Friday, February 27, 2015

Fred Thomas: All Are Saved



I’ve written half a’ thousand album reviews in the last 10 years and very few of them found me speechless to begin.

Fred Thomas – “Bad Blood” (from All Are Saved)

Fred Thomas, a Michigan musical mainstay all too familiar to Arbor/Ypsi crowds (Saturday Looks Good To Me, Swimsuit, City Center, Life Like Tapes,) has released his eighth proper solo album (All Are Saved via Polyvinyl) and I don’t know where to begin.



Perhaps I’m just driving myself crazy over dissecting every tone, timbre and sonic element he’s mingling together here, some crowded jungle of audionic curiae thrumming with an organic harmony (and a few bits of cathartic disharmony) be it a droning synth under the shush of a dragging cymbal, or the understated mellow murmur of a guitar strumming way down in the mix beneath the curious chirping sample flitted through the aesthetically purposeful fog of tape hiss. Or the brass? The haunting off-mic vocal howls?

Or should I zero in on just his voice, (his multi-tracked voices, rather,) beautifully obscured by delay or distortion like vibrant turquoise water color paintings smooshed up against a frosted glass pane, hitting a high creaky register when he really gets into it or a low and captivating whoosh of anxious ache varyingly spattered in a poet’s speak-sing style or crooned in a hummy sort of splay.

There are no distinct edges to anything, no crisp snap of one sound against the next, it all bleeds and merges, be it one reverberation of an electric guitar into the woozy throb of a babbling synth. This is an album that can glow even brighter with its mysterious melds when one wears headphones. There is no beat to dance to and no chorus can be (easily) memorized and yet it consistently captivates. There is plenty of caustic noise curtained into an aural ambiance and nervous rancor wrung from the calmly seethed vocals of his most emotive vocals and yet it keeps you, calms you. It can be some techno-tribal cacophony fitfully clicking its rhythms under a climbing guitar riff being gently divebombed by a whirring synthesizer only to crash into the baroque charms of a brass section.

This album defies categorization. You can’t sit down to write a review about it. You can only warn your fellow travelers who are about to traverse the same sonic trails from whence you’ve just returned that you’re going to need way more than boots, you might need some rope, a machete maybe…and a heart that’s twice as open as your mind… The high school journal, the tour diary, the old tapes on his shelf and the out of tune instruments in his attic and everything he’s been thinking lately and all of those muddled-together music memories, all of it crashing and tumbling together in a contemplative tornado that blows both hot and cold, curdled and content to finally let loose these expressions, not overtly autobiographical but more like actualized pronouncements from the crinkled pages of a dream log. 

Fred Thomas’ All Are Saved is available via Polynvinyl Records. http://bit.ly/1LuOqDX




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Honeyblood



Honeyblood perform next Wednesday  (Mar 4)  at the UFO Factory  (2110 Trumbull St, Detroit)
with  2:54  - -
9 pm  /  $10
More info








Towards the end of 2014, Glasgow duo Honeyblood lingered at the top of my weekly playlists. Sometimes they get shunted into the whole "OMG the 90's are back" ovation among the indie-rock fans across the Internet, charmed, no doubt, by their blend of sweetened tones, tight harmonies and jangly guitars with some poetically vitriolic lyrics and considerably aggressive percussive rushes under just the right amount of distorting fuzz.

But their vocal strengths, sensibilities for a surefire hook and laidback poise present something that should be taken on its own terms and not lazily compared to a bunch of established bands. Much less than reminding me of my favorite singles of the 90's, Honeyblood songs like "Killer Bangs" and "Fall Forever" are getting so assuredly stuck in my head, with their relentless and swift jolt and punch under sunny, soaring vocalizations that they start to drown out any worn-out Breeders or Throwing Muses jam still rattling around up there. Bring on a new sound of bittersweet pop, of irresistible melodic hooks and breezy guitar bursts, one where we don't have to drop any names to legitimize it...

And check it out for yourself, next week, when they join 2:54 at the UFO Factory.
Honeyblood's debut full length is available through Fat Cat Records.

