Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Light In August - 5/31 at Jacoby's and 6/19 at the Belmont

Light in August

Deep Cutz

Photo by Amy Palomar

Light In August comes out of Royal Oak, making smooth and crisp sounding soul-pop with McCartney-esque narrative vignette lyrics; blending esteemed folk styling (think lush Bryter Layter Nick Drake or maybe Cat Stevens) into stately, shimmering prog-rock interpretations (Sea & Cake’s tight, jazzy swagger, delivered with disarming charisma) marvelous rhythms supplement a dream-pop romanticism melded with pedal-fuzzed spacey-instrumentals.

The band, born from high school collaborations between singer/guitarist Alex Wand, drummer Ian Teeley and bassist Jack Henry, formed properly last summer (07).When, Alex returned from a trip through India/Spain learning sitar and classical guitar, he found, meanwhile, that “Jack was screaming to Ian’s breakdown guitar riffs in the hardcore metal band Cellar Door.”

The sturdy rhythm duo soon paired with Alex’s newly enlightened guitar styles to begin writing as Light in August. (They take their name from a William Faulkner novel; “In the book,” said Alex, “the ‘light’ is a symbol of the new generation. We thought it was a fitting name so we stuck with it.”)

“Since we are all fluent in each other’s instruments,” said Ian, “that makes songwriting more interesting because we constantly exchange ideas for what to play.”
“We are in the middle of recording,” concluded Alex, “our first EP, ‘Places,’ at Rustbelt Studios, which will be released sometime in mid-July.”

See them: 5/31 Jacoby's - 6 /19 – Belmont;
Hear them: www.myspace.com/lightinaugustmusic

And, the uncutz-interview:

firstly, how and when the band came together? how long have you all been playing and how you got into music...?

Alex: Light in August just formed last summer, but we've been playing music together since we were teenagers. In high school, Ian and I played in Astral Plane, which was a progressive rock group influenced by Pink Floyd-esque music. A few years later, Jack was screaming to Ian's breakdown guitar riffs in the hardcore metal band Cellar Door. In college, I had been performing with my acoustic guitar around the coffee shops of Ann Arbor. I also spent time traveling to India where I learned to play the sitar and then living in southern Spain for a year where I studied the classical guitar. Meanwhile, Jack and Ian were playing music under the name The Fuse. When I got back from Spain, we began working together on new material in our hometown Royal Oak and by late summer, started performing as Light in August.

each element, the guitars, the bass, the drums, sound very distinct--i can't pin it down, funk? jazz?--what would you say are some of Light in August’s main influences?

Alex: We all have gone through a lot of music listening phases but some of the bands that are most special to us are the Beatles, Stars, Wilco and Radiohead. Vocally, I look up to folky singers like Cat Stevens, Nick Drake, Bon Iver and Chan Marshall. My guitar playing is influenced by a lot of fingerpicking and classical guitar music. When I was younger, I always used a pick but now after playing the classical guitar I feel much more comfortable just using my fingers.

Ian: As far as drums go, I am heavily influenced by Carter Beauford and Dave Grohl. They are two completely different schools of drumming- the Dave Grohl style is an in-the-pocket, serve the song approach while the Carter Beauford style is more of a 'play around the beat' way of drumming. When both are mixed well, it makes for an effective style that lets the song sound its best.How'd you come to be named thus?

Alex: Before coming up with Light in August, we went through many different band name ideas. One of them that almost made it was 'The New York Times' which was shot down due to the possibility of getting sued (although I though it would actually be pretty cool to be sued by the New York Times). The name Light in August does come from the William Faulkner novel. In the book, the 'light' is a symbol of the new generation. We thought that it was fitting name so we stuck with it. We figured if the band As I Lay Dying can use the title of a Faulkner novel for their name, then so could we.

Light in August

How do you approach songwriting--and how do you feel about instrumental music--as it seems you aren't afraid to shy away from lyric-less formats...

Alex: When we're writing, we always try to do what is best for the song. In Cloudy Beginnings for example, the guitar part was begging for the song to be instrumental so we just kept it that way. In some of our songs (ie. Krishna Consciousness, Ashes), the choruses don't have vocals but we didn't really do that consciously, it just seemed like the most natural way to write them.

