Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Live, Eat, Sleep, Breath - Music: Melville, Bowie, Illingsworth and HurryCulture

I'm here.
I might as well write...

The world moves too fast. I feel like I havne't gotten a chance to really sit with any records, properly. Not enough coffee to keep me keyed up... keying in... Breathing now... listening...Back to the Kinks first record, back to Bowie's Station to Station... Digging back into myriad pi├Ęces de r├ęsistance from handfuls of praised auteurs whose pedastols only get higher, year in and year out...

Like, Moby Dick... I'd never read any Melville before - and it's been rewarding stumbling onto such passages:"The classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less... is here essayed"

When else am I going to find the time to read Melville, when Blog-World just wants me to keep lunging for what's next...

The new HurryCulture has created a strange filter - The well established legends, regardless of their level of legitimized profundity, whether they're Bowie, or Melville, or Big Bird, or Radiohead, Jay Z or Gary Numan, Michael Stipe or Michael Jackson... made it through before the Internet screen went up... And ever since, we've had ostensibly indie-acts coming up being pigeonholed as "buzz-bands..." The tacit suggestion being that said-buzz offers precious time...before you're sluiced back out through the filter.

And Ziggy Stardust and Captain Ahab's shadows grow taller and darker, on the other side.

BUT....but...but...

That's just one way of looking at it... (I shouldn't type straight out of the day job, on only half-doses of coffee...)

Another way to see it, meanwhile, would be to ask: when and how else would I have been able to come across a band like Thee Oh Sees...or Still Corners? Without my sloshing around the hyper-percolating, song-screaming/mp3-streaming echo chambers of the Internet...

Dig the London dream-pop-deconstructionists, bringing in warm organs and surfy-guitars onto an autmnal, hazy stovetop, where it simmers into near noise-pop crescendos of dizzy catharsis... (Their new album, which probably makes my '11-list is Creatures of an Hour on SubPop).


Or, Texas-punk-blues boys, of the Strange variety, are probably having a tough time from the music press since their album title Live Music ...is likely pronounced differently than any reader's initial inclination (...rhyme-it with "give..." ) Sound advice: LIVE music.
They stopped by Noisevox, whilst in New York, over Thanksgiving - and got interviewed... Watch that here, if you please.


Their latest (which, again, now that I think about it with a listen, is an '11-candidate) is available through Rough Trade.

But let's bring it back to Detroit.......
It's Wednesday (as I write this) and that means, that, like always (or, like such a notable amount of weeks-steady) local multifaceted/multi-quirked MC Doc Illingsworth, in all his shimmering, glistening glory, has posted another thoughtful, charming video... Wherein, along with Rufio Jones and Sean Uppercut, they come to terms with bread acting as legal tender for up and coming independent music artists... what a world.


Where was I going with this post, to being with, anyhow?

I'm going back to my Melville...
AVAST!

of All Time...

I'm through with the major music press, folks...

It's fluff has caused me to hack...
I was pushed over, today, by my father's vehement disagreement with Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time...the feature list of their current issue. Dad doesn't really think that Jimi Hendrix is technically, judged by all measurements and beyond all doubts - the greatest guitar player of all time. Set aside my accentuated eye-rolling upon scanning the current issue of Rolling Stone (in which they have this all-time list of guitarists, which includes Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and not one Venutre? ...includes Mick Ronson, and yet not Robert Fripp? Paul Simon is also on the list...And why, dad asks, is Chet Atkins and Les Paul ranked so low?)

But it's more of the same; predictable and homogeneous - like Stone running a mirror-image feature spread on what they call "Rap's New Wave" to what SPIN Magazine profiled as: "The Changing Face of Hip/Hop" - you can find Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T., A$AP Rocky and Detroit's Danny Brown spotlighted in both magazine's respective/repetitive features. And oh, look, the new Drake album got 4 out of 5... big surprise...

But back to that all time greatest guitar player list...

I love that part: "all time..." (A two-word phrase that updates itself with the same exasperatingly microscopic distinctions atop contrived rehashes as your typical college kid's Algebra II textbooks).  

Lists, in/of themselves are inane, subjective and thus dubious. Best to take mild entertainment in that they still manage to stir up fracases between fans, why this guitarist over that one, etc...

It's because we all have our own lists, constantly posted on the push-pin-stabbed cork bulletin boards of our brains - we know our own hierarchy - subjected to the whims of our most closely clung-to inspirational figures. We all, not to stretch it too far, have our own Mt Olympus, packed with a rose-colored-lens-viewed Board of Guitar God Trustees (or, whatever cultural creator, author, actor, director, whatever...) We elected our own heroes, we have our own lists...

It's easy to get upset. Especially when you love the Ventures and Mark Knopfler as much as my dad... only to see Hendrix and Clapton get the spotlight once again...

~~But even then, maybe I am a bit wistful that I missed the deadline to contribute to this year's Favorite Albums of 2011 Year End List for TinyMixTapes (an online music zine that I contribute to, on occasion). But then, many of you will probably scoff at my short list... (Let's see, what was on it... tUnE-yArDs...Tom Waits...War On Drugs...Atlas Sound...Kings Go Forth...John Maus...Glossies...) What does it matter?

I woke up today assured that I'd attempt to make a list, myself...

The Most Important Moments in Rock/Pop-Music History...of "ALL TIME"

1. When the Beatles took drugs
2. When Iggy Pop rolled around in broken glass and the Ramones took their leather jackets on tour to England
3. When Bob Moog marketed his synthesizer
4. ...Kook Herc...Bambaataa...and Grandmaster Flash in the Bronx, early 70's,...the breakbeats, etc
5. When blues music gets mutated into rock n roll by white people who figure out how to sell it (with Elvis, et. al.) to poodle-skirted, lettermen blessed with disposable income (allowance).
6. Disco gets bastardized into Bee Gee/Saturday Night Fever glam, only to die, quickly, followed by a dance reformation of -House and -Techno

7. There's no way this list can be definitive

8. The day YOU realize that you shouldn't put any stock in any magazine, major music press or even a blog (this one included)... And that lists are just for fun.

Just listen.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Saturday

Black Friday is ending as I type this...
...Hermited away, inside my bungalow, staring out at this eerily pleasant weather...
...Knowing, unsettled, that the masses are out their, bumping into-and-off-of each other, like ants in a glass-smushed-farm, unknowingly acquiescent to some cruel science experiment, poured from the blended beakers of Macy's and Roebucks, from car dealerships and Best Buys...
...coaxing your aunt and your other klatch of non-music-obsessed friends who may be less cynical than you... coaxing them out, out, into the gaping maw of the mega-mall, swallowed to shop, to churn through its innards and collect discounted debris from its bleached viscera... to store away the plastics and the diamonds and the woolen sweaters and the shoes, the toys and the kindles and the always-too-easily-broken bits...into closets for the next 30 days...

