Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sounds From Big (and Small) Rooms~ Having Fun with Bad Indians’ new music and the ARBCO Co-Op
I’m always apprehensive about such phrases as: “new favorite (band),” but damn it all if I hadn’t said the same thing about Ypsi’s Bad Indians.
The thing is, I said that sensationally dubious phrase almost six months ago and, still, I return to the serrated shimmy and reverb-roiled tumbles and drives of their Don’t Hang That (On Me) cassette album on a regular basis. Which is heartening, firstly because it seems so many “new favorites” fail to stick-to-the-wall in the impermanence of the internet-music-world; secondly because I’ve gotten a chance to establish a reference point for their sonic sensibilities in time to dive into their next vision-quest, Sounds from the Big Room (currently available online, and at Café Ollie’s Ypsi Music Shelf
The thing is, each member, Autumn Wetli—drums/vocals, Erin Davis—bass/vocals and Ian Lannen—guitar/vocals, Morgan Morel--keys,) contributes to the songwriting process, each bringing their own approach and their own influences. Thus, their coalescing sound arches from swirling, scorched psychedelia, to spookily fuzzed-out blues, to deluges of reverb and hazy vox serenades mutating garage rock with bubble-gum pop.
One constant, thus far, has been their preferred means of recording, via their humble 4-track, often self-produced at their cramped recording space. “I’d really like to record on a reel-to-reel 4-or-8-track,” Nehring said. “It doesn’t always sound that great, but it works best for us because it isn’t any different from how we practice or play a show.”
Nehring shrugged off the gloss of big budgeted/premier productions, opting to listen to “a 4-track bedroom recording any day. I think recordings can be treated as almost-an-effect-onto-itself, to bring something new to a song. Reverb is a big part. I really like it and if we could practice or record in a cave, I would.”
The band formed, loosely, in early 2008, born from a trio of young players of whom Nehring is the only surviving-founding member. “It didn’t seem like a whole lot was going on in Ypsi or Ann Arbor at that point,” Nehring recalled, during which time the band rarely practiced and wound up eventually adding Lannen (who played in punk duo the Mahonies over in Detroit) and releasing Live from the Burial Mound. Nehring and Wetli moved to New York in 2009, where Nehring taught her drums while the band continued to write and perform. After a dizzying fluctuation of members, songs and potential trajectories, Wetli and Nehring wound up recording as a duo (the first proper cassette) and moved back to Ypsi in Halloween, 2010, having added Davis that summer.
The band have a 7” single forthcoming on Ypsi-based Ginkgo Records, as well as yet-another-cassette album on Ann Arbor-based Life Like Records.
~~ More and more, dedicated/DIY enterprises like ARBCO Records are demonstrating the feasible future of local music. ARBCO Presents is a joint-venture spurred by A2-based ARBCO Records wherein it aligns with dozens of bands under the banner of collaboratively cultivating the future of independent music through vinyl preservation.
Participating bands perform monthly (or bi-monthly) showcases raising funds (from door covers) into a collective pool to thus facilitate each other’s future pressings of respective LPs. Plus, fans benefit with an ARBCO punchcard that, after 12 punches, entitles them to a 12” vinyl record from their ARBCO Records. Arbcorecords.com/#artists. The bludgeoning metal/punk dragon-slaying quartet Blue Snaggletooth releases Dimension Thule this summer – seek it all at the next ARBCO showcase (Arbcorecords.com)
Read today's Free Press ~ The Front Page bears a quote from Mayor Dave Bing reacting to the City Council's rejection of a budgetary compromise to restore $30 million to the '11-'12 spending plan, after having cut $50 million a month prior:
"The Time For Talk Is Over"
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing cuts off budget talks after City Council rejects compromise
Read Stephen Henderson's take from the op-ed section.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Learning from his mistakes of forgetting his camera for that first "party," Dunivant and longtime partner Ken Porier, made sure they diligent about documenting the development of Theatre Bizarre.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Hopefully everyone was able to sufficiently (and satisfyingly) lose themselves at whatever song-pact-ceremony whereupon they settled...