Here's a new song by Honeyblood - "No Big Deal"


2:54 released The Other And I (Bella Union) towards the end of 2014. Streaming below is the brooding and beautiful lead single "In The Mirror."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Of Montreal - Aureate Gloom

You tell me what an Of Montreal album sounds like...




Kevin Barnes' episodic sonic odyssey unveils an altogether new realm distinct from the several records preceding it; with one shared characteristic sustained - that the listener will need a dictionary for every other verse's erudite effulgence, with the Athens-bred songsmith masterfully tetris-ing tough and terrific two dollar words into melodic cadences over guitar-centric arrangements that evoke a rainbow-lightning struck dimension where he mellifluously melds fluttering paisley psychedelia with rambunctious, reverb-smacked swagger of garage-rock.

That said, Of Montreal albums have also conjured gothic Americana twang, sexy, sweat-beaded funk raves and spooky nursery rhyme folk balladry. Of Montreal, that is to say, Barnes, has never settled on any one sonic or stylistic island long enough to be considered a native of any specific aesthetic. With Aureate Gloom, he's embracing the foot-stomping, yowl-it-out clang and clatter of garage rock, with crunched out guitars and rollicking rhythms, mean-sounding minor keys that growl and bend with a wall-punching catharsis exerted under Barne's voice, distorted or teased with fuzz or heavy echo effects.



Lead single "Bassem Sabry" kicks things off with one of the few reliably danceable beats, an enticing disco sway and snap under wicked funk riffs. It's a curious blend of baroque-styles and electronica, with a sleek synthesizer grooving along with maudlin violins, but of course Barnes finds a way to make this work - even charming you with the singalong-ability into a call & response that conjures witches and cellophane monstrosities. Because no matter how weird things get it's always catchy; no matter how muddy the mix gets, no matter how caustic the tones or how literate the lyrics, Barnes still maintains a sensibility for the purest pop structures, from British Invasion to Doo-Wop, Girl group swoons to Laurel Canyon poetry.

"Empyrean Abattoir" pulses with an aerobic beat and a nervy basslick jogging to keep up with tight cymbal taps. Here, Barnes exudes the whispery weariness in his voice that would tie into the "golden despondency" of the album's title. While each Of Montreal album sounds substantially distinct, among the few common elements is the phantasmagoric deluge of Barnes' verbiage, a sensational kalidoscope of emotions, each song like a hardened melodrama quirked with colorful intonations and dreamlike/nightmare-ish recollections and longings... How could something so raw sound so divine? That's the magic of Of Montreal and it's on full dispaly with Aureate Gloom. 

And that magic, pure and peculiar, will usually transmit to the core of you, dear listener, with every gritty, riffy track, as long as you're willing to brave the unknowable wilds of a new Of Montreal album, foreign sonic terrain as it usually is, exotic and strange and comforting all at once; there is a poignant pop to be harvested here... But are you digging for gold or for gloom? If both, then bring two knapsacks.

Out March 3 via Polyvinyl 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rap Round Robin 2015


"I've found that this show is a magnet for musicians who want something new to happen."

Baltimore-based rapper Height Keech got involved in Rap Round Robin tours and concerts back in 2007 during the boom days of that scene's eccentric game-changing Wham City art collective. His friends inside Wham City had already toured this same format (with the audience in the middle of a performance space encircled by 3-5 groups performing one song each in a clockwise roulette) and it was a success with groups like Future Islands and Dan Deacon.

After eight years, Height has found that Rap Round Robin is a show for musicians "...who can envision the potential benefits of taking a risk and trying something different."
"I'm not sure what to anticipate," said Mister (a.k.a. Bryan Lackner) as he and Blaksmith (Brent Smith) prepare to join this year's tour as Passalacqua. "I prefer it that way. Let it unfold as it will..."

Height was one of the lesser-known acts to join that initial Wham City Round Robin tour. "But, still, I felt like an equal part of the show, not like an opening act. And so I came back wanting to try an all hip-hop round robin. Baltimore's hip-hop scene was still very small then, but I felt like our little corner of it was a hot-bed of interesting, far out and fun music that no one was really taking seriously. I wanted to give all that music it's own space."

Lackner said he appreciates the give-and-take aspect of Round Robins and how it can sharpen an MC's adaptability. "We'll be working with the energy of different performers every night, so each show will carry a unique weight. I'm looking forward to that..."

