Thursday, July 30, 2015

King Eddie

King Eddie's gone through it's two-year chrysalis stage so that they could burst out with their debut album, fully formed in all its multi-hued, genre-defiant dynamism. The Detroit-born music collective is currently based out of Iowa but it's a sure thing we'll be seeing them soon... Their proper debut album comes out this week....

I wanted to say it sounded like Of Montreal until it sounded like Electric Light Orchestra...until it sounded like Tame Impala...until it sounded like Olivia Tremor Control or Traffic, or Black Mountain...

Cuz why just be a fluid, feathery psych-pop when you can really wail it out and dabble into a bit of heavy-metal soul? Why just go for that melodic-centric indie-pop whimsy when you can bring in some eerie/beautiful synths and organs and jettison a low tide beach stride up into the rainbow-bolt struck stratosphere of trippy/paisley baroque-bliss.... 

Follow along the breezy strums and soaring motifs of "New World" until you get to the cusp of the bridge... "In the new world, who's wrong, who's right? / As the new girl under wallpapered sky..." Sounds like we're in pretty typical psychedelia locales with those lyrics, until... "In the new world, they cut off hte head....and they serve it in rounds like the baker's bread...."
Stream it along, I'll wait, it's about at the 2:32 mark... 

...And did you get a load of those guttural barks during the first four measures of the solo? Something interesting is going on inside of the heads of King Eddie's four members and it pours, bleeds, bursts and radiates onto the recordings of their debut album, which comes out August 14th.

Lead guitarist Justin Maike draws a vivid picture and his collaborators help color it all in with their own unique vibrantly tinted tones. Maike recorded the record himself, between his time spent in Denver, Sioux City (IA) and Detroit. Adam Cox helped mix and master the self-titled album. Maike currently resides in Sioux City where the band is currently composed of Angela Lambrecht, Velvet Adams and Les Rahns. The release show is tomorrow night, actually, at the Sioux City Music Conservancy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fangs and Twang

Metal bands sing about Viking lore while goth bands dabble in Witchcraft...

Why can't you get a country band singing about Vampires? Horror hoedowns, if you will? Or, maybe if the Munsters lived in Nasvhille?

Andy Benes (guitar, vocals), Billy LaLonde (drums, vocals) and Joe Bertoletti (bass) form Fangs and Twang

Ypsi trio Fangs and Twang whip a stripped down roots-rock blend of indie-kicks and swinging bluegrass with theatrical, croony lyrics that are half Monster-Mash cartoonery and half Mummies-esque retro-revivalism of B-movie horror tropes. For as fun as that formula is, it should be underlined that these three, who cut their teeth in the formidably forceful (and comparably genre-mutating) Black Jake & The Carnies, take their musicality as well as the performance, pitch and tone of those campy lyrics, quite seriously. But listen to the hearty backing harmonies of "Undead and Unwed" and how it leads into that snaky and nimble solo...

Head over to their bandcamp and try out "Part Time Vampire" for an example of fine folk-style storytelling twisted into midnight macabre world of Vincent Price...

Thursday, Jul 30 @ The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor: Fangs and Twang release their debut album, performing with Modern Lady FitnessLoose TeethViolin Monster
$8 (or $11 for under 21)
Doors: 9:30 pm

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Landmarks - "All For The Best" [Video]

You remember The Landmarks, right?

The Ypsi-based quintet is getting their fleet footing onto the rocketing board of a surfy kind of post-punk. They put out an EP last year and have been doing their darndest to get their guitars onto Detroit stages at a more regular click... In the meantime, they've been honing their craft, bolstering their chemistry and confidence and writing more songs. One of their newest, "All For The Best," was turned into this charismatic lo-fi music video, splashed with pixelated home-movie aesthetics. 

The charging riffs, the vibrant colors, the kicking beats, the grass-fringed playgrounds, the soaring vocals, the coasting skateboards, it pops, it bursts... It's an ideal summer anthem! Check 'em out. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Seraphine Collective: BFF 2 - This Saturday at MOCAD

Double WinterChild SleepDeadly VipersLittle Animal, and, recently... Cheerleader, Wild Bore
& now...Jenny Junior. All part of my local playlist lately, each putting out some of my favorite songs of the year...

