Friday, January 28, 2011

Ypsi/Arbor - Part 4 - Gun Lake (@ Woodruff's 2/4)

"Even though we're close to each other, bands are doing their own thing."

Singer/songwriter Mark Fain talks about his steadily flourishing project, Gun Lake, which performs at Woodruff's alongside a sturdy sampling of Arbor/Ypsi bands.

Sounds: True folk/rock. Regal dashes of breezy acoustic guitars and piano chimes present a delicate punch, so evocative, of the warming spring or the chilling autumn, with a voice that slides in nicely along those poignant, mid-to-high, wispy vocalists folk, from Drake to Buckley. But, lately, given enough oomph of a booming bass and shuffling percussion to qualify that noted "/rock" half, to its folk-ish counterpart.

Fain, a graduate of U-M, started writing his own songs through late 09/10. The group, Gun Lake, took form just-about-exactly one year ago, when Lightning Love's Aaron Diehl and Ben Collins started helping him flesh the songs out. Later, it became a trio, with Matt Roney (bass) and Max Monson (drum). Ryan O'Reilly joined later in '10, on keys/guitar and vocals.

"Ryan, Matt and Max are all incredibly good at what they do," Fain said, thus, he has opened up the Gun Lake's songwriting to become a more collaborative process. Most of their live set hasn't shifted from the first incarnation (with Collins/Diehl), but they're more layered, and certainly a bit more tweaked, after a year and a shift of members. "We're still quite a lot of the time, but that just makes the times when we get loud more effective."

GL's debut, Balfour, was recorded with Ann Arbor-based Jim Roll. "It's damn close" to a release, Fain said. The group's been working hard in the studio since September, and deep into the mixing stage.

"There is some insanely good music in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. There's also trite crap, but...I don't think any of that was on display at (2010's Mittenfest V). Well, there was 1, but 1 out of 60 ain't bad."

Fain said that despite proximity, bands still do their own thing(s). "Even if you take a specific genre, like folk, everyone is doing it their own way. That's refreshing when you consider how so many bands in Brooklyn just melt into one another until they're just a homogenous mess of quirky, ineffective pop. Though, certainly, a lot of Brooklyn bands harness the power to melt my face, i.e.-Suckers." Mittenfest thoughts? "Greg McIntosh killed it, I'm extremely sorry to say, though, that I missed Chris Bathgate's set, Drunken Barn Dance ruled, Lightning Love was good as ever (hungover as they were), Tim Monger is the coolest guy in any given room, the Photographers have become one of my new favorite bands, ..." And, "Gun Lake was happy to be there...

Next? "Exciting stuff...along the lines of getting a Super Nintendo when you're 9. I really hoep we're getting a Super Nintendo. I accidentally found Donkey Kong Country in my parents' closet so I'm pretty positive we're getting a Super Nintendo."

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