PAST SHOWS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, & REGRETS
Sept 23 - Armoury DE (Dallas, TX) w/ Thyroids, Kyoto Lo-Fi, The Eggshells
Aug 5 - Harvest House (Denton, TX) w/ The Speedlights
July 18 - Gas Monkey (Dallas, TX) w/ Two Cow Garage
June 23 - MASS (Fort Worth, TX) w/ Joe Gorgeous, Toy Gun
May 26 - Club Dada (Dallas, TX) w/ Bash & Pop
Mar 4 - Armoury DE (Dallas, TX) w/ CLIFFFS, Koyoto Lo-Fi
Dec 9 - Harvest House (Denton, TX) w/ Tony Ferraro and The Five Twos
Oct 29 - Texas Theatre (Dallas, TX) w/ Daniel Markham
Sept 23 - Twilite Lounge (Dallas, TX) w/ Naptime Shake
June 9 - Soundpony Lounge (Tulsa, OK) w/ Wussy
June 10 - Three Links (Dallas, TX) w/ Wussy
June 11 - Spiderhouse Lounge (Austin, TX) w/ Wussy
Dec 31 - Rubber Gloves (Denton, TX) NYE Bash w/ Slobberbone, Daniel Markham
Nov 13 - Sam's (Fort Worth, TX) w/ Glossary, RTB2
Nov 6 - Three Links (Dallas, TX) w/ Grifters, Cliffs Of Insanity
Oct 3 - Three Links (Dallas, TX) w/ Mike Watt & The Missingmen, Hamell On Trial
Sept 19 - Red Brick Bar (Norman, OK)
Aug 8 - Club Dada (Dallas, TX) w/ Megafauna, Casa Magnetica
July 16 - Good Records in-store (Dallas, TX) w/ Daniel Markham
July 2 - Twilite Lounge (Dallas, TX) w/ Naptime Shake
Mar 15 - 35 Denton Festival (Denton, TX)
Feb 28 - The Foundry (Dallas, TX) as Guided By Vices
Nov 28 - Gasmonkey Bar & Grill w/ Daniel Markham
Sept 27 - Whitewater Tavern (Little Rock, AR) w/ The Canehill Engagement
Aug 22 - The Labb (Denton, TX) w/ Satans Of Soft Rock
Aug 9 - Double Wide (Dallas, TX) w/ Dove Hunter, Naptime Shake
Aug 2 - Hole In The Wall (Austin, TX) w/ Basketball Shorts, Party Plant
July 11 - Rubber Gloves (Denton, TX) w/ Satans of Soft Rock, Cliffs Of Insanity
July 6 - Three Links (Dallas, TX) w/ The Donkeys, The Demigs
May 31 - Mohawk (Austin, TX) w/ Centro-matic, Pleasant Grove
May 30 - Sam's Burger Joint (San Antonio, TX) w/ Centro-matic, Pleasant Grove
April 9 - Mohawk (Austin, TX) w/ Venus Illuminato, Nation States
April 4 - J&J's Pizza (Denton, TX) w/ Missing Sibling, Diablical Machines
Feb 28 - Double Wide w/ Satans Of Soft Rock, Cliffs Of Insanity
Feb 18 - City Tavern w/ Hospitality, Air Waves
Jan 31 - City Tavern w/ RTB2, The Demigs, Missing Sibling
Jan 11 - Rudyard's Pub (Houston, TX)
Jan 11 - Cactus Records in-store (Houston, TX)
Dec 11 - Three Links (Dallas, TX) w/ Swearin'
Oct 19 - Goldthwaite Music Fest (Goldthwaite, TX)
Oct 12 - Double Wide (Dallas, TX) w/ Happy Bullets, Cliffs Of Insanity
Aug 17 - City Tavern (Dallas, TX) w/ Lead Pipe Lock
July 13 - The Grotto (Fort Worth, TX) w/ Satans Of Soft Rock
Oct 27 ~ City Tavern w/ Lead Pipe Lock, Teen Noir
UK TOUR with Wussy
Sept 19 ~ Brixton Windmill - London w/ Slowgun
Sept 20 ~ Stereo - York
Sept 21 ~ The Hop - Wakefield
Sept 22 ~ Dempsey's - Cardiff (SWN)
Sept 23 ~ The Croft - Bristol (Go Ape)
Sept 24 ~ Oxford - Truck Store In-Store 6pm
Sept 25 ~ Musician - Leicester
Sept 27 ~ Adelphi - Hull
