Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor (formerly Sik Sik Nation) Album Release - 10 / 17 - Majestic Cafe

with Friends of Dennis Wilson / Wicked Hemlocks --

Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor are an Ypsilanti-based experimental rock trio that we all once knew as Sik-Sik Nation. That name has now, well, uh...vaporized - and now the band has embraced the new direction of their music--away from the bluesy hard rock drive of their debut release 8 Styles to the Unholy into a more experimental and darker psychedelia, a freer rock style that sets more of a mood than the mindless headbanging, leather-clad fist-pump, and more of a guitar-screeched, smoky exploration that forms a hybrid of still-held influences from the blues and indie-rock regions.

The band have always been diligent and proactive - booking their own shows and trying to establish their own scene (admittedly never fitting with the all-the-way-indie/pop bands nor the all-the-way-psyche/garage rock bands).

Singer/guitarist Sean Morrow, bassist Eric Oppitz and drummer Rick Sawoscinski have an embraced the DIY - holed up in Oppitz basement over the last year, with their own set-up, manning the boards themselves, writing the songs as a trio and embracing, strategically, the chaos of the internet and offering their forthcoming release the self-titled Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor for a free download starting 10/13 (along with, for a limited time, a free download of their previous Sik Sik Nation release, 8 Styles) on their new website:

So come meet the new band that you already know - and have a deeper appreciation of the new songs that you've been hearing develop at their shows through 2009. It isn't a complete changeover - but it feels right. It shows a band that not only knows what it wants, not only knows what it should be doing (free downloads) but knows itself - enough to know it was time for a change....of sorts.

They play the Majestic Cafe with The Friends of Dennis Wilson and the Wicked Hemlocks (from NY) - 10/17.

Friendly Foes - New 7" release show - 10 / 10 - Berkley Front


With July's hosting of the High Strung CD Release show - and before that it featured Scott Allen's new band Big Mess - and most recently had a cozy early autumn folk-ish set from The Scarlet Oaks.
It's autumn now - maybe it's safe to say now that all the suburban set scene-goers settled into Ferndale, Royal Oak and Birmingham now have a place where they can regularly go, wrapped in trendy jackets, on mind-clearing walks in the brisk air, huffing the smell of burned leaves before we head in for a few swills of beer and nice loud music.

And that place is The Berkley Front's upstairs stage. This weekend, the Friendly Foes celebrate the release of So Obscene EP, - offering a 7" with a CD inside. (Review forthcoming). Early myspace postings warned of a limited run - so you may have to get there if you want a piece of the action. The guitars are getting grettier, the rhythms are pounding, it's harder and expanding beyond the autobiographical sensibility of their launchpad material.

There's info here

and on Friendly Foe's myspace

(heck, darn, pee, poo, a-hole, frick)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Computer Perfection CD Release 10 / 9

there's a place where we can be together
follow me we can start a gang
something says this is not the end

So, as the story goes...loosely, Gene Corduroy, Amy Bem, Nathaniel F.H. Burgundy and Little Tommy Daniels, the majority of the most recent line up of Pas/Cal formed a new band -after said-band's most recent release, I was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura.

Computer Perfection- shying away from the labrynthian sunny indie-pop of the Casimer-led collective and bringing in synthesizers to embrace a bit of krautrock and fuzzy dream-pop. A darker thing, yes, somewhat, but compared to the winding hallways of their former band's most recent release, its a much more immediate pop - a less moodier (and not as occasionally indigestible) as maybe a Broadcast; just as driving and at times danceable as a Stereolab but free from any overly esoteric, bland artsy indulgences. A combination of such minds, with a proven track record, was bound to yield pleasing results. Suffice it to say, they have their shit together - because their debut full length is already ready, already.

With LTD leaving the band to be replaced by drummer Aaron Quillen and, most recently, Steve McCauley (from Scarlet Oaks) joining on bass, the band will perform their CD Release show - 10-9, at the Pike Room - with White Hinterland and Angela's Loop Clarinet.

