Summer Tour 2017: The Wrap Up

So here we are. Our first national tour wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and I'm here to tell you that this is a big, strange land that we live in. Our interstate highway system is an amazing thing. In the time it would take to catch up on Game of Thrones, you could be in a different time zone, a different climate, a different world, with different plants, animals and geography, and different people with different social scripts. Here are an assortment of observations and anecdotes I collected over the course of passing through so many odd and wonderful places.

In Scranton, PA, people shout at each other across the street and flag down strangers on the sidewalk to park their vans. Brian did a pretty good job. We were booked to play with four metal bands and for a moment we were worried about how our little stringband would go over, but then we remembered that metalheads are the coolest and the show was great.

Driving from the mid-atlantic into the midwest, you start to see more and more billboards for porno stores. At some point you start seeing ads for Lion's Den Adult Superstores, and by the time you cross the Mississippi, Lion's Dens are all there is. Lion's Den's territory is massive.

We played a show in Kansas City, MO, at the Hive, which was like the Studio 54 of house venues. The performers were all incredibly talented and the bar was stocked with fine liquors.

As you go west everything just gets bigger and bigger. The roads are bigger and you can drive faster, and people actually keep right on the highway except to pass most of the time. It's fucked up.

We were all paranoid about driving through Kansas in our dirty minivan with Massachusetts plates because we'd heard about Kansas state police using civil forfeiture to rip people off, but I guess that's mostly people coming out of Colorado. Also it's fucking Kansas. It was fine.

Altitude makes you lightheaded, which is kind of cool. And it makes your brakes squeak in the morning, which is kind of existentially horrifying when you're driving through the mountains.

We drove from Boulder CO, through Wyoming, into South Dakota, and from there we went through Montana, Idaho and into Washington, and during that whole time I didn't see a single cop. I'm not sure what that means. I'm sure that part of the country has it's own problems, but I like the way people give each other space. I guess that's easy when there's so much of it.

I also have to talk about Lead, SD. It's a town in the Black Hills, it's like the 1880s picked a few cool things about the future and passed on everything else. We played in a bar called Moonshine Gulch with an amazing songwriter named Steve Thorpe, who also let us stay at his cabin on the side of a mountain. This guy is the real deal.

Before we left I made a conscious decision to try to stop comparing everywhere we go to the Northeast. That didn't really work. So like, I'm gonna die in the Northeast, but I totally get the west coast thing now. Like, what are you so worked up about? We're alive for some amount of time and nothing that happens has any significance, just chill. Also people treat weed like tea. "So this is my house, here's the kitchen, the living room, make yourself at home, I've got coffee, water, weed, snacks, whatever you want."

It was 120 degrees in Phoenix. The most fucked thing about that: the breeze is hotter than the still air. It's like standing in a campfire. The punk kids at the show hated their hometown more than any punk kids I've met before.

In Texas the people who work at gas stations call you sir or ma'am. Much like the West Coast chillness, I was surprised at how much southern politeness doesn't bother me and I actually kind of like it, but the sir thing is a bridge too far. 

We shot a video with Punk with a Camera. Brandon and Makena run a tight fucking ship. 

I got to see someone who I hadn't seen in a while who is very important to me and whom I love very much in New Orleans. 

We played a show in Tennessee...

The punks in York, PA tried to blow us up. They pulled out firecrackers and bottle rockets at the end of our set and just lit the place up, it was amazing. 

So yeah, that was my vacation slideshow. If you're still reading at this point, uh, thanks, I guess. I'm here if you need to talk.


Summer Tour 2017 Begins June 22!

Click above to see full schedule

Click above to see full schedule

Oh, hello, I didn't see you come in. But it's cool, I'm glad you're here, I have important news. My band is going on tour in a couple of weeks and I'm really excited about it. It's gonna be our first national tour. From June 21st to July 15th we're gonna be driving all over this big stupid country, spreading our "very passionate" and "surprisingly listenable" sounds wherever we go. 

We're going farther than we've ever been before, to wild and exotic places like Scranton, PA, Boulder, CO, Seattle, WA, Pheonix, AZ, Austin, TX, and Nashville. And many more. We'll be seeing old friends, like Out of System Transfer, and Dogtooth and Nail, and making new friends I'm sure. Our personalities are mostly serviceable, I'm not worried about making friends, it's gonna be fine. Everything is gonna be fine.

