Saturday, November 29, 2008

Something Something Christmas - by Elle & The Foe

Elle (from Elle & The Fonts / Detroit Riot) and Brad (from the Friendly Foes) have combined their songwriting efforts for some sweet, meloncholic, warm-n-tingly yuletide balladry -
This year, for Christmas, Elle & The Foe bring you "Something Something Christmas"

Something Something Christmas - Elle and the FoeSomething Something Christmas - Elle and the Foe

This is part of the Suburban Sprawl holiday compilation, which should be posted early this coming week (which features over 35 bands' contributions)

more info: here

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DEVILFISH - 11/28 Cadieux Cafe

Devilfish is a quirky, visceral instrumental surf-rock band that got its start somewhere in the chilly depths of 2006. It features guitarists Jeff Spatafora and Pierce Reynolds interweaving their lead freak out expressions and trading off the high end and low ends while drummer Rez certainly makes his own exuberant shambled pounding statements burn with as much distinction as the pick-up-padded, pedal-pushed fuzz-fuck / sunny toned guitar driving madness.

Surf rock needed a shock…from a trio with varied palette and a taste for the experimental, with a bewildering sense of humor, who bring a vibrant energy to each of their instruments.

If those chugging pipeline guitar rhythms of classics like the Ventures paired with more sideways-spaced-out jazzy-ness of avant-guitarists like Sea & Cake or even more amped-up tempo-pushers like California’s Mermen, (also remembering to occasionally cloak the vibe with darker, more acerbic stances recalling the Melvins or indie-creepo’s Slint) then you’d get an understanding of the often-quite-stimulating, slightly fried, slightly syrupy, ever-spinning-forward, sensibilities of their debut full length, Sugar Sandwich Mountain. Site: – key tracks: “Baby Sasquatch Detective Agency,” “Ocean Underneath,” and their anthemic “French Quatre” (French Cat!)

Their CD Release show is Friday – at the Cadieux Café with Duende. Price at the door gets you a free CD.


Also: Prussia plays the A.C. Rich on 11/29!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving: Magic Stick, Lager House, Painted Lady, Silky's (Dearborn), Corktown



Also - at Silky's Martini & Music Cafe in Dearborn, MI: - 21931 Michigan Ave



You can go to Motorcityrocks for a more comprehensive list
(including, another shout-out I'd like to give to D.C. favorite Prussia - who play the Painted Lady on Friday Night!!)

Then, the day-after-giving... - at the Lager House 11 / 28

close comrades - Mick Bassett & The Marthas / JSB Squad / Satin Peaches, join Spectre for a free show


while, down the Corktown Tavern - it's an Ann Arbor showcase of indie/folk

Sh! The Octopus / Chris Bathgate / Alan Sheurman / Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful


featured in this week's Deep Cutz, Corktown's show features: "...neo-folk, golden-jangled romance, hard-worn singer/songwriter melancholy or just sunny groove-pop, Corktown’s the place, 11/28. Essentially an Ann Arbor showcase, featuring eclectic popsters Sh! The Octopus (pictured), stalwart troubadour of chalky woe, Chris Bathgate, the ornate folk-rock of Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful and the poetic, experimental styling of former Rescue player Alan Scheurman (album Old Patterns available 12/2 — free download).So, we give thanks to more people coming together, listening to and sharing music! Proven by this not-quite-folk, not-quite-indie lineup, Ann Arbor is strong enough to be a scene unto itself. RDW More info:;;;"

(words: milo)

Sh! The Octopus

Pavement re-issue - re-re-re-review: Brighten The Corners - Nicene Creedence Ed.

(thoughts on the re-release from 97)

out Dec. 9th, Matador Records

words: milo

Pavement (the band) 1990 - 1999

Pavement (the re-issues) 2002 - ?

Lester Bangs, whom, the Metro Times will remind us, it is a cliché for me—being a music journalist—to defer to in any wisdom-seeking manner, once said, "A hero is a goddam stupid thing to have in the first place and a general block to anything you might wanta accomplish on your own…" The more I keep quoting you, Lester, the more of a hero you become to me – and the less I get done on my own…which may start to explain why I'm having a hard time starting this Pavement Reissue album review.

The coffee cup is downed and the record's spinning and I'm going over all the anecdotal stats of this 1997-indie-rock classic, but nothing’s coming…which is baffling considering my supposed undying love for this band – and willingness to spew longwinded orations of their lore. But, what more can be said about an already mythologized band.

We say to ourselves, 'Wait a tick, you mean-ta say there was "indie rock" back in 1994? And it wasn't strategically co-opted as some satellite-radio-selling, big-festival-raking brand? A shirt to buy at Hot Topic?’

