Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Minute Travel Guides - Pigeon/Oscillating Fan Club

Hello again - welcome back to DC's Blowout coverage - er...blowout promotion - or what-have-you...

Here - Here - Here and Here - you can read four other paired packages of Detroit bands offering their "picks" for this week's gargantuan local-music-festival - in the hamlet of Hamtramck - brought you by Metro Times for the lucky-#-13th year - Mar 3 (starting at the Majestic Theatre Complex) and the next three days Mar 4/5/6 - taking over Hamtramck, schedule here.

With a few stragglers finishing their ScanTrons, putting down their # 2 pencils and finally traipsing up to the desk, we have some late returns from more bands on the way - featuring, today, Ray Thompson, guitarist/singer of both Pigeon (performing Friday, 9:40 - Small's) and The Oscillating Fan Club (performing Saturday night, 1am - at Skippers)

Here's Ray's Blownout greetings:

RT: "Is it that time already? I can't believe it! It seems as though it happened just yesterday! It's true though, the Hamtramck Binge Drinking Festival XIII is finally upon us and, apparently, this year there is live music!"

HBXIII : pros- good music, exercise, dancing with strangers
HBXIII : cons - blurry vision, slurred speech, getting into the cars of strangers

"So, (my) blowout walking tour:


I'm working! Tell me how Computer Perfection was...(10pm Majestic Cafe) ...still haven't seen them but i've heard good things!


8:40 - Small's - SNAKEWING - kick it off loud and angry to get the blood flowing

10:20 - Paycheck's- CARJACK - I like the future

11:20 - Paycheck's - ZOOS OF BERLIN - no brainer


9:40 - I will be incapacitated at Small's (Pigeon set). (Ed. - PS, even if Pigeon doesn't link out on the MT's schedule page - I think this link will work.)

10:40 - Small's - BARS OF GOLD - probably my pick of the blowout!

11:00 - Jean's - BEEKEEPERS - ...catch 'em after BoG

12:00 - K of C (aka G of C) - OCTOPUS -...who doesn't want to listen and look at Masha?

12:40 - Kelly's - HI-SPEED DUBBING - ...becoming a favorite!


9:20 - Paycheck's - DEVILFISH - ...Pierce beats me

10:20 - Paycheck's - DUENDE! - ...Duende! owes me money

11:20 - Jean's - PRUSSIA - ...they have aged horribly, (its quite the spectacle!)

12:00 - K of C - SILVERGHOST - ...they rock

1:00 - Skipper's - OFC - ...what the fuck is Skippers?!?!??... I'm not going to a place called Skipper's at 1:00 am in the morning!!!

More info at the MT

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mount Eerie - Wind's Dark Poem

News: Mount Eerie recently saw the re-release of an 08 EP (Black Wooden) on Southern Records.

For info on Wind's Dark Poem and more - click here.

An Aimless Essay – not quite a review…
Everything you love with end up on the breeze

A soul-shuttering thunderstorm seems to rage over the song – as though the singer (sung here by the ever edging upon tears and ready to howl frailty mixed with a world-weary equability from a man who sounds like he’s seen the monsters) were enclosed in a humble, unstable shelter, a shack or a tent or a leaf-lain ditch while the rattling roar of the majestic and frightening wind (represented here by a masterfully manipulated feedback) crashes in and down and swirls around the soundscape in a manner confusing; you to question whether the wailing gale/feedback of the upset earth is charging up in support with Gaea’s gratitude or with intent to bring the song’s shelter down and stop it from being sung.

Thus, we get through track one of Wind's Dark Poem, one of the most monumentally-missed records of my personal repertoire of 2009, by revered atmospheric fuzz-curtained songwriter, Phil Elvrum, of (Microphones)/Mount Eerie. DC is 8 months late to writing about this album, which is sacrilege - not only in the so-instant-we-haven’t-even-finished-reading-this-sentence-world of blogs, - but also in the ravenously devoted (and enamored) fan base that follows this experimental song-sculptor from Anacortes, WA.

Elvrum (alternately Elverum, with his own label) is one of those talents that feels intimidating to write about – his lyrics are abstruse, sparse and devastating – the words (as well as the voice singing them) feel whittled by the rough unforgiving hand of the wilderness, the same wilderness he overtly references directly via interviews or indirectly via the showing influences upon his photography, poetry and illustration as, indeed, providing him inspiration: They (the songs, the works) are achingly austere, nocturnal, restless; with vivid imagery flashing through like blinking eyes on a night’s traipse through the deep dark wild woods over pallid rocks with swaying gnarled branches above, tree’s arms snaking through the moonlight…

You see what effect it has even on me? I splattered that out just from listening to the 11-minute haunted lullabye "Through The Trees."

Like downing some elixir and losing myself into some soul-dilating tumble of ecstatic appreciation for the pain and the dark and the freedom of the night – the night and nature and trees and mountains – all prominent elements, powerfully depicted, throughout the scuffed (“lo-fi”) cannon of Elvrum, from the Microphones onward, and celebrated in a sweeping summary (tinged, on this record, by/with a hard but nuanced-lean into the harsh roars of black metal, tempered through his characteristic elegiac folk and coaxing electronic textures of subtle synth howls and occasional guitar flickers).

This was an album I’d initially interpreted as the man heading out to the woods (for another of his likely many deep-inhaled hikes of pine and dirt and brisk mountain slope chills) with notebook in hand, to just stand and be massaged, beaten, hardened and consoled by the always underestimated/underappreciated power of the wind – …which, I should stop there before I, in my own inadequate ability…lean towards some “dust in the wind” cliché…but Elvrum, himself sums it up, over a groaning sonorous cymbal scrape and a throbbing synth reverberation on “Summons…” “…I can’t say it, so I’ll let the wind…come wind, destroyer of worlds…show me shapes in the swirling dust…sayer of names...make me listen into the night.”

Another way I, initially, interpreted Wind's…was an exploring of the ominous implications of those seemingly innocuous cut scenes on Twin Peaks showing 10 to 15 seconds of hemlocks swaying in an ever-building gust. “What goes on up there in the night in that dark blurry place,” he asks over the most palatably indie-rock leaning (Twin-Peaks-soundtrack-sampling) xylophone dashed ode, “Between Two Mysteries.”

To come to Mount Eerie, and Elvrum and Microphones through this record, makes me give it a power that longtime fans will only-helpfully downplay and assure that there rests this similar power in much of his work, exceedingly-so, perhaps. It leads to grandiose table-top fist pounds beside my lap top that Elvrum is perhaps an artist who should transcend the eye-rolling cliché of “like no other” and actually, earnestly, have it rightfully cast upon him – because he is taking traditional structures and shattering them into stringy pieces thus that he can expand them throughout larger, weirder, louder realms to where they feel still linked together – the similar chaotic beauty and bewitching bewilderment set on by the deepest tree-tunneled states of our dreams.