Ian: Typically we write as a band. Either I will write a drum part and Alex will find a guitar part that fits to my beat or vise-versa. Since we are all fluent in each other's instruments, that makes songwriting more interesting because we constantly exchange ideas for what to play. As far as instrumental music, we love everything from Steve Vai to Mogwai to Explosions in the Sky. We're definitely not afraid to hold the vocals and let the instruments do all the talking.

Future plans for light in august?

Alex: We are in the middle of recording our first EP entitled "Places" at Rustbelt Studios which will be released sometime in mid-July. Aside from that, our main goals are to be constantly writing new music and playing around as much as we can. Our upcoming shows are at Jacoby's on May 31st, the Belmont on June 19th and the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair on July 18th.

Photos by Amy Palomar

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saturday: Jacoby's: Electric Fire Babies

Cheers to Mr. Handyside at the Metro Times for digging through the white noise of myspace to illuminate the legend of Carjack and provide proper and timely fanfare to a band that's prime to take the city by storm, the Electric Fire Babies. Krautrock, rap, basement-bootyshaking-beats, nihilistic dystopic disertations on "the city" with classic funk guitar chording and speak-sing-howl boy-girl harmonies over devestating techno style synth drum and bass - the result two relentless sound scientists in their own DIY 4-track aesthetics, Lo-fi Bri and Justin Audio's sensibility and musicianship combined with the insuppresible voice (and rhythms) of Miss N. on vocals...this band has hit the ground running...

...and is headlining Jacoby's this Saturday, with comparable darkly electro pop/experimental act Marco Polio and the New Vaccines - and and the thick atmospheric/dance electronica of NikTronic.


and of course, this is still on for Friday...


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pewter Cub (5/31 - Belmont)

Deep Cutz: Pewter Cub

Well, with all the electronic-centered fervor of the upcoming Movement, (do people still call it DEMF? The Electronic music fest here in the heart of Detroit this Memorial Day weekend)…, yes, in the middle of all that coverage, one can still get their lo-fi fuzzy indie-rock kicks by swinging over to Deep Cutz.

(pewter cub)

It's always refreshing to find a band like Pewter Cub, who invoke the stirringly raw and guileless sounding basement-aesthetic that's been hard to come by in post-2000-indie-rock (think early Guided By Voices, a more surfy-Young Marble Giants, or the caustic synth garnish of The Fall), or as singer/guitarist/bassist Regan puts it: "Sonic Youth, Sparks, the Ventures, Wall of Voodoo, the Manchester/Sheffield sounds," (listen: 'Soda Fountain'); "We love John Carpenter's music and films," (listen: 'Werewolf Sleepover'); "The best we can say for our sound is it's kind of torch-song-disco-surf-wave-distortion with a dash of humor." Jangled surf-fuzz with synth/beats, splendid.

With Scott on guitars/bass/vocals, the Hamtramck duo (originally a trio, with friend/drummer Chad) started in August 05 (and have since adapted with a drum machine) and render an eloquent heartfelt fuzz rock, minimalist in its rhythms and straight to the point with its dreamy hooks, brazen sequenced booms, synth buzzes and hypnotic vocals tones. "We'd like to start putting a long-player together soon," said Regan. "What else? Commercial jingles? Vaudeville revues? World domination? We're in talks..."

(visit and listen at: http://www.myspace.com/pewtercub)

See them live at the Belmont, 5/31

Here’s the full un-cut(z) interview:

How did the band start?

Regan/PC: We actually started out as a three-piece with our amazing drummer friend Chad back in August of 2005, just writing and recording in Scott's basement. Chad moved away the following summer, so Scott and I decided to keep going with our trusty friend Dr. Rhythm (i.e. old drum machine)...

How about influences?

PC: We both like a LOT of RANDOM music, so our influences are pretty widespread, some of the majors being: Sonic Youth, Sparks, the Ventures, Wall of Voodoo, the Manchester/Sheffield sounds. we love John Carpenter's music and films. The best we can say for our sound is it's kind of torch-song-disco-surf-wave-distortion with a dash of humor...we don't have a real agenda, we just kind of do what comes out!

