Best of Springfield Music 2017: Shows

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 10.13.20 PM.png

The further we get here into 2018 the more we should just get the end of our three part best of 2017 the heck over with!! Finally, here is the third and final part of of our three part series with your top voted shows that happened in Springfield in the year 2017.

1. 10-2 at Black Sheep: Looming (Seed Album Release), Screaming Females, Street Eaters, Choir Vandals 


2. June 9th, 10th, 11th Dumb Fe5t (seven locations throughout Springfield, 50 bands from 17 different states)


3. 9-16 Black Sheep 12 Year Anniversary Show with Bottom Bracket, Stick People, Prowess, Kate Laine

4. 4-7 at Black Sheep: Hippie Squishers, Vanilla Gorilla, Hood E. Klimate, Kabass


5. 7-1 at Black Sheep: Food & Money (reunion), Backwards Day (reunion), Livin’ Thing, Spell Breaker

6. 11-18 at Black Sheep: Black Sheep Band Lotto 2017

7. 7-7 at Black Sheep: P.I.N.T., Leche, Say Something, Grady Drugg (“The Bouncehouse Show”)

8. 10-14 at Black Sheep: Battle of the Bands

9. 5-13 at Black Sheep: Black Sheep Cover Show Part 6

10. 12-22 at Black Sheep: Black Sheep Holiday Show with Vonne (reunion), Bottom Bracket, Rockford, Telephone Junkies

Best of Springfield Music 2017: Songs


Here we are with the second part of our three part Best of Springfield Music 2017 series with your top vote songs that came from Springfield bands and musicians in the past year! Nice! We had quite the time going through all of these and adding up the totals (there are a lot of songs out there). Once again, we do not have write-ups for all of these (sorry), just the straight forward results and the embedded songs on bandcamp players below. Enjoy! We’ll return tomorrow with the third and final installment of this series.

1. Bottom Bracket – Bottom Bracket

2. Telephone Junkies – Monday Morning

3. Looming – Queen

4. Stick People – Easier Said

5. Kate Laine – This Is Not A Test

6. Prowess – Rat Bastard

7. Livin’ Thing – Punch Line

8. Night Night Boy – Ginger Ale

9. Pryss – Goodnight Alt-Right

10. Spell Breaker – Superstar

Best of Springfield Music 2017: Albums


Here we are in 2018, already into February and we are just now getting you the results of our 2017 best of polls right now. We are really sorry, we really are. We don’t event have write ups for all of these. Today we are delivering the results for the top ten voted albums or releases that came out of Springfield in 2017, as voted for on our site in December. If you tune in to the Black Sheep Radio Show today from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, we will be featuring songs from this list. Find the list of top ten albums below!

1. Bottom Bracket – Dreamland EP
(recorded at Southtown Sound, self-released)


2. Looming – Seed 
(recorded by Brandon Carnes, released by No Sleep Records)


3. Telephone Junkies – Monday Morning
(recorded at Southtown Sound, self-released)


4. Stick People – Lips
(recorded at Southtown Sound, self-released)


5. Prowess – EP
(recorded at Southtown Sound, released by Prescience Tapes)


6. Livin’ Thing – The Godhead EP
(recorded at Dumb Records, released by Rat King Records)


7. Food & Money – 1979-1982
(recorded 1979-1980, released by Alona’s Dream Records)


8. Kaite Laine – Recurring Dream
(recorded at Southtown Sound, self-released)


9. Attic Salt – Attic Salt
(recorded at Capital City Recording, released on Dodgeball Records)


10. Kabass – Warrior Within EP
(self-recorded, self-released)


11. Pryss – Sisyphus
12. Spell Breaker – Spell Breaker
13. Animals With Human Names – The Basement Tape
14. Abyss – Dreadnought
15. Tom Irwin – All That Love
16. Lick Creek – EP
17. Vincent Sebastian – A New Rhode
18. Animals With Human Names – The Studio Tape
19. Eric Marvel – What A Disappointment EP
20. Nefarious Cloud – Resurrection 

Looking For Help With Write-Ups For Best of Springfield Music 2017!


Alright all of you website viewers that we have out there. We have collected results for our annual Springfield Music poll this year, and everything is looking great. This year we felt we would reach out and extend the offer to anyone who would like to help write reviews for our top ten best ofs in the categories of albums, songs, and shows for the year 2017. If you are interested, send us an email to We will get back to you with a list of things for you to chose from (pick one) to write one to two paragraphs on. We do need it within the next day or two though! For examples of what we are looking for, you can check out last year’s (2016) results for shows herealbums here, and songs here.

The results for the best of’s will be posted along with write-ups probably at the very start of 2018! (Sorry we are a tad bit behind this year)! Stay tuned and thanks for being here!

Best of Springfield 2017 Music Poll


Alright, we’ve finally got it together over here. We ended up with a total count of 55 local releases of original music that we can tell this year thanks to your help, which is a lot. Now it is time for us to launch our annual end of the year Best of Springfield Music Poll where we get to highlight some of your favorite bands, musicians, and shows that happened in the past year! As with previous years, there are three categories to our poll – albums, songs, and shows. The only required category is albums, and for that you have to check anywhere from 2 to 5 releases that came out this year (list is in the poll). You might have to think a bit harder to list out some of your favorite songs! To help there are links to most of the releases from this year on this post! You might have to think a little bit for your favorite shows this year too, take your time!


The Best Of Survey will be up for exactly one week, ending on Tuesday, December 26th at 9:00 pm! Once the results are collected we will have featured write-ups on our site for the top ten voted for in each category. You can check out last year’s (2016) results for shows herealbums here, and songs here. We have also been building an ultimate Springfield album archive / database of Springfield releases over the past year or so on our site which you can check out right here.

Help Us List Local Springfield Releases of 2017!



