Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hip In Detroit's 2-Year Bash: #MusicTalk with The Ill Itches

Tunde Olaniran / The HandGrenades / Rebel Spies / Autumn Wolf
and The Ill Itches -with Ancient Language DJ-ing between

Saturday, Feb 1st 

That's two years and counting, now, for hip in detroit ~ the hip hub of local love (and lots of Michigan music news).

That's one year and counting, now, for a band on the bill for that blog's "birthday concert" - that being The Ill Itches. The group essentially debuted at last year's Metro Times Blowout (May, 2013), having gestated with wayward focus and cranked-up amplifiers within the cacophonous confines of a basement - displaying, at their youngest stages of 9-10 months ago - proclivities toward rickety, rambunctious garage rock.

Guitarist Joshua Woodcock has been playing for music most of still-yet-young life. He's even spent considerable time living in Japan, performing music and enmeshing himself into that unique scene. But over the last two years, he went from performing in Hit Society, to, most recently, The Ill Itches (with Stephen Schmidt on vocals/guitar, Matt Mruzek on bass/vocals and Matt Livengood on drums).

Woodcock: "We just went in and said: 'Let's play loud...'"

So, it had a howl, as all punk should, but it wasn't a honed howl: its voice cracked, it shoulder-checked you as a sign of affection, it went from 0-60 from song-one. That made quite a first impression. But now the band's had time to evolve, their voluminous, raucous style, has found a synchronicity. The drums have gotten space to shimmy, the bass is given a few breaks to show some funky licks... the guitars, with those strutting hooks, and the vocals, with their curdling creaks and saliva-screamed taunts - are still as attitudinal as ever. But still...synchronicity... loud, fast (delicately dissonant) synchronicity.

And now, after a sold-out performance a couple weeks ago at the Loving Touch (and a year in which they spearheaded a live compilation titled Pathetic Sounds of Detroit, the group is looking forward with renewed confidence.

How'd Year-One go?

"We've been pretty true to what we set out to do - which was really letting everyone's own personalities mesh into whatever song we were making. We've had a lot of great people help us out along the way. The people that understood what we were doing and helped us go out and play our music in front of people are really the force behind what we do...

This hip in detroit party is ticked up near the levels (big occasion, big line up, big celebration) of some other local festivals - like last months Secret Friends Fest. Fests can be an opportunity to have a scene-check-up... To contemplate what we've got going on around here, as a music community...

"This scene's definitely more diverse than others I've seen, personally. It's a huge mix of people who've gotten past the all eyes on Detroit-phase. Everyone is doing whatever music they feel like, not caring who's watching. There's so many good musicians in Detroit and everyone's always at other people's shows to check them out and just to get into what they're listening to. It's definitely a town where you get a fast-crash-course into what you're doing right and wrong. New bands can pop out of  nowhere and surprise you - like YUM at the Secret Friends Fest as a good example."

"Hip In Detroit has a ton of awesome bands and those girls are at the shows all the time and I think they really put together a diverse line up to showcase Detroit music."

Thoughts on Hip In Detroit, then, as you've followed-them and they've followed-you (and subsequently followed almost every other around town, here...) They've established themselves as a notably positive hub of support for the scene...

"They're great. They work so hard to support this scene and they're at shows all the time. If they can't make one, you'll get messages later apologizing and asking how it went. They've helped out a lot of local bands."

"Everyone at shows, that I see, are musical in some respect. The people in this town really know their stuff. Everyone in the community definitely seems really connected to what's going on and proactive in keeping it moving forward. So we're looking forward to supporting the people that have really supported us over the last year."

The Ill Itches have a 7" coming out soon, while they continue to write and record new material.

For samples of the other bands on this bill
Tunde OlaniranAutumn WolfThe HandGrenadesRebel Spies 

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