the terrordactyls
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the terrordactyls

Band Folk Children's Music


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"CMJ Thursday - Sadly, The Contents Of The Bag Were Lame"

By Zachary Timm:

I am not going to lie; I was definitely hurting this morning. Two days straight of incessant partying took a toll on my body and I needed some recovery time. With a belly full of pasta and my Dayquil fully kicked in I was ready to plow through another day of talented musicians and interesting takes on what music could be.

My first stop of the day was at the Knitting Factory for the Fanatic Promotion day party. It was an intriguing line up of eclectic artists that caught my eye and as a plus you got a bag of free shwag! Sadly, the contents of the bag were lame, but the bands were pretty impressive. The stand-out performances of the party included the quirky indie folk duo, the Terrordactyls; who performed cutesy pop rock arrangements equipped with kazoos, bells, a strange makeshift percussion contraption that resembled a hiking stick of some sort and lyrics filled with boyish adolescence. Their performance was a lot of fun and was a soothing accompaniment to the beginning of day three.


[...] - The Tripwire

"Pop Art for Pop Music"

by Megan Seling:

The Terrordactyls have finally released a full-length, and the packaging, just like their tender and simple bedroom pop, is utterly adorable. The CD case is, in fact, a mini pop-up picture.

I’m listening to the record for the first time right now, so I can’t give you a complete and whole-hearted review of the disc, but it’s more of what the duo did on their previous EP 80.5% Magic. That’s fine with me, I like what they have going.

Right now a stand-out track is “Zombie Girl.” It starts with a chorus of kids enthusiastically yelling “Yay!” and turns into a love letter to a girl who literally “tore out my heart” and “ate my hand.” There are gentle la la las throughout, and the proclamation that Zombie Girl is the “most awesomest girl in my school.” They also speak a little French in there, but I took German in high school, so I have no idea what they’re saying.

I also like “Devices,” a duet featuring Kimya Dawson—”You lift me up way into the clouds!” “You keep my feet firmly on the ground.” “I feel like I’m floating each time that we kiss.” “I beg of you, don’t drift too far for your hugs I will miiiiss.”

It’s so sweet.

If you’re curious, you can download the whole kazoo, xylophone, and handclap-filled record for free at the band’s website. Ten bucks, will get you the real deal with the cute pop-up CD sleeve. And if that’s not enough, a measly extra two dollars will win you a hand-drawn and customized turkey picture:

I’m not saying it’s gonna change the world or anything, but U2 aside, who does that anymore? - The Stranger (Seattle)

"The Terrordactyls: 'Devices'", January 18, 2008 - The Terrordactyls is a duo featuring Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl. Both are currently enrolled at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA where they've managed to gain some popularity in the anti-folk movement. Alternating time between studying, recording and touring, The Terrordactyls recently released their debut full-length album. The self-titled CD showcases the duo's simple but charming sound complete with toy piano and kazoos.

Despite being labeled a "lo-fi" band, The Terrordactyls say they "strive for the highest fidelity." The album is well produced but full of the whimsy you might expect in homemade recordings. The songs are bitersweet. Sadness or nostalgia are common themes.

"Devices" features guest vocals from fellow Olympian riot-folker Kimya Dawson, whose own music has gained popularity since appearing in the soundtrack to Juno. Cadiz and Stendahl joke that it would have been "too awkward" for them to sing together on "Devices." A duet between Dawson and Cadiz, it's a love song and the most endearing and catchiest track on the album.

Cadiz and Stendahl began working together when Cadiz taught Stendahl guitar in high school. They still consider their high school musical experiences to be influential and say it motivates them to continue playing music. Fellow northwest musicians such as Laura Veirs are also peer inspirations and The Terrordactyls' top choices as future collaborators.

The Terrordactyls have a spring tour that extends across the nation and will host the Fanatic Promotions SXSW showcase on one of their four SXSW dates. - NPR's Second Stage

"The Terrordactyls: The Terrordactyls"

by J. Poet:

