Brainerd, Minnesota claims to be the home of at least a few Midwestern legends, including that of lumberjack supreme Paul Bunyan.
As the tall tale goes, when Bunyan was old enough to clap and laugh, the sound was so great that it broke every window in his parents' house. By the time he was old enough to walk, the only thing grander than his axe-wielding skills was his stature.
Here in Madison, the seven-year-old band known as Brainerd hopes to follow in his footsteps, shaking the foundations of homes from here to Hibbing with its huge sound, slashing up the conventions of punk and metal, and reaching legendary status with its epic live shows.
With ties to other popular, hard-rocking bands from the area -- Killdozer and Mad Trucker Gone Mad via Bongzilla, which also calls Mike "Magma" Henry a member -- Brainerd's got a good start on its fame quest. And its brand-new album, The Goat, takes care of the shaking and slashing.
The sixth song on the disc, a track called "All Night Party," mingles not only punk and metal but a bit of bluesy, Doors-style acid rock as well.
It begins with a heavy bass, driving guitar lines and the growly, badass vocals of Daniel Dietrich, adds some super-psychedelic organ riffage, and dissolves into a miasma of distortion, with a simple, beautiful piano line emerging at the very end.
"Musically, it's a down-and-dirty, rockin' blues stomp, bearing on the basics of the blues and beating them 'til they break," says Dieterich, who's also the band's bassist. "But it was written to feel like you're at a house party and [tap into] the emotions you have while the night begins to turn into day: Eventually the sun comes out, and everything's OK. You do the walk of shame -- a little twisted but happy."
Achieving this feeling required quite a party, true to the name of the song.
"It was written by the whole band together, but in the recording process realized it needed a little more muscle, so we enlisted the help of Madison guitarist Bucky Pope (formerly of Tar Babies) and infamous Hammond organ master and Evil Kneevers (Milwaukee producer and former Probers member) on the keys."
And that was just the beginning: When it came to refining the lyrics, the group called upon some other friends as well: Original Brainerd guitarist Matt "Knife" Porwall wrote the third verse, and Alex Fieras of Kingfisher penned the second verse.
The backup vocals, meanwhile, feature Dietrich's son (who plays in the Kenosha hardcore band War Mongrels), as well as members of the Brass Tacks, Warhawks, and the crew at Capitol City Tattoo.
"It really ended up being a pastiche of musical and lyrical flavors," Dieterich says. In fact, the band was so proud of the effort that they've dedicated the song to people currently serving in the military, hoping it will "give them strength while they endure the fight of their lives."
An MP3 of "All Night Party" is available in the related downloads section at right. More music by Brainerd may be found on the band's MySpace page. Fans can pick up a copy of The Goat and check out Brainerd's live act during a release party at the Frequency on Friday, May 29. The band hits the road through the rest of June to promote the album across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.