Detroit/Michigan dates in April


Here's how this will go down:
Three touring hip-hop acts, Height, Passalacqua and Eze Jackson, will embark on a two-month tour across the U.S., inviting three local acts based in each community they visit to join them. Three stages will be set up around the perimeter of the room and each act performs one song per "round" before passing it on to the next act in the circle.


And just as Height mentioned, there really is no headliner. You, listener, audience member, participant...are in the middle; non-stop action.

After organizing the first Rap Round Robin, Height saw how this show, with its unique set-up, could "...shatter the alienation one can feel at a local hip-hop show, and create that's moving and visceral."

As the years went on, its popularity grew and the scope of the tours expanded. "I felt like this was our way of building the bridge between Baltimore's various micro-hip-hop scenes and the larger music community," said Height.

By its fifth year, several Baltimore MC's were "...popping out of hte woordwork trying to get booked...feeling they just had to play (it)," recalls Height. Being the ringleader of a big rap extravaganza such as this can burn anyone out, Height included. With the pressure of organizing it and the anxiety over excluding anyone, he stepped back and put Rap Round Robin on hiatus.

But around 2013, friends and fans started suggesting to Height that he try an experiment with his upcoming tour and consider turning each of his dates into Round Robin affairs. "I tried it in Asheville, Pittsburgh and Detroit and I realized how feasible it could be as a touring show."
Height realized what a powerful tool Rap Round Robin could be for MC's to take control of the chaos that is DIY touring. "It felt like we brought a point to something that can feel pointless, and warmth to something that can be cold."

"The indie hip-hop world is half-full of people that are hungry to take things into their own hands," Height said. "And, it's half-full of lazy dudes that just want to get high. So, it's cool to see how the (Round Robin) concept attracts people that have a little moxie and smokes out the people that don't want to rock the boat."



The list of upcoming Rap Round Robin 2015 tour dates are below. Meanwhile, you can sample songs from Eze Jackson here, including last fall's L.I.V.E. N.O.W. ep


Passalacqua are currently finishing up a new album (their fourth full length) with producer Zach Shipps (whose worked with Electric Six and many more). The duo's taking a different approach for this one, writing the songs in the studio right along with Shipps beat production. Look for it later this year.

Height, meanwhile, has a new album called Talk Singer with guitar/piano-based songs that prove to be his most musical and "...least rappish" work todate. Talk Singer, Height says, "deals with rising above the doom and despiare that we, as struggling creative people, all feel inside."
2015 Rap Round Robin dates

B Rich (Ontario dates only)
PT Burnem (Northeast dates only)



3.06 - Baltimore, MD- The Crown
3.07 - Annapolis, MD - Metropolitan Kitchen
3.08 - Richmond, VA - Gallery 5
3.09 - Greenville, NC - Limelight
3.10 - Chapel Hill, NC - Zog's Poolhall
3.11 - Elon, NC - Fat Frogg
3.12 - Charlotte, NC - Milestone
3.13 - Columbia, SC - Conundrum
3.14 - Charleston, SC - Redux Contemporary Art Center
3.15 - Savannah, GA - Graveface Records
3.16 - Orlando, FL - The Space
3.17 - Camp Hill, AL - Sound Lounge
3.18 - Auburn, AL - Balcony Bar
3.21 - Asheville, NC - Odditorium
3.22 - Knoxville, TN - Pilotlight
3.23 - Nashville, TN - Cafe Coco
3.24 - Little Rock, AR - Houser House
3.25 - Houston, TX - Super Happy Fun Land
3.26 - Austin, TX - The Center Spot
3.28 - Los Angeles, CA - Los Globos
3.29 - San Francisco, CA- Milk Bar
3.30 - Portland, OR - Ash Street Saloon
3.31 - Olympia, WA - Deadbeat Records
4.01 - Seattle, WA - Vermillion
4.02 - Olympia, WA - Le Voyeur
4.03 - Missoula, MT - Stage 112
4.04 - Billings, MT - Railyard
4.06 - Denver, CO - Lost Lake
4.07 - Kansas City, KS - FOKL
4.10 - Grand Rapids, MI- Billy's
4.11 - Detroit, MI - PJ's Lager House
4.13 - Cleveland, OH - Pat's In The Flats
4.14 - Youngstown, OH - Knox
4.15 - Pittsburgh, PA - Howler's
4.16 - Buffalo, NY - Gypsy Parlor
4.19 - Kingston, ON - The Mansion +
4.20 - Ottawa, ON - Ritual +
4.21 - Dover, NH - Spun Records *
4.22 - Portland, ME - The Asylum*
4.23 - Providence, RI - AS220 *
4.26 - Manchester, NH- The Shaskeen *
4.27 - New Haven, CT - Crunch House *
4.29 - Brooklyn, NY - The Flat *
4.30 - Trenton, NJ - Champs *
5.01 - Philadelphia, PA - Magic Pictures*
5.02 - Baltimore, MD - Windup Space *

