Tyson Ballew is a really awesome and super friendly musician who runs a small CD, cassette tape, digital track, and 7″ label called Tummy Rock Records in Bellingham, WA. Originally located in Missoula, MT, I first listened to and decided to contact Tyson when I heard some of his songs on Hollow Earth Radio. I wrote him a letter almost five years ago and we have been in contact ever since.
Tyson plays pop-punk-inspired folk music similar to The Mountain Goats, Clem Snide, Emperor X, and Ghost Mice. He is a D.I.Y. singer-songwriter and strong proponent of the all-age music movement, who has been playing music for the past ten years. Tyson has performed over 300 solo sets and put out 44 titles on Tummy Rock.
Earlier this year, Tyson asked me to paint the cover of his latest release, an E.P. called Moa in Repose, which he self-released on 50 canary yellow cassettes. Moa in Repose is the most recent component of a trilogy of tapes about extinct flightless birds. It was recorded on February 25th, 2013 at The Unknown in Anacortes, WA. In Tyson’s own words, this E.P. is about “giving up and going to sleep”. The cover of the tape that I painted for him features a giant moa superimposed over Mount Rainer.
Poor School is an improv noise / punk / jazz trio with members of Ex Cocaine and Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly!. Bryan Ramirez (guitar), John Niekrasz (drums) and Nathan Hoyme (sax) formed Poor School in April of 2005. This lo-fi, bombastic tape was recorded on September 27th, 2006 at The Raven Cafe in Missoula, MT. The Live @ The Raven Cafe cassette is limited to 50 copies and each tape comes uniquely hand-stamped. Poor School also has an LP out on Thurston Moore’s label, Ecstatic Peace. (Check it out!)
If Tummy Rock sounds familiar to you, loyal blog reader, it may be because of this 7″, a split between Shitty Weekend and King Elephant, which we received and posted about a few weeks ago. The Shitty Weekend / King Elephant Split 7″ is Tummy Rock’s first vinyl release and was made possible in part by a KickStarter campaign. This is pop punk at it’s finest.
King Elephant hails from Missoula, MT and is the latest incarnation of Goddammityboyhowdy. King Elephant plays fast, melodic punk. Shitty Weekend is a gang of rapscallion punks from Portland, OR, featuring members of The Taxpayers. Shitty Weekend is a gang of really sweet, hard workers. Fronted by Andrew Link, the band plays an eclectic brand of punk rock. This 7″ is their debut recording.