Could you believe it, the year 2017 is actually drawing to a close. It’s been a pretty busy year for Springfield music – and we have the new addition of Southtown Sound to thank for a lot of great music being recorded and released in our area. The Studio began recording in March of this year and has worked with a countless amount of bands in Springfield and also all over the country since then.

Once again on this site we would like to highlight some of your favorite releases that came out in Springfield this year. So first we need YOUR help making sure we are covering all of the music that came out this year! Below is everything as far as bands and musicians putting out releases in the year 2017 in our city that we can think of – along with links to stream the music. As of right now we count a total of 54 releases that came out this year. If you were involved in a local release or know of one not on list, please comment below or email us at and let us know!

Once we’ve gathered more of a final list of 2017 releases, we will have a poll go up in about one week on our site where you can tell us your favorite albums, songs, and shows that happened here in Springfield in the year 2017. Then we will highlight your top ten choices for all three categories at the very end of the month. You can check out last year’s (2016) results for shows here, albums here, and songs here. We have also been building an ultimate Springfield album archive / database of Springfield releases over the past year or so on our site which you can check out right here.

Abyss – Dreadnought
Animals With Human Names – The Basement Tape
Animals With Human Names – The Studio Tape
Attic Salt – Attic Salt
The Blue G’s – Helpless, Hopeless, Moving On
Boon – 1st Street
Bottom Bracket – Dreamland EP
Emasculate Regression – Split with Glass Path
Emasculate Regression – Technology is Simple Philanthropy
Eric Marvel – What A Disappointment EP
Deezy Da Paperboy – Under Ground Krown, Vol. 1

Fireside Relics – Shot Out The Saddle
Food & Money – 1979-1982
Good Times & Company – All American Grinder
GRINN – Burning Out
Gutterpriest / Apostate – Split
Heptanes – Demon Stratus
Kabass – Warrior Within EP

Kate Laine – Recurring Dream

Kristin Walker – Self-Acceptance
Lick Creek – EP
Livin Thing – The Godhead EP
Looming – Seed
Luct Melod – Februation
Luct Melod – Obscurum per Obscurius
Manic Buzzcut – Bathroom Horrors
Mikey Hash – UGLY EP
Nefarious Cloud – Espada 13
Nefarious Cloud – Majin Cloud
Nefarious Cloud – Reserection
Night Night Boy – Demo
Opposite Good – 1
Opposite Good – Night
The Plunge – The Plunge
Prowess – EP
Pryss – Sisyphus
Robot Bachelor – The Third Houseboat Album
Small Man – Demo
Spell Breaker – Spell Breaker
Starter Jackets – Preferred Stock
The Station – Head On Tomorrow
Stick People – Lips
Telephone Junkies – Monday Morning
Timothy Donavan Russell – Bioregion
Timothy Donavan Russell – The Dark Path
Timothy Donavan Russell – Slower Than Your Heartbeat
Timothy Donavan Russell – Structures
Timothy Donavan Russell – Wild Kilobyte Theater
Timothy Donavan Russell – Windows
Tom Irwin – All That Love
Various – Dumb Fe5t Comp
Vincent Sebastian – A New Rhode
War Magic – War Magic (2017)
Weeping Iniquity – Transvection

Illinois Times Best of 2017 Nominee Voting (Now Until September 3rd)


It’s that time of year again. The Illinois Times has now launched the nominee voting for their “Best of Springfield” poll for 2017. Now is your chance to nominate all of your favorite local businesses, bands, musicians, and people for a chance to make it to the next round of voting. Nominee voting goes from now until September 3rd. You can check that out online right here.

The Black Sheep would likely be in the running for “best small live music venue” if we make it on to the next round. Southtown Sound and Dumb Records don’t seem to fit into any categories this year. Perhaps Southtown Sound could go for “best new business (open within the last 12 months) not downtown”?

Actual voting for the IT Best Of’s will go from September 14th through October 1st. The results will then be released in the issue of The Illinois Times on October 26th. We do our own “Best of Local Music” on our site at the very end of the year.

Best of Springfield Music 2016: Songs


Here we go with the third and final installment of our best of Springfield music 2016 series with your favorite songs that came from local bands this year! With there being well over 30 releases put out by Springfield bands, and also a few that put out individual single songs, it is safe to say that this year there sure were a lot of hot HITS hitting the airwaves of The Black Sheep Radio Show. Here are your top ten favorites along with writeups by different musicians and members of the Springfield music scene as usual.

10. Starlorde – “My Laser Is Bigger”

“Look at those lasers, are they small lasers? And, Milk Tirehaus referred to my lasers: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.” – Nick DeMarco (Torture Trend)

9. Livin’ Thing – “Becoming A Bug”

What can be said about Livin’ Thing that hasn’t already been said in their hard-hitting tell-all VH1 special “Milk Tirehaus is a Human Bag of Garbage”? More Specifically, what can be said about the song Becoming A Bug that wasn’t already mentioned in the chapter of “Milk Tirehaus is a Human Bag Of Garbage” entitled “Becoming A Bug is a Horrible Song Title”?

I’ll do my best.

This song is the least Rock N’ Roll of all the Livin’ Tunes, beginning with a sample that is upsetting at best & hilarious also at best. Perfectly in time with the sample, drummer Bangin’ Jack Pearce slams out an open hi-hat four count to usher in a swarm of Pitch Shifted bends from Mario “Jim’s Boy” Cannamela, and a brooding, trudging almost proggy rhythm line blasted loud and proud by Brian SKAlecki, and “Big Dick” Nick DeM…ahem…Foley. A tempo change arrives thusly, met with the aural assault of Milk “Mike Reisinger” Tirehaus’ vocals, unrelenting and brash in all the ways a punk vocalist should be. The discordant tonality meshes well with the tapey, distorted character of the cassette this song rode in on.

A Ripper. A Slammer. A Banger. A Rager. A song that leaves your ears ringing and begs the question “Whatever happened to Obi Wan Kanblo Mi?” -Brandon Carnes (Midnight Fall, M.I.O.K.A.P.)

