The Travel Guide
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The Travel Guide

Wichita, KS | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Wichita, KS | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock




"The Travel Guide - 'Trading A Dream' Review"

Dynamically brilliant, Americana music can at times try too hard to invoke feelings through the compositions. When done right, the music shies close to powerful ballads detailing the troubles of everyday life with shining guitars and battering drums. The Travel Guide stretch their soundscape to the max on Trading A Dream. The group believes the record is more about inking this chapter into an archive and they could not be more right in their intention.

From the get go, Trading A Dream is an album full of passion. The vocals tremble in their delivery, as if trying to correct the troubles through the words being sung. It's honest and rehearsed as so. With long songs, the band moves from vocal woos to instrumental crescendos rivaling the fervor with dazzling guitars and tight rhythm sections. A mix of rather long songs trudge through the albums tracklist, with eight songs flying over the five minute mark. The songs will rarely have the pace to rival punk bands, but swing rather well as soft rock songs, moderately embracing glimmering guitar leads and intelligently catchy chord progressions. "Dogs And Crooked Cops" gives light at how inventive the band can be with their plucked arpeggios twisting around the chord progression and giving it life. Before long the guitars burst into rich solos and an echoey daze.

Rarely roaring with distortion, The Travel Guide aim their assault through buzzing guitar tones that toe the line between crunchy distortion and scratchy cleans. This helps their songs appeal in a more intimate fashion, such as the glittering "Everyone's An Expert." Sliding through leads and chords, the strums are soft and embraced rather soft. It's like wrapping a heating blanket in the frigid December cold. Opening track "January Bones" shows how steady the band is at building dynamics, ranging from cooing chords to fuzzy distorted licks. "Long Year" possesses the same crushing dynamics with the song collapsing on the dark that overwhelms the lives of people, "it's been a long year swallowing the pills of your promises."

While the minutia of life can be difficult, expressing it can be tiring and fleeting but The Travel Guide make sure everything is done with vivid style and bombastic emotion. Boasting with meaning, Trading A Dream is an intimate album full of grandiose music that rips through the Americana genre with tenacity and grace.

Score: 7.75/10 - The Alternative

"Album Review - The Travel Guide "Trading A Dream""

Though fans have already heard most of these songs live, Trading a Dream — debut full length from The Travel Guide — is still worth repeat listens. Hearing these ideas under a microscope with honed performances and determined clarity, The Travel Guide make a point of how serious this release is. Those who want a first taste of this Air House Records release you can get Trading a Dream at the release party, December 26, at Barleycorn's.

Already a regionally gigging success, TTG stands poised to move beyond midwest indie circles. Enlisting Micajah Ryan — engineer with a long history of helping successful artists get their best product out there — give TTG an advantage most midwest bands don’t have.

Trading a Dream's anthemic opener, "January Bones," is layered with harmonic guitars over huge sounding toms. In production for 18 months (due to personnel changes), Trading a Dream is dense, precise and rich with ideas. The musical landscape is dynamic and fluid enough to handle all of the elements - nothing less than what you'd expect from a band called The Travel Guide. Without losing sight of the structure from which pop songs connect with its audience, "January Bones" confidently takes you through new territory without leaving the listener out of context.

"January Bones" is followed by "Hockey Night," likely TTG's most recognizable song by the band which started as a 3 piece in 2011. Original members Thayne Coleman as singer/guitarist and drummer Will Erickson remain, but the band now includes guitarist Kristyn Chapman who joined in 2012 and bass player, Caleb Drummond who joined this year.

Full of energy, "Hockey Night" highlights the band's ability to stay busy while losing none of their musicality. Repeated phrases are often performed through slightly different lenses reducing potential "riff fatigue." Hooks are abundant throughout Trading a Dream and "Hockey Night" is exemplary.

