The Tastydactyls
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The Tastydactyls

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""Try something Tasty" by Wendy Gragg"

How could you not love a bunch of soccer fans from Robinson who ride scooters, take their cue from the Cure and write music about "how nerdy and bored we are."

Home-boy band, The Tastydactyls, will release its CD, Waking the Giants, in concert with Denton band Veloura and Waco musician James Callihan at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Jubilee Theater, 1319 N. 15th St.

Keyboardist Kyle Randolph; lead singer, guitarist and sometimes accordionist Blake Rawlings and drummer Austun Ables —all 20— are old band buddies from Robinson High, Class of 2005. Bassist Blake Northern, 45, joined the band about two years ago.

I met with Kyle and Blake R. and was instantly a fan. They could be my little brothers or the kids I used to babysit, or… well, in South Carolina I guess they could be my kids. Anyway, they’re influenced by some of the same stuff I listened to way back when I wore black and was moody. And I can hear the evidence of that influence in some of their stuff.

They describe their music as super, super dancy, even though they don’t actually dance. I’m looking forward to catching it live Saturday at my first Jubilee show. What I’ve heard of their music sounds fun, but honestly, I’m willing to root for these local guys because the half of the band that I met was just genuinely nice. They’re self-proclaimed nerds who love music and want to give it a serious shot. I have to respect that.

They were also unexpectedly pleasant about Waco. They reminisced about an early 90s local punk scene (though I would argue with the term “punk”. They say old Green Day. I say the Germs.) These guys are ready to fly their central Texas nest, but they still have plenty of love for the area.

“We think Waco honestly has a chance to be a pretty cool music scene.” Maybe you can lead that charge, guys. Best of luck!

Tastydactyl fans can also get an acoustic sampling of the new album at 8:30 tonight at Beatnix Coffeehouse, a smaller show mostly for friends and family.
- Waco Tribune-Herald

""Local band debuts dance-rock CD" by Clarissa Nash"

The Tastydactyls, a local indie rock band, will host an album release party Saturday in Waco to launch its new album, WAKING THE GIANTS.

Golina junior Austun Ables is featured on the drums and vocals, Blake Rawlings on lead vocals, guitar and accordian, Kyle Randolph on the keyboard, harmonica, synthesizer and vocals and Blake Northern on bass.

The Tastydactyls are no strangers to Waco's music scene. The band has opened and headlined numerous shows with other local bands, including James Callihan, Elliot Fitzgerald and Ethan Durelle. The band also toured Ireland playing shows last summer.

While The Tastydactyls have gained notoriety in Waco, WAKING THE GIANTS is the band's first L.P. Consisting of nine songs, the album is self-produced by the members, with mutual writing collaboration.

"We recorded the entire album in a bedroom," Randolph said, "with the exception of drums."

WAKING THE GIANTS is not an album that can be put into any category. The band members said they pulled ideas from some of their favorite artists, including Bloc Party, Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade and Franz Ferdinand. In the end, the band calls their music a mix of "Southern rock/dance" and "nerd rock."

"(The album) pulls from every genre, except polka and salsa," Randolph said.

What's to be expected when listening to WAKING THE GIANTS?

"We like to make people dance," Ables said.

Indeed, the album makes you dance. It's jam-packed with soaring energy. The synthesizer adds the sounds of the '80s without losing the band's original sound.

"Push It," which Randolph said is his favorite track to play live, is full of roaring guitar and heavy drums.

"Touche'" will not only make you dance, but its repetitive line, "I can't believe this" will have you singing along as well. You can also hear the use or a synthesizer, making "Touche'" a stand-out song on the album. The title track and "Zombies" are also stand-out tracks.

WAKING THE GIANTS offers an all-new flair that many listeners will enjoy listening to.

With high-energy rhythms, beats and eccentric lyrics mixed with alternative rock and '80s pop, The Tastydactyls are sure to gain fans and recognition from the music scene.

There is even a chance to hear the entire album live before the album release party, when the band holds a listening party at 8:20 p.m. Friday at Beatnix. The Tastydactyls will play an acoustic show with Caleb Lee. Admission for the listening party is free plus a chance to win a free copy of WAKING THE GIANTS.

