Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prussia: "Sometimes Someone Different..."

Combining starry-night chromatic xylophone rounds with a whirled-sock-hop-slow-dance organ tapping with teen idol-esque near-falsetto vocals, Prussia perfectly capture the wondrous pop-song craftsmanship of early ‘60’s groups, mashed with raw noise-receptive indie rock and jump-the-tracks-and-hit-the-gas transitions that are managed so well, from slow and dreamy to rhythmic and grooving. Check out “Gypsy Ketamine” for the glorious mutant hybrid of Pavement and The Four Seasons, a smooth easy going melody interrupted by beastly feedback explosion-roars; with drums simultaneously dynamic and low key, with warbled, delayed vocals sounding from a basement in a very Ariel Pink-manner.

(photo by Justin Ames)

They channel a transmogrified doo-wop with minimalist organ-swaying, bass bouncing, violin-sawing poppers that build towards eruptive, slow-motion Velvet Underground noise freakouts, then falling into disarming grooves that let the feedback and beautiful “ooh”-harmonies take over. (Check “Cellophane Bag.”)
The quartet’s all in their early 20’s or younger and all play an array of instruments, with unpredictably shifting influences that feel so well-worn but simultaneously far-off. A new vision, people!
“We all play assorted instruments when we record,” said Brenton Bober, “but live, it usually follows: Ryan Spencer (guitar / vocals), Brenton (bass / organs / bells / accordion) Andrew Remdenok (various drums / sitar / melodica) Steven Wagner (various drums / percussion / singing saw.)”
Live – both Andrew and Steven play upright bass drums (“along the idea of Moe Tucker”) with various cymbals, a snare and a floor-tom. “…It’s just that when we play live, we try making it as interesting for us as it is for the crowd,” said Brenton. “Because playing bass or drums can get a little boring at times…so, why not play sitar or accordion instead?”
Here’s the rest of the un-cut interview from locals Prussia, who play the new Scrummage University location March 1st; and Record Time (Ferndale) March 7th.

How and when did the band start/come together...

Brenton: Well me, Andrew, and Ryan knew each other in high school. Ryan was a senior at the time, and Andrew and I were freshman; he was an asshole and referred to us as Frodo and other various Lord of the Rings characters. We had also seen Ryan at various shows as he was in the band “our delay” at the time. It was around this time that me and Andrew started working on music together. In our junior year of high school we started a lil’ electronic band, which ryan heard of and wanted to join. So he eventually did, and we tried to be in the likes of Kraftwerk, but I eventually left to do a different band. Then Andrew and Ryan started a folk/rock project known as Russian Spy Orchestration, and after various members, it once again, came back to Ryan, Andrew and I.

We played our first show at this loft in Pontiac called the ac rich, new years 2006. At the time we had two full kits of drums, of which Andrew and Ryan’s little brother drew played. We then recorded most of the material for our first release “artless”, then took a break for a brief time since Ryan was in Europe for a month. Then the entire band came together around October of last year when we had Steven play saw for us at the painted lady, oddly enough Steven was in the band earlier, then he left, then came back. He then became a member and soon branched out as a second drummer.

I've heard descriptions of the live show recall (not specifically the sound of, but at least the vibe of) Pavement, with a looseness and a quirkiness....would that be something close? what are some of the influences you draw on ('sometimes someone different' has a doo-wop feel, how close is that?)

Brenton: We all really love Pavement, and are really flattered to hear something like that. But it’s never occurred to us really what we are doing; we kind of just do things the way we think our music should be done. We all draw on a lot of different things that inspire us. We all love Motown and I suppose that would be the common ground in the band. But we all love certain bands or movements of music that definitely differ from each other… I suppose some people would think we are snobs.

How would you describe your live approach, and then, your songwriting approach?

Brenton: Animals in the wild. Ha. When it comes to playing live we like to make things as energetic as possible. We hand out random assorted percussion to the crowd to make everyone sort of a part of the band and the noise that creates it. As for a songwriting approach someone comes up with a melody or a chord structure that they think can transfer into something, and then we all sort of build on top of it until becomes a mess of everyone’s input. You never suggest an idea for Prussia and have it turn out the way you thought it would, because it becomes something completely different and unexpected. And I guess something like this is to be expected when you’re working with two drummers, ha.

