Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Satori Circus makes Hell seem Funy - 7/9 & 7/10 at 1515 Broadway with the Dambacher Bros.

An invigorating, weird, winding soul-search for one white-faced clown turns into some sort of cabaret-jotted odyssey into a freaked and flamboyant vision of Alighieri's Divine Comedy, via the flim-flanked, costume piled performance art of Funy As Hell -

Recently posted up to be eligible for Best Theatre Group, the dadaist vaudevillian, Satori Circus, paired with the Dambacher brothers, will recreate their dreamy/nightmarey/devlish disection that graced the stages of Meadowbrook (up in Rochester) and Yale University (over in New Haven CONN) respectively - two days (7/9 and 7/10) at 1515 Broadway.
More info:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Here's The Tender Coming (7/6)

And that album title's Macbethian-ring could suffice enough to give the proper theatrical heralding for the Tuesday night Ann Arbor appearance of way-northern England's sibling indie-folk songstresses... Rachel and Becky Unthank(s) -

They seem veritably held infallable by the whole Euro/UK realm of listeners, be they regular mouse clickers just like you or be they Steve Reich's and/or Radioheads just like the esoterics that SPIN and NPR assure that you behold. So - why not say hello - since they're coming across the pond to play for you. Their's is an austere, fable flown artsy pop, of bonny lads and fisher's windblown journeys and too-quickly-fallen widowers. Their third LP ("Tender Coming"^) came out this spring on Rough Trade.




Conspiracy of Owls drive me "raving mad" in a good way

And they've got a an album (vinyl) up for grabs - Saturday night (6/26) at Alvin's

A self-titled debut (out on Burger Records...and eventually on cassette!)...

... "...Conspiracy of Owls have conjured exceptional surrealist pop on their debut album. Now, we can throw around words like “dreamy” when trying to delineate music of a psychedelic variety, but it takes the right, or rather seemingly-wrong, collision of instruments, noises, ideas and sensibilities, to musically assemble something that truly feels like the unstable, bizarre, this-morphs-into-that-and-that-feels-weirdly-right-inside-of-those….feeling! Either that or I’m concernedly reaching helter-skelter-type territory and should seek help. Either way, it’s all because of C-of-O’s new songs..."

More info from Burger
Gardens and Maximum Wage join the party - with DJ Spectral Projections.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Monday is only a word; Ben Luckett only turns 74 once

I first noticed Luckett's impressive drum work back in 07 - when he played in a Timmy Vulgar project known as Reptile Forcefield. It wasn't long after that before Dan Kroha enlisted his skills for his bluesy power trio The Readies. And, then, not long after that until Marcie and Deleando, of Silverghost, experimented with him as their summer's-long human to supplant their "drum machine" on rhythms (through 2009).

One thing lead to another - and now he's a member of the assiduous Hounds Below project, with Molly Jean Schoen, Ben Collins and Jason Stollsteimer....and a, last-I-checked, revolving cast of auxiliary keyboardists...and sometimes some brass.

(There's Ben, in the middle, in the back - by the aforementioned drums).

Anyway, his birthday is monday night (6/28) and the Hounds are assembling for an ambitious and good hearted late evening's rock show at PJs Lager House.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Conspiracy of Owls - 6/26 - Alvins - Album (Cassette) Release

Burger Records is an indie label based in Fullerton CA , started up by members of Thee Makeout Party . It's been growing through the underground channels, even expanding into it's own music store. They specialize in high quality cassette releases. That's right; they, like other notables, are bringing it back to the tiny plastic bound, magnetic tape-spooled hand-held sound packages - the kind you have to press "fast-forward" as opposed to "skip(ing)" to the next track.

Read this feature on Burger from LA Weekly's blog - and check their facebook to scroll through the impressively long list of bands on their roster.

Who else is on the roster? Conspiracy of Owls.