How about future plans?

PC: More shows! We've been having a blast playing lately...a tour would be nice. We'd like to start putting a long-player together soon. What else? Commercial jingles? Vaudeville revues? World domination? We're in talks...

Los Campesinos - play the Magic Stick + Hold On Now, Youngster...(review)

Forceful freewheeling indie-power-posters, Los Campesinos, come to town this Saturday at the Magic Stick

(photo by Sarah Wilmer)

Los Campesinos – Hold On Now, Youngster… B Arts & Crafts

Hearing the jubilant basement sock-hop sound of this album creates the effect of the reading of its title as sounding like a raspy octogenarian drawl that places a condescending, cautionary hand on the boney shoulder of the sound’s gaunt sprout, only to quickly be brushed aside as the upstarts square off with their elder in garish defiance – as Los Campesions!, though they can often conjure a soft, sweet twinkle of dandelion seeds through the rays of rainbows, can simultaneously shred any ill-presumed naivety and cause even the most prudishly dismissive (as is the risked reaction of such a youthful, poppy and, as the word’s already been suggested so inevitably, twee) to sit up, take notice and respect this sneering/philosophic, bright-eyed/world-weary septet of Welsh-spawned, barely post-college, exubero-rockers.

In two years time, these talented Cardiff University sprites jammed some demos inspired by musing prog rockers Broken Social Scene and have since already toured their butts off, signed to a label, released two EP’s, finished school and now, their debut full-length ‘Hold On Now, Youngster…’ hits the shelves with pulsing beats, whirling blip keyboards, brazen glockenspiels, soft meditative strings, beautiful blurring motorboat shred guitars veering in, over and around boy/girl vocals sounding respectively like the chip on his shoulder chap who was first to figure out high school was bullshit and ran away from home and the impossibly beautiful artsy college girl who reads Tolstoy and always looks before she leaps.

The urgent, driving energy of the album exterminates complacency – it makes you feel lazy for sitting still. The energy: if it isn’t celebratory then it is searching, and if it is not searching then it is evading. Sometimes celebratory for the sake of youth, freedom, simplicity, love (“You! Me! Dancing!”), or searching for answers to the great question of love and relationships (“Knee Deep ATP; “This Is How You Spell…”); or evading the oppression of home-life or a technologically advanced yet still crumbling world (“Death to Los Campesinos.”)

The ever-rousing pace and sugary joviality of the sound may come off as a jolted Belle & Sebastian or a less flamboyant, sample-less Go! Team, and it may make the aging indie-rocker fan who lived through some of the glory days that the Camp’s are re-galvanizing (see: their splendid Pavement cover,) but this album holds so many disarming, profound poetics and unfound gravity that it may make even the old codger who cautiously speaks the album title to think it over and listen to what they have to say – because these youngsters seem to know where they’re going.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Here's The Story Now: Silverghost at Jacoby's

Busy night last night - one of the bittersweet aspects of Detroit's scene - on a good night you can be one place and be satisfied with your decision yet simultaneously kicking yourself for the hot-blooded exploits that you will be missing at 3 other bars in the downtown area...namely, I missed the Hentchmen. But, still had a good night of music.

Just a few photos and words from last night's show at Jacoby's, featuring The Spainards, Wildcatting and Silverghost. Walking through the joint, asking around from assorted attendants or band members, no one seemed to know much about the Spainards, and the mystery is thickened this morning by the fact that I can't seem to find them on myspace - but they showed great potential as a power-trio delving into standard, catchy artsy-indie rock with a measured dose of abrasive noisy feedback at the frayed edges. Keep a look out for them...hopefully they play again sometime.

(The Spainards)

Wildcatting, the forceful wrath-of-Zeus instrumental metal-math rockers (who started in Milford, growing up with Silverghost keyboardist/singer Deleano Acevedo, hence the added camaraderie of the shared bill) further developed some of their new material, fleshing out another cerebral relentless pounding titled "Found Foot;" while also inviting Lo-Fi Bri (from Carjack. and the Electric Fire Babies) up to perform one song as the hybrid-band Carjacking, (covering Carjack's fittingly titled anthem, Carjack Theme. (The Electric Fire Babies play Jacoby's next Saturday.)

