The Slackwater News

“Ghosts” Official Video

Watch the official music video for “Ghosts” from the new record “Graveyard Mates” released 10/30/12.

  • Baltimore Show Postponed

    Tonight’s show at Mum’s Baltimore is being Postponed so the Charm City can enjoy the Orioles ALCS game in peace and quiet. Go O’s!!

  • News shows announced!

    We will be playing Friday, October 10th at Mum’s in Federal Hill Baltimore, MD and HALLOWEEN with Captured by Robots! at Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA. Woah.

  • Live set airing now on LCTV66 in LancPA

    Our set from the Long’s Park Summer Music Series is now airing around Lancaster County, PA on LCTV66 (Comcast subscribers channel 66). Check your listings for airtimes!!

  • The Slackwater News

    With the release of their first 7-inch single, “Note by Note” (b/w “Roman Holiday”), the Slackwater News presents a pair of catchy new tunes that walk that thin line between indie-rock and freak-folk — memorable for their melodies, sweet in their harmonies, and cleverly arresting in their lyrics.

    Mixed by Cochrane McMillan at Coyote Hearing Studios in Oakland, California (Dr. Dog, Marco Benevento, Bill Laswell, Tea Leaf Green), and mastered by Chris Colbert in Cottage Grove, Oregon (The Walkmen, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Richard Swift, David Bazan), the two new tunes showcase the group’s pop sensibility with a more concise and polished approach to their signature brand of Kitchen-Sink American Pop.

    Note By Note is a prelude to the band’s full length LP “Dutch Gold”, which is expected to drop later in 2014. The Slackwater News is independently releasing the songs as a limited first edition of 500 hand-numbered pressings on colored vinyl, to be available on the band’s online store, through CDBaby, and at select record stores in the U.S.A.  The songs will also be available for download at iTunes, Amazon, and all major online distributors and streaming sites. You can pre-order “Note by Note” at

    Their past EPs, “All You Creatures” and “Graveyard Mates” earned significant regional notice as well as airplay on WXPN and other radio outlets. They drew comparisons to the likes of Dr. Dog, The Band, The Black Keys, Spoon, The Beatles and Grateful Dead. The group—Dan Zdilla (vocals, guitar), Matt Blank (drums), JJ Gammache (bass, vocals), Matt Johnson (guitar), and Daniel Ramirez (piano/organ/synth/FX)—proudly hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they’ve been a prominent fixture of the thriving music scene for half a decade.

  • "Note By Note" limited edition 7"

    “Note by Note” Limited Edition 7″ Record

    “Note by Note” b/w “Roman Holiday” Limited Edition of 500 pressings on colored vinyl, sleeves individually numbered by the band.  


  • Buy Our Stuff

    Buying stuff from us helps us make more music for your listening pleasure. Browse our merchandise for great Slackwater News music and accessories.  You could also pick something up in person at one of our shows.

    $upport the music.

  • GYM Cover Small

    Graveyard Mates

    CD (2012)

    Its the latest album, featuring the hit single “Ghosts”.    


  • JandJshirts

    Lobster Logo Tee

    Men & Ladies Shirts

    Men’s and women’s charcoal tees. NOTE: No more Men’s S or M – sorry! $12


  • Front-Insert

    All You Creatures

    CD (2009)

    What can we say, it’s a great album.


  • Slackwater Lobster and Banner

    Lobster Logo


    Black lobster-logo sticker.  Get a 3-pack & save big.


    How Many?
  • TSWN-FishRedEye

    Fish Logo

    4.25" Sticker

    Big, beautiful fish-logo sticker.    Get a 3-pack & save big.


    How Many?
  • The Sentinel

    Courtney Baker (Sep 11, 2008)

    Though relatively new to the music scene, Slackwater News has already played shows most area musicians can only dream of.  On June 7, the Lancaster-based band opened for the CCL’s and Ruby Street at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster in front of more than 200 people.

    “Luckily Dan Zdilla (who sings vocals and plays guitar for the group) has a large family,” drummer Matt Blank jokes. “Not bad for our first official gig.”
    Blank and Zdilla came together with Dan Ramirez, who plays electric piano and organ, and Hans Olo, who plays bass, in March of 2008.

