Illinois Times Best Of’s Results – Thank You For Voting!


Wow, holy smokes we can hardly believe it! The results are in for the Illinois Times’s annual “Best Of Springfield” polls and we have won the category for Best New Business Downtown!! Thank you too all who voted to get us here! We were also finalists in categories best live music venue (small) and best music store. Congrats to our friends over at The Curve Inn and Recycled Records for taking the big trophy in those categories!

For the results for all of the categories, pick of a copy of The Illinois Times at various locations around town, or check out the results online right here.

Dumb Records Finalist In 3 “Best Of Springfield” Categories


Wow! It’s that time of year again. The Illinois Times has their Best of Springfield up and rolling. This is the first time around where we have our new downtown store up and rolling, which means we are in the running for Best New Downtown Business! Yippee! Then the two other categories we are in which are more usual for us “Best Music Shop” and “Best Small Live Music Venue”. Of course we are not the only ones in the running for all of these different categories. You can be sure to vote for all of your other favorite local businesses in many other categories ranging from food/drink, entertainment, goods & services, and even a whole section for cannabis! The section for bands and musicians seems a bit smaller this year, but it’s still there as well.

Go Vote Here.

Voting goes from now until the next eleven days and ends on September 23rd.

Illinois Times Best Of Springfield 2019 Nominee Voting Has Begun


It’s that time of year again. The Illinois Times have once again launched their nominee voting for their annual Best of Springfield series for 2019. Now is your chance to nominate your favorite local businesses and people for various different categories to make it on to final voting later on in September. Check out the nominee voting right here. This goes on from now until August 19th, and actual voting with finalists in each category takes place from September 12th through September 23rd. Yes, this is a popularity contest, it is true.

What categories do we fall under this time around as Dumb Records? This year is the first go-around for the Best Of’s that we have been at our new location downtown, which may open us up to some new categories. It looks like the big one that we want to shoot for getting at least a finalist for this year would be Best New Business Downtown in the “Goods and Services” category. Looks like we might also fit into categories “Place To Go Downtown,” or also “Small Music Venue” as usual. Oh! And also “Best Open Mic Night,” that could be us! It may be ending soon, but The Dumb Records Radio Show can be a contender for “Best Radio Show.” We are never sure if Best Music Shop means record stores or musical instrument stores, but we’ll take any nominations we get for that category.

For the band and musician categories this year, there seems to be less opportunities to vote for your favorite local bands this time around. There are just categories for “Best Original Band,” “Best Cover Band” and “Best Overall Band And Their Genre,” which is sure to leave many disappointed. (Don’t worry, you are all winners in our book). There is an opportunity to vote for your favorite musicians in categories such as “Best Drummer,” “Best Horn Player,” “Best Keyboardist,” etc.

You can also vote for your favorite local music festival, and your favorite local food spots and restaurants. Other fun downtown categories include “Best Use For The Y-Block” “Use for Public Money” or “Use For The Armory.”

We’ll be sure to let you all know when the finalist voting begins and if we make it onto any finalist categories as Dumb Records.

Dumb Records In The Running For “Best Music Store”, “Best Twitter” on SJ-R Reader’s Choice Awards


Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Or… one of those times of year since The Illinois Times “Best Of Springfield” is held in the fall. Now it’s the “Reader’s Choice Awards” as put on by the State Journal Register. There are many many many categories for local businesses, people, bands, and even the non-local businesses. It’s impossible for us to keep up with them all. From what we gather however, Dumb Records is in the running for a few things this year – “Best Music Store” and “Best Local Twitter”?!? (We are not sure if we’ve ever been in the running for either of these categories, but we’ll take it!

BIG warning / disclaimer: do not ever EVER head over to our twitter page if you plan on taking anything seriously!!!

It turns out that Black Sheep is also in the running in the category of best live band venue!?!? (This makes sense if this is a recap of the past year of Springfield).

To go vote, head over to the State Journal-Register site right here. To vote for Black Sheep, the best venue is in the “entertainment category”, the best twitter is in the “fun” category, and “best music store” is in the “shopping” category. We also love all of our local business friends, so vote for everyone! Or whoever you want to!

Best of Springfield Music 2018: Albums/Releases #1-10


Here we are this Sunday night with the fourth and final installment of our Best of Springfield Music 2018 series. All of the finalists in these categories were voted on last month through a poll on our site. Tonight we bring you those top then Springfield albums/releases of 2018.

