Thursday, July 31, 2008

Charlie Slick: Edward Murphy

Local new-wave dance king is releasing a new album, August 9th at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti.

...a few scattered thoughts on the record...

“Praying that Love ain’t nothing like a Bubble Gun”

It’s hard to sit still while writing this…I mean, you may not dig this if you don’t like to move, shake, bob or weave…as Charlie’s hallucinogenic circus romp rave anthem simply suggests, “Let’s Dance!” No sense staying locked in your stuffy stances in the back, sipping PBR and scoffing at all this mellifluous hip shaking; Charlie Slick has always been about liberation! Goofy, soapy, glittery, no one’s watching, liberation. A once punk-rocker turned flamboyant hunky nerd, offering himself up to the beats, with possessing synth swirls and arresting choruses, like some overly sexy cartoon or an unabashedly un-hip pied piper, with a weird wavy croon combining David Byrne’s shamanistic quaver with David Gahan or Gary Numan’s neon-glow melodrama. His sweetly buzzing melodies and cheesy/cool keyboard accoutrements may be minimalist basement compositions, but the man knows how to lay down a beat – be it simple 1-2 aerobics (Let’s Dance) or chest-pounding tribalism (Coconut Man) or New Order dancefloor firestarters (Too Busy for Love) or 8-bit rigid rhythms (Big Picture). Edward Murphy is Slick’s fourth proper album (all self-produced/released) and it features many synthesized dance storms that have been raining down at his live shows throughout the year.

Two particular live favorites, the blushingly suggestive “Sushi Party” and the hypnotic send-up to dessert factory workers, “Coconut Man” are quintessential indulgently goofy and rampantly rousing. But surprise cuts include the superb siren-synth beauty Moments, or the longing for love in a blurring and hectic turn-around-and-it’s-gone world (Too Busy For Love.) Moments, especially, expounds poetic reflections comparing breaking up to thrift store shopping: “the things I loved can soon be loved by someone else…”

The album’s title, for me anyways, feels born from a similar vein of David Bowie’s Song for Bob Dylan or Simon & Garfunkel calling out Joe DiMaggio; in that, they weren’t addressing the people per se, but the idea of them: the feelings, memories and ideas conjured when you hear these names. Eddie Murphy…Raw…Beverly Hills Cop…Gumbi…etc. Couple that with an inserted portrait of Eddie circa 1983 and the album takes on an air of nostalgia, but not simply nostalgia for the glittery dizziness of 80’s cheese and raucous basement breaking dance riots (though, that is indeed all over this album)—even though many erroneously summarize Slick as such—no, this has a lot more heart to it, at times anyway.

When he isn’t singing luridly about “eating out” sushi or about the men who dance beautifully at parties, or what he wants to do every time he sees a girl, he’s touching on some core melancholic musings to the revelry of teenage years, the loss of innocence in a world of change, the primal gut instincts of boys and their cutely awkward interactions with girls, the sound of a man “defining his confused existence” and hopefully starting to understand…with the help of his synthesizer…and his indelible beats.

In the end, it only asks one thing of you, (which, at track 4, rallies): “Let’s Dance.”

Converse All Stars on sale at Showtime

...all you indie rockers, you punks, you hippies, you rock players circa 1956

there's an amazing sale on the indellible Converse All-Stars, going on at the overwhelmingly cool vintage store: Showtime in Detroit (Woodward, just south of Grand Blvd.)

....with these pairs, it's Nike-free, made in America! check out their myspace at: http://www.%20myspace.%20com/showtime_detroit


Dinner with Robots...

Local quartet, The Oscillating Fan Club (Ray Thompson, Pierce Reynolds, John C. Fairweather and Robin Veresh) releases their debut full-length, Feverish Dreams as told by The Oscillating Fan Club, at the CAID this Saturday. :

You can read Detour's review here.

