Death Ships – Maybe Arkansas EP Released – Upcoming Show at The Mill 9/17

Dan Maloney of Death Ships

Last February I reported about former Iowa City band Death Ships– a show at the Mill and a new EP that he was going to release on iTunes. Titled Maybe Arkansas, it was a 4-track EP of some really great guitar rock. I said that it was, “a flat-out charmer– hook-filled and standing out in my mind as a testament to the great music that comes from the Midwest. These guitar pop songs draw easy and complimentary comparisons to other Midwest greats like The Jayhawks, The Honeydogs and, yes, Wilco. Each of these songs stick in my head with earworm intensity.”

Over half-year later, I still feel this same way about the EP. Since Dan sent me the songs in order for me to review it, I was one of the fortunate few to get to hear it. Well, except for some tracks he gave to some blogs to post and all of the people to which I excitedly played it.

Last week the EP made it to iTunes and you can download it for $3.96 or Amazon for $3.56.  On a post frontman Dan Maloney made to his MySpace page, he announced the EP going to iTunes and also said that there will be a limited CD run of the EP. He also announced that they were going to start recording a new album next month.

Dan is bringing his Death Ships back to the Mill on Friday, September 17th opening for Ha Ha Tonka. In an e-mail to me this week, Dan said that they had a bunch of new jams he was excited to try out at this show.

I saw Ha Ha Tonka back in September of 2008 opening for Backyard Tire Fire and the then-Picador in Iowa City. They put on a really great show. You can see the pictures here. Since I saw Ha Ha Tonka, they have been signed to Bloodshot Records and released a new album in 2009 called Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South.

Also opening is Iowa City musician Brian Johannesen who performs as Grand Tetons.

Maybe Click to buy Maybe Arkansas by Death Ships on iTunes

Click Here to download “I Like It A Lot” from Maybe Arkansas.

Click Here for the Death Ships MySpace Page which has some of the tracks from Maybe Arkansas streaming.

Click Here for the Death Ships Daytrotter Session

Click Here for the Jay Bennett Daytrotter Session with Death Ships as his band

Click Here for the Splice interview with Dan Maloney from 2009 that has some unreleased tracks and a couple from the upcoming EP

Upcoming Show: Backyard Tire Fire @ The Picador 9/10/08

Backyard Tire Fire is a band I’d heard of, but never searched out. So, it was cool that the band’s manager reached out to me via MySpace last week to be a friend. I gave a listen to some of the songs on their page and checked out the streaming songs from their upcoming album on their website, too.

The guys from Backyard Tire Fire are from Bloomington, Illinois which is next to Normal, where I spent part of my childhood and one of my brothers was born there in the early Seventies while my dad worked at General Electric. Not that this makes them my neighbor, but they might be the only band I’ve ever heard of from there.

I bought and downloaded from Tire Fire’s 2007 release Vagabonds and Hooligans in an acceptible 256K rip. The band delivers a confident mix of Americana-leaning rock with Indie sensibilities. Across the album we are offered glimpses of the bands influences– “Green Eyed Soul” comes off like an early Wilco track, “Tom Petty” draws a bit from Tom Petty. The Black Crowes could stand to write a soulful ballad like “The Wrong Hand.” But, to break Backyard Tire Fire down to comparisons misses the fact that it is a strong album from a band that is growing with every release.

In a time when bands that tour as much as Backyard Tire Fire does tend to wait a while between releases, it’s a bit surprising to see that they are releasing the followup to Vagabonds and Hooligans at the end of this month (August 26th) titled The Places We Lived. The three songs streaming from their website and MySpace page shows the promise of another great release. According to the press info on their website, the band holds true to an analog asthetic preferring to record with tape over ProTools. The logical The There will be a vinyl version of this album as well!

The band is getting ready for a run of late-summer Midwestern dates in support of the release that will run through the end of September. Here are the dates as of today from their MySpace page.

Aug 13 2008 9:00P
Lucky Aces – Ed Anderson acoustic Le Roy, Illinois
Aug 16 2008 9:00P
J Bucks – Ed Anderson acoustic Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 20 2008 9:00P
Official TPWL Chicago Listening Party – Alive One! Chicago, Illinois
Aug 21 2008 9:00P
Highdive Champaign
Aug 22 2008 9:00P
Paulie’s – w/ Dirty Hands Band Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 23 2008 9:00P
Paulie’s – w/ Company of Thieves & Peter Adriel Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 28 2008 7:00P
Kiss the Sky – BTF acoustic instore Geneva, Illinois
Aug 31 2008 10:15P
Strip Mines Music Festival – Shawnee Cave – Strip Mines Music Festival Murphysboro, Illinois
Sep 5 2008 8:00P
Metro w/ Ha Ha Tonka Chicago, Illinois
Sep 10 2008 7:30P
The Picador w/ Ha Ha Tonka Iowa City, Iowa
Sep 11 2008 7:00P
The Rave w/ Ha Ha Tonka & Blueheels Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sep 12 2008 8:00P
The Annex w/ Ha Ha Tonka & Blueheels Madison, Wisconsin
Sep 13 2008 9:00P
7th Street Entry w/ Ha Ha Tonka Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 17 2008 7:00P
Blue Note Summerfest w/ Avett Bros & Ha Ha Tonka Columbia, Missouri
Sep 18 2008 8:00P
Record Bar w/ Ha Ha Tonka Kansas City, Missouri
Sep 19 2008 9:00P
Josie’s w/ Ha Ha Tonka Emporia, Kansas
Sep 20 2008 7:00P
Lucas School House w/ Ha Ha Tonka St. Louis, Missouri
Sep 24 2008 8:00P
Grog Shop w/ Ha Ha Tonka Cleveland, Ohio
Sep 25 2008 8:00P
The Basement w/ Ha Ha Tonka Columbus, Ohio
Sep 26 2008 8:00P
Spin w/ Ha Ha Tonka Indianapolis, Indiana
Sep 27 2008 7:00P
Southgate House w/ Ha Ha Tonka Newport, Kentucky

The band will be in Iowa City at the Picador on September 10th. The show is at 7:30PM so maybe it will get over early enough for me to do a mid-week show. Opening is Ha Ha Tonka who did a Daytrotter session in July. Tickets are $7 and if you order them in advance you get a signed poster of the album art you can pick up at the show.

There are a lot of places to stream or download content for Backyard Tire Fire.

They did a session for the kind folks at Daytrotter in March with some new material.

Click Here to download a FREE EP called Sick of Debt (a zip file of mp3’s)

Click Here to download live shows of the band from

Click Here to stream Vagabonds and Hooligans at Indie911

Click Here to download an in-studio recording with My Old Kentucky Blog from last year.

Click Here to visit their MySpace page which has six tracks from The Places We Lived.