8. Moondead – “Death”

“Death,” with its revving tempo and alternately deadpan and harrowing vocals, is prime Moondead, a powerful track by one of Springfield’s most dynamic young bands. I don’t know whether or not Kiki Walker – guitar and vocals – is aware of the work of Lydia Lunch, but to my ears they are kindred spirits regardless. The ghost of Lunch’s bands Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and Eight-Eyed Spy lurk around the corners of “Death” – less in specific sound than in an overall vibe combining menace, humor and catharsis. With Dani Sakach’s driving, nimble bass and Nick Murphy’s skillful and muscular drums propelling Walker’s self-possessed but emotional display, Moondead is the last band you’d wanna mess with. Proceed with care. – Scott Faingold (Epsom, Heptanes)

7. Animals With Human Names – “Pound Bricks”

I seriously love this song. I love this project and Jim is a super tight guy, I’m glad I know him. I remember the first time I saw Animals with Human Names perform at Black Sheep, this song really stood out to me and hooked me in for real. I wanted to hear it again because in this song, Pound Bricks, I am in a hot city jungle getting ready to prowl the town with my boots on and the sky is purple and I am getting some mad business done and life is real. It’s is a perfect landscape for city jungle smells that groove around in the air and keep things rolling. This song puts you in a mental space where you have to think on your feet and put the no nonsense smack down on all the haters and on all the things that stand in your way, especially yourself. I think it could’ve been written about going on a run or skating on the town, hence the super cool play on words in the song name, and I relate to that because getting exercize in the outdoors is super fresh and it puts me in the moment. Overall, jungles are tight and so is this beat and this world might try to slow you down but you just have to keep going. Thanks guys, see you later. – Clare Frachey (SAP, Shark Week)

6. Say Something – “Lawgiver”

Say Something in general reminds me of a form of punk lost in translation over the years. Its simple and straight forward as punk music typically is but somehow Say Something holds onto something that is honestly refreshing in its own right. Reminding me of Bush-era punk like “NOFX”, or “No Use For a Name” it also somehow manages to be a bit more mature than that. In a way I almost see it as a character of its genre but played by immensely solid and steady musicians.

The song Lawgiver has a sobering affect. As with the title the song inspires the feeling of outrage of control. An incredibly popular subject over the years for punk music. This song does not ring a bell with the lesser of this era in punk but is incredibly straight forward, no goofy chorus, no chanting, and no bullshit. Just straight up pissed off. Lawgiver is a song on the frontline of discourse. The rest of the record “Black Coffee, Black Cats” does not disappoint and mixes evenly a sardonic as well as a serious tone and commentary. – Tim Williams (Our Lady)

5. Fuck///\\\Mountain – “I Love You”

Three words. A statement simple, yet profound. From every utterance in every cliched pop song and movie, to the most sincere admissions, the ones that make or break you. Everyone wants to be told, with the utmost sincerity, “I Love You.” With the track of that title, Brandon Carnes of Fuck///\\\Mountain made clear his feelings and those of hundreds of contributors, whose sampled voices repeat this mantra for over four minutes, over the swells of Brandon’s guitars, and the comings and goings of a dog, whom I can only presume to be sweet Gypsy Rose. Seeing Brandon perform this song in Dumb Records was a highlight of the year for me, and a moment that moved me emotionally.

2016 was year full of rage, hate, violence and death for far too many people. Nearly everyone knows someone who was marginalized because of where they are from, the color of their skin, their identity or their orientation. Let Brandon’s beautiful song be a reminder to those people: If the world at large, your countrymen, family, or one’s own self treats you with hate and disparity, YOU ARE LOVED. – Tony Colantino (Chili Mac)

4. Epsom – “Dick3Blues” 

Epsom’s Dick 3 Blues is a wonderful example of how recent news can lead to a damn fine song. Back in 2015 sometime, the body of one time British King Richard III was found to be buried under a parking lot in some city outside of London. The song developed around the line ‘one man’s mausoleum is another man’s parking lot’ and just kind of flowed from there ccording to Scott Faingold, Epsom’s singer/songwriter. If you dig Freudian psychology, Shakespeare, and/or recent news you just might love what Epsom has done here. – Joe Coffey (best guy ever)

3. Attic Salt – “Hometown”

Attic Salt is the new up and coming! With their new song “Hometown” they will make you want to get up out of your seat and jump around. I always enjoy their lighthearted shows and look forward to seeing where they go. – Madison Chessare

2. Pryss – “I Fear No Man”

You guys, PRYSS so gets me right now, especially the title track off their album, “I Fear No Man.” PRYSS presents those rare tracks that could narrate a billion different experiences, including but not limited to: being nasty; telling off some loser who called your friend by a body part; or attending a rally because a certain fleabag is Not Your President. I’ve been so angry lately it’s almost consumed me. But listening to “I Fear No Man” takes my anger from a dejected and poisonous place and whips it into something more furious and powerful. I used to fear just about the whole world, but that’s a privilege I can’t afford to let swallow me anymore. Y’all, “I Fear No Man” is America’s 2017 lullaby—the finger on the pulse of the rage we need. Make it your soundtrack while you’re burning shit down 😉. – Emma Wilson (The Studio Show)