“...was it a dream where I wandered off the trail…aimlessly drawn…” (-Ancient Questions)

P.S. on a personal note – I love the fact that this album sounds infinitely, incontestably better – between headphones – car stereos will not do it justice. Get close, press it to your head (your heart) close your eyes…transcend.

more info - Mount Eerie - Daytrotter

Thursday, February 25, 2010

fur. - sugarcoats - yeasayer - ginger tea - deerhunter

I'm trying to get myself closer to "Blowout" mode...

Asking a bunch of other bands about which bands they particularly want to see has gotten me thinking (and stressing, twitching, itching) about where the hell I think I'll want to end up - for whose set will I want to make sure to stumble onto, all harried and hurried, in from the cold, to hopefully catch two songs of...

All this while infusing a rotating aural lunch of cheesified no one's watching nintendoey-Alex-F-Theme-glory of disco-pop (Body Electric), mixed with Yeasayer's "Ambling Alp," where I can't help but get pumped up and misty and glitzy when I hear the wonderous wail, "Stick up for yourself...never mind what anybody else done..." I am balancing this with ginger-tea -that I really wish was stronger...have I already burned out my latest addiction?

But, all that said - I will definitely try to check out Chapstick - (on Wednesday) who, if myspace ID's are to be believed, spends half the time in Ypsilanti, Michigan and the other San Antonio TX...

But I think the real reason I'm writing this post right now is that I am smitten with a song and intrigued by a band. Which might be daily occurrences for you or me -

but....but, it's worth noting, or expressing, unabashedly, that I've listened to The Sugarcoats' "Spinning Gold" at least 4 times today, in all it's wailing/twanging punk-wrung-country-kicked glory - (they play Thursday night during the Blowout.) Listen here.

And then, without knowing/hearing or checking other blog's back-pages for references - I opened up fur.'s page - and the incorrigable love I hold for the wavy bass grooves, screechy guitars and herky-jerky rhythms - all realms of what's commonly spat out (in bar-side commentary) as post-punk/no-wave/art-rock etc etc (forgive the tired genres) - sometimes you just have to go listen....(here)

or watch below
(fur. play Thursday night also)

Metro Times Blowout 13 - Mar 3 - Mar 6 - Hamtramck
More "Band's Travel Guides" to come - featuring members of Oscillating Fan Club/Pigeon and Electric Fire Babies/Carjack..


Oh, and another spastically splattered random thought - Deerhunter is joining Spoon at the Royal Oak theatre at the end of the month - with the commendable Strange Boys opening things up. Spoon - everybody loves Spoon. And Deerhunter, I would really like to chat-with/innerview 'em for that show - but I wouldn't be sure where to abstruse, esoteric and cool..., but Strange Boys--will hopefully turn some heads when they come through - get there early. Early--and this is certainly an "early" post for a show that's more than 30 days away...

Today's aural desert is a new solo songwriting project by Lightning Love's Ben Collins - called "Ghost Stories" - but more on that, I promise... both Ben and Lightning Love.


How's that for a bloggy post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life without Libraries? - Election results in Troy

Budget shortfalls led to proposed tax hikes in Troy and Berkley - and voters in both cities rejected the potential increases after yesterdays special elections.

For Troy, this means that city officials will have to resort to more drastic measures, including laying off dozens of police officers and the library will be closed, to help ease the budgetary deficits brought on by dwindling property taxes.

Essentially, the deteriorating economy in Michigan led to many leaving the state to find work - which left communities in SE Michigan without the revenue they depended upon from property taxes. Much of Troy's tax increase was to ease the strain upon public safety funding - and would have cost the homeowner of a $200,000 home about $190 extra per year, according to the Detroit News.

I bring this up for a number of reasons - not the least of all being that I am passionate about the importance of public libraries' vital role in the community - secondly, being, that the most recent post (below) is related - as it promotes upcoming (community-involving) activities at Ferndale's Public Library - and thirdly, can you even imagine...stepping outside of our apathetic, cold, chilly, instant-everything-Wikipedia-clicking mind-sets...a communiy not having a library? This was an ominous domino that I never thought would fall... more info here.

Troy also looks to close another source of public education - it's Nature Center, as well as it's Community Center.

Troy Public Library site.

Since this is a blog and I can dip away from objective news - I have to plant seeds to ruminate on - can't help wondering if this is born from a larger, national trend - that of - rejecting tax hikes as a referendum on government spending - like the neo-liberal-monarchy-pinko-socialist-agenda-fighters of the Tea Party Movement.

Life without libraries sounds too much like a Twilight Zone episode.

Big Read - Maltese Falcon - Ferndale Public Library - 2/27 Kick-Off

So...are you done with the book yet? Are you reading The Maltese Falcon? I know you've probably seen the movie - and yes, they run pretty similarly - but, honestly, if you haven't started reading it (at the behest of both your friends and the Ferndale Public Library) then you might as well not consider yourself a true Ferndalian...(is that what we call ourselves? Ferndaler? Ferndaley!)

The Ferndale Public Library is hosting a month's long community-wide book-club-esque experience, where we all read the same book - that's Maltese, pay attention, sweetheart - and gather together for fun and engaging events - where the community can get to know not only just their library (and all of it's valuable treasures, glories and vital services) but each other.

So then, February 27th is the kick-off party, at the Library (currently, while the main spot's getting souped up with construction, located at 642 E. Nine Mile Rd. ) where they'll have 1920's-40's costume contest - derby hats, pearls, white gloves, shark-skin suits, all that jazz. From there, on March 3rd, Affirmations community center will host "How to Read/Watch Like a Professor" - with Wayne State U's Prof's Jerry Herron / Lesley Brill and Kirsten Thompson will give tips regarding the reading of nuanced texts - specifically books and films...and films based on books, etc.

For more information on The Big Read, the first kick-off party (2/27) and the following meetings - go to the library site.

Pick up the book. It reads fast. Sharp. Snappy. Finish it. Get a costume. Show up. Don't gum up the works! Be an angel. Tell us what's on your mind...besides yer hat!!

...even more info - check Kelly's 780.00's blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

more Things of Note...for Thur-Fri-Sat: - FernCare / MCR

With the economy in a month's-long-tailspin - Ferncare and the Phoenix Cafe are shining like a beacon of selflessness, communal spirit and humanity - and to celebrate both - locals like Duende!, Black Lodge and Old Empire - (with the poster here) - and a link to motorcityrocks' post about it here.

Ferncare, meanwhile, is a burgeoning, volunteer-run, free clinic, aiming to provide whatever care is most needed throughout the community, specifically to the un-insured or under-insured. Info here and here.

The Phoenix Cafe is an essential community gather center; a performance/arts-space aiming to spur communal unity on pressing issues from the economy, to the environment, to promotion/preservation of the arts. More info here - and even more info here.