Notes/afterthoughts: Their myspace posting forecasts the possibility of sexy vampires at this show - and, on second thought, with the name drops I made above, I still wouldn't consider them a Silver Apples trip or anything like a new wave/shoegaze/dream-pop revival thing. I'm still feeling it out myself and, at this stage - just enjoy it for the simple pleasure of it's pop. As their myspace says - "sounds like: neither computers nor perfection." I like that. Plus - their CD is called "We Wish You well On Your Way To Hell" - and I like that too.

Crocodiles - The Hounds Below - The Horrors - 10 / 12 - Magic Stick

Crocodiles are a feedback fuzzed neo-psychedelic pop duo from San Diego who had a great year (end of 08 through 09) of blushing blog buzz that led up to the release of their first full length Summer of Hate (video above) on Fat Possum records. They're similarly situated with Wavves, not only as label mates but as spreading through the online channels - often being noted for their lo-fi buzzy rock, their gothic overtones and blown out guitars twisting into dreamy melodies and exuberant starry-eyed ballads of hazy humming vocals. Names are dropped like crazy at every write up - Jesus and Mary Chain probably wins for having the most references.

But see what you think - they join Jason Stollsteimer's rejuvated Hounds Below project on October 12 (Magic Stick) in opening up for The Horrors.

Crocodiles - "I Wanna Kill"
Crocodiles - "Summer of Hate"

The Choke - 10 / 9 - Corktown Tavern - with Amino Acids

The Choke came through Detroit last year and put on one of the more engaging live shows I’ve seen in a while – tirelessly energetic, coming right up to the crowd and being downright charming (if still rootin, tootin and noisy) with blasting, grinding guitars falling into the most infectious of pop/rock hooks. People throw the word “punk” on bands like the Ramones or early Blondie-stuff in the same confused sense that most blog write ups will call The Choke “punk.” While they certainly are “punk”, in some senses – be it the occasional confrontational vocal screams or tough talking lyrics or ever-accelerating song tempos – they have such a great sensibility for classic rock – and I’m talking Chuck Berry’s infectious rockabilly swagger – but we should also take note that this band draws upon the soul and passion of Motown as much as it does the shitkicking beer swilling spill-out of CBGBs. You can hear it all – classic 60’s garage can mutate into some Dead Kennedy’s rant just like…that!

With a reliably rousing live show – the Choke are hitting the road in support of their debut self-titled full length.

See them - 10 / 9 - at the Corktown Tavern with the Amino Acids

The Choke - Picture from The Choke on Vimeo.

Satori Circus does local tour in one night (10-2) - "No Fixed Address"

The extraordinary performance art of Satori Circus will travel Woodward Avenue "from East Kirby to Martin Luther King BLVD., over to Cass Avenue." SC will perform consecutively at different art galleries and art installations in the area, dropping in, and moving on, throughout the night.

Each site has it's own unique performance. Photographer Trever Long will be accomapnying SC to photograph this "migration/journey" while Tim Suliman (owner of Jitney Studios) will film the affair.

- Scarab Club… 6:15 -
Exhibition – Re/Thinking Design for Consumption

- CCS Center Galleries… 6:45p

Exhibtion - Focus on Faculty: Sabbatical Exhibition

- Detroit Institute of Arts 7:20p

- Detroit Artists Market… 8:10p
Exhibition – LANDSCAPE: A Modern Sequel

- Cass Café 4620 Cass Ave 8:35p

Desktop gets physical - offers floppy disk - offers another free EP

Back in late summer, Desktop offered their debut EP, for free, online. Those of you who dug it's fiery disco-electro/pop goodness will now get the chance to obtain a physical copy. The duo (Keith Thompson -from Johnny Headband and Zach Curd -from The Pop Project) embraced the new schematics of this online-altered music world, by greeting their new fans with a free offering - and then later providing them the chance to actually hold something between their fingers. That something will be 12" vinyl and a floppy disk. The first medium is already proven to hold strong in the nostalgic hearts of record collectors, maybe the latter can cause a similar retro reverence for old IBMs and Commodore 64s(?) Pack those in right under your receivers and put on your headphones.

To celebrate the release, Desktop is offering another free EP for download - the MY BOO EP - which features a cover of Ghost Town DJ's "My Boo" as well as two remixed tracks from the previous/initial EP. "Fired Up" gets remixed by Johnny Headband, while "Too Much" is given even more by Dave Shettler (of SSM among others).