The Tastydactyls will have the album release party at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Jubliee Theatre on 15th and Colcord Street, with bands James Callihan and Veloura.

Admission is $5 at the door and CDs and T-shirts will be on sale for $10 each. - The Baylor Lariat

""Tastydactyls: Waking Up Waco with a Giant Sound" by Benn Stimmel"

Waco is a strange city. I'm sure you hear that phrase murmured under people's breath constantly. Sure, we have both Ted Nugent and George W. Bush living within only a few miles of our city. We are home to a large university, and we have a population of over a hundred thousand people (or at least that's what the sign says).

Why is it, then, that such a small number of rock bands are formed in this place? If country music or heavy metal is your bag, you have a myriad of acts to check out. All you have to do is look at our music calendar. Judging from the sheer number of them, they must be doing pretty good business, and I salute them for that.

I grew up in this area (a small town called Rosebud, to be exact), and when I was younger, there were a lot of rock bands to be seen (and heard). On any Friday night, you could go out and see bands like Flashback (a personal favorite, look for a Jason Collins interview in the future), Gypsy Rose, Abraxas, Whirling Dervish and many others. Somehow, that all changed.

In the past couple of years, there has been a small rumbling of new, young bands forming and gaining a lot of press, both locally and nationally. One of these bands was Yay For Squares. YFS was a great pop punk trio who had everything that it took to become huge stars. As is the case with a lot of bands, the old "creative differences" curse crept in and the band broke up (on the verge of finishing what many people say would've been the album to put them over the top).

As someone who follows music, both personally and professionally, the band that has come up the most in conversations with music fans in this area is The Tastydactyls.

The 'dactyls (as I like to call 'em) are something that you don't see very much in this area. These guys are unapologetically pop/dance rock. I'm not talking about the stuff that you hear on that big pop station that the kids listen to. I'm talking about the kind of band that you heard on MTV back in the eighties when they actually played music videos. Can somebody tell me when that ended, by the way? Email me at the address listed in the "contacts" section of the paper.

The Tastydactyls was formed by Blake Rawlings (guitars/vocals) and Austun Ables (drums) while going to Robinson High School. Taking their name from "some scene in the movie Bio-Dome", the band added Blake Northern (bass) and Kyle Randolph (keyboards/vocals) to complete the line-up.

The band gained a lot of local press when they won the "102.5 The Bear" Battle Of The Bands. Entering the contest on a lark, they shocked everyone by beating heavier, more established groups.

With this win, the band gained a lot of new fans, and angered some of the competition.

It hasn't been easy being a self-proclaimed "indie dance pop" band in Waco, Blake says. "Booking shows in our hometown hasn't been easy. Most places either want an acoustic coffeehouse type band or a straight out metal band." They haven't let this discourage them. Despite a hard time booking shows, The 'dactyls have built a rabid fan base.

One of the most endearing things about the band is how personal they get with their fans. Get your head out of the gutter, people. The 'dactyls not only have a website, but a Facebook and a Myspace page where they keep in contact with their fans, posting on the progress of the new record (more about that later).

"We appreciate every person that has ever come to hear us play, ever listened to our music on Myspace or has bought a t-shirt. This sounds really cliche but we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them," Blake told me.

The biggest thing on the band's horizon is the release of their debut full length album "Waking The Giants" on March 22nd. The band began recording the self-produced nine-song album in October. With a little mixing by Colin Laflin, the guys are happy with the finished product. As someone who has an advance copy of the record, I can tell you that I can't stop spinning the thing.

The promo blitz for this thing is going to be huge. Not only did they actually subject themselves to an interview with yours truly, they are going to be playing a couple of shows to promote the release. The CD listening party is going to be at Beatnix Coffeehouse (on 19th and Lake Shore) on March 21st. The band will be playing a small acoustic set and spinning the CD over the sound system. You'll have a chance to buy merch and to hang out with the guys.