It's uselessly maddening to worry about what you show you could have been at - when you can just as easily permit thyself to dive into proactively maddening experiences at the edge of the stage of the shack whereupon you wound up.
It's Detroit. There's noise and noisemakers everywhere. Don't look at the clock and wonder if you can make it to somewhere else in time for someone else's set, cuz inevitably you'll take yourself out of the moment(s) that's spasming live, right in front of you... (Like a CaveMan getting into a street fight).
I'm done proselytizing --
If you're just logging on - you'll need to know about a surprise show, just added to the Lager House - that features Not In The Face - a fiery, sweatin & spittin duo churning out clattering, yowling blues punk and pummeling/swaggering rockabilly bluster.
They played Ferndale's Hybrid Moments last night... packing their prettily paroxysmal balladry into that modest music boutique, along with the comparably vigorous High Strung. But it's understanding if you missed it - considering that there were two, count 'em, two other music festivals happenin at that same time. (and maybe another that I'm forgetting? ...oh, yeah, RiverDays...)
In any case, they just added a show tonight-- at the Lager House.
Back to those other festivals: One was the Blue Moon in June (pictures to follow). The other was the Woodbridge Pub hosted Merrick'N'Trumbull fest - which featured a particularly piquant new performer 'round these parts, called Phantom Cats. A singer with plenty of range, lofting up to playful falsettos here but digging down deep for throaty groans there, marries elegance to the guttural; with an uncanny knack for fusing the manic and lively shred of punk to the cerebral percolations of jazz. It's zinging with flavors - and sturdily outfitted with tight rhythms, scorching guitar splays and dazzling vocal displays.
They sound like this:
Summer Spirit by PHANTOM CATS
If you weren't at the Blue Moon, or at Woodbridge, or at Hybrid Moments - it's likely you were at Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr's release party...
Here's documentation of my favorite Prussia song (at least off the latest/still-technically-unreleased-album), compliments of photographer Trever Long
Saturday, June 25, 2011
SPIN finally gets around to treating the "tape" revolution in this month's issue... (though they're about eight months-or-more late since that bell started tolling).
In it, Spin remarks upon the ostensible big boys, like SubPop, licensing cassette singles from their roster of bands, out to the little guys of basement-set magnetic tape spooled scruffy bohemians (...like, say, Fullerton CA's Burger Records). They also give shout outs to NNA Tapes, Captured Tracks, Gnome Life and Not Not Fun).
"When you devalue the physical aspect of music so much, you shouldn't be surprised when the most inexpensiev format comes back into style" - Mike Sniper, Blank Dogs, operator of Captured Tracks.
At first, it's a crazy idea...then it's a phenomenon... Then, when major labels and considerably regarded/renowned/(er, "hip") indie bands start dabbling in "it" as well..., then it's a revolution. (Oh, media sensationalism).
I don't mean to over-think this...but recorded music was seen as a novelty when it first came about a hundred-and-a-quarter-years ago - people were used to concerts. (Okay, set aside that it was the well-to-do, stuffy wig-wearing affluent's who were the ones shelling out dough for Opera halls).
But, it's funny when one puts oneself back into that mindset: What? Listen to my Mozart or my Handel at home? Through the crude crackle of this distended cylinder? Poppycock.
But, thought of another way - the recording, on some small, deluded level, could just be a substitute for the live performance... the live energy, the presence, the sweat and strain and swagger of the performer....the pulsing amplifiers reverberating your viscera...
I don't intend to go too far down that road. I'm just intrigued by what the advance of generations wroughts upon debates of sound quality. When the kids are coming up from behind, yet also bringing with them the same old busted equipment and dusty technology that the Gen-X-er's thrived upon, it stirs things up in a weird and refreshing way.