The fundraiser is Friday (2/26) and Saturday (2/27) with a $10 donation towards patient care.

Meanwhile, as I linked to up there, for their FernCare post - one should also note that they are subsequently hosting their own show - and it's this Thursday.

What's refreshing about this is - for the first time I can remember, the date and time are (much) bigger fonts than the bands... Not to harp on the small attention span of this generation of internet-seekers and youtoobers and what-have-yous--but, heh, then again - I'm already double-posting MCR's's to blogs!

But, in all honesty - MRC has been, to abandon sophisticated diction, kickin some the coverage department as of late - DC not only recommends this show for the sake of Marco Polio and Jesus Chainsaw's no-wave-leaning antics - but also as a nod to MCR's work in supporting/promoting local music/art ...keep it up.

P.S. - [Ed. Anybody miss the 4Play/4Track page in Real D yet?]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things of Note

--Friday, February 26th is the deadline to apply for an Arts Grant from the Kresge Foundation - this involves awarding 18 potential fellowships worth $25,000 and also what's vaguely scrawled as "professional development opportunities..." (which sounds weird when one applies it to Art...) - but you can find info at Kresge's Detroit site here - and more info regarding the grants here.

--Friday, February 26th, at the Magic also your chance to see a farewell show for the guitarist (Zach) and trombonist (Christian) of Child Bite - as that band transmogrifies into its next stage of development. Marco Polio & The New Vaccines are working on a new album - and will open things up - meanwhile, it'll be great to see Terrible Twos again, also...been a while, it seems.

--Wednesday, February 24th - will, apparently, not be the day Philly-based/chilly-dark-wave-dance-pop diggers Cold Cave comes to the Crofoot in Pontiac...Matador recently announced an unintended cancellation. Ah well... That's Life (Magazine)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blowout - Part 4 of Local Band's "Travel Guides" (Silverghost / Kommie Kilpatrick)

Hello again – more Blowout picks from local bands on the line up – a massive-line-up - that includes 200 bands and 15 venues – spread across the quaint cluttered Detroit hamlet of Hamtramck – brought to you (here, for the 13th year) by The Metro Times.

All access wrist bands are $20 and you can find info here. Blowout happens March 3 - March 6.

The hardcore leaning/passionate-punchy/quasi-spazzed-hard-shredded punk rock quintet Kommie Kilpatrick (below) sent Zak, the drummer to put together some picks...

“I think (Blowout)’s great," Zak said, "I like having the option to see 50 or whatever bands a night. I can watch a band for a few songs then hop on a trolley or shuttle bus, maybe get a free vitamin water, and then go see a different band. It's good if you have a short attention span. And it's nice to have a weekend where all of my roommates and friends are all playing, and we can check out each others bands and just hang out. This is our first time playing so I'm excited about that, too."


Keep On Trash DJ's- these guys play good records (dance party in the Magic Stick’s Garden Bowl bar). They DJ'd Sunday nights on the Alley Deck and it was always cool. F'ke Blood (Majestic Café – midnight) - I like this band, and they don't play too often, so when they do I try and catch them.

Superdollar (Skipper’s at midnight). They're pretty new. It's our old bass player’s band. They do a sick cover off Billy Joel's "You May Be Right". I'm probably gonna stay in the first part of the night so I can watch 30 Rock.

Beekeepers (Jean’s at 11pm) - this band is alot of fun. They have a saxophone and sometimes sound a little like Sparks. I think. The Alarm Clocks - An old 60's garage rock band form Cleveland. This sounds fun. They have stuff on Norton Records?

We play (Atlas Bar, 11:40pm), with The Mahonies, Johnny Ill Band and Bill Bondsmen. I will just stay here all night. Definitely the PUNK show of the weekend. The Mahonies and Bill Bondsmen don't play too much nowadays, and Johnny Ill is always great.


Next up – Silverghost (above)- the straightly-combed jet-black and fire-orange haired pair with their mesmerizing harmonies and delectable electro-pop offer their picks. Deleano (synth) and Marcie (guitar) also perform with F’ke Blood. Silverghost, meanwhile, plays Saturday, midnight at the G of C Hall.

Wednesday (with all bands play throughout the Majestic Theatre complex)
Keep on Trash DJ's: Always play the purest jams Sugarcoats: Very good country-punk-rock-n-roll Computer Perfection: Fashion Pop F'ke Blood: We like this band because we are a part of it.

Paychecks seems to have a good lineup this night w/ Zoos of Berlin, Carjack and Fawn. We would like to see Invincible (midnight, G of C Hall), which we have only heard great things about her.

Bars of Gold (10:40 Small’s), Marco Polio & the New Vaccines (12:40 Paychecks), The Juliets (9:40 G of C Lounge), Satin Peaches (12:20 Atlas Bar). This looks like a lot of driving between venues and experiencing the fresh taste of nice cold beers.

Kommie Kilpatrick and Johhny Ill @ Atlas. Gates of Columbus Halll is where Silverghost is playing so we'll check out all the bands in the lounge and hall, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Cold Wave, Lightning Love, Child Bite, Millions of Brazillians. Los Minstrels del Diablos (12:40 Small’s) do very cool interactive visual media in conjunction with their music, and they were wearing skull masks when we played with them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Interview: The Ultrasounds (forthcoming EP - Blind Pig show 3/25)

The Ultrasounds (Christopher Smith-bass/vocals, Patrick Conway-guitars, Sara Griffin-drums) started with Smith and Conway fresh out of high school in 03, with this line-up solidified in 06. Since then, they self-recorded/self-released “The Way Things Were,” and recently finished the “Give Up The Fight” EP with Brandon Wiard (Pretty Suite) and then later with Tim Patalan (of Sponge, at The Loft). “2009 was a very emotionally intense year for all of us,” Griffin said, noting that the EP push came from different California-based labels who wanted more, “and the new tunes definitely reflect that.”

Current magazines readers awarded/praised them as “most underrated” band in 08 – and they’ve since grown considerably from earlier perceptions of a Kinks-ian 60’s psyche pop-negotiating-a-Strokes-ian-art-punk revival. “This record is a bit darker,” noted Conway, “the songs are denser and more intricate than before. Chris’ piano has a more prominent role, Sara has stepped forward to sing on almost half the tracks and her harmonies are present throughout.” Griffin said their friendships’ duration and closeness shines through in writing/recording/performing, they’ve gotten more meticulous at sound-sculpting/perfecting and used live performance as a means for a song’s evolution. Conway said he’s gained adaptability through playing in numerous nuanced line ups – and that together they’ve learned to be wary of how to measure their respective intensities for optimum sonic results. Sensibilities are shining through on the new writing: be it an electronic vibe from Griffin, or a jazz influence from Smith or more echoing/fuzzed-out guitars from Conway. “Recently,” Smith said, “these things have been melding to form a unified sound.”