Brighten The Corners was the Stockton, CA-based quintet's 4th LP (of 5) and (so far) all 4 have gotten the beefed-up redux-treatment –providing 2 discs with nearly 30 tracks of distinct b-sides and singles on each release. Meaning, before 2002 (the year their '91 debut Slanted & Enchanted came back onto the stands, probably at Borders for the first time) we'd only had…70-some-odd available songs on the market, between all the standard releases…but that now, after 4 re-releases…this new breed of internet-infected listeners (heavily influenced by electric eulogies from new online mag's and absolutist sites like Pitchfork) can cull at least 200 or so songs from the band's available catalog, b-sides, singles, live fuck-offs and the like.

Now, whatever my tone may be so far in the review, bare in mind that even I, myself, submitted back in 01, that they may have been the Beatles of our generation and that Brighten the Corners, with it's shambled charm, spacey acid-rock leanings, hard-fuzzed hooks and new shaggy looks on alternative hard rock, is probably my favorite release from the rickety bunch. That said, is it so healthy for me, and Pitchfork, and Stereogum and whoever else, to continue padding the pile of messianic declarations?

What you should take from BTC – was that it was simultaneously a "come-back" and "the beginning of the end" for the band. Coming off the shrugging skunk-eyes they received from critics for their criminally misunderstood spiny, shaky, fuzz odyssey, Wowee Zowee (95), they regrouped in Portland OR (a move spearheaded by their then-ever-increasingly thorny frontman, Stephen Malkmus) and made, you could say, a "give-em-what-they-want" type album, flying back on a zephyr of great reviews (and a European tour) to save indie-rock and energize attention onto contemporaries like Guided By Voices and Built to Spill.

But Malkmus was breaking more away from co-founder Scott Kannenberg, the singer shaved his head and started skirting interviews. A year later (98-99) they made swan-song Terror Twilight, (upon which Malkmus dominated the writing and became embattled by rough-punky noise-rock fans for its comparatively polished pop). The band broke up before the millennium and here we are now…awaiting the last two knocks on the legacy door – the Twilight reissue – and finally, the ceaselessly rumored/prayed-for reunion tour.

BTC: Nicene Creedence Ed.

“Side 2” of disc one starts off with the murky BTC outtakes, a drawn out alteration on Twilight's 'The Hexx' becomes even more haunting and guitar-drudging, followed by the Jester-y kartwheels of 'Cataracts' and some admittedly fun, fuck-around scraps for the 'Stereo' single, like 'Westie Can Drum' and Kannenbirg's melodramatic 'Winner of the.' We close up disc one with singles from Twilight: the all-out gem of jangly 60's psyche-pop-n-country twang, 'Harness Your Hopes' and the rousing road-tripper 'Roll with the Wind.'

Disc 2 gives us the entirety of single flipsides from one of their most beloved BTC pop-tunes, Shady Lane, (which sheds light on the sparse and punchy synth-whirl of 'Cherry Area' and the dueling guitar majesty of my 2nd favorite Pavement song, 'No Tan Lines.') That four-track-punch slides into another package of recordings from the BBC One, back in January 1997, which makes 'The Hexx' come off palatable and 'Harness Your Hopes' becomes less-so as a stripped acoustic—but it's wrapped up nicely by a poignant cover of one of their strongest influences—Echo & The Bunnymen's 'Killing Moon.' (Take note, Donnie Darko fans.)

The middle section drags with even more obscure and disoriented-day-dream interpretations of BTC songs like 'Chevy (Old to Begin)' and the abrasive sequenced-percussion, Fall-esque alienation style of 'Oddity.' Long-time fans and record-collectors will get drunk on the KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic takes with the grin-inducing (if by title alone) grind and blurt classic space-rocker 'Neil Haggerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar' and the spilled out call and response druggy dirge-drone march of 'It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl.' But oh, the guitar stabbing errantry and ear-bending roll of the splurge-y 'Maybe Maybe.'

Wrap it up with outtakes of the exclusive, noisy theme-songs they made for their appearance on the 3rd season of Space Ghost Coast to Coast and call it a day!

I love Brighten the Corners…and the geeky fan inside of me is thankful they had enough material to be scraped up for a re-release, so I could return to all the nooks and crannies of this warm, golden, strange, buzzy rock. No doubt, this is the record that the Mainstream wanted Pavement to make after 92's Crooked Rain Crooked Rain fostered their biggest hit 'Cut Your Hair' and put them on the verge of success…But Wowee Zowee burned fair-weather fans so much that by the time they wrote the irresistible and catchy pop-rock of the squiggly and visceral 'Stereo' and the doe-eyed, folky-hooks and labyrinthine lyricism of 'Shady Lane' that they weren't being listened to by the right people anymore…they may have even lost a few of the Slanted hardcores at that point…who wanted more sensory-scratching freak-fests and punk-ified brain-frying derring-do.

I'm sure of one thing – the new fleet of internet indie-rock tastemakers like Pitchfork were certainly still listening at that point, back in 97…and we've been in a swirling storm of ever-returning reverie and re-releases since…with critics always having to re-explain, mid-review, the vitality of Pavement.