Some of us are shopping small. Like my mom, tomorrow, in Ferndale... or as part of a co-opted Occupy-Wall-Street thing

Some of us are just too damn busy today (like me...)

Some of us, though, just ain't got the money right now...


And that's the subject of Passalacqua's latest joint, a contribution to the Annual Suburban Sprawl X-Mas Compilation... (A free streaming gift, packed with dozens of season/holiday-themed tunes from a range of Michigan musicians - be they rock, rap, punk or random-one-off collaborations of weirdness...)

Doc Illingsworth (of Detroit CYDI) spits some bars on this track, along with Mister and Blaksmith. Passalacqua plays on December 9th, at the Magic Stick, with ambio/electro/space-pop wonderkids Phantasmagoria, and Ann Arbor-based digi-noise-scramble composers Chrome Sparks and fthrsn -

Head to Sub Sprawl's label site on December 1st for the new comp!

New sounds? Here's new sounds... (well...two-month-old-sounds, but still):




New videos? Watch Doc Illingsworth - discovering the Internet...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

People Who Live In Paper Houses...

Somewhat of an Interview - with the Ferdy Mayne:

...A new place to go for live music, The Paper House, will open its doors tonight, helmed by a handful of dudes who know what they're doing when it comes to lively, off-the-beaten-path-parties culling quirky, cool, iconoclastic performers.

Its places and nights like these that fuel the hyperbole of ad-campaign-esque sonnets singing the potential of this city, based upon its vigorous underground arts scene.

Just like ScrummageVision before it, (and various other Scrummage incarnations long before that, as well), Paper House could be the new music mill for those seeking out a refreshing revue of unconventional and avant garde artists who might be slipping under the radar of the bigger clubs. With ScrummageVision closing down two days ago, the Paper House, ostensibly inherits that torch, or at least is flecked with its embers. Much like the city's other alternative venues, past/present that have either thrived or blipped from within re- store-fronts, lofts or warehouses, the Paper House has its fire's lit by a batch of 20-somethings with -energy, -vision and -camaraderie. And, oh yes, potential.

But before I re-type that same old hyperbolic rave for our general edgey-ness, I stated typing out this blog post because of the new venue's first line up -









--which, included with up-and-coming post-space-rock/post-acid-jazz quartet Rough House, (who manage to impress even inside cramped living rooms), is headlined by the once dance-pop-pigeonholed/and-now-ever-evolving music project of Randy Chabot, i.e. Deastro, along with Scrummage-born electro/noise/rock-experimenters Lord Scrummage and Slufter. There's also The Kodaks, Butter Wolf, Palaver ...and a DJ duo...

A late entry to this bill was The Ferrdy Mayne, a name not as frequently plastered across ad-nauseum Facebook invites as other local bands, mostly due to the band, (spearheaded by vagabond-ish singer/songwriter Shane Firek) having spent the last year steadily re-potting his(/its) roots back into the Detroit music scene after spending a year or so down south in Nashville. For a minute there, they(/Firek) were a prominent element of the Ypsilanti music scene (coming up in 07 alongside comrades like Lightning Love), only to then fade in and out upon Firek's frequent returns. And now, again...

In a way, Firek's Ferdy-flares mirrored the all too fleeting (but often necessary/unavoidable) transience of these above-hallowed^ alternative venues. Which, having been swooned by the gristly, gargled swoon and gloom of his dark, twangy music, a whiskey-shot Americana, gaunt and profound but fractured upon its landing in the clotted cradle of urban gutters, made it that much harder to accept the band's somewhat start-and-stop status, heretofore.

But the band was never put on hold - as long as Firek wrote, it lived. And it was that writing, the lyrics, not just their throaty, quavering delivery, but the words, that can be the most striking about their songs. "It is an entity onto itself," he said, "(its) solidifying and we'll write more soon. It is fun. We enjoy fun."




Colin Birkett, Matthew Allen-John Mathis and Derek Scobie join Firek in this current incarnation. "The Nashville situation," as he calls it, "gave everyone that was involved in the project a time to grow and learn. I'm back because it didn't work out."

"(Paper House) is going to be big..." said Firek, "I'm proud of everyone and they work hard so they deserve a prideful high five..."

"Detroit is amazing," Firek surmises, happy to be back. "Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor are my home. Some play punk, such as Slaves to the Pavement and SNAFU. Others do what they please, such as The Real Spicolis, The Wolfs and Metemphycosis. Others are on their way soon, such as The Juliets and Lightning Love."

"...I love them all. They are all my best friends and I want to play as many shows as possible with them, you know?

Black Friday at the Paper House - 1314 Broadway, Detroit, MI....
Deastro
Lord Scrummage

Slufter
Rough House
Butter Wolf
Ferdy Mayne
The Kodaks
Palaver
DJs-- Jerry P. Vs. R. Childs

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reaching Through to the Other Side - Real Efforts (Real People)

Could this be the foretold, fanciful something... or just another of the numbing nothings. Fleeting grins and mouse-clicked morphine shots guzzled quickly and forgotten just as fast -these quips, these videos, these digital bathroom stall one-liner philosophic-puns...

We have a forum here. What do we really want to start talking about... How about the fact that you all have a guitar, drum-kit, or at least one shoddy amp in your bedroom; ...that you're apart of some alternate-community, a bizarro block where you wear your true faces, true wardrobes, (and hopefully speak your true minds...) A potential cooperative...

I am ruminating on the wondrous and eerie workings of this great Influencing Machine... (...read more from On The Media's recently published comic-book hero / award winning reporter/media analyst Brook Gladstone)... The media and it's various evolutions, inevitably, leading me to hone in on the snippy snack-vending conveyor belt of every-little-thing's...known as Facebook...

In this new book, we are encouraged to play an active role in our media consumption; to become, as it were, netizens... "assemble(d) in networks of peers" drawing "attention to unreported information..."

This has worked, and continues to work, week to week, year to year, from effecting reforms of election ballot returns to spreading evidential indictments of tyrannical governments or brutalities committed by authorities that can thus spur the kinds of movements akin to the Arab Spring or the Occupy Wall Street's American Autumn...

Real Efforts... one might say... by Real People...


Fate would have it that, as I write this, I'm listening to the latest single by local singer/songwriter Ben West, who, under the moniker Real Efforts by Real People, has written a couple of EP's with fellow Great Fiction mates' Danny Zott and Kris Pooley; a delicate, organ-thrummed indie-pop sound, warmed with syrupy crooned vocals and decorated with a quieter, chill-er chamber-pop vibe, jangled with shuffling rhythms and a few surfy guitar flares; it glistens like the multitudinous sunrise-reflecting dew drops upon blades of mid-Spring grass.....kinda nice to hear it in the early winter time.

Anyway....

