Blog

Each December 25 for the past few years, we’ve offered up our whole catalog on Bandcamp for pay-what-you-want with all proceeds going to various charities, and this year we’re partnered up with Punk Talks (punktalks.org), a group dedicated to educating people in the music scene about mental illness and offering resources for treatment.

Mental illness has long been a topic our band deals with in song and in life, and I know many of you with whom we’ve spoken at shows that struggle with it as well, but I’ve never really spoken about it in a sort of personal way, so here goes nothing.

I’ve been aware of my depression for most of my life, starting around middle school and writing it off as puberty or something and having it become ingrained in my life from that point on til now at 29 still learning what it means and how to deal with it. Most of that time was spent in ignorance of what was happening, always writing it off as just being angry or being a loner in a small town or some other external reason that wasn’t my fault.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I started to accept the idea that there was something more going on. I can remember sad or angry blurs of our winter tour with Hot Water Music & The Menzingers (people whom I love and I wish we could do that tour again with me in a better mental state!) and coming home and shutting off from the world. I didn’t leave my room or eat, there was a physical component now to the private mental problems I was having. This was also the time we were writing Rooms of the House and I wasn’t replying to emails or texts from the band or contributing to the process, our relationships were very strained and I think the tone of “wow, I can’t believe this record happened” that comes across in the Tiny Dots DVD is derivative of this strain but it wasn’t something that felt appropriate to share with the audience at the time.

I started seeing a therapist in Boston, but even with my health insurance at the time, it was clear I wouldn’t be able to afford it for long, and by the time Rooms came out and we were going to be touring again, therapy was no longer part of my life and I went back to ignoring the problems. It helped a bit to acknowledge that I had an illness and it wasn’t just me being an ass to people to whom I was close or shutting off from friends to be alone and mope on a whim, but still my negligence in seeking treatment or active coping with the symptoms was antithetical to getting better.

Fast forward to this year when I met Sheridan Allen at Bledfest who founded Punk Talks and provided a way for people in the music industry to get access to mental health counseling. Their tagline of “You don’t have to be sad to make great music” was particularly interesting to me as in the past I’ve tended to channel my sadness and anger to write effectively sad and angry songs at the cost of my own health. We spoke for a bit in the following months while LD spent the summer writing new songs and despite spirits being pretty high most of the time, I could feel myself slipping again from the stress. Punk Talks connected me with a therapist with whom I talk every two weeks and has helped me understand things about myself that seem so obvious now but I was oblivious to before now. When I came home from our recent recording session and friends asked me how I was, I’d actually say “great,” and my own answer would take me aback, but it felt real. I doubt I’m cured or that I won’t slip into those sad episodes again, but I have such a better sense of self, understanding of my relationships and general influence on the world around me, and knowledge of ways to pull myself back up through the education my therapist offers me.

We’ve always tried to pair with charities that are close to us and the results have been stellar in the past, but its such a unique feeling for me today to be able to give back to an organization that I can personally champion as a group of good people doing good things for this community. All proceeds gathered this holiday from our bandcamp will be going to Punk Talks to help them continue to grow and offer more resources and assistance to musicians, industry professionals, and fans.

“In 2017 alone we were able to add 4 licensed therapists and nearly a dozen volunteer staff to help bring our mission of providing free therapy to music works all over the country. In 2018, we will be forming and launching our first ever Board of Directors, applying for 501c3 status, implementing accountability workshops, and a whole lot of other cool stuff we can’t mention yet. On behalf of Punk Talks: we are only just getting started and we can’t wait to grow with you in 2018!” – Punk Talks founder Sheridan Allen.

If you’re unable to give anything, the option is available to download without payment. All downloads must be completed on the 25th of December. If you are planning to download several albums or songs, please consider combining your donations into one lump sum on one of your downloads, instead of multiple small donations. This will help minimize fees and maximize the money that will be able to be donated. You will also need to download the songs within the 24 hours of Christmas Day as the songs will no longer be free come the 26th (ending noon GMT).

All music and a little extra can be found here:
www.ladispute.bandcamp.com

Finding Felix/Tales from the Loop
As our yearly tradition of offering the catalog for pay-what-you-want continues, this year felt a little thin. In the past, when we aren’t able to include a new proper album, we’ve had live sessions, b-sides, and a few random other things. To that end, we’ve been so busy developing the new LP that there aren’t extra songs from this year to include. Since we didn’t want to have nothing to offer, we’ve uploaded the audio from an RPG session we played this summer.
For about the last two years, we’ve added roleplaying games to the band’s routine. It started as playing D&D on tour days off and a way to kill time and have fun together, but gameplay has worked its way to become part of our creative process. This summer while writing our fourth LP, we were designing and playing games to explore themes that we were approaching musically, and the games became a very harmonious part of the greater project. We could develop characters, relationships, and stories that explored longing or grief or some more ethereal emotional concepts, then come back the next day with a different perspective and develop music based on what we felt. So far, our attempts to use cards and dice to randomize chord progressions has been fruitless, but I can’t honestly say we never tried it.
Finding Felix is a recording of our July 2017 session of the Tales from the Loop RPG, set in an alternate 1980s with weirdness in a small town. Think E.T. or the Goonies but add robots. While this game was simply for fun and not part of a bigger study, there is nothing wrong with having fun, and you’ll find by listening that it’s sort of our nature to add some heavy emotional themes to a story anyways.
So listen as the rebellious rocker Kit Wilkes, the downtrodden hick Billy, the studious Peter Timmer, and his weirdo brother Chance get themselves into trouble in search of their friend Felix while the adults in town don’t seem to notice anything amiss.