...and can you describe the live set up

Brenton: the live set up is usually, Andrew playing a upright bass drum, much a long the idea of Moe Tucker, and a couple other assorted drums and cymbals. He tries to keep it to a minimum. Both Andrew and Stephen play the drums standing up for our live set. Steven usually has a set up of a snare, a floor tom and a cymbal. We used to bring an organ for cellophane bag but it became to much of a hassle, and sort of… broke. As for what this contributes to our sound, it’s just that when we play live, we try making it as much interesting for us, as it is for the crowd. Because playing the bass or drums can get a little boring at times… so why not play sitar or accordion instead?

What can you tell me about the LP your working on...

Brenton: well this our second LP. We are trying to branch out from the first one, but I suppose this one has more songwriting then just noises that we happened to like. But hopefully it will turnout okay, when your working on something it’s hard to decipher if it’s just overdone shit or if people will genuinely like it. As of right now, we like it, and maybe some other people will too.

...significance of the name? into early German history? ancestory roots back there?

Brenton: No. the name was Russian spy orchestration, but we figured it was a little too high school talent show? Then it was dropped to just “Russian”, but that’s just a horrible band name in itself… isn’t it? Then it became Prussia on the suggestion of a friend, but there was never any real significance behind it… and never had anything to do with the band kings of Prussia…
(photo cred: Justin Ames)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This Friday...

an invigorating communal gathering, another world inside the humble astro-garage-type floor space of the CAID, with DJ's R-O-Z and Carjack spinning a variety of genres that keep crowds dancing until the sun comes up...


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Prussia at Vernor's Supertarreanean Lounge

Prussia played Friday night as part of "Phonotropic" a visual arts/music boosting enclave that will feature art and stripped-down music every Friday night inside the alluring and cozy, three floored bar (Vernor's) on the side of the Crofoot in Pontiac. The idea is to purposely challenge the musicians to use their wits and their mastery of harmony and acoustics to overcome the limited equipment of only four mic's and a humble ground-space for a stage.

Prussia's set was inventive, captivating and loose, with interesting translations of their acerbic experimental doo-wopish indie rock into a more intimate unplugged tract, with a sitar...
bongos, tambourines and...

check out Prussia, one of the more original acts to surface locally in the last year, on March 1st at the new Scrummage location

here's a few more shots, (along with the ones above) courtesy of Mike Milo:


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Terrible Twos and their self-titled LP

A wavy synth drone straight out of some sci-fi b-movie rises and rises and sets a strange sort of tension likeable to those last few moments you have to yourself, behind the wheel, as the car plummets off the cliff.

What follows is not an abrupt crash, but more of a calamotous end over end torrent of loose and ravenous guitar chugs and screeched destruction. Welcome to the total liberation punk rock of the Terrible Twos. Time signatures change suddenly, the rhythms are herked and jerked and the percussion is always pounding, always moving forward.

Most admirably, the Detroit quintet has captured the fly-off-the-handle musical bellicosity of their bone-breaking live show stampedes; the synth and the guitars are screaming right alongside their human counterparts with equaled torture in their cries.

They show a mastery of tone, perfectly capturing that eerie edge-of-mischief snakey winding cat-in-a-blender guitar spindle as the drums continually open up random overstuffed closets that spill out pots, pans, circular saws and bowling balls onto these deceptively structured rock songs, filled with plenty of hooks and driving chord progressions.

"Pipe Bomb Pipe Bomb" does a great job of framing their occasional tendency to increasingly push their tempos to the point where self-destruction seems the only goal. "Chink Glass Eye" a longtime live favorite, is the perfect centerpiece, adeptly aided by the synths as they whirl into a chaotic siren over intricate, rapid drums and relentless strums, as the chorus bounces you around with a skewed chromatic up and down on the guitar neck.

The sound is a fusing of confrontational, early LA punk, and detached, runnin-wild scream-serenades of experimental post-punk.

Most of all it is a focused pandemonium - what's striking is how tight the ensemble is for the entirity of this 40-minute onslaught that's completely free of any quiet moments, breakdowns, solos, soft b-sections - there's no one at the sidelines handing you dixie cups of water, no rest-stops, no looking back..., there's nothing about love, no cryptic poetics, no self-aware goofing around, no holier-than-thou topical commentaries, no overly crowded polyrhythms and double-tracking......just a constant acceleration, ever-progressing errantry with a fascination with pandemonium...

...what happens when we let go
...and we stop for nothing... (CD) (LP)

upcoming shows: 3/6, with Black Lips, at the Magic Stick

Bands to Dig...