Ooh, I almost forgot. In just two days, June 10th, we're playing Xtreme Folk Fest At Country Creek Winery in Telford, PA. So, if you're near Telford on June 10th swing through we want to see your beautiful faces. Thank you.

Hmm, I guess that's all I've got. 

When I write these things I usually try to have some kind of hook, something to make it a little bit entertaining so it's not just a big self-serving info dump. Sorry I've got nothing this time, so here's a DIY nature documentary.


6/22 - NYC - Lantern Hall - 8pm

6/23 - Scranton - Irish Wolf Pub - 9pm

6/25 - Kansas City - The Hive - 7pm

6/26 - Boulder - Radish Collective - 8pm

6/27 - Spearfish - Moonshine Gulch - 7pm

6/29 - Index - Private Party

6/30 - Seattle - Blue Moon Tavern - 9pm

7/1 - Portland - Annares Infoshop and Community Space
More TBA

7/2 - Portland - Ash Street Saloon - 8pm

7/4 - Bend - Private Party

7/5 - Oakland - Stork Club - 8pm
More TBA

7/6 - LA - Private Showcase

7/7 - Phoenix - The Trunk Space - 7pm

7/8 - El Moro - Inscription Rock Trading Post & Coffee Co - 7pm

7/10 - Austin - The Sidewinder - 7:30pm

7/11 - Lafayette - Steam Press Cafe - 8pm

7/12 - Nashville - Bobby's Idle Hour - 9pm

7/13 - Lynchburg - Kegney Brothers Pub
More TBA

7/14 - York - Skid Row Garage - 7:30pm

7/15 - Amherst
More TBA

Noise Complaint Debuts!

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For those of you (and I know there are a whole lot of you) who are already excited about our new video series, 'Noise Complaint', I don't feel the need to preface what you're about to see. Just watch and enjoy. Seriously........go nuts, show your friends, make them show their friends. Use the internet to spread the good news. You know what to do.

For the rest of you, here's the short version...

We've been shooting videos, at home and abroad, of bands we like. We've played music with them, and we've talked with them about what we do. Then we take those videos and we show them to you. The interviews are to edify, and the music is to entertain, but sometimes it's the other way around. This is our first episode. It's set in Philadelphia, PA in late winter. The band is Driftwood Soldier, the best mandolin/bass gutterfolk duo in west Philly right now. Possibly on the whole east coast.

There are going to be more of these videos coming very soon. The next one is going to be with Brook Pridemore, who lives in Brooklyn, NY. We here at Troll 2 are very excited for the future, and it's almost only because of 'Noise Complaint'.

Notes from The Tour de Malcontentment


The dust has settled. We've had time to wring out our socks, put our lives back together, and now the verdict is in: the Troll 2 Tour de Malcontentment was an utter failure.

Yes I'm sorry to say, we set out to spend ten days wallowing in self-pity and misery and instead we endured the most incredibly uplifting, life-affirming experiences a band could ever dream of. I will now relate the events of this tour to the best of my memory. 

Eh hem.

art by Andie Gardiner

art by Andie Gardiner

We started off loose and messy, like a gas station tuna sandwich. You can smoke inside at the Funky Jungle, Jillian Kay brought dried fruit snacks and Sonny Jim delivered himself. We got home very late.

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The second show of the tour was in our very own Monkey Palace basement. Our friends all stomped up and down, pounding coffee beans into a fine meal and spreading it all over the floor. We also raised a bunch of money for the J20 comrades.

After that we were off to the internet, a disarmingly friendly punk house in the far off land of Amherst, Mass. I broke a string on both of my guitars, and that would have been the end of things if Kevyn from Fickle Fauna (a wonderful band and also our gracious hosts for the evening [fuck I'm spiraling{stop}]) hadn't lent me his guitar. I won't describe every time a broke a string because that would take up too much space, too much time. I won't do it.

We got up bright and early to drive to our next destination which was Baltimore. Or rather, some suburb outside of Baltimore, I was never really clear on exactly where we were. It's an interesting experience, when you're driving around the country with other people navigating for you, and you never look at a map. Every interstate looks more or less the same, so you end up feeling like you're teleporting from city to city, and in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region the architecture and the history of the major cities is so similar that they all feel like distinctly unique but alternate versions of each other. What I'm saying is that it was like Star Trek. Beam me down to the Dundawan Proving Grounds, another overwhelmingly lovely venue in some abstract continuity with Baltimore. It was at this point, after the show, that is, after we had figured out how to get Matt Bisenius's N64 to play Rampage 2, that I began to suspect that we had actually died and that The Great Troll had a sense of humor.