But don't forget what Lester said about heroes. Yes, they were great. Yes, probably the Beatles of our generation. But, it's 2009 now…what are you gonna do about it? What are you gonna do next? You've heard what Pavement's got…almost every song they've ever done by now…, so what do you got?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

show recon: Dirtbombs, Friendly Foes, Electric Fire Babies, Esperantos


...just a bit of photo recon from the deep cutz team...from shows over the weekend: Dirtbombs at the Blind Pig and the Esperantos at the Northern Lights Lounge. For the Blind Pig show, the expanse of genre flavors was invigorating...going from the electro-soul/house-punk of Electric Fire Babies, to the hook-heavy alt-power-pop of Friendly Foes, to the noisy firestorm glory of the Dirtbombs - ...a nice get-yer-ya-yas-out type o' night before the holidays really kick in...The Fire Babies set the tone early, bombastic booty shaking grooves and swaggering in-your-face engagement right from the get-go (featuring a fine cover of a Gories tune, mid-set.) The Foes, seeming to embrace some Monterrey style Who n' Otis Redding 'n Jimi Hendrix on-stage-one-upmanship, played their most energetic show I've seen yet...but the Dirtbombs are certainly Hendrix in this metaphor (or Otis?)...and they, like always, brought the house down.




And $1.65 gas is making Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti trips a bit easier these days - here's to the shakey and shady schamtics of our doomed economic system! But driving home at 2:46 a.m. meant I was too tired to stay much past Speedy Greasy at the Northern Lights Lounge the next night...but, featured here are photos of an old favorite of mine, The old favorite, but still a young band - showing as much fiery promise as they had before, in their debut of 2006. As I'd said before in Weekly ink, a blend of Kinks-ian pop with Stooges grit and shred. Just irresistable hooks and great guitar pop! Check 'em out next time...


Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Magic Shop - Interview - (playing 11 / 26 at Lager House, with Gardens, Terrible Twos & Lee Marvin Computer Arm)

"…Detroit is like a compost pile for the creative, always was and always shall be…"

Interview: Magic Shop
words: jeff milo

Magic Shop has been a long-time coming.

Its genesis reaches back to the late 90's, to a time that, when referenced, seems to always be called "the Gold Dollar Days." There, while playing in the Wildbunch (the origins of Electric Six), guitarist Steve Nawara met guitarist Mark Craven, who then played in They Come In Threes. They'd always spoke of potential collaborations, "but normally those conversations would take place at 3 a.m. and by the next morning all would be forgotten," said Nawara. "So, time rolled on…"

While Nawara continued to play with the Wildbunch and eventually the Detroit Cobras, he said he started feeling "like a hired gun that wasn't allowed to shoot…I had a stack of songs that were beginning to rot on the vine. It took a lot of determination to leave the touring and money behind but I knew if I didn't I would continue working at low levels of potential. So in 2006, I said goodbye and it was probably the best decision I have ever made."

So it's 2006 (the same year Nawara started developing the Beehive Recording Co., btw); he soon meets bassist Jake Culkowski, who'd been playing in a group called Hoss Burley. "When I saw him play, I immediately liked what I saw. He could move around the bass and I dug his style. After many long nights of booze and cigarettes, it became obvious we had to get something going." Culkowski helped Nawara "work out the kinks" of a few new songs and encouraged him to start playing them on a stage.

They met drummer Dave Vaughn at Slows BBQ, "and," said Nawara, "I had heard the stories of what a killer drummer he was…Dave is hands down one of the best drummers in Detroit." They started out practicing as a 3-piece, but soon called Craven back up and "Magic Shop came to life."
The sound, the vibe…is a hearty, heavy head-bopping lash and strut – a sunny country swing and a soulful wail – with true grit blues at its heart; it launches a shoulder-shimmy hook-and-spin pop out, brazenly, in every direction. Jangly golden-brown rhythm guitars intertwine with a fiery high-toned lead that sets that woozy freewheeling barn-dance vibe but the smooth bass and punchy drums lock so tight that the sweet let-loose madness of classic 60's garage pop is inescapable

The band joins a strong Thanksgiving Eve bill at the Lager House, with Lee Marvin Computer Arm, Gardens and Terrible Twos.

The Deep Cutz Interview: Magic Shop

Milo/Deep Cutz: How long did it take before your first show (which, was The Park Bar, with Readies?) how did that come about?
Stephen Nawara: Actually, our first show was at Slows BBQ at the St. Patricks Day Parade. We only had 6 songs and, shit, was I nervous. I was pacing back and forth in the basement drinking Jamesons but when we went on stage, a huge weight was lifted, all my anxiety simply disappeared, and the audience went nuts . It was an incredible day.
Our second show was at the Park Bar with The Readies. It was then, playing to a sold out house, that we realized that we may be on to something.

Milo: How did the first few months of the band go?... how did you find what worked?
SN: To be honest, this band has been on the same page from the start. I have never enjoyed playing in a band as much as I do now. All we have to do is count 1,2,3,4 and something always happens. I love the songs Mark is writing, Dave is always surprising me, and Jake is my favorite bass player around. We are brothers.