Enjoy.
AV / LD

Roughly a year after their first show, and nearly nine years before today, we met Touché Amoré at a show they’d set up in LA. I remember few shows like I do that one, from Justin from Ghostlimb taping the only microphone stand there into a trash can because the base was broken, to singing along to Comadre for the first time. But what I remember most about that show is the immediate chemistry we felt meeting a band we’d only spoken with on MySpace, as if our messages back and forth on that dead website were instead somehow whole years of close correspondence. Like we were already old friends.

We spent a few days in LA that trip. Stayed with Jeremy, played a show where Clayton lived, walked Venice Beach, shopped for records. So on.

All these years later, we are old friends, and I’m genuinely blown away by how rapidly time passes looking back. In that time, we’ve toured together, played in basements, shared vans, explored continents, been shut down by the cops, put a record out together, struggled and succeeded, struggled and succeeded. So on and so on and so on.

And now, come February, we get to head back to LA to celebrate, not necessarily our friendship, but all of the things about you dudes that have drawn us since day one and so many others in your ten years to you: the passion you so enthusiastically display for art and punk and community, the love and healing you spread, and the indescribable feeling of leaving a venue/basement/bridge/parking lot full of sweat and life after watching you play.

Congratulations on ten and a thousand. See you in February. Love you dudes to hell and back again.

Still searching for a pulse,

ld

TICKETS: https://tinyurl.com/TA1000

As minorities the world over brace themselves for hostilities increasingly visible and accepted, many in our home state of Michigan have already felt their effects. Where the Emergency Manager Law has superseded the public’s right to elect those that represent them in largely African-American communities, and where those then placed in charge have consistently turned a blind eye to the poison water flowing in the pipes beneath their homes, it is vitally important that every step going forward is taken to ensure that a voice is provided to those who have had their own systematically silenced. In many instances, that voice speaks loudest and most effectively in legal battles from municipal to state to national courts, where organizations like the ACLU work to protect the rights of all people with no exceptions.

 

For the last few years on the 25th of December, we’ve made our entire discography available on bandcamp for pay-what-you-can download with all proceeds going to benefit literacy organizations like 826Michigan and the Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center, to Well House of GR, which provides long term homelessness outreach in our beloved city. This year, we ask that you join with so many others in helping to protect the rights of those who have them consistently threatened by visiting our bandcamp page, downloading our music, and donating anything that you’re able to donate toward helping the ACLU of Michigan provide a powerful line of defense for sisters, brothers, and others currently under siege by fear, xenophobia, disregard, and misunderstanding. The moral arc of the universe is indeed long. Now is the time to make absolutely certain that it bends toward justice, together.

 

Thank you for your time, and for whatever is within your means to give. If you’re unable to give anything, the option is available to download without payment. We understand fully that times are tough and people this time of year in particular are stretched thin.

 

Read, learn, reach out, start a conversation.

 

(All downloads must be completed on the 25th of December. Tiny Dots will be available to stream without charge on Vimeo by using the code “dec25”. Should you wish to make a donation for this, please do so via our Bandcamp)

 

links:

 

discography on bandcamp
tiny dots on vimeo (use code “dec25”)

 

Love to all people,

 

LD

Wow, it’s been a minute. Apologies for that.

Just wanted to quickly share some tunes with you. Bravo if you make it to the end!

See you all in June –

Brad

Niall Coffey shot and directed a video for us around his home in London last year that you may have seen, for the song “Woman (Reading).” By then he was a friend.

 

Before that, he was a stranger stateside, a visitor in the van and backstage with us and his cameras, shooting footage—live and candid—and grilling us and others in interviews. A bizarre dynamic admittedly, being filmed, but it didn’t take long to acclimate, to let the camera be secondary to good company while driving around in a crowded van and playing music, Niall in tow.

 

The culmination of all that is a documentary he made about that tour and about our band called “Tiny Dots” that premieres November 1st in select cities across the United States. If you happen to live in or in close proximity to one of those places, we would—and Niall would—love for you to go see it.

 

Of course, for those of you either out of range or in range but busy that night, there are options:

 

  1. A digital version, for the technological, will be available the following day for download. And,
  2. A hard copy, coming December 4th, for those desiring a tangible thing for the bookshelf (or, DVD shelf, as it were, between “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Titicut Follies”).

 

Elsewhere, filed also in UPCOMING EVENTS, we leave for tour the day after the film shows. Westbound first, for the first time in ages, to play shows with some old friends from Japan called Envy who no one should ever miss an opportunity to see or to listen to because they are truly, truly an astounding band (and wonderful, wonderful people to boot) then further South than we’ve ever gone before to the America below ours for a handful of shows in beautiful Brazil, which we couldn’t be more excited about.

 

And that’s the word tonight, sitting here with the radio on and running out of things to say:

 

Excited.

 

Excited to play, to travel.

Excited to see close friends along the way in Envy and in Pity Sex.

Excited to meet new friends in Wildhoney.

Excited to see places we haven’t seen in awhile and places that we haven’t yet seen.

But most of all, excited—hopefully, hopefully—to see you, whoever and wherever you might be.

 

Where I hope the weather is nice because it’s beautiful in Michigan.

 

-ld

JOIN THE MAILING LIST
* = required field