· CLOSET MONSTER 96 - WHAT'S INSIDE TRIXIE'S CLOSET? (GYR163) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. THE WAY IT HAS TO BE
02. RUNNING BLIND
03. LOST
04. TIME WILL TELL ITS TALE
05. NO TIME
06. EVERY ROLL WILL ROCK
07. LOW
08. WAIT FOR NO ONE
09. SOMEDAY
10. BOX OF CLUES
11. RAM IT


FORMAT: Audio CD / 4 PANEL WALLET
GYR163 - $13.99

Outstanding studio disc by this awesome heavy rock band from South Dakota featuring 11 tracks (57 mins) of phenomenal, powerful, creative, dynamic, melodic, riff:machine heaviness that lands supreme with world-class, hard rock excellence. Closet Monster 96 draw from many killer musical influences and have created their own brand of superb, memorable heavy rock music on "What's Inside Trixie's Closet". Combining the impressive musical talents of Jon Koopman (Lead Vocals & Keyboards), Mike Dresch (Guitar & Vocals), Mike Pennock (Guitar), Brian Masek (Bass, Guitar, Keyboards & Vocals) & Jeff Koller (Drums & Vocals) who praise the loud & shake the walls down to the ground with their awesome brand of way-kool, super-sonic rock. Closet Monster 96 definitely produce & deliver the heavy rock riffage that matters on the amazing "What's Inside Trixie's Closet?" disc. An essential, classic, timeless heavy rock masterpiece of epic proportions that is all about Keeping the Rock alive.


MP3 Sample Clips

01. THE WAY IT HAS TO BE
02. RUNNING BLIND
03. LOST
04. TIME WILL TELL ITS TALE
05. NO TIME
06. EVERY ROLL WILL ROCK
07. LOW
08. WAIT FOR NO ONE
09. SOMEDAY
10. BOX OF CLUES
11. RAM IT

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· VIDEO ·

 

CLOSET MONSTER - "BOX OF CLUES" LIVE AT THE DISTRICT

 

CLOSET MONSTER - "RAM IT" LIVE AT THE DISTRICT

 

 

· reviews ·

The Sioux Falls, S.D. music scene doesn’t have the same poetic resonance as “The Seattle Scene,” but when it’s consistently one of the best cities to raise a family in, one of the Top 10 cities where to retire and even Forbes Magazine chooses it as the 2017 #1 small city for business and careers… there’s not a lot of economical struggles or even societal woes to bring out depressive angst or a smothering fear of the future.

Things are good in Sioux Falls.

That doesn’t mean the music scene wasn’t rife with talent around the same time Grunge was giving Seattle an eternal nickname. Bands like Violet had the talent and songwriting ability to make it on any world stage; Janitor Bob and the Armchair Cowboys gave Sioux Falls “The Happy Song,” the polar opposite of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and truly a favorite locally-grown song of almost everyone in Sioux Falls 40 or older; hell, even an acoustic mostly comic duo The Cartwright Brothers wrote their own “American Pie” timeless classic with “Rollercoaster Ride,” an everyman song. Sioux Falls had the talent … but they didn’t always have THE METAL.

That was until Closet Monster was formed.

Their 1996 release "What’s In Trixie’s Closet?" came after dozens of shows formulating their professional stage presence and live abilities. Vocally, Jon Koopman owns a relaxed, hyper-melodic and flowing vocal ability–you will never hear him strain to hit a note. But they had a secret weapon in South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association inductee Jeff Koller too, who isn’t just a maniacal and explosive drummer but who brought top-tier backing vocals as well. (Currently, Koller drums for The Ron Keel Band, who recently signed a record deal with Dave Ellefson’s EMP Label Group for the release of a new studio album.) Guitarist Mike Dresch is known today as one of the region’s best producers/engineers with his Cathouse Studios. As a unit, Closet Monster had it all, and thanks to Grooveyard Records, if you missed "What’s in Trixie’s Closet?" the first time, you can pick it up now.

Note: Grooveyard Records changed the band’s title to Closet Monster 96 on the release to avoid marketplace confusion with other bands of the same name and to honor the year the album was released.