The next night will be the official CD release party at The Jubliee Theatre (at 15th and Colcord). This is going to be a show not to be missed. It will be the first time that you will be able to buy the album and then be treated to a show by the band.

This summer, the guys will go on a two month tour along the East coast, surely winning converts.

"We would love to tour with Dead Or Alive of The Cars (WITH Ric Ocasek), but you never know." Kyle says.

Any advice for a young fan interested in forming a band? "Stick with it. Play for as many people as you can as often as you can. The indie music scene in Waco is expanding, and this is a great time to start a band. Write what you want to write and don't let anybody discourage you." - Blake.

I have this wacky (some people call it scary) ability to see when a band is going to be huge and I see it with The Tastydactyls. If you want to be one of those people that jump on the bandwagon, wait until these guys are being played on Sirius' Alt Nation before you get into them. But, my friends, if you are a true music fan (and a real Wacoan), you will come out to Beatnix and The Jubilee Theatre to see these guys before they're too big to play their own hometown because the paparazzi is all over them.

It's your choice... - The City Review

""Waking The Giants" by Carl Hoover"

Kyle Randolph, keyboardist and occasional glockenspieler of the Waco band the Tastydactyls , confesses the group's name isn't a clever, oblique reference to finger-licking anything.

"Our drummer suggested it. It's in a Pauly Shore movie where he says something like, 'Eat a tastydactyl,' " Randolph explained. He added, somewhat ruefully, "We agreed to the name before we knew where it came from."

The offbeat name has led to some amusing garbles, including the Teradactyls and the Tasty Tabernacles. After the Saturday night release of the band's first CD, Waking the Giants, however, members of The Tastydactyls hope their brand of indie rock helps keep their name straight in fans' minds.

The band will release its CD in concert with Denton band Veloura and Waco musician James Callihan at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Jubilee Theater, 1319 N. 15th St.

The core of the Tastydactyls — Randolph; lead singer, guitarist and sometimes accordionist Blake Rawlings and drummer Austun Ables — played together in Robinson High School's band program, graduating from Robinson in 2005 (Rawlings and Ables were trombonists while Randolph played trumpet). They acknowledge the community's support for the band program reinforced the importance of music in their lives.

Blake Northern, the band's bassist, is the newest member, joining the group about two years ago after The Tastydactyls ' original bassist left and has since become a key part of the band. At 45, he's also the oldest, more than twice the age of his fellow players, who are all 20 years old and still in college.

Making most of tough scene

The concert's at the Jubilee Theater, a deliberate choice for the band, whose young members sharpened their musical teeth there as teens following Waco's limited live music scene. "Waco's a tough band scene, especially for indie bands," Rawlings observed.

The Tastydactyls play an eclectic brand of rock, one spiced by the occasional quirky touch of an accordion or glockenspiel. The group's MySpace page terms it "nerd rock."

"We're nerds, as much as we try to stay cool," Randolph admitted.

Nerd rockers, perhaps, but internationally experienced ones. Last summer the band took advantage of an invitation proffered over an Internet message board and flew to Ireland to perform a few gigs in Kilkenny.

For the last few months, the Tastydactyls have focused on recording and releasing Waking the Giants. Rawlings and Randolph engineered the home studio recording, with mixing by Colin Laflin from the Denton band Veloura.

The band aims to launch an active touring schedule in support of Waking the Giants. Cuts from that album released on the Tastydactyls ' MySpace page have drawn more than 2,000 hits over the last month. Members felt the timing was right to test the waters at making the Tastydactyls a full-time venture, Rawlings said. "We just want to make sure we're not miserable in a few years, wondering 'what if?' " he said.

Tastydactyl fans can also get an acoustic sampling of the new album at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Beatnix Coffeehouse, a smaller show intended largely for friends and family.

