A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: The Imperial Rooster


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

One of the best perks about this music blogging gig is the like-minded friends you can make. I got to know Dusty Vinyl thanks to the appearance of everyone’s favorite porch-dwellers The Imperial Rooster at the inaugural Couch by Couchwest in the spring of 2011, and the Rooster drummer has been a good buddy ever since (and simpatico enough that he chose one of my favorite books for his read).

The Imperial Rooster has two albums under its belt now, and has been gigging hard whenever it can. If you’re in the Santa Fe area you can catch them:

April 27 w/Split Lip Rayfield @ Sol, Santa Fe
May 22 w/The Misery Jackals @ The Underground, Santa Fe


“April” – The Imperial Rooster
(They tell me it’s a coincidence that this song has my name on it, but I’m not buying it.)


Good Read:
Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad.
I’m probably preaching to the choir in this space but I’ve been surprised before by how many folks with similar tastes in music have never read this book. It tells the story of most of the important underground rock bands of the 80s up until their breakup or signing to a major label.

A lot of my favorite bands of all time are represented: Black Flag, The Replacements, Sonic Youth, The Minutemen (whose “History Lesson Part II” is where the book cribs its title from) Husker Du, and the immortal Mudhoney.
Every story is worth reading even if you’re unfamiliar with the band’s music (never been into Beat Happening) as a snapshot of all the different vibrant music regions around the country, as cautionary tales, and as a doorway to your new favorite band.

Good Listen:
For Your Own Special Sweetheart – Jawbox
As the flipside to the overall theme of the book I just wrote about Jawbox’s For Your Own Special Sweetheart is the rare “underground rock band jumps to major label” story where the band’s major label output smokes their indie stuff.
Washinton DC’s Jawbox was a major band in that city’s burgeoning post hardcore scene, alongside Fugazi and Shudder To Think and the jump from super anti corporate Dischord to mega major Atlantic was a shock. Even more shocking was how great the resulting major label debut was. Two big events shape this record: Jawbox went on tour with Helmet and they got a real recording budget. The budget allowed their sonic pallette to expand while at the same time the tour with Helmet inspired their riffs to be big and jagged and muscular. The band remained uncompromising with their hardcore influenced indie rock. The songs are unrelenting, fantastic and multilayered and the album as a whole is a completely satisfying listen. Definitely check it out.


“Savory” – Jawbox

“Motorist” – Jawbox


Good Drink:
Trippel (New Belgium Brewery)
My beer of choice when I’m going to the store New Belgium’s take on a trippel style ale is perfection in a bottle. Its hoppy and sweet and it’s 7.8 ABV ensures that you’ll be feeling good a couple bottles in without all the beer bloat.


“Overunderstimulated” – The Imperial Rooster


The Imperial Rooster @ Bandcamp

The Imperial Rooster @ ReverbNation

The Imperial Rooster @ Facebook


Graphic by Jenn Bando

Support Your Friendly, Neighborhood Rooster

We love DIY bands to pieces here at NTSIB since we’re DIY ourselves. And like most DIY bands, we’re broke-ass broke, so we understand their plight. Our friends in the Imperial Rooster aren’t on a label, not even a little one, so while they have released their new album Decent People, it pretty much only consists of 1s and 0s at this point. So, they’ve gotten themselves up a Kickstarter campaign to help them release the new album on vinyl and CD.

And they have some exceptional prizes, from the rad Rooster T-shirt to test pressing vinyl to a show at your house to, my personal favorite, a personal music mix from drummer Dusty Vinyl (he’s got great taste in music, y’all). There are even more great incentives than I’ve listed here. And if you follow NTSIB and have seen our other posts about the Imperial Rooster, you know they’re a band worth backing. So, stop on over at the Rooster Kickstarter page and pledge what you can. Even if it’s only a dollar. They’ll love you for it, and so will we.

The Imperial Rooster @ Kickstarter

Roosters on the Porch

The Imperial Rooster returns to the porch where we first found them during Couch By Couchwest. Well, clearly, they were on the porch while the rest of us were on the collective couch. But we were all drunk, and that’s what matters.

The Imperial Rooster is going to sing you into the weekend with a selection of songs from their new album, Decent People. When you’re left wanting more, you can click that Bandcamp link at the end of the post and get you more.


Anything Goes At A Rooster Show (Rooster Anthem)


Korhn Sirup Sundae




The Imperial Rooster @ Bandcamp

The Imperial Rooster @ Facebook

The Imperial Rooster: Decent People


Booze, drugs, deer people, suicide, internet pornography, fire, brimstone, L. Ron Hubbard and domestic violence… that’s right, it’s time for a new album from the Imperial Rooster.

