space between paragraphs and chapters. Each track is a division of the plot — paired visually with an accompanying comic book, illustrated by J.D. Wilkes of The Legendary Shack Shakers — that seamlessly blends into the next.

“Armistice Day” slowly awakens in an altered reality with distant echoing piano, ghostly harmonics, and menacing chants, leading way to “A Decision is Made”, the feverish rockabilly-cum-muscular blues and fuzzed out, grungy, bottleneck slide acoustic guitar force of Parmet. The kinetic “Mon Dieu” reimagines the Dead Kennedys three decades on with its fiery cosmic psychobilly and retro R&B/garage tones. There are solar flashes of surf (“No Going Back”), Bo Diddley’s shaker man shufflin’ groove (“Mon Nom”), the punched out, funky drumming of the Blues Explosion’s Russell Simins (“Face to Face to Face”), and a sulfuric, slicked-up Carl Perkins for the modern world in “Linen for the Orphan.”

Later, “Room with a View” is a lonesome ballad that tells the story of the unwanted child growing up in the well where he was abandoned. It’s a touching, melancholy, moral take not typically characteristic of the group. Similarly, a contrast is present in a softer, stripped-down picked-acoustic side in “God’s Mercy”, “A Visitor is Welcomed”, and “The Awe and Anguish” — the latter of which sounds like a lost track from a 1940s Smithsonian Folkways album. Finally, “Reunion” paints a vision of The Who’s Tommy, a fitting bookend to the concept and aural diversity.

The Yawpers’ Boy in a Well is complex; it’s a manically conceived, historically situated, emotionally underscored, plot-driven fictive universe. It’s demented, unpredictable, taboo, ambitious, and yet distinctively cohesive.
Big Mother Gig
Big Mother Gig
Originally formed in 1992 in Milwaukee, BMG played hundreds of shows around the Midwest and released 3 albums of melodic and emotive punk-influenced rock and roll. Musically, they pulled from a small set of influences: Midwestern indie acts Replacements and Husker Du with a splash of classic hard rock like AC/DC and The Who. They built up a reputation for explosive performances in which the band was known to break instruments and heckle the audience. They even started an honest-to-goodness bar-room brawl in Northern Wisconsin – the only thing missing was the chicken wire.

At their final show in 1996, a showcase for record labels, Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum proclaimed them “energetic” while A&R reps expressed interest. But the band went on hiatus as singer and chief songwriter Richard Jankovich moved to NYC. Throughout the 2000s, Jankovich would achieve modest success with his indie electronica acts Burnside Project (who's "Cue The Pulse To Begin" was the theme to Showtime's "Queer As Folk" and went Top 30 in Japan) and Pocket (who's Radiohead remix crashed servers when it was linked by Pitchfork).

In 2013, Jankovich sought to revive the long dormant BMG in an effort to get back to his roots so he began to connect with all former members and scene supporters. In 2017, after a 21-year hiatus, BMG returned with “Almost Primed”, an EP of 6 hard-hitting rock songs has been praised by Alternative Press, PASTE, New Noise, Impose, AllThingsGo, PlayTooMuch, Substream, PureGrainAudio and more. The EP features “Alvarado”, a punchy, punk-tinged indie rock banger with flippant social commentary infused in the lyrics and a huge hook that makes the song accessible in spite of it’s outsider message. BMG topped it off with a well-received hometown reunion show which they subsequently released as a Live EP. Now based in Los Angeles, where Jankovich has lived since 2008, BMG is playing shows around the West Coast and working on material for a new album.
Venue Information:
428 S Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90013