From 1989 to 1996, one band ruled the underground rock scene of central Illinois. Here in this ragged, tight-knit, all-ages network of Midwestern skate parks and legion halls — a time when punk and pop bands, ska and metal bands would all play together — they were our heroes.
With harmonies like angels and all the raw edge of punk, Dollface was a true band in every sense of the word, tapping our emotions with childlike glee, and backing up their willful abandon with a wicked sense of humor, stellar musicianship and refreshing lack of pretension. Their quirky pop tunes were the anthems of our youth. They were pop, they were punk, they were loud and snotty and silly, but mostly, they were rock n’ roll.
Despite a burst of regional success with Corvette Summer and its brilliant follow-up, the unheralded Dollface Lights the Pilot!!!, Peoria’s answer to Urge Overkill, Cheap Trick and the Beatles never achieved the massive breakthrough that should have been theirs. But their music has stood the test of time, and on Valentine’s Day 2014 — in this 20th anniversary year of Corvette Summer — the pilot will light once again. Do ya wanna dance???
Vinyl reissues: February 14, 2014 on Bird Dialect.
Corvette Summer (EXALT - 007): 1. Kick The Ball 2. Timi Yoro Song 3. Half A Chance 4. Opportunities 5. Valentine’s Day 6. No Duh No Doi 7. Astronaut 8. Toulouse-Lautrec 9. Angeline 10. Oahu 11. Heaven Scent 12. Gun Or A Lover 13. In Spite Of Everything originally released 8/94 as Crackpot CD 1227.
Dollface Lights the Pilot!!! (EXALT - 008): 1. Destiny, Oh Destiny 2. Rods and Cones 3. I Breakdown and Cry 4. Atlantis 5. I Light the Pilot 6. Monkey House 7. Perigee 8. TM originally released 1/96 as Warm Jet 2001.
Also coming February 14, 2014:
DOLLFACE Sun Demo cassette (INTENSIVE PURPOSES NUMBER FOUR)
DOLLFACE Corvette Summer (Ed Records version) cassette (INTENSIVE PURPOSES NUMBER FIVE)
DOLLFACE Clowndogs cassette (INTENSIVE PURPOSES NUMBER SIX)
It seems like it’s been awhile. So here’s an update. We've been sort of quiet on the Internet lately but can assure you we have not been idle.
We finished recording the full-length at Earth Analog on Sunday. Thanks to Jeff Gregory for seeing us through this beast, and to Matt Talbott for being cool on every level. Sanford Parker will mix it in early 2014, for release in May or June. It’ll be a double LP. With a pretty sizeable accompanying book. As of yet, untitled.
In the meantime, we've been putting out records. So far this year we’ve released the Il Cattivo and Minsk LPs. Next up is the Men of Fortune LP (with our own Andrew Sledd), and then reissues of two much-loved records by the early-‘90s Peoria band Dollface, who are amazing and meant a lot to us growing up.
(Complete your Bird Dialect collection here.)
In other news...
Chris has been sighted baking goods to perfection and playing otherworldly music under the names Minsk, Sfumato and Kazanian.
Nate plays as Deceased Priest and with Sfumato, runs Intensive Purposes and Sabbath Records, and recently silk-screened hundreds of tornado relief shirts. His artwork is ubiquitous.
Andrew drums several nights a week whilst building houses and modeling unique lines of men’s outerwear.
Jeff was recently certified for lice inspection and is currently tied up in parent/teacher conferences.
We’re also planning some Midwest dates in the spring and an East Coast trip in the summer. Drop us a line if you would like us to play your town, or if you have a suggestion for the title of our new album.
From Time Lovingly Bled, the forthcoming LP on Bird Dialect (EXALT-006).... coming 12/31/2013!