As the music world shifts economically-speaking, it also shifts one's potential prospects. (Basement garage rockers have hit the hills and mined their own nuggets! Now a bunch of fledgling DIY labels have propped up as veritable olde-timey General Stores hocking their wares).
Indeed, the music world shifts and more democratic, or at least made more wild and woolly by new generations' transmogrifying outdated purist ideals (these kids don't need to worship Phil Spector, or remastered Pet Sounds, that's well and good, but they also have room for the scuzzed-out/blown-out bluster of a Ty Segall or Times New Vikings).
All I'm saying is: It's interest. And it makes me wonder if we've gotten back to that late-Edwardian-era of thinking where we revere the live performance over the recording... Or, perhaps, more so, that the recording, now, is considered supplemental, or a means for listeners to further acquiant themselves with an artist's signature and perhaps their personality - so that they have a grasp of it on their way to the concert.
I've already overthought this more than I wanted to...
I really just wanted to give shout out's to Detroit-area purveyors of cassettes...
For instance - Ann Arbor based Zen Tapes is throwing a shin-dig on July 8th - >
In Detroit, we have Gold Tapes (run by Zac from Kommie Kilpatrick), who just put out another KK chapter, Sex Party.
There's also Aglae Tapes & Records, as well as Leroy St. Records.
Songs From The Moon went and put out their own, a split cassette with Matilda: The Lucky Suite
And then, there's CA-based Burger, who has shown plenty of Detroit love, via their push for Conspiracy of Owls' fine debut. They also have stuff by the Pizazz and Magic Jake & the Power Crystals.
How many revolutions per minute do cassette tapes roll at?
Friday, June 24, 2011
This is what living in ridiculously robust and flourishing music scene should be -all about: a shambolic Shangri-La-scenario of a summer party. A spilled-about, music-packed block party -where all you have to do is ask those who would otherwise be in attendance to simply load their amps and travel about transport them for a six-or-seven minute drive (or even just a six or seven minute walk).
Merrick'N Summer-Fest, hosted ostensibly by the Woodbridge Pub (the outlet that will be supplying the suds to thereby silly-fy all those for the 12-hour-long event) will be thrown (Saturday - merrick & trumbull) to celebrate the "essence and beauty" of "living in Woodbridge."
12:15 - STEVER MCFEVER
12:45 - AUDRA KUBAT & IAN LINK
1:30 - WOODMAN
2:15 - ALEX WEBB & ANDREW BEER
3:00 - JESSE AND THE GNOME
3:45 - BRAIN ROTTAR
4:30 - PATRICK DAVY AND THE GHOSTS
5:15 - LOOSEFOOT TIGHTFOOT
5:45 - DETROIT PARTY MARCHING BAND
6:15 - OUR MIGHTY HEART
7;00 - GOLDEN
7:45 - PHANTOM CATS
8:30 - POP PISTOL
9:15 - THE ANONYMOUS
10:00 - PINK LIGHTNING
10:45 - JUST BOYZ
11:30 - WILL SESSIONS
'course... there's also this (tonight, down at 1217 Griswold)
Where you can see this:
...s'all for now, comrades - more soon
Thursday, June 23, 2011
"Cheers and tears..."
Club Bart closes on Sunday. Ferndale's humble hub for rock, jazz, blues and stand-up, was just beginning, it seems, to get on a roll (so to speak), with hosting special events (like tribute nights with crammed line ups of enthusiastic local performers for John Lennon and Hank Williams...and the special Duensedays-- Wednesday night specials hosted by Duende-as-veritable-'house-band' with a revolving cast of opening performers).
Ferndale's Patch has a story with readers sharing memories for this bluecollar bistro as renowned for its breakfast fare as it was for its ardent support of local music. Details of Club Bart's recent changing of owners were not fully available as of this morning, so just stay tuned to the Patch.
While I have your attention...
There's some sort of secret concert occurring
(this is Scotty, -he plays in Crappy Future)
Gillian Welch will see the release of her LP The Harrow & the Harvest (paired with producer Dave Rawlings), an album 8-years-in-the-making. She performs at Royal Oak's Music Theatre July 23.