Or Real Detroit's review here.

and check out some of their new songs here.

and see a music video of one of my favorite OFC songs, "My Grave Face" here

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We Are Scientists

I'm Probably Making This Up: We Are Scientists
J. Milo

Running ragged through the European festival circuit through all of July, the peculiar and punchy We Are Scientists are coming back to the east coast. The sometimes-duo is quite a fitting band for this indiscernible glow-box culture where we've satirized everything so far beyond the stretch of imagination; Keith Murray, guitar/lead vocals and Chris Cain, bass/vocals perfectly fit the concept of a 21st century band – where an internet presence and blog support is their forte; which helps this quick witted, quirky duo from southwest California often find more popularity overseas than here in the states.

And, they're blisteringly sarcastic – literate to fall-down goofy, often throwing the excessive, unreasonable, trash-blur-decadence of an overly-media-munched existence back in the faces of those exposed to their icy-cool / hot-n-heavy dance rock.

Their major label albums (after their early DIY stuff), With Love and Squalor and this year's Brain Thrust Mastery, are ripe with ironic sonnets (and social commentary?) to the after hours' speedy thrills of no-time-like-now capriciousness and intoxication (with love or alcohol) that ends up with slept-in-your-clothes morning-headache reflections.

Where Squalor mined guitar-heavy-pop glory to its full extent, Mastery (which saw the departure of original drummer Michael Tapper halfway through recording) slides comfortably into a more chill, dance-ready futuristic new-wave revival, still filled with their characteristic vigor and bite.

For the 7th time since they started in 2000, they'll return to the Magic Stick. Here's a chat with Chris Cain (from Real Detroit Weekly)

RD: Solidified a third member yet?
CC: We have a very solid relationship with Adam Aaronson (drums) and Max Hart (keyboard), who'll almost certainly be [playing] through the rest of this tour cycle. There will be a year off to write/record the next album; they're not officially "in" We Are Scientists I guess, but, also, they are…I dunno.

RD: But you find balance as an occasional-"duo?"
CC: We're a very…tight team, on the live circuit, which very much dominates our lives right now. On the road, we're a full fledged band. Keith and I are still running the business and are far more involved in all the more tedious aspects. I guess 'tedious' is probably not true, I actually enjoy the other things, the mundane financial concerns. We try to get involved, really, in every nook and cranny…we really have oversight on everything that's going on with We Are Scientists, and as often as possible, try to keep our hands dirty.

RD: That includes writing tour diaries where you formally review bathroom sinks?
CC: Doesn't get much dirtier than that.

RD: You're often described as having a surreal sense of humor…
CC: I'm actually in Barcelona right now, looking at all these Gaudí buildings, about 2 blocks from the Avenida de Dali, it's pretty strange you should ask – I love it when people describe our sense of humor, specifically our quotes, whether given in interviews or on stage, as surreal. I think it's accurate in that some of what we do seems off-message, if you consider our job outside of playing music to be promoting our album, but we don't really see that as our job.

RD: …and, you're seen as decent comedians…
CC: I think we have rather shallow comedic skills, at least, if your speaking relative to actual professional [comedians: Todd Barry, Patton Oswald], but we benefit of being relatively known musicains who are very absurdly tossing their hat into this other ring…judging [us] against Def Leopard and Axl Rose [we're] fucking hilarious!

8 / 4 with Silverghost at the Magic Stick!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jehovah's Witness Protection Program

Deep Cutz
J. Milo

Photos: Megan Lang

“You must have been thinking about freedom…” guitarist Anthony Anonymous sings in his mid-range boom over a darkly explosive, hard-chugging pedal pushed rocker, and it rings true for the inspirations that led to him starting Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program with his longtime collaborative partner, drummer Jehan Dough.

The Ypsilanti-based duo has known each other for more than ten years, having played together in other bands on and off throughout, including other rock outfits like Propeller and Clouds. They often ended up playing alone together sporadically, just demos in basements or casual jamming, with just guitar and drums.

“We realized that we were having more fun and enjoying more freedom as a two piece than we were in actual ‘bands.’”