I believe we were in Philadelphia the next night. I might be missing something, yes definitely missing something, but it's not important. We went to Philly and played a show at The Barbary with this bunch of nutjobs called Manic Pixi and a bunch of other great friends and a bunch of our other friends came and it was just a friends it was just a blast. The next night we shot a music video about polar bear penises. More on that soon. But for now, I just have to say that Tina Budnik (KXB Studio) is an incredibly efficient director. 

Both nights we spent in Philly we stayed with our friend Owen Lyman-Schmidt, who is the most DIY person I've come across. He's rebuilding an entire house from the inside out it's nuts and he's got this wicked deep voice listen to Driftwood Soldier.

After that we played the Electric Maid in DC and this is the first night we spent with our Friends Out of System Transfer from Brooklyn New York. They also play a type of high energy alternafolk with political lyrics so we go well together. All I have to say about the show that night is that a styrofoam mannequin head with a picture of Richard Spencer's face on it got a hunting knife stuck in it.

The following night we played at The Hampton Taphouse in Hampton Virginia. You could smoke in the green room so you could've thrown rocks at me and I would still put this one in the wins column. Also earlier that day we went to the Hampton Air and Space center which was pretty seriously nationalist/military propaganda all day but they also had an actual landing capsule from one of the Apollo missions and I was a ten year old boy once so fuck, man. You could see where the ceramic heat shielding is burned away on the bottom from when it reentered the atmosphere. Zoe got us all in for the price of one because she worked at a museum once and she knows the secret handshakes and the tickets also came with a complimentary Imax movie. Zoe had seen it too many times already and Brian was sleeping in the van so me and Mark went in and watched it by ourselves. Well, not by ourselves. We went waaay waaaaaay back up in the way back top row, and as soon as we sat down a wave of unhappy children descended on us and surrounded us on all sides. I really couldn't complain though, considering that I was in a museum for children, watching a movie for children. I was a guest in their house. 

The movie was national parks propaganda, which I'm totally fine with especially considering everything Fuckhead is trying to do to the National Park Service right now. Robert Redford's voice is soothing and the pictures were very nice (the 3D didn't add much, but it also wasn't a distraction). There was some kind of condescending shit about "The Native Americans", but at least it did acknowledge that the Lakota still exist. I'm definitely not qualified to make the call on how problematic it is. Also the frame story was that this group of annoying white people go around white-peopling the fuck out of national parks all across the land. Look at these giant vortexes of stone, carved out of the living earth by thousands of years of wind and rain, let's ride bikes around in a circle! It's a frozen lake hanging off the frozen ass end of nowhere, let's go climb frozen waterfalls! (Okay I admit this was kind of cool, but if you can come up with something whiter I'll mail you a slice of toast). 

The next day we were very busy. I woke up next to a vintage Mrs. Pacman machine in the home of an overwhelmingly cool man named Matt Thomas, from Uglyography, who produced a recording of Out of System Transfer with members of Troll 2 that very morning. More on that later. 

Part of the reason we went to Virginia is so that we could drive the Chesepeake Bay Brunnel. If you've never had the chance to experience this thing, I highly recommend that you find a way to at some point in your life. It's a true engineering marvel. A bridge.... that goes underwater! Sweet fucking Jesus what will they think of next! Also, if you're planning a conference call, you will not get reception from the inside of a tunnel at the bottom of the Chesepeake bay. You know, hypothetically speaking. 

We drove out off the far end of the bridge and into the mouth of a terrifying storm. I noticed a greenish tinge in the sky and for a moment I really thought we were gonna go on a trip to Oz. Fortunately, this was not the case.

That night we played at a crust basement called The Rabbit Hole. It was a fuckin dank show. Again, smoking inside wins points with me, one of the other bands was really loud. After the show we drove to Brooklyn I swear to God this is almost over.

You know what, I think some of that Brooklyn hipster shit might of rubbed off on me 'cause here's what I've got to say about the Brooklyn show. You should have been there :P

In all seriousness, this was one of the best weeks of my life, and I want to deeply and sincerely thank everyone who helped us along the way. You're the fucking best and I love you.