No more White Stripes, recently divorced, Raconteurs and Dead Weather ostensibly in lowered modes of activity (at least not currently on tour) and singing along to "Seven Nation Army" as though it could hypothetically be a yogurt commercial... ...curious time for Jack White, to be sure - but Third Man seems to be the focus. (That, and helping Colbert become a deluded, if still charming, guitar god).
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Vainglory is the symptom, mediocrity the disease. - from The Observer.
The Crass film directed by Alexander Oey
Living in the post-everything/post-history world can often stir up melodramatically exasperated fits -which is probably symptomatic of my constant reading of history, or reading/re-reading of famous "music writing" by seminal scribes of the late 60's/early-70's - (my personal fav). If often results in elevated anxiety to experience (and thus, what? be cleansed? be reborn? have our collective consciousnesses shifted?)....experience the leap forward - the great reformation.
Don't tell me your a blogger. Don't tell me you have a punk rock sound. Tell me something completely different. Tell me you've mutated. Tell it to me in an alien language. Scare me.
Paradigm shifts --of sensibilities, styles, scenes, etc - do happen - What is the shape of this shapeless-internet-music-world--to come?
What are the monuments, anymore? Who is still listening to the Fleet Foxes, the Morning Jackets, the Bon Ivers... are they pushing it? Is Odd Future pushing it?
Get out thine hammers and pound out some new shapes, already...
Sorry, I'll try to be more patient.
And, rightly, to remind myself, that it's out there - in the crevices and often active at midnight, nesting in unassuming places perceived as shady or unconventional.
Being stuck in internet world, fighting frightening compulsions to keep-up-appearances on facepages and the like, leaves us so ready, waiting and hungry for something of substance that we sometimes let it slip by when it actually, finally gets "posted."
Or I don't know,--I worry about that sometimes...
Damned internet. Makes me jittery.
The explosive, belching roar is so imposing at first, causes you to hunch your shoulders, disorients you, impresses you...until it crackles away all too suddenly, a fleeting echo dispersing... ebbing.
Call me a romantic, but, like a fine summer night's rolling thunderstorm, I think we can be similarly enchanted with the brutish dynamism of things like, say, punk rock.
And, these last few days, I've been trying to remind myself about what that is, or rather, what that should still be. What does it (...'punk,') mean, anymore?
I want to tell you about the wads of mucus intermittently jettisoned from Shawn's mouth every six lyrics or so, or about the way Steve spasms his way away from the microphone, wriggling his way out into the crowd as though his long brown curls had transformed into serpents and he was trying to de-fang them with his hands whilst pugnaciously serenading them away with a yowled melody...
I want to tell you about Sheefy's audacious disregard for his own well-being by jumping off of walls and falling onto floors that are already soaked with beer while he holds a live microphone to his mouth. I want to tell you about cops busting in doors and pulling amplifier plugs or about Ryan drumming in a cramped and already cluttered rectangular room near the kitchen with only about five people in the "audience."
Why limit yourself to such passe adjectives: "Dude, this is so 'punk-rock...'"
Somewhere in this last decade, Punk rock become just another Wikipedia page; all but tamed into stale compartmentalization, or something like a now-lifeless wolf, frozen in its last growl, mounted on the walls of taxidermist executive-types who knew how to sell it for a year or two until it was exposed as more sheep-than-anything-else.
The real punk rockers don't know (or never knew) that they're doing it.
Influence is deceptive. If you're ready to say you're influenced by Radiohead, then wouldn't it be more purist-of-you to dig deeper and find out who influenced Radiohead? And subsequently worship/study/mimic 'them' more-so?
I have only a minimal (-say it again, minimal) inkling of the nuances of the songwriter's experience... But if it's anything (say it again, anything), like writing-about-music, then I'm sure it's quite difficult not to refer...
