The Danglers
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The Danglers

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Rock Avant-garde

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"What more can possibly be said about The Danglers? How many thesauri do we have to burn through trying to find a new superlative?" - Scott Radtke - The Press


"Casually, almost unpremeditatedly, the guitarless trio melds influences, ideas, and worlds many keep fenced apart. " - Dave Luhrssen - Shepherd Express


Their instrumentation defies the norm: Jason Loveall's mastery of violin and Dave Gelting's prowess on standup bass defines their signature sound. John Sparrow, arguably the best player to pick up a pair of sticks, brings it all together with a style reminiscent of Buddy Rich." - Brian Barney - Shepherd Express


"This noisey combo from Milwaukee, Wisc., virtually rewrites the rules of music, seemlessly referencing countless genres without once lapsing into pastiche" - Listen.com


"Loveall's mastery, Gelting's fluid intensity, and Sparrow's percussive genius have long set the standard for live performance...." - Lane Klozier - Maximum Ink


"If you like to be pleasantly-OK, outrageously-surprised by music, see this show" -
Paddy Finneran - Racine Journal Times


"The songs evoke emotion--pull it out of you...reach a spot on your heart that was
dirtied years ago, and make it red again" - Elaine Litzau - The Orbit


"...a surreal mix of musical abandon and medieval manners" - Maximum Ink


The Danglers are musical alchemists of the finest sort." -Kendra Ramic - Shepherd Express


"A fervent devotion to their art form and instruments comes across in The Danglers' unabashedly emotional sets" -Cynthia Hanefin - Milwaukee Journal


"It's not just this Milwaukee trio's instrumentation- Upright Bass, violin, and drums- that charms me. It's what they do with it." (Monica Kendrick) - Chicago Reader


Riverwest's Circle A has seen enormously talented bands on its tiny stage, but the performances by the Danglers on their live disc, captured on three nights earlier this year, must be among the most combustible. The Milwaukee trio of Dave Gelting, Jason Loveall and John Sparrow, augmented on some numbers by Jason Wietlispach and Matt Long, harkens back to the blazing fury and dexterity of early progressive rock—before it hardened into the genre conventions of prog. The Danglers often sound like they could have given King Crimson, circa “21st Century Schizoid Man,” a run for the stage. The band tips its hat to the era with a dynamic cover of Syd Barrett's “Astronomy Domine.” - Shepherd Express


Few bands in Milwaukee have earned the kind of reputation for searing live performances that The Danglers enjoy.

So, it seems perfectly natural that the progressive band – which draws on elements of prog rock, metal, jazz and more for its high-voltage style – would issue a live CD.

"Live at Circle A" was recorded at the Riverwest venue in February on a portable digital recorder. The result is a disc that packs all the sweat and vibe of a club gig. The shows were The Danglers' 13th anniversary performances.

"We try to record everything we do," says drummer John Sparrow. "We attempt to capture magic whenever and wherever it might occur. Also, over the years fans have said they enjoy our studio releases, but they lack what the live shows have, such as energy, spontaneity, improv and even 'sexiness.' We wanted to give our fans the CD they have wanted for 14 years and have something that truly represents the band's sound and vibe not just our songs."

The band – which also includes violinist, vocalist and guitarist Jason Loveall and bassist Dave Gelting – is augmented by a couple guests – keyboardist Matt Long and saxophonist Jason Wietlispach – on the 11-track disc, which runs more than 70 minutes.

"There is material from past records," says Sparrow, who says there are also a couple new songs, too. "The incentive to hearing or owning those tracks now, is that the songs finally have the sound or energy that fans and the band wanted but may have lacked."

There is also a trio of covers: Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine," Radiohead's "The National Anthem" and King Crimson's "Sailor's Tale." These, however, are only available on the physical CD release, not via digital download.

"We do cover Pink Floyd semi-regularly," says Sparrow. "The fans love it and we like the contrast from some of our more aggressive material like our tune Ascend for example. We hadn't done the King Crimson in years and I am not too sure what triggered us to do it, possibly the anniversary aspect of the show.

"However, the stand out cover is 'The National Anthem' by Radiohead. It features Jason Wietlispach on saxophone, and the song is amazing; it speaks for itself. We really made it our own."

Sparrow says the recordings from the shows exceeded the band's expectations.

"And then some," Sparrow enthuses. "When we initially listened back to the tracks we were excited about the energy and performance of each song. The sound quality was good, too. ... It still retains the dynamics that The Danglers use as part of our style and sound."