Check out albums #11-20 here.
Check out your top voted songs of 2018 from Springfield local bands here.
Check out your top voted Springfield shows of 2018 here.

Also you can read all of these write-ups in the January issue of Activator Magazine found a various locations around town!

1. Foam Fangers – Foam Fangers EP
With songs like “Talk To The Fanger”, “I’m A Jerk” and “Gotta Piss”, Foam Fangers have the old school “I Don’t give a fuck” punk attitude. Without even being a year old yet, Foam Fangers have spent the whole year of 2018 smashing their way through the Illinois punk scene, playing nearly every punk line up around the central Illinois area. They know how to write some catchy tunes, its hard to walk away from one of their set without humming along to the melody of “Capital City” for the rest of the week.. Keep an ear out for the Fangers in 2019, bigger things to come, I’m sure. -Michael O Hannain (MAC)

2. Master Bastard – Mouth Breather
You’re the outgoing governor of Illinois. You’re really sad that you got the mansion all ready to go and now you have to go home. You put on your leather jacket and skull belt buckle and hop on your Harley Davidson. What’s blaring out the speakers as you cruise down Route 66? Master Bastard. Great record from a great band that loves Motorhead just the right amount. Is it weird that I personally relate to this band because the guitarist is left-handed? -Mario Cannamela (Bottom Bracket, Graveswitcher, Livin’ Thing)

3. Telephone Junkies – 2001: A Honda Odyssey
The new 2 track ep “2001 Honda Odyssey” by The Telephone Junkies kicks off with exemplifying that when it comes down to it the mediocrity of an early 2000’s minivan will never outweigh all of its practicality. The song’s about acknowledging who you are and not giving a cr*p what anyone says about your dumb van. I will have to say the Junkies did a great job dynamically on this track. And then Armbrecht starts unleashing this guitar solo as if he’d just beat the boss in Guitar Hero 3. Definitely the best part is when they start to bring it back in from that incredible solo and throw it off a beat….very tasteful. The following and final track “3:02 of Self Pity” is pretty self-explanatory and a great listen for whenever you’re having one of those “off” days. But then there is yet another solo with not one but TWO guitar,  I guess some might call it a duet. “2001 Honda Odyssey” was the groups second release and there is a noticeable amount of improvement all across the board. Kicks b*tt -Carter Bibb (Bottom Bracket, Prowess, Vonne)

4. Foot – Big
Foot caught my attention this year with their first iteration of hopefully more doomy droney post rock. The surreal (or real) cover art mixed with the punny name are certainly an appeal. I’ve listened to this numerous times working late hours utilizing the dark doomy armies marching forth from the wiggly air coming from my headphones. This record is certainly a cut above the sea of drone guitar projects and perfect for deep brooding or updating spreadsheets. I give it 4 steel toed boots -Jeff Black (The Radon Lounge)

5. Wolf Crick Boys – War & Peace
2018 proved to be a year of tragedy and triumph for the Wolf Crick Boys.  The band was dealt a tragic blow when much-loved founding member and bassist Scott Leach unexpectedly passed away at the beginning of the summer.  The band forged on.  Within a month of Scott’s passing, the Wolf Crick Boys issued its stunning rebuke of modern country music in the form of “War & Peace.”  That may not have been songwriter/bandleader Lucky Patterson’s central intention but, surrounded by arguably the best backing band in central Illinois, he’s done just that.  These are songs of truth.  Every. Single. One.  Opening track, “We Act Brave,” takes the listener into the world of an active duty soldier with lyrical detail bordering on the uncomfortable.   You can’t help but feel right there with him whether he’s on the battlefield or on the phone call to his girl.  Another standout track, “Brickler Road,” takes the listener on a detailed tour of the writer’s past.  Again, the listener can imagine bouncing around in an old, beat up pick-up with Lucky behind the wheel reeling off memories.  “The Big S,” the band’s relaxed ode to the Sangamon River, takes the listener on a lazy river reminiscence.   That’s just three of the songs.  This is how country music should sound: vocals that suggest an aversion to hollowness of the big city, lonesome fiddles and guitars, and timeless songs. -Jason Perry (The Seething Coast, Resident Genius)