The two young men who make up The Terrordactyls, Tyrel Stendahl and Michazel Cadiz, put this funky, endearing album of folk/pop wackiness together while living on opposite coasts. Cadiz recorded his parts in his Seattle apartment, despite the complaints of his neighbors, and Stendahl's parts were added from his apartment in Brooklyn. Remarkably, the album has a live, unified feel. The 13 tracks are marked by the surrealistic lyrics of Cadiz, the duo's slightly ragged harmonies, and instrumental work that's always throwing unexpected elements into the mix. If there's any such thing as freak folk, this is it. On "Facelift" the singer builds a smile for a girl with no face while a minimal drum beat and rippling acoustic guitars keep time until a celebratory blast of noisy electric guitar announces their delirious nuptials. "Sabina" is a wistful portrait of a lost love delivered by the duo's bright harmonies and accented by toy xylophone and minimal piano. "Zombie Girl" is gross and sweet, the kind of song The Ramones might have written if they were a folk band. Musically "Decoration Daniel" sounds like an early 60s pop tune, but the lyric is a kaleidoscopic panoply of disjointed images. On "Devices", an oddly fractured but endearing love song, Cadiz sings with Kimya Dawson, another uncategorizable folk artist, and their interplay brings a sappy smile to your face. "Shipping" could be an updating of Woody Guthrie's "I'm Gonna Mail Myself To You", but with a dark twist. After mailing himself to his girlfriend in a cardboard box, there's an accident that leaves his body in pieces, but before he dies he dreams of they're sailing off into the sunset making love and giggling with delight. It's another puzzling song on an album loaded with outlandish humor and a childlike world-view. "Swimming" is a desperate love song that again plays with the idea of death, but the tone is so light and dreamlike that it's hard to take seriously, even though the vocals sound anguished. The Terrordactyls have done something every young band dreams of. By taking familiar elements of folk and pop music and combining them with a worldview that's completely off the wall they've come up with an album that sounds nothing like anything but itself. It's hard to imagine what they'll do for an encore. - All Music Guide

"March 27: Rock, pop, & hip hop"

Sound Fix Records
8pm The Terrordactyls
With all the fuss that was made over the Juno soundtrack a few months ago, it's hard to tell exactly where the music-listening public stands on twee these days. The Terrordactyls, though, from Portland, have it down just right. The melodies are non-stop, the harmonies are perfect, and they even rock a xylophone. FREE. - The L Magazine

"MP3s: The Terrordactyls- "Parading" and "I Want to Cry""

Starting this week, the Terrordactyls are posting demos, demos, and more demos on their MySpace page.

Every week, will feature a new song demo. Some of these unpolished songs will end up on their upcoming LP with additional instrumentation, and other songs are early b-sides.

"I Want to Cry"--as any 'dactyls fan knows--is a classic from the band's self-titled album, and "Parading" is a track that is scheduled to arrive on the duo's next full-length.

The demos come as a promotion for a series of Terrordactyls-made posters, or do the posters come to promote the demos--we'll never know. All that's clear is that the band is as crafty with songwriting as they are with getting their name out there. - The Needle Drop (WNPR)

"The Terrordactyls - The Mike Bowers EP"

The first time I saw The Terrordactyls's self-titled album, I almost exploded at how cool the pop-up album was! I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before! It was/is beyond cool.

It looks like they've done it again with The Mike Bowers EP. Now I've already listened to all the songs, but it just seems more special to get the package.

First of all, the EP is see-through! It's cooler than what I can describe, you should really watch the video to get the full effect.

On top of that, you also get two baseball-type trading cards of Michael Cadiz & Tyrel Stendahl.

All the songs are covers of The Pharmacy, which I still haven't heard the originals. Although I would hazard a guess that the 'Dactyls version are more stripped down.

As I previously mentioned, I thought the Simon & Garfunklesque "Overcast Summer" is the best song on the EP, but the kazoo (and xylophone?) made "Growing Old" a close second.

The truth is none of these songs are bad!

If you're at all interested in happy lo-fi pop/folky songs (like in the recent Juno soundtrack, especially because of the duet with Kimya Dawson on "Devices"), you should definitely give The Terrordactyls a try.

They're also in the middle of their Spring tour, and (shock!) they're coming here to Minneapolis. I have no idea where The Belfry Center is, but, trust me, I'll definitely show up.

And although "Prince" isn't about singer/entertainer Prince, I sure hope they dedicate this song to him when they're in Minneapolis.

Pick up some of The Terrordactyls latest EP at Don't Stop Believin' or, I have made it really easy by embedding the "Terrordactyls R Us" store here.

Watch the video:

- We Heart Music

"Band of the Week"

The Terrordactyls

"If you want to die/Give me a call/We’ll have each other bleeding in no time at all/Our summer’s ending/Now, it’s time we fall."

The sweet sadness (or sad sweetness) of life hand wrapped and delivered straight to the deepest memories of your childhood. That is what Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl have managed to achieve on their self-titled full length debut while living across the country from each other. Amidst the extended and passionate kazoo solos, the toy piano melodies, and lo-fi guitar strums lives the conflicted story of youth. The I love you, but you broke my knee caps, the joy and sorrow, the humor and the tears, all packed into a charming 37 minutes. You can't help but fall in love with the bittersweet fun and confusion, and simply sit back and float along.