Meanwhile, Silverghost, with Marcie Bolan on guitar continue to impress with hints of post-punk/new wave darkly visaged pop structures utilizing great back and forth boy-girl harmony vocals with danceable but not overwhelming sequenced beats and Bolan's formidable guitar work. The arresting middle ground between crunched-fuzzed outward experimental electronics, hard driving pop/rock and esoteric post-punk sing-speak-scream vocals.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thee Silver Mt. Zion - and Islands

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, (who sometimes fluctuates band members and often fluctuates their band-name...if only silghtly) recently released their characteristically overwhelming instrumental onsalughts on 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons.

They'll be playing the Magic Stick on June 2nd.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – 13 Blues for Thirteen Moon B -


Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra matter-of-factly weed out the uncommitted-to-the-outsider-trip-out-epic-soundscapes by opening with (truly unique to CD format) 11 tracks of cut-up-snippets of an eerie 75 second instrumental song – then falling into the 15 minute "opening" (at # 13) track, 1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound (chanted for the first 2 minutes before falling into a feedback heavy, cello-saw-groove with heavy rhythms and booming nasally vocals.) An easy transition for God Speed You Black Emperor-fans, (this being the project of that band's Efrim Menuck.) Get deep enough into their thick compositions and your mind'll be blown by the intricate effects and 2001: A Space Odyssey-I-can-taste-colors
-trip-out crescendos. An acquired taste for a certain surreal time of day.


Coming out next week - Islands will release their long awaited follow up to their sort-of debut, Return to the Sea (though they are often seen as starting back in the early 00's as The Unicorns.)

Until the album shows up, (you can hear the whole album on their myspace) here's Islands on Deep Cutz:



(photo by Melissa Trottier)

Islands Are People Too

Nick Thorburn seems an infrequent, translucent little bugger.

He used to be known as Nick Diamonds; he used to be in a band called Unicorns until the Montreal trio burned themselves out on the road, leading to the departure of founding member Alden Penner. After one album, that band became Islands. Islands is best known for aerodynamic calypso-inflected indie rock, spooky dance overtures and sugar-pop craftsmanship, yet simultaneously, Thorburn ardently seeks out hip-hop related side projects.On tour, he lost his other ex-Unicorn/founding Islands member, Jaime Thompson, after which blog spinsters speculated that Islands would become a hip-hop project called Th’ Corn Gangg, which was eventually clarified into just another Islands side project celebrating an occasional non-Islands reunion of Thorburn and Thompson.

Islands released an album, Return to the Sea, with Thorburn now framed by half-a-dozen highly skilled music school students tooting, trilling and sawing on flamboyant trombones, flutes and cello accompaniments — and then went under the radar for the last year, before which Thorburn declared dynamically, “Islands are forever.” And during said-quiet-Islands-year, he stuck his hand into numerous other side project cookie jars of varying genre types and influences.

This soft-spoken Canadian, with sporadically heaved moment-freezing sighs, explains why he deceptively seems hyperactive: “Life’s gotten better,” comes his airy monotone. “Since everything’s gotten sorted out with the new record (Arm’s Way), it’s been in total purgatory for about ... 10 months. It was because we were trying to get out of our really shitty label in Canada.” Breaches of contract meant a looming court battle, but Islands settled: “It was an epic fucking battle — and I chose to enter into it. We came out victorious by virtue of the fact that we’re not giving them this record, and it’s a really good record.” (Out soon on Anti-).

“I really didn’t know what to do with myself,” says the multi-instrumentalist. “I couldn’t stop writing songs but I couldn’t release them.” He collaborated with Toronto musician/once-Islands’er Jim Guthrie, “one of the most gifted, insightful musicians I can think of” to form Human Highway and make “a mellow kinda record, with a lot of harmonies.” The two recorded their first HH song while holed up in a haunted hotel on tour, venturing into a vacant room upstairs and strumming/whistling through a rough composition. Also to kill label-transition-time, he reunited with Jamie Thompson to restart beat experimentation with Th’ Corn Gangg. He says when he started Unicorns he felt he would be in that band for his entire life.

