Little Red Lung / Dubb Nubb / Dustin Hamman / Wooden Burial Ground
The Dome, Ashland MO
Little Red Lung is a four-piece outfit from Los Angeles, CA. On October 26, they’re coming to The Dome in Ashland, MO—135 miles west of STL on I-70, just south of Columbia—to rock your face. Little Red Lung was started by singer and keyboardist Zoe-Ruth Erwin in 2007. She has gathered consummate musicians around her to craft a unique, dramatic and often eerie sound. With a marked originality that cuts through an often superficial L.A. scene, their self-titled album may be the West Coast’s best of 2012.
In 2010, Erwin brought Little Red Lung to play with Dubb Nubb at Foam in St. Louis and The Hair Hole in Columbia, MO, but they haven't been back in Missouri since. She wrote a lot of the album in East Tennessee, and sees a real difference between musical cultures. In a recent interview at the L.A. Art Walk, she shared her excitement to play again in the Midwest.
“In L.A., a lot of bands have the same type of tone because they’re all influenced by each other and because all the bands know each other too," she said. "Touring through the South and the Midwest, I feel like there is a lot more originality to the bands. Everyone out there isn’t just striving to just be a star, which a lot of people are doing here. People out there are really creating.”
Though they aren’t preoccupied with image, the band definitely has a look. Erwin’s photography background lends itself to extravagant costume and striking lighting for their promo pics and album cover. Their songs are theatrical, often begging for video footage (check out their video for “50 Fingers”). The entire project is written, recorded, and mixed by the band. They’ve also been booking all of their own tours. “We’re not the kind of people who are going to wait around for somebody to come and help us out,” says guitarist Ali Nikou.
Still from "50 Fingers" directed by Sarah Sitkin
“I think if you’re determined enough as a group of people, you can do promotional stuff on your own—if everyone puts in a lot of work," Erwin say. "The thing is, it is a lot of work. So if you’re booking a tour and sending out press stuff, you barely have time to rehearse, so it’s not like you have time to work on your songs or write new ones. It’s almost like you have to choose what your priorities are.”
Though they live a couple thousand miles away, Little Red Lung doesn't lack for Missouri connections: Erwin produced two albums for Columbia/STL band Dubb Nubb (see Eleven's feature on Dubb Nubb in the September '12 issue), as well as a compilation album called Feels Like Coming Home on Special Passenger Records. This will be their first time playing at The Dome, a one-of-a-kind, dome-shaped venue that has been running since 2009. As the home of Columbia’s Hooten Hallers, the space has been centered around their shows and friends for many years, but has recently taken on a more active role in the local music scene. Five dogs roam the property, bands are welcome to crash, partake of the food, and enjoy the secluded grounds. In recent months, the Dome has played host to Paper Bird, CS Luxem, Paleo, Children Of Spy, Cloud Dog and more.
The bill is packed for the Ashland show: Little Red Lung will be reunited with Dubb Nubb, and both Dustin Hamman of Run On Sentence and Wooden Indian Burial Ground will be playing as well.
After playing in Missouri, Little Red Lung plans to move south toward Knoxville, TN. They’ll be recording at Live and Breathing, a portable studio that records, videos, and edits concerts in unconventional locations. Then they’ll return home to record more. “We have another full-length album in our pockets," says drummer John Broeckel. "We’re champing at the bit.”
When in California, Little Red Lung records at Blastermaster Productions, owned and managed by Nikou. “It’s convenient to have your own place,” Nikou says. “We're able to get everything the way we want it. So if it’s not an awesome album, there is no one to blame but us.”
If you live anywhere near Ashland and miss this show, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.