Iwrestledabearonce

Iwrestledabearonce

Iwrestledabearonce snap necks with a smile. On their debut album, It's All Happening (Century Media Records), the Shreveport, LA quintet embraces elements of grindcore, electronica, jazz, rock 'n' roll and even a little country for a chaotic aural concoction that's as intoxicating as it is incendiary. Produced by Ryan Boesch (Norma Jean) and released in June 2009, It's All Happening segues from Steven Bradley and John Ganey's syncopated spastic riffs to dance floor ready rhythms and beats courtesy of bassist Mike "Rickshaw" Martin and drummer Mikey Montgomery. Above this explosion of styles, vocalist Krysta Cameron screams with precise brutality, before crooning out hauntingly ethereal passages. On cuts like "Danger in the Manger" and "You Ain't No Family," her voice swings like a sledgehammer from bludgeoning to beautiful. On June 29, 2010 the band will unleash the It's All Remixed! CD/DVD, a reissue of It's All Happening featuring a host of remixes and exclusive video. Iwrestledabearonce could be the bastard children of Dillinger Escape Plan and Portishead, and they're just what music needs at the moment—a swift and repeated kick in the ass.

Iwrestledabearonce began slaying Shreveport in early 2007, and they quickly caught the attention of the music community after dropping their self-titled, self-released debut EP and several DIY North American tours. A short time later, the band recorded the single and video "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon," which burned up the Sirius Hard Attack charts and achieved massive amounts of views on YouTube. Soon after, Century Media approached them about doing a full-length. It's All Happening was then brought to life by Boesch in producer Ross Robinson's Venice Beach studio. "I think the name of the album pretty much sums it up," exclaims Steven. "We tried to include as much as possible while writing actual songs. We're not merely throwing random pieces together. The only rule we have is that there are no rules. It's a mix of everything we enjoy musically."

Fans have thoroughly enjoyed it as well. When It's All Happening dropped last summer, the album debuted at No. 121 on the Billboard Top 200, selling 4,300 copies in its first week and landing at No. 1 on the prestigious Heatseakers chart. Immediately afterwards, Iwrestledabearonce engaged a touring onslaught that saw them share stages with everyone from All Shall Perish to Horse The Band to August Burns Red. Live, they became a fan favorite, and they'll be bringing their one-of-a-kind, fearless show on the road all this summer coinciding with the release of It's All Remixed!, including a stint on the Vans Warped Tour from July 20-August 15.

The band's charm lies in their sonic sense of ADD—catapulting "The Cat's Pajamas" and "Pazuzu For The Win" from bludgeoning, battle-ready math metal to danceable hip hop doused in jazz for good measure. About that ability to switch genres on the drop of a dime, Krysta comments, "We all have a diverse array of influences such as classical, jazz and music from the '70s, '80s, '90s and now. Our music is everything and anything the listener wants to make out of it—like an abstract painting."

That abstract painting is a blood-spattered smattering of genres, and Krysta still gets personal at the center of this psychotic symphony. "This album is something I needed to get out lyrically," she reveals. "It's a chance to close some open doors that have been waiting to be shut for a very long time now. However, I think we could all agree that this is the start of a growth spurt, artistically and musically."

That growth will most likely inspire the genre itself to evolve. In addition to having zero boundaries, Iwrestledabearonce wield a sense of humor as sharp as their riffs. Their very moniker even came from a Gary Busey quote. "All of our song titles are silly references to inside jokes or movies," Steven goes on. "We love all sorts of weird movies and music, and obviously we named the band after Gary Busey so we definitely respect his insanity! A lot of people in heavy bands feel the need to act tough and super cool all the time. We don't care about any of that; we want to have fun."

Off stage, Iwrestledabearonce are just as creative as they are with their instruments. Krysta even creates her own handmade purses. "When I'm sewing my handbags, I'm doing it all by myself. I can lock myself in my bedroom with my art supplies and a good record and go at it for hours."

That creative vision carries on in the music. The frontwoman continues, "The lyrics for the album came together by using forms of sleep deprivation, lucid dreaming, personal isolation and silence. I found that keeping to myself when I was writing the lyrics for the album It's All Happening was key to being able to express not only personal feelings and thoughts but also to dig a little bit deeper into my own psyche."

The remixes on the album's re-release allow fans to delve further into the components of the songs themselves, showing another side. Steven says, "This re-release is equally as important because it lets us share some remixes done by friends as well as tons of video content which will let people really get to know how stupid we truly are."

The one thread amongst all of the style-shifting—Iwrestledabearonce are all about risks. "Go out and live a little," announces the guitarist. "Do something uncomfortable and out of your norm and maybe you'll like it!"

Ultimately, outside of Gary Busey, there are few things as abnormally awesome as Iwrestledabearonce. You'll love how uncomfortable they make you. —Rick Florino

Danny Greene

straight up hardcore.

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Iwrestledabearonce with Hallow Point, Danny Greene, Alice Alive, Dayshell

Tuesday, August 20 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 6:30 PM at FUBAR