Troll 2: Tour de Malcontentment Begins Feb 16

We've been thinking about the French revolution lately. The French Revolution brought about a time of confusion and chaos and violence and destruction and insanity in France, and since our country seems to be heading in the same direction, we thought it fitting to name our new tour in honor of our melodramatic cousins across the sea. We bring you the Tour de Malcontentment, which translated to Tour of Unhappy. Because that doesn't sound depressing. 

 Let's be real here; we are unhappy, and so are you. Come tell us about it. We're good listeners. And just maybe our off-puttingly passionate bluegrass songs about the politics of animal friendship or whatever the fuck we write about will help you achieve some kind of emotional catharsis. Or maybe a giant meteor will wipe us all out. History is mortal. Put on your dancing shoes!

What the fuck am I supposed to be writing about? Oh right, okay, so between the dates of February 16th and February 26th, we will be traveling up and down the east coast, creating job opportunities and improving society. If you happen live in any of the cities we've targeted, you may not know it yet, but you've just been handed the chance of a lifetime. I talked about the emotional catharsis already, there will be that, I didn't talk about the T-shirts, there are gonna be T-shirts. We're gonna be selling T-shirts. We have a strong anti-capitalist ethos. 

 I am drowning in a bottomless pit of despair. If you're not an asshole, you're probably not feeling too great about things right now either. Come see my band play when we come to your town and maybe together we can find a moment of inner peace. Or maybe some nazis will show up and we can show them what a fist tastes like.

Click here to view the full schedule.

Click here to view it on FB

Lois Long Music Video Release Today

IT IS HERE! We are happy to announce the release of our third music video, Lois Long! This song captures the iconic spirit of the 1920’s flapper and journalist, Lois Long (1901-1972), who was the first female journalist at The New Yorker magazine. Long chronicled the decadence of NYC’s Prohibition Era with biting satire, all under the pseudonym Lipstick. At her tenure, Long was infamous for gliding around The New Yorker office on roller-skates, sipping a Manhattan. Zoe Rose dePaz, the songwriter, first found inspiration in Long’s attitudes and writings:

Here was a woman who, at a time when drinking was forbidden, when women were considered dirty if they smoked publicly, when the suffragette movement had just secured the vote, single women rarely worked outside of the home, and race relations were not integrated… Here was a woman who did not give a fuck. And she managed to not give a fuck in glamorous style. She’d smoked weed with Billie Holliday or Louis Armstrong in Harlem, she’d turned up at the office at 6am (still drunk and dressed in her party clothes) to write her articles. She’d wear pants. She’d smoke cigarettes. All these things that many people of our generation take for granted, these were not rights endowed to her, and yet…she did them anyway. We don’t typically think of flappers as anarchists or as gender queer, but for their time they were. They were revolutionaries. Things like going out for cocktails, or relaxing on the weekend, well, these are things that women were arrested for. People fought to have the weekend, to drink, to wear what they pleased, to party. These are things that women picketed for; bled in the streets for. Her life inspired me to write the song “Lois Long”. For the music video, I thought to myself: if Lois Long were alive now, what would she be? What would she look like? I decided Lois Long would be a cross between Lady Gaga and Pussy Riot. She had all the charm and debauchery of Josephine Baker with the sardonicism of Bikini Kill. Her life shows that there can be joy in the revolution. That the revolution can be a really good time.

We, therefore, decided to bring Lois Long, a forgotten historical character, into the 21st century. We filmed it at the historic Fenway Studios, with filmmaker Prince Aibangbe.

We would like to thank the board of Fenway Studios, and all the artists who participated in 2016’s Open Studios, during which we shot Lois Long. We’d like to thank the dobro player Scott O’Grady, who is our featured musical guest on the track, as well as the artist Peter Scott, who opened his studio as the set. Thanks to Anneke Lundberg for being the best hostess in the entire world. A big thanks to Diana-María de Paz, Gustav Johnson, and Caroline Kotter who worked set. Thanks to Justin Arena, Jenna Havelin, James Ikeda, Oscar Jeuvens, Betty Muñoz, and Luke Paliocha for being characters in the film. And thanks to Arianna Enos, Dmitry Gridnev, Daisy Haskell, Audrey Hsai, Shannon Leary, Ryan Rentería, Max Ridley, Matt Riddle, James Wolcott-Billman, and Karbia Yuan for keeping everyone’s spirits up during a long day of shooting. We would also take this time to thank all the many, wonderful Trolls who came out and participated as extras in the party scene! You know who you are!

Until we meet again, let us leave you with the immortal words of Lois Long, “Tomorrow we might die, so let’s get drunk and make love”.