Sept 28 ~ Charlie Wright's - London w/ Smallgang
Sept 29 ~ Green Door - Brighton
Sept 30 ~ Caboose - Ramsgate
Oct 1 ~ Damnably 6th Birthday Spectacular w/ Osaka Ramones (Shonen Knife)
Aug 24 - East Dallas Developmental Learning Center
July 28 - Double Wide w/ Sons of Hercules, The Mullens
July 13 - City Tavern w/ RTB2, Satans of Soft Rock
June 27 - City Tavern w/ Wussy
June 8 - Tradewinds Social Club w/ Ned Van Go
Feb 4 - City Tavern w/ Teen Noir
Jan 21 - Tradewinds Social Club w/ The Lash Outs
Jan 8 - Dan's Silverleaf w/ Hares On The Mountain
Dec 19 - Toys for Tots benefit
Nov 13 - Creature Skateboard Rumble
Nov 12 - City Tavern w/ The Lash Outs, The Nicholsons
Sept 24 - Rubber Gloves w/ Jacuzzi Boys, Deep Snapper
Sept 23 - City Tavern w/ I Love Math, Disposable Music
Sept 9 - Free Man Lounge w/ Hares On The Mountain
July 1 - Club Dada w/ Sideshow Tragedy
April 23 - City Tavern w/ Hares On The Mountain
Feb 25 - Double Wide w/ The Mullens
Jan 22 - City Tavern w/ Nervous Curtains, The Distant Seconds
Aug 06 - The Grotto w/ Reverse Cuomo
July 16 - Bryan Street Tavern w/ Eaton Lake Tonics, Deep Snapper
June 18 - Rubber Gloves w/ The Slow Burners, Deep Snapper
May 28 - City Tavern w/ The Happy Bullets, The Distant Seconds
May 14 - Dan's Silverleaf w/ RTB2, The Hochimen
April 03 - The Cavern w/ Eaton Lake Tony, Sloan Automatic
Mar 06 - Bryan Street Tavern w/ RTB2
Mar 05 - The Grotto w/ some acoustic guy and a shitty cover band
Feb 12 - The Moon, w/ Reverse Cuomo CANCELLED
Feb 6 - Bryan Street Tavern w/ Slider Pines
Jan 24 - City Tavern w/ RTB2, Exit 380
Spring to Fall - 7 month hiatus in California
Mar 28 - (Austin) Trophy's w/ Bridges & Blinking Lights, Distant Seconds
Mar 21 - Prophet Bar w/ The Happy Bullets, Brown Shoe
Mar 12 - NX35 Festival at J&J's Pizza
Feb 27 - City Tavern w/ Goodwin, Eaton Lake Tonics
Dec 21 - Toy Drive w/ Pleasant Grove, The Drams, Big Chief
Dec 19 - City Tavern w/ The Happy Bullets, The Slow Burners
Oct 17 - City Tavern w/ The Murgatroyds
Oct 3 - The Chat Room Pub w/ Eaton Lake Tonics, Felix
Sept 13 - Double Wide w/ The Shackeltons, Sparklepussy Barbie
Sept 6 - Titan Comics benefit for Hero Foundary
Aug 2 - Club Dada Ghost of Blind Lemon's 1st Anniversary
July 19 - City Tavern w/ The Happy Bullets, The Tah-Dahs
July 11 - Barley House w/ The Cut*Off
July 5 - Lola's Saloon w/ Scene Girls, Matthew & the Arrogant Sea
April 12 - Double Wide w/ The Bug Nasties, The Mullens
March 1 - Rubber Gloves w/ Record Hop, Swedish Teens
Jan 18 - Double Wide w/ Telethon, Sparklepussy Barbie
Jan 12 - House of Blues w/ The King Bucks, The Backsliders, Boys Named Sue
Dec 30 - Barley House as Guided By Vices w/ Miracle on E Street
Dec 22 - Club Dada w/ Bridges & Blinking Lights, Sunward
Mar 13 - Club Dada w/ Catfish Haven, Minmae, Brimstone Howl
Mar 1 - Double Wide 'Roky Erickson 13th Floor Elevators Hoot Night'
Jan 13 - We should put this night behind us and forget it ever happened.