Opening with the atmospheric “The Way It Has to Be,” you’ll be pulsing to Brian Masek’s thrumming bass line, which drives the song until the riffing starts. Some people have compared Koopman’s vocal style to Ozzy Osbourne, which is fair and off course at the same time. Koopman articulates, he bites the words off for perfect clarity–Ozzy was known to perhaps slur a few lines here and there … for decades. Koopman also has more power, and sings in a more throaty manner. But when Ozzy was at the top of his sobriety game, it’s a somewhat fair comparison in his lower singing range. Like most of the songs, the choruses are the brightest point; their ability to write a catchy, instantly memorable chorus was their main songwriting strength.

If you are a bass fan, again, Masek gets things moving on “Running Blind,” another song that slowly builds and crescendos into a dual riff race with Dresch and Mike Pennock, the other guitarist who brought a less clinical and more freestyle facet to the band’s sound. “Running Blind” is one of those adrenaline-infused Metal anthems, with Koopman delivering some of his best vocals. The quality backing vocals again on the chorus are something you just didn’t hear much from any Metal bands at this time, and they could recreate that perfection in a live setting too, as they did numerous times at Sioux Falls’ legendary The Pomp Room bar.

For some reason, the band was stuck on the idea of “time.” They wrote three songs about that construct, with “Time Will Tell Its Tale,” “No Time” and indirectly the one skip-able song on the release, “Wait for No One.” That last song has lyrics like, “Is there a chance in hell you just might have a brain, or is the reason why you’re late cuz you’re insane?” The band must have had zero patience.

Regardless, the best song on What’s in Trixie’s Closet? is “No Time.” This nearly seven-minute composition weaves an older Queensryche vibe into its haunting, foreboding musical story. This is the song that could have made Closet Monster a household name to metalheads everywhere. The surprising aspect, as it is a pared down, slower, more plodding track is that Koopman owns the entire vocal spotlight–both in the verses and chorus. “Close the door … I’ve shut my eyes! Now there’s no more time for me … no more time, for my dreams.” It makes sense as you listen; Koopman sings with such human authenticity, and the lyrics intrinsically call for one man to tell this tale.

There’s just so much quality here. “Low” and “Someday” are both sheer rockers, that are more fun than foreboding like some of the album, and Koller shows off his lead vocal chops on a song that hearkens back to a bit more Classic Rock nuance on “Box of Clues,” which also features some of the album’s best guitar leads and solos.

It’s unfortunate that this is one of those “lost gems,” because if you like Metal, you should find it in your damn closet or cloud, wherever you keep your CDs or digital music today. Fortunately for you, if you don’t have the original, you can pick up the re-release. And you should.

Sioux Falls is too happy of a place to ever create an entire existential, depressing and drug-gorged musical scene, but music doesn’t have to be an exploration in personal pain to be a movement. It can also be a headbanging celebration. Closet Monster–or Closet Monster 96 here–is proof of that.

Derric Miller / HardRock Haven (February 2018)
 


Powerful studio recording, 'What's In Trixie's Closet?', from South Dakota based rockers, Closet Monster 96 is what I would describe as a record that falls along the lines of a metallic-influenced hard rock album with an alternative hard rock vibe and I love it! Comprised of Jon Koopman lead vocals, keyboards, Mike Dresch guitars, backing vocals, Mike Pennock guitars, Brian Masek bass, guitars, keyboards, backing vocals and Jeff Koller drums, backing vocals. The band fires on all cylinders throughout this eleven song, juggernaut listening experience. Jon Koopman leads the charge with vocals that are truly top-notch, as he delivers a truly empowering and inspiring performance that engraves itself onto the listener's frontal lobe after only one listen. And he is backed up by more than ample musical propulsion, from the dual guitar work of Mike Dresch and Mike Pennock to Brian Masek's steady bass work, and Jeff Koller's organic-sounding drum fills. The end result is a heavy, meaty hard rock effort. The whole album from start to finish is excellent, it's so diverse, some tracks such as the opener, "The Way It Has To Be", "Running Blind", "Lost" and "Time Will Tell It's Tale" are hard hitting rockers, where as tracks such as "No Time" and "Box Of Clues" are a bit laid back but still have enough swagger to stop you dead in your tracks. All in all 'What's In Trixie's Closet?' is a strong album that is packed with riffs that get stuck in your head. If you're interested in a heavy, album with great musicianship, odd time signatures, swagger filled vocals and great hooks, 'What's In Trixie's Closet?' is something you're gonna treasure and want to experience. Closet Monster 96 is the real deal and total package.