In contrast to the previous songs, "Bastard Architecture" starts with a delicate guitar phrase with delay. Building over two minutes, it swells to an almost interstellar pitch before this piece then deflates bellows toward a gentle resting point, ending at the three minute mark. Waning guitar fragments close out the remaining 30 seconds of track time.

"Dogs and Crooked Cops" begins with a melding of all the performers instrumental personalities. Erickson's inventive take on straight beats. Drummonds nimble and melodic bass lines. Coleman's slippery guitar hooks drenched in vibe. Chapman's penchant for the noisey, The Travel Guide take a sonic detour two minutes in. The meld of these personalities pushes TTG to take a sonic detour two minutes in. They loosely follow a musical idea, but continue to push the focus onto atmosphere and texture. 20 minutes into Trading a Dream and TTG are still broadening their songwriting palette.

Up next is "Long Year" which features vocalist Thayne Coleman at his most angsty. When he sings, "It's been a long year, it's been a long year swallowing the pills of your promises," Coleman leans in to a long tradition of rock singers. Straddling the line that David Byrne describes as, "The better a singer's voice, the harder it is to believe what they're saying." Melodies are more easily imagined as Gerhard Richter paintings rather than notes on a page. It’s easier to see Coleman, floppy-haired with a guitar in hand performing these songs on stage than standing in a studio with two fingers to his headphones churning vocal take after vocal take. "Long Year" accentuates his depth ranging from angsty and reflective to determined and focused, within the span of 5 minutes.

"Everyone's An Expert" might be the most telling piece on Trading a Dream packaged perfectly for a radio edit, the song exists in the span of four minutes over a five and half minute track. With its slow intro and a beautifully shimmering guitar outro, "Everyone's An Expert" crafts a pop song for the masses. With it's optimistic vocal performance and uplifting refrains, it’s easy to want "Everyone's an Expert" to be the single that breaks TTG national.

Trading a Dream is clear, brilliantly colorful, dynamic, and encompassing. Hearing the thundering rigidity behind the drums over glassy sheets of over-driven guitar often led, surprisingly, by melodic bass lines, Trading a Dream expresses what inspires TTG while preserving the quartet's unique voice.

"Folk Devil" is a warm embrace, while "Lives Like Climates" takes advantage of bouncy exuberance. The sonic breadth conjured by TTG without changing instruments or production means is remarkable.

"Hubris" sounds like an album closer but TTG still has much to say. TTG's musical vocabulary is expansive and it seems to take them little effort to weave through the many possible dialects of rock bands. The sultry vibes of "Beneditction" comes at the listener with a bit of slumber in it's eye - much different than the energetic, weighty "Like a Place You Used to Go."

Trading a Dream is less about where the band comes from or what it chooses to reference and more about inking this chapter into the archives. For the most part, these songs are battle hardened and proven as such through precision performances during over the album's 60 minutes play time. The newer songs on this release show an optimistic band bold enough to travel the midwest (and hopefully beyond) in search of future fans ripe for the picking. As their best new ambassador, Trading a Dream, will smooth the way prior to TTG's arrival in the next city and the ones after that. Listen for Trading a Dream to come to your college radio air waves and beyond in 2016. - WE ARE WICHITA

"June 2016 Thought. There's Nothing To Think About"

We always pay particular attention to releases on the Air House label because every band/artist always seems to hit the target. They've got another bull's eye on their hands here. Trading A Dream presents eleven intelligent guitar-based pop/rock songs with a different overall sound and style. The band The Travel Guide has been around since 2010 and is comprised of Thayne Coleman, William Erickson, Kristyn Chapman, and Caleb Drummond. We love cool guitars...and this album is chock full of 'em (a good reference point is "Hockey Night" which contains some truly intriguing and inventive riffs). It's kinda difficult coming up with obvious comparisons and influences here because the songs seem to go all over the map. There's a lot to grasp onto as the band presents eleven tracks that clock in at over 58 minutes. Although the music is much louder and more aggressive, in some ways this band's music reminds us of Nashville's Ben Rector. Cool reflective progressive cuts include "January Bones," "Hockey Night," "Everyone's An Expert," and "Like A Place You Used To Go." - babysue

"The Travel Guide Balances Stage and Studio with 'Trading A Dream'"

Musicians will say that there's a marked difference between the concert stage and the recording studio and KMUW's Jedd Beaudoin caught up with one group recently that had a lot to say about those differences.