You can experience those dynamics via the CD, which you can buy at Rush-Mor in Bay View, The Exclusive Co. on Farwell Avenue or online at CDBaby.com. You can also download it – minus the cover songs – via iTunes and other online shops.
- OnMilwaukee.com


It’s hard to tell how the members of Milwaukee’s The Danglers keep up the near-constant suspense of their live shows, until folks notice that the members are simply playing the fuck out of their fiddle, double bass, and drums. The Danglers’ sturdy, hands-on musicianship alone stirs up so much pub-punk bombast that all the loops, distortion pedals, and feedback breakdowns seem kind of redundant. Then again, it’s the kind of adventure that goes well with a little excess. Jimmy At The Prom, meanwhile, successfully channels both early ’90s alt-rock and late-’70s hard-rock on its recent self-titled debut disc. - The Onion A.V. Club Milwaukee


"Experimenting with sound like this is fun for any drummer to try every so often; Sparrow makes an art of it" - Modern Drummer Magazine


Prog meets punk, meets downright weird! Really different music, & so many styles. Check them out—you won't be disappointed. - ElectricFreedom


Riverwest's Circle A has seen enormously talented bands on its tiny stage, but the performances by the Danglers on their live disc, captured on three nights earlier this year, must be among the most combustible. The Milwaukee trio of Dave Gelting, Jason Loveall and John Sparrow, augmented on some numbers by Jason Wietlispach and Matt Long, harkens back to the blazing fury and dexterity of early progressive rock—before it hardened into the genre conventions of prog. The Danglers often sound like they could have given King Crimson, circa “21st Century Schizoid Man,” a run for the stage. The band tips its hat to the era with a dynamic cover of Syd Barrett's “Astronomy Domine.” - Shepherd Express


They’re brash, bold bastards.  Their sound is dirty, gritty, and unforgiving.  The Danglers are the first bad boy band of the Modern Progressive Rock era. Why?  Because they choose to play their fucking instruments, not send us three and a half minute poop teasers we can flush as soon as the last note fades on itunes.   They don’t have to scream like someone chopped off their left nut.  The Danglers have already chopped off a few nuts and left them…well, danglering.  OK, they might not be Johnny Rotten but…

In 1997, three musicians decided to combine an electric violin, stand-up bass, and drums.  They had a novel idea for a 90's band.  Why don’t we play our instruments like say..musicians!   Since that time The Danglers have released 4 studio albums, 3 live albums, more singles than we can count (with another release coming soon that I shouldn’t even tell you about), and compilations to boot.  This is what the term “prolific” means.
Not only that but members of the band have toured and recorded with the Violent Femmes,  The Tossers, Fred Anderson, and Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds.  These guys have some serious credentials.  They also have street creds if you go by the pictures we’ve lifted from Google Image Search (heh).

What about their music?  When John Sparrow, band troublemaker/troubadour sent me their music, I thought it was a new CD. It appears to be a mixture of two different musical adventures, a retrospective compilation album  Decade 1 (1999-2009)  and a second album, Live at Circle A.   We will focus on the select songs from Decade 1.

Comet Czar has a mellow entrance that eases into an electric violin dominated slippery, wet progression that gave my sync lock a fit on beat assist..but it was humming around 108 bpm for a  moment or two.
The vocals are surrounded by a cacophony  of discordant instrumentation, distorted and violent, which actually works because the vocals are sliding around and under notes like a  Johhnny Rotten meets the grunge movement live performance.    Yeah, this is black dirt on white skin music. Turn it up, fuck the Republican neighbors- they should have moved to a gated community ten years ago.

Ascend begins at the top of a sonic mountain.  It’s wild, fast, wicked and pissed off.  The opening run on the scale reminds me of an old Irish tune, sped up to 200 mph in a ’73 GTO, glass packs roaring on the Levittown Parkway.  The vocal melody is pure Tom Petty commanding the Enterprise at Warp 10 – Scotty is yelling “she can’t take much more” and he’s right, the ship’s reactor goes into melt down…the song deconstructs at 1:44 and the sounds are like steel bending!  But Scotty is crawling through that tiny vent with Spock and they are pulling colored discs out of the panel…and IT WORKS because at 2:26 the fucking core lights up and we are flying at Warp 15 and I dont think it’s possible but I can FEEL the speed of this song…so this is how the Voyager ended up in the Delta Quadrant! Ascend drops into orbit on top of the melody and we think we are going for a full circle around Planet Danglers but the band beams us out in a few short measures.  Now I’m standing on a dusty planet, somewhere North of Ridgecrest, CA wondering what the hell that was and checking my back pocket to make sure they didn’t steal my wallet.  Sneaky Alien Dangler bastards!