+ w/ B Rich
* w/ PT Burnem

Passalacqua 'THE BAPTISM' featuring SYBLYNG & Hygienic Dress League [Official] from The Right Brothers on Vimeo.





Rap Round Robin 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hip In Detroit's 3rd Bday Bash

James Linck
Zander Michigan 
Radio Burns 
SNAKEWING
Christopher Jarvis 
MPV
Her Dark Host

Hip In Detroit's 3rd Anniversary Bash at Small's Bar // Saturday // $8
8 pm / all ages / two stages
Info here: http://on.fb.me/1vWlPE4 

Ardent supporter of SE Michigan's music scene, Hip In Detroit will celebrate its third year of operations on Saturday. And, of course, the blogging team behind the inventive multifaceted social-media entity will be throwing a concert to celebrate the occasion.

After three years of tireless word-spreading to prop, premier and promote local bands, concerts, special events and album releases, they've attracted a lot of fans and friends. So they could easily curate an impressive and varied line-up: going from darkly-psych-tinged new-wave trio MPV to the strummy and lyrical troubador folk of Zander Michigan.

There's also a staggering amount of prizes that attendees could win.

The Scoop on the Prize Packs for the Hip In Detroit 3rd Anniversary Bash




I've got a few scoops, meanwhile, on two of the performers in this weekend's line up

DJ / producer / electronica artist Christopher Jarvis (of Ancient Language) has been featured often on HIP and at their past events. He'll be DJ-ing the event.
Also on the bill this Saturday is neo-soul crooner James Linck provides his latest blend of silky psychedelicized R&B over leftfield hip hop beats.



Jarvis posted a remix of a new Bjork song a few days ago. With "Lionsong" (from the recent Vulnicura,) Jarvis is blending furtive beats under the slower, resplendent whirl of Bjork's extraterrestrial-sounding vocal, massaging the soundscape with that sprinkle of chimes and warming drones. Take a listen...



Meanwhile, Linck is ever-closer to releasing his full length album Small World.



The album finds trippy synths enveloping Linck's characteristic high wispy voice while understated guitars curl a funky chording over chip-chopped drum machines. The production includes rousing handclaps, samples of congas and 8-bit video game blips along with a few other new sonic spices to distinguish these jams from Linck's past work. It's an impressive layering that still maintains mists of his signature dreamy and nocturnal neverland of contemplative soul-pop.

That's all I can tell you for now... until the dude starts streaming a single online... Your move, James.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Friday The 13th: Absofacto, Human Skull, Chris Bathgate & more

It’s Friday the 13th – a day I personally consider to be one of the luckiest occasions of the calendar year and are you in luck because there’s several shows and new songs for you to check out



Now, with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I realize that the “holiday” is advantageously scheduled, right here in the dead of winter. Singing the blues from busting our backs at shoveling, our fingers cramped, lips chapped and our toes frosted as we wait for the bus or for our car’s to warm up. We’re in need of an amorous day that encourages embrace and exemplifies love…
Or, at least, a cup of hot cocoa.