A new-ish band coming out of Detroit that will feature some, more than likely, familiar faces/voices/ and tones- to the Detroit rock scene's eyes/ears. (C-o-O's roster's collective resume spans many albums, bands, venues and studios of the Motor City garage/rock/psyche/pop scene). Initially started
as a trio (as seen below) but recently growing to a septet.

Anyow, C-o-O are releasing their self-titled debut (via Burger) at Alvin's on 6/26. They're joined by Gardens and Maximum Wage - and are supplemented by a special appearnace from DJ Spectral Projections. More info at their facebook.

More info:
Conspiracy of Owls

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sounds of the Cold Wave - 6/26 - Majestic Cafe

The Cold Wave have a new album - in fact, it's their first official batch of recordings made available to ours, and the worlds, ears - facilitated by Gangplank records and the recording oversight of Dave Feeney.

This ^ is what the album cover is going to look like - and you can hold it in your hands as you stand at the edge of their merch table, when you enter the Majestic Cafe on Saturday (6/26).
This band's been plugging away for a while - starting out a few years back as the poignant pourings of indie-rock singer/songwriter ballads of Allan James, then evolving into the fuller roar of a power trio of sorts (but still not shying away from the slow stuff). Then, they thickened their guitar heavy 90's pop lovin' emotive rock sound even further with a second guitar at the end of last summer.
Take a listen here.
And see them, 6/26 - paired with: Javelins - and - Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dutch Pink - Times New Roman Release - 6-24 - Magic Bag

with The Juliets and Faux Paws
Times New Roman - record release

“I remember talking to you a while ago,” drummer David Iannuzzi looks past me, down the bar to address his longtime friend, singer/guitarist Dustin Leslie, “and you were furious, actually, that we weren’t done with this album yet. You’d realized that that there was all of this hope, a new administration, the stimulus money, people thinking things are going to get better and you were like: No! We wrote this way back here, before!

The pair, with bassist Clyde, make up Dutch Pink. Their batch of redemptive ballads, Times New Roman is, after a year and a half of hanging in limbo, finally being released (6/24 at the Magic Bag).

“We wrote this fucking album three years ago,” Leslie can’t restrain an amplified exclamation. “We wrote this when people started losing their jobs at the beginning of the recession, at the tail end of our own 30-month-long orgy of songwriting.”

As Clyde had pointed out earlier, the album title is allegorical of Detroit being the modern paradigm of the Roman Empire’s ruin. “And the only reason it’s coming out now is because we actually lost our jobs,” he clarifies with bemoaned irony.

It’s fitting that their third proper full length be pulsing with redemption and, yes, hope, as their journey has been one seemingly better explained as a calling rather than the typical thinly veiled swaggering seek for fame – their manner is more blue collar, humble and thick with a reverence for friends, family, community and tradition. There were no goals (outside of Clyde relishing that first-free-beer he downed at their first show) and there was no agenda (outside of never forcing anything and maintaining their decades-long vibe for mutual concern and support between them). What started as two kids (Leslie and Ianuzzi) meeting on the ice as part of a traveling junior hockey team and later drawing their fellow Troy Athens lacrosse teammate (Clyde) into their gang, flourished into a quintessentially (and endearing) thick as thieves affair that would solidify on completely non-musical affairs. Leslie and Ianuzzi have been linked for two dozen years – and have had Clyde as an ally for nearly 20. Each attended Michigan State, Ianuzzi for architecture, and his two mates respectively both for literature.

They each individually nourished and developed both a love for music and a talent for, respectively, bass (Clyde) and guitar (Leslie and Ianuzzi). But music, or starting a band was never really talked about.

One fateful February, in 2004, Leslie called up the two of them (individually at first, though he soon found out they were both at the bar together that night to receive his call). A friend of theirs was playing a show and needed an opening band, in 10 days. “We didn’t even have a drummer,” Ianuzzi recalls. “And, Dustin said, ‘Well, you’ll play the drums.”