6. No Cash Value – No Cash Value
I have said it before and I’m saying it again right now: No Cash Value are the future of central Illinois punk. I don’t care if you like it, that’s what it is. That’s what is happening. No Cash Value bring a raw, earnest and powerful energy and enthusiasm to their music that reminds me of what punk can and should be. If you don’t smile and pump your fist when you hear “The Government Stole My Skateboard” then you’re a lost cause, man. -Mike Reisinger (Livin’ Thing, Eggman)

7. This Is A Stickup – Dumpster Dash EP 
Meet This is a Stick Up! from Decatur, IL. TIASU is the world’s first dumpster punk band, bringing a unique blend of various punk styles into something vibrant and unique. It’s very loud and very punk. (Note: I paraphrased and/or flat-out stole some of that first line from Colin Uthe who produced/mixed/mastered the EP, but it’s goddamn perfect). The Dumpster Punk EP contains six tracks that tacle most of society’s present issues head-on, pulling no punches in the process. Personal EP highlights include “Comrade Teacher” and “Angsty Ave.” –Joe Copley (Designer, Activator Magazine)

8. Graveswitcher – Graveswitcher

Fast aggressive and menacing, these are three words I use to describe Graveswitcher. Personally, Graveswitcher is one of my favorite hardcore/punk bands in the 217. Combining the angry tones of hardcore and fast melodic punk style, they have the power to move a crowd like no other. Their 6 song EP draws from many different bands and genres and has that certain 217 sound that stands out from any punk or hardcore bands anywhere else. -Brice Jackson (No Cash Value)

9. Glower – Glower 
Glower’s first release, a self-titled EP of 7 dreamy hits, gave us everything we were hoping for from 2018 post-punk. Listening to the voices of Kate Laine and Kristin Walker floating through the room reminds one that sometimes the simplest melodies are all we need. This EP is refreshing for those of us who need a little break from daily chaos. -Dani Sakach (Graveswitcher, Blushe)

10. Kenyon DeShasier – Together
Together is a brief EP from Springfield’s number one lofi indie boy himself: Kenyon DeShasier.  Its opener, Together, is a chilled out love song with stripped back production and a piano solo.  From there it goes into I Need a Little More Time, which is an unexpected but welcome R&B jam.  The EP ends with My Cheddar Bay Biscuit, a funky jizz jazz track with pitched down vocals, almost reminiscent of Connan Mockasin. -Vincent Sgro (Foot)

Best of Springfield Music 2018: Albums (#11-20)


Yes, hello! Welcome to part #3 of our Best of Springfield Music 2018 series – today we are giving you just half of our top 20 voted albums/releases that came from Springfield bands in 2018 as voted on our site. Once again, each finalist has write-ups done by different musicians or members of our community. You can also stream most of these releases on players below.

Thanks again to all who contributed! And you can find all of this and more published in the January issue of Activator Magazine found at various locations around town. We’ll return with the fourth and final part (albums #1-10) of the series tomorrow!

11. Hospital Job – Haze Like Me
Wow…10 killer songs served up with great melodies, catchy punk riffs, and some sweet harmonies.  This record is well written, well played, and very well produced.  Sure it’s pop-punk, but this ain’t some kind of Green Day rip-off.  And there’s no excess here…these songs get right to the point, and quickly get you hooked! -Lance Reynolds (NIL8)

12. Rockford – Briarcliff EP
With surfy guitar licks that won’t get out of your head, Springfield rock n roll quartet Rockford released their debut, Briarcliff EP this June. The band made an impression in 2017 at the Black Sheep Café and recorded these tight 5 tracks at Southtown Sound after winning the annual battle of the bands. “Nothing’s Set in Stone” kicks off the record with a catchy bass groove and almost haunting vocal performance. “Vanity” has a hypnotic guitar melody and a defiant hook that sticks in your head and won’t leave. Rockford crafted a tight collection of moody, indie surf rock tunes that hit you right in those teenage feels. -Jack Moore (The Telephone Junkies)

13. Los Injectors – Rock Apocalypto 
Words fail us! – Activator editorial board

14. The Complaint Line – February EP
The simple yet eye-catching cover of The Complaint Line’s 2018 Ep perfectly encapsulates the poppy and to the point music contained within. Opener It’s Alright is the standout track of the 3 short songs on the release. It’s infectious riffs and hooks are very memorable, plus it’s got a DUAL guitar solo. The final track, Never Done, features yet another tasteful guitar solo. Overall, this ep is an enjoyable 8 minutes of catchy rock and roll with a pop edge.

