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Ballyhoo! keeps kicking out the jams

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013

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Ballyhoo!'s four albums and an EP before this year's "Pineapple Grenade" was enough to give the Maryland ska-punk group a sense of experience -- but not enough to keep it from getting nervous about the new endeavor.

"It was fun but also stressful 'cause we only had three weeks to bust it out," says singer-guitarist Howi [cq] Spangler, who co-founded the group in Aberdeen. "I was really nervous we weren't going to have a full record; a week and a half into it I was really scared.

"But the songs kind of come out the way they did. There was no thought to it. And they came out sounding a little softer than the last record (2011's 'Daydreams'), but we got to play with guitar tones and bass tones a lot on this one, so we felt like we grew but stayed within the same sound."

It's a sound that's curried some favor; Ballyhoo! has so far sold more than 30,000 copies of its albums, which have been released by small independent labels. The group also contributed a track to "Forever Free: A Tribute to Sublime" and has contributed to the soundtracks of "Beach Kings" and "Road Trip: Beer Pong." Spangler doesn't mind having the group associated with party rock, and he's been happy with the pace at which Ballyhoo~!'s audience is growing.

"We're just kind of butting our way through all this," he says with a laugh. "We're pretty good at where we're at right now. We started touring about seven and a half years ago, and every time we go back to a place usually the crowds get bigger and the albums do better each time out. People keep coming back and bring their friends.

"So we're doing pretty good at where we're at right now. I feel like we're making our own place. Not every band gets to do it like this."

Ballyhoo! and Passafire perform Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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