Gas Daddy Go! pumps out hot King Elk and Me & Mountains jams
By Tim Anderl
In a recent issue of Columbus’ The Other Paper, Kevin Elliott (formerly of 84 Nash), told writer Joel Oliphant that Dayton is experiencing a musical renaissance. Though he didn’t exactly elaborate on where the “renaissance” originated, the catalog of local releases already generated by Dayton’s micro-indie label Gas Daddy Go! and local musicians over the last year makes a strong case that Elliott’s speculation is on point.
On June 30, Gas Daddy Go! Records will present a showcase to celebrate the latest releases by Me & Mountains, III, and King Elk, Making Buildings Out of Everything. The band will perform at Canal Street Tavern, with support provided by Wake Up Mordecai [of yet another local indie label, Poptek Records], for an evening of music that is proof positive that Dayton’s independent music scene is firing on all cylinders. In addition, the folks from Basho Apparel will do live screenprinting of the event’s poster image [designed by Kevin Hamilton of Let’s Be Friends design company] for purchase as a t-shirt.
Founded in 1989 by local music journalist, scene cheerleader and musician Don Thrasher, Gas Daddy Go! Records reemerged with prompting from bandmate (and Dayton City Paper co-editor), Kyle Melton, after a decade hiatus to release the Treasure Virgins EP by their band, Smug Brothers.
“There are a lot of people in town putting out great music. We also recognized that there was a lot of good stuff that no one was doing anything with,” Thrasher explained. “We were putting out our EP already and we figured that with just a little bit of effort we could put out some additional cassettes under the Gas Daddy Go! banner and make it a functioning label again.”
“The idea was that there would be strength in numbers, rather than having everyone put out their records individually,” Melton added. “We’re doing limited runs of these releases. The cassette has a unique niche as a format, and with the availability of us to release the songs digitally as well, it just made sense for us to do this and help other people get their releases together as well.”
To date, the label has released cassette and digital output from Motel Beds and Oh Condor, which culminated with a dual-release blowout in February at South Park Tavern.
In 2010, Dayton quintet Me & Mountains released their debut EP, a record full of irresistible and sophisticated pop hooks, to glowing reviews from the local media. By the time they were invited to perform at Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati that fall, they were one of the tightest, hungriest bands Dayton had to offer. Fresh off the early 2012 release of their full-length, Feral, M&M began recording their Gas Daddy Go! EP, III, in April and finished it just in time for the release show.
“This time around we put more effort into making the recording a little more hi-fi. I think the vocals really shine a lot better on this record and as we tried to incorporate more harmonies,” Me & Mountains singer/bassist Burris Dixon said about the forthcoming effort. “I think it really is a very lush recording.”
Dixon added that for the June 30 performance one “mountaineer” will require a pinch-hitter. “Tim Collette has a conference in New York he has to attend so we brought Tim Krug from Oh Condor in to fill in on guitar for the show,” Dixon said. “Tim (Krug) also mixed the record and he did an amazing job.”
Thrasher explained that Krug is no stranger to the label – in addition to being on the GDG! roster, he is the label’s go-to guy for web and design support. In fact, Krug created the artwork and liner notes for several Gas Daddy Go! releases.
Fans of Dayton’s independent rock scene should also recognize King Elk, as the band’s primary songwriter, Andy Smith, did time in popular Gem City quintet Andrew & the Pretty Punchers. Shortly before the Punchers hung up their hats in October 2010, Smith told Dayton City Paper, “No matter how hard I tried, I always kept writing rockers with this band. It’s really weird because I’m a really sad guy, but I write these pop songs. I dunno, it’s time to be sad for real.” Smith was only partially forthcoming on his future direction though. While songs like “Ghost” and “The Navy Boat” conjure comparisons to other sometimes downtrodden troubadours like Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams, tracks like “Sea Swallows Sun” are sparkling, Beatles-influenced pop gems.
“On Making Buildings Out Of Everything I wanted to break out of the two or three minute pop song, and really take a song to its limits; changing its rhythm and pace while still keeping the overall feeling,” Smith explained. “It’s a loose record, it feels like it’s live. A lot of it is, but we did do some layering to flesh out some of the simple ideas.”
“It’s another ode to the Midwest. It’s about Ohio, love, depression, drunk nights, and strange mornings,” Smith added. “I basically wrote some new songs and worked with some of the best musicians, engineers, and artists in town to put out a record that sounds like I feel. And it was a fucking blast.”
Pre-orders for the cassettes begin on June 15, they will be available for purchase the evening of the show, and they’ll be in local independent record stores on July 3. In coming months, Thrasher said GDG! plans to continue their deluge of buzzworthy releases with new efforts from local standouts Astro Fang, Homemade (featuring members of Buffalo Killers) and Roley Yuma; releases that will no doubt provide an answer to the age-old question, “Who’s your daddy?”
Gas Daddy Go Records! will celebrate the dual-cassette releases from King Elk and Me & Mountains with a show on Saturday, June 30 at Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St. Opening the show will be Wake Up Mordecai. Doors open at 9 pm and admission is $5 for 18 & up. For more information, visit gasdaddygo.bandcamp.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@DaytonCityPaper.com.