In late 06, they opened at YpsiFest IV for their first official show as JWPP. Less than one year later (regardless that they’d developed radical plans early on of “no budget,” no label and no falling into cliques) they found themselves powerless to resist the quirky charms of the Loco Gnosis label – as they were approached by them after a Corktown show. They soon started recording with Scotty Iulianelli from Wildcatting. The fruition was a glorious fuzzified fireball of golden shimmering high neck solos over trashy riffs and hard-hitting rhythms, in the spirit of Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr. or maybe Minutemen with more of a 70’s album-rock indulgence.
Vigorous, and heartfelt, the JWPP continue to spread the love through rock n roll Aug 11, at Corktown Tavern; with their debut EP, Knockin. Check out:

Included here is some of the un-cut interview with Anthony Anonymous

DC/Milo: You’d played together in Propeller and Clouds, and through ’05 as a 3-piece, Rome for a Day, so, how and when did JWPP official “start” as a band?

AA/JWPP: During the course of being in these bands over the previous 10 years, Jehan and I would occasionally get together and play as a two piece. The more we played as a two piece, the more we realized that we were having more fun and enjoying more freedom as a two piece than we were in the actual "bands" we were playing in... so we booked a set as the opener for the second night of YpsiFest IV in December 2006 as Jehovah's Witness Protection Program. I came up with the name as a joke because we needed something to be listed as, and as I was thinking of a name I saw a Watchtower magazine sitting on the porch of the house where we practice. I never intended to keep the name, but it just stuck.

After our previous bands, we were pretty burned out on the whole idea of being a band in the traditional sense... we didn't have any money to invest for recording, and we didn't even think we had a desire to record or do anything more than just play once in a while. We had this concept that we would do everything "no budget"... and that we would record via 4 track and just give all of our music away. And we vowed not to play more than a show or two each month and we didn't want to try to join any groups or labels at all. Basically, we didn't want to be dragged down by the "responsibilities" of being in a band... setting up shows, getting merch, putting out a record, etc... we really just wanted to rock.

In the fall of 2007 we started talking to Scotty Wild about recording a demo with him in the new studio he built at his parent's house (I came to know Scotty through Brandon Moss, who was originally in Bear Vs Shark which was a band that Rome for a Day played with pretty often). We knew we liked Scotty and especially liked his approach to music... so we were really excited to see what he could do with us. After recording the demo, we played a show on Thanksgiving Eve at Corktown with Duende! and Speedy Greasy... and apparently Scotty had told Loco Jeff that the recording was pretty good. That night I hinted to Jeff that we had recorded some songs and we wanted to record more but we didn't know what to do with it and we didn't have any money... and shortly after that, Jeff extended the invitation to become part of the Loco Gnosis family....after meeting the people associated with LG, we knew that we had found the right people to join forces with... and we REALLY wanted to record more with Scotty at this point. just a lot of great people with a lot of great ideas and artistic expression flowing freely... couldn't have dreamed of a better gang to align with.

DC: Where would you chart your influences? “Straight ahead rock n roll” type stuff? Early 90’s grungy? Metal-ish even?

AA: I was raised on rock and roll... from David Bowie, The Who, The Beatles and The Cars to Zeppelin, Sabbath and KISS I was totally into 70s rock and roll as a kid. and in the early 80s, as a pre-teen I got really deep into punk rock... I swallowed up everything I could that even slightly resembled punk rock and spent my weekend nights wearing combat boots in the summer and hanging out at all ages joints like the alley door in Ann Arbor... and i soon found out that i related much more to the kind of grass roots punk rock that was spreading throughout the midwest than i related to the "fashion punk" that i saw in big cities like NYC and London.

Jehan is a few years younger than me, but he was still really knowledgeable about 70s rock and a lot of the punk rock bands that i was into such as Negative Approach, Rites of Spring, Minutemen, The Replacements and stuff like that. that being said, we would be lying if we said that we weren't strongly influenced by the wave of rock and roll that was known as Grunge in the 90s. and also by the indie-rock/post-punk/math rock bands of the 90s as well (Propeller was known to many as being a "math rock" band as well).so i could say that we both love 70s rock, 80s punk and 90s indie rock/grunge bands... but the truth of the matter is that we are probably influenced by every note of music we ever heard and digested. And, when it comes to writing music, we absolutely don't attempt to make songs that are aligned with any specific genre or scene... we just like to play rock and roll together... and so we try to come up with simple melodies that evoke some strong energy and give us room to play around with as we compose them in hopes of ultimately crafting a song that is as or more fun for us to play than it is for others to hear. sure, we want people to enjoy the music... but only if we enjoy playing it too.