3. Animals With Human Names – “Old Man”

“Punks don’t die, no we just change genres.” – AWHN. Well ain’t that the TRUTH, especially for those of us who have been hanging around Black Sheep for most of its 11+ years now, we’ve seen crowds and waves come and go, plenty of friends who regularly come to shows fizzle out and maybe move away, sometimes getting into Dubstep or whatever the heck else (R.I.P. Donnie’s Homespun). Fortunately for us we have Jim Whitehead, one of Black Sheep’s most unsung heroes (in my opinion) still making music in the Springfield scene after all of these years and this year mixing it up hard with this new hip hop project of his “Animals With Human Names.” I have to also take a second to mention that Jim has been still going hard in his punk band Say Something, and also raises a family of two kids. He started a band with his 5 year old son Malcom this year called “Statues of the Dead,” which having them play a couple of punk shows was by far one of the coolest things we have gotten to see happen at Black Sheep. AWHN’s debut release The First Tape may have been my favorite to come out this year. It’s got a wide mix of instrumental tracks, samples, and a few full on tracks where Jim is rapping. It’s hard to sum up this project in one song, but I would say “Old Man” does the best job at that. Especially with the chorus turning into a theme song for the project “Alright, Okay, Animals With Human Names.” I for one am very unfamiliar with what old school rap artists I can compare AWNM to or anything like that as it is a genre I am not well versed in. BUT I also want to say that I love how in touch Black Sheep has become this year with the Springfield hip hop community. And AWHN also has yet to really connect with the hip hop artists and projects who have been going for longer than this year, but I see that happening in the very near future. Just yesterday I got a message from “Torche” himself saying how much he digs this new AWHN tape and asking for contact info for Jim! – Brian Galecki (Band Lotto Band #4)

Best of Springfield Music 2016: Albums/Releases


On to the second part of our three-part best of Springfield music 2016 series, and that is the album/releases that were released by local bands this year! There were a lot of them this year too – we counted a grand total of 34 local releases come out that we could list off… which is a whopping whole 10 releases more than the 24 we had on our list last year. Springfield bands were more active than ever in 2016, which also made it even harder to narrow things down for us to ten releases to highlight! Here are ten of your favorites as voted for in our poll, complete with an embedded player for each release and a writeup done by a different Springfield musician or someone involved in the DIY music scene.


10. Stereo Static – The Neat EP

Every year, Springfield continues to up its game. This poll is always one of those end year benchmarks for me. I get an at-a-glance of what our small town is capable of, what Springfield can bring to the table culturally. 2016 brought so many great releases, one being Stereo Static’s “The Neat EP.” You can hear the band walk through their hallways of influence, but they didn’t take any of the pictures off those walls. They didn’t make it very easy to drop the EP into one of my normal containers sentences like, “The EP is pretty good, it sounds kinda like Everclear mixed with Sponge.” Even though I think it’s true and I love it when bands sound like Everclear, I just don’t think it feels entirely correct wrapping the EP up that way. They’re not a mid-era grunge pop throwback. The group is uniquely aggressive, edged with attitude that isn’t afraid of melody. A bright moment of that is the intro of “Hung By The Calendar.” I had to play it few times in a row while cleaning the baby toy refuse in my living room this afternoon. Personally, Stereo Static is an enticing up and coming band. I look forward to their sophomore effort. If they’re use this as a foundation, it’ll play right up my alley once again.  – Cory VanMeter (Attic Salt, Say Something)


9. The Suction Cups – Do They Walk Among Us?

Coming straight from the depths of a story written by H.P. Lovecraft, The Suction Cups arrived on the scene late last year bringing a slew of classic surf riffs and spooky sounds. Shub-Cthiguth, Voice and Vizier of Those Who Dwell Above and Beneath, C-15425, Lillian Harleaux, and Michael the Werewolf all come together to create some of the most stand-out sounds of 2016. ‘Do They Walk Among Us?’ serves as a great introduction to one of Springfield’s most creative group. Fav track: Nosferskatu *** – Austin Connelly (GRINN, Wir Können)


8. Animals With Human Names – The First Tape

Sorry if this sounds selfish by Animals With Human Names (The First Tape) was released at the perfect time for me, I am in constant need of local tunes for Lincolns Legends projects. It’s never easy to find a local musician/band that I can incorporate seemly into any production situation accept The First Tape. I am inspired by the unapologetic nods to old school hip hop and house music. My only worry is over use because every track is on point. Props to the Jim Whitehead and his production team. I’m already looking forward to the next installment. *Please don’t be mad if you hear your tracks under all my vlogs.* – Jeremie Bailey (Lincoln’s Legends)


7. Pretend I’m Not There – Transient

Pretend I’m Not There is one of B.J. Pearce’s projects. B.J., if you don’t know, is a hard-working Springfield musician active in the punk and experimental scenes. Transient, PINT’s first official release, is one piece of music almost 25 minutes long, divided into two sections (via fade-in and fade-out) for A and B sides of a cassette tape. Presumably, this is mostly or entirely B.J. on instrumentation.

The contrasts between the peaks and valleys here are truly formidable. Low-fi voice recordings appear and reappear out of a mix of pop culture talking and yelling—excerpts from the movie No Country for Old Men, for example—repeating ad infinitum until they themselves seem to become an instrument. The guitar erupts and dives into distortion—tremolo bar pushed down to its limit—and then suddenly it echoes off like a crazed animal. There are beautiful interludes, as well. Hushed, dark passages of entrancing proper chords like major 7ths, albeit placed in strange configurations. You can even hear the faint electrical buzz of the guitar rig during parts of quiet overdrive, if that attests to the stillness of some of these moments, and while those times are not without a layer of grit themselves, they nevertheless contrast heavily and deeply with the periodic bursts of noisy guitar and speech. Finally, a whole other level feels achieved on side B with the emotional spoken word poetry of guest artist HONEY/SUCK.

There seem to be elements of chaos and violence in the forefront here, especially in the passion of HONEY/SUCK’s words, though in a more subtle way this album is like the entire, complex, and varied life of a vigorous but damaged human being compressed and twisted into a short time. To fully appreciate Transient you have to be relatively accepting of that sense. Overall, its genre tags on Bandcamp (“ambient” and “ambient drone”) are rather misleading, however, and perhaps intentionally so, since if you go into this expecting to hear mellifluous, ostensibly “ambient” sounds similar to Marconi Union, Brian Eno, Stars of the Lid, or what have you, it’s a total rug-pulling feeling, which is interesting in and of itself. Could that be a practical joke perhaps, intentional or otherwise? After all, listening to this release, categorically it’s much more “experimental noise” than it is anything close to traditional ambient. It actually more reminds one of the wildest moments of Sonic Youth or its offshoots. In many ways, even so, Transient is quite difficult to categorize, and that’s very much telling of its timeless value.