    “There was a Craigslist posting by Zdilla that led to me and Olo responding,” Blank says. “Ramirez has been a Lancaster music scene hanger-on for quite some time and asked to join when he heard about the group.”

    Since then, the group has strived to blend a mix of original songs with “a few tasty covers” that fall into their self-described “melodramatic popular song” genre, Blank says.  Their songs “The Blister” and “Jersey Burn” exemplify the group’s easy going style and catchy rhythms — you just can’t help but to play them on repeat.  Although the band has yet to be signed, they still keep a pretty busy schedule, playing at house parties and Lancaster venues including Clipper Stadium and, where it all began, The Chameleon Club.

    “It’s by far the greatest place for up and coming music in Central Pennsylvania,” Blank says.

  • Fine Living Lancaster Magazine

    Robyn Meadows 4 Stars

    “All You Creatures” is peculiar, chaotic and somehow infectious. The Beatles are a clear and present influence. Fuzzed-out, dissonant guitars noodle and sleepy vocals sometimes float through what sounds like an old rotating organ speaker. However, the melodies are memorable in the way that Lennon and McCartney perfected, clever and sweet enough to rise above the out-and-out weirdness surrounding them. By themselves, the Pavement-like circus of random timing shifts, quirky voicings and vintage organ sounds create something interesting, but not necessarily listenable. In the end, though, they make a warm analog blanket for Slackwater News’ addictive melodies.


    We were nominated for the Jambands 250 on – where readers vote for their favorite up & coming original bands to be featured as the ‘New Groove of the Month’. (May 1, 2009)

    HomeGrown Radio NJ and The River 97.3 FM

    The song ‘Taxidermy’ from our EP “All You Creatures” receives airplay on HomeGrown Radio NJ and The River 97.3 FM.

    Check us out on alongside some of Central PA’s best bands!

    - (Sep 9, 2009) is now featuring The Slackwater News!

    My Rural Radio (Aug 4, 2009)

    XPN 88.5 Philly

    XPN 88.5 Philly is featuring The Slackwater News!

    XPN Philly now feat. The Slackwater News (Dec 9, 2009)

    Music For Everyone

    Our song ‘Overseas’ was 1 of 15 selections (of over 70 entries) for the Music For Everyone Volume 2 Benefit CD! Their mission is to cultivate the power of music for education and community building, through fundraising and by bringing awareness to this growing problem. All profits from this CD will benefit Lancaster Music Programs.

    Music For Everyone (Jun 5, 2009)

    Swimming through the Strange and Wonderous Fishbowl of The Slackwater News.

    John Duffy – Fly Magazine (Aug 1, 2011)

    Some bands spend untold hours in search of a distinctive sound, something that will set them apart and give their music a reason to be heard. Then there are those that don’t bother and somehow end up selling a decent amount of records while sounding like a thousand other bands.

    And then there are the truly lucky, like the five guys in The Slackwater News, a group barely three years old who have founded their sound through nothing more than the band members own collective curiosity and individual weirdness.

    Blur the odder moments of The Band’s Music from Big Pink with the “let’s just splice everything in there” approach of Abbey Road, then add a little of The Move and Dr. Dog, and you have the basic aesthetic of The Slackwater News.

    Their sound may be a deliberate mashup of indie folk and psychedelic garage rock, but to this mix, they add snippets of parlor songs, ragtime, electro-funk and Americana. It’s the sound of purely democratic songwriting. Everybody brings something to the table, and whether each addition seems appropriate or not, it somehow all makes sense in the end.

    In the musty world of Slackwater’s North Queen Street rehearsal space, often a song doesn’t become clear until they “huddle together in a windowless room and chip away at it with wooden axes and dissolve its tough outer shell with contemporary elixirs,” as the band’s website notes. As a result, they have wrestled themselves around a sound that, while based on well-established traditions, is still refreshing.

    “I think all of us have an A.D.D. effect on the songs,” explains guitarist and chief songwriter, Dan Zdilla. “Sometimes I think it would be great to have a chorus that goes with the way the verse sounds. But I think we would just end up getting bored with that.”