Cuz seriously, for the first time in over 10 years, it really is finally ALL ABOUT having a good time making music together and sharing that joy with anyone who wants a slice. mostly though... if there is anything i want people to hear in our music, it is the genuine love we have for each other, rock and roll and mankind in general. cause as hippie dippie as that sounds... it is true. And we want people to feel a little bit of love whenever they see JWPP play.

DC: ...future plans for now, or what you might be working on next?

AA: Now that [EP 'Knockin'] is out (available at our shows and soon by download on the LGP site), we are trying to finish up a video that we shot for the song “Too Kool To Care...: and working on some new songs as well. the video should be ready within the next week or so... recording with scotty was a dream come true (and that's saying a lot considering that we have worked with Bob Weston in the past and had a great experience with him)... and so we hope to be able to record another record with scotty possibly next spring or summer.

Basically, the general plan is to write more songs, meet more new friends, play in new venues and towns, and have a good time together...and of course, we will be attempting to continue spreading the love through rock and roll music.
8 / 11 - Corktown Tavern

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Post Futurism: The Oscillating Fan Club, next Saturday

So, coming up here on Deep Cutz
Jehova's Witness Protection Program
We Are Scientists
Silent Years
Silver Jews

but, in terms of shows--there's something I've had on my calendar, sometimes in a floating-capacity, ever since this band started working on their LP - and that is the vinyl release show for the Oscillating Fan Club
Saturday at the CAID, with Zoos of Berlin


Javelins last nite...

Just posting a bit of the reconnaissance from late nite, at the warm, cheery gathering for local trio Javelins, at their CD release show at the Belmont..., which I've written about here....

I camped out near the front of the stage, next to fellow unconventional "blogger" Elle, (with whom I may or may not have gotten into a photo-taking competition...) who runs this terrific portal of electronic warbles and rants...Detroit Riot, who also wrote about the Javelins, here.

Sorry, it's Sunday morning and I haven't had any magical caffeinated elixir's, it's just recycled link-age for today.

Suffice it to say - Heavy Meadows is worth a listen...

Also, suffice it to say--that openers Nouns were great as well, dig the vocal melodies and the pretty harmonies and the nice little laid back labtop indie-pop lounge thing.

Lightning Love, sadly, I missed. Check 'em out.

los fotos:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One Night in Detroit: X! Fest; Garden Bowl; Lager House; Corktown

(..."I Want You" to join the Deep Cutz Team)

This weekend is one long, ravenous, howling full moon of musical make it to all of the exceptional line ups going on all over the city last nite and tonight, one needed to conjure the hurried, hot-blooded endurance usually reserved for Blowout adventures.

We started at the X! Fest, featuring the roster of local label X! Records as well as some exceptional tripped out psyche-punk touring bands (which, by the way, is going on tonight also, starting around 10pm at the Bohemian National Home, with The Terrible Twos headlining.)
(pictured, Heroes and Villains / The Mahonies)

Then, we swung over to the Garden Bowl for The Displays record release party, for their LP, "Ain't Gonna Put Us Down." (pictured, Woodman / Smashed Windows)

Then we tried to make it over to the Lager House in time to see The Birddogs - having just missed them - we arrived just in time for the inspiring, unabashedly psychedelicized, quasi-cult-ish Friends of Dennis Wilson to take the stage.


The next destination was just down the street - at the Corktown Tavern, where the hope was to catch Deastro (and his now not-so-new full band.) But the line up got shifted around, so our witching-hour arrival time proved to be too late, (especially for the Friendly Foes, who went on first out of four.) We still caught an inspiring set from Manna and Quail, and Millions of Brazilians closed out the night.

(photos by Mike Milo)

What glorious madness....

X! Fest at the Bohemian
Hentchmen at the Park Bar
Javelins at the Belmont
Electric Lions at Simons (Allen Park)
The Questions at the Stone House (?)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Report: Pinkeye and John Sinclair, recording session at the CAID

"Rock n Roll'll never die, man...'cuz it's like a zombie..."

