Thursday, July 19, 2018

Crash Detroit

July 20-22 at various locations

It's a pity how much music is relegated to various backgrounds. It's white noise for study-work, it's amorphous muzak for department stores, or it's chill-wave ambiance at house parties to avoid awkward silence. But there will be no awkward silence this weekend in Detroit...

...Crash Detroit is a refreshing remedy to the troubling trend of an audience-nonchalance that can sometimes be observed in clubs where the crowd opts to chat and drink at the bar instead of participate or engage with the live music happening on a stage. You know "crash bands" even if you don't know their name, because you'll often see them (like, say, The Detroit Party Marching Band), manifesting as a flash-mob-style music parade of 20 players bandying brass and bass drums, voluminously spicing up (or splicing through) another event, locale, or otherwise unrelated (and unaware) gathering.

This three-day festival will include live rogue marching bands from across the country at various locations, Lincoln Street Art Park, the Marble Bar, and the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard. The Detroit Party Marching Band (pictured above) launched this free annual music event launched in 2014. Several unamplified (and ultra exuberant) ensembles will perform multiple sets of brass-heavy music. But there will also be kids craft tables, build-your-own-instrument workshops, an "instrument petting zoo" facilitated by Charity Music, and lots of food and beverages from local businesses.



On Friday night, bands will "crash" through Detroit by roaming the city and bringing pleasant surprises of boisterous music to unaware audiences at local bars, restaurants and public spaces. The idea is to make the music an impromptu, drop-everything sort of celebration. Let the music take over!!

The Detroit Party Marching Band will headline day-long performances and musical exhibitions on Saturday at Lincoln Street Art Park; the party keeps going that same night, when Crash Detroit transitions into the Marble Bar at 9pm. Then, on Sunday, Crash coordinates with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to roll through the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard in Eastern Market.

Proceeds for the event will benefit Youth Crash Corps initiative. Youth Crash Corps provides music education to kids in Detroit who do not have access to music programs at their school. Certified music educator Nichole Hartrick helps students learn how to perform and read music, providing them free access to a band instrument. The YCC classes culminate with a performance during the Crash music festival!

“We know that students who don’t have access to a quality music education are missing out on the benefits of learning to play an instrument," Hartrick said. "Students who study music perform better in their core classes and on standardized tests, and we’re excited to be able to provide this opportunity for students in Detroit.”

Going back to allowing yourself to fully engage with music, it makes Crash an excellent time to consider how crucial music can be to the cultural and intellectual development of young students. So if you happen to have any used instrument(s) that you'd like to donate, Crash will be collecting them for next year's YCC, with a drop-off area at the information booth on Saturday (2-8pm).

The featured lineup of bands includes:
Detroit Party Marching Band
Hungry March Band
Bitch
Thunder!
Gabriel Brass Band,
Filthy FemCorps
The Drumadics
Chaotic Noise Marching Corps
Big Blitz
Jefferson Street Parade Band
Youth Crash Corps
and The Party Band

FIND OUT MORE VIA FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/crashdetroit/


Visit www.crashdetroit.org or the Facebook event for the full schedule of performances.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The War and Treaty - "Are You Ready To Love Me?"

The War and Treaty have released their official music video for “Are You Ready To Love Me?"



The powerfully soulful duo of Tanya Blount-Trotter and Michael Trotter sharing this beautiful song in an empty school house (probably near their home in Albion MI), as sunshine pours in through the windows. There might not be a light source inside this ornate and rustic structure, but there's plenty of radiance from these two effervescent performers. This song comes from the aptly titled "Healing Tide" (out August 10), and that's just what a War and Treaty song can do for you..., bring on the healing, the restoration, and the revelry.



Follow the War & Treaty on Facebook

Monday, July 16, 2018

Super Birthday

photo by Brian Rozman


You're dropped right in to "The Phantasm Ball;" pushing play on Super Birthday's new album feels akin to triggering an unlocking mechanism hidden in amid the creaky bookshelves of a cobwebbed cosmic mansion's lounge and being whisked away with great suddenness to dimensions of erratic possibility and wayward wonder.