Springfield is better off for B.J., Pretend I’m Not There, and Transient. Going forward we need lots more art this daring and adventurous. Hearing the energy of this tape it’s easy to feel like that might just happen. – Timothy Donavan Russell


6. Moondead – Moondead

With song titles like “Moon”, “Ghost”, and “Void”, I think it’s pretty clear what the heck this band is about: Spooky goth-rock. What those single syllable titles don’t get at, though, is how gosh danged GOOD this band is. It grooves, it jams, it freaking THRASHES. That rhythm section is so tight, with sweet bass licks(there’s SLAP BASS on the last track) that perfectly intertwine with some of the tightest, most technical drums you’ll ever hear in any goth rock band. The vocals are driving, powerful and in places frantic in the best way. Their self-titled release has been and continues to be my favorite release this year, and definitely deserves a spot on the top 10 releases of this year. In short, 11/10 thrashiest darn goth music I ever done heard. Go listen to their track “Void” and have a damn good time. – Austin Tate (The Suction Cups)


5. Starlorde – Starlorde

This vaguely threatening 4 song EP is the sonic equivalent of a jumping spider giving you crazy eyes as you step into the shower. It may be comparatively small when stacked up against everything else in the room, but it’s the only thing you’re paying attention to because you’re just not sure where it’s gonna go next, and it might decide to jump on your face and bite. Quite simply, this EP is crammed full of all the stuff that makes me love local punk rock: complete lack of genre concern, flippant irreverence, drawings of spaceships, hyperactive riffs with stabby minor progressions on guitars that sound like an electrified fence doing its best to contain a fuming, growling rhythm section, indecipherable vocals set low in the mix of unpredictable songwriting, all wrapped up and shoved into strange little blasts that scoff at the idea of breaking the 2 minute mark. Did I make it through the EP without my face being bitten? Yes, but to play it safe, I’d suggest keeping an eye on Starlorde. – Stimey Grinds (The Death Scene)


4. Our Lady – Lure

This is one of the most dynamic records I’ve heard come out of Springfield in quite some time. Our Lady’s final gift to their fans was beautifully captured by Brandon Carnes at South Town Studios (soon to re-open as South Town Sound) back in August under the unforgiving Midwest heat. If you haven’t had the opportunity to take in this album in it’s entirety through headphones, do yourself a favor and set aside 42 minutes and 29 seconds to do exactly that. There are so many layers. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Our Lady is that so much attention is devoted to every aspect of every composition. We all know that music is art, but Our Lady had a gift that few others possess; and that is the ability to “paint” such vivid pictures with their words and music. ‘Lure’ is the perfect finale to Our Lady’s exciting six-year ride. Eleven songs of pure emotion and despair. Each song bleeds perfectly into the next and takes the listener on a journey that leaves you feeling like you’ve been punched right in the fucking gut. Unlike previous releases, I can’t really pick out a song that stands out beyond the others, although it did make me smile to hear Jess Knight come back and contribute guest vocals on “Olive Leaves”, as she was one of the original members of this band. This is one of those rare albums that was put together so perfectly that it really should be enjoyed from start to finish in one sitting.

You know when you put on a certain record and you are completely immersed in it from the first note all the way up to the very last and simply cannot be pulled away from it for any reason? Yeah…this is one of those records. Thanks for everything over the past six years, Our Lady. It’s been one hell of a ride. You’ll be missed. – Anthony Bollero (Some Things Can’t Be Ignored)


3. Fuck///\\\Mountain – The I Love You Project

I see the music on Fuck Mountain’s “I Love You Project” as more than just post-rock / ambient / alternative / whatever other genres you could fit it in.

What I appreciate about this album is how it brings the listener into a moving soundscape, with highly personal voicemail recordings of unique and varying ‘I love yous’ stringing throughout a gentle yet intricate, and beautiful yet powerful crystalline ambience.  The album features a refreshing continuum of simply titled instrumentals, conveying a singular and yet complex message.

And it reminds me – during one of my very first meaningful conversation with Brandon Carnes, he said to me “I want to live forever; I love being alive,” and despite the fact that I myself was in a difficult state mentally at the time, those words rang so truly to me as if they were my own.

I remembered and continue to remember just what life and the ones I love in my life mean to me, and it opens my heart to a gratitude and joy when I listen to “I Love You Project”, even when presented with experiences of pain or loss.  I believe many of those who listen to this album can also resonate with these feelings.

“In case I can’t tell you tomorrow,
I Love You
Please don’t forget.”
– Kiki Walker (Moondead, Shark Week)


2. Pryss – I Fear No Man

So, I’m biased. I’m close friends with all 4 members of PRYSS. I also live with 3 of them and myself and Drew (the guitar one) co-named the band (70% me, 30% them TBH) so please take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Just kidding, take this all at face value. If PRYSS sucked (and they don’t) I wouldn’t be writing this. I would just quietly pull you aside and say “Hey, this band is not good.” But Pryss is one of the hardest hitting and most uncompromising punk bands out today and “I Fear No Man” is, for my money, the best punk demo to come out of Springfield this year. Maybe the best ever.

The way “I Fear No Man” is constructed is beautiful in it’s simplicity. It’s not long, running around 7 minutes, but song is a slammer, every track a hit. Gus’ lyrics are clever without rubbing your nose it. Cutting and crude in equal measure. With lines like: “Face the fact, drop your act, you shit more from your mouth than you do from your ass” barked with the precision of a prize fighter’s punches.