In fact, several spectacular bands, those above included, have had the spotlight widened enough to include them thanks to the democratizing efforts of the Seraphine Collective. The list rattled of above are not only some of the bands that have joined the Collective (by way of supporting and performing at consistent curated concerts and having works featured on a handful some of the initial SC mixtape compilations) but they also are some of my favorite bands amid the contemporary Michigan music scene. And I, we, have the Seraphine Collective to thank for that...

Each of these bands, from Casual Sweetheart to Rebel Kind, Dear Darkness to Moonwalks, feature women or female-identifying musicians in some capacity, be it as a full ensemble, as as instrumentalists on guitar, rhythm section or as lead vocalists. Beyond that, the Seraphine Collective prioritizes the participation of people of color and LGBTQIA performers, as well as women, with an ever progressive mindset when it curates its showcases and mixtapes.

Seraphine Collective, started by musician/writer Lauren Rossi in late 2013, works to affect an environment of inclusiveness in the music scene, particularly through the diversification of genders represented on the stages, in the spotlights. The idea, inspired by the feminist ethos, has spread into encouragement, to undermine the typical boys club trend of rock clubs and bring more female-identifying talent into that same spotlight, be it in music, performing, graphic designing, event organizing or, someday soon, label heads and venue managers.

It's been building steadily over the last 18 months and ever since last summer's inaugural BFF Fest (Best Friends Forever), it seems they've reached a point where there's no looking back... The music comprising Seraphine Collective and its overall mission seem to have reached an outstanding momentum. The spirit of welcoming, diversifying and encouraging...sparks brighter each month, with each new showcase, with each new compilation, with each new zine.

They'll reach a new level this weekend with BFF 2 at MOCAD - sponsored by the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affaris
Saturday, July 25
2:00pm - 12:00am
All ages
"BFF Fest is a SAFE SPACE and a supportive environment free from any discrimination or oppressive actions of any kind"


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

High Arrow - Hot Love (available July 31)

High Arrow's new one sounds like it’s coming from out of a cave or a vortex… It sounds like it’s something being unleashed. 

“My Orange Love” by High Arrow opens up their latest album and it thrums with a cavernous sounding feedback from the guitar as a chest-thumping drum beat starts busying itself with antsy/angsty fills. Instilling the sense of climbing, of breaking out, of something to surge towards…the intro continues to build until the guitar crackles into a snaky psychedelic swirl and lead vocals come in, guttural, big, almost breathless


And the drums keep pounding. The soundscape keeps filling in with greater amounts of bass and fuzz and strangely beautiful echoes.


You feel yourself losing your own voice just listening to those vocals and it feels fulfilling in a primal way.

This Detroit trio show a sharp sensibility for balancing the wild-eyed energy and entrancing billowy tones of psychedelia with a darker, unknowable dread manifested in a gritty, garage-stomp minimalism; they know when to fire every ultraviolet rocket at once and soar off into the stratosphere (as with “My Orange Love”) but also when to dim the lava lamps and black out the windows for a sparer, spookier séance of a rock slogger with “Wishing Well.”

But there’s also a substantial burst of motor-murk rock like “Plastic Heart Man,” with guitars that growl as though they were emitted from white hot exhaust pipes set to the steady jangle of a tambourine that sounds like it’s going to break at any measure. Or, take a song like “Behind The Warpaint,” opening just with vocals and a drums, the latter a furious/graceful spill spiced with frenetic accents and fitful fills while the latter, that scintillating voice and its hypnotic chants, starts to feel like it’s casting a very real spell.

 Hot Love was mastered by Jim Diamond and recorded over at Woodshed Studios in Ferndale. With Tracey Thompson on lead vocals and bass and Adam Thompson on lead guitar, it features the drumming work of their usual rhythm ally Scott Boyink, along with Mark Tabor and Charlie Mccutcheon

Artwork by Red Sonjia

Online on 7/31 via:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ancient Language releases Folk Songs July 25

When Ancient Language started performing, some asked “…who?”

Then, once they understood that this was the next project from electronic music composer Christopher Jarvis, previously one-half of Detroit’s once-highly-buzzed Phantasmagoria… Then they got it. Then they started listening…

But then they had to be down with the fact that this was instrumental music. It blended elements of trip-hop, ambient-pop and re-stoked the cerebral crackles of IDM, veering from the earthier acoustic textures of Phantasmagoria and past the ultraviolet veils of a dreamier, cinematic realm.

Then Ancient Language became known as just Christopher Jarvis for a bit… In fact, the local composer even released a full length record under his true name.

Then, if you were keeping up, he changed it back to Ancient Language. 

