Missoula Music Renaissance: A Guide to Local Albums Releasing This Spring | Music

Last week, a full crowd showed up at Imagine Nation Brewing Company to hear local songwriter Izaak Opatz perform a solo concert.

Among the crowd was a friend who played in punk bands and remembers the various heydays of the music scene, from Jay’s to VFW. He asked me at one point if I also thought the Missoula bands were really tight now. It could be the post-pandemic rush, several years with more time to practice, but I had to agree.

On the contrary, it has been more difficult to keep track of all albums released, a rush that is likely attributable to back-to-back Delta and Omicron surges.

To help you keep track, here’s a non-definitive guide to Missoula’s albums in the spring 2022 grand reopening. As you hit the road or backyards for Memorial Day weekend, here are some options that show their local character in different ways, in alphabetical order.

Abstract Aprils, “Moedi, Vol. 2″

Abstract April

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The background music might be better suited for a morning read than a barbecue, but credit should be given to the artist known as Abstract Aprils, who continued to produce still, meditative instrumental electronic tracks. . According to the Bandcamp page, this one was fully synth without any additional sound sources.



Catnyp, “IIII”


Cosmopolitan glam rock for modern Missoula, thanks to a Colorado native (Henderson K. Shatner) who cut his teeth on the British music scene.

Chris Sand

“Magic Beans: 16 Songs for Growing Children and Other Human Beans”

Sand, a Ronan native who’s comfortable with seemingly disparate folk songs, cowboy poetry and playful old-school hip-hop, has a soft voice and demeanor that lends itself well to his latest project. : a children’s book. Local details include a song about hunting deer and rabbits from the garden and yard (“Crazy Animals”) or who certain berries are for (“Huckleberries for the Bears”).

Check his Patreon, patreon.com/magicbeanclubfor videos and updates on their project and release plans.

David Boone

David Boone, a thoughtful and charismatic songwriter who always aims high, began releasing singles for this record in 2018. His songs, regardless of volume, aim for a big scale, and he worked with his producer/collaborator regular Danton Supple, who has credits with Coldplay and other top UK artists, to match that. Fellow local Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam appears on some tracks, and there’s a bass cameo from Pete Wilkinson of Echo and the Bunnymen. The album is available on all major streaming services, go to davidboonetheartist.com for more information or videos.

Lee Rizzo

Hailing from Missoula with a soulful voice you may have heard at the Union Club during his run with Mudslide Charley, the release of Rizzo’s debut solo album, “Moon Light Moon,” will be an event in itself.

For her album release show, she will be joined by a choir and guest musicians for a total of 38 people. It requires a big stage, so she booked the Dennison Theater at the University of Montana. The date is June 11, with doors at 6 p.m. and the show at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, go to eventbrite.com. They run $25 general or free for children under 12.

For copies of the CD, inquire at Rockin’ Rudy’s, Tandem Bakery, Leftovers, the Show Room, Betty’s Divine, Bathing Beauties or Clyde Coffee.

Izaak Opatz

Izaak Opatz, “Extra Medium” (Mama Bird Recordings)

Izaak Opatz

Another set of heartbreaking humor, self-mockery and occasional party jam, the Whitefish native’s second solo album is tailor-made for road trips in Montana. His stories include plenty of songs about travel, escape, and finding yourself back where you started, with local details that reward careful listening during windshield time.

“Under the banner of heaven [OST]by Jeff Ament, Pluratone and John Wicks.

Jeff Ament, John Wicks and Josh Klinghofer

“Under the banner of heaven [OST](Released in June)

Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction tale of murders in the fundamentalist Mormon community is now an FX series (out on Hulu), starring Andrew Garfield as lead detective. The eerie sounds in the score came from some Montana collaborators — Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, born and raised in Big Sandy, related to Drum Coffee and Fitz and the Tantrums drummer John Wicks; with former Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and producer Josh Evans from PJ’s “Gigaton” album.

The first three tracks, available on streaming services, instill dread in a way that seems unusual for contemporary scores: dissonant guitar lines, steeped in punk rock and improvisation, that seem to take stock of unthinkable acts; they also seem to correspond to panoramic shots where the human element seems out of step with the natural beauty.


PEST, “EP 1”


Charlie Beaton and Erika Fredrickson of longtime Missoula punk band VTO have teamed up with Ament for an EP of skate-punk tracks with plenty of Montana screams. (The tagline “Havre Has It?” is musically immortalized, complete with a question mark.) The EP is courtesy of John Fleming of Ear Candy and his record label.

Purple Red Onion

Red Onion Purple, “Scary Sites”

Illustrated by Nora Justice

Purple Red Onion

A quartet that can play folk, weird, jazzy or jam, or maybe just let the cello take the lead, the band have released their first album after almost a decade playing around town.


Smith/McKay all day

Smith/McKay All Day, “Smiley Side”

Smith/McKay all day

Two now Missoula-based Texans who cook up roots music with curvy ideas and quirky lyrical ingredients, this duo features Jimmy Smith, of the late Austin, Texas, band the Gourds on vocals, bass and drums; and Pat McKay, a longtime veteran of Missoula music, on guitars and vocals.


Transcendent Express

Transcendental Express, “10.30.21”

Transcendent Express

Open-ear instrumental jams that space out but don’t go too far for the Free Cycles dance floor.


trans future

Trans Future, “Screaming Inside”

Art by DL Johnson

trans future

“Scream Inside”

Self-described “new wave soul ‘n’ roll” by members of defunct gonzo rock band Rooster Sauce and a few new collaborators, they’re groovy enough to have opened for another edgy band (Future Islands ) at Wilma last September.


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