The Terrordactyls have personally put together 1,000 copies of this debut album. All of the artwork has been drawn by Tyrel Stendahl, and when you open the cd their is a wonderful pop-up of a piece of machinery. However, if you can not afford the $10, the songs are available for free download on their website. They also have two ep and tons of other goodies available for sale.

Recently, both Mike and Tyrel took some time out from making cds and taking silly pictures of themselves to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Living across the country from each other has to make recording difficult. How was this handled?
Michael Cadiz (MC): Until recently, I have been recording things separately and then going to New York to record Ty's parts. It doesn't necessarily make things too difficult, but it doesn't make the recordings very cohesive. The next album will be different. I'm recording demos now. After that, we'll spend a some time together arranging and performing the songs before we start to record anything. We will also probably have somebody help us that actually knows what they are doing.
Tyrel Stendahl (TS): We may technically live across the country but I’m back in Seattle constantly and Michael is in New York for months at a time. I’m pretty sure we’re together
more than we are apart.

OA: The liner notes to the album state that a lot of the writing for this album was done in Chicago. What are your Chicago ties?
MC: I went to school there for a while. It was pretty unremarkable. I spent most of my time alone in practice rooms that looked like refrigerators.
TS: Yeah, Michael went to fancy guitar school there for a year before Joining me at Evergreen State in Olympia. He made the right choice.

OA: You don't hear the kazoo used too often in popular music, how did you come to
use this unique instrument in your music?
MC: I don't really remember.
TS: Kazoo is pretty awesome…and you don’t need any talent or to practice to make it sound exactly like it is supposed to sound, which is fun. They are also cheap.

OA: The appearance by Kimya Dawson on "Devices" is perfectly done. How did you
come to work with her?
MC: I think that we met her at a show she played with The Pharmacy at Second Avenue Pizza a long time ago. I missed it though. I had to fly somewhere the next day... or something. I don't really remember. I was probably mostly just being dumb. Anyway, I wrote to her a while ago and asked her if she would sing on one of our songs that needed a female part. I didn't really know her very well before that. I think that my only encounter with her was when we had a short conversation about The Mighty Ducks and how one of us had read something online
about them maybe making a fourth film... but that never happened. Anyway, she was really nice about everything. In exchange, I helped to record her singing on some songs by Tiny Masters of Today... she also recorded a pretty good rattle solo.
TS: Kimya is amazing. We think she is wonderful and were very excited when she agreed to sing on Devices. I’ve tried singing that part but it is super awkward.

OA: In the video for "Decorating Daniel" the two of you are seen making the cd packages. Were they all handmade? How many cds were made?
MC: 1,000 all by hand. Glue sticks and box cutters. Our friend Jenn helped us a bunch though.
TS: Yep all 1000 made by hand. Each one starts out as a printed sheet of 11 x 17 paper and gets cut, folded and glued. We’re very proud of them.

OA: What was the reasoning behind making the album available for free download through your website?
MC: We don't have real distribution and we weren't making any money anyway, so we decided that, at least for the time being, we would put it up there for free.
TS: The more people that listen to it the better, right? If people like it we’re happy, and maybe they’ll order one of the handmade pop-up ones?

OA: What's next for The Terrordactyls?
MC: Tour in March and April. SXSW. Another album. We're probably going to start selling paintings and crafts on our website to raise money for tour and living.
TS: We also just put out a 5 song limited edition EP of cover songs by our friends from Seattle, The Pharmacy. It’s on Don’t Stop Believin’ Records and its super fancy. It even comes with Terrordactyls Trading cards. You can pick it up on our website.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your
favorite coffee spot?
MC: I'm not that picky about coffee. I actually like really cheap diner coffee.
TS: I love Coffee. I am also fond of cheap diner coffee and will love a place that has waitresses that are on top of refills. New York kind of sucks for this, I’m very excited about our upcoming tour.

OA: What was the last great book you have read?
MC: Right now, I'm reading 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce. I like it so far. I don't really like talking about books though.
TS: I’ve been reading and dissecting Lots of pop-up books for a secret project Michael and I have been working on. The best thing I’ve come across lately is Moby-Dick: a Pop-Up Book by Sam Ita. Facelift/Sabina/Zombie Girl/I Want to Cry/Decoration Daniel/Fall/Devices/Sandcastles/Shipping/Parking Lots/Nobody Knows/Swimming/Home/Baltimore

For more information on The Terrordactyls or to get a very cool pop-up cd visit their website. You can also check out their myspace page for tour dates which begins March 7th, in Seatle, WA.
Posted by Jason at 7:52 AM
Labels: Band of the Week - What To Wear During an Orange Alert?