Milo: Going back to the Wildbunch in the not-as-internet-prevalent-mid-late-90's to now, being a band starting out in a particularly hyper-blogged about era (shit, even I have a blog) what was it like to have just-about-your-every-live-show blurbed about, somewhere, even if in one sentence quips...
SN: The Digital Age is a wonderful thing. It's the voice of the people, whether you like what the people say or not. Though we're far away from our every move being talked about, we all appreciate anytime someone writes about us. Power to the people!

Milo: How would you describe your sound, your styles...and maybe, if you want, go into your (magic shop-specific) influences…
SN: Well it's important to realize that all music is based upon the music that came before you and when music is no longer in present day use it becomes compost to fertilize your own creativity and as an artist it is your job to grow something in the present moment. We definitely believe in self responsibility when it comes to music, never relying on technology to enhance your music. So roots music is priceless to us. Roots music to me could be Blind Lemon Jefferson or Black Flag. Just as long as it made by hand with no studio trickery, we tend to like it and let it influence us.

Milo: …favorite experiences of the year so far?
SN: The Park Bar was definitely a highlight, but to us the most exciting thing was playing with all of these great new bands popping up in Detroit. Gardens, The Sugarcoats, Four Hour Friends, Octopus, Lee Marvin Computer Arm, Silverghost, The Readies, and I'm sure I'm forgetting others, but we are very happy to have our name next to theirs. Talking about using music to fertilize your garden, Detroit is like a compost pile for the creative, always was and always shall be.


The band will soon give their music away (for donations) through the Beehive Recording Company. They'll soon hit the road, touring Michigan and the rest of America – with hopes of a full length by next Spring (for download and on vinyl). Their first single will be out on Italy next week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lee Marvin Computer Arm - playing 11 / 26 at the Lager House with Magic Shop, Gardens, Terrible Twos - INTERVIEW

links and info:
Lee Marvin Computer Arm
Terrible Twos
Magic Shop
Cass Records

show - 11 / 26 - Lager House, Detroit

You Need The Tension: Lee Marvin Computer Arm


words by Jeff Milo
Photos by Esme McClear

Lee Marvin Computer Arm bring me back down to earth.

Catching up with a band after nearly 6 years of up-down-splatter-around volatility, shaky tours, at least two "break-ups," (one of them mostly real) and the raining down x-factor of 'real life,' means you're bound to get a pricklier worldview when you go fishin for anecdotes.

"…nothing brings a band together more than punching your drummer in the face," says bassist Zachory Weedon (currently touring with the Dirtbombs, one of many exterior engagements, unique to each member.) Worn by many things, be it the road, the bottle, the smoke & mirrors, the same ol bullshit, the sextet (including Zack's brothers, singer Casey and guitarist Corey, drummer Todd McNulty, guitarist BJ Horn and Jason Eggert on brass), were first perceived in 03 (then with Matt Jones) as MC5 revivalists, later, as spazzy-grimy punk exploders, and now, usually, as "that crazy live band with the trumpet" and then, "didn't they break up?"

In our communiqué, my own naive outlook on the sometimes-fleeting-excitement of scenes gets turned on its side by a band that learned the hard way what happens when you push out beyond the boundaries of your hometown.
“It’s very easy to get caught up in this scene and feel so appreciated by these revolving people that you tend to forget that there is a world outside of Detroit and they don’t give a shit about you.”
And that's nothing against Detroit. Far from it, says Zack; what the band would want to emphasize through that is, don't let it make you lazy. Listen to 'em, they've been there - they've been to the top of the Detroit mountain (not that it's an easily conquered mountain) and rode waves of good local reviews and started leaning towards the expectation of inevitably being discovered by some golden-ticket-music-biz dude, only to head to New York on a tour and find only 30 people at their shows.
It's just, Zack concluded, that "people get too comfortable in their scenes, and it's not that we don't appreciate being enjoyed in the Detroit scene, but you have to reach higher. So,…the objective, of the band is to really work to get outside of that, really push ourselves."
So, being some kind of a documenter on the scene – I find myself caught between these dueling ideas of “best city ever” vs. “same old shit," and I, myself, after talking to 'em, started looking outward toward the bigger world beyond the Ren-Cen. So, yes, in a sense, they bring me back down, by qualifying enthusiasm – but, in Lee Marvin's case, I can't help it, the enthusiasm can't be quelched - they're simply an inspiring a raw, slap-in-the-face sort of way; I'm drawn, and yes, still enthusiastic, for the tremendous fire of their live shows and the ripped-and-riled vigor of their energetic sound…

The band was formed in 2003, spearheaded by Corey, who wanted the trio of siblings (then playing in an experimental band, The Dusk) to try on a bit more rugged, traditional rock n roll. Which, when it comes down to it – is all Lee Marvin Computer Arm really is…straight, root, blunt, ROCK N FUCKING ROLL.