“Because I wanted (Ancient Language) to become more than just the music, to, hopefully, become more of a multimedia thing. And…I don’t wanna sell a t-shirt with my name on it. That’s weird.”

Jarvis pauses when asked about influences. “I don’t wanna talk about that and come off sounding pretentious or heady. I’m really just trying to tap into my emotions. It almost comes from somewhere else, like a form of meditation… I’m fully present when I’m writing and playing it but I’m not intentionally making a song that will sound a certain way.”

Jarvis works with Abelton when he’s recording. When you see Ancient Language perform you’ll see a laptop on stage. But Jarvis isn’t just programming a beat or a trusty loop; this isn’t push-button turntablism.

“I’ll put out a track and someone says: ‘Oh, that sample you used is so dope!’ …But, it’s like: ‘No, I actually played that!’ I don’t use samples. I play everything live on the keyboard or the guitar. I don’t always play drums live, but some, like in “The Sky Opens Up” are live. But I play everything else live in real time.”

Jarvis has been working on Folk Songs for the last two years. It’s going to be a relief to get it out but, more than that, he’s hoping this is really the moment people start listening closer to his music, even if it doesn’t have lyrics. Because the guy doesn’t wanna sound cocky, but he feels like he’s reached another level, that it’s evolved since Clairsentient (the previous record released under his own name).

“I wanted to simplify what I was doing,” said Jarvis. “Just, to get to the very basics: just good melodies, not overding it with all this production stuff. Lots of the chord progressions I’m using here are very traditional, almost folky type progressions, but I’m using it in a different context, obviously, with electronic music.”

Jarvis says it feels good to be done and to have reached a new level but that Ancient Language still doesn’t feel fully realized. It might feel fully realized in his brain but, as he puts it, it’s hard to get people really engaged with instrumental music.

“I’m cool if people listen to it as…like…studying music or whatever, I’m glad my music helps you relax and do your thing but when I write it it’s way more engaging and energizing to me. So I want it also to be engaging to you…Listeners too often latch onto vocals…”

He worries he might not be able to incite the same kind of hype or party-starting bombast as his contemporaries like Passalacqua or James Linck. “Because…” he pauses. “Sometimes an audience needs a personality behind the msuci and I’m not really about putting a personality behind a song.”
Ancient Language is self-effacing by design. There’s no photos on their Facebook. His brother Zach, an electro-composer in his own right, joined him to fill out the live performances with electric bass, but you won’t see his or Chris’ name noticeably emblazoned anywhere. “We’re just trying to make this all about the music…”

The music without lyrics…

“Still, I do feel like I wear my heart on my sleeve when I write this music. But, the question is whether that comes across to other people. ‘Cuz without lyrics, that’s harder to do with people.”

Depends on what language you’re speaking…


Because, put simply, it’s music that is the “ancient language,” something universal passed down from our days fresh out of the primordial soup making noises in caves. It’s an ancient or universal form of communication. So, listen closer, and you’ll hear what Jarvis is talking about.

“The songs have verses and choruses, even if they don’t have lyrics…They still have bridges and build-ups.”

Whereas Clairsentient had several collaborators by-way-of vocalists and rappers singing over those compositions, Jarvis took Folk Songs in a purposefully different direction, producing it all on his own and letting the instrumental tracks stand on their own. “In The Early Morning,” which features singer Lily Nyooni, is the only instance of vocals.

After this weekend’s show, Jarvis is going to take a break. He’s earned it. He’s been going to school full time (video production at Specs Howard) and working, along with constant shows with Ancient Language. But eventually they’ll get started on Folk Songs’ follow up. “I think I want to get a full band to play it, with strings and a full brass section….and vocals on almost every song.”

Until then, find Folk Songs online starting Saturday, July 25. (Physical CDs will be available in early August).

You can see Ancient Language performing live at Alstock 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Music: Odd Hours / Tunde Olaniran / JR. JR.

Well, the most recent post was telling you to go to a release show for the State Of Michigan's new album State Your Business. Only thing is, the show was going to be hosted at The Berkley Front.

But The State Of Michigan just posted....

So that's a bummer...


In the meantime

We have a new video Detroit based gothtronica-rockers Odd Hours

Odd Hours' latest album, 
norepinephrine + dopamine, is already available online here & they got write-up in Pop Matters, check it out... 