F'ke Blood: post-punk, wavy-bass, yowling, guitar-rock with tight percussion. (pictured above from their show, 2/16 with the Dirtbombs, photo by Mike Milo)

check out: for upcoming shows



mutant offspring of The Four Seasons and Pavement, blending sinuous takes on noise-rock, indie-rock and dew-wop, with dual drummers, sitars, organs...and your own imagination as key ingredients. (photo by Rachel Marie -

check out: www.myspace,com/prussiamusic for upcoming shows


Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful: golden brown, heartbreakingly beautiful folk rock, in the stylized auterist path of Elliott Smith or Neko Case, out of Ann Arbor.

check out: for upcoming shows

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

the fall of the vinyl civilization and Farewell to Record Time in Ferndale


"Video killed the radio star, but MP3's killed my record store…"

So sang Carjack. (picutred) in a new song he'd written just in time for his in-store concert at Record Time of Ferndale, part of a requiem-series of performances that have been warming the cozy wax-filled rectangular space throughout these winter months.


(both photos^ by Brandon Zarb)

The whole digital downloading-as-technological terror is starting to hit home, as this Ferndalian-fixture (since 1999) is forced to close its doors in the face of a losing battle against the rising tide of mouse-clicking listeners who have found out other ways to get music from the comfort of their basements - and for free! It's an unholy one-two punch of technology and the (Michigan) economy closing this beloved wax beacon nestled in the heart of downtown Ferndale. Maybe not as cool as the Record Graveyard or People's, or as expansive as Car City, but an admirable source with lots of rich history.

It just emphasizes what we are losing, especially compounded by the fact that People's Records was almost lost during a fire last month. (It remains alive, however, with a re-opening on the horizion, temporarily operating outta' Brad's basement on Third St. and Antoinette)

"It's just the way of the world," said Ferndale assistant-manager Vince Patricola, "it's either adapt or get mulled over. Our Roseville store is still gonna be there--we'll be strong. I know I speak for all of us when, we (Ferndale staff) wanna say thank you to all the people who came and supported us through the years."

So grows the rift between listener-generations - those who fell in love with music because of a tangible experience, a one-on-one with wax that took you weeks to find (and sharing it with friends,) and then those who download it digitally for free, listening to music distractedly through computers or plug their iPods into their cars.

"It's sad because we made a lot of friends," said Record Time (Ferndale)'s affably mellow manager (since '99) Lavell Williams, "It's not just that they're customers - but they became friends."

Indeed, Ferndale may be a fairly artsy, open minded, nostalgia-appreciating town, but it is also the kind of community where people are likely to embrace technology. "I don't think anybody wants to see us hurt or condense to one store," said Owner Mike Hime, "It's a hard one to fight."
Along with in-store concerts every Friday, there are considerable must-go deals at the Ferndale location, currently it's 15% off everything, vinyl, dvd's, tapes!!!

"It's sad for me because I enjoy Ferndale, a lot," said Williams, who originally worked over at the Roseville store. "I had a really good time here, I like the diversity of the people on this side of town. We manage to laugh every day, we enjoy each other's company so much." He added, ominously, "I think eventually there will come a time and not too far away--there won't be tangible music. It'll be all online, on your iphone, and it's time..., not that 'it's time for it to happen' but it's 'just time'--things change over time, and as long as we keep edging towards trying to make verything easier...and quicker, somethings have to go."

"...just downloading and the rampant copying of things," Patricola added, "all those things and with dvd's, netflix, bootlegging, all that stuff is just really, starting to catch up with our industry."

"The arts are disappearing," said Williams, referencing Jazz and Classical's swan song in popular culture and in schools. "What you have left is...Hanna Montana and...bless that little girl, but, please..., there's nothing about what she's doing that's moving the culture up."

Record Time is just the beginning. "People don't look at us closing like they did when Tower closed or when Harmony House closed," said Williams, "every little bit counts, we're just losing it..."

But Roseville stays open! And - you've got concerts every friday, leading up to 2 ALL DAY festivals (organized by Record Time and Michael Sharbatz): "Record Time Phest" on March 21st and 22nd will feature in-store performances throughout the day, with an all DJ-electronic line up on the 21st and live bands on the 22nd, from 12pm - 9pm each day. Line ups are also T.B.A., but you can check and for more information.


(Wildcatting, from 2/15, photo by Mike Milo)

Or, instead,...get off the computer, go down there and ask the clerks yourself. And buy one last record while you're there. And then go over to Roseville and check out their vinyl.