July 22 - Barley House w/ The Push
July 14 - Bar of Soap w/ Chemistry Set, Team Evil
June 30 - Metrognome Pop Fest
June 23 - The Double Wide w/ Pegasus Now, Voot Cha Index
June 8 - The Cavern w/ Sparklepussy Barbie, The Lash Outs
April 30 - The Cavern w/ The Pit That Became a Tower, Teenage Symphony
April 8 - Barley House w/ Kissinger
March 25 - Barley House w/ The Deathray Davies
March 4 - The Cavern w/ Black Tie Dynasty, [DARYL]
Sept 29 - Club Clearview for the North Texas Music Festival
Aug 13 - Barley House w/ The Deathray Davies
June 24 - Emily's Birthday Pizza Party at JJ's in Denton w/ Hogpig
May 5 - TX Gigs Radio Show w/ Cindy Chaffin at Club Dada
April 22 - The Cavern w/ Fishboy & Eaton Lake Tonics
April 8 - Andy's w/ Eaton Lake Tonics, Handclaps & Harmonies
Feb 12 - The Cavern w/ Dead Prophets
Jan 20 - Double Wide w/ The Strange Boys, Sheena Militia
Jan 07 - The Cavern w/ George Neal, Hogpig
Dec 09 - Liquid Lounge w/ Girls Rise with Heat, Eaton Lake Tonics
Nov 19 - The Axis (FW) w/ Slobberbone, Alligator Dave
Nov 07 - Mike's Rock & Roll Ramjob, Barley House
Sept 25 - The Cavern w/ The Tah-Dahs
Sept 24 - Rubber Gloves w/ [DARYL]
Sept 23 - Double Wide w/ The Murdocks
Sept 10 - Bar of Soap w/ Happy Bullets
July 03 - Rubber Gloves w/ Super Love Attack
Jun 26 - Barley House w/ Wurlitzer Prize
May 14 - Double Wide w/ Kissinger
April 29 - Rubber Gloves w/ Living in States
April 24 - Gypsy Tea Room w/ Alligator Dave
April 15 - Double Wide w/ Grand Champeen, Nate Fowler's Elixir
Feb 16 - Muddy Waters w/ The Tah-Dahs, CoSound
Feb ? - Liquid Lounge w/ some shitty pompous band
Jan 24 - Rubber Gloves w/ The Tah-Dahs
Jan 08 - Liquid Lounge w/ The Tah-Dahs, CoSound
Nov 29 - Dan's Silverleaf w/ Baptist Generals, Fishboy
Oct ?? - Rubber Gloves Big Ass Beer Night
Reviews for Triceratops
Dallas Observer ~ Sept. 11, 2008
For bands that last long enough to make three albums, the third is often a major turning point. American Werewolf Academy is no exception. For starters, there are the personnel changes; singer Aaron Thedford and drummer Tony Harper remain, but Jake Barnhart has replaced Noah Prikryl on bass, and former full-time Werewolf cadet Mike Gargiulo appears on only one song.
The band's first two records, Devil, Spit It Out and Tell Them Right Now! were notable for simple, incredibly catchy songs that generally clocked in under two minutes. Triceratops gives songs more time to develop. Even more surprisingly, they're not all relentlessly cheery powerpop. Thedford sings sad tales of wasted potential in the subdued "Wild Birds," which features mournful cello from guest Kris Youmans, until the uplifting chorus.
But there are plenty of powerpop gems too. The upbeat "Summer Ship," featuring the band's old lineup, toasts the Metrognome (a defunct Cowtown art and music space) over a Byrds-esque guitar lead. "Man With No Off Switch" packs crunchy guitar chords, falsetto backup vocals, organ riffs and a couple of tempo changes into one great song. - Jesse Hughey
Dallas Morning News Quick
You'd be hard-pressed to find more viscerally efficient rock songs than those assembled by American Werewolf Academy.