I'm not naive about my readership here... I'm assuming anyone picking this blog up is made up, mostly, by those already lassoed into a Facebook "group" recently put up called Club Cool. It comprises quite a considerable round-up of those persistently playing in / contributing to / collaborating within and continually galvanizing -the Detroit music scene... If, albeit, maybe more so heavier on the rock sound side of things...

But that's still a start. I mean, what are we doing here? You're on your computer right now because you don't want to be thinking about your day job - you're likely even at you're day job, killing time, and reading about your own respective local music scene, (Detroit, or elsewhere) -and daydreaming about the creative-arts-Xanadu it could one day resemble, further soothing yourself with the high you get from writing a new song or performing in front of your friends and that feeling, however deluded or substantial, you get... (is it true inspiration, is it mad narcissism, is it genuine and effective local pride),
...that feeling... that these weekly gatherings of local bands upon wooden stages under blue lights with loud music and people shouting into each other's ears per conversation while gripping plastic cups slippery with condensation...
...that these things are building something...building toward something.

Too much coffee...

Anyway - Facebook was integral in coordinating the recent demonstrations for Occupy Detroit. That's one thing.
Meanwhile, as you can read in December's Ann Arbor Current - in the Rock Column, I've been ruminating on the potential of music scenes. It's a painfully old and run-out question. But, seriously, not to get all jittery and bittery - not to get all real world pessimist like the sweater-vested dad who turns the stabbing white fluorescents back on to dash the dim dremay ambiance of your teenage basement dance party...

But ...what else are we doing, here? - save the heartbreakingly beautiful and by all means acceptable/commendable act of pure expression out into the void - When someone starts wondering what more we can do, beyond posting the next album on bandcamp... What, then, is the answer? (Cuz I don't have it, yet).

But, can't we find it together - and can Club Cool, as an ostensible "spontaneous network" of social interaction with which we can draw attention to... shit, man, anything... not just our music scene, not just the fine work of our many non-profits, or the multitude of issues facing our community, from education, to infrastructure... But to stir up echoes, amplify our sounds... One gigantic squeaky wheel for some kind of oil.
I don't know...

"Hindrances, distresses of substance / I turn them over / Is this something?"



I am also listening to Shara Worden's latest work, as My Brightest Diamond - All Things Will Unwind - an album of imposing baroque-pop elegance, wispy, operatic, autumnal dreamscapes - cleansing my palette of, by-comparison, overly-esoteric or experimental offerings and grand presentations from other songstresses such as a St. Vincent or a Bjork or a Florence... This, this is what I want to be listening to, in my hermetic living room scenes, to warm to, by an already crackling fire, as the skies become a carousel...
I'll probably write more about it later... as I know I'll be listening to it, more, later, as well... So why not?
 
"One foot follows the other / This stone, this finite place / Is it limitless? / / To touch the boundless / I hear a measureless rise" (My Brightest Diamond - "Reaching Through to the Other Side").  


Read on: Yochai Benkler's "Wealth of Networks"
Brooke Gladstone / John Neufeld's "The Influencing Machine" 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Until Then...



Thanksgiving in Detroit...
Busy busy bar's...
Small's is turning 12 years old this week...
And there's plenty of other shows where one can get their rowdy rock fix -

One suggestion? Jeecy & the Jungle ~ This unconventional, refreshing, garage-jazz/punk-blues power trio - who'll be at the Lager House -that evening (amongst an already stacked bill - go Facebook-it).



..............
...I'm taking the weekend off from this zany blog -
...back with more music musing's soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ghosts, (the) Devil - and a Song for Spring

I think the Internet killed that concept of a 'sophmore slump...'

No more Strokes, no more Weezer's... most rock/pop bands, now, it seems, aren't found or given fanfare until a fair time after their debut - leaking out onto blogs with their bio's substantially filled with past works and anecdotes of the scene's through which they matured...

Another case: Patrick Davy & the Ghosts - sounding bigger, more confident, more fully realized here on their 2nd LP (the recently released The First Cold Night) then on their debut from about a year ago (Albeit, some tracks repeat...still, this feels like the proper 'debut').

Not that they've stumbled onto some sort of quaking Eureka-esque spell of songs that profoundly shifts their style and sensibilities from their initial tract - no, no rap rock, funk or synthesizer-bolstered dance-tunes - it's just a clearer picture, a firmer voice... Augmentation, if you will - upon the dynamic guitars, winding and wailing out in squalls of fuzz ("Home"), while the bass and drums emit more character, more of a groove, fierce and up front with the "The Devil," but also flexing subtler sways and bluesy struts on "Song for Spring" - the latter acting as a nice, softer shaded counterpart to some of the more arena-reaching jams like "It Got Me..." itself enveloping what is, at heart, a fine pop/rock ballad, with, again, an augmented sonic vigor, double tracked vocals and these cathartic riff at the bridges, reverb spilled out to its edges and punched up percussion.




Now, mentioning Strokes and Weezer at the top might assure that the ghost of the late 90's might hang over this write-up - maybe that's fitting - since some of these tunes sound resurrected from the hey days of alternative rock radio - First Cold Nights tunes would be radio ready singles in the post-grunge era - but, then, Davy (with Will Shattuck (drums) and Adam Michael Lee Padden (bass)) are also early 20-something-sons of the Internet - their rock ballads are ones marked palpably by their home-base Detroit, i.e. subtle shades of garage rust, along with the similar quasi-preservation/revisioining of indie-rock -shared by the scene's contemporaries, like Jesse & the Gnome or Citizen Smile.
 
But 'ballads' is the key word - aside from a few tracks, like "I've Got Yours," Cold Nights aims for the highest bar on pretty much every track... But, improvement is showing - as even in the aforementioned track, a softer, melancholic musing as it is, showcases not just your singer's characteristic guitar howl, but your singer's voice....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Poppy Post Pop

...been having too much fun excavating old interview notes... In honor of local culture/music photographer Trever Long (on his birthday), I dug up this transcribed exhibition - from a photo shoot (shot by Long, seen in self-portrait, below) inside the suburbo-rustic (and recently renovated) garage of Johnny Headband...


Our scene finds the band, the characters, in costume, while singer/keyboardist Chad describes the way the band works, in terms of members/collaborators... 
...and...it just kinda goes from there...

Chad: "Our policy is: you can join in on what you want to join in on...either way, we're gonna do it. Whatever it is..."
Pan!c, (guitarist, suited up in a silver blazer, atop a ladder): "I'm kinda the straight man, I work it out so I can be apart of it.

And our discussion drifts to audiences for album's and contemporary listening habits in the TwitterBooked Tablet age:
Pan!c: "It's not necessarily that people don't have an attention span, it's just that there's too much...."


He furthers it, later, positing with an almost cryptic profoundness...