Refer back to what's come before... 'This Musician's current sound and style' is demonstrating behaviors and flavors and manners that seem to recall what 'This-other-Musician had done just a few years earlier with this-other-quasi-style/approach-that-was-also-thereby-mined-and-manipulated-by-a-whole-other-scene of songwriters.'
Put another way: This band has elements of "punk."
Well... give me more!
I don't want music journalism to be so lazy, anymore. (Did the internet make that hopeless?)
But...set that aside.
Here's the point: One hurried shuffle through any drug-store will wrought disturbing revelations into your ears - that the world is so numb that they think the drivel peddled on outlets such as 96.3 is actually legitimate pop music that thereby must be enjoyed.
Do I react (retch) to Bruno Mars' song about getting up one ideally-ignorant-boosting morning and deciding that he's "not doing anything" the same way that some (perhaps old fuddies from 1959 who yelled at stick-ball-playing tikes to stay-the-hell-off-his-lawn) might have turned their noses at the Silhouette's song "Get A Job (Sha-na-na)" (...which is now revered, if just in a quaint-PBS-580-memories-nostalgic sense as quintessential "doo-wop" and thereby "classic").
And worse - all the people here, in this drug store purgatory are singing along! Singing along to a song about not-doing-anything. This stirs up doomsday-paranoia in me matching that of soylent-green-pod-people-type levels.
Here's the final point: It makes me all the more glad to be at the edge of a stage (these stages, our stages) and have a musician fall off of it, and on to me. Or to be shoved from behind when a Kommie Kilpatrick song reaches it's third chorus (in under 58 seconds). Or to get goosebumps when Dan Kroha belts out a blood-curdling traditional gospel ballad under a summer night's sky.
To be here. To see and experience all of this...
It's just like that thunder-clasp... (call me romantic).
When it happens, I feel electrified. When the moment's passed, it seems to echo with a fading crackle. The audience regains composer, stands back up, looks around, rubs their ears.
Walking through drug stores and hearing the music they blare day in, day out, makes me want to go storm chasing.
Writing about music is a delicate act and needs to be respected as such; it should happen as soon as possible after the writer is struck by that metaphoric lightning -
If it lingers too long, you just start reaching back to the storms of your past, the big tornadoes you keep telling stories about, the ones that everyone remembers best (like 70's 'punk').
Don't discount the storm from which you just dried off - maybe it does have elements of "punk," but it's got to have an element all it's own. Doesn't it?
You just have to make sure you listened to it's distinctive belching-roar, closely enough.
...it's stopped raining for now. G'night
Monday, June 20, 2011
I tend to over-think things...often to a fault.
One hopes that it is an asset, when it's come to writing about music.
Anyhow - Author/historian David McCullough researched letters (you know, the snail mail paraphernalia?)- written by artists through the mid-19th century for his latest book. TIME Magazine recently interviewed him about the quaintness of letter writing.
We don't write letters on paper anymore. How will this affect the study of history?
-The loss of people writing--writing a composition, a letter or a report--is not just the loss for the record. It's the loss of the process of working your thoughts out on paper, of having an idea that you would never have had if you weren't [writing]. And that's a handicap. People [I research] were writing letters every day. That was calisthenics for the brain.
-How we could have spent so much time watching TV.
Before reading that, however, I had had an electronically-facilitated conversation with local musician John Bissa about the usefulness of: "considered criticism" in helping "raise up a lot of things" and potentially spur on the continued traditions of meaningful art and highlighting relevant new talent in the community.
"Certainly," I responded. "But, I worry that few things are considered in the Internet age -
too many writers will just look, briefly listen, load the chambers and fire off."
"We also risk stumbling over our own shoelaces" by processing/half-analyzing a glutton of data, be it news, or be it music. "Jumping all jittery across a hopscotch/taunt and flaunt playground of sites and blogs."~
So that made me dig up this story from NPR's Fresh Air:
"How The Internet is Re-shaping Music Criticism" - an interview with music writer Ann Powers. Thus giving me insight and helping me relax a bit, with added perspective, when our state of literary intellect seems to be either dizzying or disconcerting.
