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The Terrordactyls

The Terrordactyls 1 Photo

The Terrordactyls duo -- Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl -- live on opposite coasts, Cadiz in Seattle and Stendahl in Brooklyn. The tracks were put together via Internet correspondence, but the music on their eponymous debut has the live, playful feel of two friends collaborating in a funky living room for the enjoyment of their friends. If there is such a thing a freak folk, this is it.

Cadiz was born December 30, 1983, in Columbia, MD, an unremarkable suburb of Baltimore. He remembers sitting in his grandparents' basement at the piano, holding down the sustain pedal and making up lyrics when he about six years old, but didn't pick up guitar until middle school. His older sister received a guitar for her birthday one year and he started playing it when he was grounded for skipping school. At first he played the songs his sister and her friends wrote, then borrowed all of her Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails CDs and began playing along. He studied guitar privately in middle school and high school and also at the Conservatoire National de Région de Clermont-Ferrand, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Music Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts, but dropped out of all three. In 1997 Cadiz was in Washington state at Vashon Island High School where he met Tyrel Stendahl in a Photoshop class. They started playing together and evolved the Terrordactyls' sound during their years at Evergreen State College.

Stendahl was born on May 25, 1985, in Seattle, WA, the oldest of four children. His parents were liberal; in grade school he wore a jean jacket with the head of Beetlejuice painted on its back and started collecting Elvis memorabilia when he was seven. His father introduced him to Guns N' Roses, Meat Loaf, and country singer Lee Greenwood; he discovered Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer on his own. His parents gave him a '60s Fender Duo-Sonic for his ninth birthday and he took guitar lessons through middle school, but stopped playing guitar to pick up bass and put on a chicken costume for a high-school band called the Eds. At Vashon Island High School Stendahl met Cadiz, and the Eds split into the Pharmacy and the Terrordactyls, which were constantly overlapping projects until the Pharmacy's tour schedule prevented them from being Terrordactyls any longer.

Cadiz recorded the tracks for The Terrordactyls digitally in his Seattle apartment, then went to Brooklyn to work on vocals with Stendahl. Terry Setter (aka Terrydactyl), one of their teachers at Evergreen, mixed and mastered it. Cadiz wrote and arranged the songs and they were recorded as cheaply as possible, hence the use of kazoos instead of a horn section, which led to a recent sponsorship by Kazoobie Kazoos, a Florida kazoo manufacturer. Stendahl designed the pop-up packaging and assembled one each with Cadiz and another friend from 11 x 17 sheets of paper that were cut and glued together by hand. So far they are indie all the way with their own Pankof label, selling CDs mostly at gigs and on CD Baby. They also offer the album free on their website. When touring, the duo tries to bring along a couple of friends to flesh out the sound, but Cadiz and Stendahl can manage by themselves by playing toy piano and guitar and strapping drums onto their bodies. Their charming no-budget video for "Devices," a duet between Cadiz and free folk chanteuse Kimya Dawson, has gotten international airplay. ~ j. poet, Rovi


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