Simply, they're an incomparable live band, potent, rousing, relentless, self-destructive - LMCA have always been a study in human energy – its exertion, its collisions, its boundless potential. Here, they, almost nonchalantly, puncture my own naïve red balloon of fleeting excitement in scenes ("…we could give a shit,") while also charting their past of fiery tears and erratic turns and laying out what's coming up next, besides perseverance.

Deep Cutz Interview: Lee Marvin Computer Arm

Milo: Catch us up

Zachory Weedon: …just trying to continue [LMCA] under new circumstances. We realize we haven't reached as far as we could…We had a talk and came to the conclusion that we can really make something out of this if we put in a little extra effort. With new schedules: Jason's in law school, Casey's a full time teacher in Chicago, Todd being Todd, Corey's in the Sugarcoats (with Todd), we're going to have to work harder but it's probably good for us. We plan on having a single out in Feb. (either Cass or Italy) then hopefully a full-length by summer to tour on.

Todd McNulty/Corey Weedon:
...So its been hard to get together as much as wed like to, but we've been writing some new songs and keeping it kind of loose.

Milo: How do you feel of this town’s long-held conclusion of your instability?
ZW: Well, we are unstable! That’s what you get when you throw two straight-edge kids (Me, Casey), a total stoner (B.J.), two heavy drinking party animals—one being a total fucking maniac (Corey, Todd) and a law student (Jason) and you mix them in a little pot. You get fistfights, yelling, screaming, leaving people in random cities, constant arguing, quitting, blood, piss, broken shit. We’re just too comfortable with each other. We’ve known each other all our lives, my mother talks about B.J. like another son to her. I’ve known Todd since 8th grade. Yes we’re unstable, but what good band isn’t?

TM/CW: its no bother to us, we love this city and we love playing rock n roll. You know, we're like a family; 3 of us are brothers and the rest might as well be. we fight, sometimes with fists, but its always water under the bridge. fuck it

Milo: What made you come back?

ZW: After we broke up, about three or four months after I started to feel like we made a mistake. The band hadn't eroded it was just one incident that lead to the break up. So we just needed a little time so we could get over not hating each other.
TM/CW: -time. we needed a break and playing in other projects has breathed new life into this band i feel.

Milo: Has the band changed at all, for you, over the last 5 years?

ZW: I think nothing brings a band together more than punching your drummer in the face. or if opening for the Dirtbombs in Chicago you show up without a drum kit or a decent guitar amp, or a trumpet player or a second guitarist and you go take a huge shit on stage and Ben (Blackwell) comes up to after the show and says "you guys are great, but get your shit together" that was kind of a wake up call. it was then the half-ass shit had to stop.

TM/CW: Basically when we fell off the map we were just getting our sound where we wanted it, and the time away has given us the time to write. all we want to do now is make one full length that will be good to put on 20 yrs from now. and plan on getting in the studio in december.

Milo: How long has the current line up been in place?

ZW: It’s funny we replaced Matt our former guitar player with our old drummer B.J. who we kicked out two years prior. I guess our band wasn’t dramatic enough we needed another element. So three years.

Milo: …meaning of the band name?

ZW: Lee Marvin was a man of few words in his films. We kinda of carry that into our live set, and how we deal with our band. Computer Arm is just if you created a new version of Lee Marvin.

: And the live approach?

TM/CW: It's more exiting now because we dont get to play as much as we used to, and now we are more concerned with new songs and its just always fun to go up and play to the point of exaustion.

ZW: We just play how we feel, I guess we're an aggressive bunch. Our last show Jason's head collided with my bass and he had to get stitches. There is never planning involved, we're just excited about the music we play.

LMCA has new material ready, with a new single on the way (with Danny Kroha producing) and an LP for next summer.
11 /26 Lager House

Thanksgiving Eve Roundtable: Pondering the state of the music industry; with reflections on detroit music community




(words: j.milo)

Even now, writing the uncut version, I'm still not sure how I feel about argument of this piece, or its conclusion. I'm still not even sure how to describe what I was getting at, (in any case, it's interesting to just pick the brains of musicians) …featured here is a scattershot attempt at a roundtable of locals (Mason Proper, Wildcatting, The Silent Years, Deastro and Oscillating Fan Club) at dissecting the state of the music industry, the perception of genres or musical movements…(or, indie-rock, if you will) and perhaps relating all of this back to Detroit's local scene.

Because, when there is no business, you become fueled by pure passion. So here, some un-cut quotes and commentary of the reflections and opinions from members of these five bands (all gathered together on a bill, Thanksgiving Eve, at the Magic Stick). Questions we pondered were… if you can't make money while making music until someone's willing to give you money to make music…then will pure passion and raw basement DIY ideals be enough to carry us? Should musicians still seek producers? Does the industry still work? Are we really in the middle of something truly unique, here, in Detroit?

And how will we, not just Detroit, the nation, the world's music community/the internet music community/the Pitchfork generation…how will we be remembered, what will be our defining identity in history…as a genre, style or movement?