- Waco Tribune Herald

""The Tastydactyls" by Dana McKenzie"

2008 finds The Tastydactyls in the studio again, and 102.5 The Bear KBRQ-FM in Waco, Texas is excited to hear new things from our 2006 Battle of the Bands winner. Tasty beat out more than 30 Central Texas bands from Dallas to Austin to take the top prize and for good reason. They are not afraid to be catchy and bold all at once. They are solid. The Tastydactyls reflect lyrical and musical emotion and are a live show treat to experience. The band is certainly charming on and off stage. They have "presence" as they say in the biz. The keyboard is a nice touch for their sound, for it becomes a mainstay throughout and adds a slightly different touch versus the simplicities of drums, guitar, bass, vocals as most bands have stuck to lately. Frontman Blake Jr. is a joy to watch perform, he has charisma and passion, as do the rest of the guys. Tasty's sound takes you to a cool place you wanna hang out at for days! The Tatsydactyls having toured Ireland recently can do nothing but add more wordly culture to their already all-embracing sound. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us the future.

Dana McKenzie
102.5 The Bear - 102.5 The Bear KBRQ-FM

"“The Masses” by M.C. Bell"

The Tastydactyls Album: One & Nine (We Had A Hell Of A Run)
Does this band sound familiar to you? Well, assuming you’ve eased up a bit on your paint-huffing dalliances, you may recall that I featured the Tastydactyls in my “Pimp Your Band” portion of this here column. To refresh your mammary, the Tasties (as I like to call them for no particular reason) hail from deep in the heart o’ Tex-Ass and have been on one hell of a roll, as of late. For starters, they are coming off a glorious victory at their local battle of the bands competition where they treated the competition like the “small guy in prison.” They are also readying themselves for their first ever “World Tour” (okay, actually the are going to go play some gigs in Ireland) and recently released a kick-ass EP, One & Nine (We Had A Hell Of A Run). The music on this disc is down-right infectious. With it’s herky-jerky rhythms and quirky/clever instrumentation (accordions, train whistles and glockenspiels), One & Nine comes off as a wonderfully weird mix of Cursive (”Clockwork”) and Jimmy Eat World (”Like A Bear”). If you are looking for some truly imaginative alternative, look no further.
- Music For The Masses

""Briefly Up Close" Edwina Grace"

A Texas band will play their first non-US gig tomorrow and a kilkenny venue will host the show.
Headliners The Tastydactyls are hoping the popularity they have at home might carry over here where many of them hold family roots. Described as “infectious nerd-rock,” the band’s hardworking mentality culminates in a warm, but hyper stage show in which dancing is the order of the day.

Edwina Grace
Kilkenny People, Ireland

- Kilkenny People


"One and Nine, We Had a Hell of a Run"

"Waking The Giants"



In just three years, The Tastydactyls have become synonymous with the high energy, indie dance rock scene in Central Texas. Their infectious melodies, danceable beats and whimsical lyrics - a blend of alternative rock and 80’s synth pop, with a modern twist - are rapidly grasping the attention and hearts of music lovers everywhere.

The Tastydactyls began their journey three years ago, when they first performed at their high school’s battle of the bands. After placing second, they went on to showcase their maturing sound a year later in the 102.5 KBRQ-FM Battle of the Bands. By beating out more than thirty bands from Dallas to Austin, Tasty took the top prize and has since become one of the hottest acts in Central Texas.

After developing a strong fan base, The Tastydactyls took their act on the road and ended up in Ireland. Running a rigorous three-week tour, they earned an international following, and returned to the States with a wealth of knowledge and experience. They have recently released their debut album.

WAKING THE GIANTS, released March 2008, features nine original tracks that exhibit the band’s talent and diverse influences. Each song is catchy and distinctively independent, bouncing from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, yet forms a decidedly cohesive experience.

Each member of The Tastydactyls brings an individual creative element to the band. Blake Rawlings on guitar and lead vocals brings a strong presence to the stage every performance. Kyle Randolph added new texture to the band when he joined with his talent on the keys and meshed well with Blake to form a creative songwriting duo. Brandon Oswald recently joined the band and blends his eclectic bass-playing skills with Gedden’s innovative beats to create a steady, musical heartbeat. Gedden Gibson, the newest Tastydactyl, is a great addition to the band and brings an energy that can be felt, seen and heard in every cadence of the drum.

With the band’s passionate drive and determination, they are bound for success.