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Fromahole tornado

Fromanhole: Discomfort Zone

story by tim mcmahan
photo by john shartrand



Lazy-i: July 30, 2008

w/ Little Brazil, The Life and Times, Nueva Vulcano
Friday, August 1, 9 p.m.
Slowdown Jr.
729 No. 14th St.

There's a good chance that you're not going to like Fromanhole's music. At least not at first.

It's not exactly the kind of stuff most would listen to while, say, shopping at Von Maur or blissfully riding their mountain bike along the Keystone Trail.

Formed in '96 out of the ashes of rock band Blenny, Fromanhole plays a blistering brand of angular noise that bludgeons listeners with its relentless intensity. As arty as they are punky, the band revels in unpredictable time shifts, stuttering syncopated riffs, and an almost mathematically precise unspoken communication that bonds all three members on stage, seemingly sharing the same rhythmic mind meld.

Like any good band, brothers Doug and Daryl Kiser (bass and guitar respectively, they share vocals), and drummer Doug "Roach" Berger prefer to keep comparisons out of the discussion.  "It's not metal, it's not punk, maybe it's a little pop, maybe a little jazz, maybe even a little bluegrass," Daryl said, referencing the fact that he first learned to play bluegrass guitar from his father. "It's a formula. I'm writing an equation and trying to break the equation to my satisfaction, like cracking a code."

"One night when we were playing in Minneapolis, some guy came up and said we sounded like free-form jazz," Doug said. "I told him there was nothing free-form about it, that it was all very structured."



So much so, that one of Fromanhole's goals is to replicate almost note-for-note the sounds heard on their new CD, Dissecting the American Dream, an 8-song collection recorded live with no overdubs at Bassline Studio by Tim Cich, Kyle Petersen and Dan Brennan. "I want to give people listening to the disc an idea of what they're going to get when they come see us live," Daryl said. "This is who we are, it's not some kind of gimmick."

Their fourth album, Dissecting… contains the same throbbing rhythmic punch heard on earlier records, but also boasts the closest the band has ever come to a pop song. The album's second track, "1040 AM," opens with thick back-beat drums and a counter melody and vocal The Pixies would be proud to own. But just as you begin to get into the groove, the band casually throws a wrench into the gears with an abrupt, bowel-rattling time change. "We don’t want anyone to get comfortable or assume anything," Daryl said.

Meanwhile, the songs' lyrics -- screamed more than sung -- are personal glimpses of hard-times gone by. "What I'm talking about is struggles in life, in society, in the economy, my hardships and what I have to do to get past what I used to be to where I am now," Daryl said. "It's not a personal internal struggle, it's something that everyone faces."

It's their willingness to constantly push listeners out of their comfort zone that will keep Fromanhole from ever reaching a large audience, and they know it. "We have our own style," Daryl said. "It may not be what you want, but we're proud of what it is. We'll play for 10 people if those 10 people really care about what we're doing. If it was about money, we'd have stopped doing this a long time ago."

In fact, Fromanhole has always done it the DIY way, preferring to release their own records and book their own tours, including a two-week jaunt with KC band System and Station that begins Sept. 9 and takes them through Texas and a slew of Bible Belt states.

"We know that we'll spend $1,000 on gas on this tour," Doug said. "Hopefully we'll break even, but we're prepared to lose all that money. Roach and I know our diet is going to be tuna fish for those two weeks."

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Published in The Omaha Reader July 30, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved. Photo by John Shartrand. Used by permission.













Fromanhole Dissecting the American Dream

"It may not be what you want, but we're proud of what it is. We'll play for 10 people if those 10 people really care about what we're doing. If it was about money, we'd have stopped doing this a long time ago."