26 Bands Pay Tribute to St. Louis' Bunnygrunt on New Compilation: Listen Now


Eric Von Damage, Karen Reid and Matt Harnish, a.k.a. Bunnygrunt, the reason for the season. - THEO WELLING
  • Theo Welling
  • Eric Von Damage, Karen Reid and Matt Harnish, a.k.a. Bunnygrunt, the reason for the season.

Over Labor Day weekend, Pancake Productions label head Rob Severson strapped on his trademark headset mic and began proselytizing to the crowd assembled at Feraro's Engine Room. The occasion was, ostensibly, a triple bill of Bunnygrunt, the Ottomen and Popular Mechanics, though Severson's spirited oration revealed the night's true intent: the unveiling of a years-in-the-making tribute album to Bunnygrunt.

See also: Bunnygrunt's Twentieth Anniversary Show: Review and Photos


That the album was a surprise to 'grunt lifers Matt Harnish and Karen Ried is both touching and impressive, seeing as Severson didn't have access to Harnish's Rolodex of indie-pop demigods and yet managed to wrangle more than a few for the comp. Columbus, Ohio's the Kyle Sowashes turn in a Boss-worthy "More Loves than Stupids," while Red Pony Clock's "Alone in My Principles" is lovably lo-fi. Other national acts that share Bunnygrunt's approach to wry but catchy pop songwriting show up here — Cars Can Be Blue, Normandie Wilson, Casper & the Cookies — and these appearances speak to Bunnygrunt's influence and status in certain bright, fuzzy corners of the pop world.

But a tribute to Bunnygrunt wouldn't be worth a damn without the band's hometown friends and followers, and You Wanna Be Just Like Bunnygrunt gives over half of its runtime to locals.

That sense of place is reinforced by Prune's take on "Mississippi," a sweet, R.E.M.-laced ode to St. Louis from Renee Dullum's brief tenure as bassist and vocalist that opens the disc. From there, the local bands choose songs that either fit their milieu or shape the songs in their image.

Popular Mechanics didn't have to do much to "S. Kingshighway Bubblegum Factory," one of Bunnygrunt's best and sturdiest songs, but the band leaves a mark on it with its trademark crunch and Hüsker Dü-ian buoyancy. Likewise, Union Electric's "G.I.2K" is a bit shambling until the snarling chorus kicks in. Middle Class Fashion, Jason Hutto and Severson's Googolplexia project all contribute, and despite the breadth of these 26 tracks, it's not hard to imagine an addendum to this tribute coming somewhere down the line — maybe in honor of Bunnygrunt's silver anniversary. I mean, how did no one cover "Southtown Famous"?

Stream the full comp below:


The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos Ever "Where Did My Dick Go?" The Gathering of the Juggalos' Best Overheard Quotations I Pissed Off Megadeth This Week, My (Former) Favorite Band The Top Ten Ways to Piss Off Your Bartender at a Music Venue


Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.