15. Kenyon DeShasier – Wondrous Lover

16. Pryss – Alogia
“Alogia,” the third release from Springfield’s Pryss, starts off firm and forceful to say the least. “Broca’s Area” hits you with a truck load of feedback and drums as an introduction. This is merely a precursor, leading to arguably hardest tempo change to shake the Midwest, and- in true Pryss fashion- you don’t see it coming. You’re just along for the glorious ride. Step to it, feel it, enjoy it. “Do you sleep at night, knowing I’m outside?” -Liam Coffey (Prowess, Final Order, Vonne)

17. Epsom – Redundancy EP
Honestly, the world seemed to move faster this year. Things sailed past me as I stuffed my face with podcasts and TV shows. I’m the glad this Best Of called for volunteers, because Scott and the rest of Epsom gleefully remind me to turn off the fucking podcasts for once, and maybe read a book this time. I think we all need a little bit of that. -Cory VanMeter (Say Something, Soap Scum)

18. MAC – No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs
If you love punk rock and haven’t been living underground the past 6 months, then chances are you have seen or heard of MAC. MAC is a kick ass punk rock band that formed earlier in 2018. They love to party and have a good time,which reflects at their live shows. “Rabies” is a crowd favorite about getting bit by a rabid dog and turning into a zombie, but they are also here to punch racism in the face and bring attention to social issues we as humans are still battling. In early October 2018 MAC released “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs” with the release show being held at brewhaus downtown. The Ep includes Distrust, Authority, and Understand which point out issues our government has about not caring about other country’s austerity and suffering, police brutality, and living as a black person in today’s social climate. MAC is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, and we all hope to see more of MAC in 2019! – Trey Kasper (Foam Fangers)

19. Go!Tsunami – A Day At The Beach
Local mask wears, playing killer surf rock. Go! Tsunamis latest album At the Beach will surely warm you up with their summer vibes. -Michael LaFrance (Imaginary Colours)

20. EGGMAN – Cube Zero
Going into the 2018 band lotto show in eager anticipation of seeing what my peers whipped up, I got caught with a SUCKERPUNCH. That’s right, I caught a swift punch to the ear holes when I saw EGGMAN take the stage. These guys are TOUGH. FAST and familiar. Line up consisting of some BXS veterans, it was no wonder why they rocked so hard. Very exclusive 7″ eps were dropped  and will be as illusive as the band. They we here and gone so fast, as fast as they stole my heart. Best Punk band of 2018. -Johnny Tsakanikas (Foam Fangers)

Best of Springfield Music 2018: Songs


Tonight we are bringing you part #2 in our Best of Springfield 2018 Music series! Part #2 is your top voted songs that came from Springfield bands this past year! We have a top ten here with write-ups by different local musicians and members of our music community. Check that out below!

Also Activator Magazine which has all of these write-ups and more has their January issue OUT around town! Be sure to pick one up at various locations around town (and soon the new Dumb Records once we are up and running).

You can be on the lookout for our top albums/releases of 2018 posted the next few days.

1. Eyes From Above – “Fade”
Many of you might know about my past Metalcore bands, but if ya don’t just know, I used to roll pretty hard with the double pedal Jesus metal. Eyes from Above definitely is the house Metal Band for BXS (Black Sheep) and probably the most tight and technical one that I’ve seen in a while. Fade from their EP Principium really is a nostalgic hit for me. They really got this early Misery Signals // Killswitch thing with this song keeping the rhythms tight when they need to then let stuff ring out when its right. The vocals in this song RIP. Usually I like to keep my metalcore sing-free, sorry 2007 era, but the vocals in this are super smooth and go up in Red Belt range for some hook heavy choruses I still got stuck in my head. The track really builds in the bridge with some wicked screams and builds with some Parkway style leads underneath everything that’s pretty dope. Fade is a very good straight forward metalcore track that these folks pull off live well every time and I’m very excited to see them again because I now know the lyrics to this song!! -BJ Pearce (Black Sheep, Bottom Bracket, Graveswitcher)