Monday, September 28, 2009

The HandGrenades - 10 / 3 - AJ's

Indie-rockers The Handgrenades, with their shimmering guitars, arresting rhythms and brit-pop hooks, recently celebrated the release of their debut full length, self-titled LP. The young quartet take a Beatles-esque approach to songwriting, letting whoever writes it--sing it -- highlighting not only their individual personalities, but the breadth of their pop sensibilities.

Check out the songs on their myspace

On October 3rd, see them live at AJ's


DC Interview: Akron/Family

Importantly, Together: Akron/Family

(photo: Sebastian Mlynarski )
(for more Akron/Family - read my Tiny Mix Tapes interview with Seth Olinsky here)

“All of our records have been the same,” says Akron/Family bassist Miles Seaton, a deceptive comment at first considering the Brooklyn-based trio’s weird wiggly tribal psychedelic errantry with which their sound has barreled from record to record. He clarifies, “They capture us as a creative force in motion and the idea of them being this definitive document is not really gonna work.”

Akron/Family - "River"

Seaton is rehashing the last two years, which saw the departure of longtime member, singer/guitarist Ryan Vanderhoof, the transition to a new label and the reassembling of the band, not just in finding its functionality as a trio, but finding a new definition, in direction and sound. This leads to his reflection on their 2007 false-start/quasi-breakout album Love Is Simple, the epically scoped (if a bit awkwardly abstract in staunch spiritual folk, radical escapist strung-out pop and Buddhist incantations), which still garnered them considerable attention on the national indie-rock scene – perhaps fueled particularly by their engaging live shows.

Seaton would field post-performance audience comments like, “I listened to your records and it didn’t make sense to me and now and I saw you live and now I understand them…”
“That’s because it’s a whole picture,” said Seaton, who came to New York from Seattle a year into this fresh century to meet singer/guitarist Seth Olinsky. “(Love is Simple) sounds to me like a real representation of where we were at (in 07), like the actual definition of ‘the record’ as a record of a moment.”

Seaton has played music his whole life. When he moved to New York, fresh out of college, it was a “shit or get off the pot” moment for him, in terms of actually making music his life. Thus, he sought a band, and found a kindred spirit in Olinsky. Dana Janssen moved up from Florida and added drums to the demos they were preparing; from there, submitting to Young God Records and taking off from there with aid from label head Michael Gira.

“It seemed like it happened pretty quickly,” said Seaton of the ideal choreography of the band’s history; meeting Vanderhoof, putting out their self titled debut in 05 and the well received Meek Warrior EP in 06. Early on, said Seaton, the four “made an agreement to quit it all and throw it all into the pot and see if it works. The reality is, it did.” But, he clarifies, not without the usual back breaking. “We played all the time. I worked 40 hours a week, from six in the morning and then rehearse from six at night to two in the morning and go home, get a couple hours sleep then do it again the next day.”

Even tougher in a scene, NY of all scenes, they were loners. “We played so many shitty places in New York, we weren’t friends with anybody. We weren’t playing cool rock parties with hip bands. Later on we met bands on tour. But back in New York it felt kinda lonely.”

This strengthened their bond, as friends and band mates. “I can’t mince words, I love these dudes.” Thus, when Vanderhoof left before they started recording Set ‘em Wild, Set ‘em Free (out last spring on Dead Oceans), the band used it as a time to find themselves, as well as close the chapter on the overly whimsical past. Not to say they didn’t follow whims, which led to recording with Detroit-based engineer Chris Koltay.

more info at Dead Oceans
or on Akron/Family's myspace

Darling Chainsaw Blase Mars - 10 / 2 - PJs Lager House

Should be an intereseting and flavorful night - endearing, rollicking, noisy, offensive, fun -


This line up combines the soulful new-wave/hard-rock style of Darling Imperial, with the no-wave-leaning electro/abbraso/rock onslaught of Jesus Chainsaw Massacre, with the freewheeling theatric folk of Blase Splee and the spooky spaced out electronic explorations of Michael Mars (one half of Marco Polio & The New Vaccines)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

DC Spotlight - Electric Lion Soundwave Experiment - part of John Sinclair Bday show - 10/3

(photo: Trever Long)

With 20-some-odd bands on the 2-day bill at the Bohemian National Home (3009 Tillman, Detroit) for John Sinclair's Birthday Weekend - I thought it'd be best to glimpse into one band, particularly one that has changed it's name and musical direction as of late, to catch you up and give you a bit more intimacy within the parade of performers.

