Thursday, March 28, 2013

Delaware Music Festival, Take Three: The Jolly What!

Ah, the mid-'00s. Things were simpler then. Things were better then. Say the word "MySpace" to anyone who doesn't play an instrument and they'll practically laugh their tonsils out at you. Say the word to a musician, though, and you can see a tear run down their cheek like that Native American in the famous commercial.

Mark Degz is probably one of those musicians. His former band, Dead Loretta, made quite a ruckus on the Delaware indie rock scene during the middle part of the last decade, a scene that centered on the amazing Mojo 13 in Holly Oak as well as its previous incarnation, Sneaky Pete's.

You could see great original music there several days a week, and national acts began showing up there as well, including Joe Jack Talcum of the Dead Milkmen and, later, The Hold Steady.

And you could see Degz and Dead Loretta cranking out great singles like "Miranda" and "Symphony of a Wasted Youth" that helped them get regional play and exposure and a ride that ended just short of a big break.

MySpace gave artists like Dead Loretta a free platform for sharing their music via stream or download and for promoting shows and connecting with other bands and fans.

Hold Steady: The peak of the Mojo 13 Movement.
But like the Blackberry, it's just another good idea that's become a joke because someone said so, and bands are left with choosing between various platforms, like Facebook's band pages (features a music player, but do you really want to give Mark Zuckerberg the rights to your music?), Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Reverbnation, etc.

They're all good in their own way, but there's too many of them. Fans are sent all over the place and can't find what's good.

That's where good folk like First State Rock come in. If you lost track of Degz after Dead Loretta went up in flames during a show with an industry suit at Mojo 13, here's what he's up to:

This shit owns your music.
He formed The Jolly What! in 2007, recorded their first release, "Life Is My Favorite Sport" in 2009, and has continued to release some fascinatingly quirky stuff, from straight-up vintage '90s indie rock ("Topanga") to desert rock to reggae-rock ("Heaven in a Heartless World") to the just plain whacked out (the faux blues number "18 Year Old Girls").

They're putting the finishing touches on their new album, "Surviving The Supervolcano," which features the roaring rocker "Super Flare,"  and the tune "Girl of my Dreams," which is already a local hit.

The Jolly What! hit the stage at the Delaware Music Festival in Dewey Beach at 12:20 a.m. Saturday March 30 (technically Sunday, but whatever). Admission is free.

Here's a little Jolly What! for ya:

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