Frontier Ruckus

Frontier Ruckus

Sitcom Afterlife is the 4th LP by Frontier Ruckus. Those on board since 2008's The Orion Songbook have seen the band's proverbial minivan careen wildly through a microcosmic Metro Detroit in sharpening detail. Culminating with 2013's Eternity of Dimming—a double-album of 20 songs and some 5,600 words—the band's ambition to extract universal life from personal minutiae had received its greatest indulgence. And now the strip malls have been numbered. The esoteric significance of each Dairy Queen is cataloged with hyper-specificity. In sanctifying a seemingly mundane suburban terrain, songwriter Matthew Milia's obsessive nostalgia has taken on a robust physicality. It is within this established mythological landscape of dealerships and supermarket lots that the densely woven stories from Sitcom Afterlife occur. This time, though, it is the people and their relationships, rather than the places by which they are defined, that have regained the emotional focus.

Though Frontier Ruckus' songbook has thoroughly dealt with the dissolution of love, Sitcom Afterlife's narrator may be the first spokesman for the band made to sift through the vitriol and confusion of winding up on the losing end. Smartly contrasted with a decidedly classic-pop hookiness, the narrative unfolds across each song cohesively—reconstructing a relationship and its demise, its tender and nightmarish poles. Providing crucial emphasis to these manic swings are the elegant orchestrations of David Jones and Zachary Nichols. Jones accompanies the jangle-pop of Milia's 12-string guitar with layers of inventive banjo tones that shimmer like 90s radio. Nichols, whose sonic experimentation has been a crucial ingredient in Frontier Ruckus' DNA, mingles brass and synth warmth with whirling singing-saw in precise counterpoint to the songs' emotional flux. Equally important is the return of Anna Burch's harmonies, which continue to add an indispensable femininity and balance to Milia's nasal harangue.

With all of these components firing together so deliberately unified, the result is a dynamic, nuanced monitor into one's internal processing of desire and loss—and perhaps Frontier Ruckus' most streamlined and intensely cogent work yet.

Drunken Barn Dance

The band features an all-star cast of Michigan musicians, many of whom played with Sellwood in Fred Thomas’ blissful pop collective, Saturday Looks Good to Me. The band is: Scott DeRoche – guitar, Ryan Howard – drums, Greg McIntosh – guitar, and Jim Roll – bass. Other frequent contributors include Carol Catherine Grey, Matt Jones and Fred Thomas.

Sellwood currently lives in San Francisco, while the rest of the band remains in Michigan. DBD has been lucky to play with many amazing bands, including Okkervil River, Magnolia Electric Company, Shearwater, the War on Drugs, the Watson Twins, David Dondero, Saturday Looks Good to Me, Frontier Ruckus, Chris Bathgate, Matt Jones & the Reconstruction, Great Lakes Myth Society, among others…

Jake McMullen & Ellex Bree

Jake McMullen is twenty-year-old singer-songwriter from Orange County, CA. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Jake has been writing songs from a young age. His first EP entitled, “Wonder” (Produced by Barrett Slagle) was released in 2010 and set Jake up to be nominated for an Orange County Music Award as, “Best New Artist.” After dedicating much of his time and effort to his side-project, York, Jake recently released a split EP with the Boston native and good friend, Ellex Bree entitled “Ellex Bree + Jake” (Produced by Chase Weber). The EP consists of 3 songs from each artist and contains a raw, pure, organic texture with honest and vulnerable lyrics. Although young in age, Jake traverses all styles of music from the stripped down storytelling of just Jake and his guitar, to cinematic indie rock, Jake’s music and voice are certainly far beyond his time. Either playing by himself, with Ellex Bree, or with a live band, Jake has always made music that is described as, “captivating, pure, and honest.” He has been compared to that of Ryan Adams, The Tallest Man on Earth, Bon Iver, The Head and The Heart, Night Beds, and Noah Gundersen. 

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