Pan!c: "I think all recorded music is dead..."
Keith (bassist): "I think we're dead right now..."
Chad: "I think in Japan...it's the future...-"
Keith: "I live a non-linear life..."
Chad: "We...we're...we're post-pop...we're pop-post-pop? We're poppy post-pop."

A moment passes...
Chad: "Hop Scotch!... I like the term 'Lover's Rock' - like Sade is 'lover's rock..."
Pan!c: "How can we start getting women in these photographs? What would make this photo amazing is a woman..."
Trever (photographer:) "Like...70's? 80?"
Keith: "Yeah... older women."

Chad: "...do I still look like a ninja?"
Keith: "A working ninja, a ninja with a job."
Pan!c: "Say, remember that Craig's List idea?"
Chad: "It's been done!"

And finally, Keith, skilled satirist of one's typical musician, leans in:

Keith: "Dude, just make us look cool..."
Trever: "Someone told me to make them look 'regal,' once..."
Keith: "...like Buick?
Chad (to Trever): "It's up to you, not up to them."
Keith: "Can you make me look like David Cassidy?"
Milo (you're reporter, to Trever): "...you gotta meet him halfway on that..."



Rollerskate ToastGhost (...read on)

There's so much to write about today, dear readers - Occupy Protests are finally feeling the hammer, dropped upon them by encroaching police forces (who, they themselves are being pushed forward upon the chessboard by ostensible higher-ups, whether it's city mayors or some other shadowed influence of untold power)... Google search your news, or whatever you kids do these days, and stay tuned...

In the meantime, I'm still trying to write about local music...

As 2009 wound down, this Ypsilanti based pop trio started putting songs up on the internet - Ghostlady - a bit dark, very much dreamy, fuzzed with a bit of lo-fi charm but strung decoratively with instantaneously charming melodies - I thought I'd found the resurrection of Young Marble Giants or some new Michiganian answer to Yo La Tengo - sad/sweet purring from a farfisa, subtle, shimmied drum fills, steady booms of bass and ever-ready to open the window to let a bit of chilly atmospheirc feedback breezes in to flicker the pop candle's flame.

And it's ever that much more fully realized on Ghostlady's new full length  Henry. Oh the sweet, hazy sway of "Calypsi' - the lovely lull and after-hours ear-echoed radiance of "Let It Down" - or the hard-hooking rock roar of "Snakes" - If you're wondering where fine, straight-forward lo-fi pop went, it seems to've all went into the heads of Ghostlady's three players.




Release show for Henry - Dec 1st - Woodruff's
...is it too late for a Mittenfest preview? Ghostlady played the Ypsi-based monumental Michigan-celebrating-music-festival last year, on the first day of 2011 (it's a New Year's thing - watch them here), though they'll miss it this year. I know that, because the line up is listed - at Mittenfest's main site. - It starts Wednesday, Dec 28th at 4pm and goes through until 2 a.m. (on Monday morning, January 2nd)
Mittenfest is a fundraiser for Michigan's nonprofit tutoring and educational outreach program, 826 Michigan, dedicated to improving/enhancing the creative and expository writing skills of students age 6-18.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Electropic Hipto-fuzznomical Releases with soul, with synth, with rhymes, with...

Just firing off a quick blog post, dear readers, before I get to some other mad rant that, itself, may or may  not see the light of day -

DIAL81 have a batch of left-field hip/hop blended to weird, fresh new takes on ambient/trip-hop and cerebral space-pop - yes - that's a lot - but you kinda get the idea, listening to a track like this:
RocK Climbing w Soft hAIR ft. AJ Sherman by DIAL81

Now then, DIAL81 (otherwise known as Blair French,) is releasing an album (er, "series" - the SweatSHopDeluXXXe series) - this coming Saturday - at the Magic Stick, paired with raw, funk-pop provacateur Beverly Fre$h (dig on "Half a Haircut" here), who, himself, is also releasing recorded work - Bed (LP on Vinyl)... French is also to be joined by musical contemporaries/collaborators: Level Jumpers, Dan Haddad, D.Allie, and Mobil... - - - But that's not all! See and hear these fine performers/writers/singers/rappers/musical-dabblers: Intricate Dialect / Sun Hammer, with a trio of DJs:  Jefferson / Love Terrorist / Frankie Bank$!

~

But, then, that same Saturday - if you're not in Detroit - if you're out west - maybe in Ypsilanti or Ann Arbor? Might I recommend this young synth-pop atmosFuturoso composoer - Jeremy Malvin - otherwise known as Chrome Sparks - who will be DJing The Ball - a Dance Party hosted by The Vintage Twin & Vyne Records and sponsored by iSpy Magazine... Detroit's soul-ish, jazz-ish, hinted-hip/hop-ish amalgam otherwise known as House Phone will be performing along with Grand Rapids-based pop punk trio Midwest Skies -


It's in the back of the vintage shop - find your info here - and there'll be no alcohol, deal with it.

And listen:








Monday, November 14, 2011

Methinks

I'm just looking over some old interview notes...

"...he gets a silly confidence, a certain swagger under the ninja costume..."

This is only a few lines after:
"...dog attack..."

and:
"he continues riffing and soloing, between takes, almost like he's working out and he wants to continue jumping jacks or running in place, staying in shape, getting that curious high from the endorphin splurge."
 It's surreal to stop, here and then, now and again, and look over all the things you pounded into wordpads and abstrusely titled word docs -

I've been unable to focus, not one iota, this morning - and so I'm laggardly leafing through docs, begrudgingly under-caffeinated and trying to work out the charlie horses in my knees.
 
~Occupied Thoughts - ...And so I just wind up surfing around...reading headlines... Thinking, bemused and maybe a bit electrifyingly perturbed, to see so many arrested inside the assemblages of various Occupy Movements - notably in Portland and Denver, yesterday and today. - More on that: "How 'Occupy Portland' Made History This Week." 

Going off of that news - Detroit has it's own Occupy Movement - similarly in risk of being shunted off their current spot of assemblage. - from the Free Press: "Occupy Detroit protesters to ask to stay in Grand Circus Park" -

and also, rumor has it there's a rally this evening to hold onto Grand Circus Park...



Going even further - from this week's Rolling Stone:- mixed in between worshiping the Stones' Miss You and a profile on Scott Weiland's Christmas album is some substantial Occupy-history: "...How a bunch of anarchists and radicals with nothing but sleeping bags launched a nationwide movement

~Drifting Thoughts: - Still yet unable to focus, I open up Moby Dick, to the page where I left off (that's right, I'm finally reading it!) and this is the 2nd line I read back to myself:

"Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance..."

You tell me. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Funnday

A close-up to the far-out...
Charlie Slick (and Thunda Clap)'s Farout Indian

Get up in the morning / think of rock n roll / and it's the only thing to do when I am at work...
We come to your party / and we will play rock n roll / and it's the only thing i found that calms my nerves...