Deep Cutz: Electric Lion Soundwave Experiment

The psychedelic/bluesy rock band once known as The Electric Lions, now known as Electric Lion Soundwave Experiment, will join a number of bands similarly situated in reverence for 60’s counterculture, and errant bohemia – to celebrate the birthday of poet/musician John Sinclair – at the Bohemian National Home, October 2nd and 3rd. The quintet (with Rabeah Ltief-vocals/guitar, Hussian Berro-keyboard, Pookie Grech-bass, Will Linna-drums, Mike Latcha-guitar) experienced a metamorphosis after its members served as 75% of The Glass Orphans (the initial “house band” for Theatre Bizarre’s Alice in Wonderland interpretation in March).

“We were always fans of psychedelia and garage rock,” said Ltief, “but for me (Wonderland) turned the page on my songwriting. I’m getting more into the soundscape aspect of music and doing really spaced out stuff and finding a listening experience In the slow and the low and not always having to have it on fucking 10.” All members acknowledged a solidified bond, not just as collaborators or performers but as friends, brought on by the Wonderland experience; including an embrace of a freer form and experimentalism. With material drifting from the traditional rock/blues delivery of their debut album, a name change feels right, as they prepare their 2nd LP for a winter release.

John Sinclair's Birthday Show - Detroit Life

So much has been said about John Sinclair (catch up here), and already have I written about his special bond, most recently, with the crew from Loco Gnosis (here). And while you're at it, you may want to catch up on Sinclair's Blues Scholars band - who are releasing their album, Detroit Life, on his Bday, 10/2 at the Bohemian National Home (or, Bo House?) - at 3009 Tillman, in Detroit.

So in the following post, I'll try to narrow it down with a spotlight on one of the many bands performing. But for more info - Loco Gnosis can tell you more. And even if you don't know who John Sinclair is, and even if you don't know half, most, or any, of the bands featured - you're still going to find an enlightening experience - combining down-home comfort with mind-expanded dizziness.

The Birthday concert is $5 - but the following night, Saturday 10/3, there's a bonus party, with just as many-if-not-more bands, for free.

The Breakdown

Oct 2: Scotty Karate / DevilFish / Rise of the Peace Balloon / Bad Faces Clan / Wildcatting / Frank and Jesse / Woodman / James Semark / Space Band / Polecats Bigband / Planet Nonet - and John Sinclair and his Blues Scholars (which will debut their Detroit Life album)

Oct 3:
High Speed Dubbing / The Makebelieves / Hellblower / Marco Polio & The New Vaccines / Outdated Fate / Mick Bassett & The Marthas / Circus Boy / Oscillating Fan Club / Black Irish / The Displays / Mazinga / Electric Lion Soundwave Experiment / The Decks / Dark Red / Duende - and John Sinclair with the Pinkeye Orchestra


Farewell Republic CD Release - 10/3 - Blind Pig

10 / 3 - Blind Pig - Ann Arbor - Farewell Republic CD Release - with Manolete

Indie-rock quartet Farewell Republic, an Ann Arbor based collectived heavily swathed in feedback affairs and atmospheric/art-rock viscera - recently wrapped up their 2nd EP, Heat/Crimes/Trench Man (named, you guessed it, for the songs featured). The band self-produced the recording with Michael Coffman mixing and then had it mastered at Avatar Studios in NY, with Fred Kevorkian (who worked with The National and the White Stripes). The follow-up to last year's Bridges EP manages to be even more dizzying in its display - adding an ensemble of strings and horns. Flavors and styles rise and fall, implementing moody strings and organs that set fantastic autumnal settings; songs shift and descend and explode back up, capturing a storybookish mellodrama with its epic orchestral builds, dressed with chimes and see-sawing violins, but given a hard rock vigor by more gristly guitars and bony, jerking hooks - with goosebump howls and marching drums.