Crabs is next and it figures I picked up something nasty on Ascend.  I’m listening and the violin is playing a familiar sounding progression, 60's keyboardish Tangerine Dream sprinkled with a dash of  Jeff Buckley.  It’s a slower piece by comparison, but a great deal creepier.  The Danglers take wild chances with their music, twisting and heaving it into a post rock  metal nightmare.  Someone give me Windowpane and I will declare this band King of the World (right after I discover the meaning of life in one sentence).
Following Crabs is Backlava, a jazz fusion piece that begins in a  clear, concisely arranged fashion. Suddenly I am sitting at The Deer Head Inn at  Delaware Water Gap sipping wine and applauding them politely while waiting for the headliner, Keith Jarrett, to poke at the piano keys and call it “music”.  The Danglers can’t help  themselves and I hear tiny distorted sounds…just enough to give it a sharp edge and keep you guessing…you aren’t sure if they are going to lose their minds and waste ours in the process.

Backlava drops into a mellow progression and by the time the vocals arrive, we are deconstructed down to the stand-up bass, drums and vocals in a classic three-part jazz arrangement.  Sweet. It transitions slightly but remains top shelf jazz fusion from a contemporary jazz trio. Then someone yells GO! and oh my fucking whore, the violin attacks the core of the song. It is a violent assault upon the trio standard; insidious and spiteful.   The Danglers can play it and they can also destroy it.  Just when you think the entire song will explode, the trio lurches into an excellent jazz-rock progression. The song ends with single plucked notes.  Taunt Me, Tease Me should be an alternate title for this song.
- Dante's Prog. Blog Inferno


Mad Planet was the somewhat unlikely site of Milwaukee’s prog blowout of the year—the room best known for sweaty dance parties was taken over by headbanging and other jerky movements for this superior quadruple bill. For a band just starting out, Fibonacci Sequence had instrumental complexities that played well for a solid opening set. Next, the lone non-MKE band, Chicago’s The Hue, followed suit stylistically but with a decidedly heavier, tighter sound, and impressive twin lead guitars. Alpha Transit took things in a jazzy, highly improvisational direction and, to finish the night, The Danglers played a triumphant set of harrowing, experimental drum/bass/violin rock as only they could. Bassist David Gelting summed things up perfectly: “It’s been a lovely night of complicated music.” [CR] - The Onion A.V. Club Milwaukee


"They want to leave it up to you to decide what you think they are..."

...And I think that's a good definition for this band. Playing with a mixture of influences that came from the 60's prog / acid rock and includes jazz and heavy metal, they achieved a unique sound

Heavy Metal is probably what makes the difference and catches our attention to the jazzy melodies. Heavy-Jazz is what I mean to say. Some of the songs are even more heavy metal oriented, like the song called Aprhodite's Thighs, and this heavy thing for me is the high point their sound.

Another remarkable thing is their feeling and expression extracted from the instruments played, which sometimes contributes to create an intense sound chaos that reminds me a little bit of the Free Form Freak Out, from the psychedelic band Red Krayola, back in the 60's.

The Danglers are a trio from Milwaukee, USA, formed in 1997 and their inspiration are the progressive rock bands like King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Soft Machine, etc.

They released 9 records, including 2 EP and 2 singles: The suite (1999) and more recently Ascend (2008), a killer song \m/ very heavy! Their new album is Live at circle A, which captures their energy alive. Their live performances are also described as remarkable. Hope to see them! - Limbodorock


Few bands in Milwaukee have earned the kind of reputation for searing live performances that The Danglers enjoy.

So, it seems perfectly natural that the progressive band – which draws on elements of prog rock, metal, jazz and more for its high-voltage style – would issue a live CD.

"Live at Circle A" was recorded at the Riverwest venue in February on a portable digital recorder. The result is a disc that packs all the sweat and vibe of a club gig. The shows were The Danglers' 13th anniversary performances.

"We try to record everything we do," says drummer John Sparrow. "We attempt to capture magic whenever and wherever it might occur. Also, over the years fans have said they enjoy our studio releases, but they lack what the live shows have, such as energy, spontaneity, improv and even 'sexiness.' We wanted to give our fans the CD they have wanted for 14 years and have something that truly represents the band's sound and vibe not just our songs."

The band – which also includes violinist, vocalist and guitarist Jason Loveall and bassist Dave Gelting – is augmented by a couple guests – keyboardist Matt Long and saxophonist Jason Wietlispach – on the 11-track disc, which runs more than 70 minutes.

"There is material from past records," says Sparrow, who says there are also a couple new songs, too. "The incentive to hearing or owning those tracks now, is that the songs finally have the sound or energy that fans and the band wanted but may have lacked."

There is also a trio of covers: Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine," Radiohead's "The National Anthem" and King Crimson's "Sailor's Tale." These, however, are only available on the physical CD release, not via digital download.