(The Silent Years)


Brandon Moss (Wildcatting): I think that there's a fire going on, where it didn't seem like there was anything like this when I was involved in it. (Bear Vs. Shark, drummer, 2001) When garage rock was big it seemed like a club that you weren't allowed to join. As much as I enjoyed a lot of it, I feel like I was an outsider – and this whole thing that's going on now is nothing but a bunch of outsiders. You get a lot of outsiders and put them together in the same room, it gets [to be] something like a culture…

Randolph Chabot (Deastro): "(Playing) CMJ (in New York, September) was awesome, it was really good for us. I was telling everyone out there [in NY], that stuff was going on here. But I think that in 5 years, you're just gonna be amazed with what's coming out of our city, from what I've seen, the dreams of people that I've met here. That's really inspiring and I just, sometimes, don't know what to do with it…(Here,) you definitely feel like you're apart of something…

Moss (Wildcatting): (on the band's change to adding a singer): "Ifeel good about changing because look at Deastro, Deastro's changed--it's exciting to hear him so stoked about things...and you feed off stuff like that, ...and it's because now he can do a lot of things that he couldn't do before It's the same thing we're doing things that we had planned but we never really could do it comfortably,...and Prussia, they already have another album in the bag!! You look at bands like Red China, even they already have a ton of things on the plate and all these bands that we know and love - bands that we've made friends, they're even pushing themselves. It's a crazy ball!!...all these things are culminating!

(Oscillating Fan Club)

Being a band in a hyper-democratic, internet-affected industry:

Ray Thompson (Oscillating Fan Club): There's culmination of all the things now. I don't think i've heard, really, anything new in music scenes...for a while...nothing new that's come out that's just...really changed. It's always just expressive now, and it's also hard to be in a band - there's more people in bands then there are consumers...Which, is nice just cuz (now) nobody would do it if they didn't want to, but it's not something that you have to go in and think that your gonna make money, its not like that anymore. It's more sharing what your feeling or what you like, even. There's always nods to other bands in other it's kinda like saying: Here!, this is the kinda stuff that I like, if you like it then listen to it...if not...go listen to something else...cuz there's something else that's good--especially in Detroit...
Josh Epstein (Silent Years): One could definitely argue that being fueled by passion-only can be a good thing, but,…The Beatles kept going to George Martin and getting their records made by him for a reason. I think a lot of bands are gonna miss out on that, even though they can do things that sound great on their own, and it's not a matter of whether you do a good job, but listen to Beatles recordings now, they hold up. I'm not sure some of today's recordings are gonna hold up that well.

Jon Visger (Mason Proper): "…a constant state of not-knowing what exactly is going to happen or what you should be doing, because it seems to work differently for every single band. You can think you're doing everything right and it cannot work out – the nice thing is that if bands really just do whatever they want – they have as much chance of it working that way…and it's very rewarding.

Moss (Wildcatting): The music industry, "the business" is kinda dead. There needs to be a new type of paradigm or some type of new market that is sustainable. But there still has to be bands that do what they're doing and help shape the new model. And, not to say we are, but the ball has to keep rolling. When you're not looking for it, the best things'll happen.

Epstein (Silent Years): The music biz is suffering from their own lack of foresight. If, when Napster first got big, the labels would have become content driven music channels (similar to HBO) they would be making enough money to be signing bands and developing careers. As much as we like to think it's more of a blog environment, a radio song on 89X will still make a band huge. It's working for Kings of Leon and Jonas Brothers and the Killers. … a group of people kinda gave up on being apart of [the industry], but I think the reason is, major labels, a long time ago, were making so much money off of their big artists that they could afford to keep the career artists around, they knew that too. They basically had Bob Dylan on their label as a "credibility artist." People like the band Television were like kept around on major labels, and they weren't selling that much...but that's what were missing now - you're not gonna get a band on a major label that's like an "integrity builder," they're turning a fad, they just want the hits and the people who can churn em out. I think that for a lot of bands that don' t fit into the category of being a pop star, then yeah the music industry is dead, but to some extent the music industry is still going...

Moss (Wildcatting): It's not even like we talk about [our passion]. It's more just, it's just what we do! It's this or be sad about things…I think we have that choice at this point. But, it also seems like sometimes, I feel, like we're patting ourselves too hard on the back, like maybe we aren't doing anything original and this is just a continuation of weird people and weird things that have been done…

(Mason Proper)

Finding what's possible:

Visger (Mason Proper): [Most] bands are pretty down to earth about it; they probably have different ideas in the beginning as well and have reconciled it with reality at this point. Everyone seems to be in a good rhythm and just knowing what's possible and what's not…You have to be doing it because it's a truly fun thing to do, basically. It's very rewarding…

Chabot (Deastro): I'm excited that we're signed [Ghostly International] and we're starting to tour. I'm more excited that I get to meet more people. We need to be able to concentrate it [Detroit's communal energy]. That's what me and the band are definitely striving for – we've been touring and we've been getting press, and we're just working toward getting exposure so we can bring it back to Detroit and use it to better our artistic community…our city, that is definitely struggling, but, I think, has enormous potential. I want to be…a messenger of community.