Super Birthday channel the danger and intrigue of metal, the theatricality of glam-rock nocturnes, and the cerebral detachment of psychedelia. The way they stir and swirl their instrumental phrasings and intonations can spellbind the listener's senses, to where--if they close their eyes and allow the band's tidal sonic energies to draw them deeper--they'll likely feel as though they're on some kind of quest, a a strange trip, or a profound daydream's surreal reverie. There is a gnarly vibe about this album, but it's wound with precision. It's angular and mysterious, but it doesn't speak any language that you don't already understand.

For all the misfits out there who've had their minds melted by the horrors of humanity, this Detroit rock quartet tap into that tender lunacy and meld it into eerily beautiful melodies with gnarly tones and cathartic wails. Lead singer/lyricist Troy Gregory, who has always been a bit of a mad scientist in the realms of goth pop and rock mysticism, just put out an epic rock opera. But the bassist/songwriter seems to be possessed by some other kind of entity on the cover of the album, identified in the liner notes only as "Misty." Nevertheless, it's evident, here with Super Birthday's Matthew Lannoo (guitar/vocals), Vince Rodriquez (synths/guitars) and Fido Kennington (drums/vocals) that he's still resonating with an energy that's comparably supernatural.

But it's go so much of a groove to it, that it's never as obtuse or wobbly as Zappa; it's too cool to sound cult, or perhaps too logistical and philosophic to be freaky. "A skeleton key gets you into a skeleton club..." And while that suggests a "crypt," it's not cryptic. This album, be it through the standout percussive arrangements in "Cracked Mad and Crazy," the stunt-pilot-on-uppers sort of flightpath of the dueling guitars on "Phantasm Ball," the gong echoing over the ceremonial synths on "Ice Cream," or any other vaporous corner of the album suggests an invitation, an arrival, an acclimation to some new place, be it a basement or be it oblivion, you are, as stated at the outset, pulled somewhere fantastic but foreboding. Each musician brings so many colors, many of them neon, ultraviolet, or midnight blue, to the notes that they blend in their performances--evoking a wide-eyed sense of a we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore epiphany.



The album may be title, Abracopocus, means that you haven't been tricked by the magic, but that two disparate spells collided, and in the likely explosive sequence of their canceling each other out, another kind of consciousness opens like a portal. Consider it a rebirth. Consider it a rebirth party. A super rebirth party. That's why they invite you to a Church in a Basement in the Woods...it's a religious (sort-of) "revival." Only they're reviving you! And you're "learning" how to heal. It's deep, sure. But any listener can jump in and just enjoy the ride, if they'd prefer. No one has to think of it as supernatural, after all... Consider it "super-natural."

____
Super Birthday perform Friday, July 20
@ Outer Limits Lounge
INFO

Friday, July 13, 2018

Siamese - New Video ("Tarrare") + New Album ("Host")



We are bound to our darker sides. It's not so much physically as we are emotionally... It's like a twin we might not show the outside world, one that's been toughened by the tumult of relationships, the encroaching of self-doubt or the dread of world events. Whatever it is, Siamese tap into it, lyrically and sonically, and what results in "Host" is the manifestation of coming through the otherside, back into a world of light and oxygen and other people, but bringing with it a cold wisdom from freshly healed wounds.

Perhaps a less graceful but still apt metaphor would be that of a boxer getting a rematch. Siamese feel and sound like a contender coming back into the ring of focused ferocity, unphased by the black eye they might bare, marching in, uppercutting and K.O.-ing some grievous opponent with one punch. That said, it's also a sleek composite of post-grunge grit, spacey electronica and melodic new-wave.

The release party for "Host" is on Friday, July 27, at The Loving Touch. The video for its lead single, "Tarrare,"premiered today via popmatters.



For more info on the filmmaking team behind this video, check out Obscura Broadcasting.....

Back to Siamese
From the get go, "Host" brings the band to a position of an earned vindication. There comes a point where our stronger side comes out, often in response to a prior wrong and that's just what keyboarist (lead singer) Johanna Champagne's lyrics and emotive vocals are bringing to the fore. "If I want it //I'll get it," she belts on Tarrare, with this scorched vocal effect. In other words, get out of her way!