"We do cover Pink Floyd semi-regularly," says Sparrow. "The fans love it and we like the contrast from some of our more aggressive material like our tune Ascend for example. We hadn't done the King Crimson in years and I am not too sure what triggered us to do it, possibly the anniversary aspect of the show.

"However, the stand out cover is 'The National Anthem' by Radiohead. It features Jason Wietlispach on saxophone, and the song is amazing; it speaks for itself. We really made it our own."

Sparrow says the recordings from the shows exceeded the band's expectations.

"And then some," Sparrow enthuses. "When we initially listened back to the tracks we were excited about the energy and performance of each song. The sound quality was good, too. ... It still retains the dynamics that The Danglers use as part of our style and sound."

You can experience those dynamics via the CD, which you can buy at Rush-Mor in Bay View, The Exclusive Co. on Farwell Avenue or online at CDBaby.com. You can also download it – minus the cover songs – via iTunes and other online shops.
- OnMilwaukee.com


“Established in 1997, The Danglers are a Progressive Acid Rock trio consisting of electric violin, standup bass, and drums. The Danglers combine Jazz, Classical, Heavy Metal, Punk and Fusion stylings. The result being, superior musicianship and intelligent song writing often accompanied by improvisation. Known for their amazing live shows, The Danglers are a MUST see live band!
Individually, each member of The Danglers have been plucked to tour and record as members of Violent Femmes, The Tossers, Fred Anderson, Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds, and many more throughout the band’s history”.
The technical artistry and musical momentum The Danglers generate is honestly amazing, this certainly isn`t commercial lightweight psychedelia or average Prog-Rock playfulness. The Milwaukee based trio`s rock compositions are almost neo-classical art forms, naturally non pretentious and completely absorbing. Performance art for the ears, the enthralling live shows come highly recommended, so if like myself you prefer instruments played by human beings and are passionate about music, The Danglers are a band that should not be overlooked. - Mojophenia.com


Originating in Milwaukee in 1997, The Danglers are that strangest of beasts that academically should not, on paper, work cohesively. Featuring Jason Loveall on violin and vocals, John Sparrow on drums
and percussion and David Gelting on contrabass and vocal, they successfully combine the attitude of punk, the bravado of metal, the virtues of classical, “avant garde”, jazz and, somehow, passages of extended improvisation. As an illustration of how much respect they command amongst their peers, they have shared the stage with members of the Allman Brothers and King Crimson. Listen to the chord progressions and use of instrumentation on tracks such as “Blacklava” and there is no need to wonder why they have been associated with the likes of King Crimson. On tracks such as “Ascend” however, any such comparison seems meaningless, through the onslaught of garage band production and demented violin soloing.
Further on through “Decade” the listener can listen to “Resolute”, an acid drenched 4 minutes of spaced out, psychedelic rock, supplemented with sound effects and dissonant landscapes more suited to any number of Hawkwind albums. Again, “Winter Sheets” is mournful in pace, but is loaded with enigma and a sense of unease, and is augmented with passages of raucous electronica which rather than distracting from the mood only goes to enhance it. “Sundays Son” is a short spoken piece over the abstract background of a myriad of indefinable instruments, whilst “Intermission Music” could have been lifted directly from an album by the Mothers of Invention.
So many direct comparisons may seem unfair and slightly reductionist, but there is no easy way to describe the many ingredients that go to make up the sound of a Danglers album. That such a glorious combination of styles and references can emanate from three musicians is remarkable in itself, and is due in part, to the alchemy between the artists throughout; an almost intuitive wisdom that is honed in performing improvised music. A voyage through an album of The Danglers music is a journey through the history of the key acts in the development of progressive and experimental music. - Alternativematter.net


Discography

Live at Rory's (1998) Cassette-LP
Faux Kack (1999) CD-EP
Cocktales (1999) CD-LP
The Suite (1999) 7" Vinyl Split Single
The Danglers (2000) CD-LP
We Had Heaven (2001) CD-EP
Ascend (2008) Digital Single
Fade Out Fade In (2008) CD-LP

Photos

Bio

Self proclaimed Heavy Wooden, The Danglers consist of Jason Loveall (Electric Violin/Vocals) , David Gelting (Upright Bass/Vocals), and John Sparrow (Drums/Percussion). The trio exudes a Punk and Heavy Metal semblance, accompanied by a Classical, Avant Garde, and Jazz songwriting style often including improvisation.

Individually each musician has contributed their skills for world tours and acclaimed recordings for artists such as; Violent Femmes, The Tossers, and Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds.

The Danglers have shared the stage with Derrick Trucks (Allman Brothers), Tony Levin (King Crimson), Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers), Trey Gunn (King Crimson), That One Guy, and Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire to name a few.