Whether it wound up working out as well as they’d planned, that night, is up to historical interpretation – what matters is that it planted a deep seed of inspiration into all three of them. Suddenly, the brothers, the daytrippers, the drinking buddies, the close comrades had a whole new level of bonding to mine between them – and they became somewhat possessed by this new musical motivation, spurring them down a 15-month road of almost militaristically regimented rehearsing and writing, leading into recording sessions with Tempermill’s Tony Hamera that lead to their self-releasing of two LPs and an EP. And this, all throughout late 05 into early 07 when Ianuzzi was attending grad school in Ann Arbor, swinging over to Ferndale constantly for a backbreaking schedule of shows, most of them local to help establish their identity but even a few tours here and there out around the Midwest and even as far out as Los Angeles.

Indulging a bit of hyperbole, they were in great shape when summer 2008 rolled around. They contacted engineer Dan Currie for what would become the Times New Roman sessions; the laying down of songs they’d already had written and ready.

Strange though, that the offsetting moment for Times was the flooding of one rehearsal space (Dustin’s basement in early 08), while something like that could be seen as a set back (certainly, as it caused the destruction of a lot of their equipment) and yet, it increased their motivation 3-fold when they set up in a temporary space – whipping themselves along through a marathon of late nighters that created these latest gritty, cathartic arias, from the sanctimonious sway of the organ-led “Lora Lynn” to the melancholy minimalism and pedal-steel poignancy of “The Tin Whistle.”

But more set-backs followed that initial flood. Both Ianuzzi and Clyde lost their jobs. Money became a factor. Financing studio time or running around playing shows, touring or any other kind of suddenly-more-wallet-weighted decisions had to be closely scrutinized.

“And, we were just beat, too, at that point,” Leslie recalls. “That’s 30-months of just non-stop 3-days-a-week of practices, six hour practices, while Dave was still working a full time job. We’d been doing it straight for four years.”

The band still continued to practice – even if confused wonderings and rumors began to lightly radiate that…perhaps they’d broken up? Leslie shakes his head at the fickle-flakiness endemic to some music scenes: “All of a sudden you don’t play for 5 months and you don’t exist!??”

Hyperbole aside, Ianuzzi clarifies it nicely when he shrugs, admitting that even when the planks of the bridge seemed to be falling out from under their crossing carriage – the release of this album was “inevitable. In the midst of us not playing last summer it’s not like I ever felt like this wasn’t going to happen…and very-soon too. For us, knowing each other and being friends first before doing music, it just seemed inevitable. How could it not happen when he’s my best friend and I’m gonna see him every other day, how is this not going to come up in conversation?”

Leslie calls the band a second family. Which seems to explain why they’ve been immune to frustration, at least externally, and never discouraged by inertia.

It comes down to “respecting the value of friendship,” Leslie says, looking down the bar at his mates. “Beyond that, even: community! Friends and the people that you care about are so obnoxiously important to who you are and you’re nobody without them.”

The dynamics of this band, and the heart each player exudes, are so much more nuanced when there is a thick bond of familial friendship between the players…and not merely a band thrown together in a garage to chase spotlights.

When asked then about Times’ songs that will now finally see the light of day: “Definitely more mature,” Clyde says immediately. “It’s slower, it’s not as crazy.”

“I was gonna say more patient,” Ianuzzi offers.

“I think that comes with being more mature,” Clyde nods an agreement, this coming after Leslie acknowledges that the band has really sharpened, in skill and chemistry, in a likely observable or hearable progression from album-to-album. “You reach that certain point where you don’t have to overplay. You can let your other band mates fill out the sound. The most important note is the rest note.”

“It’s like every good writer,” Leslie said, “it’s what they don’t tell you that’s the best part. It’s how you get from ‘Joe opens the door’ to ‘Joe gets killed.’ You imagine that space.”


In the two years leading up to this, Leslie taught himself piano (which, Clyde notes, wound up being a key enhancement to the atmosphere of the record); Clyde, in turn, started fusing even better with his rhythm mate Ianuzzi and all three came to appreciate the insight, passion and assistance provided them by Currie (who previously worked with the Deadstring Brothers).