"I want L-P's!!"

[One upcoming (Ferndale store) show includes a mini LocoGnosis showcase on March 7th with bands currently T.B.A.]

more of Brandon's photos:



Thursday, February 14, 2008

And I Feel Fine: Singing about the Apocalypse and the new Dirtbombs album.

You wake up every day, telling yourself the same reassuring bullshit: you're better than your boss, better than the president, better than that bitch who dumped you. You drive your car to work and you hate the other drivers, you hate the price of gas and you hate having to straighten your tie, put one foot in front of the other and be cordial to other people for the sake of a steady paycheck.

And every news headline is a re-worded version of: things are getting worse/people are getting angrier.

You find that one all-too-brief hour of bliss you've alotted yourself over the weekend, to slip your head between the headphones and what you get is an entire library's worth of catchy-doom-sermons and pandora's pop, from grandiose 60's garage to San Fran psychedelia to 80's detritus, from Bob Dylan's "Hard Rain" to the Weirdos "We Got The Neutron Bomb" to R.E.M.'s "It's The End of the World...etc" - we're inundated by a steady historical build-up of songs sermonizing the Apocalypse.

And the freaky thing I find myself thinking as I listen to the Dirtbombs' latest, "We Have You Surrounded," - is when's this thing going down? Let's start the fireworks, where's my brimstone?

This is a fine chunk of enticing mayhem, probably they're most potent front-to-back; retaining the rough-hewn quasi-pop of Dangerous Magical Noise ("Wreck My Flow"), the tight soul/funk inflected vigor of Ultraglide in Black ("Indivisible, Ever Lovin' Man") and the fuck-all noise of their b-sides collection ("Race to the Bottom.")

The Dirtbombs sound has never second-guessed itself; busted bass drums and broken strings are part of the plan, every bleat, blow and buzz is utilized to its fullest.

You get this kind of wings-are-falling-off-but-we're-jumping-to-lightspeed-anyway-and-smash-the-head-of-any-non-believer-who-clutters-our-path-because-we-may-swerve-the-wheel-but-we're-sure-as-fuck-not-hittin-the-breaks and I, hell anyone, we'll follow you to the ends of the Earth.

...or maybe to the end of the Earth? As this album, in almost every song, is ripe, lyrically, with exhortations of total anihiliaton.



"Time is running out...I have to say this, before it's too late..." sings Mick Collins in Ever Lovin Man. He then refers to the invevitable falling of an Empire and that the slipstream of destruction and darkness that surrounds us may be looming, but all he wants to be is your ever-lovin'-man.

Now, we can chock this up to the smoky, sweat-sheets classic funk influences of 'I just wanna please you, baby' that play onto the Dirtbomb's style.

But then in "Indivisible," (which immediately conjures the pledge of allegiance), he sings "You don't live in a vaccum, anymore than I do," (perhaps an indictment of Bush's reckless geopolitical bumbling) and that "the world's invisible..."

Sherlock Holmes is a heartbreaking singer/songwriter-esque ballad asking why the other man and not me? With steady rolling percussion (Ben Blackwell / Patrick Pantano) under Mick's minimalist buzz-strum and his vocals reaching beautiful heights. (But back to apocalypse...)

"Wreck My Flow," which others have admitted reminds them of Joel's "Fire," has a solid groove bassline from Troy Gregory and Ko Melina, with lyrics like "21st century, flame out history" leading into a high synth wail.

The Alan Moore penned-tune "Leopardman at C&A" is a strong centerpiece with relentless beats under an Are-You-Experienced-esque slow-starting engine rev guitar scrape, with lyrics: "the zoo age beings, we'll hunt down television sets and kill them for their skin," and squeezing cell phone juice on our barcode-tattooed-faces and sacrificing big fluorescent corporate symbols.

Then we're warned about a "Fire in the Western World" and the pathos for the occidental culture; "If we don't stop using there will be nothing left, the odds of defiance are slowly being crushed to death."

"Pretty Princess Day" gets loose, driving and playful, but still warns of "the world falling to pieces around you..."

Paranoia settles in on "They Have Us Surrounded," drenched in fuzz-fucked guitars, ominous tones and thunderous drums...and then the 9-minute black-hole-noise-drone of "Race To The Bottom" is perhaps the letting loose the hounds of hell...the ending of the world... have the veil lifted for the soft, dreamy acoustic opening of the closer, and there's no twist ending to the translation of this French pop-ballad: "La Fin Du Monde."