Hot Cocoa Party
That oughta help you blow some steam off…right? I mean, you don’t need anyone as your official Valentine, you could just come and chill (…or thaw?) out with some friends at the Dreamland Theatre, whilst sipping some complimentary hot cocoa and enjoy the latest live recitals of works by Chris Bathgate and Molly Sullivan, a pair of singer/songwriters who’ve been touring and collaborating throughout the later part of last year and the early part of this year. Pastoral folk songs placidly plucked and evocative tones gnawingly wound and weaved under darkened lullabies heaved in whispery, heart-in-a-vice voices; a formidable duo of song stylists… 

But then you’ve also got Matt Jones on the lineup as well, with a higher-registering quaver over a busier finger-picked guitar style inclined towards séances of Civil War ghosts.

Chris Bathgate – performing “Everything (Overture)” live at the Beat Kitchen, Chicago (Oct 2014)

FRIDAY NIGHT - Hot Cocoa Party & The Dreamland Theatre: Molly Sullivan, Matt Jones & Chris Bathgate (26 N Washington St., Ypsilanti / $10)




Absofacto (New Music)
Meanwhile, Jonathan Visger has new music out this week. Mr. Visger is best known, recently at least, for his experimentations in ambient pop percolated by a rustled hip-hop percussive arrangement via Absofacto as well as a more exuberant indie-pop inclined dance-electronica project with Brian Konicek via Hollow & Akimbo.

Here, with an understated bob-n-weave beat set to a funky blend of guitar/brass samples, Visger’s breathy vocals smooths its way through a surfy chorus , converging pianos, synthesizers, blippy loops and his own multi-tracked harmonies into something comparatively warmer and iridescent despite the heavily electronic aesthetic.
Absofacto: “Dissolve” - http://absofacto.com/dissolve




Black Jake & The Carnies
Rising statewide brewery chain Hop Cat recently opened up a Detroit location and has since been making a concentrated effort towards establishing its performance space (The Huma Room) as a go-to spot for local music – including bands from Washtenaw.
The ever vigorous , ever quirky, ever theatrical Black Jake & The Carnies will tear through their set of punk-inspired bluegrass for the Bad Luck Lover’s Ball, accompanied by Lil’ Darlins Vaudeville and The Webbs.
FRIDAY NIGHT - Black Jake & the Carnies at The Huma Room (Hop Cat Detroit – 4265 Woodward Ave) w/Lil Darlins Vaudeville and The Webbs / $10




Human Skull / PiNG PONG
This isn’t “new” music like the Absofacto link above, but I still wanan spotlight the Ann Arbor trio Human Skull, who performed at the UFO Factory in Detroit last week. I found this surging, sludgey surf-punk to be effervescent – a kind of: just-what-I-was-looking-for revelation of 2 ½ minute shredders that are exploding off of the players in a fully realized form, not over thought, not over played, but cool and quietly confident. Their Demo EP came out in the late summer of 2014 which makes me way late to hop on the bus, but still…

Human Skull – “J. Ramsey”
 

Human Skull are performing at this weekend’s Ann Arbor Blast at The Blind Pig with Super Thing, 
Rotokiller, King Under The Mountain, Bangarang and PiNG PONG.

While you’re here, I’d also recommend digging into PiNG PONG’s songs – quite a distinct avenue of musical styles, blending spacey jazz, gutted lofi indie-pop and mellow post-rock, inclined towards enticing rhythms and resplendent guitar displays.

PiNG PONG – “Head Open Wide”

FRIDAY NIGHT - Ann Arbor Blast at The Blind Pig (208 S. 1st St) $7 (under 21 - $10)




The 7 th Annual Bloody Valentine
Perhaps breathtaking folk songs or tilt-o-whirl punk-rock isn’t what you’re looking for this weekend. How about some burlesque? Some quirky, engaging vaudeville? Maybe a bit of magic and some post-apocalyptic clown makeup? Come to the Crossroads Bar and you’ll encounter an ensemble of talented burlesque & side-show style performers, along with music by The Devil Elvis Show and records spun by Ayinde Audio.
FRIDAY NIGHT - Bloody Valentine Variety Show at Crossroads Bar & Grill (517 W. Cross St, Ypsilanti) $7