Deep Cutz Interview: The Ultrasounds

DC: So what can you say about the latest EP? How have you changed since the last album, songwriting-wise or other…? How would you say your sensibilities, overall style/vibe has changed?

Pat: This record is a bit darker than previous release, and deals with more mature themes. The songs are dense and more intricate than before. Chris' piano has had a more prominent role both in the songwriting and the recording. Sara has also stepped forward to sing on almost half of the tracks, and her harmonies are present throughout.

Chris: One of the things we've tried to do is shift our sound to something that more appropriately accommodates the addition of Sara's vocals. I think adding the keyboards helped give us the musical 'tools' so to speak to accomplish helped bring a more unified sound to our music. Also, personally I feel like we've done a better job of stretching out thematically, in terms of the colors in the music and the lyrics as well. For me songwriting hasn't changed much, we have this process where everyone writes and sometimes you come to rehearsal with a complete tune, other times you bring some ideas and we all collaboratively flesh out the details. The whole thing varies from person to person, but typically I do the former.

Sara: We have all been close friends outside of music for a while. In the past year we have been concentrating a lot more on bringing that togetherness to our music and our live performance. We have calmed down a lot and spent significantly more time perfecting songs. Rather than quickly writing a tune and moving onto the next song, we revisit our music over and over until it feels right. Even some of the songs on our new album have evolved in our concerts. Personally, I like that. It brings a new element to the live show that makes you want to come back for more, rather than being content lying in your bed listening to the album. We are working to make both experiences equally satisfying in their own way. Each of us are more committed to our music than we have ever been and I don't see any end in sight.

Pat: Over the course of The Ultrasounds, our line up has changed several times. As a guitar player I've gone from being one of two guitar players, to the only guitar player, to a guitar player accompanied by piano. Each one of these set ups affect the way I fit into the band and what the band can do as a whole. I write collaboratively with both Chris and Sara, and if you know us well you can hear which songs are which. A lot of the ones with a more prominent guitar hook are written with me, and the more piano driven songs are written by Chris, obviously. We spend a lot of effort trying to take up as much space in the music as we can. We've played with bands that have 5 or 6 people and they don't sound nearly as big as we do. I think that comes from learning to be economical in how you play music. With only three people we constantly have to make decisions about which part is more important to play, because when I play a lead on the guitar, we lose all the rhythmic things the guitar can do, and when I'm playing a rhythmic part, Chris has to do more melodically on either the bass or the keyboard. Limitations like those make us work harder when we're writing songs, and I think benefits us greatly.

DC: Can you talk about expanding beyond the more indie-rock/pop thing of the past, and into the more textural…atmospheric, what-have-you…

Pat: Our sound has changed a bit from the previous record. Expect more vocal harmonies, more echo and fuzzed out guitars, more intricate songs and more polished production. The music is more dramatic and the message is more genuine. There are songs that are densely produced and there are songs that are stripped down. After working on and struggling with it for almost a year, I can finally say with confidence that people are going to like it.

Chris: One thing I've been noticing lately is this clash of influences in our music that's been finally culminating in the creation of this new sound. The breakdown you're referring to with the 'speaker-boxed' vocals and all the delay and effects is kind of indicative of this electronic vibe that Sara has been heavily influenced by, so naturally it's a sort of theme that dominates her tunes. In my tunes, you can hear more clearly the jazz influence in the way I voice the changes, the tine piano parts, that sort of thing. Then, at the same time Pat has these sort of blues/riff-y/guitar rock influences, that identify the parts he writes. Now, in the past this sort of thing resulted in us just having different tunes that were each different styles, but recently these things have kind of been melding to form a more unified sound, and that shows through in the new recordings I think.

Sara: One other thing that has changed with our new music is our focus on not only what is, but what isn't. In the past we might have been reluctant to have silence or minimal parts in our songs. It is a bit more scary. It makes you feel a little bit more vulnerable during those parts. When there are a bunch of things going on at once, it is harder to notice mess-ups. But since we have grown as musicians, we have been getting more confident with ourselves. That has opened up a whole new side to our music. We're trying things we've never dared to try before. In the new record there is much more sound outside of driving melodies and rhythm parts. And as you describe it, much more texture. It's not something you always notice right away, but I feel like it brings the music to a new level. You can experience it in different ways based on how you are feeling when you listen to it.

The band will shop around the new recordings when it’s closer to officially coming out – find more info at their site – or just go see em at their shows and ask them afterwards.

“Give Up The Fight” EP is on the way…

1. After You Close Your Eyes
2. When I Saw Her
3. 1974
4. World Perks
5. Life On The Wire
6. For Elliott
7. I'm Always Right

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blowout - Part 3 of Local Band's "Travel Guide" (Personal Picks of Lettercamp and Black Lodge)

Hello again

More "picks" from local Detroit bands on where they're going to be/who they want to see - when the 13th Metro Times Blowout comes around - on March 3rd (through March 6th) - taking over the streets of Hamtramck. Line ups of four bands will be featured in 15 venues, for four straight nights. Something like 200 bands - playing bars and venues throughout the cozy Detroit satellite.

Info here - Schedule here - News here - and, if you'd like to get to know Hamtramck, -info here.

In the meantime - on with the picks

First up is the electro-pop/trip-hop leaning shiny-fuzzy-beat-heavy charm of Lettercamp - featuring vocalist Liz Wittman and guitarist Matt Lannoo and Derek Dorey on bass (making their pics); the quartet also features Shane Ford on keys.
Lettercamp plays at 10:30 - Friday - in the G of C Lounge.

Both Wittman and Dorey regretted the fact that the event is held at a still-yet-cold time of the year--it may be almost--Spring, but in Michigan, that can still have a bite. One doesn't necessarily need to carry a coat around bouncing from bar to bar if you grit and bear it - since most places are packed enough with other humans that the bodyheat thaws all. Still, Dorey said, around Detroit, it can be "colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra doing push-ups in the snow..."

That said, "the Blowout is a great event becuase it get's a ton of people from the suburbs to spend a full weekend in Hamtramck," said Lannoo, "a city which they would otherwise normally never hang out in. It's a great mix of locals, musicians and non-musician music fans drinking their ass's off and supporting the local music scene. Even with the terrible weather it is well attended - imagine if it were in july!?"

Wittman said, "The energy. I r
emember the first time I went to a Blowout, the first year I moved here. I was overwhelmed with how much support the local scene got. And how well received every band was, and it was so cool to see a scene so strong and to see everyone supporting each other."

Dorey, meanwhile, offered: "I love that the Blowout is full of hipsters wanting to get drunk because I spot out the ones with the tightest jeans and the stinkiest arm pits and I buy them as many pbr's as it takes to get them completely drunk because when they're "pissed" they are way easier to persuade into coming back to my basement which is wrapped in plastic and I stab them repeatedly in the neck listening to Tools "aenima" to drown out their screams until they stop breathing because I will one day be known as the "blow Out Butcher!!!!!!!!!!"

amned if that isn't a fine piece of flying off the cuff with a good sense of humor...either that, or we should all be mindful not to take an offered PBR from Dorey.]