Powers acknowledges the notion that the blogger brigade threatens sustained thought.
"Forget having your life changed by a great music book, the way mine was by Greil Marcus’s Mystery Train in 1985. We can’t even trust anyone to tell us whether the new Justin Timberlake album deserves five stars.
"But," she continues, "I think despair is boring. It lands the worrier in the time-travel trap of longing for the past while fearing the future. It obscures the present. The present is unstable, but that’s what makes music writing—and all cultural writing, in fact—so exciting a practice these days. We have to dump our expectations and try to use our voices and our minds in different ways."
Listen to the story here.
At the end of the day, I try not to over-think myself-writing-about-music; since I spend too much time already over-thinking-the-music-itself. The internet is going to shape our habits no matter what - but nothing can change the interaction between a listener and an album; it's only up to the listener to how great an extent they open themselves to said-album (and hopefully long enough for it to have an impact).
"Music itself is a call that demands response," Powers writes. "It organizes desire, sorrow, and joy into a form both primal—the ear is the first sense organ to begin working when we are in the womb—and intensely communal; in every known culture, some form of music has been a constant in everyday life. Making music or listening to it is part of how we grow; sharing music is what helps us create community."
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Now then, what does have-(plenty)-to-do with Father's Day is NPR's All Songs Considered's special program "Songs for Father's Day." Listen.
Listener's Dad's and Grandpa's cooked up personal playlists. I'm a sucker for such endearing things.
My dad's personal favorite? As always, for him, it's the Ventures.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Which, as Mr. Costello's echoing words in my head have never stopped reminding me, is about as feasibly translatable/comprehendable as "dancing about architecture."
I'd really love to indulge surreal satire here - and fabricate fantastically funny and frightening epilogue-esque explanations, -but motorcycle crashes aren't funny, alien abduction is a tired cliche and I've not yet made any LP's for you to experiment with playing backwards to decode secret messages I've left behind.
I'm not going anywhere. Yet. That I know of.
It's more of a "back-in-5-minutes" sign, left on the ye olde blogshoppes's front door.
I'm not taking off my writer's apron, but I am wandering out, away from the kitchen and out -down the street, for a little while. I'll leave some stew simmeirng on the burner for you...just make sure to stir it here and there and when you're done, seal up the leftovers and store em in the fridge.
I need some kind of vision quest. I need to just put headphones on again and listen to music for the sake of listneing to music. I don't ever want to become numbed or unfeeling; I don't ever, nor have I ever, just put a record on to churn out a review. But still, reviews can feel dirty, hollow - and writing too many of them can be anesthetizing to the tingly receptors in one's heart, the ones that palpitate when you hear that perfect sound...
The thing is: I've been posting every day (sometimes twice) for.....I've lost count. (Or was too busy writing the next thing to count). I just want to try, once, or twice, to listen to a record and not write about it. Oh, I'll be listening. But I'll be writing something else...
My self-examination was spurred by my being moved by passages from Steve Martin's memoir, Born Standing Up, where he talks about the depression he fell into, in 1981, tied to a soul-crushing tour schedule. His words, like "exhaustion," "isolation," and "creative ennui" just happened to scare the shit out of me.
"I couldn't imagine abandoning something I had worked so hard to craft," he wrote, about his stand-up act. He admits that he "saw that the only way I could go, at best, was sideways. I wasn't singing songs that you hum forever, I was doing comedy, which is as ephemeral as the daily newspaper."
I'm not writing songs. And,... the word: "Ephemeral" also scares me. Or, it at least makes me want to go out into the desert and start sculpting something, ...or at least makes me want to seclude myself in a Paris loft with a typewriter and a bottle of absinthe and not permit myself outside until I'd churned 50 pages of mind-melting profundity and heart-swooning majesty, or at least makes me want to go to Vegas and have some kind of soul-searching lost weekend.