On Decent People, the Imperial Rooster once again mixes the sublime with the absurd to create the perfect soundtrack to your damnation. Check out my favorite track, “The Vintage.”



The band recently played Frogfest 6 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they rocked another new song, “DWI Marijuana Blues”.



This Saturday, June 11, the Imperial Rooster will be playing the Thirsty Ear Festival alongside the Handsome Family, Calexico, the Cedric Burnside Project and others.

Decent People is available now via Bandcamp.


The Imperial Rooster @ Bandcamp

The Imperial Rooster @ Facebook

Bits: Booker T. Jones, Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown, The Kills, Strand of Oaks, The Imperial Rooster,

  • Booker T. Jones’ new album The Road from Memphis is out today. You can see and hear his recent Tiny Desk Concert for NPR here.
  • Fantasy Records will be putting out a Buddy Holly tribute album, Rave On Buddy Holly, on June 28, and the contributor list is wild. You can hear the Black Keys’ contribution, a cover of “Dearest”, here. And if you visit Liza Richardson’s May 7 KCRW show, you can hear Modest Mouse’s take on “That’ll Be the Day” (at the 6:00 mark) and Cee-Lo doing “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” (around 36:35).
  • A free 8-song sampler from artists on Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour, including Austin Lucas, is available from iTunes.
  • Take a trip over to Vinyl Hounds to see a cool mini documentary about the Kills.
  • KDHX has a live in-studio set from the always beautiful Strand of Oaks.
  • A reminder that our friends The Imperial Rooster will be playing at El Farol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 10 at 6 PM MST and the set will be broadcast live on Radio Free Santa Fe (you can catch it on the web at the Radio Free Santa Fe website or in the Santa Fe area on 98.1). They will also be a part of the Thirsty Ear Festival going on in Santa Fe June 10-12. They’ll be joining the likes of Calexico, the Handsome Family, the Cedric Burnside Project and many more.

Bits: The Imperial Rooster, Bang Bang Boogaloo, Modest Mouse & Big Boi, Craig Wedren, The Twilight Singers, Wolfgang’s Vault

  • The Imperial Rooster will be playing at El Farol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 10 at 6 PM MST and the set will be broadcast live on Radio Free Santa Fe. Tune in locally at 98.1 or via the Radio Free Santa Fe website.
  • New York label Bang Bang Boogaloo has put together a killer compilation of unsigned New York bands called New York Rock & Roll 1. You can listen to and download it for free on their website.
  • Big Boi revealed, via Twitter, that he’s working on an album with Modest Mouse. “Been camped out in the Lab with Modest Mouse all week, workin on the new mouse LP, coolest cats ever. Long Live The Funk.” Cannot wait to hear the results of that collaboration.
  • Both Craig Wedren and the Twilight Singers are offering new songs for free download. Wedren’s “Cupid” is a Shudder to Think-era tune re-purposed for his upcoming solo album, WAND. The Twilight Singers’ “Don’t Call” is a non-album track, as well as being a Desire cover.
  • Wolfgang’s Vault has added a video section to their mammoth live music archives. While you’ll find the old stand-bys you’d expect from WV – the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band – you’ll also find some NTSIB favorites like A Place to Bury Strangers, the Builders and the Butchers and even the Gutter Twins. Worth a dig.

The Imperial Rooster: My Heart is Thawed

Couch by Couch West: it started out as a tongue-in-cheek backlash against the rising tide of babble that always inundates the online music community around South by South West time. But while the whole thing started out as a joke that masked the fact that many of us were envious of the people who were going out to Austin to take in some great live performances, CXCW turned into a viable entertainment option of its own, complete with exclusive performances from unknown and name acts alike (Neko Case didn’t play SXSW this year, but she and her dog Liza did serenade CXCWers). NTSIB found more than a couple of acts that made us sit up and say, “We’ve got to get them on the blog!”

One of those bands was the Imperial Rooster. Playing from a porch in Espanola, New Mexico, the Roosters showed up early and often at CXCW. Here they are in their CXCW performance of “The Ballad Of Lightning Bill Jasper”:



Their first album, Old Good Crazy Poor Dead, spans the spectrum from raucous novelty songs (“Pigfork”) to heart-tearing, Southern gothic ballad (“Uranium Mole”). Rooster music is loose and full of heart, and we heartell they put on a mean live show. (And Shooter Jennings likes ’em, too.) Stream or download a couple of my favorite tracks from OGCPD below.


Your Friends Think I’m The Devil by The Imperial Rooster


Never Cold Again by The Imperial Rooster


The Imperial Rooster has a new album coming out sooner than later, and we’ll be keeping you apprised of those goings on.


The Imperial Rooster @ ReverbNation

The Imperial Rooster @ Facebook