A typical AWA song behaves like the ill-mannered mutant stepchild of a drunken bar band sing-along and a soaring arena rock anthem. It's 1960s Texas psych-rock, '70s guitar crunch and '80s college-radio jangle compacted into commercial break-sized nuggets.
While singer-guitarist Aaron Thedford serves as head Werewolf in charge, it's the sum of its parts that make AWA such a fun and ferocious group. The rhythm section boasts fine local-music pedigrees. Drummer Tony Harper (the Drams, Slobberbone) and bassist Jake Barnhart (Little Grizzly, Raised by Tigers) provide ample architecture for Thedford's lumbering rock 'n' roll beast.
Currently at work recording the follow-up to 2005's Tell Them Right Now!, Thedford brought us up to date on the state of the Academy in an e-mail interview.
Q: How's the new album coming?
A: Stuff keeps happening that prevents us from getting into the Echo Lab. Right now the tape machine is broken. Other times somebody has been sick, or some butthole band with a lot of money has booked studio time for an entire baseball season and won't let us in. Otherwise, it should be a good record.
Q: Can we look forward to more fist-pumping, blink-and-you-miss-it rock attacks, or are you taking a Use Your Illusion: Parts I & II type of departure?
A: Some songs have actually broken the three-minute barrier this time around. Of course, there will be a few anthemic pop songs – those are the best kind of songs. Some of it is jangly and moody, but there will always be rock songs on an AWA record.
Q: Any local yokels going to make guest appearances?
A: Yeah, Jess Barr [the Drams, Slobberbone] is gonna do some guitar. [Producer] Matt Barnhart will do something, I'm sure. Kris Youmans [the Paper Chase, the Happy Bullets] played cello and Howard Draper [Tre Orsi, Little Grizzly] is all over the thing with pianos, organs, lap steel and whatever else he felt like doing. Have I dropped enough names yet?
Q: I'll drop one more: Kim Kardashian. Not that she's on the record or anything, but now the online version of this article might pop up when people Google "Kim Kardashian." Anyway, is there a working title yet?
A: No. We haven't even talked about it yet because Tony and I will probably argue about it.
Q: With everyone in the band having day jobs or other gigs, how does the writing and rehearsal process go down?
A: Usually I come up with something brilliant and then they mangle it.
Q: Sounds very democratic.
A: I write all the words and most of the structure, but Tony likes to take things apart and rearrange them. Jake has been playing with us for a few months now, and he throws his opinion out there quite a bit, too. That's fine. I've been in bands where the singer had to have things his way, even though his ideas were horrible. True democracy usually doesn't work in a band unless it's a nine-piece funk band or a jam band, in which case the band will suck anyway.
Q: One of my favorite parts of your live set is your unpredictable high kick. Have your reckless on-stage gymnastics ever led to injury or accident?
A: I kicked our first bass player in the head once. I've fallen down a few times, but not too much. The worst was a time my foot got caught in my cord and my pedals came unplugged. I was standing there with no sound and had to sing the rest of the song while the band glared at me.
Q: Like many bands, your Web site includes a list of past shows that detail where a gig was, when it happened and who you played with. Your entry for January 13, 2007, simply says, "We should put this night behind us and forget it ever happened." Please explain.
A: That was the night of an ice storm. We were a four-piece at the time, and the guitarist and bass player said they were not coming out because of the roads. Well, the place was packed, and Tony and I decided to do the show as a duo. We also drank a bunch of shots, so things did not go very well. I can't blame those guys for our drinking that night, but I'll do it anyway. They are not in the band anymore.
Reviews for Tell Them Right Now!
Geoff Johnston's Best of 2006
Aside from an Adventure Club appearance and a handful of shows in late spring and early summer, 2006 was kind of a quiet year for American Werewolf Academy. We suppose that's what happens when you share a drummer with the Drams. But their sophomore album still makes it onto this year's list, albeit on a technicality of sorts. The band got the CDs back from the pressing plant in December 2005, but they didn't get copies out to most reviewers and critics till early '06, after all the "Best Of" and year-end lists had been tallied, announced and then promptly forgotten. We suppose that makes this the best record of 2006 to come out in 2005. But this is rock 'n' roll, not quarterly fiscal reports. AWA's sophomore release is an efficient assemblage of no-frills guitar-rock anthems that demand to be sung on high, be it from the backseat of your uncle's restored muscle car or while violently upchucking in the back alley of your favorite dive bar. Clocking in at well less than a half-hour, Tell Them Right Now begs to be played again and again, if only because you missed a few songs when you went to the bathroom.