“When you’re looking from outside, you’re seeing the darkness,” said Clyde returning to their Roman metaphor for Detroit, “So, maybe just on one first listen to the album it sounds dark. But, once you actually are inside of the album, it’s got a lot of hope to it.”

Leslie jokes that whenever they linger too long on a major key during writing sessions they always “bring it back to the minor,” poking a little fun at the sometimes stark, gothy folk ballads they produce. But, he then clarifies that Times is, at its heart, about hope and redemption.

Leslie references Henry Miller, Depression-era expatriot and playwright: “Always merry and bright; you can write a song that is dim or sounds dim, but if you don’t remember and know what it feels like for things to be good, if you don’t utilize those feelings, then you’ve missed the boat.”

More info from Dutch Pink or from Loco Gnosis Records

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Weekend

Happenings this weekend that I haven't yet written about this week:
a.) 6/18 - Elbow Room in Ypsilanti
b.) 6/19 - Magic Bag in Ferndale

C.) Legendary Creatures added to Blue Moon in June festival (6/19 - CAID)

Red Iron Orchestra - 6/21 - Pike Room (Pontiac)

Our Consciousness Slowly Collects: Red Iron Orchestra

Up and coming atmospheric rock collective of long time local musician/performers - paired with The Friendly Foes and Your Skull My Closet

Red Iron Orchestra Interview:--

Their history’s just as substantial and nuanced as their sound. Red Iron Orchestra has been gestating as a band for more than a year, but the friendships shared amongst its players and the musical talents and resumes of said-players, stretch back a decade and beyond.

Ludicrous as “writing about music” can be, this is where words could falter – since the presentation, the form, the mood of the songs is all so grand – like a waterfall’s vociferous torrent (2-3 guitars resounding together) and drifting away to a disarming calm (their sense for sparseness and restraint) and propelled along by interlocked rhythms (sonorous piano, shuffling drums, heartbeat bass). And defiant against traditional ideas of pop (6+-minute concertos), and rock (genuinely atmospheric guitars, pounding drums heeding soft pianos/organs); with such a storied background between them further sharpening the sound, shaped with a stirring theatricality.

It's worth your while to listen to the guitar roaring trips of I, The Magician - the band that ties most of these players together. It would also give you an indication of what you're in for - but to solidify your sense, listen to Red Iron Orchestra here.

Singer/guitarist Chris Lavaque and singer/guitarist Randall Kupfer were both in I, the Magician as well as Old Tiger Stadium, while Red Iron's guitarist/organist/pianist Tom Currie has experience with Au Revoir Borealis, Saturday Looks Good to Me and Dykehouse....and, of course, also - I, The Magician.

Guitarist James Obenour was another from I, The Magician but also played in Hamilton. Drummer Brian Galindo (yes, I, The Magician) also plays in Few and Far Between. Bassist Nicole Margosian-Galindo rounds out the sextet, coming from bands like Lovesick and Charlevoix

“The concept,” said Margosian-Galindo, “was to regroup (I, The Magician) with one difference (me), and one change of instrumentation.”

Kupfer acknowledges the melting-pot amorphousness of influences, but harkens to early 90’s British shoegaze bands like Catherine Wheel and Slowdive, to poignant singer/songwriter auteurs, from Besnard Lakes to Damian Jurado to Lotte Kestner to Fuzzy Lights.

The Sextet are finishing up their debut at High Bias with Chris Koltay, aiming for a mid-summer limited edition release on Detroit label, Elkion Records.

They’re finishing up their debut at High Bias with Chris Koltay, aiming for a mid/late-summer release.

“The sounds have been really good so far and he makes recording at High Bias an extremely relaxing and stress free process, which is not usually the case,” said Kupfer.

“Working with Chris has been great,” Currie said. “We're all big fans of his work with Akron Family and My Morning Jacket, so we were pretty excited to begin working with him. His space in Detroit in very comforting and has an ambience that really lets you be creative.”