Steve Thoel (guitar), Angie Kaiser (drums) and Eric Cojocari (bass) take that energy from the lyrics and, with Champagne, create a cathartic kind of alt-rock house music. While there are some ambient, slower ballads in between, several of the arrangements match that laser-like vigor of the vocals. Again, to put it less gracefully, several songs sound like they're already soundtracks to the best kind of Matrix-esque kung-fu sci-fi special-effects-splashed polychromatic climactic fight scene you could imagine!

But unlike badass fight scenes, the rhythm of these punches comes packed with way more substantive emotions. We are but a host to those emotions--and songs like the title track, as well as "Tarrare," allow for the proper expression and poise for expelling them--with maximally cathartic results.

INFO

Siamese Album Release Show
Friday, July 27th
WSG/Tart & WOMB
The Loving Touch
22634 Woodward Ave
Ferndale, MI 48220
All Ages
$8 Cover
Doors 8pm

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sorrow Inc - 'Lush"



I have this favorite band of mine....that you can't see. You can hear them though. It's just that they aren't on social media and they're probably never going to play a show.

Oh, but I also have one more eccentric deviation... ...this band changes names, identities and genres every six months.

Tom Bahorski and Steve Olshove are Sophisticated Professionals. 


They're a two-person music production company that writes and records their own original music, but challenge themselves to morph into different personas and aesthetics for each album. They've done country, they've done proto-punk, they've done krautraock. Now, it's on to a sweet spot of late 80's shoegaze and early 90's Brit-pop revival.

Your obvious reference points will be Ride, Slowdive, Swervediver and The Stone Roses. Think: guitar-centric surges adorned with beautifully caustic and tightly wound strands of distortion ribboning in a flutter as each track all but takes flight. Synthesizers and guitars layer over each other and then layer over again in an echo-splashed murmuration. Add in the charmingly maudlin poetry of new-romantics, fever-pitch new-wave heartache and swooning soundtracks for your starry eyed drives home from any weekend's average party of missed connections. That's Sorrow Inc.



When you're in the thick of emotional highs and lows, there's just something poignant that only the right amount of distortion and woozy vocals can capture... You can fall in love with that devastated feeling with the kind of songs that Sorrow Inc. make... And I think another facet of their albums feeling like tiny treasures is that you know it's feeling...that this is an album that is a one-time-only iteration of this specific sound and style. It's like they've been a band six times over with six precious debut albums... Always kaleidoscoping into something else. This is my favorite so far, from the Soph Prof duo. I hope it finds more ears. If not, we've got apt songs, here, for catharsis.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rogue Satellites - "We Are Apparitions"

photo credit: Liz Bedore


Detroit post-punk duo Rogue Satellites unveil their third album, Black Wings, next Friday. Lisa Poszywak and Jaye Allen Thomas are heading on tour the day after the release, hitting up Dayton, Columbus, Chicago and looping back around to Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids and more. Later on, on August 4, they celebrate at Deluxx Fluxx in Detroit with Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor and Minihorse.

Black Wings will be available on vinyl (Space Camp Records and cassette (Midwest Action), but you'll also find it on the usual digital platforms. Meanwhile, here's the brand new single, "We Are Apparitions."



When you think of birds with black wings they tend to put people on edge. Crows, Ravens...even Grackles..., they can put people on edge or just carry a general air of foreboding. Like these birds, the Rogue Satellites are not singing pretty songs, per se, but while the title track has some dystopic imagery of a deficit hope, there is still the ability to fly, to escape, to reach some higher branch or perhaps just break out of a cage.

Similar, in an albeit distant sense, to Nick Cave, Tom Waits, or PJ Harvey, the Rogue Satellites are not shying away from, nor sugarcoating, the darker sides. Their lyrics shine harsh lights on the unvarnished corners of humanity, but find vocal tones and transfixing melodic ribbons to sing these stark scenes to life. While those aforementioned songwriters might be closer to the realms of a dark folk or even goth-like trip, the Rogues are making a beautiful disassemblage of rock, with sparse flourishes from guitars and synthesizers, percussive arrangements that are like a tender industrial churn with a brooding post-punk march into the night. These are new-wave nocturnes that shine brightest (albeit like a fuzzy purple hued ultraviolet) when Poszywak and Thomas' vocal harmonies simmer and swell together through the choruses.