Weekend Songs: Fred Thomas / Small Houses / Eddie Logix & Britney Stoney




Fred Thomas - "
Bad Blood"
Those kinds of songs that stop time... It halts your wandering mind in a calming sort of embrace (despite its dissonant and nervy synthesizer loops and caustic cymbal crashes) and the singer's voice, a cadenced speech, clenched and shivering and beautiful, confessional vocal tumblings over a slamming live drum kit half-muted behind droning organs and another drum machine's blurring blips beating at upwards of 200 bpm...
The song is a strange exercise in dichotomy, meditative, yet manic. Thomas has proven, over the last two decades, to be a perceptive lyricist with an understated poetry to his wended words, often barreling his naive melodies over timeless-sounding lo-fi surf-pop that could have been 1961-ish as much as 1991-ish... But not here. Thomas has never sounded so frustrated, if still cryptically coding the certain curse he's shaking off. The dark-electronica aesthetic brings a new shade of gloom, but it's more like an exorcism of frustration.
https://soundcloud.com/polyvinyl-records/fred-thomas-bad-blood-1


Small Houses - "Staggers And Rise"
Singer/songwriter Jeremy Quenton once called Michigan home over the last five years, as he's began flourishing his musical project, Small Houses, he's since turned into a veritable bookmobile of songs, ever traversing the greater 48 states and settling where (& when) he can, the epitome of the touring DIY troubador.



His past recordings echoed the aesthetic of a fragile folk with solemn and sophisticated songs evoking the mystique of the outdoors and its enlightening offer of escapism, but with his recently released Still Talk, Second City, he's filling out the sound with electric guitars, full drum kits and dialing up the raspy Americana warble & twang for a bracing burst of rock-infused alt-country, with the worn words from a heaving voice sounding as thought it's reached the top of a mountain, now, and is looking back down at the trail recently cut, only to breathe deep and head into the brush anew. Compared to the higher, whispery vocal deliver of his youth, there's a telling amount of gravel and grit at the corners of his curled incantations, a voice that's been up late in coffee shops and bars and up the next day to write and sing again.
http://www.smallhousessing.com/


Eddie Logix & Britney Stoney - "Air Balloons"
Beat-master Logix mixes together a pleasant blend of cerebral moods with late-night/slow-dance propulsion, blending blippy trip-hop atmospherics, sprightly dance/electronica percussive clasps and a coating of spacious dream-pop synths under the soothing and soulful voice of Britney Stoney, "...making moves, it never stops, it never ends..." she sings with a poignant ache in this distinctive up-and-down cadence yet her intonation is kept so cool, so smooth, soaring with an ease akin to the song's namesake. Ears should be kept open for whatever Stoney sings next...



https://soundcloud.com/eddielogix/airballoons/s-5bPJa

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dwelling Lightheartedly In The Futility Of Everything





Singer/songwriter/artist Matthew Daher has been "Dwelling Lightheartedly In The Futility Of Everything" for four years, exploring groove-driven songwriting and production guided by electroacoustic gesture and manipulation (using a fader to manipulate synthesized sounds, often improvisational).

"Dwelling" is the name of the E.P. that the Detroit-based producer is releasing on Friday (with a showcase at MOCAD, part of the launch for their Detroit Stages series). 

Daher released a single from the forthcoming "Dwelling" EP (streaming below). You'll notice the wending, curled tones, skewing into capricious melodies over clasping, punchy percussion and the syrupy, soulful voice of Daher, itself given an ethereal quaver... It's like a musical mobius strip, syncing together space-lounge jazz and electro-R&B.



Daher is also influenced by celestial and inverted inflections of ambient noise experimentation and the detached yet contemplative intonations of post-rock along with the darkly beautiful enticements of imitable stylists of left-field hip-hop and noctural, jazz-inflected beat-driven ruminations like J. Dilla and Georgie Ann Muldrow.

While there's plenty of elements of smooth neptunian soul and head-nod-able R&B, there are refreshingly erratic moments that lurch and distorts the meter and stutters the time signatures for surges of synthesizer freak outs or for everything to pull away to push forward a staggering vocal solo (as is the case with singer Emma Frank's cameo on "Hanging Over Hanging On." (It's this track, by the way, where the Bjork influences will shine through...)

"Dwelling" will be released on Feb. 13 at MOCAD. For the concert, Daher is directing a multimedia show featuring works from and performances by seven different video artists and six movement artists with each of their respective presentations crafted around the songs on the EP.