“When that band broke up it kinda shattered everything. Now, I’m a little more adaptable. I can move onto different things if need be, but Islands is definitely my main love, my main focus.” Reflecting on shifting as a songwriter from a trio to a duo to now just himself, he says he feels he’s continually getting better — and no, he’s not obsessed with a pop sound.

Arm’s Way shows signs of this: “The melodies are more developed, the harmony’s there, it’s just a lot more musicality … it’s like a marble slab that we’re carving out, and each one has a unique cut, a unique perspective. Yeah — fun record.” RDW

Thursday, May 15, 2008

back-logged Album Reviews

I thought to myself, on this otherwise same-as-any/sleepy-sunny afternoon as I was contemplating the complete digitization of every thought, movement, exchange and social grace - that we should just dive in and make more clutter for the internet. Thus, I'm continuing this scattershot "blog" with my nihilistic word-splurges on music.

This week, (and new to this format of Deep Cutz,) I wanted to put up a few back-logged album reviews. The first, from a local label, God Sags His Pants with their Winter Comp.; then the Scandinavian house/trip-hop/techno of diskJokke
and then Clinic and the Breeders (from April.)

God Sags His Pants Winter Comp. B God Sags His Pants records

A belated heralding for this exceptional compilation (organized earlier this year as a winter-offering) from the impressive and ambitious local rock collective – God Sags His Pants records. This strong, front-to-back listen features the brooding, sometimes volatile/sometimes serene anti-folk mingling with punk, art-rock and singer/songwriter reflections that are typical flavors for the label. Featured here is the head-swimming, layered rock odysseys of Big Black Cloud and the gritty, bristly rock/pop and punk of Noman – the label's flagship bands. Also featured are BBC side projects: singer Costa's intricate acoustics in a melancholic sway as The Blindness of Helen Keller ("Nebraska"); bassist Schram galvanizes a subtly rhythmic solemnity as Shiloh (with "Fmly"); while guitarist Miller and drummer Davis experiment with more avant-electronic wanderings – Miller with a fuzzy distorted woodsy trip as GK (check out "Ice Cream For Eeto") and Miller as a duo in the more ambient electronica of In June (instrumental centerpiece "Breath of Fresh Water.")

Noman holds their own with the most energetic, driving shake ups (the generational indictment of "Bombs Away") and you get a couple BBC cerebral epics ("Merriweather.) Finally, the versatile psyche-folk of GSHP allies (Colorado-based) Penninsula Pardon (the dreamy haunt-pop of "Diadema Dreams") almost ends up stealing the show – but that is a difficult task considering the company of all these talented musicians.


diskJokke – Staying In B - smalltown supersound

A running, disorienting piano jaunt fades away to wavy synths and immaculate spaced-out strings as a sturdy dance beat settles into cruise control for a nice 6 minute electro-rave – thus opens diskJokke's "Staying In" LP; a resident house DJ out of the Oslo, Norway (OsloDisco) scene (linked with Lindstrom and Prins Thomas), Joachim Pyrdahl is distinguished by his dub and Italo-leaning styles (utilizing horns, bongos and flashy bass booms) but fused with chilly synth tones of classic house and techno - heavy on disco and the futuristic-robotic-sensibility of new wave, a bit derivative but still inventive.


Clinic – Do It! B + Domino

Do It! Declares itself "a celebration of the past to your present," with a synthy gale bridging a fuzzy guitar punch and hallow beat over the Davies-ian opener "Memories;" and one can't help remembering (or noticing the gap this record represents structurally and aurally from) their fuzzy spooky and sparse doo-wop nightmarish debut full-length Internal Wrangler. Do It! is comparatively coherent and clean and, in fact, quite strong in its overall statement (with beautifully surfy-toned guitars over "Tomorrow" mixed with their characteristic creepy harmonica tones that sound easygoing compared to early work.)