"Black Wings" can take us to the depths and make us see the barren trees, but there's a sense of rescue in those drums and those surfy psych-rock guitars in the opening phrase, suggesting a sort of propulsive getaway. If "Your Forest Arms" were tempoed just three-times faster, it'd be easy to call it a punk song, but there's something alluring about slowing it down to a toe-tapping sway; this is among many standout moments where the production allows each element, even that sleek and eerie synth curly it's melody at the refrain, to breathe and blossom. And then there's "War Dogs," which brings us to the edge of the abyss to greet the sense of dread that many of us feel after any runthrough of the headlines--with hypnotic drums recalling "Venus In Furs" but coated by a low but waltzing growl on the bass.

I was attracted to "We Are Apparitions" not merely because its title automatically sounds like a signature Rogue Satellites kinda song. But it's got one of the best drum hooks on the album, along with some surreal atmospheric touches that would bend the ear of any Radiohead fan. More than that, it's doing what the Rogues do best, designing a powerful melody weaving in aesthetic minor keys over a subtly cathartic punch of guitars over percolating bass and adorning synths. But it addresses the poison and division we're all troubled by and wondering what kind of effect that would have on those with more fragile constitutions--to where we might even be mutating into monsters, snakes, a swarm of bees....or worse, apparitions.

But you'll hear the whole of Black Wings soon. Whether the feathers are black, or if there's actual muck, mud or decay, it can't keep your wings from threshing, flapping, beating upward.... Hopefully--upward!!

More info





Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Jeremy Waun - New Single: "Drenched"

Jeremy Waun fascinates me. I feel like he may be a brilliant and bizarre prototype of NuHumanCreative that broke loose from some laboratory and went off into the wilds of the music scene to steadily evolve on his own. I feel like he's responding to the harmony of the spheres or some other orbital resonance we're not otherwise detecting and formulating his own musical language. For one thing, there's the versatility: he's able to shred it out with thrash-metal maniacs Child Bite, but also conjure his own face-melting psychedelic pabulum with his fretwork and lead vocals in Reverend! And now we've got this new single from Waun as a solo artist - a lush but sludgy, punk but gunky, hip-hop sauntering, 80's lo-fi recalling, space-invader-theme-song of a joint....



Jeremy Waun - Drenched from Sincerely Productions on Vimeo.

Headphones will reward the listener who can have all of the subtle reverb and dreamy delay effects splash into your ears, whether its the echoing bass, the chilly, Gary Numan recalling countermelody synths, or the caustic cymbal sounds from the sequenced beats. And then there's Waun, so in the groove with his vocal cadence, hitting curious crooning registers and intermingling a theatrical sing-speak style. I feel like this is a song that Bowie post-Berlin and 1978 early DEVO would have made if they ever got into a basement and jammed until 4am.

Links
Sincerely ProductionsReverend

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Loose Koozies - Slow Down Time



As you can see, the flag implores you to "slow down..." and yet it's flown from the bed of a barreling monster truck that appears to already have hit reckless velocities. It reminds me of the first single that Detroit based quartet Loose Koozies released more than a year ago: "Rollin' Heavy..." Whereas that title might suggest some kind of aggro-riff on Cream, Grand Funk or Foghat, yet their song is a sweet, shuffling strummer of a melodic country-folk ode, stitched with sentimentality and world-wary wisdom. And while there are plenty of lyrical ballads about small towns and plaintive blue collar pleasures woven into disarming metaphors and erudite wordplay, you might be surprised to vibe nostalgically with a rockin' story about a horse track in Hazel Park where you can, if you're hungry enough, have up to five hot dogs. Yes. Loose Koozies kick your preconceptions to the curb in a lot of ways.

So slow down... But also hold fast. Expect "country-rock" but not "country-rock..."