Last night, the multifarious, motley collective called Pinkeye, a 10, sometimes 20-member band who specialize in a calamatous group expression of jazz, world, indie-and classic rock and any other kind of un-classifiable breed of various melodic noise interpretations...conducted an in-venue recording session at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit.

Guest players included Dutch Pink's Dustin Leslie and the Questions' Drew Bardo - but they were slightly outshined by the indomitable and luminous John Sinclair - a poet, an activist, a former manager of the iconic proto-punk rockers the MC5, the founder of the White Panther Party and a noted enthusiast for marijuana usage. The, in my eyes, living legend, performed written and improvised poetry over the celebratory storm of Pinkeye's jazz and rock raucousness.

The quote above, is, incredibly, one of the first things he said to me after I met him...comparing rock n roll to a zombie, indeed - it's been a while since I felt so inspired...when you consider a zombie's main attributes...

...relentless, ugly, always hungry and pretty much invincible.


He went on to say, about the gathering of local musicians that, "...this thrills me half to death." Noting that these passionate souls are here pouring their hearts out on saxophones, guitars, keyboards, drums, bongos, sitars, pounding, yelling, stomping...regardless that there's no market demand for musical expression so vehemently avant-garde and so dizzyingly beyond comprehension...regardless - they are here. To play. To be together.

Check out Pinkeye's myspace for news of when this recording will be released...

And stay tuned to Deep Cutz

Thanks for reading.

X! Fest - Bohemian National Home

The vitality of punk music and the punk philosophy cannot be emphasized enough - it is, in a sense, protest music - sensing man's inner anger and exorcising it in musical expression: it is more forthwith than pop music, cutting out the cheese; it is tougher than metal, cutting out the camp; as profound as classic rock and proto-garage styles, but free from nostalgia...a wholly separate ravenous beast here to exude society's pains and perils and air out the maddening self-destructive drollness of everyday life in this shambled, bedraggled joke of a dreamless nation.

This summer, we've had a cordial festival (Detour), a psychedelic festival (Fiberglass Freakout), an all-over-the-map festival (Blue Moon In June) and a cordially corporate festival (CityFest.) We're in need for a bit of a therapeutic shake-up of psychologically and slightly-physically damaging proportions: And so, Detroit-based X! Records arrives just in time for the wavy and wild dog-days of Summer to bring us X! Fest, at the Bohemian National Home, Friday (doors, 8pm) and Saturday (barbeque at 6pm). You can read about the legend of X! and it's founder, (Frustrations drummer) Scott Dunkerly, here.

Or, take Scott Boyer's word for it: "X! has documented some of the most uncompromising, abrasive, hilarious,haunting, and exciting sounds to emerge from the 'alternative' music scenein the last few years, garnering international critical acclaim in theprocess. Scott Dunkerley has put together a back catalogue that recordcollectors drool over..."

The festival's line up includes many local punk/alternative and indie acts, ranging from scuzzed-out deconstruction-ists to more technical, genre-splicing experimentalism, as well as some sturdy national bands of similar flavors:

FRIDAY (July 25th)

Doors at 8pm, bands begin SHORTLY AFTER
SIC ALPS (San Francisco, CA)

SATURDAY (July 26th)
Saturday Barbecue in the Bohemian parking lot begins at 6pm! Hot dogs and
other eats will be cheap. Music starts PROMPTLY at 8pm.

DRUID PERFUME (featuring 3 guys from the PIRANHAS + 2 other rad dudes)
This is all going on at the BOHEMIAN NATIONAL HOME (3009 Tillman St.) in
DETROIT, MI, USA. $8 per night. E-mail if you have any
additional questions.

Silverghost - 7" + 8 / 4 Magic Stick

Silverghost 7"

This local goth-tinged indie-pop duo recalls histrionic new-wave and odd-angled post-punk that slurs and sways, shakes and grooves - check them out, 8 / 4 at the Magic Stick, or click here, to listen...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Javelins 7-26

Local trio Javelins (interview here) are releasing a debut full-length, Heavy Meadows (review here)...and they'll be joined by the minimalist harmony-heavy electro-pop duo Nouns from Chicago; as well as Ypsilanties majestic and melodic keys-guitar-and-drums trio, Lightning Love.

