Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If you can dodge a wrench.....

Norm and I are at Gateway Medical Research again, enduring the second part of our three period study. Each period has three days: check-in day, study day, and check-out day. Today is study day, meaning today is the day where we take the pill being studied and get our blood drawn the most. I'm typing this during our first two hour break between draws (all other draws have been hourly or half-hourly). By the time we go to bed tonight, we will have been poked 15 times.

The movies have been better today. Dodgeball and then The Longest Yard. And then, this dude puts on Ladder 49...again. WTF, bro? We watched that last week! I have no interest in re-watching a movie that could be called a "firefighter drama", nor do I respect "firefighter drama" as a legitimate genre of film. Why do they do this to us? Maybe the pill and the blood draws are just distracting us, and this is a Ladder 49 tolerance test. This is the beginning of a really bad Kubrick movie for sure.

Also, I've witnessed two extremely passive agressive phone arguments that people in our study have had with their significant others. First, at 4 AM when we were waking up and this dude's girlfriend was still out partying, I got to hear the "Why are you hanging out with that dude? I'm going to kick his ass. Why are you hanging out with that fat bitch? You don't even like her. I don't need to get your friends to vouch for you, I know they'll just lie for you" conversation, and less than an hour ago I witnessed the "So you're not going to work, you're just going to drink with Mark? Are you already drunk? I don't even want to talk to you right now, you're not being very nice" talk. Party!

Playing shows feels good, and I'm glad we have been doing it more often. A few days ago, we played with a bunch of bands we usually don't play with (Harvey, Novella, Tonight at Seven) at a great new venue in Alton, IL called illiNoise that we hope continues to do shows. They get the shows catered, so anybody over 21 gets free beer with admission until the kegs inevitably run dry. We have the RFT music showcase on Sunday in the Delmar Loop (we play at 4 PM) and we MAY be playing a party in Edwardsville on Friday? Not sure.

OH, and we're getting ideas together for videos for our Youtube channel. More info to come, but it's going to be fun.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Of whales, strippers, and number-one albums.

Wow. KDHX's Midwest Mayhem show last night at the City Museum was pretty remarkable. It was definitely the first time we've had a New Orleans-style second line marching band lead folks from one area of a venue to the stage where we played (but hopefully not the last). It felt great playing New Bones in front of people who may have actually heard it, and the end of our set devolved into the type of clusterfuck that I wish could cap off every show. It was exactly what we needed in this confusing state that our band is in right now.

I have to say, I don't really get the Alley Cat Revue burlesque dance group. At least, I don't understand the apparent legitimizing factor that makes dumbed-down stripping appropriate for a community radio event. In 2004 we opened for the Suicide Girls burlesque troupe and it felt the same, except they went as far as to expose electrical tape covered boobs. If the same act was performed in a dingy club with Guns 'n Roses playing, it'd be trashy. Somehow performing it next to a giant whale-shaped obstacle course with a dude juggling at intermission is wholesome and/or liberating. I guess, in some weird way, their act made me feel degraded so they didn't have to.

So ANYWAY, concerning our album coming out, we've gotten a couple of offers from labels and are weighing our options while still trying to make sure that everybody who has expressed any form of interest gets the chance to throw their hat in before we make any decisions. Sorry about being so vague, but it would be in bad form to name names (and we don't want to jinx anything). We're aiming for a fall release, but it's mostly out of our hands.

Oh, and the guy who produced our record? This is probably already old news, but his band just got the #1 spot on the Billboard albums chart. I'm still waiting for that to sink in, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen anytime soon. I think our album will see the light of day before my brain processes the concept of Death Cab selling 144,000 copies of an album in one week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dukka dukka boop boop boop. Dukka dukka boop boop boop.

We practiced the other day and it felt good. For all living together and loving what we do, we still sometimes view band practice as an obligation. This makes sense, because sometimes it is just that, and sometimes it's anything but fun. But for the first time in a while, picking up our instruments and playing them together in our own home was an extension of hanging out.

There were two main reasons for practicing:

A. We have a show tonight at the City Museum in St. Louis. It's a benefit-type show for KDHX, the local community radio station. Basically, we haven't played in town in a while and we didn't want to suck.

B. Norm and I are currently holed up in a large white room at the Gateway Medical Research facility in St. Charles, MO being labrats and watching terrible movies. As I type this, The Mummy (starring Brendan Fraser, one of the greatest comedic voices of our time [try saying this sentence out loud without cracking up ((hint: you can't, it's completely impossible))]) is playing a little too loudly over the house speakers. Earlier we were subjected to Ladder 49 (simply terrible), Spiderman 2 (entertaining at points, but in general a bad movie), and Shade (huh?), but at least we got to see The Wedding Singer and Coming To America.


It seems like the first track we've posted from our record, "New Bones" is going over well. People have been saying nice things, and that always puts a smile on our collective faces. That song is a bit of a departure for us, but we're insanely proud of it and we're glad that other folks are into it as well. If you haven't heard it yet, you can check it on our Myspace page.