So, with so many songs in rock history harbingering the end of this world, it brings me to ask more questions and draw shakey conclusions...

How much more use do we have for the artistic expression of armageddon, if none of it (seemingly so, anyway) has seeped into this evermore steadily roboticized species of inevitably self-destructive-by-design being.

Well, rock n roll, as a scrutinized creature in the temporary captivity of my headphones, has never been art, its just been noise, speaking to, feeding and releasing our own most primal inner-desires and motivations.

But, damned if it hasn't also been influential.

We may not act on everything John Lennon or Dylan sang, but it still registers with us, we still acknowledge the profoundness of the statements, it does get filed away in our minds and hearts.

It's the same with all this Apocalypse music; decades of protest music, punk music, all of this doom and angst and it's-all-coming-down-around-us etc...has set our minds into an expectant state. We want to see this shit go down. We're ready. We hate that we're still stuck here because we know it's coming. And we don't want to go to work another day. Where's the world-ending stuff I've been singing along to for my life's soundtrack, bring it on...

And thus, the opening track of this perfectly-crafted apocalypse-pop record may end up bringing the most prophetic chorus of the bunch: "You Got What You Wanted..."

That's the past-tense, too! It could only be a week away!

So grab all your records and hold on tight, take 'em to the other side with you - all these years we've been building up catalogs to make the ultimate oblivion mix tape.

See you there.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You Sing For Them All: Tone and Niche

Tone and Niche brew a refined, light-jangled, warm toned folk with those pensive-setting-sun piano accompaniments and shimmering, beautiful violin/viola swinging saws that lull your heart into a teary-eyed smile, while steady strummed acoustics and driving rhythms carry foggy, world weary lyrics; the perfect soundtrack to the inevitable warming of the winds as winter turns to spring.


Anthony Retka (Tone) on guitar/vocals and Nicole Vagra (Niche) on violin, started playing around Detroit in 2002, first doing mostly covers but soon playing originals. In 2003 they released their first demo CD and in 2004 they released a proper debut, 'On The Streets Of.'

Since then they experimented with a rhythm section, went back to being a duo for a while out of comfort, and then experimented with a rhythm section again (with rewarding, finalizing results) – Scottie Stone on drums and Nick White on bass.

In 2007 they recorded their masterwork, "Rust," a strong front-to-back rhythm-rocking indie-folk tour de force; pop melodies, rolling rhythms and the beautiful brooding wail of Niche's strings under Tone's warm, pleasant ringing vocals. (See: "Rust" and "What I Could Have Done For You.")

"[With ‘On The Streets Of’]…our friend Dale Wilson engineered it in our friend Matt's attic," said Tone. "We were free to do whatever that way, but limited by lack of experience and gear. Still, Dale did an awesome job and we were much happier with the track list and the sound of the album.

"Our 2006 release (From Your Hands single) was recorded quick by Rick Smith in Eastpointe and that disc turned out being great as well because we enjoyed the songs and because we took time to get good sounds on the recording.

"RUST, however was a complete professional process. We recorded it at High Bias Studios in Detroit, had it mixed by Daniel Johnson (from Judah Johnson) who did a pro job! Then we mastered it in Dallas by a 'real' mastering guy who took care in his work on our cd. Rust, I think also reflects our growth in songwriting and making an effort at getting good sounds in the studio.

Tone (was going into music teaching before he found his gift for songwriting) has a voice that's earnest and booming, but with a soft, moving vibrato; Niche (has a BA in music performance) conjures heartbreaking melodies of wispy wanderlust. Often Tone's vocal melodies will intertwine with the capricious kite-like sweetly-sawed serenades from Niches violin. Think Revolver-era Beatles, Andrew Bird's string-laden neo-folk-pop and the heartache-poetics of Elliott Smith.

"The best show we ever had…" said Tone, "is hard to say. [But, the] best experience: opening for Martha Wainwritght in Nashville. Playing in that town can be really good or really bad. We happened to get lucky and join a good bill. Plus, Nashville is just fun to visit!

"We have always enjoyed playing the blowout. But, I have to say nothing beats the Rust CD release show we did at the Cadieux Cafe last December. The weather was terrible. Ice and sleet! We thought for sure it was a bust, but people turned out and we packed the house! It made us feel great! That's the best thing for a band or musician; when people come out to hear you and show support no matter what temper- tantrum Mother Nature throws."