Tony Sison / Dedicated Rocker Society (March 2018)
 


ARGUS LEADER ARTICLE - NOVEMBER 2017

Get ready to rock, Sioux Falls.

Local hard rock band Closet Monster is back with the re-release of its 1996 album "What's Inside Trixie's Closet."

Former Argus Leader entertainment reporter Bob Keyes awarded it the best local CD for technical quality and professionalism in 1996, and Tom Coyne raved about the band's Ozzy Osbourne-like sound in Hard Roxx Magazine.

"They are quite simply the most refreshingly, outrageously talented band I've heard in quite some time," wrote Coyne.

Closet Monster rocked around town in the late '90s, with the Pomp Room serving as its home base until the venue closed in 1998.

Every weekend for a couple of months, the band booked a recording studio and labored away at the debut album.

"We put a lot of work into the CD," said bass player and vocalist Brian Masek. "By the time we were done with it, we felt we put everything we had into it."

This past summer, an indie music label from upstate New York contacted the band about re-releasing the album. Grooveyard Records explained that "What's Inside Trixie's Closet" had always been one of their favorites.

The band members were initially surprised by the label's interest, but after looking into the company's mission of supporting hard rock musicians, they agreed to the re-release.

Each song on the new version of the album sounds better than the original, having been digitally remastered. The CD also features new cover art.

"What's Inside Trixie's Closet" is available at grooveyardrecords.com for $13.99.

Grooveyard describes the CD on their website as "an essential, classic, timeless heavy rock masterpiece of epic proportions that is all about keeping the rock alive."

Closet Monster will reunite at the Icon Lounge on Feb. 24 for a re-release celebration, playing together for the first time in nearly two decades.

All of the band's original members will be present, including guitarist Mike Pennock, who is flying back from his current home in Austin, Texas.

After the band broke up around 2001, each of the group's members continued to pursue their passion for music.

Lead vocalist Jon Koopman currently plays with Powerplay, drummer Jeff Koller rocks out with the Ron Keel Band and guitar player Mike Dresch gets his groove on with the Guilty Pleasures Band. Mike Pennock is gigging and recording with The Victoria Pennock Band in Austin, Texas.

Masek, now a software developer, is keeping busy with his jazz ensemble Brian Masek & Friends. He often jams out with other local rock bands and jazz groups, as well as taking gigs with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the pit orchestra for the Sioux Empire Community Theatre.

"I’m able to do everything I want to do here. There are good players here, and we have places we can play," said Masek. "I’ve never played as much as I have in the last couple of years."

Alexa Giebink / Argus Leader (November 2017)
 


What year is it?? Well, the clue's in the band name. Closet Monster released their only album way back in 1996, What's Inside Trixie's Closet attracting some rave reviews and even a few awards. But check that year again... 1996??? …shiver… by the mid-nineties the rock scene was right in the middle of its grunge inspired cold winter. If you weren't dowdy, you weren't anywhere and sporting a classic rock sound that took inspiration from Ozzy Osbourne and a little slice of Dokken, South Dakota's Closet Monster were far too exciting to pass the boredom test. The band split around 2001 but it says much of the talent they possessed that their number have gone on to perform with Ron Keel, Powerplay and amongst others, Guilty Pleasures.

With the album long being a favourite of those groove-masters at Grooveyard Records, a plot was hatched to give the album new life and not only – much to the surprise of the band – has Trixie's Closet been plundered once more, its contents have been expertly remastered in the process. So much so that there's not a whiff of the two-plus decades that have passed between this album's first outing and this lovingly restored reissue. With Jon Koopman's vocals brimming with the warm tones of the Ozzmeister and the guitars from Mike Dresch and Mike Pennock hitting with the force of Zakk Wylde while still revealing the subtlety of Randy Rhoads there's no denying that the likes of opener "The Way It Has To Be" or mid-paced stomper "Low" lean heavily on a sound first brought t o life on albums like No More Tears or Blizzard Of Ozz. The smooth but forceful keyboards from Koopman add further fuel to that fire, and yet with the guitar pairing adding a more overtly bluesy edge to the likes of "Every Roll Will Rock" or "Box Of Clues", while also providing some killer lead lines right across the album, Closet Monster 96 are no simple scene chasers or homage payers. Closet Monster 96 are undoubtedly one of the best bands from the nineties that you've never heard of. So let's blow Trixie's Closet wide open and revel in what is a seriously sumptuous slice of hard rocking goodness that deserves this second chance.