ALSO, there's a new self-indulgent article in my series about being a dude in a band on Crawdaddy magazine.

Monday, May 19, 2008

FINALLY (new song posted)

We've finally posted a new track for our new album. It's called New Bones and it's the one we did all of this crazy shit for. Check it out right here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blow up the outside, blow up the outside, blow up the outside world.

Seventeen days, two countries, fifteen shows, two days of mixing at Alex Newport's studio, and one seventeen hour drive from New York to Edwardsville and we are home from our tour. We finished up the 6 minute album closer track and now have a completely mixed record!!!!

So here's what's going on with us:

-We are taking the summer off. We will go out again in September and do a lot of touring from then on, but for now we need to take some time to get some non-tour things together. This includes figuring out once-and-for-all the best way to get this record out.

-We are planning on starting to make some videos and starting a So Many Dynamos channel on YouTube. Watch out.

-We will probably start writing some more songs again very soon.

So we're trying as hard as we can to be active without actually being on tour. It should be pretty exciting.

ALSO, I am writing a bi-monthly column for Crawdaddy Magazine. The column is titled "Livin' the Dream" and is just about being a dude in a band.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New York, I love you but you're bringing me down

As a result of a lack of internet access, I have to summarize our last few post-canadian dates.

MAY 5 @ Death By Audio, Brooklyn, NY - We played with Tera Melos (a band we have been unashamedly enthusiastic about) and Fang Island (a band that, for lack of a less indulgent reference reminded us of Thor Axe). Decent show, oddly messed up by some timeslot drama that involved us playing last out of 6 bands instead of third out of 6 bands. Eh, what can you do. Some things are out of your control sometimes...........

MAY 6 @ Red Door, Portsmouth, NH - The last time we played New Hampshire we weaseled our way onto the Christian rock stage at the jack-o-lantern festival in Keene, NH. This time we played a legitimate show with electro-pop folks Tiny Whales. It was rad, and Ryan from TW (former dorm-mate of mine) was more kind to us than any human being should ever be. This hospitality involves a free places to stay, one free meal, and 90 Pabst Blue Ribbons.

MAY 7 @ O'Briens, Boston, MA - We expected nothing going into this show and had an amazing show as a result. Played with Tiny Whales again, as well as Ho-Ag side project "Zoig Ma-Noig". They used a highly specific Game Boy program to generate beats. No complaints.

MAY 8 @ Pianos, Manhattan, NY - New York venues tend to do this thing where they ask the people coming into the show what band they are there to see and then pay the bands accordingly instead of splitting the door money between bands like normal people. That's all I have to say about Piano's.

MAY 9 @ Rock Star Bar, Brooklyn, NY - This show happened about 6 hours ago. Because of some form of miscommunication, we were forced to stop our set after only playing two songs. This is unfortunate, since more people came to see us tonight than any of our other New York shows. We started setting up at 10:10 PM when the promoter of the show informed me that we were going to most likely be cut off at 10:30. This was all because of the bartender, who was spiteful because of another misunderstanding (she interpreted my claim of trying to "play as many songs as possible as quickly as possible" because we knew we might be cut short as me saying we would play "as many songs as we possibly could"). Earlier in the evening, the same bartender (one of few females I've met in my life that I have no regrets referring to as a "total bitch") pre-emptively scolded me and Aaron for not tipping after we ordered PBRs. Of course, this was before we even had the opportunity to tip.

Needless to say, I tried to steal a DVD played from this bar. I failed.

I've never been so bombarded with rudeness as I was tonight. Four people drove two hours to see us (which translates to one hour per song we played) and my sister spent two hours riding public transit from far-north Manhattan to see us. I didn't know what to do, so I went into total Fugazi mode. I ran out to our van and grabbed a box of our "Flashlights" CDs. I walked around and gave a copy to everybody I could see that seemed to care about our band. A few minutes later, I only had one copy left. I was watched like a hawk by the bro-douches as I leaned over the bar, trying desperately to give the asshole bartender a copy of our cd. "I WANT YOU TO HAVE THIS CD" I yelled at her, "IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME."

In a few ways, this is the best New York show we've ever played. Tomorrow we're going to finish mixing our record at Alex Newport's studio in Brooklyn. Hey, New York; you can stall us but you will never stop us. We're not bigger than you, but we're more determined than you will ever understand. You will never crush us, no matter how many times you try.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I simply cannot stop freaking out about this.

Barrie, ON is about an hour north of Toronto. We were walking around before our show there last night and came upon a skate park. All the skaters were taking turns doing tricks on the ramp/handrail thing (proving my knowledge of skateboarding), and they were basically all showing off for each other. Perfect time to not feel creepy watching kids skate in a public park. These were the epitome of skater kids. They told us they didn't like "new music" and only listened to "skater music", and somebody claims to have spotted a Lagwagon tattoo on somebody.