More info: from the Real Detroit feature
or - find them on facebook

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blue Moon in June (6/18 - 6/19 - C.A.I.D.) - Part Two: Electric Lions - Satin Peaches - Blase Splee (and more)

The psychedelic, dorkish, -freaked-out, summer BBQ, rock fest -returns to the CAID for it's fourth year. (Here's a proper intro to catch you up). The music starts around 9:30 pm on Friday for a full nights' worth of bannds (including sets from The Electric Lions, Satin Peaches, Blase Splee, Marco Polio & The New Vaccines, Hi-Speed Dubbing and more... )

On Saturday afternoon, between each night’s musical menus, bicycle enthusiasts, pedaling proponents and 12-speed gangers can gather at the C.A.I.D at 1pm to ride on a city-wide scavenger hunt. Split up into teams of a handful of riders and launch through the streets – meeting back at the C.A.I.D. before sunset to crown the winner before the music starts.

“The big thing about this year,” said LocoGnosis chieftain and Duende singer/guitarist Jeff Howitt, “is that it shows where we’ve come and it gives an idea of where we’re going to.” He referenced the quasi-evolution made visible by “new projects” from past participants in Blue Moon, how the line ups have changed but the family, the faces, the people, have remained –

Acevedo, Bolan, Reynolds and Walker return for their 3rd and 4th times but with different projects – while the embrace also widens for new Moon visits from Electric Lions, Satin Peaches and Blasé Splee.

“The many faces have many different roles,” Howitt said.

"For me," said OFC/Pigeon singer/guitarist Ray Thompson, "every year anxiety waxes as time wains leading up to the blue moon. Then, once it hits, its a mad pressure release, its the loss of inhibition, and an overwhelming feeling of love for the city of detroit and the people that live here."

The Electric Lions were putting the finishing touches on their 2nd proper full-length at the end of May. Singer/guitarist Rabeah Ltief spoke of the valuable addition of guitarist Mike Latcha, an Oakland U music student and aspiring sound engineer, to the group, not just for his recording insight but also for his, forgive my own cliché, propensity for the face-melting dreamy-dazey-shreddy guitar solo.

The new songs are still “in the realm of the psychedelics,” Ltief said, who is also aiding in the album’s production. The music, the chemistry of the band on stage and in the studio, Ltief said, has grown so tight and enthralling that it naturally forms “a trance, like a drugged-out vibe,” to the point where “I found myself having to wake-myself up sort of, after playing.”

“People say this all the time, it’s taken as a joke, but i want people to feel like they’re fucking high. You can reach points of euphoria without even drugs and i think music is one of those things that can take you there.”

Much like his WONDERLAND/Glass Orphans collaborator, Drew Bardo, Ltief has also seen the latest production (or overall development) of his own rock band somewhat decelerated, but now that summer’s here, the pace along with the temperatures are both rising.

The Lions have welcomed the return of drummer “Spazzy” for the recordings’ wrap-up, bringing “such a breath of fresh air.”

“I feel that we’ve stumbled onto something that’s just not what you would expect; it’s going to have a totally different vibe than what anyone has going on right now. We have a whole bunch of songs now, spanning our transitional period from the more bluesy garage minor-psyche influences to coming over to the more pure psyche. And, I was talking to Asim of Oblisk the other day, that “psychedelic” is nothing but a way you feel.”

Ltief said the band hope for a late summer release.


The Satin Peaches are still supporting the recent release of their 2nd EP, Arsenic via a slew of local appearances. The once wined-dined and jet-setting LA-bound youths had a false start at the big music machine’s ‘next big thing’ formula through 2006, which stunted the release of their first proper EP, Still Sour. Arsenic, by contrast, was an in-band production at their Detroit-based “Bunker,” with the newly re-welcomed co-founder Jesse Shepherd-Bates rotating in (as former guitarist Ryan Wiese headed to Mick Basset’s Marthas).

"I’m happy with the sound of it,” guitarist/singer George Morris said, “I always felt Morning Maid was a little over-produced. Arsenic is maybe more raw, but it captures the band a little bit better, because we’ve played it live and didn’t spend too much time on it.”

