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The Shouting Matches return to play Coachella 2013

Thom Fountain, photos by Mike O'Brien |

The Shouting Matches at Volume One's Chippewa Valley Rock-n-Roll Kickball Classic (2010)
ABOVE: The Shouting Matches (Brian Moen and Justin Vernon minus Phil Cook) at Volume One's Chippewa Valley Rock-n-Roll Kickball Classic (2010)

Possibly the most mysterious of Justin Vernon’s array of endeavors and side projects and appearances may see a bit more light this year. The Shouting Matches – the drunken, bluesy duo that has stayed the most local of any of Vernon’s groups – will be heading to California to play the Coachella Music Festival on April 12 and 19. While the band’s handful of performances over the years have consisted of Vernon and drummer Brian Moen (Laarks, Peter Wolf Crier), the latest version of the act is going back to its roots. Original (though short-lived) member Phil Cook (Megafaun) will officially return as a full-fledged part of the project. All three have a distinct musical history together from now-defunct local acts DeYarmond Edison and Amateur Love.

While the Bon Iver years may have pushed The Shouting Matches to the furthest of Vernon’s back burners, he’s quick to point out they’ve got a history, and he’s excited to resurrect it. "We've been a band for seven years, but now Phil's back in the band,” Vernon said to Volume One. “We kicked him out for six years and now he's back in and we’re playing a show."

The Shouting Matches are about as far away from the passive, folk-y tunes of Bon Iver and Megafaun as possible. Their shows – the last being an appearance at Volume One’s Rock ‘n Roll Kickball Classic in 2010 in Altoona – are raucous and loud, with Vernon simultaneously shredding, screaming and stumbling around the stage in a bluesy (and almost certainly boozy) haze. (And there’s the video on below to show for it.) Even though the performances are unrehearsed and off-the-cuff, the music doesn’t suffer. If anything it feeds off the energy of the duo and wails with immense power and drive.

The group has only been heard in a few shows around the Chippewa Valley in the last five years – along with a bootlegged EP that has made its way around Eau Claire and the Internet – and thus far the band has seemed content to stay local and relatively unknown. The shows at Coachella could mean a shift towards becoming a more active band (and stay tuned for more updates on that soon). As for a local show, Vernon said it’s tough to do, but not out of the question.

"It's hard because Brian is in Oakland, Phil is in Durham, and I'm here. But we hope to put together something in Eau Claire and Minneapolis."

The Shouting Matches at Volume One's Chippewa Valley Rock-n-Roll Kickball Classic (2010)

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