Their picks: Dorey pointed to The Hadituptoheres headlining the Belmont, midnight on Thursday (3/4).

Lannoo suggested the gang's all here vibe of the Wednesday (3/3) pre-party as "the storm before the storm." And suggested seeing The Beggars (Saturday, 12:30, Paychecks), "...they never disappoint and it's a great excuse to hang out at Paycheck's. -Must catch Octopus too (Friday, midnight, G of C Hall), because they melt my face."

Wittman: "I want to check out Chapstick (Wednesday, 1245, Magic Stick); I'm pretty sure they practice in the same spot we do and I've never seen them live yet - and, I'm pretty sure I should bring ear plugs. Also can't wait to see Prussia (Saturday, 1120, Jean's) Cold Wave (Saturday, 1120, G of C Hall), Four Hour Friends (Saturday, midnight, Belmont), Lightning Love (Saturday, 1220, G of C Hall), Millions of Brazilians (Saturday, 1am, G of C Hall) and The Beggars (Saturday, 1230, Paychecks). "Saturday is going to be crazy!"


2nd on the pick-list this week - we invite Kyle McBee, singer/guitarist of the darkly-grooved psyche-punk-soul quartet Black Lodge (a band that also includes Matt Luke, Steve Gamburd and Nick Marshall) - Black Lodge plays Friday, 1130 at the G of C Lounge.

yle offered his picks via email - charmingly, in a very diary-esque notation--)

Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at maximizing my Blowout ti
me to see as many acts as possible- here's to doing it again in that whirlwind weekend!

There'll be some great entertainers- The Displays (Magic Stick) and t
he Sugarcoats, (2nd stage, Magic Stick) notably, but I'll probably stay only as long I can stand running into everyone in the city- eventually I get social anxiety.

8:40- SNAKEWING- Small's
Stop in and say Hi to Melody and Finally fulfill my promise to see Phil's band. Start Blowout proper with some energy. I see no downside.

9:40- SEY LUI- Whiskey in the Jar
Excellent instrumental trio. I hear Slint meets Black Sabbath. Droney, heavy, and great musicians. Fueled by PBR.

10:00-POTIONS- Atlas
I'll sneak up the block to catch the psych-rock sounds of Richard Wolfiel's band. Rich seems to always have himself involved in something good.

11:00-CARRADINE- Atlas
I haven't seen these guys yet, but the songs I've heard are like a comp tape of the best of 1994, so I'm intrigued. I do wonder if they regret their name now that Dave Carradine went the way of the guy from INXS though...

11:40- ILLY MACK- Whiskey
Jen has a great voice, and KZO does a lot more than he should be able to do. Kinda like girl pop from the 60's, but not.

Runner up: Jesus Chainsaw Massacre- I haven't seen the new guitarist yet!

9:20- SCOTT HARRISON- Baker's Streetcar
Baker's is always a cool/weird place to see a performance. Scott Harrison used to front the criminally under-appreciated BATTLING SIKI, his songs are excellent. For fans of Tom Waits or the Stones without the dad-rock vibe.

9:40- THE JULIETS- Gates of Columbus Lounge
Well crafted Pop music. Lush arrangements. This is headphone music. Also, you gotta give it up for those Keys.

IF I weren't Busy at 11:40 I'd split my time between WOLFBAIT at small's- classic NWOBHM sound and the JEHOVA'S WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM over at paychecks. I'll have to take a raincheck, guys.

12:40- MARCO POLIO & the new vaccines- Paycheck's
Every set these guys play gets better and better. there are some great bands playing at the same time, but for my money Marco Polio will put on the most engaging, electrifying show of the weekend.

1:00 ...This is a total toss up!
OLD EMPIRE (at Skippers) are one of my favorite bands around, and have been for years, but THE WRONG NUMBERS (all the way down at the new dodge) blew me away at a gig a few weeks ago. I will literally make up my mind at the last minute.

9:20- DEVILFISH- Paycheck's
Slam bang surf punk featuring Pierce from OFC. If the blisteringly fast musicianship doesn't blow you away, wait for the man-boy antics of Pierce between songs. Its great!

10:20- DUENDE! - Paycheck's
This is usually about one hour longer than I like to hang at Paycheck's, but Duende! is worth it. Easily one of the best bands in town right now. Loose in all the right places, tight where it counts. Ole!

11:20- SCARLET OAKS- Painted Lady
Yeah the sound will suck, and the bathrooms will give you VD, but that's the charm that keeps me coming back to the old mainstay- Not to mention the fact that Scarlet Oaks write some of the best songs I've heard in awhile. I never get tired of seeing these guys and girl perform.

12:00- MOURNING VOICES- Skipper's
Vaudeville-like harmonies, bluegrass instrumentation and some very catchy tunes. Anthony Retka of Tone & Niche with some of Detroit's folk luminaries put on a show that rocks- without a fuzz pedal or drums for a crutch.

1:00- MICK BASSETT & the MARTHAS- Belmont
Considering I worked at Belmont the last few years, its only fitting I end Blowout at my Favorite rock bar in Hamtown. Mick is a busy guy lately, and I'm not sure I'll get the chance to see his band play for a spell. Do yourself a favor and meet me there for a last round, and catch a great band.

Runner-up: SISTERS OF YOUR SUNSHINE VAPOR; Probably the best psych-rok band in town. Check 'em out!

Shamefully not included: PEWTER CUB and THE MANTONS. Write your local congressman.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blowout (Mar 3 - Mar 6) - Part 2 of Local Band's Travel Guide (Personal Picks of Prussia and Spitting Nickels)

Another post featurning local bands offering their personal picks for the Blowout schedule...

Because one human being can see only so many bands - out of the 200 or so listed.

More info at Metro Time's site - and the schedule (3/3 - 3/6 in Hamtramck, MI) can be found here.

In the meantime, we feature picks from members of Prussia - a spacey-indie/tribal-folk freak psyche thing that continually evolves (as they currently work on their 3rd proper full-length); and Spitting Nickels, a heartening hometown fav of blue-collar rockers specializing in soul, blues, grit and garage.


Ryan Spencer's up first (singer/guitarist of Prussia seen above, in a video by Trever Long); you can see his band 11:20pm at Jean's on Saturday - Ed. When D.C. put out the call for bands to offer picks, Ryan was first to respond, - the man had his mind made up and knew where his heart would lead him

"I want to see Marco Polio & The New Vaccines (Friday, 12:40pm, Paychecks), cuz i like em,... Child Bite (Saturday, 11pm, G of C), cuz they sooo good... Matt Jones (Thursday 8:30pm, G of C Lounge)...cuz i like his album... and Robin Parrent (Friday, 9:40pm, Kelly's)...cuz he's our BOYYYY...