Sunday morning...and all bets are off... already awake despite running around the town last night...

Headphones and Charlie Slick's new album - and plenty of coffee...





~
“I wanted to show my range,” Slick says, for his newest album, Farout Indian, “I just happened to use electronic equipment (in song creation), I don’t prefer it, necessarily to acoustic instrumentation. (Indian) is my big movement towards not-being an electronic musician..."

Whatever the world, or Michigan, thinks of Charlie Slick, (glitter-soaked pied piper of wild, winsome laser light parties) doesn't seem to hold up against many of these nuanced space-rock tracks, much more fully realized and substantially layered with more eclectic instrumentation, here, on Indian. Less hyper -with heavier grooves, fuller grooves, with back up vocals bolstered by bass and synthesizers slowly shimmying together.

He tells me he wants to go for a Funkadelic kind of vibe here - and I can hear it on a track like: "Dance Like You're Ten..."

But all this is not a night-and-day switch, we'd seem some of these sides finally coming out on his last record...a steady "re-branding..." He'd gone into more of a funk side on Elron Hubbard (from last summer). "But, it was more like Rick James-esque funk," Slick says, "then, this record, I feel like I get closer to Prince or George Clinton...But at the same time, there's a lot of this weird guitar sound that I use (from an instrument he invented called The Jerk), which mixes in sort of that rock aspect..."

"Nomads On The Planes of Time'...that's the most mellow song on the record...it's a song that I wrote on the acoustic guitar and filled out with a lot of vocals and cool keyboard-y stuff. My friend, Johnny Ill, he played these rototom drums in the background, these little rolls on rototoms and I remember finishing that song and thinking: God, no one has ever heard this on a Slick album...

"...that comes right after the song "Funn" -which is this really funky and weird, dancey thing... And then Nomad is this washy, epic, almost like a prayer-type song...Then the very next track is an instrumental. And of course "Rush" is probably as close as I get to industrial rock.  

And then there's "Man With the Keys" - the only time I've been tempted to use the words, haunting, grimy guitar-heavy, ballad -with a Slick song.)

This is the album where Slick opens himself up - not overtly autobiographical in lyrics - but displaying his musical breadth as a song writer, as a song imaginer...as he is an incorrigible tinkerer, dreamer, inventor (look at his guitar, look at his steering-wheel bass modulator, his light system)... Listening to this album is the chance to get to know, better, the man who's often not out at the bars, scene-ing it up...
"I think that it's no mystery that I'm not really apart of the music scene," Slick says, "I just kind of always do my own thing, in my own world. I'm in the basement, doing my own thing - there's good things and bad things about that."
"It's not anything on purpose...I'm just in my own world."


Spend some time with his tribe...and you might find you want to roll with him... - Nov 18 - Woodruff's in Ypsilanti - Album Release Show - with: Johnny Ill Band & GoLab

"I get into these things," he says, "and I just make it..."

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Is Yr Preferred Device?

Ya know... You always imagine that these kinds of things will happen, eventually..inevitably... Still doesn't mean it's not surreal when it does...
"Report Claims Major Labels To Phase Out CD, Abandon Retail By End Of 2012"

More on that... "Music Via Subscription Projected To Grow More Than 300% in Next Four Years"
"Will music CDs be dead in 14 months?"

Death to the polycarbonate compact disc format...

And of course, in one way or another, the music lives on (and, hey, so does vinyl...)

Will CD's make the same comback, then, that cassettes have? -some dozen years down the line?

Anyway, have a good weekend...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Strange and Unproductive Thinking -or- You Tell Me


The Internet is Too Much With Us…

Is this just my own way of gettin' wistful, or something... over some deluded psychosis, born from Internet-cooked paranoia and early-onset-curmudgeons, -that I feel rattled. Rattled. The table that was set with my friends at each chair seems to scatter itself clean. Steady temblors, ever-surging, up and around, from the digi-world, the taskmaster inside our crystal balls telling us of the next event, the next happening, all of it happening all at once –

-We  have no chance, (do we?) no hope, to catch our breaths as we sluice down the cascade of status updates, leap-frogging link after link to keep up on what just happened, which famous person just died, what new lie the politician pushed, what new song that one new band just put out from their brand new album that more than half of your friends have already heard …and yet you haven’t yet… what’s wrong with you

– Not fast enough, friend, keep clicking; no, ...no sense in reaching out to grab your plate at the table, no sense in worrying how the place mats and platters and tea-cups of the friends around your table get slowly rattled out of place, out, away, along the thin, failing tablecloth and towards the edge, off of it, shattering down somewhere below – as they, themselves, your friends' smiling eyes morph into the two-dimensional avatars of profile pictures, their correspondences snipped down to two sentences…And maybe I'll check it on my phone, when I stop the car.

I’ve invited you to the event:
Come sit with me and listen to a record… Let’s listen together, share quips and appraisals of the sounds and lyrics, the ambiance and the effect. I am hungry to listen, made tired by what Daniel Burnham called "this great hurry of my life..." -by running to see, to hear, to see that again and hear something else now…
RUSH--
...
FURTHUR


Give me more to squeeze through, more than the crevice of time I have to shoulder-and-shimmy through, from one day job to the next, between grocery-grabbing errands and the gym, between family visits and, oh yes, enough sleep at night? More than just this amount of time to take in a work…more than just seeing you at the side of the stage… Hey, how's things?

I am over St. Vincent. I am over Florence. Wilco and Feist were already given enough smirks and snarky cast-offs by a laundry list of ostensible culture-zines and counterfeit critics that I let their latest albums dwindle down my playlists…Das Racist are on magazine covers and what should that mean to me? One of these days I’m going to sit down, proper, and listen to that damn Laura Marling album – but then, what about Lana Del Rey?--am I to fall for it and bite on that hype, ...will I be left behind when she turns out to be the real thing? And then there’s that new Future Islands album, the swayed fan in me is anxious to hear it – and why do I feel what could be the inklings of weird tears of half-joy and half-unhinged, when I hear supernatural/melodrama-freak-show director David Lynch singing, with an aching passion, over a techno-pop track… "I'm gonna have a goooood daaay today..."

~

How mad we all must be…
I feel for you musicians… On your end, there is the work, the writing and the recording…but then also, inevitably, the keeping-up-of-appearances, the shows, the concerts, the steady status updates to firm up your Presence… But then there’s the releasing… Look at how much, how fast, so many many many others are putting their stuff out there – how it must be a battle to not let that eat at you…as I, myself, here, am battling against a disenchantment born from the farcical flurry of hey-hey-look-at-this, this is it, the one you need, the best thing ever…across the boards, blogs and tumblrs...

The next thing, the current thing… Music news writing is just too much to reach for on a national scale. Turn on your crystal ball and type upon it – a cluster of gaseous glowing orbs, these blogs, are more than ready to tell you about the latest, the latest what – Odd Future? Skrillex? Or the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones? It's already posted, friend. Check it.