News –

Oscillating Fan Club: Consistently "honing" throughout 2008, the band laboriously crafted their superb 16-track debut, Feverish Dreams, as told by…with Jim Diamond (released in August on Loco Gnosis). In between studio time, they played Blue Moon in June II and opened for psych-heroes Dead Meadow. They toured the Midwest/East Coast, finding friendly ports in Chicago, Baltimore, D.C. and New York.

Wildcatting, said Moss, "the idea--the band was to always be in flux." The instrumental prog-metal-indie-storm rockers will grow to a quintet with vocalist Marc Paffi. This year they performed with John Sinclair, covering the MC5 and made local one-man-band Carjack into a quintet. The band will finish a "Wildcatting EP" before further morphing into a quintet with vocals.

Silent Years: The Globe LP (Defend) came out in the US to a good response, with steady tours throughout the year (recently with comrades, The Envy Corps.) The quintet is currently working on a new LP "even as we plan on mixing our new EP (tentatively 'Let Go') in early December." The Globe—and SY's touring schedule—both hit Japan and Europe in winter/spring 09.

Mason Proper: Released Olly Oxen Free LP (Dovecoat) this fall, garnering strong reviews and facilitating "the best time period for us, as far as being a band," said Visger. "A year won't go by without doing [another] album." And, more touring, more shows, more everything.

Deastro: Two 7"'s coming out on Ghostly; one, Spritle, gets a local push from Five Three Dial Tone and Web Vomit; then, finishing Moondagger LP at the White Room for a February release (Ghostly).;;;;

~ed.: suffice it to say, this is a very strong line-up that features the expanse of flavors in style and genre of the Detroit scene... (11 / 26 - Magic Stick, Detroit)

click their links above to listen...
(thanks for reading)

Mason Proper pic: mike berlucchi; OFC pic: megan lang; Silent Years pic: silent giants

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Parts & Labor - DC Interview - - playing 11 / 20 - Lager House with Silverghost and the Sugarcoats



The Philosophy of Experimentation: Parts & Labor
(words: milo)
B.J. Warshaw discusses P&L's new album, 'Receivers', fan's audio submissions, Cat Stevens and "A shared love of weird/challenging/fun music"

I can't imagine a better album cover for Brooklyn quartet Parts & Labor. Their sound gurgles and gushes with a raw carnality, but blasting out from all corners with clanging metallic melody. It huffs and it pumps with an organic, earthy vibe but also sparks into scraping, lumbering cacophony. Thus, something rings so true about this strange beastly machinery imbued into this similarly paradoxical landscape of glowing beauty and scorched dystopia.

Of course, I'm reading it far too deeply…more simply, this Frankenstein-ian scorpion/rhino mirrors the smorgasbord schematics of the band's latest release, Receivers, which involved taking fan's submissions of varying audio samples: It could be your favorite sound, a scary sound, your parents, a wandering rant, every day life, just press record and send it in… - From there, the band spliced in all of the found sounds and noises into the various nooks and crannies of this "more-straight-forward-rock" record – which, even though they're embracing a verse-chorus-verse pop-sensibility for lyrics and whittling their past album's more spindly freak outs into driving chord progressions and head-bobbin-hooks – means that they've still retained their characteristic sideways approach and penchant for offbeat calamity. (They now have a number for fans to call to "leave a message" for more noises and yells and whatevers, to be incorporated into live shows.)

Receivers still brings the thick-fuzz-and-surge-rhythms of their bent-and-tumbling kitchen sink destructo-rock, but hones it into more palatable, balanced launches that meter out the tinny synth bleats and bring up the guitars and vocals.

The band was formed in 2002 by keyboardist Dan Friel and bassist B.J. Warshaw (who met while working at the Knitting Factory in 99.) They added drummer Jim Sykes and released a quintessential "experimental-noise-rock" record, Groundswell, in 2003. (Punchy and erratic and often, as instrumental music is unfairly judged, a bit alienating compared to the accessible anthemic pop lyricism of Receivers…but as the anecdote goes, they only went instrumental because the recording was rushed.) Sykes left, to be replaced by Joel Saladino for a split release with Battles' Tyondai Braxton, but Saladino left to be replaced by the vital and vigorous Chris Weingarten. In 06 they released Stay Afraid on Jajaguwar/Brah, with Mapmaker following in 07. Weingarten left to pursue music writing and was replaced by Joe Wong, with guitarist Sarah Lipstate making it a quartet.

Parts & Labor make a special visit to the Lager House on Thurs., Nov. 20 (The once-revered enclave has rejuvenated with exceptionally hot and heavy line-ups as of late). Locals Silverghost and the Sugarcoats open up…

The Deep Cutz Interview: Parts & Labor('s B.J. Warshaw)


Parts & Labor - "Nowhere's Nigh"

Milo/DC: How's the tour going so far? (was it difficult playing on election night?)
BJ: Election night was weird; we played in Orange County (a Republican stronghold) at UC Irvine. Watched election coverage come in with 20-30 kids (probably the only Democrats on campus). We were all elated, and we played a nice little show, which was also our last night on tour with Gowns. So not difficult, but I personally wish I'd been partying in Chicago!

