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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ongoing Explosion of Crossover Thrash Band Power Trip

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 3:02 AM

  • Press photo

By Nick Lucchesi

"Whiskey and yummy snacks."

Thus ends the rider for Dallas hardcore/thrash band Power Trip, whose recent ascent hasn't left a lot of time for fleshing out a list of things the band would like in its greenroom.

"I wrote, verbatim, 'a bottle of whiskey and yummy snacks; various, assorted yummy snacks,'" says frontman Riley Gale by phone from his duplex in Old East Dallas. "This rider business is new to me."

Although it's midafternoon on a weekday, Gale is at home, unwinding with his two dogs, Tommy and Mackie. Power Trip -- Gale and Blake Ibanez, lead guitar; Chris Ulsh, drums; Nick Stewart, guitar; and Chris Whetzel, bass -- is coming off what could be considered a championship year for a crossover band. The group garnered critical acclaim for its debut LP, the cinematic Manifest Decimation, and it drew praise from various scenes. The group's tightened live show matches the hype surrounding them.

Topping last year's Manifest (Southern Lord Recordings) could prove to be difficult. At eight songs in 35 minutes, it's a tightly wound, reverb-soaked album that's catchier and heavier than most modern hardcore. Just about everyone loved it. Pitchfork gave it an 8.0/10, putting it on par with buzzed-around groups like Crystal Castles, White Lung and Parquet Courts. Besides, who talks about a band's second album as being their best?

"Have you ever heard of the sophomore slump? I think we want to avoid that," Gale says dryly.

A second LP might arrive in 2015, but he qualifies that projection: "We don't really think far in advance. I think sometimes bands can get stagnant with ideas," Gale says when asked about a follow-up.

But right now at the duplex, Gale's collecting unemployment and selling his band's deadstock merch on eBay. Like anyone who's ever been age 27, he's restless and wants to live somewhere other than his home state. He's eyeing Chicago. "I'm going to be 28 this year, and I'd like to live outside of Texas before I'm 30," Gale says. But 925 miles to Chicago doesn't seem like it will slow the band's pace, says Power Trip's booking agent, Timmy Hefner.

Hefner -- he of Chaos in Tejas, the defunct Austin punk festival -- is already filling out the band's calendar: "They're going to keep touring hard and going for it; it's not slowing down," he says. As a roadie for Austin-based Iron Age in the mid-'00s, Hefner saw Power Trip in its earliest stages and eventually put the band on Chaos in Tejas, raising its profile in front of all the weirdos who made the annual Memorial Day trek to Austin. "They were good then, but now they really know how to write songs," Hefner says of the band's five-year progression. "They crafted this awesome album."

Continue to page two.

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