Before this EP was mastered, no one in the band (Sivan Jacobovitz- Guitar/Vocals; Ryan Sloan- Bass/Keys; Bobby Matson- Drums; Brian Trahan- Keys/Vocals) had yet reached age 21 - plus, they've already toured the east coast 4 times. If that isn't enough to whet your appetite - how about having the EP for free? Hear the songs here - or check them out live at the Blind Pig, 10/3.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Week: WAB / Lager House / Berkley Front

The onset of the autumn show season will be anything but a slow acceleration, this year - the plate is already full - With four notable CD releases coming in the first week of October (more on that later), we'll start by building up with three solid shows the following three nights, yo-yo-ing from Ferndale, down to Lager House and back up to the Berkley Front.

9 / 24 - W.A.B. - Ferndale
First, continuing in their last-Thursday-of-every-other-month live music series, (which can hopefully be upgraded to simply "every-last-Thursday"), The Woodward Avenue Brewery is hosting something of a very belated DIY bonus-after party - with two estimable bands that weren't featured in the deluge of bands in last week's 2nd DIY Fest proper: - The High Strung and The Electric Fire Babies (pictured^) (the first of which just returned from tour and the second has a new song featured on the Bellyache Records Sweet Sounds of Detroit Volume 2 - listen here). Opening is Bars of Gold, which features the instrumentation of Wildcatting and the former vocals of Bear Vs. Shark.

9 / 25 - PJs Lager House - Detroit
A new DC fav is Black Lodge - who conjure that classic gritty, herky-jerky post-punk style for which I'll always drink the kool-aid (not so much Gang of Four, closer to Fire Engines) - but they can also just as easily slide into a more 60's Stooges thing or get really heavy on the atmospheric, noisy psychedelic trip. Their paired with the stately, melodic baroque pop quartet of The Juliets (who are currently in the studio). Also joining this bill is the Wildfire (Nathan Kalish) and Steve McCauley (the latter being an acoustic performance from the Scarlet Oaks singer). (For Black Lodge's sake, I'll also drink the kool-aid at any slight hint of Twin Peaks.)

9 / 26 - Berkley Front - Berkley
And that would lead us into the next show - for McCauley's main band, Scarlet Oaks will headline a show in that cozy little suburban bar (with a plethora of beers) for a show that's been dubbed "The Showcase" - The band will feature songs from their most recent release - Canadian Dew (on Bellyache) and welcome friends Benjamin Teague and Melissa Rae.


P.S. - Tonight at the Majestic Cafe (after the Sun Volt show in the Magic Stick) - The Four Hour Friends play a free after party.

Book Parties at the Emory - 9/24

Longing for more intellectual conversation from the bar setting? Or are you just an alcoholic bookworm?

Either way – you can come discuss literature (namely, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Detroit-set odyssey Middlesex) at the Emory in Ferndale, Thursday (9/24) as part of the Ferndale Public Library's “Book Parties”; a series of warm-up events leading to their Big Read, that will share the experience of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon in March. So refresh with a reread, you Middlesex fans, and come talk about books over cocktails.

This is part of the Library’s “Big Read Program” — think, effectively, a city-wide book club, happening in March 2010, where we all progress through (this year’s selection) The Maltese Falcon, gather and discuss, but above all: connect.
To prepare for The Big Read, the Emory offers a jumpstart: gathering at the bar to informally discuss books that reflect metro-Detroit (Middlesex); bar life (The Tender Bar); social issues (Fight Club); or are full of interesting characters (Maltese, or all of the above). “One of the best things about reading a great book is sharing with someone,” said Big Read Program Director Darlene Hellenberg, who partnered with Emory Manager Emily Husband to get the ball rolling and provide livelier settings for page pow-wows. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Detroiter-by-birth), is up first on September 24. Meet at the Emory, flip through pages, sip beer, meet, discuss

More info:;

(photos: Trever Long)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reviews - Girls / Taken By Trees / XX

Girls – Album – True Panther / Matador

Girls - "Hellhound Ratrace"

I feel like Girls “Hellhole Ratrace” is the waiting room soundtrack in the heaven reserved specifically for those drugged-out-of-their-gourd rock stars who OD’ed or burned out from excess. Swathed in cigarette smoke, gargled whisky, pill-popped blood-shot eyes staring aloof, ear drums punctured, neck cracked, fingers blistered, ankles and legs and shoulder wrecked – the rocker dies and he comes into the light – and these feedback-drenched surf swaying tones and lazy but steady hand-claps, these shuffling but coaxing lyrics, are what the scruffy, weary departed soul hears upon entry.