Milo: what was the formation of the album like for you--can you qualify the level of meticulousness with which you pieced together all these submissions? how hard was it? what were some of your favorite, or the weirdest?
BJ: We collected hundreds of other sounds, listened to them all, and as we were sequencing the album found homes for our favorites. We also play all of the sounds at the same time during those roaring satellite noises during "Satellites" and once again at the very end of the album. It wasn't difficult (it was actually really fun), but it was meticulous and time consuming. My favorite part was assembling the ambient collage between "The Ceasing Now" and "Wedding In A Wasteland", which is almost entirely made of fan submissions.

Milo: How are the phone message submissions going?
BJ: We're getting a great response! Probably up to close to 100 phone calls. We got a great recording of a film projector. Somebody playing violin. Screaming/celebrating people on election night. Oh, and this one random wrong number from a woman named Connie who just rambles about missing some job interview thing -- it's really weird, and we've been using it a lot.

Milo: I'd like to try to unpack your personal philosophy (and relationship to) "noise"
by starting out asking...that 99% of parts and labor write-ups will copy and paste "noise rock" and i'm wondering if you have a better way of, not just defining the sound of parts and labor, but explaining how you feel about your approach to music
BJ: I tend to think of it as a "try anything" approach, and we keep what simply sounds good to our ears. We're influenced by many of the "noise" artists of the past, from Sonic Youth to Boredoms; but we also crave structure and melody -- so the challenge for P&L is combining those disparate influences and making, hopefully, something cohesive and unique.

Milo: ...and the attraction to, what the scribes all just quickly label "noise...being that the Cardboard (P&L's label crew includes Pterodactyl, Ecstatic Sunshine, Oneida...and collaborations with Tyondai Braxton
and Indian Jewelry, these similarly "boisterous" "calamatous" "raw" "noise" you ever go home and just put on Cat Stevens?
BJ: We listen to a ton of pop/folk/not noise music. I put Cat Stevens on in the van on this very tour. We're all voracious musical listeners, and there's really no genre we won't touch.

Milo: What do you think causes bands to start forging these close-knit gang/ it cardboard or wham city? what is it that drew most of you together?
BJ: A shared love of weird/challenging/fun music, is all. All the Cardboard bands are people we were friends with and/or played shows with before we ever talked about putting out their records.

Milo: Can you define the philosophy behind Receivers?
BJ: The philosophy was experimentation, seeing what happens. We were directly influenced by Roger Waters' interviews during the making of "Dark Side Of The Moon", the audio he culled was used throughout that album (all those spooky laughs and spoken word). Also by Claire Lin's project:, and she submitted all the cell phone calls she received during her project.

Milo: are there other factors besides the experiment with people's noise contributions that particularly distinguish it from past experiences of recording the other albums?
BJ: I think Dan and I both were interested in slowing things down, working harder on the vocals and vocal melodies, challenging ourselves with more complex arrangements, hitting more of a psych stride over blasting through things the way we did on "Stay Afraid" and, to a lesser extent, "Mapmaker". We wrote the songs as we always have, bringing mostly finished pieces into the rehearsal space and hashing out our individual parts. We spent more time arranging on the fly in the studio, and I think that adds to the more nuanced approach on this album.

The experiment with the samples affected track order and served primarily to bridge all the tracks together; the album flows from one song to the next. We also left spaces in places for the sounds we were receiving. In the past we'd have filled every cranny with our own sounds. So I think while the samples didn't necessarily directly influence the song writing process, they did hugely influence our arranging choices.

Milo: How different has the band become, in any regard... and you can address it to over the 5+ year history...or just over the last year having to replace 33% of the band and thenadding another person, what that was like...did it require any somber reflections and hard-future-thinking of 'what do we do now?' or did a plan develop fast...what went through your heads as Chris departed...
BJ: I don't think it's that uncommon for a band to change its sound, even drastically, over time. I mean, listen to Sonic Youth's "Bad Moon Rising" versus "NYC Ghosts And Flowers", you know? There's elements that bridge the two but there's more differences than there are sames, I think. Otherwise, I think you're correct in your assumptions. It's a combination of lineup changes but also wanting to challenge ourselves. And Dan and I have always been the primary song writers for P&L, so it's as much a reflection of our tastes changing over time as anything. We couldn't keep doing the same thing over and over if we tried.

Milo: What's up next? band-related or not - be it new projects or just the next load of laundry?
BJ: We're lining up a European tour for Jan/Feb, possibly more touring in the spring/summer, and already talking about new songs for the next record. Hopefully the next installment of our Escapers series of EPs. And maybe, just maybe, some sleep.

11 / 20 – Lager House – Detroit

(photos: Francesca Tallone)

Friendly Foes / High Strung / Wildcatting

photo recon (mike milo) from the Belmont