Tater Cronin returns to drums for the first time since Mouthsex (only posers dont remember Mouthsex) and this is Blue Parks’ first band since Wilt Candy became inactive a while back. Both of them have grown leaps and bounds as performers between then and now and this demo wouldn’t be the same without their presence. As for Drew? Well they’ve been in approximately 420 bands over the past few years but this is their first as a guitarist. They learned guitar shortly before this recording which is remarkable because you wouldn’t know from listening.

This demo is brutal, savage, and primative. But never stupid. It’s the soundtrack to brass knuckles and acrylic nails striking the oppressor in his cheek. This is radical dominance over toxic masculinity. This is PRYSS. – Mike Tirehaus (Livin’ Thing)


1. Livin’ Thing – It’s A Livin’ Thing

Tapes tapes tapes. Nowadays kids are into tapes, they are talkin bout tapes, startin tape clubs, all kinds a stuff. When I heard about this I thought to myself “hey, I still listen to all my tapes I’ve had since the nineties, this could be a chance for me to make a friend”. So I went down to Dumb’s Record Store to scope out this new tape teen scene. It was in a bad neighborhood. I was frightened. I walked up to the counter and said “Hey what are some good tapes please.” The girl behind the counter ignored me and continued to smack her gum and read her hardy boys novel. I think her name tag said Claira. I then proceeded to grab the first tape I saw and put it in my pocket and snuck out the door. Stealing from the record store is very punk rock. When I got home I took the tape out of my pocket and it was the demo for THE IT’S A LIVING THING BAND GROUP. It had a drawing of a child boy on the cover in pretty earth tones. I put the tape in the deck and hit play, not knowing what the heck to expect….

The first thing I heard was a birthday song by the SHOWBIZ PIZZA BAND recorded at the wrong speed. I thought “whoever this band is needs to learn to dub a tape LOL”. Then after the unintentional glitch at the beginning of the tape the music kicked in. “DANG!!!” I thought. It grabbed my attention that’s for sure. Then the words started: “YOU, WILL, DIE OF COMFORT!” I thought “wow this is gonna be a good tape”, and it was. It was a real nice tape. The energy and chaos in their sound reminded me of how I feel when I drink a monster. It pumped me up! I listened to it front to back over and over again. I thought this is so punk, it’s gotta be a warp tour band from the 90s”. So I logged into online to do some research, and to my surprise it was a band of young supple boys. “Dang, these boys can rock the casbah!” I listened to the tape while looking at photos of them rocking and rolling. I could almost picture their lead singer Milk gracefully swaying in his un buttoned Hawaiian shirt, and imagine the band that backs him up dancing along as they play in their very professional sparkly jump suits. It was cool to hear a tape that was new, but sounded good. So cool. After hearing THE IT’S A LIVING THING BAND GROUP’S demo tape there is no doubt in my mind they will make it as a big time punk band just like Stone Temple Pilots. I give it 5 out 5 mohawks. – Evan Mitchell (The Nine Elevens)

Best of Springfield Music 2016: Shows


We are kicking off our three-part series of our best of Springfield 2016 this year with the shows! This year shows took place in more places than ever around Springfield! They happened at Black Sheep of course, but also in Dumb Records, plenty in bars, plenty at The Radon Lounge and in other houses, they happened in barns, at the Library, and even at Hardee’s. We counted a total of 135 shows to happen this year at Black Sheep alone. Let’s take a look at your top ten favorites for shows that happened in the Springfield area this year. Each entry includes a write-up done by a different Springfield musician or someone involved with the music scene.


10. Mysterious Skin, Starlorde, and Garter at Black Sheep (2-23-16)

Mysterious Skin was a band I was beyond excited to see. Their music online hit you rough and fast, and their set totally delivered with a series of nasty jams that had me bobbin my head so much I had to get my neck replaced. They really ripped. This was also the first Starlorde show, a band which has quickly become one of my favorite active local bands. Lord Xenu and his minions never disappoint in bringing that otherworldly hardcore sound, and this night was no different. I remember the big reveal as they trudged out in their uniforms, and I instantly knew it was going to be a great set. Garter was the more experienced local act, and they of course also tore it up with Cassie’s sassy as hell presentation and Nighthawk shredding away on guitar. This show was the culmination of a lot of great things going on at the time, and was a true blast. – Drew Kodrich (Black Sheep, Ooey Gooey Record Co.)


9. Teen Freak (reunion), Doby Watson, La Louve, and Shark Week at Black Sheep (2-20)

Every year I (Jess) try to have a show at Black Sheep for my birthday and this year was my favorite lineup ever!! I got to share the stage with so many of my friends from all over the place! Atom Lax from Ohio started it off with his solo fingerstyle acoustic project. Then Doby and Ada came in from Kansas City to play an arrangement of songs together, followed by riot punk band La Louve from Champaign IL and two locals!! Shark Week played their first show ever and my own band Teen Freak ended the night with our last show ever by tossing around tons and tons of cloth ribbon for everyone to spin and throw around the whole venue. I had the best birthday with the best people from home and far away. This is why Black Sheep is so special!”TEEN FrEAK #1 BAND. – Jess Knight (Teen Freak, Looming)


8. Hobgob 2016 at Bar None w/ NIL8, boon, Livin’ Thing (10-29-16)

This year’s Hobgob was much like it has always been in years before, lots of great bands and old friends get together and celebrate their favorite holiday, but this year had an extra special feel. Nil8 decided to reunite the original lineup and played some songs many of us hadn’t heard for over a decade, or had never had the pleasure of hearing them live. To round it out Nil8 booked some of the most diverse in original bands Springfield has to offer with Boon and a Livin’ Thing. – Bernie Flesch (Bar None)


7. Looming, Euriah, Vonne at Black Sheep (8-21-16)

We pulled into the Black Sheep gravel lot just after the opener Vonne had finished. Coupla folks from Champaign had come along with me and like the fucken A Team we rolled out of the whip and grabbed my rig and started loading straight to the stage as I think Tyler from Au Revoir parked for me. I got soundchecked and made sure my shit worked just in time for Euriah to start. As I watched their set I was in awe—they were in the right place at the right time. I didn’t jump up from the front row until just before my part on the final song, and it was loud and adrenaline-fueled, and the emotions of Eric’s song and voice and the power of that band who’d tightened up just took us soaring. It was fascinating being both a performer onstage and an audience member at the same time.