Wichita’s The Travel Guide has spent the last few years in the studio honing eleven songs for its new album Trading A Dream. The band’s guitarist and vocalist Thayne Coleman says that the band wanted to create something that improved upon the group’s acclaimed live shows and made many songs that were already longtime fan favorites even better.

“That was kind of the plan from the get-go,” says Coleman. “Take the songs, get the bare bones of them down and then figure out how to re-arrange them and mess with them and make them even better than what we had done before.”

The time spent in the studio also meant that the band could rework some material that fans weren’t overly familiar with. Songs that Coleman says he and his bandmates knew were good but didn’t yet know how to present on stage.

“There're songs like ‘Folk Devil,’ or ‘Everybody’s An Expert,’ they didn’t necessarily come across live the way that some of the other songs did,” Coleman says. “I thought that they were songs that would come alive on a recording. I think they make a lot more sense on the album and, as a result, I think they make more sense live too.”

Drummer Will Erickson says that he heard some of the material in a new light after spending time in the studio with it.

“It’s easier, I think, to be loud,” he says. “So some of the more nuanced songs were hard to pull off live but then once we were able to do it in the studio, [it becomes a case of how] you can hear [it would be possible]. But you had to kind of be able to remove yourself from it to say, ‘OK. That’s how it’s supposed to be done.'”

Everyone in the band agrees that producer Micajah Ryan, whose credits include albums with Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan and Megadeth, helped make the record and the band itself better.

“Micaiah made us more aware of all the tiny difference between somebody who’s playing well and somebody’s who’s playing great,” Coleman says.

“He’s like a dad,” Erickson adds. “He is a dad.”

“A nice dad,” Coleman adds. “He can phrase the feedback in the perfect way to tell you to do something differently without making you feel terrible. If something’s wrong, he gives you a really, really concrete, practical way to change it to make it better. If you’re singing something and it’s kind of crap, he’ll be, like, ‘Sing from these muscles, focus on these words and lay back on the tempo a little bit and sing a little bit behind the beat.’ And then you adjust, and it’s better instead of him just saying, ‘You kind of suck.’”

Erickson finished his drum parts in only four days but the rest of the album—guitars, bass and vocals—took months and months. And the drummer says that as much as he likes his bandmates, Coleman and guitarist Kristyn Chapman, he didn’t spend much time in the studio after his work was over.

“When I got the drums done, I was, like, I’m done. But I’m pretty much like that with every album I do,” he says. “As a drummer, I like to be removed and let the guitar players and the singers do what they want to do because the melody and harmony is coming from them. I’m just there to lay a good foundation, and I always like letting Thayne and Kristyn go nuts with guitar and then listening to it [and saying], ‘This is cool.’ I wasn’t sitting there every day. I like to be there when I can, but I also get really bored. I just sit there. I’m on Twitter. Trying to figure out what I should do. I’m, like, ‘I feel like I should be here but…’”

“I don’t like when anybody’s there when I’m doing vocals,” Coleman says. “I think Krystn was there like once or twice, and that was alright, but I get kind of crazy on the vocals.”

“I kept correcting him on the lyrics,” Chapman says.

“But you were wrong, though,” Coleman adds. “I had made some edits to lyrics. I sat down with the lyrics to all the songs before I went in and did vocals and was, like, ‘Alright. Any cringe-inducing things, I gotta edit those and re-work it. So, all those edits, she’d say, ‘Isn’t the lyric this?’’ ‘No! I’m changing ‘em!’”