The show is Saturday, 7-26, at the Belmont, in Hamtramck.

Check out the poster from Pontiac's artist collective Silent Giants:


We Always Have The Rhythm Here

(photos by Jaimie Warren)

When I called Tilly and the Wall, the Nebraska quintet were stuck in the frantic circus of changing a flat tire in the whirl of honking horns, office buildings and a roiling Phoenix, AZ-heat, as they were checking out of a hotel. Just moving onto the next show; such is the tour life, driving all day so you can work at night, on the stage, flanked by glowing grins of 20-somethings, blithe and carefree, stomping and dancing to one of the more unique indie-pop/dance-folk acts around, which, as is always harped on, inventively features tap dancer (and singer) Jamie Pressnall as their main source of percussion.

It’s a lively year for the spry and fiery five, (with White on keyboards, Derek Pressnall on guitar, Neely Jenkins on vocals, bass and Kiana Alarid on vocals, bass); they released their third album O in June and a digital EP back in March, featuring the liberating trounce of bouncy 90’s dance club glory, “Beat Control.” They’ll also be touring the rest of the year, and continuing their beautiful relationship with their intrepid Team Love label (started by their fellow Nebraskan and friend, Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes.)

The sound is a crashing wave of thick triple harmonies over pounding and clanking footwork percussion, brazen brass, synthesized augmentations and high flying, gritty guitar lines, in flavors as varying as hyper French gypsy jazz to urban mariachi cruiser love songs, illuminating tremendous arms-raised invigoration with subtle dance sensibilities and sugary pop hooks cloaking an often biting commentary. Indeed, I note to singer Alarid that the whimsical naivety of their first 2 releases seems to have been a bit darkened by some of O’s diatribes:

“I don’t know exactly why. We all write separately, so I guess it’s just personal experiences everybody’s had. I don’t personally think anything we’ve ever done has been naïve, in a sense, I think it’s more that we’re hopeful people, that we are all aware the shit can hit the fan, but that everything will be okay, ya know, I mean, it has to be, there’s no other choice…”

Indeed, but 06’s Bottoms of Barrels sang of “Let(ting) Us Be Free” while this sings of tides changing, and kids all learning when the bridges are burning.

“We never preconceive anything; we never have, so I don’t think that whimsical quality was planned, and I don’t think this (for example, the last lyric of O being, “fuck you…”) wasn’t planned.”

The smooth sinewy synths and arresting rhythms of Beat Control, which features the thesis ‘There is nothing stopping you / There is nothing stopping me /So let that beat control your body, baby,’ Alarid explained “The lyrics are purposely sort of vapid, because I wanted, literally, for the beat to control that song. So when I wrote that, I was thinking this song is not about thinking too hard, let’s just get together and forget everything else. It’s sort of extremely simple and also kinda literal; ‘don’t worry about it, let the beat control you right now.’ Right now, that’s all we want to do.”

Alarid, whose always been in bands, but never really sang or wrote, said that Tillification brought on much self discovery, for her and her band mates, and self confidence, particularly, is only rising: “We’re at the point now where we’ve changed so much, but that’s all since we’re growing up.”

8 / 5 Magic Stick, with Charlie Slick

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Displays - Ain't Gonna Put Us Down

The Displays – Ain't Gonna Put Us Down

Highly versed in the school of classic Detroit rock and the city's latter-day garage glory, bassist/singer Andrew Hecker, with drummer Josh Cohen (and help on-record from Sights guitarist/singer Eddie Baranek and the board skills of Jim Diamond) has formed a fast, high-flying parcel of hard-hitting swinging grit, wavy guitar hooks delivered in that golden gut-punch-feedback style with insuppressibly swing-able rhythms and a surprisingly soulful, confident gravely howl coming from Hecker's 16-year-old frame.

