The New Megafaun

former locals’ new album may be their big break

Ken Szymanski

THREE PEAS IN A HAIRY POD. Native Eau Clairians Brad Cook, Joe Westerlund, and Phil Cook comprise Megafaun.
THREE PEAS IN A HAIRY POD. Native Eau Clairians Phil Cook, Brad Cook, and Joe Westerlund comprise Megafaun.

It’s about to happen. Nationally, Megafaun is on the verge of a breakthrough, gaining a rising tide of critical respect for their musical chops, improvisation, and ever-evolving sound.

Here in their native Chippewa Valley, though, members Brad Cook, Phil Cook, and Joe Westerlund are also known for their previous incarnations in local bar bands: DeYarmond Edison, Amateur Love, and Mount Vernon.

Since they moved to North Carolina in 2005 and eventually formed Megafaun, accolades rose steadily in music circles, yet the band remained a relatively well-kept secret. This band and these sounds, however, cannot be contained. NPR, Spin, and Rolling Stone have all run online features in anticipation of the upcoming self-titled CD, due out Sept. 20.

With each new Megafaun release, critics have turned their thesauruses inside-out trying to put the eclectic sound into words. Online descriptions include sprawling, rousing, earthy, atmospheric, cacophonous free-jazz; ramshackle folk-rock; psychedelic Americana; and off-kilter freak-folk. That sorta’ captures it.

With all the buzz, the only disappointment is their current tour stretch that goes from Chicago to Madison to Minneapolis – without an Eau Claire show. Ouch.

No Eau Claire Bon Iver show on this tour (yet)? No Eau Claire Megafaun show (yet)? Perhaps they’re brewing something big together. Maybe a multi-night homecoming extravaganza around the holidays? Could this include re-opening The Metro for a bearded Mount Vernon reunion? Re-opening the Stones Throw stage for a DeYarmond Edison/Amateur Love double-bill? Then a Megafaun/Bon Iver rooftop concert on top of the Civic Center parking ramp … under a meteor shower … with both bands combining for an all-star jam encore with special guests Neil Young and an un-dead Jerry Garcia? And fireworks. Not trying to start rumors … just throwing out ideas.

Check out Megafaun albums at The Local Store

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Ken Szymanski  author

Ken Szymanski lives in Eau Claire’s Third Ward neighborhood, with his wife and two sons. He attempts to live in the present, but the 1980s have always exerted a strong gravitational pull on his writing. He tries to fight it, but it’s no use sometimes.

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