Truly a gem in the rough and rocky milieu of an already healthily crowded Detroit scene, bringing a rock sensibility to country twang and spilling earnest, heartfelt singer/songwriter meditations grounded in a personable wisdom, in earthy tones feeling so attuned to the setting sun over the wheat fields on an immaculate summer's day.

Upcoming shows: T.C.'s Speakeasy (Ypsilanti) on 2/15 and the Belmont (Hamtramck) on 2/23.

And up next: "Taking the band on the road for a Midwest tour in the summer and continuing to record," said Tone. "Songs are coming out of our ears!"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Like Lightning To The System...


Scott Sellwood’s Drunken Barn Dance takes preconceptions of folk and alt-country and bends ‘em, lays ‘em out, chops ‘em up, kicks the table over, walks away and swigs some whiskey and comes back the next morning with deathly sobered focus, sprinkles some shoegaze and ambient dream-pop on top and then utilizes it all to tell you, plaintively and confidently, that he’s made up his mind about this whirled waltz of life and here it is…
Decidedly writing and recording outside the box, DBD’s debut was recorded with numerous room-mics on the same track and achieving a natural distortion by overwhelming them; ring modulators help fuzzify harmonicas and plenty of dreamy delayed guitar feedback aids Sellwood's high-range blares that pang with earnestness.
The aim of this project was to “recording quickly and decisively” and keeping it “loose and natural," and also taking in a good (or overly) measured amount of alcohol. In this swift, almost ruthlessly fast song-creation process, some songs were left behind - if things didn't work under a limited number of takes than they were lost, adding even more esteem to these ballads 'cuz you know they ended up meaning the most to their creator.
World-weary and philosophic, but never melodramatic or mystic, this music stares you right in the face. There’s the golden jangle of acoustic guitars but far from derivative coffee-house folk, it's transmogrified by a somber closeness into an unfound ethereal beauty. As able for soft-strummed, pensive and numbed accounts of ruined hearts as he is to belt out an independence declaring, nihilistic indictment of the world and it's fucked up ways.
Check out his myspace for some samples:
Next up he's going to re-release his self-titled effort on PedalBark records:

^photo by doug coombe

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lone Wolf and Cub - Reunion Show

Un-Cut oral history of inventive prog-rock-intricate twisters from the Spring Arbor area, Lone Wolf and Cub
They'll be having 2 reunion shows, 2/8 at the Jackson United Center in Jackson...and
2/9 at the good ol' Elbow Room in Ypsilanti...

They were only together a few years... These are lush, rhythmic compositions that set perfect grooves and beholding melodies like the northern lights. Their story has to be told somewhere...

Jay Meador - guitar
Stephen Dahmer - guitar, glockenspeil
Del Belcher - bass
Joel Skene - Rhodes, guitar
Aaron Quillen - drums, percussion

AARON QUILLEN: After playing our final show just over a year ago on January 4th, 2007, we are reuniting to play two shows, Friday February 8th in Jackson and Saturday February 9th in Ypsilanti.

What led to two more feb. shows?
AQ: Jay moved to China towards the end of January 2007. He is back in the states for the second half of January and first half of February. Joel is joining the Peace Corps with his wife in a few months. I figured if we ever wanted to play our songs ever again, even if just for the hell of it, we had this small window of opportunity to do it. Everybody else was in, thus, two reunion shows.

This band, for everyone involved, seemed to be a very electrifying, warm, exciting time, with chemistry in spades..., but now in 2008 for audiences in detroit who might not have gotten a chance to see you - how would you describe the band, it's styles and influences and, pretty much, the sum of its existence, to those who weren't lucky enough to see/hear you...
AQ: Well, the band was started with bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor and American Football in mind, at least for Jay, Stephen and I. When we were first starting out, I'd say that we all had a mutual love for Sufjan Stevens and Michigan alums Anathallo. Later on in the game other influences really started poking through in our individual playing, such as My Bloody Valentine, The Sea and Cake, The Who, and Interpol (mainly in Del's bass playing). I can't really assign a genre to us. In some reviews we got tagged as a post rock band, which I completely disagree with. We are much brighter than that. I don't know, we played technical, instrumental indie rock?

