Last night I punched a wall and broke my fist”
Dylan arrives bearing gifts: The Altitude’s Denton DIY CD, stickers and buttons. It more than makes up for being 20 minutes late but I am enjoying the ambiance of a college bar. We have an hour or so before the multi-instrumentalist must leave for work as a music teacher in Lewisville. This allows us time to chat. I’d seen The Altitude a few times at house parties and invited the band to Rock Philosopher’s Beer Alley Noise Market back in April. The band featuring Dylan on guitar and vocals, Jerry Irvin on bass and either Aidan Oldnettle or Patrick Terry on drums nailed it.
The dream for the band leader is to take to the road and perform the music and meet up with friends around the country in the DIY community. Kicked out of the house at 16 years old for playing shows well after bedtime on school nights, Dylan’s story is probably much like many antecedents in show business where the passion to perform and express outweighed any of the concerns for the road often taken.
Musically The Altitude is a folk punk band. Modest Mouse was a huge influence. One might hear echoes of Violent Femmes in there. “Denton DIY” delivers a punchy in-your-face coming-of-age soundtrack to the bohemian artist culture of Denton, Texas and can represent all youth culture balancing rebellion and self-survival. If anything songs like “Montague County” would fit in 1979 just as they do in 2019. The song tells the true story of getting arrested for possession of marijuana and in the live performance Dylan theatrically shares the tale with the audience before launching into song.
Denton DIY starts with “Waldeinsamkeit” a gorgeously angsty tune oozing that middle-finger-to-the-world you’d expect if you tore open the insides of every teenage punk. The songwriter has the ability to wrap and hammer words around in anyway which is original to these ears. Next is the aforementioned “(Fuck) Montague County” which really needs to be witnessed live in order to fully realize how snarlingly badass it is. [‘Snarlingly’ is most likely not a word.] “Palm and Pine” is a melancholic bleeder: “I’m feeling down and skipping town...” - you get the picture. The song paints a bleak picture of life for an agonized artist and midway through the song a voice message knocks you out with a ghost of the past. The caller is the late Julian Quinn a familiar face on Denton Square where he busked with his banjo many an evening. Julian tragically died last year.
There’s more songs on the CD of course but you’ll just have to go and have a gander yourselves. If you are still young at heart, bleeding hopeless idealism, hoping to one day get out on the road and drive to the next house party or dive bar, you’re going to enjoy The Altitude's Denton DIY. Check it out at the bottom.
If nothing else, liking and sharing this post on social media will help The Altitude get a little bit closer to their dream of hitting the road. Thanks for being there and thank you to Dylan.
RIP Julian Patrick Quinn. Read post on Julian Quinn here.