What I believe:
-in Detroit music.
-and, of course, in my friends, (see, above).
I believe my dad is hilarious. And I believe my mom is inspiringly compassionate. And I believe in broken cliches like: music soothes the savage beast --and that music is the universal language.
But I don't ever want to even have a hinted inkling that what I'm doing, even here-now--as I type these words, is "ephemeral."
"Music is essentially what memories feel like," my sister once said.
It can, thus, give feeling to the ephemeral.
But...... the risk: "Oh yeah, I remember when I first heard that song... I was sitting at the coffee shop, in the middle of writing-about-that-song, when I first...heard it..." ....oh.
I'm going to go get lost in some delicious, psychedelic, transcendent, head-hurting, heart-wringing, feet-moving, eye-opening memories...
By just listening.
"In my 27th year I set out to confront my fears and found the role of a lifetime..." -Cass McCombs - "Hermit's Cave"
I'll still post here when the spirit moves me and that might end up being consistent, but it might also end up being more sporadic. I'm going up for air, that's all. But before I dry off, I'm cannon-balling back into the water.
I know I'll be writing about Urgh...
and more to come, still...
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Jen just told me she wanted to read this piece... before I'd even started writing it.
"Because, at some point last night, everything started moving too fast."
She assures me it was fun. "Crazy-loud guitar," she says, "(a) crunchy tone."
It was probably not even above 71 degrees on this summer's eve, but the more than 200 bodies giddily sardined inside rose the Lager House's collective temperature to about 94 - making it thus that every performer (upwards to 70 if you split up between the 18 bands on the bill) came up on the stage still looking their hipstobohemiothrift best, dry, kempt and cool, and wound up coming off the stage as though they'd taken multiple face-first belly dives across a slip-n-slide; hair ruffled, voice crackly, shoulders arched and heaving.
The camera crew - the vital videographers of the Urgh crew - needless to say, were pretty well sluiced with sweat before the 3rd band had even finished.
"I don't know...it's just great though..."
"I don't know...but this is amazing..."
"I, uh...man, it's crazy...I don't know... It's exhilarating."
300-ish people. 18 bands. 30-some-odd guitars, 6 or 7 film cameras... ricocheting like flourished corn kernels in a steamy kettle cooker... And those^ were the answers one would get - as one lily-padded from one buzzed circle of revelers to the next and asking for thoughts or reflections.
That they, we, didn't know quite what to make of all this, didn't know quite what it all meant, didn't know quite what to say... Still don't know. And that's crucial to preserving a delicate purity.
Yes it was gruff and un-graceful, but it was surprisingly...well... efficient. It was as smooth as chaos could be, I suppose. Set times were kept and stage breakdown was fluent and no amps exploded and no one suffered dismemberment...maybe just a sprain or two and an epidemic of hangover-headaches. And some broken eye glasses.
But we shouldn't have to know what it means...we're already self-conscious enough about what we have...we shouldn't give it a name yet to thereby scrape its sanctity...
It felt climactic, in a way; like white blocky credits would start rolling across our eyes, in real time, when last call let out and the sun started to rise.
Instead, friends get together and play music for each other. To what end? Hopefully Urgh! helps us find out.
Friends and family.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Classical instruments... be it the violin or be it the human voice... can have an imposing darkness to them; beautiful, haunting, and, in a way that seems to conjure ancient demons or past lives or merely flicker with the gossamer glow of candles, can be primal.
(see: City of Music)
Brute Heart's brand of spooky baroque-punk, richly evocative despite its minimalist ingredients (violin/viola/drum/bass/voice), makes me consider it psychedelic - only in that these trips, buoantly rhythmic, droney, chant-like, with "serptentine melodies" wrapt with moderately macabre imagery of eclipses and dubious charms of evil eyes -make one feel like their on some kind of spirit jounrey. Dash in a little proggy art-rock takes on torch songs and you've got this trio from across Lake Michigan (Minneapolis), putting out this, Lonely Hunter, (their 2nd LP) out on Soft Abuse.