JAY MEADOR: It's true that the chemistry of this band is amazing. Most of the songs we've written has at least a couple of parts in it where we never discussed what we should do... we would just have a guy that set his stuff up the fastest just kindof fooling around before practice and we would hear him kindof messing around and then we'd all try to set up our stuff as fast as possible to get in there and add what we could to his part and we'd all be playing along with that for a while and then magically all come to the decision at the same time that we should bring in a different part and do it... really weird. Some of the songs we've never even talked about the structure, we just felt it out. The band's songs are products of us being stoked on what one guy was playing... so if you listen hard you can tell that the "movements" of each song have an underlying part that is kindof the backbone for everything... but some songs it's impossible to tell who came up with it... i forget myself now about who came up with the ideas for each song. In terms of influences, i'll put us all under the blanket of "indie" rock... but we all know that that so called blanket is massive. In reality we all like our own stuff, but in terms of this band, we all are familiar with our own sound and know what we should and shouldn't do. We all listen to so much music that in reality we probably couldn't pinpoint where our own individual influences come from. People are always trying to relate our band to other bands... they shouldn't try that too much because they'll get stuck on the idea that we are being influenced a lot by that band's music... what I've come to realize is that we are influenced from our own music. hahahaha. And the sum of its existence is to kindof see how far we can go in terms of writing music that we can look back on and be proud of what we made.

DEL BELCHER: The chemistry in this band is amazing without a doubt. Each member of this band is the best musician of their instrument that I have ever met, and some how we all fit together so perfectly. I came into the band last, and when I heard the four guys playing for the first time, I thought I was surrounded by wizards, it was incredible. But all of that chemistry doesn't end there, when we play live there is just this crazy energy that I can not explane. Maybe that is just me, being in the band, but when we play we have fun, we play and create this music for ourselves and people just happen to like it and I think that is where the electricity comes far as our sound? who knows. People have said some crazy things like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Save Farrris (that one still stumps me), or that were this spiritual experiance and I can remember one person saying that our music could cure cancer or something, I don't know, people are crazy. I don't know if your could define it, all five of us come from pretty different musical backgrounds, durring college we were all doing Lone Wolf and Cub, but were also doing our own way different music stuff too... we all like some of the same bands, but at our core we each love our own music and I think LWAC is just a mix of all of the bands we love mashed into one. Our music and our band deffinatly has an indie vibe, whatever that means, but each song is its own song, its own story, its own little experience. I think live we just try to take whoever is there on the same ride we go on when we play. I have never heard the same thing about our band from any two people, it is always different. I think I once told someone that our music was kind of like Sigur Ros, but with more rock 'n roll, a lot faster, and way more happy. If I was going to tell someone what to expect from a show I woud say be ready to see some dudes rock out harder than thay have ever rocked out before and just be ready for some good music.

AQ: Lone Wolf started writing and practicing in September 2004. Jay and I were in different bands on Spring Arbor University's campus somewhere between 2002 and 2004. Joel had another thing still going, and the three of us decided to jam. We knew Stephen from the year previous, and asked him to join on right away. Del was a transfer student and we met him in late September maybe, and after we got to buds with him, he was the final piece to the puzzle. Interesting note: Before we even played our first REAL show, we practiced for a couple of weeks for a Daft Punk cover set that we played at a Halloween show.


New Projects--

AQ: Lone Wolf was not a starting place for any of us. We had all been playing music in our own way for quite a long time, and I'm pretty sure we all had been in bands before. As far as what's been going on most recently, I'm not sure what Jay and Del have been up to musically. Stephen lives in Philadelphia now and has been writing and recording folk tunes under the moniker Friends and Foe. Joel has had a folk project for quite a while with his wife called Segernomics. Jay, Stephen, and I used to play for them as well. They just put out an EP back in October. During Lone Wolf's last stand, I was also playing drums in a pop/rock band called Natural Monuments, and that lasted through August 2007. We recorded an EP in a ridiculous studio with a dude who used to play in Brownsville Station back in the day. We released that in June, went on a short tour with The Word Play and then by ourselves, and that was that. Alec Jensen, our singer/singwriter/guitarist is opening up the Ypsilanti reunion show solo style. Most recently, I just started playing drums for Deastro.