All there is to say about Looming’s set is that it was perfect. It was the first time I’d gotten to see them with their newest member Cassie, who shredded; and though Jordi was rocking on a stool, they tore it UP. It’s worth noting that Brandon Tyler Carnes made a speech or two that made me tear up, though I don’t remember enough words to quote him. Something humble and hoarse about the moment being beautiful. The melodies and crashing rhythms felt like the air was swirling, and I was living in a moving polaroid picture. Standing along the side of the room, I feel like I spent equal parts admiring the talent and energy of each individual bandmember doing their thing as I did just looking into the crowd and seeing how all these kids were happy and joyous and TOGETHER—united in the feels of this damn near perfect band. It was a damn near perfect show. The ecstasy and instant nostalgia hung in the air after the amps were off like a kind of graduation, or a championship. – Isaac Arms (Heirship Records, Library House)


6. Black Sheep Cover Show at Bar None Part 5.5 (5-20-16)

On a personal note, the Cover Show at Bar None was a confluence of things I really dig. Outside of Black Sheep, Bar None’s Bernie Flesch is booking some of the best shows in Springfield, even though the turn out for them can be less than ideal. (Can we all resolve to attend more local shows in 2017, please?) So it was nice to see an example of two valued venues collaborating. I got to watch my husband and good friends perform some of our absolute favorite music, such as the tunes of New Order, St. Vincent & Television. It was definitely apparent how much work the musicians put into practicing, and the dance floor was aflame! Looking forward to the 2017 version!! -Rachel Otwell (WUIS, The Scene)



5. $1 Show w/ Nagasaki, Animals With Human Names, Famous Losers, Kenyon Deshasier, Terribly Happy, Kenyon D. at Black Sheep (12-2-16)

What can $1 buy in the beautiful Southtown complex in Springfield? A pretty sticker of a local band? A kick-ass used Vinyl record or cassette tape? Perhaps admission to one of the occasional, amazing one-dollar shows at Black Sheep Cafe. The December 2nd $1-dollar show this year started with electric guitar performance by Kenyon Deshasier. I remember Kenyon as the guitarist of Very Bad Surfers in Battle of the Bands a couple years back, a band with some serious, indie original originality. He only played two songs, both short and soothing in different ways. One sounded like an hour-long conversation between different waves of winds (or, was I just imagining?); another sounded like an important message personally unencrypted by an emotionally intense/passionate messenger. The next act was a funnily titled band called Famous Losers, from Jacksonville, Illinois. Since I reside in a small town myself, I was excited to see that there’s a young hip band, or any band, coming from a small town like Jacksonville. The lead singer was dressed in Superman attire, and the set covered classic teenage themes like breakups, school frustration, stalkers(?), fights, stuff. The name “Famous Losers” might be disguising a winning high school pop band in development. Animals with Human Names was next. The band name may inspire us to brainstorm all kinds of animals with all kinds of human names and contemplate the purpose of it all. It turned out to be a hip-hop act. The DJing and rapping, at some point, had the crowd danced and moved like hypnotized cobras motioned to the tunes of their flute charmers. The lyrics of the songs seemed to be about the animal conditions within all of us that pre-regulated by our human names. The next band Nagasaki was really a set to look forward to, even though it might not be clear what the exact reason was. Maybe for one, two of the four members of the next band Nagasaki played in Vonne (formerly called The Locals) and Starlorde, two truly awesome local bands. Seeing them collaborating with two new musicians, while playing new roles in the bands, were like seeing completely a different side of the beautiful mountain that is always in front of us. Two, the bass player in those two bands have been in the Black Sheep scene for the two years I have been in and I do not recall him ever spoken a word to the audience in the past. Him being given a mic and opening his mouth would be a rare scene. So, what was their set like? Absolute slam. They shed the Scottish Kilt image they wore in the debut performance at Dumb Records on October 30, 2016. The band revealed some kind of charismatic-dictator-like talents (including the previously silent bass player) to have people get out of the venue for them, get back in to the venue for them, mosh for them, love for them, et cetera. It was rowdy teenagers representing public school district 186 at their best, experiencing some quality punk time of their life (allegedly for the first time for some of them)—probably just before enacting their mundane, uneventful routines of late-night Steak and Shake. If you want to witness pop-turn-punk transitions among the teenage specie, there were fewer occasions better than the show. The last act was Terribly Happy, a solid out-of-town band from Peoria that has released 5 albums/EPs already.   The performance was rock solid, and their experience showed. If you look into their history, this “pop punk” band sounded quite different between albums. Their latest album seemed to be about reconciling with contradictions in the modern life and still ended up terribly happy (merely my impression). The drummer looked like he was on a quest to challenge the absolute human limit of drumming, infixing all ordinary beats with unreal force, life, precision. He broke and replaced one drumstick after another during the show. Someone told me later that he witnessed the drum sticks virtually got shredded little by little as the drummer played, with pieces visibly coming off. Insane. – Gordon Chang (Macomb Events)

(You may visit most of these performances at



4. Bent Life, Lowered A.D., Pryss, Capitol Offense, Stye at Black Sheep (11-25-16)

WOW so Thanksgiving sucks and Black Friday is SILLY but the Black Sheep managed to come thru with the best thing that could have happened in Springfield following such a dumpy duo of festivities. STYE from BloNo opened up this lil rocker which did not disappoint with their heavy head bobbin’ tunes. Pryss played next, so having the privilege to play one of my favorite shows of the year was pretty dope, and I know we all had a BLAST. Capitol Offense from Decatur kicked out the jams afterwards and they had this sick “fuck Donald Trump” mosh call, so who can argue with that? Backed hard. 10/10 you must throw down. BENT LIFE brought the party and the mosh all the khaki/camo jort boys were waiting for ensued. Man, I gotta say my bangover the next day was a harsh one cause there ain’t a dang Bent Life riff that isn’t a rocker. Lowered AD from soIL popped by to wrap up the night which will forever and always crush my soul in all the right ways. By far the best and heaviest band to come out of that region right now. This show was 12/10, a truly great hardcore show held in our beloved lil space. – Gus McCowen (Pryss)