The Liverpool quartet continues their smashing of new-wave with surf, 80's pop and krautrock (see the reeling slow-dance bopper "Coda" or the dramatic and swaggering guitar heavy "The Witch. (Made To Measure)") Less evident here is the volatility of their past work – where songs once felt as though they'd deteriorate before the 3rd chorus into some hallucinogenic oblivion – Do It! features a steady pace throughout (coming and going perfectly in under 35 minutes) with well-crafted minimalist, fuzzed-out rock songs that drift from Pixies-ian loud-to-soft chorus-verse structures (see "Free Not Free.") Stand-out track for me so far, in terms of classic Clinic goes to the guitar noodling subtle freak fest of "Corpus Christi" and it's wind up grinds and strange with a wayward solo from a snake-charmer's pungi. "A celebration of sheer joy."



Breeders – Mountain Battle B + 4AD

Spring means fresh, vigor, sprouting, blooming; yet, in the music world it's been a parade of 'what's old is new' stories like the Rolling Stones concert film or R.E.M.'s resurrection or Kim Deal, the beloved but troubled bass player (and singer) from one of the most influentially bastardized (but still one of the top six most important bands ever) the Pixies, who is being hailed with a 'comeback' of her 'other' 'poppier' 'alt-rockier' band, the Breeders – whom we haven't heard from since they're critically unappreciated Title TK (in 2002.)

Mountain Battles is darkly enchanting, with beautiful grooves properly buzzed and layered by producer Steve Albini in the Breeders-preferred anti-computer All-Wave style. The sound is raw, sparse, with hollow drums and minimalist guitars and dreamy but dreary vocals. The rush-fuzz energy of "Overglazed" hits the gas, opens the window and drinks in the sky; "Bang On" sounds like a basement b-side booty-stomp ala strung-out weekday B-52's; "Istanbul" rides a similar low-key but heavily grooved cool-bop ditty vibe; while "Walk It Off" recalls the coarsely shimmering hook-filled melodies and heavy-chug-strummed sweetness of much of their earlier work, "Pod" and "Last Splash." It all has a sort of disoriented solemnity, and at times feels a bit patched together, but the overall effect is a coaxing confidence and a strange sort of swing.

Old may be new this spring, but that's fine – cuz this is a damn fine record.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Meatmen; Electric 6; SSM; Johnny Headband; Deastro and Carjack., Crofoot, 5/23

(from top to bottom)
Electric 6; The Meatmen; Johnny Headband; Carjack

(Johnny Headband photo by: EE Berger; Meatmen photo by Cale Sauter)

This is easily a contender for Show of the Year (not in a literal sense, I’m not collecting votes)

I’m just saying, based on line-up power alone, this show may have that epochal power to conjure mythic rock n roll beasts to spew forth from the cracks of this ruined earth and lay ruthless medieval-style devastation on all outlying cities.

That, and it’s for a great cause, - to help out longtime friend of Detroit Laura Rock.

Next Friday (5/23) at the Crofoot Ballroom, 6 local bands: The Electric 6, The Meatmen, SSM, Johnny Headband, Deastro and Carjack, (plus guest DJ's!) come together for a fund-raising concert dedicated to long time local music supporter (and singer herself from the Black Lincolns) Laura Rock – who is currently facing critical health issues and medical bills. Now, her friends want to give back, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Laura and her family. "She has a lot of friends and supporters throughout the city," said E6 keyboardist Tait Nucleus?. "She's worked at the Berkley Front, Belmont, Northern Lights Lounge, she's done it all and she's set up a bunch of really successful nights at different bars and brought bands in to do 'em. She’s helped bands out all over"


Firstly, it’s been years since the iconic hardcore punk rockers The Meatmen played a show, brandishing their brazenly politically-incorrect humor and intensity – secondly, you also get two of the most successful-worldwide (Detroit-born) bands in the grimy-psyche-rock of SSM and the always show-stopping disco-rock of Electric 6. Also on the bill, theatrical new-wave/rock with Johnny Headband (currently working on their next album), the synth-heavy dream pop of Deastro (working on an EP) and the forceful, freaked-up electro punk rock of Carjack (who’s also currently writing and recording.)