Pete Ballard's pedal-steel is prominent on these two new tracks, recorded in Detroit with Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive; but the heart of Koozies charm is the rollicking rhythms of Nick German (drums) and Erin Davis (bass), finding the a propelling pocket for the energizing "Slow Down Time," and the easygoing sway and melodic hook for "Marita." Singer/guitarist E.M. Allen's mid-high rusty warble promenades over those rhythms at matching tempos hitting registers that you could almost qualify for honky-tonk status but you're too busy dialing in to his capricious dispositions with lyrics about lying around in your underwear hiding in the verses of a song that's got some sincere thoughts to share about the simple paths to happiness. Guaranteed in every Koozie song is the decorous fret dressings of lead guitarist Andrew Moran, weaving around each lyric, bass groove or cymbal hats and sure to bring out an elegantly face-melting solo in the bridge to each closing chorus.



Each Koozie brings something fresh to the table--with resumes that include bands more inclined toward indie-rock, punk, or something even further from "country." What manifests here is something organic, some other kind of "country..." ... a laid back yet luminous arrangement of road-trippable worry-killing ditties that just so happens to have a bit of twang and strut to 'em

Loose Koozies
Record Release
Wed., (4th of July)
Outer Limits Lounge
with Kelly Jean Caldwell and J. Walker & the Crossguards
INFO

Friday, June 29, 2018

SANTIPARRO


People often say that music can be like therapy; ...that just the experience of listening to a piece of music can make you feel better. Typically it's a pop song, something with immediate effervescence.... ...But it's something else when a song, or even a musical phrase or motif, can provide you with something deeper, namely: illumination; to where it feels like the song and its singer is giving you something, bestowing that healing to you in a sonic 5-minute ceremony that's exceedingly more intimate than any catharsis you might just rake from a regular radio song. 

Santiparro is a singer/songwriter who spent much of his creative life here in Metro Detroit, but departed about 8 years ago to begin what seems, by intention, to be an endless odyssey. It's a journey I can only come to understand more fully by what's imparted in his lyrics, cast across holy-sounding melodies and ethereal incantations in a voice that sounds like it came from the ground, from the wind, from a cave, from a cloud.... And it becomes apparent through the songs of his forthcoming album, Talon, that that journey was more than just going out to spend time living beyond the borders of Michigan or the United States, but a deeper, metaphysical journey, to the depths of the soul, and back again. 

Why am I getting this heavy about a piece of music before even describing it? I think you can intuit its extensively cosmic substance from streaming the lead single of Santiparro's Talon, below...




A kaleidoscope of styles and sounds congeal on every song, each with a fluid and adventurous arrangement; imagine Pet Sounds in the 80's fuzzy peak of shoegaze, or "Boxer"-era Simon & Garfunkel if they were produced by late 90's David Fridmann... Whereas Santiparro (aka Alan Scheurmann)'s previous albums, such as 2015's True Prayer, cultivated a progressive and elemental sounding folk, or future-folk aesthetic, Talon finds Santiparro entering danceable realms of rhythmic revelry, augmented by greater inclusion of synthesizers and sequenced beats. More than that, as emoted on the lyrics, the singer himself seems to be filled with a fresh distillation of energies - to where you can see this human as he sings to you, easily imagined with his eyes closed, something close to ecstasy or if not that just in the midst of a heightened empathic link to not just you and me and his own self, but, ambitiously, to other dimensions.   

Santiparro's main collaborator on this venture is Kansas City-based producer J. Ashley Miller. And  I came to these conclusions about the intentions and themes of the album before I even zeroed in on the actual content of the lyrics. It's like I received the signals of this emotional content by what they captured and honed on the recording-itself, the performance of Scheurmann, the tones he reaches with his voice and the grainy gorgeous quality of his acoustic guitar over the majestic pianos. That's latticed beautifully over Miller's mix of the organic and the synthetic sounds, as well as co-navigating a way for Scheurmann to make a stylistic shift and come off sounding like a natural transition--wings spread from a former chrysalis. And each song builds, swells, blossoms...they might start out small, quiet, ambient, but they build and grow and add and combine, voices, guitars, pianos and just the right amount of reverb, delay and distortion.... It gives one pause. It gives one quite a lot, in fact, if you listen closely enough.

And the way in which these songs build, you can sense that Miller and Scheurmann were truly on a journey together, working out the recording at the Infoaming Vertex in KC. Whereas True Prayer featured cameos from artists like Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Kyp Malone, the only artists here are Scheurmann and Miller, and a few vocal cameos from Scheurmann's wife, Indy Genao. And while I can quote so many lyrics from this record for their profundity and wisdom, I think I'll go with a song you'll be able to hear, once it's released on August 3rd, which is titled "Ani Tana..."  "...you can get there // you already are..."