But it’s not like a rehab exit. And it’s not so tragic. It builds and builds, the bass gets louder, the chorus becomes relentless in its incantation, the guitars start to roar and it’s no knock against (“Big Bad Mean Motherfucker”) the shorter, faster, more punk-pulsed song that follows it on the album, but once I spun it through once I just clicked re-play and listened to it’s blissful, sad, dreamy 7 minute meandering all over again. “I don’t want to die without shaking up a leg or two, yeah, I wanna do some dancing too…” The acoustic guitars are breezy against the surfy reverb and those Beach Boys-blended-to-Costello-esque vocals. It’s the most euphoric bit of somber I’ve ever heard – not necessarily glorifying excess (though this San Francisco based duo have certainly seen their share), but it feels like a soul that’s been matured, whittled, worn, a soul that needs nothing else but to wander out onto the back porch of life, under the stars and have a wobbly-kneed slow-dance with whatever it is they love most in life. Eventually “Big Bad Mean…” progresses and you realize that track’s own beauty in its send up of slap-back Sun Studio style echo vocal pop/rock – a cruiser ballad for the post-post-punk-post-post-whatever-post-on-and-on-and-dig those shambly fuzzed out guitars.

Balancing BRMC’s crunchy guitar onslaught with BJM’s ear for 60’s druggy folk and pushed with the warm soothing production that knows how to balance their more feedback-fried J&MC moments with their soft-sunny endearing Pet Sounds moments.

Taken By Trees – East of Eden - Rough Trade

“Preferably quite far away…” Victoria Borgsman, singer/songwriter (formerly of Swedish indie-pop band The Concretes and known to satellite-radio-heads as the female voice to the duet of Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks,” spoke of wanting to escape the tendency of a walled-up, sound-proofed studio to stifle creativity and a needed playfulness.

Born from her recent penchants for Asian music, specifically of India and Pakistan, the cherubically wispy vocalist finally settled into a recording space in the latter country, sought out numerous local Sufi musicians and sang over the minimalist guitar strums of compatriot Andreas Söderström and producer Dan Lissvik (picture a lab top amongst traditional dafs, bendirs, shenais and harmoniums) while Borgsman wafts out her sublime tones, transfixing, almost vaporous, and settling in nicely into another country’s traditional folk style – be it recorded inside our out. Most importantly, it brings sanctity, freshness and rejuvenation to this, her second record under this moniker (primarily as a solo-singer/songwriter).

Highlights include the airy flutes and chiming acoustic cascades of (guaranteed autumn-jam) “Greyest Love of All,” and a collaboration with Animal Collective’s Panda Bear on “My Boys,” a cover of said band’s big 09 hit only with genders reversed in title – and given an even more buoyant and playful vibe (if lacking the synthesized bass boom).

The xx – the xx – Young Turks / XL

So hushed and minimalist, it feels like some deliciously haphazard dinner you threw together for yourself at the late ending to a long day that ended up being so fulfilling that you wish you’d written the recipe down but you knew it wouldn’t take much to make again – some beats, a few spaced-out guitar licks, unobtrusively hummed and whispered melodic voices so cooed there like the sweet nothings your special something wafts into your ear while your holding each other on some pillowy unmade bed in the lamplit loft of your star-roofed urban milieu.

Gauntly structured pop songs that keep a rocking swaying beat riding under plodding bass booms and surfy guitars that are so perfectly spaced out; some of these nocturnal ballads are so spread, they’re like gaps between mousy firework fizzles or iris-wrapped lattice, or scattered tea grounds against shiny porcelain. It’s pretty pop, but it’s delivered in the bedroom recording style – recalling minimalists like Young Marble Giants or a more trip/hop-dub/step pushed Yo La Tengo (subtract the latters psyche-noise-freakouts and drench it with way stronger penchant for R&B vocal styling).