Is the rest just noise?
~
Don’t call it a freak out. Don’t call it a comeback.

Just taking a nice morning, here, with some music… (listening to some new demos by Ypsilanti-based songwriter Matt Jones and his group, the Reconstruction, as they chop and churn out a warm, brisk ballad, tidal-wave drums, swooning strings and percolating banjos accommodating their howling chorus  – “What’s it Say? What’s it Mean? I don’t know – you tell me!”)

So what then, this is just…a reaffirmation of an unwritten mission… to lose myself in whatever piece I can find – whenever I can find that time.

That song might be your song – I’m not going to stress out and try to coerce fate – if I tumble down to the table with my headphones on, at just that right time, -if I strut out into this infant winter air with my ear buds in and yours is the one – then I’m going to tune out all this, all of this worry and all of this digi-dread…and get lost in the work.

Some people go camping and sleep outside. Others go fishing. Some go to the movies and others might crochet.

I’ve just always listened to music. And tried to feel every sound, timbre, wave…

Tried anyway. Will continue to…

What’s it mean? I don’t know…you tell me… 

The First Cold Nights...

...are upon us...
and Patrick Davy & the Ghosts, though they'd sung of Summer Moons' earlier in the year, are making sure they're weatherized, settling in for winter, early, with the warming sounds from their latest LP, packed with their riff-heavy, Americana-flared, ballady indie-rock... somewhere between the theatrico-pop of Arcade Fire and the more scuffed, Rustbelt-marked guitar shreds of a Brendan Benson, lies the anthemic vibes of this up and coming Detroit trio... Their album release, for First Cold Nights, is this weekend at PJ's Lager House.... (it's also, subsequently, their bassist's birthday...)

Yes, Davy, and the rest of the new school of pop troubadours turn out to be harmony and hook preservationists (much like their bill mates for the release party of The First Cold Night, The HandGrenades), but unlike that more BritPop-leaning quartet, the Ghosts dig a bit more on intricate guitar flourishes for added atmospherics - which would align them to, again, another bill mate, the Ashleys.

Added to the line up is Jason Stollsteimer, more elder statesman in this bunch, with his Hounds Below.

That's Saturday - just when you thought things would stay quiet, what with Halloween over and Thanksgiving eve more than two weeks away -

Reaching Out...

I listen to sports radio, I hear 18,000 voices slur in unison, "BAAH...BAH...BAAAHHH..."
and I think... my word, Neil Diamond is immortal.

Any sports arena DJ can drop old jams like "Sweet Caroline" and get the hoard to sing along... But an artist's universality - one's impact upon the culture through the terrorizing of every car stereo and jukebox with their #1 singles - has dwindled from decade to decade...

Joy Division is immortal on another, admittedly smaller level, than Diamond... or whoever...And I'd been musing on them recently, since seeing Detroit-based psyche-quartet Oblisk do a cover set of them, for Halloween.

And so then, will bands like Future Islands ever be immortal?




Will Oblisk? On what level? And in whose eyes? (Whose ears?)

Something to think about... ...as it was, that I missed Future Islands' Detroit concert, recently, since it was scheduled the same night as our big Halloween soiree (in which, instead, I took in some Joblisk-Division...) And it just got me thinking...

We're past that age when a manageable amount of artists, music superstars, culture creators, idols-if you will, are pedaled upon us, pushed to the top of your radio playlists, plastered onto the covers of your cereal boxes and blaring through the end credits of your favorite romantic comedy film...

Now, there's something everywhere, some band, some one, some song.... 

Now we have this glorious chaos - where anyone can stumble upon the digi-transmissions of Oblisk... or Joy Division... or Future Islands....
Dance to the radio...

Satisfied.... (+ "Why don't you just make 10 louder?")

More proper posts forthcoming...
Gonna go kick up my heels and do some necessary headphone drifts, album re-spins and book-skimming

In the meantime, there's this... a video - for a song - from one of my favorite albums of the year so far...and I don't care how many TW-haters roll their eyes at that...

...This is like any other day for Tom... probably just strolled out to his backyard, hit record and told him to: "just do what you normally do..."

~

In other news - 11/11/11 fast approaches. And while most of square America just sees it as something to joke with their postal carrier about, or for half-out-of-their-mind 20-somethings to mark as their zealously-planned wedding day - it is observed in the music community with a certain nuance, tied to the immortal Mockumentary Spinal Tap -and that film/band's one Nigel Tufnel and his tweaking of his amplifier to "go to 11..." for power output.

Thus - at the Berkley Front, this Friday, local label Communist Day Care Center is hosting a Nigel Tufnel Day Show - the plan, aside from bringing together a bevy of local experimental rock artists (JFn'K, Red China, The Ashleys, Crappy Future, DandyLyon Whine, The Accidentals, Dinosaur Monster, Oliver Thompson, Artie Fufkin & His Bitch School, Nick Kish) is to: "release a tribute album to the best band ever SPINAL TAP..."

First 50 people at the door will receive a limited edition physical copy of the album...with downloads available for the fashionably late.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Magnet, Mangum, Gun Lake - and Spectra Spirit

Random bits:
Magnet Magazine hath resurrected it-self... Returning this autumn with its first PRINT issues, in a while, featuring interviews with Wilco (that band responsible for this song...) and Guided By Voices - similarly resurrected indie-staples who are building themselves (back) up for their first new album's worth of material in a good chunk of years - bolstered by it's "classic" ("mid-90's") line up...

Is there, then, at least some hope for other magazines, like Paste? Who once were found (on newsstands, in print) but now are lost to the digital-only displays of their Internet pages? Do you really wanna do everything, including read your music related culture writing, on a computer? Sure, that's what you're doing now... But, I mean, do you wanna do everything with this ominous contraption?

In The Aeroplane Over the Sea (by Neutral Milk Hotel) is an album that'd be old enough to drive its own ironic wood paneled station wagon, by now, and yet, its command upon the hearts, minds and tastes of ostensible tastemakers and heartheavy post-Internet alterna-culture-ites is still considerable. It's just one of those indie-rock bible kind of albums... like Pavement, Guided By Voices, Daniel Johnston, or somewhat more overt, the Pixies, its just something you gotta know about, otherwise you'll be laughed out of the trendy tavern and used record shop, like-fast! (Say, heard this yet?)

Anyhow, that "fuzz-folk" purveying psychedelic marching band's prime player, Jeff Mangum, perhaps re-energized by his recent performance for the Wall Street Occupiers, has announced a new tour, with dates in 2012... (...sorry Michigan).

► But wait, Michigan, there's more...
Some of your home bred talent are churning out some new music on the Internet this week - and it's not from Detroit, nay, it's from Ypsilanti...