More info
+ follow on Facebook
Talon comes out August 3rd 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dr. Wolf



Dr. Wolf is a Detroit-based duo with two new singles that sound nothing alike, and that's the intent. Henry Johns (vocals/guitar/drums) and Nick Sapounas (vocals/synth/drums) have been friends (and musical collaborators) for a long time, and together they've been fusing their imaginative approaches to arrangements and coiling the spectrum of limiting genres like a twizzler, in hopes of snapping it back into a broader wavelength. Both musicians come from equitably adventurous bands like gray/bliss and Warehouse. These two tunes are sort of a preview of more to come from Dr. Wolf in the year ahead, and I'm excited to premiere them.



"Came So Easy" is a guitar-centrc glide and shimmy, drawing in new wave Johnny Marr-ish staccato style and syrupy reverb spilled over the dream-pop crooning vocals. Wavy and wobbly psychedelic effects furl around the solo bridging the second and third choruses, but the spacey weirdness pares back for those crispy surfy tones to come in and carry you through. The drums are snappy and mighty enough to accommodate what you'd expect to be a "rock song," but they're mixed measuredly into the recording so as not to overpower anything else--a fine balance. But then those spacey guitars come back in, a new pedal creating a shimmering sheen over the tones as we fly out of orbit...

And then "Acceptance" gently slides into slow-motion. The beats evoke a heart-beat, the drones feel like deep breathes, a modulated tone curves and purrs and then the ethereal vocals waft around you like a stray ribbon in a chill breeze. You lock in to the beat and you can almost feel the tension being extracted from your muscles, from your aura even. It's a slow, slllooowww rock, a sweet and meditative sway. The guitars pare back for accentuations at the corners of each measure while the beat, the winding whirr of the synths and those stretchy vocal notes repose resplendently from one beat to the next. They're giving you 6 minutes a piece with each of these tracks, and "Acceptance," just like "Came So Easy," grows into so many different motifs and allows for myriad mesmerizing sounds to manifest...

Put some headphones on.... Dr. Wolf want to expand the avenues of sound and expression...and maybe along the way they can expand your mind, too.


More Info

Dr. Wolf's Next show

Dr. Wolf's bandcamp

Friday, June 22, 2018

saajtak's new EP: 'Hectic' (June 28)



Hectic is a beautiful word to start to describe saajtak. Or, rather, the Detroit-based band find a way to make "hectic" sound beautiful. That's the title of their new EP, two epic songs spanning 15 entrancing minutes.

Harmony blossoms frequently throughout these extended arrangements, designed to take away the palatable hooks, familiar chord progressions and conventional downbeats and let a detached listener respond or adapt to a song through finding their own balanced cadence.

saajtak - Hectic

Ears acclimated to rock, pop, hip-hop or folk will have no other recourse but to consider their idiosyncratic and unbounded sonic designs to be a sleek outgrowth of something resembling jazz. But rather than trade off expressive solos and pivot instrumental phrasings, each of these four artists flows, or flourishes their musical capacities along uniquely tuneful and dynamic orchestrations--something like a sustained crescendo from four corners. 

Simon Alexander-Adams casts spells on keys/electronics, Alex Koi's vocals soar, Jonathan Taylor provides frenetic percussion and Ben Willis gives the bass a mean but majestic growl. Each finds the updraft to catch and glide the song but uniquely controls their own flaps along the wing of the craft. At least that's where Hectic's got me digging....

The new EP will be out soon. But while you're here, let's listen to one of my favorite songs from last year, off of saajtak's first EP, Spokes...



You're never far from something booming, swooning, bending or flourishing. It's like a groove that keeps getting deeper, or at least allows for multiple levels and otherwise uncharted stylistic trenches.

More info: saajtak

_______
saajtak EP Release
Thurs., June 28
El Club
featuring: Onyx Ashanti // Marcus Elliot // River Spirit // Sad Mandala // DJ Greg Baise
8pm
$5 (presale) $10 (at the door)
INFO