Notes from The Tour de Malcontentment

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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.

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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”.

NEW MUSIC VIDEO: LOIS LONG RELEASES DEC 20

As you might have heard last week, Troll 2 has been quietly hard at work while we’ve been on an Autumnal “Hiatus” of sorts. [scroll down for evidence] Between guitarist Chris O’Grady currently being at Standing Rock, and bassist Brian Fitzgerald’s artistic relocation to the South Shore, we have been abnormally non-performative these past few months. We know, we miss you too. But don’t worry! We are happy to announce that we have been extraordinarily busy behind the scenes. It is with great pleasure that we unveil two of these projects!

The first is that we are officially announcing the arrival of our third music video, Lois Long off of our 2016 album “Inheritance”! Arriving on December 20th, it captures the iconic spirit of the 1920’s flapper and journalist, Lois Long (1901-1972).  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.  

We filmed it at the historic Fenway Studios, with filmmaker Prince Aibangbe. Lois Long the music video will be arriving on December 20th, 2016. Just in time to angrily agitate everyone for Trump’s inauguration (#notmypresident). We would also take this time to thank all the many, wonderful Trolls who came out and participated in the party scene! You know who you are.

The second announcement is that guitarist Chris O’Grady will be reporting live from Standing Rock, ND, for the next month! He will have his own personal blog available, and prospectively with Somerville’s local access SCA-TV following his return. With the main road blocked into the Hunkpapa Oyate and Yanktonai Dakota Reservation, he is currently located at the Oceti Sakowin camp, and is very grateful to everyone. He says that the community of Standing Rock is “amazing beyond anything I could have imagined”.  Please stay tuned for further developments on the Oceti Sakowin camp’s eviction notice, and first-person accounts of the ongoing violence. It is also encouraged to support the ongoing #NoDAPL struggle by taking action and giving monetarily, considering that this is an active war zone.

Until we see you again on December 20th for the arrival “Lois Long”, we send you much love. We cannot wait to see you at one of our upcoming winter shows.

Let us leave you with the words of Lois Long, “We might die tomorrow, so let’s get drunk and make love”.

DON’T CALL IT A HIATUS

Troll 2 was conceived in spring of 2013, gestated over the summer, and finally popped out in November (562.2 lbs! What a lil’ peanut!). That first winter we were still acting with understanding that Troll 2 was some kind of joke that we were playing on the audience and it wasn’t really worth it for us to bring our instruments outside if it was less then 40 degrees out, so we didn’t gig until the spring. The next winter, we had lost Sam to Texas and Zoé was away slummin’ USA style, and the rest of us felt highly inadequate without them, so once again, we laid low until things got warm. Winter of 2015 I have almost no memory of, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t play a lot of shows. I’d know. I’d definitely know.

The point is, Troll 2 has made a tradition out of sitting out the scene for a month or two around the holidays. We think it has something to do with the fact that hanging out with all these crusties has brought our base urges to the surface and we’ve started to lightly hibernate. Whatever the reason though, we’ve decided to take this previously unintentional practice into our own hands, and this year we will be sitting out the winter harder and better then ever before! That’s right. You just can’t hold us down. Everything we do, we do all the way.

The main excuse for our conspicuous absence this upcoming holiday season will be that our Guitarist and official band Chaplain Chris O’Grady will be logging an extended stay at Standing Rock in North Dakota, adding his mind and body to the collective strength of the nearly 10,000 people who are currently there blocking the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The rest of us have other shit to do to. For example I am going to take the time off to finish my cartoon about dreams, which is totally just as cool and important.

Now, I know you’re saying “Where am I going to get my Troll 2 fix now? I’ve already listen to both these albums 25,000 times and watched all these music videos so much that I see them in my sleep! I will literally die without Troll 2!” I know you’re saying that, and it’s all absolutely true; but don’t worry, we got you! We’ve got plenty of cool junk planned for the winter, including the release of a new music video (Omigod! So great!) and maybe some other stuff (Don’t even really know what it is yet! But it’s gonna be soooo cooool!!!). Also, for the duration of Chris’s stay in North Dakota, the Troll 2 twitter feed will serve as a direct news feed from the frontlines at Standing Rock, as well as continuing it’s previous function as the sounding board for all my personal anxieties.

Now, I know you’ve been let down before; a band says they are taking some time off and you never hear from them again. But please, stick with us and let us teach you how to trust again. I assure you that we will be back in the new year, touring like dancing fools with a buttload of new material. Until then, just keep fighting that good fight.

BOSTON -> NYC -> PHILLY -> DC -> BALTIMORE -> NORFOLK -> HOME

So in case you didn't know, we spent last week on the road, traveling up and down the east coast sharing our wonderful music and high-quality personalities with people and places of all sorts, and now we're back. It's good to be back. As exciting and edifying as it is to visit new places and experience the different ways people drive, at the end of the day, I'm a masshole, and there's just something about that blend of incompetence and senseless aggression on the road that you can't get anywhere else, and I just don't feel complete without it.

So anyway we're back now, and I'm still very much buzzing off all the crazy awesome shit we got into. I could write for hours about all the things that we did and the people we met but that would be really boring for anyone but myself and the other trolls so I won't do that. That would be boring, I understand (and this is coming from someone who enjoys watching paint dry). Instead, I'm just gonna share a couple of little stories, snapshots, to use a visual art metaphor. Vignettes, to use another.

A fellow in Tompkins square park in Manhattan said we play "colorado funk". We gave him a cd and he asked us to sign it so we did. We asked how we could keep in touch and he said that sometimes you only meet people once in a lifetime. I think that means we smelled bad.

We spent an afternoon in midtown manhattan with a crowd of climate justice protesters outside the office of a senator who apparently kind of agrees with what we were saying and it made me feel really weird about my relationship with our country's various political institutions. Also FERC is a bunch of a bullshit.

The authority figures at the city park we busked at in Philadelphia, PA told us how to break the busking rules.

The authority figures as the state park we stayed at in Greenbelt, MD told us how to break the fire rules.

All told, we probably pulled fifty ticks off ourselves in the three days we stayed in Greenbelt and now we probably all have lyme disease. Fun fact, the visceral horror of having a tiny organism digging into your flesh and drinking your blood wears off surprisingly fast.

Virginia beach is an unmitigated fucking hellhole and you absolutely cannot busk there.

Norfolk, VA, might be one of the coolest places I've ever been. They have a movie rental place that's basically the parthenon of DVDs. They've got shit organized by genre, subgenre, nationality, director, and a selection that I didn't even think was possible to have in one place in this day and age. And they actually get a lot of business. We played in front of the place for a few hours and people were continuously going in and out with DVDs in their hands the whole time. Netflix has nothing on that shit.

Anyway, thanks for reading my news article. I'm tired.