3. KISS *Official* Aftershow in Glue Surfer’s Secret Tube w/ Lumpy & The Dumpers, Mala Leche, Livin’ Thing, Undone (8-17-16)

It felt like 2013 all over again: a mob of punks Strutting the half-mile crawl from the parking lot to the nearby Glue Tube, pushing along with them a generator and a full band’s worth of gear. A hidden pocket of terrible graffiti and abrasive echoes, the Tube takes Forever to get to, as it lies beneath a busy boulevard on the outskirts of town. For the fourth time in Springfield punk history, we found ourselves in that damn tunnel, and on a Wednesday of all days, but the occasion was well deserved; aging rock gods KISS had descended upon Springfield Rock City at the Illinois State Fair.

Unfortunately, those aging tongue shakers Gene and Paul politely declined a Glue Tube appearance for personal reasons, but the sets that night were no less than stellar. Undone Shouted it Out Loud and delivered the thrashing of a lifetime for the last time before their string section departed for Hong Kong. Mala Leche played like Heaven’s on Fire and got the crowd moving. Livin’ Thing played third, and right as they were about to Rock and Roll All Nite, the whirr of the generator powering down seemed to end the night early. It was as if the God of Thunder wanted to shut us down. Alas, we called Dr. Love (Nighthawk) up for duty, and he and a rocksuit-donned Brian Galecki made a quick escape on Nighthawk’s moped to get more gas and save the evening. Tears Were Falling when they returned, tears of pure relief. It made the final set of the night, Lumpy and the Dumpers, that much more magical. – Mario Cannamela (Livin’ Thing, Christmas Cannamela)


2. Our Lady release / final show w/ Lume, The Foxery, Estates at Black Sheep (10-24-16)

Well in October i played one of the shows that still comes to mind to me about every other day. I still give thanks to a lot of people that were apart of that show. Our Lady’s last show will still stay with me and it will always be a reminder to myself of the love of our music community and the art that each of us create to represent our little piece of nowhere. The show was indescribable, not just to say it, because it was probably the most connected to an audience I’ve ever felt. To go from a high school kid looking up to your favorite local band to becoming apart of their story and sharing yourself fully mentally, emotionally, and musically with them seems like a dream and it feels like each moment of the show captured it’s own sense of atmosphere as each band that played created a pallet of sounds and textures that was conducive to each other. All of this occurred with a room full of folks and friends from all over the country.

Estates opened the show with some solid jams I’ve played in my car about a million times before and getting to play with such good friends was a true treat. The Foxery(Pleasures of the Flesh) played one of their last shows as the Foxery and it was so cool to see them transform their set from their old to new sound with each song filling the dark room with no light with dark songs that touched the soul, a true musical experience that can’t be really described as it should be. Then, Lume played a LOUD wonderful set. Lume is a really great band from Chicago that can be described as beautiful bone-crushing jams almost as a reflection of the world seeming to crumble around us during their set. When then played PAINT ACTUALLY FELL FROM THE CEILING OF BLACK SHEEP.

Finally, Our Lady played our final set. Their is a video on the tube of it if you ever wanna watch it. It was real, I didn’t want the set to end, and I can still play each song note for note despite all of the music that has came and went through my head since that show. It wasn’t a show that described it’s self as “It’s over”, but “Goodbye”. Still such a jammer. I will always remember my time with Our Lady and want to say thank you to all that came to the show. – Big Mac Jack (Our Lady, Livin’ Thing)


1. Dumb Fest 4-Ever (specifically “The Barn” aftershow w/ The Bug, Crutch, Wolf Luv) (6-11-16)

DAM 2016 WHAT A YEAR?! Lots of SHIT, lots of SHIT that even I, THE ASSWOLF, wouldn’t even eat.
One bright and shiny turd in this dilapidated earth tho? BIG GUY BRIAN GALECKI (BGBG). And you know what this little boy did? He went into the middle of fucking NOWHERE, built a big ole JEFF BROWN barn gig.
First off, your boys, aka – THE WOLF LOVE played first. Dam if we didn’t try to take that fucking barn down. Big JACK MOTTS banging the drums like he was playing DONKEY KONGA w a sword 2 his butt. JUMPIN AROUND. Dam me if the rest of the band didn’t do “OKAY.”
THE CRUTCHES played next and fucking KILLED destroyed EVERYTHING. I didn’t see any crutches tho. I thought this was a gimik band showcase. Maybe the music is a crutch u know? Like DAM like they gotta build that wal of sound 2 keep them up? I swear i saw like 6 vertical people during the concert. How did they stay up? A crutch? The Crutch?!?!
LAST AND CERTAINLY LUST, The BUG. Dam this CHI TOWN. Spastic as #$%^ and heavy as %#!@. Every time this band plays I’m afraid that they take a little of my soul as a way 2 continue their ever lasting journey. I’ll tell u 1 thing tho – i saw A LOT OF BUGS. True 2 the gimick 8/10.
Best part of entire night though was that goof ball that drove his car into a ditch. IT was a beautiful show of cummunity effort that the people from the barn came out and joined together and laughed at the car for a good hour. You never see a group of people coming to 2gether jus 2 laugh.
In 2017 lets just get to gether and laugh at a bunch of cars and goofballs doing slapstick comedy (like pie in the face, car in the ditch, poison ivy in the arm pit, etc.)
Signed, sealed, delivered,
The Asswolf