    Sipping cold adult beverages at Lancaster’s Belvedere Inn, four of the group’s five members – Zdilla, guitarist Matt Johnson, drummer Matt Blank and keyboardist Dan Ramirez (bassist Hans Wheelersburg was unavailable) – ruminate on all things Slackwater.

    As the drinks continue to flow, conversation turns to how baseball relates to genetic evolution, the moral vagaries of Twitter and other such important issues of the day. But mostly, they try to give a good account of their unique sound, mirthful and serious all at once.

    The group’s All You Creatures EP from 2009 includes five songs – most of which feature unpredictable changes in rhythm, key or timbre – and gave the first glimpse of the band’s process.

    Zdilla and Johnson chug away on plunking acoustic guitars and fuzzy electrics. Wheelersburg and Blank supply sharp, reflexive grooves behind the numerous changes. Ramirez’s wheezing Hammond organ and Wurlitzer bubble underneath everything, adding carnival colors and a horror film pastiche.

    “If The World Goes Mad” bounces between verse and chorus sketches before adding a third, unrelated riff just for good measure at the end. “Taxidermy” contemplates the simultaneously cool and creepy basement displays at Lancaster’s North Museum by alternating between funky soul and loping dirge feels.

    On “Fish in a Bowl” the band cribs from Steve Miller and the Beach Boys to make a dance-worthy song about how awesome it is to be a goldfish. It’s a hit your 7-year-old will love. Then there’s the low-fi “Dr. McGillicuddy’s,” a digital-only single recorded as an ode to the boutique schnapps masked as an old-time patent medicine advert. It’s a nifty little number, extolling the virtues of a substance that can cure everything from scoliosis, to nipple sclerosis and premature ejaculation.

    While Zdilla comes up with the spine for most songs, Johnson, like the others, is used to throwing ideas into the pot, never quite sure how they’ll end up. “We all kind of know what Dan’s looking for when we sit down to come up with what to play,” Johnson says. ”

    But in the end, it becomes something very different than what he might have thought of.”

    “There’s sometimes a completely predictable trajectory to a song and we don’t want that,” Zdilla says. “I may have something in mind but it’s always other people’s ideas that make it better.”

    Sometimes it can be a long and circuitous route, they admit. But as long as someone really believes in an idea, it usually gets through in the end, with the band molding it and remolding it until it works.

    “I was really proud of the fact that I wrote a song recently that has only four chords,” Zdilla says with a laugh.

    And if listeners have finally become accustomed to the sounds of All You Creatures and all its odd angles, a sneak peak of the group’s forthcoming full-length, Graveyard Mates, reveals that while Slackwater may be stepping into less of a patchwork approach to their tunes, their fascination with the strange “what ifs” of songcraft has not wavered.

    “The Blister,” a soulful number, stays in the same key and tempo for its entire length – downright revolutionary for these guys – but it doesn’t sacrifice a bit of the wit. Zdilla says it comes from something his mother used to say about him. “She said, ‘You only show up when the work is done.'”

    Equally conventional-sounding is “Decay,” an ode to entropy – the reality that all things grow old and fall away, but that is sometimes when they’re at their best. “Fruit is often its sweetest just as it’s starting to go bad,” reasons Johnson. “That might sound kind of morbid, but when you listen to it, you’ll hear a really sweet song.”

    Similarly, the album’s title track is about dying, specifically about spending eternity in the ground. “I wrote that song because my grandmother used to take me to see the burial plot where she and my grandfather were going to be buried,” recalls Zdilla. “And now that they’re gone and buried in that spot, it makes it much more clear how special a thing that is for two people to share that.”

    Currently, the band is mixing the 10 tracks of Graveyard Mates for a fall release. And while the band members may seek to find slightly more traditional musical ground, Slackwater insist they’ll never lose their Ritalin-averse ways of crafting tunes.

    “It’s about being true to yourself,” says Zdilla. “What may seem weird to other people doesn’t seem weird to us. We feel like we’re playing classic rock. It’s only when you take a step back and hear someone else’s perspective that you sense this whole other weird thing going on.”

    • Baltimore Show Postponed

      Tonight’s show at Mum’s Baltimore is being Postponed so the Charm City can enjoy the Orioles ALCS game in peace and quiet. Go O’s!!

    • News shows announced!