Here's the weird part. One of the twenty five or so skaters said "oh shit, look over there!" There were five "emo kids" walking on the sidewalk just past the park, and all of the skaters started yelling at them, calling them fags and such. The emo kids, naturally, just walked by all sad looking. It's one thing to make fun of the emo kids, but they were yelling at them like they were a rival gang. It was brutal. I really think these kids get beat up in Barrie for being emo.

This scares the living shit out of me, especially after the "emo riots" in Mexico recently. There have always been genre-related scene drama, and I've heard stories from years before I started going to shows about the skinheads and the straight edge kids fighting and things like that. I would have NEVER in a million years thought that there would be a conflict between dudes who skateboard and dudes that wear guyliner. And in Canada?!?!?! You'd think the free health care and basically legalized marijuana would chill these guys out enough to let the kid with the My Chemical Romance hoodie and girlfriend that is too hot for him walk by unscathed.

We crossed the border this morning at about 4:30 AM and re-entered the United States of America. Time to find a Bank of America and turn our loonies and toonies into foldin' money.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

We showed them what the backs of our hands were for

"There was nobody at the show" is a phrase you hear often, usually a figurative phrase regarding an under-attended show. It varies greatly, though, when it becomes literal. We played in Hamilton, ON two days ago, and there was nobody at the show. We played to the staff and the headlining band (the very sweet An Albatross). The only glimmer of hope came in the form of groups of kids that kept wandering up to the front door of the club, but they were all there to see Silverstein play a block up and were just confused as to where the venue was.

Luckily, in some sort of proof of Newton's Third Law, we bailed on the Hamilton show after our set and headed to Guelph, ON, where we played a show in a dive bar to a handful of kids who danced and knew lyrics! There is no reason that people in middle of nowhere Canada should know the words to So Many Dynamos songs, and if we hadn't played such an awful show beforehand they probably wouldn't have; the bad show was necessary to put the earth back in balance.

We're kind of infatuated with the Toronto alternative rock station. Apparently there's a government-issue requirement for Canadian radio stations to dedicate 30 percent of their programming to Canadian music. That means that the mainstream rock station is playing Tokyo Police Club, Weakerthans, and Stars in normal rotation. It's awesome! Also heard the new Death Cab For Cutie single (the radio edit of the 8 minute song) and we're all completely into it. The new record is pretty wacky, I can't wait to see how the general public reacts.

We have to drive all night from our show in Barrie (north suburb of Toronto) to New York City, which means we'll be making a late night border crossing. I don't see how there could be any problems getting back to the country. What are they going to do? Force us to stay in Canada? That wouldn't be so bad, eh?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Oh Ontario, Oh Jennifer Jason Leigh.

I just saw a mouse. It was small and gray and adorable, and it was hauling ass to not get eaten by a cat. I was able to assist in its release, opening the door so it could scamper out. We are staying with Rajiv, a member of the Toronto band Oh No Forest Fires that we played with last night and will be playing with twice more before we leave this bizzaro country. We got across the border painlessly.

Today we play two shows, an early one in Hamilton with An Albatross (who we have always wanted to play with, but now we have to bail out before their set) and one in Guelph (which we know nothing about other than it's a "party town" and has a fun name to say. Say it with me: Guelph). All of the shows we're playing in Canada are in Ontario, are an hour apart, and were booked by a dude named Eric Warner who deserves more high fives and bro-hugs than we're able to give him. We are also going to try to hit up at least one brewery tour in Ontario.

Time to go out to the van, which we know we parked where it shouldn't be. We also know that if we get a ticket they're not going to pursue us all the way into another country for a $15 parking fine. At the same time, we could have been towed right now. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh, Canada

I don't think I'll ever understand why bands want to stay at hotels all the time. We're at a Holiday Inn (priceline, motherfucker) in Buffalo, NY and they don't even have a free continental breakfast! So weak. At least I can take a nice bath here.

We had a day off yesterday, so we went to Buffalo to see Tokyo Police Club and Smoosh. It was a fun show; TPC has these crazy lights that blinded the audience in tempo with their songs. The people around me were whining about it the whole time, but the diehard fans came prepared with sunglasses. It must be fun to be in a band that can play a sold out show in upstate New York to a bunch of Corey Harts.

Today we head up to Toronto. It will be the third border crossing in our touring history. They've all been relatively painless, and we're going to spend the afternoon making the arrangements to be given the least amount of shit possible at the border. I'm curious how different it's going to be since the Canadian dollar is now worth more than the US dollar. It seems like it will just kind of make everything over there seem WAY more expensive; it's one thing to spend 7 dollars on a $5 in-the-states meal when we know that Canadian currency has less purchasing power than ours. When that isn't the case (like right now), it's just going to seem like we're spending more than we should on everything since the prices we are used to haven't quite caught up to the inflation over here yet. If it seems like I know what I'm talking about, then my online Economics class has paid off!

Our show 36 hours ago with Ra Ra Riot and Little Ones in Columbus, OH was rad. We opened the show, and I talked about 6 people out of leaving after our set to stay for the other bands. At the end of the show, all 6 of them were in line at the other bands' merch tables. Success!