Listen: Brute Heart - "Blindfolded"
"Recording happens in fits and starts. There's no such thing as a quiet house. I like to think about the days when I'll be old or gone - that (our daughter) Penny will have our music. Maybe it will be a puzzle for her to try to figure out what was going on in our lives, or in our minds, when we were relatively young. Or maybe it's just for me, when I get old, to remind myself that I had strange things in my head..."
Singer/guitarist Gene Corduroy - speaking of his band, Computer Perfection, in an interview with The Patch, detailing their current work upon a "sophomore" LP, to be released later this year.
I Need a Serious Love by thestrangeecho
But, ...but, also---
Bad Indians (who you can see, June 18th at the New Center Park Stage), just released a new demo-EP -- The Rebel Kind - Take a listen here.
"Music is part of being human, and there is no human culture in which it is not highly developed and esteemed."
"It's very ubiquity may cause it to be trivialized: we switch on a radio, switch it off, hum a tune, tap our feet, find the words to an old song going through our minds, and think nothing of it."
And now that I've read it, these lines impacted me. Or, maybe just thinking, intensely, soberly, appreciatively, about the impact, over all, that music can have... ...it's disturbing how easily it could go unappreciated.
"...to those who are lost in dementia, the situation is different. Music is no luxury to them, but a necessity, and can have a power beyond anything else to restore them to themselves, and to others, at least for a while."
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A bemusing and subtly calculating mind that meticulously, discernibly considered the minute merits of numerous sonic nuances and knew how to still give some edge to the grinning disposition of major keys.
Anyone familiar with the work of OFFICE, also knew that certain words replicated themselves upon the write-up sheets churned out by the weeklies in their hometown Chicago or on blogs across the burgeoning Internet-scenes of the mid-00's... that the sound was "glossy."
Dig the latest single (and, also, my personal favorite "glossie" track: "The Opportunist")GLOSSIES - The Opportunist by DC/Milo
You can read the full interview with Scott in a forthcoming post on The Patch - wherein, the Milford, MI-raised songwriter talks about the combustion of his old band in the face of major-label-wrought compromises and scene politics, as well as his descent into a nervous breakdown that left him bedridden for majority time of a calendar year.
In this detachment from the scene and all other similar distractions, he worked himself back to health, physically/mentally -even writing while under the fleeting bleakness of those bed covers- and started crafting a heavily surreal "pastiche" of songs, with no set guidelines for composition and with an elevated inflection upon some more diary-esque (more pesonal, if you will) lyrics, but dashing in dips into the deep-end of out-of-body/self-effacing "character studies" -some kind of musical montage.
Thus - GLOSSIES' - Phantom Films - which will see a proper release asap - and has its completion tacitly celebrated June 12th @ the Loving Touch (with The Pop Project and Jeremy Messersmith.)
Masson is ready to return, now, with a full band backing these glossie tunes. "It's funny, because the record is a study in narcissism. So, you would think that spending time alone in my basement would lend itself to even more narcissism but that's the ironic part about this whole thing - in literally cutting myself off from life - and youth culture, and all that, I was able to really grow up, finally."
"(A nervous breakdown) forces you to just stop what you're doing. You have to back out. So you can then take a step forward into the future. It all ended up being a very positive thing."
A surreal slide into the kaleidoscoping persona's, peaks, valleys and boundaries of the subconscious... Masson has done it again.
A different kind of glossie........
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
-The cherubic jig of recorders -The hazy grin of dulcimers -The warped wring of slide guitars -Bubbly vocals crooning and cooing out coaxing folk ballads
Where has this record been all (our) lives? Most of us weren't even alive when it was recorded... These Trails are yet-another-long-lost/bottom-of-the-treasure-chest gem, yanked upwards by Drag City (the same way they did with Detroit's garage-fathers, Death).