Monday, September 21, 2009

I've Got a Feeling - DIY / Ferndale

The curtain falls on summer.

What a way to go out.

When we look back at the year - it almost feels like we've had four "Blowouts." Blowout-proper, back in March; Cityfest in July (which was noticeably lighter on the might of their touring headliners thus drawing more attention to the Silverghosts, Charlie Slicks, Child Bites and I Crimes of our local scene); The Majestic-set Fucking Awesome Fest back in August (four days, and nearly 70 local bands ricocheting all around in a convulsive celebration) and now The DIY Street Fair - concentrating all the countless bands and musicians of the area on the small stretch of pavement between the Emory and W.A.B. and the bumpy blacktop under the beer-tent.

Collected through the WAB parking lot were more than 20 tents of local self-trained artists with their handmade labors of love. On the Metro Times main stage - we were treated to yet another onslaught of local talent - ranging from the country-rock class of Dan John Miller right into the addictive electro-pop/plastic-sword-wielding of Champions of Breakfast; from the epic pop/rock of The Hard Lessons to more dark-horse or underground acts like experimental indie-rock trio Mother Whale. Not only did we see more than 30 bands pour out upon the main stage - but there were three consecutive after parites (for all three days of the weekend) inside the Loving Touch pool hall. The Saturday and Sunday after-parites featured the Curare IV festival and the special Eat This City hosted affair, respectively.

At this early point, I'm not sure to where the heart or the mind drifts most immediately, when we look back: is it to the ever-increasing emphasis/appreciation on the city of Ferndale as a cozier more suburban nexus for the Metro area scene, or the potential that the formidabble string of Emory--WAB--Loving Touch is something like the community bar, the hang out, the place to meet, the stirring soup bowl within which of all these tireless DIY-ers and musicians constantly meet up, share, collaborate, argue, hug, drink, et al - where you can often share a drink with--or be served a drink by--memebers from Oscillating Fan Club, or Octopus, or Grande Nationals, or Oblisk, or Wildcatting or Serenity Court or Pop Project or The Sights or........

and it just goes on. The Sights, meanwhile performed Sunday night on the roof of the Emory - surviving the threatening rain clouds above (that didn't decide to flood the streets until after 2 a.m., thus washing away the various spills of different brews from plastic cups). With all our music geek minds no doubt drifiting toward the Beatles' legendary roof top set - the band pleasingly embraced the sentiment and covered much of the mop-tops Let It Be days, including "One After 909" and "I've got a Feeling" - the latter of which containing the anthemic and appropriate line (for such a geographic area as Detroit) "Everybody had a hard year..." but "Everybody had a good time" - the theme for the whole event.

and it just goes on. Maybe it's starting to feel like we're getting closer each year. To what? I don't know. But as the state continues to go through financial hell, the arts only gets stronger - why--or how--else....could we have four Blowout-feeling affairs and still continue to come back. As Jeff Howitt (of Pinkeye) once put it to me, "We're fans..."

Dwell on that a minute. Out of all the beer-tent side conversations, I lost count of how many times I would fall into one chat with a member of a band, and have them say, "Hey, I'll be right back, I have to go check out ___'s set..."

Here's to Ferndale, to DIY, to letting our hair down and pulling our socks up...

Autumn's here. Everybody saw the sun shine.

(photos: mike milo)

The Grande Nationals

The Hard Lessons

High Speed Dubbing (Curare IV)

The Glass Orphans


Champions of Breakfast

Pinkeye (with John Sinclair)

The Friendly Foes

The Sights (above the Emory - with Gordon)

The Hentchmen

(Personal highlights/favs? The Glass Orphans had a strong set - as did the up-and-coming High Speed Dubbing quartet; Computer Perfection were tight and Mother Whale was a pleasant surprise; great to see the debut of Lettercamp - though they're not pictured, as many aren't - apologies, sometimes we just didn't have the camera on hand...)

P.S. - true to the actual Beatles performance, Eddie quipped at the end, directly quoting John Lennon as he thanked the Ferndale crowd, "I hope we passed the audition..."