Saturday, September 24, 2011
Autumn Addendum (the Amalgam Rock)
Reeled with naive befuddlement that something so radical and radiant as the Phantom Cats could be so informally framed by the worn stage and poster-plastered walls of this dimly lit club on an otherwise random night in a town already terrifically taxed with talent (and how about them Tigers?), to fist the air, shake the head, scratch the chin, at how this band even works, considering all it's piquant elements - operatic singing, punk-tumbled flamenco rhythms, spacey-surfy guitar noodlings and rickety rollicking bass rhythms - this is the future...amalgam rock
The Phantom Cats are beautiful and weird, sharp and sweet, ...quirky, precious - why is such a staggering voice somehow fitting so well upon such a fervent, rambunctious staging - some kind of voluptuous vanguard cooed and growled until inevitably you two-stepping, dreamily, swaying back and forth between moderate PBR puddles on the Lager House floor...
And then the next band goes up... There seems, at least on this sunny Autumn morning, to be little reason or worth in trying to dissect or describe this age of amalgam rock.
And it only gets amplified when Jesse Shepherd Bates walks into the bar, just in time for Pink Lightning's set. He remarks, with fiery eyes, at the mad, murky marvels of St. Vincent's new album - yet another axis-shifting LP to spin his and all of our indie-heads with it's dense, charming and challenging compositions of not-so-orchestral, not-so-indie-pop, not-so-anything-just-quite but quite-a-lot-of-everything all at once...
And, oh, by the way, Bates' and his band, The Gnome are going to be Radiohead for Halloween.
Tom comes back over and tells me, in slightly greater detail, about the exhileration of forming a new band called Future Oldies... yet another musical adventure considerably ameliorated by the sum of it's parts--being made up of players from respective bands of notable stylistic distinction. Amalgams abound.
Future Oldies brings Tom, known for fast, fierce, blues rock from the Ashleys, Steve playing the drums (though known otherwise for a body-sacrificing, altogether enlivening dynamism with Pupils/Marco Polio, Leo -heretofore known only for his adroit accordion squeeze in the dance-rock displays of Pink Lightning, Chris--the yowling showman from PL and Adam - the bass whiz from Phantom Cats and Woodman. --And bar-side rumors have it that they'll be the backing-band for local solo-MC Mister--as, like Bates' Radiohead--he embodies the fractured funk and re-spun rap antics of iconic troubadour/producer Beck - ...again for Halloween. (Oct 28 @ the Crofoot, in Pontiac, p.s.)
.........And then Bates reminds me about Mick Bassett's newly released album and I get whirled all over again. So much to take-in, around here. (This, while Bates himself is wrapping up recording work, standing next to Molly Jean who just spent the preceding weekend working on her own new solo album).
Different patches of our musical garden bloom and recede at varying times - Other musicians back away, their bands break up, the pedals of their perennial roots recede into the shade for a time - while others re-sprout, renewed and verdant...
And then again, maybe I drink too much coffee when I write. Bassett's been moderately quite, "on the scene"-(-if you will,) for the last better-half-of-a-year, and hearing this album unveiled communicates why... He's been pouring himself and his acoustic guitar into this haunted, shoulder-chipped memoir, that sees him embellishing a reverence for blues and heart-wringing busker ballads, adorned with florid, dreamy, gruesome and defiant poetry heretofore not heard upon his tunes, which, themselves have drifted somewhat restlessly from New Orleans jazz-mutations, to guitar-bolstered indie-rock... Dylan's ghost finally takes full possession of the shaggy haired troubador...(My personal favorite being the shadowy, hand-clapped punch and quavering cut of "Scoundrels").
"Leaves jump right off the trees as winter's warning..."
And every other week another new local artisan finishes a new album ...
and it just makes me continue to run those laps, inside my head, whirled by how much there is to write about...
For now, I'll just take a breath, and walk up to the next stage.
Posted by jeff milo at 7:20 AM