The Travel Guide releases Trading A Dream this weekend and will spend some time touring in early 2016 with new bassist Caleb Drummond. Drummond is a Wichita music scene veteran who is the fourth bassist to join the band and, the other three say, maybe the most ambitious member the band has ever had.

“I love all the other bass players, but Caleb is the first one to book shows,” Coleman says.

“He’s actually been sending emails about booking tours and he’s, like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been working 20 hours on this,’ and we’re, like, ‘Yeah, well, we haven’t even [done anything yet],” Erickson says.

“He’s probably been doing more, actually, right now,” Coleman says.

The Travel Guide celebrates the release of Trading A Dream Saturday evening at Barleycorn’s.


Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at - KMUW

"KMUW's Best Music of 2015"

Strange Currency--hosted by Jedd Beaudoin--airs six nights a week from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on KMUW, bringing you new releases, old favorites and forgotten classics.

In addition to his overall "Best of 2015" list, Jedd offers several "best of" categories this year, including best indies, reissues, music films and DVDs, and local regional releases.

Strange Currency: Best of 2015

Something More Than Free — Jason Isbell
High on Tulsa Heat — John Moreland
Turnpike Troubadours — Turnpike Troubadours
All Across This Land — Blitzen Trapper
The Deepest Lake — Dengue Fever

Best Indie:

Reeves Gabrels and His Imaginary Friends — Reeves Gabrels and His Imaginary Friends
Half Past, Present Pending — Mike Coykendall
Faithful and Tall — Angela Parrish
Stop Time — Jon Regen
Yeah Okay, I Know — Christian Lee Hutson

Best Reissue:

My Old New Records — Slim Dunlap
Trace — Son Volt
Complete Matrix Tapes — Velvet Underground
Loaded — Velvet Underground
Chicken Heads — Bobby Rush

Best Music Films and DVDs:

Jaco: The Film
Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten
The Wrecking Crew
Heaven Adores You
The Decline of Western Civilization (boxed set)

Best Local Regional Releases:

Trading A Dream--The Travel Guide
Everything Is Subliminal--The World Palestine
Let’s See Star B--The World Palestine
Divorce Corpse--Divorce Corpse
The Magic World--The Wonder Revolution - KMUW


"Trading A Dream" released December 26, 2015



Since its inception in 2010 The Travel Guide has
earned a reputation for rousing live shows and smart, dynamic songs have
grown the quartet a loyal following in the Midwest, but now, with the
release of the album Trading A Dream, the Kansas collective has
added an extra arrow to its quiver. Featuring tunes honed to a fine
point on the stage, the album is a rare-commodity: tuneful yet tinged
with hints of the experimental, smart but unpretentious, new but
familiar and loaded with unforgettable compositions from one end to the
other. The dual guitars of Thayne Coleman and Kristyn Chapman are a
touchstone of the band’s sound, recalling acts such as Television and
Nels Cline-era Wilco, as evidenced by the balance between the refined
rhythm and lead work of tunes such as “Hockey Night,” “Benediction” and
“Lives Like Climates.” The pair’s intricate and imaginative playing
comes to the fore on material such as the delicate and brilliant
“Bastard Architecture,” “Everyone’s An Expert” and “Folk Devil.” Drummer
Will Erickson adds deft touches to the record, balancing propulsive
rhythms with playing that is sensitive to melody but never less than
powerful for it as heard on “Dogs and Crooked Cops,” “Hubris” and
longtime live favorite “Benediction.” Coleman’s unique vocal style and
thoughtful lyrics are equally remarkable and the perfect finishing touch
to music that is wide-ranging and imaginative. The band is joined in
the live setting by bassist Caleb Drummond, whose friendship with the
band reaches back to its earliest days. Produced by Air House Records
stalwart Micajah Ryan (Bob Dylan, Megadeth), Trading A Dream is already setting the template for the future of music from America’s heartland.

Band Members