Sisters Of Your Sunshine Vapor, recently establishing their own studio space for self-production, have released an LP, Spectra Spirit, that ups the haunt and howl of their hazily wrung-and-unwound psychedelic sounds, -still present is their penchant for utilizing the full range of timbre from their guitars, dazzling cascades of electric growls, varying caustic and mellifluous, spurred by pedals that loop riffs upon themselves or sometimes in reverse, while the rhythms trounce along sensibly, facilitating the necessary spooky, seancey marches ("Center of a Velvet Room") or more tumbling, wavy grooves ("Live In My Mind"). Beautiful broods and spooky psychedelic dirges - when the band kicks it into high gear on its closer "Green Eyes and Dream" it communicates the synchronicity that's steadily built between the trio of players - buoyed now, no doubt, more so, by the creative galvanization of their own studio space, with their own bassist at the boards.

+
Every autumn, I make it a point to spin Gun Lake... Ypsi/Arbor's melody mused neo-Americana warblers aptly capture that sad/sweet cinnamon-swirled bluster of pungent burnt leaves, frost-flecked grass patches and wispy, ominous winds - and somehow never melancholic, just a charming twist upon jangled-baroque-pop and heart-heavy folk...

And now, they've put down some tracks on the sonic rest-stop of the nation, Daytrotter - with a session posted just today - check it out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Needs a New Chapter - "Short Notice" for 11/11/11

Erno said wait.





Brent and Bryan were running around, frantic, like there was mafia men pressing guns to their heads to get this thing out...

It was the first day of fall and Passalacqua (the hip/hop collaborative in its three-piece form) had just performed a "thrilling" set at the Dally in the Alley. "I wasn't so insistent on getting it out so quickly," Ernie (Erno the Inferno) Guerra said, cooly, pointing back to when the trio first met after a Trumbullplex show last February, the MCs sampling some of the producer's beats in his home studio, up in an attic down in Woodbridge.

Their latest album was forged up in that studio, during the cruel, air-conditioner-detonating, sweat-splashed days of July's triple-digit heatwave. The tracks exuded sunburst vibes of backyard barbecue grooves, sunset chill outs and t-shirt weather patio dance parties - ideally not the best record to release the first week of a chilly Michigan November.

But... "This crowd," said Guerra to Passalacqua's originators Brent (Blacksmith) Smith and Bryan Lackner (Mister), "at the Dally, are only just now finding out about the first EP...by the time they find out about Zebehazey Summer, it's probably gonna be almost summer time again..."

Why worry, anyway, about how, what, when... any band releases any kind of album... There's less stress about that sort of pagaentry in the Internet-music-age... Put it up on bandcamp and let the people find you. By the time the Dally-esque shows come around, they'll show you how much they've been digging it (...as Lackner noted, taken aback, people were already lip-synching to some of their tunes after just a few months of streaming...so maybe the internet does work? sometimes?)

The multifaceted Inferno is also the bassist of folk/punk-tinged rock quartet Noman, while also an established live DJ, with his Monday night series Slow Jams having recently celebrated its third year-running - (not bad for an admittedly ill-advised venture from the get-go, as he launched it during what was probably one of the busiest years, 21-credit college semester + full time job, -of his life...but hey, he survived, and so does the night!) "I'm not really a turntablist," he admits, "but I got tables..."

Blacksmith, meanwhile, continues to write, record and perform with MC-quartet Cold Men Young (who are looking to release a full length next season) while Mister keeps stirring the pots of multiple collaborative projects steadily simmering on his four or five different rap burners... be it work with Eddie Logix or Que-C...

As Blaksmith and Erno meet me at a coffee shop in the suburbs, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr's playing, softly, from the house speakers -backgroung music provided by satellite radio. "'We Almost Lost Detroit''s already up on satellite radio rotation?" I ask aloud, to whoever answers.

That's a good sign, Smith says, for Detroit musicians.

Indeed, Erno says, "there's just a high output of music right now, around here, especially in the last few months. It's good; a lot of different sounds and styles."

"I just saw Power for the first time last week," Smith says, "I haven't seen a stage performance that actually shook the ground..."

That has a certain influence, he says; in fact "I've been influenced a lot by just being around Ernie and Bryan. I grew up the radio kid, knowing all the contemporary R&B songs and new rap...wasn't as vast as Ernie's or Bryan's, they were listening more to the classics..."

But being around town, seeing all the other acts pushing it on stages, whether it's "story rap," or "prop rap," "bounce-rap" or some ambient trip, it inspires them, Smith says, "to project our live set into a whole other level... feels like the concepts Bryan and I are coming up with...we're not the average hip/hop group, not the average rappers, we're not gonna make the average rap song..."

The pair met back in Hart Middle School up in Rochester. Their current track was started back during the Metro Times Blowout 2010 - when they reconnected at Paycheck's lounge, during a Mister's set alongside Zoos of Berlin and Carjack.

One EP and one year later, they meet Erno in an attic - (congealed further by a set at the Russell where he DJ'ed around a Cold Men Young performance earlier in the year).

Erno's too close to the record, having listened to it a hundred times during the composition of beats, samples and mixing...still assuring though that it's some of his best work - a chance to flex his penchant for dance music.

Smith agrees... "It's one of those records where it kinda fills a void, right now, especially with hip/hop - locally... Rap feels burned out, hip/hop-wise, it just feels like it might be on its last leg..."

"It needs a new chapter..."

SHORT NOTICE SHIT SHOW - 11/11/11 - at Northern Lights Loung: "The intent is to bring out all of our luny friends and congeal as one crazy event," Smith said. "Northern Lights, in the New Center area, is one of the forgotten gems in Detroit which makes it perfect..."
 Self SaysOf Mice And Musicians, POWER and Passalacqua + surprise live drummer


Doors at 9.  Hosted by "growing" comedian and friend: Matt Gulley

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chasing The Light

The walls have been raised two, maybe even three times now... blown down just as many. The architects have felt the blisters upon their initial blisters, the kinds thought to be the stuff of self-aggrandizing hyperbole with which the wrinkled and ostensibily steeled old folk can condescend their whippersnappers.



Detroit's The Questions have suffered that nuance strain of the artist who sees his work, has seen it, touched it, heard it, and breathed it, only to have lost it all... The manuscript's pages blown from the windowsill by a sinister gale; the sculpture's limbs shattered upon a misstep in its transportation from studio to gallery;...

Or the hard-drive storing the 12 songs you've spent 11 months of your life on...is destroyed, with no chance of recovery - as was the case with this quartet's now steadily resurfacing work: Chasing The Light (Sample here). The Questions have started, restarted, reworked and remixed this, probably their most complete and quintessential work to date, for a band that started as a rough hewn, rebel-rousing punk-duo, born from poetics, spurred by mysticism and continuing a protest/folk tradition in their own little, wild way.