Single: "Drip Down" ttps://soundcloud.com/matthewdahermusic/drip-drown/s-D2idC

Still from upcoming  music video for ""…And Collide WIth Lively Hands Beyond You"

Friday, February 6, 2015

Jamaican Queens - Bored + Lazy EP

You'll know this noise, you've peaked this kinda post before...propping the next unbelievable, the subsequent stupendous, the spectacular new sound, ...so uncannily fresh, so of the now, so never-before yet so fit for the ears of the edgy and the eclectic, the new esoterica, the bass that launches a thousand tweets...



But the concepts come into fruition now. The style materializes at its clearest. We see the group, the band, the artist... The new song(s) by this Detroit-based trio...



I know plenty of blogs all around have already been magnetized to the murky-funk jolts and jerky post-trap sludge of these pop-poets ...whisked under thorny cloaks of dark and staticky synths with crisp guitars, pianos, snappy drums and reverb-slapped vocals sporadically spiking through to the top of the  mix to shine a little light...

That's Jamaican Queens.

And it sounds, much more than before, that, after 2+ years of experimenting with wayward, wraith-like mangling of hip-hop and doom-pop, that they've found their voice, their groove, their knack, however you wanna put it... Here we go...
BWO Mishka Records, the Bored + Lazy EP...
ft.
Kevin & Dantiez Saunderson Origins Remix
Coyote Clean Up's Bedroom Eyes DubNick Speed Remix (Feat. Dopehead) 

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Night of Narrative Performance: Within Many Realms - Feb 8

WITHIN MANY REALMS
Feb 8 @ Small’s Bar
10339 Conant, Hamtramck, MI 48212





MODERN CABARET TRANSCENDS THEATER; STAGES PERFORMANCES ‘WITHIN MANY REALMS’
Storytellers defy genre, incorporating music, film and puppetry into their work

Musician, programmer, 3D-print-designer, writer, performer and inventor, Onyx Ashanti, hopes to leave hundreds of homemade 3D-printers in his wake when he eventually departs Detroit. The Mississippi native and philosopher built his own printer for less than $100 (in parts) so he could craft (and essentially invent) an instrument called the  "Exo-Voice," which was originally modeled on a saxophone but now operates somewhat like a theremin. It's an experiment of syncing the voice and gestures with an intriguing new timbre intoned through this new instrument. 

Though he's given multiple TED talks since 2011, Ashanti has yet to debut the latest manifestation of his invention and his music. On this Sunday, Feb 8th, Ashanti will unveil his most recent work at Small's Bar. 


Click the LINKS below to learn more about Ashanti and the line up of performers 
The evening will be a showcase of local narrative talent with a colorful array of artists, writers and spoken-word performers, including NoOvaHead (a renowned Congo-fusion percussionist and comedian using music and jokes to provoke his audience into looking deeper within the self). Brain Rottar, the intriguing audioproject of visual artist Dan DeMaggio will take the audience on a journey with his latest narrative program "Nonviolent Scenarios."

The night also features Moth StorySLAM champion and sometime master of ceremonies Phreddy Wischusen and esoteric comedians Joey Landis and Dan Clark, the latter performing before a backdrop of digital images created by virtual artists Renee M. Dooley and Laura Finlay. 

Musician/artist/healer VnessWolfChild will present "Return" where the artist emanates a drone orchestra while human sized worms slowly move towards the sound, essentially embodying Earth calling "...for the return of those separate from her" while providing "...a space for the contemplation of Earthworm." 

Recent Knight art PuppetLAB performer Colette Czamecki will also use puppets for "One Star Bright," a multi-media extravaganza combining puppetry with 16 mm film and original music from members of local rock outfit Mountains and Rainbows. This is only the second time Czamecki will have performed this storytelling "...through puppetry (showing) the magic of those inanimate in an extended realm of life..." 

Wischusen is aware that these conceptual performances may sound strange, but he believes that the evening of talent that he has curated guarantees an "accessible and enjoyable" evening "...filled with life! The whole night is designed to be an exploration of existence, by and for those who are in love with the universe,” Wischusen says.