An unbelievable line up for a great cause. Tickets are $15. Advanced tickets are available on the crofoot website

Visit: myspace.com/rockontorecovery

(SSM & Carjack)

...next FRIDAY...quite possibly the show of the year


A great line up...a great cause...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Farewells; Oblisk; Pewter Cub and The Netherfriends

Here's a bit of a slap-dash posting...simply to highlight a few local bands that I've been really digging lately - which leads me to acknowledge that even if myspace is a double-edged sword it still leads to you, or me, or she or he, or your mom...having the power, if they're diligent enough, to find these bands on any given minute of any given day...
The other side of that sword, inevitably, is getting lost in the white noise blathering of the internet, as I'm sure this blog does...
but that's for another rant...

for now, check out The Farewells from Ypsilanti, indie rock that spans from dreamy-lo-fi-pop to swaggering guitar-heavy-rock, playing T.C.'s Speakeasy on May 24th!

also, there's the atmospheric grand shoegazey/synth-aided lush soundscapes of Oblisk

...who play the Painted Lady in Hamtramck on the 23rd and Northern Lights Lounge on the 24th.

Next would be just quick shout-outy-type link to Hamtramck's Pewter Cub

classical caustic basement-experimentation lo-fi-fuzzed-indie rock! But, you can read more about that an in upcoming print-version of Deep Cutz

Lastly, The Netherfriends
I just listened to the (hard copy) of their impressive debut EP this week, after they visited the CAID earlier this month. Here is an older Real Detroit article I had written on them before. The last thing I want is for this to come off as the typical blogger-first-kid-on-the-block-to-say-so about a band...I just want people to listen to them...

The Netherfriends
This Thing Called A Heart

“Some guy once told us we sound like the bastard pop-band from hell that he has always been looking for,” says singer/guitarist/pianist/anything-ist, Shawn Rosenblatt of his fuzzed experimental gypsy space-folk trio, The Netherfriends. The guy also said their sound might sound like, “if the Zombies and Animal Collective met and recorded in a kitchen.”

But that glosses over the radiant sky-blue soul of the warm tones and capricious melodies; an otherworldly map sprawled upon the shag carpet in front of your record player with ‘60’s pop LPs. Subtle synths soar throughout with roughly-hewn cerebral wings over versatile percussions — visceral lo-fi hums and harmonies, pastoral melodies and skewed realist lyrics.

Just three college kids, Shawn, drummer Paul Newmann and keyboardist Angie Kang are on their first self-booked tour — bringing their galactic campfire chimes and kaleidoscopic pop structures around the Great Lakes.

It’s worth toasting an Internet musical community where eureka sunrays like Netherfriends can find audiences, and Scrummage University is helping to galvanize an earnest, heartfelt underground devoid of desires for labels or hit singles — embracing refreshing sensibilities for a new underground.

It started as Shawn’s solo project; the material was written and recorded in his apartment with dynamic mics, audio interface and “a bunch of zany instruments” (with additional audio contributions from his bandmates and girlfriend). Shawn found his comrades on Craigslist: “[Paul emailed] me something on the lines of ‘I don’t have a set, but I will play a ladder with a toothbrush.’ We settled on pots and pans and practiced in my bedroom. Angie sent me a track of a rap song she recorded. I loved it and knew she would be perfect.”

“Setting up a tour is surprisingly easy with the Internet these days,” says Shawn, who works part time in a real estate office, at a desk, by himself, with time to peruse the electronic landscape and put the tour feelers out there — they busied themselves during winter-break, booking a tour without sending a single press-kit. Job well done.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I, Crime (Saturday at Northern Lights Lounge), with Giant Tigers

I, Crime

I, Crime are stunning, well-versed songwriters. Consciously aware of whether I'm shopping too closely to the Cliches-department, I wanted to avoid ranting on about how they are hard to label. Maybe they aren't? I could throw adjectives out like soulful and rhythmic and somewhat abrasive, but I don't know if it would do them justice.

Listen to “Priest” and you hear post-punk; listen to “Drowning” and there’s almost a neo/alt-country vibe; and then the swaggering “It Ain’t Right” feels straight-up indie-rock.

