Tuesday, December 7, 2010

(Your F*ing Good Friday) - Illy + Peaches + Belmont = 7" Release ~ 12/10

Forgive this expansive post...

We've now gone 30 years without John Lennon. (info on Lennon Fest and a post from Strawberry Fields NYC)

I got my mom to drop an F-bomb just the other day when I posited the imperfect metaphor of December 8th being like my Easter. (My mom and I have a healthy back and forth over churchy stuff, pitting her Catholic School upbringing against my internet-mutated, cynical know-it-ally agnosticism). My Easter, as in, this day being the day my messiah was sacrificed.

"December 8th would be your fucking Good Friday!" she shouts. "Easter has to be the day he rose!"

Whatever. I still made my point. I know someone like Jen David (of Illy Mack) would understand. (She proclaimed herself, in a recent interview, to be the biggest Beatles fan in Michigan. -> Side-note, she actually went toe-to-toe with her worthy contender, George Morris of the Satin Peaches) in a game of Beatles' Trivial Pursuit.
--- what did Paul use for percussion on "Blackbird?"
---when's George Harrison's birthday? (<--turns out to be the same day as Morris').

I know that year-in and year-out we hear the same old retrospective dribble about Lennon. Much of it is bordering on hyperbole (but yet, how can you deny this, the mother of all rock n roll tragedies?) and sometimes bordering on schmaltzy (but, yet, still! - how can you deny that you don't get goosebumps or even a bit choked up when you hear the softly rumbled piano of "Imagine" set to montages of Central Park crowds crying their winter reddened eyes out!)

And all this reverie from a trio (David, Morris and myself), ourselves still a handful of years younger than the actual anniversary itself; a trio that grew up in a Lennon-less world. Heh. But is there such a thing anymore?

The Satin Peaches and Illy Mack are both releasing 7" singles on vinyl (Five Three Dial Tone) on 12/10 - at the Belmont.

Here's a video (performance/interview) of the Satin Peaches - featuring the indellible "Red," brought to you by Throwback Media (more on that further down).

theRFWsessions - The Satin Peaches from throwback media on Vimeo.

And ~ here's an extended interview/profile of the duo behind Illy Mack--

David had been molded by a musical family. “My mom sells pianos, my dad plays jazz piano for a living, my older brother writes that symphonic kind of metal and my little brother does hip/hop.” The 22-year-old has been playing piano since age 5, taught by her mother who manages Evola Music. “We were the weirdos on the block,” she said, “the musical family in Sterling Heights. We were always loud.”

When he was 9, Kendzorski’s uncle had attempted teaching him guitar, but it didn’t take. Later as a teenager, he fell in with his younger brothers who needed a bass player for their band that was “really like Nirvana.” After his mom passed away, the 13-year-old Kendzorski “had nothing better to do but just to play music all day.” He played bass and drums and started guitar lessons again. He wound up mirroring his uncle and started teaching guitar lessons (at Royal Oak’s School of Rock & Pop Detroit) – an attribute David sort of exploited to help her improve.

What you see today from Illy Mack is a loose and tumbling live set that’s spiced with crude yet charming between-song banter. They’re blunt and they laugh easy. Their candidness and affability endears an audience into feeling they’re already in on an inside-joke. What you hear from Illy Mack is a minimalistic hybrid of soul, punk and pop; David’s commanding voice blends coarse rock to radiant gospel while Kendzorski’s subtly dynamic bass lines resemble a bluesy shuffle, but are accelerated to a more keyed-up tempo. Maybe it comes out raw, but it’s also playful and poppy, sweetened by the melodic sensibilities of true Beatles-worshippers.

Through 08, at a practice space on Wanda St in Ferndale, the pair would linger until 2 a.m. to begin their first Illy Mack practices, sliding onto the instruments left behind by Kendzorski’s other bands. “We would just squeeze in after,” David said, “we used all their shit.” Their friendship had already solidified after a year’s worth of trolling around with James Linck (of the Rainbros) as part of a close clique ricocheting through some youthful explosion of basement roiled ne’er-do-well-ian antics; from befouled bathrooms to dares of chasing garbage trucks naked – they bonded.

“The idea at first,” Kendzorski said, “was to just spit out as many ideas as possible. Jen had a little notebook that looked like it’d been through a washing machine in a blizzard with tons of shit stuffed into it, like these little ideas that sucked, and lame chord progressions. Then I would lay down awful drum beats.” Did we mention they’re modest?

Eventually things started synching up, musically. With Kendzorski originally wanting to “just play drums,” they couldn’t secure a steady bassist. Kendzorski finally gave in, wondering out loud, “…what if I did both?”

Kendzorski uses both feet to stomp bass and snare drum, seated on a stool as he slaps the bass. David stands at an ironing board that holds her keyboard; there’s a tenor sax slung around her back and a drum stick is taped to the head of her guitar so she can occasionally lunge to her side and bang a single cymbal to add some tinny resonant dressing to Kendzorski’s “no-hands” percussion.

“When we started doing it that way,” said Kendzorski, “I was stressing because I had a lot of song and drum ideas but now that I was playing bass, too, I had to resort to just kick and snare. But, I also didn’t want to lame-out on the beats. I wanted it to sound more than just a simple one-two-three-four backbeat. So a lot of our earlier stuff is really…”

“…horrible?” David chimes in with grinning self-deprecation.

Kendozrski shrugs, “Not horrible. Just, our ‘first explorations.’ Some people look at us and say, this is a gimmick band, they’re playing multiple instruments. ‘It’s kitschy girl-pop’ This vinyl (7” on Five Three Dial Tone), if people can just listen to the music and not look at us, then that’s the real test.”


“The best compliment that we got when we started was people saying, ‘I had a good time.’ Sometimes they’ll say, ‘Jen, you’re voice rules’ or ‘I liked that cover,’ but, most people that come to our shows don’t come because you wail on guitar or I wail on drums. They have fun.”

Some of the band’s artwork, like t-shirts for example, was drawn by the Illy Mack. David spotted the talented local caricaturist’s unique name on a sign-in sheet while she volunteered at a soup kitchen two years ago and whimsically decided that that was it, their new band’s name. The “real” Mack crossed their paths at a CAID show a year later, where, after chatting, David found he lived just a couple blocks away from her Detroit home. They’ve been friends ever since.

Illy Mack, the band, recorded their 7”(featuring four songs) with Jonathan Weier at BGC Studios inside the Russell Industrial Center. The old auto parts factory also houses the duo’s proper practice space, which itself doubles as HQ for Throwback Media, a recording studio run by producers Linck and Raymond Grubb, Matt Hutton and Quention Thomas. Together, with David contributing on occasion, they aim to document local and touring bands through live sessions and interviews (and for-hire music video production, throwbackmedia.net).

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