American Werewolf Academy -- Tell Them Right Now! (self-released): Ten songs in 20 minutes! Hooray for brevity! The AWA is back with the rock and roll equivalent of a stack of Dixie Riddle cups (which no longer exist, but now we have Pringles with riddles printed on them), with silly lyrics and punchy garage rock riffing. Aaron Thedford's slightly raspy voice is perfect for this music that is two parts ‘60s inspired and one part in the vein of early Too Much Joy, exemplified by inspired song titles like "Gang of Inadequates". The band really rocks out on the power chord slamming "What's Shakin', Dr. Wizard?" Here, the band taps into a kind of Who/Guided By Voices-inspired groove, and the song kills. The only damper is that Thedford's voice is a bit lost in the mix, and I can't make out all the words. Then again, maybe I'm just getting old. I also dig the bouncy "Jack Wild", which has a great melodic hook, but also could have benefitted from making Thedford's vocals just a little bit more prominent. Of course, the fact that I still enjoy the songs shows that the compositions are strong. Another winner is "The Good Time Kids", which has a easy to like big riff chorus. I imagine that these guys can serve this type of stuff up for years. Maybe someday they could try a concept album, like The Coolies' terrific Doug.
Dallas Morning News
Popfest boasts broad lineup
Sunday, July 2, 2006
By SHANNON SUTLIEF
FORT WORTH – Those looking for a definition of pop music at the Metrognome Collective's Popfest on Friday could conclude that this genre means keyboard-heavy guitar-fronted rock played by men in their early 20s who enjoy close harmonies and gimmicks like costumes and stage props.
American Werewolf Academy opened Popfest at the Metrognome Collective on Friday. They could also conclude that pop music fans are a hardy, dedicated, dance-loving bunch as about half the night's crowd – around 50 people – remained for Fishboy's finale at 3:30 a.m. (The Metrognome Collective is a gallery and performance space located in a Fort Worth warehouse, and no bar means no 2 o'clock last call.)
Fishboy's set was worth missing a few hours of sleep. The band debuted two songs from a rock opera being written by singer-songwriter Eric Michener, a.k.a. Fishboy (the band's eponym and Popfest's organizer), and also played several favorites, including the show-closing "Albatross," which resulted in an onstage singalong featuring fans and members of Popfest's other bands.
At 8:30 p.m., American Werewolf Academy sounded the starting pistol for this music marathon. As singer-guitarist Aaron Thedford sang about "cardboard stars" during "The Last American Prom Band," white cardboard birds swayed from strings attached to the rafters above the stage in Metrognome's brick and concrete space.
Next, Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go showed that – despite the goofy name, cardboard monster props and songs about robots – their seriously silly music was worth taking seriously.
The lineup ranged from '60s-inspired retro rock (the Shapes were coolly mod and the Beatdown killed the crowd softly with its R&B-inspired keys-and-sax rock) to the very twee (the Bracelets' three-part oh-la-las and wah-wahs inspired Peanuts gang-style dancing, and 7-year-old Maya Bond's punk singing got more "ahs" than a basket of kittens).
Then Cleveland, Tenn.'s Ballroom Dancing offered an after-midnight sugar rush with its strange bag of tricks: They mixed odes to ragtime and classical music into rock tunes and volleyed stuffed animals into the audience during bursts of seemingly choreographed spontaneity.
After a lullaby of a set by Teenage Symphony, the dance party started. Man Factory got the crowd on its feet with punk-laced rock numbers, and there was no time for a disco nap before the brass section of the Happy Bullets called reveille with an abbreviated but enthusiastically greeted set. Fishboy delivered Popfest's knockout punch.
Despite the show sometimes running 90 minutes behind schedule, most listeners were probably glad to have taken the advice to stick around from Popfest's host, Frank Hejl, formerly of KNTU-FM's (88.1) Frequency Down. Though the bands had some commonalities, Popfest proved there's a range to what can be done with guitars, drums, synthesizers, the occasional trumpet or trombone, cardboard boxes and thrift store stuffed animal.