Formed in 2004 from a series "beer-influenced Tuesday night experimentations" between writing duo Jennie Knaggs and Anderson Walworth, they soon added percussionist Charlie McCutcheon and began playing out as a trio. Recently, bassist Mike Ventimiglia joined to make it a quartet.

In 2006 they released the Get The Knife EP. Currently, I, Crime working on a full-length with engineer Collin Dupuis (Zoos of Berlin). “Not only is he a totally amazing engineer,” said Jennie, “[and Grammy nominated, but] he is [also] a close friend who has seen the band progress.” The versatile pop/indie/punk/psych/everything rockers are releasing a 7” single for the song, “Dove Skin Gloves” this spring (with the LP out, most likely, in September).

Genre specifications become bastardized — go see this band if you want some of the best rhythmic and stylized rock 'n' pop with splendid hooks and harmonies.They play Saturday at Northern Lights Lounge with Giant Tigers.

Here's the un-cut interview:

DC: what's been some of the new developments for I,Crime?

Jennie Knaggs:

We have been in and out of the studio the last few months working on both a single and a full length record. We will be releasing a 7inch of our song "Dove Skin Gloves" this spring, and the full length should be out by September. Its an on-going project - we just keep adding more songs to the list and experimenting with sounds to bring out the best in each song. It helps make the old songs new again, too. We are really lucky to be recording with Collin Dupuis (drummer of Zoo's of Berlin). Not only is he a totally amazing engineer (and Grammy nominated!!) he is also a close friend of ours who has seen the band progress, so he has a good understanding of what we are going for. The five us really work well together.

DC: Does the collaborative songwriting between you and Anderson still flow the same as it did in the band's more experimental, days? how has it changed? (or not?)

JK: When we started, we were just drinking beer and making stuff up every Tuesday night in my basement. There was no structure or intension at that time. But once we realized we could write real songs together, I think things naturally changed. We may be more accustomed to each others styles now, but mostly our songs come from the same places. Either based on a jam session with the whole band, or one of us will write a song and the rest of us tweek it until it feels done.

Actually, the song "Dove Skin Gloves" none of us remember writing...I was clearing out some memory on my phone and found a recording we had done of a simple idea...I played it back to the band and we all fleshed it out into one of our favorite songs. Its like we stole it from ourselves...

DC: Sometimes the influences-question is inevitable…

Anderson Walworth: That's a hard question... past influences always find their subtle places, but lately I've been into to checking out new punk bands like the potential Johns or the Rats, It seems like it's easier to find a good punk band lately than a tolerable indie rock /rock band.

JK: As a band, I think all of our tastes have always been pretty eclectic... I think we are alike in that way, and that hasn't changed. We all can appreciate a good pop song and then turn around and listen to some punk rock or whatever. But thinking about how other music influences your own is always a difficult question. Influences really sneak in to where it’s hard to spot them in your own music. If I ever try to create a sound based loosely on something else I heard, it usually turns out to be trash. My best songs are always accidental. -

DC: You seem like a laid back outfit, not playing out that much locally, not over-exposing yourself with festival appearances, but still keeping it legit and playing live on NPR and getting out and touring, etc..., are you conscious of this low-key approach or of your still-somewhat (my word, somebody give me the hook for this pun…) “criminally”-low-profile in Detroit? is it a purposeful approach?

AW: We are only low-profile because no one likes us.... : )

DC: What's coming up next for I,Crime?

AW: Hmmm... there is the 7inch and were booking a midwest/east-coast tour for August to celebrate. I hope my eyes don't turn yellow again...

JK: Yeah that was gross.

more info: Giant Tigers
Northern Lights Lounge

Curare III - photos

Here are a few images from last Saturday's Curare III
an epic, strung out, psyche-rock freak-jam of a festival, put on by Mike from Red China
and hosted by the good people at the CAID.
10 bands - dueling stages - cerebral highflying jams - and the combination of Carjack and Wildcatting, a wild ride...probably rapping up somewhere near the 4 a.m. mark of Sunday morning.
(all photos by Mike Milo)


The Netherfriends

The Oscillating Fan Club