Our friends over at The Sludgelord do a great job highlighting bands that fall into the stoner/doom/sludge/fuzz/post-metal/experimental/psych realm. They also put together stellar compilations, and Lark's Tongue was fortunate to be included on their latest. Our contribution, heretofore unreleased and exclusive to this release, is a cover of a Chokebore song. Though underappreciated even today, this mighty band made quite an impact on us going back to the good ol' AmRep days. Here's Jeff with the candid admission:
"Chokebore captured my heart in 1995. I remember distinctly the first time I heard their LP A Taste for Bitters. While other bands of the time embodied disillusionment through angst, Chokebore chose to articulate despondency and ennui in a more oblique and angular fashion. And so it is with 'Days of Nothing.' There were just a handful of reference points for Lark’s Tongue at the very beginning, and this song, with its stark approach and simple honesty, was a good indication of where we wanted to take things. It remains an inspiration and a touchstone for us. Thanks to Troy Von Balthazar, who was gracious enough to allow our version of his song to see the light of day. "
So get ye over to thee Sludgelord and download this beast. It's a monumental package--four hours of music, 36 bands--and it's great from start to finish.
- Download the Lark's Tongue cover of "Days of Nothing"
- Check out the Chokebore original
- Listen to the new Chokebore on Bandcamp.
- Keep up with The Sludgelord on Facebook.
Founded in Peoria, IL (of all places), Bird Dialect Records is home to its founders and psyche-rock masterminds Lark’s Tongue. Their debut 7-inch makes effective use of their moniker’s reference to King Crimson in both its tonality and overall badassitude. Engulfed in a thick layer of fuzzy, grunge-heavy guitar drones, Side A melts your face off with “The Rope.” But make no mistake; there are clear melodies to be found here, with standard song structures buried underneath the rubble of glorious noise. And is that a hint of Morrissey in the vocals? Hmm… In any event, fans of late-’80s Sub Pop singles will fall in love with this.
Side B’s no slouch, either. “Tucson, Arizona” is a fine track in its own right, replete with shimmering guitars, ’90s alt-drum grooves and spaced-out, yearning vocal lines. It trudges along at a stoner-approved pace, making it the perfect soundtrack to those late-night Dominos deliveries. Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em…
Bird Dialect is pleased to announce the long-awaited return of the psychedelic metal juggernaut known as Minsk. Having recently marked its 10th anniversary, the band is once again moving forward after an extended hiatus, finishing up some old business and moving on to the new.
First up is the vinyl release of With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone, the band’s 2009 album, never before pressed to wax. Listen to this sprawling opus the way it was intended to be heard: on vinyl, housed in a beautiful gatefold package. Scheduled for June 18th, the vinyl release of With Echoes will be followed by a string of live dates:
- 7/4 - Peoria, Illinois
- 7/5 - Little Rock, Arkansas
- 7/6 - Nashville, Tennessee
- 7/7 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- 7/8 - Chicago, Illinois
Read some words from Tim on Minsk's forward progression.
Listen to With Echoes at Minsk's Bandcamp page: minskband.bandcamp.com
With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (EXALT-005)
Release Date: June 18, 2013
With Echoes… burns slow through twisted, psychedelic post-rock with equal parts bombast and deliberation. Minsk succeeds where other bands fail by marrying the range of human emotions with a vast sonic tapestry to create a provocative, stirring and supremely heavy album experience.
Scattered between the sleepy city of Peoria and the metropolis of Chicago, and drawing inspiration from a remote Belarusian city that has been burned to the ground only to be rebuilt like a phoenix rising from its own ashes, MINSK is an enigmatic collection of opposites. The music is at once modern, organic, and other-worldly; songs are stirring sonic journeys channeling the rhythms of the earth and the resonance of the human voice with the synthetic sounds of machines, amplifiers, chaos, and effects. Founded in Peoria in 2002, Minsk has been cultivating sonic exploration and deeply spiritual and emotional outpourings since its inception.
It's been awhile since our last update, so thought we'd bring you up to speed, as we've been very busy. Some notes from our recent travels...
1. We have a Bandcamp. Visit larkstongue.bandcamp.com and stream all our recorded output thus far. If you like what you hear, help us out by purchasing some vinyl, and hear this music the way it was intended to be heard. (It's worth it.)
2. Our split with Across Tundras comes out on Record Store Day, 4/20, gatefold vinyl on Cavity Records, featuring an awesome woodcut by Travis Lawrence of Infinity Prints. You're gonna want this on vinyl, but until then, satiate your ears by taking a listen at the aforementioned Bandcamp.
