Mid-Summer Music Obsessions with St. Paul and The Broken Bones, The Envy Corps, and Dylan Sires

Aug 1, 2014

Clockwise from upper left: MØ, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, The Envy Corps, Dylan Sires and Neighbors
Credit courtesy of the artists

  With August upon us, we are now near the middle of summer. Some of my summer music obsessions have been the debut albums from Spanish Gold (South of Nowhere), Mø (No Mythologies to Follow), and St. Paul and the Broken Bones (Half the City). They may be new to the scene but don’t let that fool you, for instance the core members of Spanish Gold are seasoned musicians who have ties with My Morning Jacket, Hacienda, Dan Auerbach’s Fast Five, and Groupo Fantasma. Danish singer, Mø has roots in a punk protest band that looked up to 80s punk bands like Black Flag, before she fully embraced her love of pop music and the Spice Girls. Her debut album No Mythologies to Follow may be filled with pop beats, but her lyrics deal with getting older and still not having everything figured out.  Even though I have heard the buzz around St. Paul & The Broken Bones, I have just recently picked up their new debut, Half the City and I definitely can feel the soul in that record. I missed them in Iowa City at the Mill, and I was told it was a great show! Well, if you missed them this time around like I did, don’t worry they will be at Wooly’s in Des Moines opening for Trombone Shorty on Tuesday August 5.

St. Paul and The Broken Bones have been touring relentlessly this year and they were kind enough to take some time to divulge some of the things they just can’t live without on the road.  Things like: Earplugs for sleeping in the van, plane, or hotel. A neck pillow, “for when you can't get one of the back seats, or for overseas flights, so you don't drool on your neighbor.” A Portable battery charger is an essential because “you can't afford for your phone to die, especially at festivals or navigating a new city like London or Paris.” For bassist Jesse Phillips it’s his Canadian feather hat, “so I never forget to apologize for absolutely nothing in a kerfuffle.” Keyboardist Al Branstetter likes to have his trusty mini keyboard on hand, “so I can cut rad demos whenever I get the feelin'.” They also shared that coffee is vital to the group as a whole because “it is a primary means of life force; some days we wouldn't exist without it.” And lastly a filtered water bottle, “cause it's important to stay hydrated y'all.”

St. Paul & the Broken Bones have been listening to a variety of music on the road. And they compiled a list of some of their favorites:
Everything Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
The Miracles – “Love Machine” (on repeat)
D'Angelo - Voodoo
Tame Impala - Live Versions
Al Green - Gets Next to You
Sly Johnson – “Different Strokes”
John Fullbright - From the Ground Up
Super Rare Soul Vol. III
The Fame Studios Story
Conway Twitty
Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger
Country Funk 1969-1975
George Jones
South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks

On the local front, I spoke with two groups on their current projects and obsessions­—musically speaking of course.

First up is The Envy Corps out of the Des Moines area. The local gossip was that they are working on some new material, so I spoke with founding member Luke Pettipoole to find out more about what The Envy Corps is up to, as well as his own current musical obsessions.

Regarding new material, Pettipoole revealed that they plan to start recording in October—“We’ve spent the last couple years going all over the place recording and producing other bands, not focusing on new Envy Corps material at all, in an effort to teach ourselves how to make records better and faster. We’re doing pretty much everything ourselves this time, but I think it will only take a couple of months, whereas It Culls You took over a year.”

The Envy Corps will be playing at this year’s Maha Music Festival in Omaha on August 16, along with other acts like Local Natives, The Head and the Heart, and Death Cab for Cutie. Pettipoole also mentioned that is will be the last show of the year for The Envy Corps. He further explained, “When we start an album, we like drop off the face of the earth for awhile. Part of the joy of the process is reemerging as something new.”

I asked Pettipoole what he has been listening to lately. “Really loving Sylvan Esso. RAC’s Strangers is really inspiring and fresh. And the new Wye Oak record is amazing. It has no guitar on it, which I think is an amazing choice,” says Pettipoole. He almost picked Jack White’s “Lazaretto” for his song of the summer, but decided on the new single “Dripping” from Blonde Redhead.

Coincidently, I spoke with Dylan Sires and Neighbors a couple of days after they wrapped up recording at Another Recording Company (ARC) in Omaha. I asked them if they would share some details about the new stuff they are working on. “Yeah! Let's see, in the last ten days we've consumed approximately 100 beers, four bottles of whiskey, 16 pounds of peanut M&M's, recorded drums, bass and guitar for 12 tracks and played a lot of catch, hahaha! It’s been a lot of work, but we've enlisted producer Brandon Darner to help sculpt these songs into their best possible version. There's no official release date planned but sometime next year is my best guess. Hopefully in the end, we will have 10-12 well crafted pop songs for you to put in your radio, or your record player.”

In late September, Dylan Sires and Neighbors are traveling to Japan for a short seven-day tour in Tokyo in hopes of cultivating a fan base that would allow them to tour internationally on a regular basis. They have two Japan fundraiser shows coming up August 8th and 9th at the Octopus in Cedar Falls.

During their time in Omaha recording, Dylan Sires and Neighbors also made a great music find. “We stopped at Vintage World and bought Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA and Dexy's Midnight Runners Too-Rye-Ay on cassette tape for 20 cents a piece and they been on back to back repeat ever since.”

Be on the look out for more music information and obsessions to come on The B-side.