Salt The Earth

Formed in Lawrence, KS in 2001.

Radio station: Listen to music by Salt The Earth

Upcoming shows

No scheduled events.

Past shows


Current Status: active and touring

Sound description: Ferocious live sets, cathartic displays of sound and motion that leave the band and audiences breathless.

Similar to: Grade, Hot Water Music


Alt / Indie rock


Name Released Label
Album cover Salt The Earth 2002 Anxiety Records
Album cover Process of Breaking 2003 Anxiety Records


Good bands are formed, but great ones happen by accident. In spring, 2001, Matt Morgus (bass/vocals) and Nick Knutsen (guitar) had just split from a forgettable pop-punk unit when they stumbled upon Martin Bush (vocals/guitar), who had recently departed his indie-rock outfit. Combining these two worlds made perfect sense: Knutsen's street-punk influences smashed perfectly against Bush's melodic leanings, with Morgus bridging the gap. Salt the Earth was completed via drummer Nick Haxton, who cemented the band's sound with a steady and furious style.

Salt the Earth began slowly, cutting its teeth on Lawrence's house party scene and carefully crafting material that mattered. For every decent tune there was at least a dozen that were excised, but STE eventually boasted an ambitious repertoire of bold, bruising garage-pop that connected on numerous levels. In a Kansas college town known for great bands (the Get Up Kids, the Anniversary, Coalesce, the Esoteric), the foursome stood out for its ability to match three-chord punk gristle with headrushing melodies that stuck to the brain like cranial fluid.

Salt the Earth's stage velocity was captured to brooding perfection on its self-titled debut, issued independently within months of the group's formation. Brimming with energy and imagination, the material on Salt the Earth was as catchy as it was throttling. Songs like "Affection" and "Baseball" were bittersweet pop enigmas with bursts of dynamite at their cores, while numbers such as "In the Shadows" and "Numb" offered unapologetic wall-of-sound sandblasting.

Record in hand, STE took to the road with an old-school, DIY ethic. In its first year, the group self-booked more than 100 shows, including extensive tours of the Midwest and East Coast, sharing stages with Converge, Not Waving but Drowning, Thursday and the Warped Tour. In addition to a slew of memorable concerts, the band endured adventures that would make Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas read like a Cub Scout manual. Having encountered everything from guns pulled on them in Dallas to equipment rip-offs in Atlanta, STE has met with every hackneyed tour-related adversity in the book and triumphed.

All that touring caught the attention of Kansas City-based label, Anxiety Records, which signed STE and reissued its debut in April, 2002. The quartet has also been a consistent regional chart-topper on, receiving more than 7,000 plays in its first six months online. But the band's real victories have been artistic. Simply, Salt the Earth is beyond image, beyond hype, and beyond the paradigms of formulaic musicmaking.