A new single from Michigan's own Jr. Jr. premiered via Billboard earlier this week. The Detroit Free Press reported on the songwriting duo, formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., finally deciding to change (or at least simplify) their name.  


The phenomenal, kaleidoscopic and kinetic dance-pop balladeer Tunde Olaniran had a song premier via NPR Music recently.  
A potentily propulsive track...great to dance-to, great to bike-to (if you'd like to....)

Tunde Olaniran's album Transgressor is out Aug. 7 on Quite Scientific Records.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The State Of Michigan's "State Your Business"

Local duo The State Of Michigan release their 2nd album State Your Business this Friday night at The Berkley Front
9 PM
$5 gets you in
$10 gets you a CD

That's a modest yet weirdly captivating suburban-chic music video for "Salty Shakes," the lead single from The State Of Michigan's State Your Business... The dual singer/songwriters sandwiching their respectively strange/suave sonic ideas together are Tanner Presswood and Alex Reynolds. They started calling themselves a group in late 2013/early 2014, when they each brought seven songs to the table (...or, to a bandcamp uplink) and called it a record... Those fourteen songs were their humble introduction to the Detroit music scene, but it's really this Friday with this record that we can properly say: How do you do?

There's no use, here, in name-dropping... How about mood dropping? The calming disorientation... The excited bleariness,..The unsettling meditation... The muted cool... The wandering go-getter. 

State Of Michigan sound like a cassette tape excavated from 1994, left beneath a burnt bed in
a studio apartment in Capital Hill outside of Seattle or maybe some basement in Dayton, with flecks of cat hair and a scuff mark from that time it had an errant skateboard wheel dropped on it...

Wait, is that too concrete o' picture? What isn't concrete is the evocations conjured by these purposefully hazily-textured progressions; the duo strum out these subtly trippy odes on these electrically-fuzzed acoustic guitars, set to stroll-able, day-dreamable rhythms and surreptitiously barbed with satirical, nonsensical or dadaist lyrics projected in these wispy voices loop-de-looing with swaying melodies...Every once in a while a discordant minor key punctures the pretty pastel pictures they're painting with their voices and their rustling guitars, but mostly, these are grunge-lullabies or Laurel Canyon-punk...

You'd wanna call it psych-folk because it's a pastoral singsongy sweetness that seems to be frayed at its edges with a potent bit of post-millennial weirdness.

Now, I've thrown a lot of adjectives around here. What I wanna leave you with is how enticing these short, sweet jams can be... A foam of muck and fuzz often flecks the surface of these freak folk ballads ( this NuFreakFolk?),..but at its heart, these are kinetic pop ditties; simple and strummy, sliding and shimmying, strange but sincere!

More sounds from the State Of Michigan here.
Artwork by Matt Lachowski.

Friday, July 10, 2015

New Music 4 Now & Later: Analog Lights and Rufio Jones

Greg Aubry had been mining the post-grunge gulch when he was fronting the rock trio Superbomb. Over the last year, he got involved with a handful of cover shows, including one particularly transformative dive into Nine Inch Nails' seminal songs, seeming a bit possessed by a Reznorian spirit... ...which leads us into The Analog Lights.

Aubry, who's always had a powerful voice, pare things back with this solo outfit, utilizing synthesizers in a way that subtly spotlights that melodic roar of his, scoring arrangements that blend his proclivities toward a heavier, dark, brooding rock with the sleek yet clangorous movement and presence of post-industrial, there's a bit of that heart-on-the-sleeve balladry of new-wave pop (percolated by the sequenced beats) but its definitely a lot more cerebral and a bit more pissed off than any of those 80's new romantics...

Take a listen:

And then...

Yes,....and then there's Rufio Jones, who will be releasing his first full length solo album on bandcamp this Wednesday (July 15).

Jones is one-fourth of the hip-hop collective Detroit CYDI, along with fellow rappers Stryfe, Sean Uppercut and Doc Illingsworth, the latter of which produced the beats for Jones' solo outing titled Loot Suit. 

Jones isn't interested in the cliched braggadocio baggage of half of mainstream rap music, with its swaggering bellicosity and boasting... He's more cerebral than that. But then... he's still playful, still nostalgic, still surging with a sense of humor, keen to inject thoughtful satire into some of substantially heavy conversations he's aiming to start with his lyrics. In fact, he could have a second career as a serial writer of retro sci-fi novellas... Great sense of metaphor, yes...but also with a propulsive vocal delivery (looped to mesmerizing and theatircal effects by Illingsworth) that keeps you constantly hooked, dodging strange synth sound effects standing in for UFO's, comets and myriad other fantastic noises.