The scope is ambitious, drawing as much from mid-60's spilled-out-spastic garage to 70's blues to 90's classic rock revival; the whirled rollickin swagger never slows down, complimented with Baranek's characteristic devastating solos. A commendable debut full-length -

and you can check out the CD Release show, for free, at the Garden Bowl with Smashed Windows and Woodman. More info here.

And, you can preview some tracks here

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don Was (Detroit Revue)...and, Deep Cutz Update (thanks for reading!)

There he was, slightly hunched with his idyllic smile and characteristic brimmed hat and sunglasses adorning his untamed black dreadlocks, raising his fist in the air with Mick Collins to his left and Mitch Ryder to his right and declaring, matter-of-factly, undeniably, “Detroit Rules.”

A musical icon for Detroit music over the last 40 years, Don Was, was invited to bring the flavorful vanguard of his Web site / recording project, My Damn Channel, to the stage of the Fisher Music Center’s orchestra hall, last night, to help close out the Concert of Colors.

It was simply a magical, blessed night, with an overwhelming revue of the brimming talent of the town, both old and new – with musicians from Was (Not Was) working back-up for many of the performers – featuring The Muldoons, Mick Collins, The Ramrods, The Detroit Cobras, Black Bottom Collective, Mitch Ryder, John Sinclair, The Sisters Lucas and many more!

The ever-getting-taller Muldoons boys teased by bookend-ing their rendition of Chubby Bunny with snippets of Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive; Mick Collins performed solo with Was (Not Was) backing him up, as did the Sisters Lucas. Mich Ryder closed out the night with an unconventional and endearing cover of “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?”

With great energy in the room, the assembled artisans of past and present made it clear that this cities luminously pulsating talent is something to be celebrated. That Don Was, Ryder and Sinclair are still here must say something about the eccentric transfixing energy of the city and it’s noodling, esoteric troubadours. Next time, let’s make it a 4 hour affair – invite Kim Fowley, The Go, The Up, maybe Alice Cooper?

I wish I had photos, but they were strict about cameras going in…
In the meantime, you can look forward to more mostly-Detroit-centric postings here at Deep Cutz – coming up soon: an intriguing interview with Josh from the Silent Years about time, the world, black holes and strong coffee…that, and a Javelins album review, a Prussia album review (hopefully a Prussia interview) and…probably Tilly and the Wall.

Stay tuned

And thanks so much for reading!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Displays (7/25) Garden Bowl

(photo by: Dough Coombe)

Check out some of the new songs from local trio, The Displays, here: the band (Andrew Hecker-bass/vocals, Josh Cohen-drums, Ben Van Camp-guitar/vocals) has been working their asses off on their upcoming first full-length CD, "Ain't Gonna Put Us Down" with some help from Jim Diamond and Eddie Baranek. The CD Release show is next Friday, 7/25, in the Garden Bowl, with the Smashed Windows and Woodman.


Bon Iver - the Deep Cutz Interview

(Uncut version)
(photos by: Chelsea Sanders)

"A lot of people try to get out of depressive moods really quickly and I think over the years I've learned to just let them happen, so I could examine why they're happening..."
-Justin Vernon, Bon Iver

This, My Excavation: Bon Iver


This is the sound of devastation, of ravaged reality, of a man hanging on by a thread; Justin Vernon's haunting falsetto, with its watery eyed butterflies in the stomach and cathedral conjuring sanctity, can stop time.

Couple that with the solemn imagery often tied to his album's mythologized backstory painting a dizzied man's retreat to a cabin in the woods of northwest Wisconsin (near his hometown Eau Claire) to "hibernate" after the break-up of an indie/folk group he played in called DeYarmond Edison, suddenly you hear the wisp of pine trees swaying, of lost birds calling out, of creeks piddling down over moss covered logs, and here, like some solemn eye of this natural storm, is the sound of a man crumbling from the inside and combining it so powerfully and perfectly with the golden, grieving jangle of his acoustic guitar. Towards the end of 2007, Vernon released the 9 songs he had written during his solitude and titled the project, Bon Iver (bohn-ee-var, purposely misspelled French for "Good Writer.")

"I wasn't aware of what was going on," said Vernon. "Everything was very foggy. I was very, very sad about the band breaking up even though I had everything to do with it..."