3. Speaking of Record Store Day, we'll be part of a two-day extravaganza at Younger Than Yesterday in Peoria. Legendary Nuggets garage-rockers Gonn will be making their first Peoria appearance since... EVER! We play Sunday at 2pm.
4. We're playing a free show in Peoria on April 5th at Pizza Works. We'll be celebrating a good friend's birthday with Hushpad and Otherkin, featuring members of La De Les. Good times. The following weekend, we'll be hitting up Toledo, Ohio, and Kalamazoo, Michigan! Check the shows page for an up-to-date listing of all future shows.
5. Our brothers-in-rock Il Cattivo will be making the Midwest scene for a 10-day Bird Dialect label showcase in May. Kansas City->St. Louis->Peoria->Milwaukee->Chicago->Springfield->Champaign->Iowa City->Omaha, and we hope to fit Bloomington in there as well. Men of Fortune and Lark's Tongue will be supporting them on various dates. Again, check the shows page for complete details. And don't forget to pick up the new Il Cattivo record on our own Bird Dialect.
6. We will begin tracking with Jeff Gregory in April and May for our full-length record, due out in spring 2014. We will also be contributing our cover of a Chokebore song to a forthcoming compilation being curated by The Sludgelord.
7. We'll be taking the month of June off so Chris can focus on the almighty Minsk, who will make their long-awaited return to the stage in early July. Gatefold vinyl release of With Echoes in the Movement of Stone is imminent.
8. Lark's Tongue will return from June hiatus with a 10-day jaunt to the east coast later this summer... Booking will soon commence, so hit us up if you want us to play your town!
9. Finally got some good band photos, thanks to Mark Randall Byland. Check out his new Facebook page, and get in touch with him if you have any photography needs.
These things always begin long before they actually commence. Hundreds of emails get sent, most of them like blind-date requests, to bands, promoters, clubs, friends…any entity that might actually help secure some kind of spot somewhere.
There’s maintenance to consider: any time six guys are going to be travelling over a thousand miles and playing nightly through large amplification units, there has to be some piece of mind that both ride and gear are going to hold up.
And commencement can’t come soon enough, until it does, and then it occurs without ceremony and an assurance that, no matter what happens, you can’t get any more ready than you already are.
Though the first show was in Collinsville, the first stop was in Livingston, IL at our friend Amy Costa’s restaurant, Gasperoni’s. Amy took care to feed us as if we might never eat real food again, a speculation whose potential was certainly healthily abundant.
Perfumed with anchovy and garlic, we made it to Johnny’s Sidebar in Collinsville where the drinks were cheap and our hosts DIBIASE bade us welcome with their mammoth onslaught of instrumental wizardry. The good people of Collinsville are a generous and discerning lot, and our first stop was a resounding success.
The Buccaneer in Memphis was our next target, where we were to meet with our brothers in arms ACROSS TUNDRAS, with whom we shall soon be sharing opposing sides of a split 12” LP out any day now on Cavity Records…look for it. The PA was superlative, the Buccaneer staff kept the Yuengling freely flowing, and things were Pryoritized as they should be.
Our dear friend Chris, to whom we owe an inestimable debt for his many contributions , good humor and wit chief among them, came loaded for bear with stickers of Richard Pryor’s head. Said stickers were just the right size to slip over a poster or pedestrian-crossing sign or any other Pryority as we saw fit. 309 represent indeed, and represent we did…if you’re south of the Mason-Dixon, look for it.
NOLA saw fit to welcome us with Ponchartrain vistas and hints of Mardi Gras to come. Club Siberia taught us that there are no basements in NOLA, and the Walmart parking lot taught us that our van is a serviceable hotel room in a pinch.
Houston was well-met with the fantastically surreal Super Happy Fun Land and Don, the awesome dude running the board with as much aplomb as could possibly be mustered for the task. Our sound that night?: imposing. Our new friends SMOKING SPORE were sonic cosmonauts of the highest order and gentlemen to boot.
Riding in to San Antonio and witnessing some serious tagging at the Ten Eleven club whetted our appetites for the Alamo…which is conspicuously tag-free (unless you happen to be Ozzy).
Sandwiched between new friends SLO-POKE and THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY, our combined sets created a deliciously heady aural oreo, and our efforts were deserving of a proper Motel 8 where the real star of the stop lay in wait: SHOWER.