      We will be playing Friday, October 10th at Mum’s in Federal Hill Baltimore, MD and HALLOWEEN with Captured by Robots! at Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA. Woah.

    • Live set airing now on LCTV66 in LancPA

      Our set from the Long’s Park Summer Music Series is now airing around Lancaster County, PA on LCTV66 (Comcast subscribers channel 66). Check your listings for airtimes!!

    • “Note By Note”/”Roman Holiday” out RIGHT NOW!!

      You can now purchase and/or stream our 2 new singles “Note By Note” and “Roman Holiday” ANYWHERE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

      iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby, etc etc.

      THANK YOU for supporting independent artists.

    • PREMIERE: “Note By Note”/”Roman Holiday” singles on WXPN’s The Key!!

      THANK YOU to WXPN in Philadelphia for the WORLD PREMIERE of our 2 newest singles!!!

      Listen HERE now!

    • Mean Reds added to Record Release Party at Tellus360 – Lanc PA

      Mean Reds will be opening the “Note By Note” 7inch RECORD RELEASE PARTY at Tellus360!!

    • “Note By Note” 7″ and tourdates!


      OUT JUNE 24TH

      “Note by Note” b/w “Roman Holiday” Limited Edition of 500 pressings on colored vinyl, sleeves individually numbered by the band.

      A: Note By Note

      B: Roman Holiday


      Release Tour:

      Thurs, June 19 – Philadelphia, PA: Milkboy Philly – opening for Leroy Justice. $10/12 – 8p – 21+

      Fri, June 20 – Baltimore, MD: Mum’s Federal Hill – with The Swedish Fist. $3 – 10p – 21+

      Sun, June 22 – Lancaster, PA: Long’s Park Music Series with Shrimpboat and Slimfit.

      Sat, June 28 – Lancaster, PA:
      *Short in-store Performance at Mr. Suit Records. Free – All ages -1p
      *RECORD RELEASE PARTY at Tellus360. Advance: $10 with record, DOS: $5, $7 for record- 8p – 21+

    • “Note By Note” 45 out in June!!


      We will be releasing a vinyl 45 in June, featuring 2 BRAND NEW songs. More details in the coming month.

      Slackwater News – Note By Note

      A: Note By Note (3:49)

      B: Roman Holiday (3:24)

      "Note By Note" cover mock ups

    • “Saturday In The Park” May 3rd

      Members of The Slackwater News will be performing at the 1st Annual “Saturday In The Park” held at Freedom Memorial Park in Millersville, PA on May 3rd, 11a – 6p.

      We will be playing along side our friends Steven Courtney & The Suitcase Musicians!

    • Kalob Griffin Band joining us March 8th!

      CANNOT WAIT to be joined by The Kalob Griffin Band from Philly for our show at Tellus360 (aka MATT JOHNSON’S BIRTHDAY PARTY!!) on Saturday, March 8th!!


      The Slackwater News & The Kalob Griffin Band

      Saturday, March 8, 2014 | 21+ | $5

      At: Tellus360

      24 E. King St

      Lancaster, PA 17603

    • Christmas in… December

      Saturday, December 21st at Lancaster Dispensing Company. $5, 9p, 21+.

      Ho, Ho, Holy awesome fun times!

    • DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE (And upcoming tour dates)

      We apologize for the inconvenience but the site is currently down for maintenance.

      Our next shows are:

      Wed. Nov 27 – Thanksgiving Eve – Chameleon Club, Lancaster PA. 8pm – with Agave Trio and Ton-Taun.  FREE

      Sat. Dec 21 – Lancaster Dispensing Company, Lancaster, PA.  9:30pm – $5

      We can be contacted at

    • Opening for JC Brooks

      We will be opening for JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound (from Chicago) on Thursday, July 19th at Chameleon Club in Lancaster.

    • CD Release Party

      Help us celebrate the release of our new album “Graveyard Mates” on November 3rd at Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA in grand HALLOWEEN FASHION. More details to come.

    • Graveyard Mates

      With their second EP “Graveyard Mates” the Slackwater News lets fly another batch of restless songs that walk that thin line between indie-rock and freak-folk; memorable for their melodies, sweet in their harmonies, and cleverly arresting in their lyrics.