Before heading home from visiting friends and family in Eau Claire, you have one last pit stop to make: the Giants of Midgard CD release!
If you haven’t heard of Giants of Midgard, here are the deets: Giants of Midgard officially formed in 2013, but all of the members of the band have been in the local music scene for some time now. The band consists of Noel Hanson (of The Jaggernauts and Den Barstow Ludders), Jodi Hanson (also of Den Barstow Ludders), Justin LeMay (of Thunderlung), and finally, Brent Kuchen-meister (of Desolatevoid and another group that’s yet to be named with local musicians Tim Smith and Brad Hanson).
The Giants rehearse every Tuesday night from about 6:30-9:30 in a studio space they rent on Clairemont. While driving to one rehearsal, Noel jokingly noted, “Brent and Justin write most of our songs while they’re waiting for Jodi and I to get to rehearsal… we’re always late because Jodi needs to get food before we practice.”
Despite this, the lyrics are a group effort. For example, one song on the album—Vlad Libs—is a song Jodi and Noel wrote together. “Although we cover different topics in our songs, Jodi wanted something different,” Noel explained. “So, I wrote up a song, and I had her fill in the blanks like a Mad Libs game. I told her, ‘Okay, pick a noun. Now pick a place,’ and that’s how we wrote the song.”
Other notable songs on the new Giants album include Why Do Texans Bite? And Gothic Mac, which is a song Noel wrote after reading a list of 10 Things You Should Never do in a Horror Movie online.
Not only is Giants of Midgard an incredible band, but also, the members have formed incredibly close bonds with one another. Brent and Noel have known each other since the spring of 1985; they both attended Chippewa Falls High School. “While some guys played sports in high school, Brent and I were the ones hiding behind building, smoking cigarettes, and talking music,” Noel joked. And yes—Jodi and Noel are married (cue the ‘awwwws’)!
Finally, Justin joined the band in early September after their previous drummer, Peter Kaesberg, decided to leave the band to focus on his family. “Peter left the band on good terms—he’s a great guy, and we fully understood and supported his decision.” Fortunately, Noel had seen Justin perform with Thunderlung, and his performance immediately caught his attention. “I made a mental note that Justin was someone I wanted to work with someday.” Thus, he contacted him about drumming for the group.
Fun fact about Giants of Midgard: the band members don’t stick to just one instrument! When asked which instruments they play, Noel explained, “It really depends on the song. Brent plays the bass, guitar, synth, and keys. Justin mostly plays the drums, but we recently found out that he can play the piano. Jodi is lead vocals, and I’m supporting vocals. I also play guitar and sometimes the bass or keys.”
When it comes to their sound, Brent elaborated, “We’re kind of a mixing pot of genres. We aren’t just rock or alternative; it depends on the song. We take inspiration from a lot of bands including local musicians.” Their latest album, which is called Beware, is no exception to this.
The Beware CD release show is going to be this Friday, November 25th (i.e. Black Friday) at the House of Rock on Water Street. Openers for the show include Filthy Sweet, Distant Friends, and Fathom (Cory Crowell). Fathom will join them for special performances along with local artist and musician Steve Bateman and back-up singers Nancy Olson, Jenn Blakeley, and Anastasia Vishnevsky.
Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at approximately 9:30 p.m. (Note: there is a $5 cover charge.) If you’re unable to make it out to the show, their album will also be available at Revival Records in downtown Eau Claire. (Psssst: another notable performance they have coming up is during Decadent Cabaret in March, an annual event at the House of Rock!)
As for advice for anyone hoping to get into the local music scene, Brent said, “Get out in the community and keep on refining your musical skills.”
AND IT ONLY GETS BETTER! If you can’t wait until the CD release to hear their new stuff, you can check out their Bandcamp page here for a sneak peak at the new album today. (Here’s another fun fact: Greg Kernkamp of The Jaggernauts did the artwork for the album cover!)