The Dallas Morning News
Well-schooled in having fun
Bet you can't resist howling along with American Werewolf Academy's new CD
Friday, February 10, 2006
By HUNTER HAUK
American Werewolf Academy's new CD, Tell Them Right Now!, has a punk heartbeat, a classic-rock soul and a brain that's, well, hard to predict.
One track is slow and brooding ("From Zeros to Elsewhere"), a couple are anthemic singalongs ("Bearfield Fight Song," "Live Like Kings Forever") and others are purely unclassifiable ("The Good Time Kids," "Jack Wild").
You get the idea: The four-piece Dallas band leaps styles like it just doesn't care. And that helps explain the addictive nature of its debut full-length album. The tunes differ, but the mission stays the same, fun for the sake of fun.
Frontman Aaron Thedford and bassist Carl Schembri started AWA in 2003 after their former band, Robot Monster Weekend, went bust. Following a 2004 EP, Devil, Spit It Out, Mr. Schembri departed, leaving Mr. Thedford with the band's current lineup, rounded out by new bassist Noah Prikryl, drummer Tony Harper and guitarist and keyboardist Mike Gargiulo. Mr. Thedford, a raspy-voiced singer with a penchant for intentional off-key moments, says the new album incorporates catchier hooks than its preceding EP. Recorded on a 16-track tape machine by Matt Barnhart at Denton's Echo Lab, the self-released Tell Them works as perfect driving music, so infectious that your passengers join in almost immediately. You can hear some of the band's music at www.americanwerewolfacademy.com.
AWA fits nicely into the budding North Texas smart-pop scene, currently led by the Happy Bullets, the Tah-Dahs and Fishboy. We can only imagine what AWA could do in a live setting, but we may have to sit tight until March, as Mr. Thedford admits to being a bit slack on rehearsing. In order to get him thinking about the new music (and maybe light a fire under him to find a stage, any stage), we asked him some questions. Here's what he gave us:
To go straight to my favorite song on the album, I have my own ideas about who "The Good Time Kids" are, but I want to hear the writer's take. What's the song about?
It's about older siblings and the privileges of age: staying out late, drinking, going to concerts, getting into trouble. I had an older brother and sister, and I was always intrigued with the teenage lifestyle. I wanted to go do those things at age 10, but obviously I was too young. The Good Time Kids are the kids who smoked and wore concert shirts. They're actually the bad kids, but they have most of the fun. At least I thought they did.
Your vocal stylings come off as organic, as if you just let things happen and don't worry about messing up. Does it come that easily?
If the vocals are enthusiastic and match the energy of the song, that's all that really matters. I like hearing the nuances and cracks in a singer's voice as long as it doesn't get too obnoxious. Vocals come pretty easily, but sometimes the raspiness can get out of control and I sound like a hick walrus stuck in a bear trap. That's when a couple more takes might be in order.
We've never seen an, ahem, AWA live show. What's that like?
We always want the shows to be energetic and fun. Entertaining the audience is our main priority. We usually do a decent job, but we've had our share of train wrecks. As long as we're having fun playing, it usually translates to the audience, as well. We like to jump around a bit.
What kinds of music did you listen to growing up?
When I was 8, my brother turned me on to the Cars and Devo. ... I heard R.E.M. when I was 14, and they were the first band that actually made me want to play music. I didn't get a guitar or learn to play until I was 20. By then I really dug Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Monkees and lots of one-hit-wonder, jangly '60s rock. As far as writing and making music, Guided by Voices was my epiphany.
You have a song called "Last American Prom Band." Have you guys ever played a prom?
No, but we'd love to play a prom. As long as a telekinetic high school girl does not set the place on fire.