Steven Reid / Sea Of Tranquility (January 2018)
 


There are a lot of albums out there that deserve to have more spotlight on them. Back in 1996 the album “What’s Inside Trixie’s Closet?”, by the band Closet Monster, was released, but unfortunately passed under most people’s radar. Not mine, however, and that was because Joe Romagnola, the mastermind behind Grooveyard Records, turned me on to the band. Well, what’s more suitable than for Joe to again put the spotlight on this hidden South Dakota gem. It’s actually quite hard to pinpoint what Closet Monster sound like. Singer Jon Koopman does have quite a distinct touch of Ozzy Osbourne, while the music ranges from slightly King’s X influenced songs to straight ahead riff oriented heavy rock. In 1995 the band Phychotherapy released an album entitled “Tell Me When It Hurts”. There are similarities, but since you probably haven’t heard about them either I guess it’s no point me mentioning them. But. I did. Anyway. All I can say is that this is a kick ass hard rocker with great melodies, quirky riffs and high-class vocals, played by a great band. If you missed it the first time, don’t repeat the mistake!

Janne Stark / Stark Music Reviews (Sweden) (March 2018)
 


Black Sabbath move over — “Closet Monsters” are no longer in the closet! Jon Koopman’s superb vocals are reminiscent of Ozzie’s, no doubt, but with more finesse. And the riffage and heaviness throughout is certainly a nod to Sabbath as well. But this is something new. These guys have developed the art further, so that guitarists Mike Dresch & Mike Pennock shine in a way that Iommi only suggests, and the rhythm section supports the overall sound like a well-oiled machine. Creative and original, ‘What’s Inside Trixie’s Closet,’ as the CD is called, will leave you breathless. This is heavy rock with a pinch of metal — and yet it exudes a sort of class that metal players usually don’t have. It is sophisticated in its way, and breaks new ground for heavy music. This one is not to be missed.

Steven J. Rosen / Author + Journalist (December 2017)
 


A hard rock band from South Dakota, with at least a separate name is Closet Monster 96. CM96 is the combination of the talents of Jon Koopman (vocals, keys), Mike Dresch (guitar), Mike Pennock (guitar), Brian Masek (bass, keys) & Jeff Koller (drums); resulting in one "Fire or way-coal, super-sonic hard rock ...".

"What's Inside Trixie's Closet?" Is the "recent" studio album from CM96. It is a reissue of their 1996 debut release. There are eleven tracks on the track list. The album differs from other hard rock albums because of its powerful, creative, dynamic and melodic qualities. The songwriters are Mike Dresch and Brian Masek. Amy Dresch, Jeff Koller and Jon Koopman are responsible for the lyrics.

It was Grooveyard Records, who insisted on releasing the debut album (with a new cover!). It was for the band members during the recordings in the studio, a kind of reunion after their split in 2001. After their last collaboration, which dates back some twenty years ago, everyone was busy with music. Lead singer Jon Koopman plays with Powerplay, drummer Jeff Koller with the Ron Keel Band and guitarist Mike Dresch with the Guilty Pleasures Band. Mike Pennock found his way to The Victoria Pennock Band in Austin, Texas. Brian Masek, who is now a software developer, is performing with his jazz ensemble Brian Masek & Friends.

Grooveyard describes the album on their website as: "An essential, classic, timeless heavy rock masterpiece or epic proportions that is all about keeping the rock alive ...".

How this sounds now can be heard on tracks like "Running Blind" (with a funky / jazzy intro on bass by Brian Masek), the hallucinatory "No Time", "Every Roll Will Rock", "Wait For No One" and it was quieter "Box Of Clues". We are now also convinced of the hard rock qualities of these Americans, who know how hard rock should sound!

Eric Schuurmans / Rootstime (Belgium) (December 2017)
 



 


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