John Bissa (of Spitting Nickels-above) offered up his thoughts on MT's Blowout:

(meanwhile, Spitting Nickels performs Friday, 10pm - at the New Dodge)

The best thing about Blowout is that it turns me into one of those lab rats that the scientists used to feed a 400x dose of caffeine to. There's so many bands that I've a.) always wanted to see b.) caught something online that sounds very promising or c.) become a sucker for after reading those pithy one sentence teases in the Metro Times guide that I blast around Hamtramck convinced I can catch ten a night.

The one thing I try to avoid is seeing a band that I've already seen -- it is all about what's new to me.....
Blowout is truly is an orgy of music and I just don't care if there are occasional strike outs -- the surprise home runs are far more often the case and are the reason I love Blowout.

Here's a handful that have qualified under (a) or (b) that are on my list this year:

Computer Perfection (Wednesday 10:30 - Majestic Cafe) -- for the harmonies

Electromags (Thursday, 9:40, Kelly's Bar) -- I love surf and I love Kelly's

Darling Imperial (Thursday, 11:20, G of C Lounge) -- way overdue to see these guys

Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor (Saturday, 10:20 - G of C Lounge)-- I need some reverb

I, Crime (Saturday, 12:20, Jean's) -- overdue on these guys, too

Jamie Register and the Glendales (Saturday 9:20, Jean's)-- Just sounds like a party

P.S. - Spitting Nickels has a new record, Stop Don't/Yes coming in April.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Last Decade's 100 Best Albums

A lot of these retrospective lists popped up - from NPR to Pitchfork

But, call me bias - I rather enjoyed Tiny Mix Tapes' take...

Some brow-raising selections - by rank and by consideration - and some victories for a few relatively abscures...

I won't ruin it (though if you've read other lists, you can probably guess) as to what makes # 1- but here's # 2's cover - a victory for Animal Collective's Sung Tongs.

Blowout Advice Column - Local Bands Travel Guide - Who They'd Like To See/Hear

Metro Times Blowout - March 3 - 6
(featuring The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre)

It is now the 13th year for what is the largest gathering of local musical talents in the country (hell, maybe even the world), and it's right in our backyards; nestled betwixt the narrow streets of charming Hamtramck.

There's a schedule for the bands (up to 200) and all the venues (15 bars/halls) listed here. Over at MT's site, you can beef up on the history of this hurried, harried, mad, musical, celebratory event, here.

Last year, I wanted to give a handful of some of the performing bands a chance to make their own personal picks - of where they'd like to be, the spots they want to hit, the bands they want to see... (Read about last year, on DC, here)

Well...why not try that again? With a cast of fresh faces (and fresh musical genres) - with a handful of new bands making new picks...

(the full schedule's printed at the bottom)

This week - it's the notorious Jesus Chainsaw Massacre - the main pair (though they're a full band), includes Bryan Metro (vocals/mischief) and J.R. (vocals/guitar) - the pair are perhaps as known for their internet-set screeds via their band blog as they are for their noisy and destructive if not passionate and shows.

JCM performs at The Whiskey In The Jar at 10:40 pm, Thursday, Mar 4th

Ed. I feel like I should run a disclaimer, similar to major networks before they air infomercials - about "the views expressed are those of..." "and not of..." etc etc..., journalistic integrity and all that..., here we go... - JCM doens't wear kid gloves or walk on egg shells, they're a very much call-it-as-they-see-it type... (empahsis, if you will, on 'they') - as is evidence (pre-forewarned) on their blog

Bryan Metro:

"I like the chaotic element of Blowout. I always go on and on about how the current scene, if you will, is quite dull and predictable, but Blowout at least gives you options. "Uh oh, I'm at Smalls and they're breaking out brass instruments; time to go to New Dodge. Hurm, the acts at the New Dodge consist exclusively of bands with animals in their names; time to go to Kelly's. Ha ha just kidding. Let's go to Paychecks." Its best quality is the variety, both in venue and acts. Where else can you see all of these bands playing over the span of one weekend? That was rhetorical.

Okay, enough small talk; here are my picks:

Wed 3-3
- I am obligated to be here at the pre-party to represent the Lavender Blog and I can't say that I'm thrilled. Is Mirror Twin Deastro's new band? I want to catch some of the Displays because, according to the local media, they have been in high school since 2004. I also want to catch Computer Perfection because, like us, their blog is better known than their music.

Thurs 3-4
- I wish I had the Metro Times Blowout preview issue right now because I hardly recognize any of these bands, though that is more my fault than their's, I think, maybe. We just did a show with Carradine, so they're cool, obviously. Other than that, the Paychecks lineup looks okay. Carjack is fun. Zoos of Berlin is talked about on blogs and I can see Fawn claiming the title of "Local Band That Opens for Big Local Bands and Mid-Level National Acts" previously held by Child Bite, Millions of Brazilians, and Silverghost. Of course, we'll be performing at Whiskey in the Jar at 10:40 and I'm probably the most entertaining person for 15 minute intervals in town.

Fri. 3-5
-I am going to try my best to catch Elle and the Fonts, Woodman, Marco Polio because, God knows, I haven't seen them before, refill my geritol at G of C Hall, and ending the night anonymous commenting at the Satin Peaches, followed by closing out the Belmont with Friendly Foes. I'm hoping Ryan Albert will have me on stage for a battle rap since Smoke is on a different showcase. I'm pulling for (Lady Gaga's) "Bad Romance" because that would pretty much win Blowout and everyone damn well knows it.

Sat. 3-6
- By this time, my doctor is on call. On my list, I have highlighted The Swamp Sisters (never seen before), followed by Duende! (my new fav. band), then Rue Moor Counts, over to G of C to catch Sisters of Your Sunshine, Cold Wave, and Child Bite (all at once), then shoot over to Jean's for Prussia, not to see the band, but to grab a young, naive girl to take back to ground zero at G of C and then I will destroy my future by attempting to catch Silverghost, Hard Lessons, Brazilians, Lightning "Yeah Buddy" Love, Los Minstrels, and Sh! the Octopus. By this time, I will have ditched the girl with the tab and head back home to play Counting Crows on the acoustic or masturbate to broadband internet porn.

and - if you're still reading -

J.R. will now offer his picks...and, as is characteristic with this pair, the long-knives laden opinions


I will not be going to the Pre-Party. There is nothing here that interests me. The only thing I missed last year was an almost fight between Dr Detroit from MCR and Kirk from MCB. This is Metro's job. I suppose he will be my proxy for Wed night. I just hope he interviews Pac/Cal/Computer/Perfection. Maybe Mr. Burgundy will sketch a caricature of us for a logo.