Judging from the bizarre album cover and song titles, you can tell that this band isn't one to take things too seriously, and is more concerned with just having a good time. That may be true, but the songs are definitely a lot better than I expected! On the outside, this Dallas band looks like they'd be a bit similar to their northern neighbors, Fishboy, but the music sounds closer to the high energy power pop of Guided By Voices, Spoon and even Cheap Trick (with a voice that occasionally reminds me of a young Rod Stewart, although the thought makes me shudder). These ten songs clock in at just over 20 minutes, and many of them are as catchy as they are short, with highlights including "The Good Time Kids", "Waking Pill" and the farfisa-led "Return Of Electric Man"; the only song I wasn't into was the slower "Last American Prom Band". This album is a lot of fun, and a great treat! MTQ=9/10
"Anthemic, catchy sing-along rock. Great tunes with great lyrics. You'd be hard-pressed not to like this record. The only drawback is that it's over all too soon."
- Jason Manriquez, Scissor Socket Shocker Zine
Anyway, I could do the “introduction thing”, but I think American Werewolf Academy are way too good for that. This album rocks. Actually, it might be an EP, as it’s only twenty minutes long. I don’t know. It rocks. I think the cover art says it all, really. If I had seen this album in a store, I would have bought it for the cover alone. Hell, I would have been even more excited to find out how great the music was, too!
Tell Them Right Now is soaking in bubbly rock and roll, part ‘Mats, part Thin Lizzy (really, can you hear it?), part Cheap Trick, and all of its ten tracks under three minutes long each. “Bearfield Fight Song” has a throttling riff and an anthemic refrain of “We will fight!” that will shake millions. “The Good Time Kids” is classic singalong rock faire, and “Last American Prom Band” manages an epic buildup in a scratch over two minutes.
“What’s Shakin’, Dr. Wizard?” turns it up to 11, with production so imperfectly dirty that follows up the clean, poppy “Waking Pill” and “Gang of Inadequates” with style. “Jack Wild” and “Live Like Kings Forever” are as classy as classic booze rock gets. These guys are from Texas, and they bring it Texas style.
I demand more American Werewolf Academy now! Do yourself a favor and order Tell Them Right Now – right now! - Kyle Dilla
Listening to American Werewolf Academy is like watching your favorite dumb comedy for the 15th time--fun in a nostalgic way, even when you know what's going to happen next. But clocking in at just over 20 minutes, Tell Them Right Now! is a lot quicker of a pick-me-up than that old Tommy Boy DVD. Shorter than most bands' EPs (and just three minutes longer than 2004's Devil, Spit It Out), the Academy's first so-called LP packs 10 songs that aim to reclaim everything that's fun about rock 'n' roll: three-chord simplicity, pounding drums, distorted guitars and teen rebellion.
"From Zeros to Elsewhere" opens with a slow waltz that belies the fast tempo more typical of the group but nonetheless showcases retro touches--a chiming triangle and a cheap-sounding keyboard's approximation of an organ--that keep the Academy from sounding like just another power-pop/punk band. Their rep is reaffirmed quickly; "Bearfield Fight Song" sounds like Will Johnson singing with Guided By Voices, and "The Good Time Kids" gushes about how the kids your parents hated always had the most fun, bringing in a cowbell and hand claps to drive the point home. Former Robot Monster Weekend singer/guitarist Aaron Thedford comes up with hooks that'll have you singing even the most nonsensical lines to yourself for hours afterward. The chorus of closer "Live Like Kings Forever" sums up AWA so neatly it practically begs for an impressed reviewer to quote it: "Trying to open doors with the same three chords/It's a beautiful thing." - Jesse Hughey
Having reviewed American Werewolf Academy’s EP “Devil, Spit It Out” and some of their members’ former band Robot Monster Weekend, I knew somewhat what to expect from this, their debut full-length. But I wasn’t prepared for the powerful hooks that permeate this power-pop meets punk rock album. Songs get stripped down for a nice nod to late ‘70’s New York City punk and hard rock. The vocals are rough and melodic with throaty bliss. American Werewolf Academy are all spittle and leather at times but then switch back to the polar opposite, carefully morphing into huggable teddy bears who offer lollipops to good little chaps. But from start to finish, it’s just a damn good time packaged in a rock-n-roll bubble wrap. - J-Sin
Reviews for Devil, Spit it Out
There's not much to say about Devil, Spit it Out, but what little there is to say is all good. Simple and sublime as sugar, cute as a button and silly as an air guitar solo, this little EP chugs along happily for seventeen minutes of pure, unadulterated fun. Frontman Aaron Thedford could have gotten by on pure bright-eyed charisma, but his lyrics are catchy as fuck and display a certain irrelevant wit. Songs like "Library Jamboree", a feel-good party song about rocking out in a library, and "Goodnight, My Pumpkin Pie", a sort of lullaby culminating in the tale of Captain Hook's lonely alcoholism, don't really make any sense. Indeed, they fail to cohere perfectly, sparkling with their rough-hewn concepts and total lack of meaning.