Take a listen:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Prude Boys - "In The Alley"

 We're "In The Alley" for The Prude Boys new single, which premiers tomorrow at 9 a.m. here:

It's a great track... And you'll be hearing it in a matter of hours...
Giddy up drums and a cresting wave of guitar fuzz shoots down into this croony-garage-hop boogie of a number, where images of grease-stained white T-sleeves rolled up to hold cigarette cartons muscle into a muck-spackled bass slapping like sliced cardboard against the backdoor of the club where these "boys" are throwing their own party...or at least just loitering. It's probably my favorite Prude Boys track to date, bright and frolicsome here and there yet discordant and gunky in all the best spots, and a steady smoldering of tape-buzz under the dual boy-girl chorus.

"In The Alley" will eventually join up with three other new songs that the Prude Boys finished up recently, part of a forthcoming EP recorded with Ben Collins on an analog 8-track reel-to-reel out in Ypsilanti. As has been their MO since they started recording, the trio finished these songs in less than two takes, each; the idea being to capture the essence (and the shambolic spill) of the signature uninhibited energy in their live performances.

Like an old loved-wrong country ballad, "In The Alley's" singing about a pair of hell-hitched honeypies who just can't seem to stop cheating on each other. They take what they call "corny callbacks" to 50's rock and 60's girl-group vocals and shock it all into the future with a contemporary punch of oozy surf and psychedelic swing.

The Hamtramck-based trio are going to release their new EP themselves, keeping to their independent operating ethos, with hand-produced cassettes coming soon... For now, if you'd like to see them live, they'll be performing at BFF Fest II on July 25 at the Mocad. More info on that show here:

And more Prude Boys songs here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Doc Waffles: This Week In Baseball

"Gentlemen....let's broaden our mind..."

Newness from Doc Waffles: This Week In Baseball

A new Doc Waffles album is an event. It's a happening, a strangely transcending happening...

Put the headphones on, kid, and just relax. Let it sink in. Let it twist up your thoughts. Let it happen. Take a dive and swim through some old highlight footage, some frayed baseball cards...some squashed, sticky cardboard formerly housing some microwaveable dinner items... All in all, you'll find some shreds of existential illumination ...

Every third word outta the rap bard's mouth excites a singular synapse in the brain, a flurry of sensory descriptors flair into vivid life as his slip-slidey shuffle-style vocals spill over you, an abstract sandwiching of sounds, smells and sights, foggy memories and strange triggerings of coulda-sworn-I-was-there deja-vu... "The hypothetical drugs that they give to the kangaroos...if you see a real penguin on tv, eat a gummy one..."

It's signature motifs and themes persist any great autuer would continue throughout a canon of work...

  • Half-dreary/half-inspirational trips down Golfview Drive persists... do the VHS tapes of hockey tapes.
  • Hot Pockets are a new specter slipping in and out of the verses of each track.
  • OH... and where else are you going to be reminded of those Alan Ford dealership commercials with the cartoon cowboy and his dog?
  • ...and transition right into a song that sings about the Mona Lisa, the history of surrealist painting and eating sushi in your swimsuits...?
  • He's also still on about stealing all the shoes (but not, this time, at the party...) No, he's visiting the Bastille at one instance and then he's conjuring Hulk Hogan and NES Duck Hunt seven seconds later...
  • Shouts outward to the #CoOwnaz collective, as well... 

It's a trip. An event... It's a rap album like an ayahuasca trip is just a stroll through the park. It's a thought-experiment, a word-thundering gaze inward into a soul you'd only slowly start to recognize as your own...

Is it? Wait...

The production (by Eddie Logix) seems to know just what it wants, not anything banging, not anything overly psychedelic, nothing derivative of old soul ballads or funk riffs, nothing contrived...something transcendent, atmospheric, lucid... GROOVY... With the edges fraying together, the vocals samples fuzzed and falling together like fine syrup, the beats arrest a meditative pulse and it accommodates the flexible mindset necessary to lily-pad leap from one symbol to the next, affixing to Doc's inherently wayward word-wanderings....(and wonderings)...

From the fine and to the filth, the high-minded and the low-lying, the aristocratic and the Saturday morning cartoons, the wine and the laughing gas and the bottles in your backseat, half-filled with the essence of summer...