I will be arriving at the Whiskey In The Jar at roughly 9:45. The interim between when I get there and when we play will be spent constructing the set and coreographing the dancers. Afterwards, I will leave Metro behind for teardown and head to G of C Lounge to catch Darling Imperial or to The Painted Lady to catch Black Irish. Black Irish is the new consternation from Elliot who was the frontman/lead guitarist for The Universal Temple of Divine Power and the lead guitarist for The Kingsnakes. I have not had a chance to see them yet but if it is anything similar to his previous projects, it will be some great southern-esque rock. Darling Imperial is a band I have played with and seen several times. They are a solid blues based rock band with catchy songs.

Bands I will be sure to miss (on Thursday):

--The Grande Nationals-The frontman is obsessed with taking his shirt off (after talking about it for 3/4 of the set) and fixated upon showing off his new pumas...

--Selfsays-They recently opened for us at The Majestic Cafe. They are probably the worst rap outfit I have ever seen. They were unable to keep their rhymes on beat with the dj. It is all schtick with no follow through.

Band I would catch (Thurs 3-4) if I weren't performing:

--Carradine-90s era pop rock. They are very reminiscent of Jesus Jones to me. I'm sure they don't feel that way. Anyways, they've put on a sold show the few times I've seen them.

--Carjack-1 man electro clash dance rave. Where else can you see Milo going nuts, running in place? Where else will you almost get hit with a flying robot?

--Decibilt-The heaviest metal you will find at Blowout. I caught these guys at the Magic Stick's Haiti Benefit. At first they were very off-putting due to the different genre they were emphasizing. After awhile they provided me a venue to display my Wild At Heart Nick Cage dance.


I will be performing at the Belmont as a Font with Elle & The Fonts at 9:20pm. Adam from the JCM will be playing drums as well. After our set I plan on staying put at The Belmont to catch Rogue Satellites. Rogue Satellites are a comprised of a guitarist/singer and a drummer. They are an electronic based semi-pop group. Then, I will be headed to The Painted Lady to catch The Spaceheaters. I've seen the name many times and listened to a song here and there. Basically, they are the garbage that is the Detroit Rock N Roll sound a la the late 70s. To cap off the night, I will wind up at Kelly's Bar to see High Speed Dubbing. I saw them for 1 song at The Loving Touch during DIY Fest. From what I can hazily recall, they were good. I want to get my hands on the new cassette they just put out via Loco Gnosis.

Bands I will be sure to miss (Friday):

--The Juliets-Remanufactured pop drawl. Their set was 1 long roll of the eyes for me at The Haiti Benefit. Each song was followed by myself or Metro yelling, "Play Something Fun!" Go see this band if you feel like getting really depressed

--Beekeepers-Lame pop wannabee Belle & Sebastian with a Moby lookalike. They cleared the alley stage at Dally this year. Boring and unoriginal. Plus they have an awful name.

--Friendly Foes-There are 3 reasons you should miss this band: 1. Ryan Allen 2. Metro will be rapping on stage with Ryan Allen 3. It's the same pop garbage that is killing the music scene in Detroit.

Bands I would catch (Friday - 3-5):

Blase Splee-You couldn't miss this band (or 1 of their CDs) at last year's Blowout. Since last year I have seen them several times. For they type of music they're doing (country/rock/pop/dance) they are really good at it. Each song is exclamated by an emotional swing from soft to fast or low to high. Really a good, talented band with great songwriting capabilities.

Trash Camera-This band was completely off my radar until about 1 1/2 months ago. Blues driven rock at its best. They know how to work a crowd, and the frontman, Sean can really work a guitar.

Marco Polio & The New Vaccines-Over the past 4 months, Marco has added a new drummer. He plays over the electronic beats. Its really great. The sound is disco electronic no wave. I caught them about a month ago at The Berkley Front and they played a set comprised mostly of new songs. This band is probably the most entertaining band to see live right now in to The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre of course.

Woodman-A famliy band playing a cross between 60s rock and jam band music. They have always put on a great show everytime I have seen them. They just put out a great new 7'' that you should pickup. One has a golden ticket in it where you can win a vintage 45 player.


I will arrive at The Atlas Bar to catch The Mahonies. They put out a great 45 about 2-3 years ago through X-Records. Spaz rock with a singing drummer and guitarist. After their set, Ill be at Paycheck's to catch Duende!. Mostly because they are my new favorite Detroit band that have been around for quite awhile that I just became acclamated to. After Duende! Ill try and see Silverghost at G of C. For as much as they have been playing out (every day) I have not had a chance to catch one of their sets yet. I will cap off blowout with The Beggars at Paycheks. It's been a couple of years since I've last seen this band. The few times I did catch them, the live show was incredible and a ton of fun.

Bands to avoid:

--The Sights-The 2nd coming has not yet lived up to the 1st incarnation

--The Hard Lessons-You alread know why

--The Cold Wave-3 reasons: 1. Allen James 2. Ryan Allen 3. The bass player looks like he is going to defecate on stage whenever he plays

Bands to catch (Saturday):

--Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor-Right now they are the spearhead of the Detroit Psych Scene. They put out an awesome record last year and have accompanied it by some really great shows.

--Spitting Nickels-I constantly joke that they are my dad's band; but they are pretty good. Straight ahead rock and roll done very well. Plus they're the only band with a member taller than me.

--Los Minstrels Del Diablo-This act is fucking crazy. A set of 2 VJs dressed as Skeletors in suits. They pulsate video to align with their array of synths, theremins, and drum pads. This is a truly unqiue experience and something noone else in Detroit is even close to touching yet. Truly original.

--Rue Moor Counts-Used to be The Bird Dogs. Blues rock n roll awesomely done. Rob Buxton is probably one of the best guitarists in the scene right now. They have a split single out right now on No Gold Records that had a redone tune off their 1st album called "On The Run". The redux is 10 times better than the original and this band has really progressed over time in terms of performance and songwriting.

More picks on the way - none as bellicose as those above...
In forthcoming band picks - the ones with a bit more brevity - I'll list the full schedule - but, then again, you can always read it here, day-by-day

Interview: Robin Parrent (performing 2/27 - Painted Lady, Hamtramck)

An already-classic 'dialogue-with-music' inspired interview -

Robin Parrent is joined by Ferdy Mayne and Max Daley - 2/27 - Painted Lady

Photos: Elena Gonzales

Robin Parrent on myspace - facebook
"If you don't accept the hurt of the world then you can't feel and be human..." Robin Parrent is discussing the title of his most recent full-length album, "...s'the truth."

Beauty Damaged was released last year by the experimental rocker who blends anything from prog to spooked jazz to baroque pop to gutteral garage to new wave to psychedelia.

"I like how it suggests both beauty as a thing that's imperfect and how beauty hurts you."

Parrent split from the Catholic Church and eschewed music school; he picked up a guitar and started writing while he was at Western Michigan, breaking away from the world he knew as a teenager and turning the volume up on Stooges records to "piss off the other John-Q.-Bro-shits in my dorm."