JM: I don't think LW&C was a starting place for any of us... we had all been in bands before... but maybe we came into realization of new abilities and ideas in that band that allowed us to take our imagination to new levels. When I started playing in LW&C my guitar playing was mediocre, if not well below average (i'll just say that I didn't know the names to the strings), but through playing with these guys who I honestly feel are all better than me in terms of musical ability, I gained confidence in my guitar playing and my capacity for writing my parts to the songs. I think LW&C allowed every member to look back on a band that started to have a reputation and kindof use that to jump into their own thing. We've definately done the "members of LW&C" thing in the past to promote other shows (Segernomics for sure... I don't know about Natural Monuments). hahahaha... kindof throwing our weight around a little bit, but it's all good. Natural Monuments and Segernomics are definately bands that came about someway or another because of LW&C (really obvious for Segernomics cause everyone but Del played in that band for a while) but one of the Natural Monument guys (Tom) was the guy who recorded us and that's how Quillen met Tom.

DB: I am really proud of the other guys who were doing stuff then, and are doing stuff now. I do think that the band was a great place to start because of some of the connections we were able to create and keep up with. Like both shows we are playing in Feb are with bands that we had really good relationships with and would play with us again in 10 years I am sure.


JM: I can't describe how awesome the reaction by our fans was, or how wide of a variety of people make up our fanbase. We've had loyal fans who were 40 and had their own things going on, but just randomly liked our sound or our technical musical ability. A lot of college professors came to our shows, including the drama professor who would reflect to us usually what he felt about the energy and atmosphere of the show instead of focusing on the music. Every fan has their own reason to like us, and we encourage that and find it a blessing to know that they like us for deeper reasons than simply we are a "OK" band. People would come up to us and tell us that they love to get high and listen to our music, or take a nice summer drive and look at the scenery, a couple people have told me that they love making out to it... it's all good. The people who loved our music all found something different, and I hope that they keep searching for what kind of inspiration our music can bring. They already know how grateful I am... I instead want to encourage them to get their own thing going, whether musical or not. There's nothing that feels better than having someone appreciate something that you love to do. Invest your time into something that might inspire someone else... you are the future... and don't spend your whole life living in the United States... hahahaha! Move to Shanghai and we'll get something going here.
DB: I feel so blessed that I was able to be apart of something that we did because we liked it and people inturn found their own joy in it. One person said that our music was like chasing after the icecream truck on a warm summer evening, my cousin played some of our music at her wedding reception, I have seen people crying at our shows. If there is anytthing I can say to anyone new who comes to these last two shows I would say find your own thing in us. If you don't like our music, that is cool, but just try to feel the energy, try to dip your toe into the experiance, or just let it be background music to your time with your friends. We aren't trying to make some statment, our song titles don't make sence because we thought they were funny...not for some deep meaning, we are just a bunch of guys who love music, we love how it can make someone feel and I hope that anyone who has heard our music or will hear our music , even for a second, will be ableto find something new and good in their life and pass it on.But most of all, thank you to everyone who ever paid to see us, and is even going to come to a show a year after we broke up! Thanks for buying a cd or t-shirt or supporting us in some other way, little kids, old guys, college profs. and everyone in between. We love you all!! Thanks for everything!


have you heard the new___?, this week, Real Detroit has Vampire Weekend on the cover, a band whose debut album that no one's supposed to have heard yet just came out a week prior. They're a NY-based quartet of Columbia graduates who revel in borderline pastel-tinted docility, P. Simon-esque pastoral impressions, world music revival, maturely reflective lyrics and inventive melodies, something like an F. Scott Fitzgerald novella ensnared by the catchiest hooks of mood and voice you could ever imagine in your bubble gum dreams.

And thirteen minutes from now a blogger will declare and persuade other electric-box-worshiping-clickers to believe that this band is no longer cool and that they've got illegally pirated downloads recorded just twenty minutes ago from three other bands that are way cooler than the one we just put on the cover…

...doesn't make much sense and yet it's so common place in this internet generation.

I finally broke down the other day. It was a stinging dagger chill morning in the dead of January at the would-be neo-bohemian coffee joint in the commercial district, where I get my caffeine in take on leather couches, head between the headphones, writing music reviews for .5¢/word. This is during what is probably my 300th album review. There's only so much creative and vibrant adjectives one can effuse about shit that starts sounding the same, or about something you know deep down is so obscure that only 17 other people on the continent are going to listen to it, or writing about an album that you know everyone has already heard because they've downloaded it already.

What does one do in a world where art (in our case, music) is regarded as a litter of caged puppies all yapping at the same time, where the bloggers in their pet shop aprons come by and point out that one in the corner who can stand on his hind legs. The same pet shop boy blogger will euthanize that same peppy pup in a matter of months.

What does music even mean to Generation (wh)Y(?)


I won't be updating this regularly...but you can read about bands here. Real people, real musicians, not just mp3's.