Time for the nepotistic entry – as Jack Black said in “School Of Rock”, “A little nep-o-tis.”¹ Time for my son Max’s band. Time for Tundrastomper! They’ve been playing as a 4-man unit for roughly 10 years, starting back early in high school, continuing through their college years – though they attended four different schools – and up to the present where they’ve set down roots, sharing an 1826-built farmhouse together in arts-centric western Massachusetts. And I’m quite pleased to say they’ve gotten a lot better at what they do, as I believe that other than the band members themselves nobody has ever heard them play more than me: from day one their rehearsal space was our basement.
Tundrastomper, which is made up of Max on drums, Andrew on bass, Sam on guitar, and Skyler on vocals/guitar, has produced four albums to date for their label Sad Cactus Records: Victory (2014), O (2017), Clean It Up (2018), and most recently a collection of B-sides and re-engineered song segments designed for a special fan in Germany called For Steffen Only (2018) (plus another, Funky Flamingo back in 2011 under a previous band name that a Cease and Desist order forced them to abandon). And they’ve now traversed the U.S. numerous times on tours, bringing their distinct amalgamation of indie/prog/punk/math/noise/hardcore/alt-rock, or whatever the hell you want to call it to underground haunts, art spaces, club venues, restaurants, breweries, and friends’ houses in cities across the country (all made possible by the continued good graces – knock on wood – of their beloved Honda Odyssey van, Nando).
I’m going to take the liberty of including video clips for two songs (double nepotism). First ‘Myth of Slop’ off of O, which was filmed live at something called the Sound It Out Sessions in New Hampshire, where you get to see the guys play their song as well as talk about the intricacies of SpongeBob SquarePants. And then second, ‘For Flies Only’, a song whose apparent (but designed) dissonance underscores the band’s true-life tale of a brief fruit fly infestation in their house. It begins directly enough with Skyler’s plea: “I would not ask you to leave entirely / I would only ask that you stay in the area clearly marked ‘For Flies Only’” and later escalates to his throat-ripping screams “Get out of my lemonade! Get out of my scrambled eggs! Out of my potato drawer!” Guess that’s life in a boys house. Lastly, I must offer a special spotlight to friend-of-the-band and experimental Massachusetts artist Saera, who created the incredible animated ‘Flies’ video utilizing an excruciatingly painstaking method that united over 3,500 collages and line drawings of her still Photoshop images to produce the dramatic, humorous, creepy, and never dull 2:42 video.
I struggled to come up with a quippy ending here, and failed. So I just have to say, I’m very proud of all my Tundrastomper boys. And I kind of miss having them in our basement.
*I’m also including a link to a brief write-up in Post Trash magazine upon the release of their recent EP. Check it out to read someone who can throw together phrases like “a buckwild ripper” much better than I can, and then bonus points if you can also spot the egregious typo it still contains.
¹”A little nep-o-tis”