He knew he wanted to write his own songs - and set to experimenting before it felt right. What it's come to be, lately, on tracks like "Whole from Hole" is a beautiful, shambolic, spilled-out psyche-folk thing; a dizzying detachment of jaggued surf-honked guitars bent with punk's destructiveness, teased and twanged with desert-scorched psychedelia; a rewardingly all-over-the-place-spook-pop.

DC Interview: Robin Parrent -

DC: Could you detail the start of your solo writing/ did you get into music and how'd you start forming the sound (and shifting backing band) that would eventually become...what it is we're hearing...

Robin Parrent: "I was excited and ecstatic when I left for (Western), splitting from everything I'd known up until that point. I still had that unaffected-invincible-teen kind of feeling, ya know? Then it wore-off; my best friend from childhood attempted suicide, failed and was shipped off to rehab in Montana. Made me realize how someone could be gone for the rest of your life and you wouldn't know it until after it was over; no preparation. I became nihilistic and hopeless. I lost sleep, had insane delusions and I constantly thought about death and suicide and hell.

One day during that time i went to FYE in Crossroads mall and bought the Dylan documentary Scorcese did, on a whim, not knowing that much about Dylan or songwriting or folk music. I live for intensity and strong bonds, and Dylan delivered. I had a jet fuel-napalm cocktail for my imagination to burn away the aforementioned unheimliche boo boo nasties. (Dylan) made me feel that I was okay in my skin, that my innocent vulternability, something that made me feel ill-equipped for life, was good.

I wanted to write songs. I didn't know what style. I just kept writing random things unti l I discovered more what felt right, what was me and what wasn't. Eventually I was playing folk-blues and ragtime on my guitar, channeling a more depressive/eccentric sound....despairing, melancholic melodies; departing from the playful party-time thing; more Skip James then, say, Howlin' Wolf. I played shows but most people didn't care. I took to yelling out words until my throat was almost ground beef.

The show with Greg Ashley's Medicine Fuck Dream was great though; that gave me much needed encouragement" (Particularly from Brian Glaze). The Revenants was my first backing band and it formed around Steve Cuff, who's been with me through it all."

The pair practiced with a temporary drummer and battled Parrent's landlord, until Matt Massuch from Crash City Saints helped out by putting a call out on his radio show to anyone interested in joining the Revenants. This lead to Brendan Graham and Matt Maier and the group congregated/rehearsed in a basement "that looked like a hiding space during the Holocaust." Graham's friend Katie van Maanen, with her "seraphic voice" added her vocals to the recording and voila.

: The backing band has always been in rotation - is that something that works for you? What's the story?

RP: "The rotating cast of band members is due to the lack of closeness and availability more than anything else. I gave each backing band (for ex. one short-lived, The Remnants) a different name to clarify different line ups, but then I gave that up because it started causing confusion for anyone trying to follow what I was doing. I think the chaos and inconsistency does a lot for the music that's produced. ...there's something great about surrendering to the process with people you trust.

DC: Can you detail the recording experience for Beauty Damaged...

RP: The album's cover art was done by Autumn Luciano. The recording was all DIY. I would've done it lo-fi but I couldn't afford it; it was much easier to borrow equipment and use a computer to record. Brendan recorded it and Jack Vertimiglia mixed it, both of whom put in long hours for no pay. They believed in what I was doing, and I'm inexpressibly grateful. Now, Steve's a non-muscian type; I used to give him guitar lessons, but we stopped that and I taught him how to play the drums so he could play in like a Jesus and Mary Chain/Peg/Meg/Dollrods style. When we recorded the album he was having a rough time recording his tracks and he would freak out after making a mistake; you could hear him cursing outside the house. I don’t know if I can write out all of his obscenities in this thing, but one of these days I’ll go back and look on Brendan’s hard drive for all of his tracks where he made mistakes, and make a Steve Cuff blooper reel.

Oh, and there was a lot of great wit concentrated in the room. Steve and Brendan are absolutely hilarious. I don’t remember specifically what was said during the recording process (and I don’t want to butcher it), but I do remember after one of our shows Brendan told Steve to make sure the minivan with all of our equipment was unloaded, and that he took all the proper precautions. Without pausing for a second, Steve responded, “Damn, because I was going to park the minivan on my front lawn with all the gear inside, open all the doors and windows, turn on the parking lights, and write on the hood with bar soap ‘free shit!’” When I had Fiona Dickinson record her cello parts, there was an interesting moment when I was encouraging her to make some free-cello noise: it had a playful innocent vibe, like, giving permission to do that sort of a thing. Like: “Oh, heh, I guess it is okay to do that.” It’s difficult to describe. Some people I’ve met through my time playing music would refuse to do that sort of a thing, feeling it was the equivalent of betraying priestly vows, or making a hardcore un-PC statement on national television, or something.

As for my take on (Beauty Damaged), a few things could’ve been done better in retrospect, but the title covers that angle. I think “the Ballad of Joseph Merrick” could’ve had some more variation, but I stand by the album. The lyrics are something that makes me proud. There’s nothing that feels better than surprising yourself in a positive way; forget the other petty things."

Influences for Parrent started with his dad's input of Eastern music, from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Nikhil Pandit Banerjee, and the sonorous santitiy of the church organ.

Eventually, "music was the only way out of what was unbearable. It was what I was good at."

He went the rock route in his early teens, from Rage to AC/DC, to Hendrix, Who and Alice in Chains. "I have this vivid memory of listening to 'Baba O' Riley' on the way to school in the spring. The violinist was really tearing the horsehair on his instrument, I felt like this mystical union with God or something; abstract pulsing aquamarines were rising in my mind and then the song ended as soon as I opened the door..."

Current influences include: Blind Willie Johnson, eyehategod, Scott Walker, The Gories, Love, Rev. Gary Davis, Big L, William Bolcom, the Smiths, John Fahey, Zola Jesus, Serge Gainbourg, Gary Wilson, and David Bixby, muscially, anyway. There's also Werner Herzog, David Foster Wallace, Henry Miller, Rimbaud, Anna Karina, William S. Burroughs and more, swimming around his young heart and mind.

"I like unique people with fortitude and vulnerability co-existing. I'm a firm believer in the life of a person being just as important as their work. The most formative experience on my music is something I find and lose all the time: Opening the heart, really connecting with myself. It's terrifying to have a direct connect to the tender side of yourself. Your heart becomes as sensitive as baby coral treambling near the water's surface....whenever I have that (feeling), I know what I'm doing is good."

The bad news for us is that this songwriter is strongly considering leaving Detroit. "I just know that after hearing about the death of Jay Reatard, I can't waste anymore time. I can't afford to slide back into the introspection tar pit. Hmm...I'd like to fall in love, continue making music, write a book, and have some more exciting experiences. That's all I know for sure right now."