"The Terrordactyls: Contrast and Compare"

It's true that the presence of Kimya Dawson was the main impetus behind me inserting the Terrordactyls' new self-titled disc into the laptop right away when it arrived. Her duet with one of the 'dactyls on track 7, "Devices," is surely one of the best in class since Paul and Michael laid down "Say Say Say", but then Kimya's voice gets me choked up every single time I see the Juno trailer in the theater, if only due to the staggering emotional whiplash of the Bucket List-to-Kimya juxtaposition.

I've listened to the whole thing several times through, though, and keep smiling at their ability to keep me engaged with songs that are this kazoo-heavy. At first blush, the album plays like Kindercore-era Of Montreal, exuberant lo-fi whimsy held together with enough scotch tape to stay intact for two minutes, maybe. But pay more attention, and there's a steady sense that Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl aren't always kidding. "Hang me from the rafters and I’ll hang you from the lamp post/We’ll see which one of us wants to end everything the most," they sing on "Fall", before some crazy fun verses of chant-sing.

This will fit in nicely next to your Jeffrey Lewis, Boat, and Bishop Allen records; it takes the best bits of 90s indie-pop and twee and blends it with some semi-serious melancholy and half-ironic cries for help, along with a few melodies you may be physically unable to keep from singing the second time around. - Indie Folk Forever

"The Terrordactyls: Mike Bowers"

A sweet collection of toy piano, swaying anti-folk, and wispy vocals.

The Terrordactyls
Mike Bowers
Don't Stop Believin'; US: 4 Mar 2008

Juno didn’t just make us all wake up and see the talents of an awesome Ellen Page. It made us remember how crushingly good the pairing of Kimya Dawson and Adam Green was. True, Juno‘s success might have resulted in a surreal and uncomfortable Moldy Peaches performance on The View, but if a few more people stumble across similar idiosyncratic pop, hopefully Adam and Kimya’s grins will get even cuter. Searching out the Terrordactyls’ latest would be a good starting point. Kimya has already lent her charm to their previous self-titled album, and this EP, a sweet collection of toy piano, swaying anti-folk, and wispy vocals, would look lovely cuddled up to your Moldy Peaches and Jeffrey Lewis records. The five songs here are all Pharmacy covers, in tribute to Mike Bowers, father of Pharmacy drummer Brendhan, and reportedly a man of great hospitality. On “Prince” and “Growing Old”, the toy piano and kazoo might eventually grate for some people, but in “Overcast Summer”, a spark of warm Elliot Smith depth, they hint at maturing into something truly endearing.

—Kai Jones
7/10 - PopMatters


Britney EP (2008, self-released): 6-song EP sold on fall 2008 tour, previewing tracks to be featured on upcoming second full length.

Mike Bowers EP (2007, Don't Stop Believin'): 5 covers of songs written by friends The Pharmacy

The Terrordactyls (2007, self-released/Pankof Records): full-length including "Devices" feat. Kimya Dawson (The Moldy Peaches, Juno Soundtrack); handmade pop-up album art

80.5% Magic EP (2006, Rallytime Records): 6 songs, including cover of Andrew W.K.'s "Long Live the Party"

Hoppy Birthday (2005, self-released): 8 songs, currently out-of-print.



The Terrordactyls are Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl. Although Michael was born in Baltimore, MD and Tyrel hails from Tukwila, WA, they met in high school on Vashon Island, WA in multimedia class, doing a project where they Photoshopped themselves over pictures of explosions. They then played music, four-square and capture-the-flag together with friends until it all eventually merged into what has become The Terrordactyls.

The Terrordactyls are quite well-rounded individuals. Michael's interests include fabricating truths on job applications, multiple choice questions and running away. Tyrel enjoys guns, organizing his iTunes music library and being good at life. During the brief periods that Michael and Tyrel are away from the gym, they also enjoy watching inspirational sports films and talking about their abs.

Temporarily split in 2008 between Washington state and Brooklyn, before finally both re-settling in the Seattle area, Michael and Tyrel still found plenty of time for music-making. They even released the Mike Bowers EP, covering five songs by the Seattle band (and close friends) The Pharmacy.

On their self-titled album, The Terrordactyls' quirky, lighthearted yet decidedly melancholic pop/anti-folk tunes are augmented by toy pianos, kazoos, and the voice of Kimya Dawson (The Moldy Peaches, Juno). Despite all these charming trappings, though, nothing really serves to take the edge off The Terrordactyls' gutsy interpretation of the sad sweetness (or sweet sadness) of living.

Armed with a new kazoo sponsorship by Kazoobie Kazoos, and following two full national tours in 2008, the band is currently putting the finishing touches on their second full length album.