On to Austin and the quest for barbecue; but first…records at End of an Ear. Austin is cool, this truth we hold self-evident, and if evidence were required, our friend Theron works on Robert Plant’s car…no shit.
He also slings bass in the majestically ballsy COMMUNION and hosts our ragged asses with dogs and a grapefruit tree. Evidence. Hotel Vegas was the place to be that night. Both VOID STRIDER and COMMUNION dropped bombs of heaviness on those within earshot, and we weren’t none too shabby y’all.
Ft. Worth and Lola’s Saloon gave us a family-style welcome. WIZARD’S WITCH were a blast and Amanda and Matt put us up in style…muchas gracias.
Up next: Texarkana. Ah, Texarkana. The wonderful ladies at King of Wings deserve accolades for just being that awesome, and Josh and Tiffanie Foster were such fantastically entertaining and accommodating hosts that we’re sure to return. It truly was wonderful, and SCHEMATICS FOR A BLANK STARE progged our brains well.
Our final stop was Little Rock. Vino’s Pizza saw Sam Adams Pryoritized, and CT from RWAKE was a great host. Good people, good rock, and Rally’s. Why they gotta make them Big Bufords so cheap? We could hardly help ourselves.
Thanks again to Chris Cowgill, and thanks to all that made this possible, may the Eternal Light grace your brow and illuminate all in your presence. Gods be with you.
We're back from our little southern jaunt, and if we can muster the ambition, some sort of update will soon be forthcoming. Suffice it to say that we had a blast, made some new friends, blew a few eardrums, and didn't lose any money!
We also came back to this fabulous review of our 7" from our friends at Aquarius Records!
If you order anything from the store while we're gone, it won't ship until we get back. As soon as we get back though. If you order anything. Really though, find us. This is going to be fun and important.
Happy New Year, friends. It’s been some time since we wrote a comprehensive update for the blog. And we’ve got a lot going on, so a summary is in order.
Lark’s Tongue is getting ready to head south for nine days and tear up Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. We've got some great shows with great bands lined up. Also working on a tour-only CD-R that packages tracks from the Lark's 7" and the MoF split together. Five tracks, 50 copies, EXALT-004.
We just played a warm-up gig in Chicago with The Swan King, Heaving Mass and Rabid Rabbit and had a blast! Thanks to all our friends who came out!
Test pressings for the Il Cattivo LP shipped yesterday and the record should be out beginning of March, maybe end of February if we're lucky. I've been listening to it non-stop for the last two weeks and it gets better with every listen. When the last track ends, you wanna do it all over again. Can't wait for this to hit turntables!
Oh yeah, and they just played with Quicksand last night!! Our Cattivo brothers plan to hit the Midwest in the spring, and Lark's Tongue will be joining them for a few dates.
We're also putting finishing touches on our split 12" with Across Tundras. That will be released on Cavity Records, and super-stoked that it'll be gatefold! Dan from Cavity is a good dude and we're stoked to be working with him. Two songs from each band, and the art features a killer woodcut from Travis Lawrence of Infinity Prints in St. Louis.
And we continue to work on PR and distribution for the label. It's slow but steady. Just got word last week that Aquarius Records in SF is taking us on! We're all HUGE AQ fans, so needless to say, we're pretty excited about that.
We'll have more shows to announce soon, and we'll start recording our full-length in the spring. We're already refining concepts, plotting artwork, and consulting the new Ian Svenonius book for tips. We feel good things coming in 2013, but for now, we’re ready to hit the road.
LARK'S TONGUE SOUTHERN TOUR 2013
- 01.25 Collinsville, Illinois - w/DIBIASE, White Fire
- 01.26 Memphis, Tennessee - w/Across Tundras, Tanks, Saurus
- 01.27 New Orleans, Louisiana - w/Midnight Ghost Train, Endall
- 01.28 Houston, Texas - w/Smoking Spore, Illegal Wiretaps
- 01.29 San Antonio, Texas - w/The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Slo-Poke
- 01.30 Austin, Texas - w/Communion
- 01.31 Denton, Texas - w/Communion
- 02.01 Texarkana, Arkansas - w/TBA
- 02.02 Little Rock, Arkansas - w/TBA