Thedford's vocals have a lot to do with it, too. His sincere, slightly ragged country boy voice is positively magnetic. You can't hear it without wanting to sing along. You get the feeling that he could make even "Amazing Grace" sound anthemic. As if that weren't enough, his guitar-work is excellent. His country-leaning pop-rock is pure Americana. It's just as irresistible as his voice.
Devil, Spit it Out also includes a video. It was produced with no budget at all, but you should watch it. It has a kid in a backwards baseball cap joyfully playing a broom while fireworks shoot out of the handle in front of a giant American flag. If this music can sell that -- and it does, not to mention making it seem like the cutest damn thing in the universe -- it must be great.
You'll come away from Devil, Spit it Out craving more. Somebody give these kids a record deal, now. Their next LP could be huge. -Mike Meginnis
The Dallas Observer (live review)
The final evening of the three-night Rock 'N' Roll Ramjob, critic Mike Keller's annual musical birthday party, felt a little like the last hours of, well, a birthday party. Only the most dedicated partygoers stuck around, with crowds peaking at about 50 or so throughout the night. And, like other parties, the stragglers were rewarded for their diligence.
Instrumental band Shibboleth returned from hiatus with bass player James Driscoll on drums, and--not necessarily related--the quartet seemed to rock more, without sacrificing the retro jazzy sounds that seem like party music for Holly Golightly. Snowdonnas likewise rocked harder, abandoning their usual keyboards for a guitar-based sound that highlighted singer-guitarist Tim White's vocals and spacey guitar work. The Falkon followed with what singer-guitarist Mwanza Dover called a "stripped-down set" (singer-keyboard player Daron Beck was absent). Several times Dover hopped into the crowd, but he still couldn't rouse the sleepy Sunday-night audience.
American Werewolf Academy--born from the ashes of Robot Monster Weekend--finished the night with high energy. Singer-guitarist Aaron Thedford (RMW's less polished voice) high-kicked and bounced through the trio's happy-go-punky rock, featuring drummer Tony Harper (also in Slobberbone) and new bass player Noah Prikryl. The Tah-Dahs' Roy Ivy gleefully provided backup vocals and dance steps to the songs from the band's debut, Devil, Spit It Out. Despite the bands' similar names and AWA playing RMW's "Robot at the Square Dance," don't confuse the two. RMW's daisy stage props and songs about tree houses and UFOs are replaced with odes to rock shows and drinkin'. But the seemingly carefree subjects don't mask seriously fun songs. Like Thedford sings, "Would you rather rock song or do you wanna cry all day long?" American Werewolf Academy has chosen to rock. -Shannon Sutlief
American Werewolf Academy -- Devil, Spit It Out (self released): Aaron Thedford of Robot Monster Weekend continues that band's mission of good timey, silly rock and roll. On this record, the Academy blends a bit of Young Fresh Fellows, some Replacements, some Smugglers and an all-encompassing inability to take anything serious but the rocking to make for a nifty seven songs that never overstay their welcome. The best example of this is the bashing and smashing "Library Jamboree". I can picture Tony Harper pounding away on his drum kit, sweat flying off his brow, while Thedford lets the lyrics escape from his sore throat, head bopping back and forth and slashing out neo-Who power chords, while Carl Schembri, as so many bass players must do, remains calm and keeps things together. The Academy doggedly pursues fun and excess, as shown by titles like "Here Comes the Drunks", and inspiring lines like "you load up the station wagon/I'll bring the alcohol" on "Rock Show Tonight". Even when they quiet down, these guys can't help their smartass nature. On "Goodnight, My Pumpkin Pie", a lullaby goes awry, as Thedford goes from gushy sentiments to warning of monsters, mummies and crocodiles. These guys are warped, and I hope they stay that way. -Mike Bennett