2. The Telephone Junkies – “2001: A Honda Odyssey” 
Granted, this is coming from a guy 6 decades old, but In their tune ‘2001: A Honda Odyssey’, The Telephone Junkies do a damn good job of capturing the angst of being on the cusp of, you know, the whole adult thing.  Believe it or not, I still recall those feels, the doubts, the questioning of self, the poverty that comes at that time of life, and the point where ya wanna or actually do scream:   ‘I don’t care anymore’!   The song isn’t just an ode to the bands ride, but a nod to the odyssey of life they’ve lived thus far.   I love the tune and enjoy seeing TTJ live.  Thankfully, the band hasn’t been totally beat down by age or angst and ‘2001: AHO’ is a well crafted punk pop/college rock tune that makes that clear.  Get this, I just learned, while visiting the bands webpage, that these guys figured that old shits like me may like their stuff.  They note: “We’re like Weezer or Superchunk but not as good.  Your dad would probably like us. :)” This dad does! -Joe Coffey (Coolest guy in Springfield)

3. Rockford – “Nicotine Poisoning”
“Please, love, help me think; Keep me calm, don’t let me sink” croons Drew Harmon after a reverb-soaked crescendo that ends Rockford’s single “Nicotine Poison,” named one of Springfield’s best song releases of 2018. Rockford, one of Springfield’s upcoming garage rock bands, draws influences from surf and indie rock to craft a song that innocently convinces the listener to sit back and relax before suddenly surrounding them with swelling guitar leads and echo-filled vocals. This subtle building finds its foundations in steady drums, a wandering bassline, and droning guitar chords that feel as though they should be casually strummed while relaxing on a couch. Thanks to excellent production from Kyle Noonan and one of the coldest Bandcamp header photos of all time, Rockford’s release earns its spot on this Best of Springfield Music list and is worthy of a listen.  – Jacob Armbrecht (The Telephone Junkies)

4. This Is A Stick Up – “Dumpster Dash” 
“Dumpster Dash” is the opening song of Decatur punk band This Is A Stick Up’s debut EP and is an anthem for being stuck chasing the cash cow. The song has more pop punk vibe that feels up beat and fun, despite the melancholic vocals. It’s one that’s sure to get stuck in your head. -Drew Kodrich (Black Sheep, Pryss, Final Order)

5. No Cash Value – “Government Stole My Skateboard”
No Cash Value is the next generation of punk, and it sounds like what we’ve been missing for years. “Government Stole My Skateboard” harkens back to a time when punk was hyperbolic. Outlandish. Somehow simultaneously pointed and silly. Even at this style of punk’s 1980s peak, it was never this much fun. The kids are at it again, and there’s plenty more where this came from. -Mitch Baker (Looming, Graveswitcher)

6. Master Bastard – “Sun Came Out”
I first discovered Master Bastard when I was asked to judge one of the Black Sheep Battle of the Bands in (2017?). All four of us loved them because they’re three piece true rock and rollers and this track rips. -Jessica Knight (Looming)

7.  Foam Fangers – “I’m A Jerk”
Foam Fangers is the definition of punk. A lot of people have seen them grow in the scene with only being around for a short time. Their song “I’m A Jerk” shows their true sound and a sound that gives you the hype of original punk music. With raw talent in what they do, you are sure to get inside the pit with this band! -Andrew Luft (Eyes From Above)

8. Complaint Line – “It’s Alright”
There is something about the Complaint Line that leaves me with feelings that are far from complainy and more along the lines of happy.  When I think about words to describe this trio I would say loud, happy, fun.  I especially enjoy their music live and have been able to see them several times this year.  Every time I see them, I enjoy them more and more. Their three song digital album on bandcamp is like a post card souvenir from their shows leaving me with a smile on my face and dancing about the kitchen as I bob my head up and down while doing the dishes with enthusiasm and joy. -Apryl Mayes (The Radon Lounge)

9. Pryss – “Brocas Area”
Pryss’s Brocea’s Area is a prime example of Black Sheep era hardcore punk and just punk in general. They waste no time with their aural assault! Not one ounce or hint of hesitation. Just pure relentless energy. -Eric Rogers (Eric Marvel)

10. Alexa Redd – “Right Time”
“Right Time” is the perfect example of humans still being able to love humans.  In a 24 hour news cycle of negativity the single and video shed light on the enduring spirit of compassion, hope and love. -Aaron Uncanny Phillips