“Within Many Realms: A Night of Narrative Performance” takes place at Small’s Bar (10339 Conant, 
Hamtramck MI 48212). Admission is $10. 
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/833562156708895/



LINKS":
Onyx Ashanti (beat jazz/exo-voice)
·      VNESSWOLFCHILD
“Return” (Interactive Ritual Healing Performance Art) https://soundcloud.com/vnesswolfchild
·      Phreddy Wischusen (spoken word)
·   
 NoOvaHead (Congo fusion/comedy)
·   
 Colette Czarnecki’s “One Star Bright” (puppet show) http://puppetlab.weebly.com/2014-participants.htmlhttp://puppetlab.weebly.com
·   
 Brain Rottar performing “Nonviolent Scenarios”
·      Renee Dooley
·
Laura Finlay



Friday, January 30, 2015

Heart String Soul by Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms (Album Preview)

Ryan Allen's been singing and shredding out pure indie-pop songs for nearly ten years with bands like Friendly Foes, Destroy This Place and his solo set Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms... 

Before that, though, he was a young turk tumbling into the Detroit scene during the early 00's just as "garage-rock" branding was becoming passe and he started specializing in what Pitchfork would call "spaz-punk..." That, namely, was Thunderbirds Are Now, a rock quartet that cut the breaklines of their tempos and sped up the snarl and frazzle-fits of punk until it crashed into the guitar-splattered wall of indie-rock, essentially a more noodly-legged remedy reacting against the static-stance of new-millennial shoegaze-types like Interpol.

I can't help getting that vision of Ryan and his brother Scott and TAN from a show I foggily recall, ten years ago, on the outskirts of Michigan State's campus, the pair of them in constant motion as if their recital were a game of freeze-tag they were intent on winning. Oh, and it was loud. Lots of feedback too...

But this is Ryan Allen's all-grown-up-now record...the record he couldn't have made without all the wild, senseless, exciting, stressful, wonderful experiences of the last 15 years, many of which are lyrically recounted on the songs of Heart String Soul.

Some songs are softer, minimalist vocal-pop settlers for the contemplative evenings while others are aerobic blare-outs for showcasing his sustained abilities for a great guitar solo. Richly resonant acoustic guitars strum and unspool under sentimental folk-pop lyrics charmed with a wry self-deprecation dropping dates and venues, offsetting events and licked wounds from lessons-learned. Other jams, meanwhile, continue the surfy tempos and jangly guitars that all but punch their hooky riffs into you under his characteristically high and hazy singing voice.

But this time, not only are those electric guitar "freakouts" displaying a more focused aggression in their crescendos, his lyrics are some of the most manifestly autobiographical & heart-on-the-sleeve I've heard in a while... Ryan sings both to the defiant youths who are now coming up behind him as well as appealing to his reflective nostalgics who remember music magazines and cassette tapes, a meditation on how those exciting and hot-headed days are long gone that seeks to emboss the self-actualizing work it hath wrought upon him, now that he's on the "wrong side of" 30 with a life and a family... The lyrics, sung straight from the heart and seeming plucked from his happiest emotions to his most nerve-wracking anxieties, come straight from the heart...(all puns intended, re: album title).

There's honesty here that was lacking in his past songs; whereas he might've penned lyrics with a cryptic wink encoded with scenster slang in the past, he's looking the listener straight in the eye now, telling him in plain English his thoughts and revelations, still cadenced, of course, to a buoyantly catchy melody and belted out with breathless passion.

Perhaps the much-younger Ryan would roll his eyes and consider some of these songs overly sentimental... But that doesn't seem to matter to present-day Ryan. There's a new kinda comfort and coolness here that doesn't seem to care about quips from the comment bin.

There's a song for his parents (and by extension, a song for his brother), a song for his young son and, streaming below, a song for his wife. Not only is he honest and, by extension, more confident in his words, he's also unafraid to take jabs at himself and that's achieved best by his self-referential "Should Be Me," (also streaming).


Songs (Heart String Soul)





The songs feel right, and they come straight from my heart. --Ryan Allen on Heart String Soul

Andy Reed (Verve Pipe) mixed and mastered the album on analog equipment and it will be released via Allen's own Two Brains Records. The album comes out physically (CD) and digitally on March 25.


LINKS