"At first it was pretty devastating news," said singer/guitarist Drew Bardo, at the end of summer '10. "It really took the wind out of our sails. But upon further review, we decided that it might be a blessing in disguise. That making a rough draft album first could only advance the cause and give us the blue-print for what we were trying to record the first time. So to make a very long story short-- we are now excited about the loss..."

In four subsequent sessions, they had 10 new songs ready - This, after a year's worth of gelling as a quartet (Bardo and drummer Will Linna welcomed bassist James (Pookie) Grech and guitarist Chris Krez).

The band, Bardo said, is born again, with more "depth. We have become a solitary soul."

And, this autumn, they've leaked 66% of the album - eights songs now stream for free on their bandcamp. The songs showcase their wider breadth of sensibilities - from the gnarly growl, psychedelic snake-charming hooks and head-banging grunge-beats of opener "April Fool's" to the more toe-tapping jangled-out Americana twang of "Alchemy" -

Originally envisioned as three potential EPs, the band decided to start putting them all together as one flowing album. Still, the first four songs seem to show a more grated, throat-curdling catharsis, a therapeutic rock-heavy tear, compared to the next four songs softer acoustic shades and more melodic vocals - haunting and beautiful - "Lorna Blue's" harmonies soar along with a subdued banjo and harmonica forming a spectral lullaby. The tribal and hazy blues marches of their past come back, re-imagined, through "Wrecking Hour" and Bardo's poet-half exudes a cutting disertation on the evils of American ruling class in "Chasing The Ghost" - given a jazz flair by Krez' skills on the trumpet.

We'll see where they go from here - four (or more?) songs are yet to see the light of day.
After almost two years, Bardo surmised: "We fully believe that great art must come at a price of suffering. It comes from a deep sense of compassion. It comes from a deep sense of joy and sorrow equally. It is a sensitivity not many musicians get. There are a lot of bands making music for many reasons-- and that's fine.
"...But we do not take our craft as a hobby or a joke. It's not meant to be fun. It's not funny. It's not even entertaining. It comes from a heavy place. It's dangerous. It's difficult...sometimes even painful. Our music challenges people to ask personal questions. Spiritual questions. We instigate strange and difficult emotions. Our art is sincere. Ugly at times. It is the hurt that makes you know your human-- you're alive"


  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Succeed in Beeswax

Varying sentiments echoed the same essential appraisal: Yeah, that sounds like a good idea...
I remember picking the brains of other local musicians when Beehive first got started...
Yeah, I think that's kinda the way to go, these days... or I like it... or I'm not sure what the best way to go about music in the Internet age is, yet, but this seems to be a cool way to do it...

Detroit's Beehive Recording Co., launched five years ago by local music maven and perennial band-er, Steve Nawara, aimed to recreate what Italy Records had initially set to, back "in the 'garage days,'" by unifying and propping the albums of local talent, only this time, cutting back on the inherently high and hindering production costs (studios, vinyl pressing) and going "web-based."

Beehive Artists released their tunes online, often as singles or 3-song EPs, paired with artwork and bio's, $ from the downloads would be pooled towards financing eventual physical formats of said-recordings. As an adhoc label, Beehive offered its artists a 50-50 split, providing songwriters the freedom to put whatever song (be it a solo side project thing or some other experimental project for another band) up for Internet-ears to-hear, while its listeners get user accounts much like a mini-iTunes.

But, for the last year, Beehive has gone "free and open" to its members. Online seekers could come stream for free with the hopes that we all continue to support the artists as well as this unconventional label, when the time came... (Thus, why not throw a Ball?^)

To date, Beehive's culled 2,500 members(/listeners) and posted 37 singles recorded by Detroit area musicians. By year's end, it'll pass 10,000 downloads from its site, with no artist having been charded to record in the Beehive studio.

Dark Red, Aran Ruth, Deleano Acevedo, Bad Party, and Duane the Teenage Weirdo were some of this year's Beehive highlights.


To continue doing their part to bring some kind of feasibility to the mercurial music business, Beehive is hosting a fundraiser event - a Beehive Ball, at the Gaelic League in Detroit, November 12, featuring 12 bands from its digitally-downloadable catalog: Aran Ruth, esQuire, Dark Red, Laura Finlay, Johnny Ill Band, Jojjon, Body Holographic, The Mythics, Eric Villa, Ginger Ale Revolution, Cannon, and Robert Harlow.

As the Internet fliers echo - this is a formal event, so leave your denim, moccasins and faded vintage T's at home, folks... I, personally, would encourage bowties and fish nets... $15 at the door, or find them online - or at your local record stores (UHF in Royal Oak, People's in Detroit). -more info

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Things of Note

Stream Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor album -here -
(Recorded inside the Ypsi- psychedelic-power-trio's home studio, Spacecamp, they'll have physical copies ready in time for their two-week east coast tour -available on translucent yellow vinyl, via New Fortune Records.)


Other sounds to be found out there on the Internet - You can hear a new single from Guided By Voices, the first new sounds assembled by their "classic" (and recently-reunited) line up, part of a whole album's worth of new material, coming in early 2012. Listen: Guided By Voices - "Doughnut for a Snowman"

Also, gnarly/valiant garage rockers Thee Oh Sees  dropped two new singles (on Pitchfork) from their forthcoming album - listen to: "The Dream" + "Carrion Crawler" and then see 'em:
11/22 - Lager House - Detroit, MI

We Are Everything

No way to tell if the sun is beginning to set yet... The only light spilling into this log cabin is a hazy glow of overcast skies, a dying light but not yet gone, through yellowing curtains, clashing with the glow of the chimney's fresh, spurting fire.

And you could go out through that back porch and slide into the patch of dewey ferns, grab a walking stick and take one last hike before it gets pitch black and the temperature drops below 40... You come back up, back in to warm up, nostrils stung with pine, your lungs and legs burned by the climb back up... Mellow but exhilerated...

At least, that's where my head went, what I saw, what I felt, -the daydream I fell into, listening to Michigan's newest voice in rustling, orchestral Americana folk rock - Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers. Jangles, chimes, twanging lilts and grass-stained percussive tumbling, under smooth crooned vocals halfway between lullaby-and-anthem - Hertler and the Seekers capture the similar heart-swooned wanderlust aesthetic of other Mid-Michigan based folk constituents like Frontier Ruckus, but may strike something closer to another trouabour whose been writ-'bout on this blog before, ala Small Houses.

Makes me wish I'd gotten more into Lansing's music scene while I lived out there, for school. (At the time, I was too preoccupied with Detroit's musical goings-ons, but oh well).



This Lansing group is ready to release their first proper LP (after Hertler, himself, had put out a live album, an EP and a solo LP) - On Being comes out this month, with a string of inner-State shows to support it - including Nov 3 at Mac's Bar in Lansing.

Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers - "We Are Everything"