Making matters worse, while the band was breaking up near the end of 06, Vernon was laid out in a hospital for 3 months in Raleigh NC with a liver infection and mono. Soon after he was out, he packed up and headed for the cabin. "I was very scared; 51% of me was: I have to do this if I have any shred of self confidence left in me, but 49% of me was really aching…I was retreating to nature, I felt good about that, but I had gotten there and the first thing that hit me was, to start a fire. I think that having to be the first thing I had to do, get a fire going and chop wood so I could stay warm that night, was enough distraction for me not to worry about why I was there. A lot of people try to get out of depressive moods really quickly and I think over the years, I've learned to just let them happen so I could examine why they're happening."

Three days of quiet, secluded examination turned into three weeks. "Before I even started working on music I just sort of sat, maybe chopped wood, maybe take a nap, maybe drink a beer, maybe take a walk. It was really non-eventful, it was really non-romantic in the sense that I wasn't sitting in the middle of the woods meditating. It was more modern and less romantic. It was like cutting a string, but it took 3 weeks to do it."

Since self-releasing his debut For Emma, Forever Ago (and then re-releasing through Jagjaguwar records in January 08) he's found a captive audience through the indie circuits with the delicate wavering intensities of songs like "Skinny Love" or "Flume."

He is currently working on a 4-song 12" for Jagjaguwar.

"It's bizarre," he says, looking back 2 years, "how it just kinda happened in one…breath."

Bon Iver plays the Crofoot, on 7 / 21

some more of the Un-Cutz Interview:

Milo/DC: How's the year been, what are you working on next?

Justin Vernon: The year has been...I can't really measure this year...but I've been working on some stuff. I've had some stuff that I'd worked on before [For Emma, Forever Ago], just these four songs that sort of really...four really weird songs, I think me and [current label] Jagjaguwar are gonna put it out in November-ish...maybe.

DC: So, your band breaking up is often painted as this primordial genesis, this fateful off-setting moment for you...

JV: I'm the first one to take a lot of the dramatic effect from this whole story that's been attached to the record, and offset it! But, it really did feel like a genesis, that's actually the best word I can think of...I love that whole metaphor of 'primordial genesis,' I like that word, I wasn't aware of what was going on, everything was foggy.

DC: In your writing, out there in that cabin, were you providing perspectives from the same narrator?

JV: It's not exactly the same narrator. The narrators are all the same kind of person, they're not the same person - but...everybody has the same feelings, the same guilts and the same shadowy confessions of their life, certain songs, lyrically, go back and forth between characters, sometimes it's like when we're singing-it's like I'm singing to myself via somebody else; a unique kind of way to attack guilt, through the anger of somebody that cares about me and I cared about them...

DC: Any contemporary influences you can point to?

JV: Well, I don't know, what's contemporary to you...

DC: Well, you'll be playing with the Bowerbirds here...

JV: Oh my god! Good point......before i got really sick in NC, i was living at this house with this girl in Raleigh, and I saw the Bowerbirds play. I'd never heard them before, so i saw them play at an art gallery...and I went home that night and I literally for the first time in my life sat in this room...and thought I think I need to quit music...that's the only time that's ever happened to me. I've been inspired by a show but usually you walk away from a show that you love feeling make music - but seeing Phil play those songs with Beth and Mark, I was just like...I think that I've missed my opportunity, I spent too many years being this emotive non hard working songwriter that I've just become this joke to myself

...this is really cool that I'm talking about this because I've neglected to talk bout this part of the story cuz this is the way-prelude, but man i was like I have to quit, I can't even take myself seriously because that was so...good, it was so overwhelming, so I'm lucky enough to have become friends with them.

He surmises later, after reflecting on the album, the cabin and the tours: "I'm really happy, I'm in my hometown for the summer, it's quiet and I get to enjoy it. I can continue to tour and to make's bizarre how it just kinda happened in one......breath."

Check out:; and for Bowerbirds:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

X! Fest

then for even more info, you can go here and scroll to the bottom to read Eric Allen's write up. But I'm sure there will be even more Cutz rambling about this next week.