What started out as a bit of a space-rock tinged, dreamy punk-revivalist pop has now hardened a bit to a coarser, more chugging rock n roll raucousness, but still streamlined by a hook-heavy pop sensibility.

“When I came back in,” Shepherd-Bates said, “it was pretty clear that it was gonna sound a lot different. It took us a few months just to get used to playing with each other and now we just keep evolving as people and as musicians.”

“Lately, we’ve just been doing it and not really thinking too much about it,” Morris said of their freer approach. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is the live show and how we come across playing live.”

Arsenic is barely two months old and they already have 7-more songs ready for the next (and third proper) EP. The basic tracks are already laid down, and, mixed in there may be one of the cockiest riffs ever written, but listeners will have to wait and hear – later this summer/fall.

Both Morris and Shepherd-Bates are down for the bicycle scavenger hunt – how about you?


“People commented on how the last album was ‘genre-less’ or whatever,” singer/guitarist/pianist Carl Larson said of Blase Splee’s Et Cetera.

“So, we’re taking that one step further, I guess. I want every song on this next album to sound like it could have been recorded by a different band.” Said-forthcoming album is already written by Larson and guitarist/singer/organist Michael Frelick – now it’s just “structuring it, playing it” and “recording it.”

Larson said the process is fun because “...I’ll record some soft little ballad demo on my iPhone and send it to the guys (Dave Wisbiski, Tommy Tesnow, Jon Berz, David Jakubowski) and then it turns into a dance song at practice. Shit’s weird and I kind of have to just let go and say, ‘Ok, now it’s a dance song’, but don’t get me wrong: I’m never unhappy with how it turns out.”

The band is exemplary at staying in touch and reaching out to its fans – by posting demos online, live-blogging and handing out free “two new songs” –Eps during the 2010 Hamtramck Blowout.

Berz added his own enthusiasm to the forthcoming record. “It’s probably going to be more upbeat than Et Cetera...we’ve been spending more time on beats and rhythms and stuff, really destroying whatever Carl and Mike bring to the table.” He adds that last part with a wink, but then says, earnestly, “we’re really starting to polish up our live show, we’re all feeling more comfortable on stage together, moving quicker from song t song, improvising live; I feel as if we’re experiencing a kind of growth spurt right now.”

Berz, himself, is working on a solo record (whilst still collaborating with Larson and Frelick) and hopes for a late summer release.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blue Moon in June (6/18 - 6/19 - CAID) Part One: Interview with The Questions

What started as a memorial celebration has now become somewhat of a tribute-to-itself. The collective of local musicians sprouting variant muses under the Loco Gnosis record label collaborated four years ago to put on the Blue Moon in June festival – a coalescing of reverent nods, to the lineage of Detroit music, the works of its 60s counterculture activism, to the city’s general air of oil-splattered concrete crumbled urban psychedelia, and to the then-40th-anniversary mark of the Trans-Love Energies (MC5/White Panther commune’s) Belle Isle Love-In flower-child gathering...
(photo: Ella Kulick)

This year's line up was curated by Ray Thompson of Oscillating Fan Club and Pigeon. "After four years, I believe that we can finally call the Blue Moon In June- an 'institution,'" Thompson said. "It's becoming easier to put together with more bands inquiring to play as opposed to me begging friends' bands to play or even attend. I have to thank Jeff Howitt who has stuck with me throughout the years and especially this one-- as I'd been away on holiday (a couple weeks) in Spain/Italy and did not have the luxury of fast communication. After initially setting it up, I have relied wholly on Jeff to tie up all the loose ends."

Thompson (pictured) said, "I'm very excited for this year with a whole new lineup with new bands like Olay Ray and returning, rejuvenated bands like The Questions, look out!

There was legitimately a "blue" lunar visual that inaugural night back in 2007 (and if the Internet is to be believed, we apparently could see one at the end of March, this year) – but regardless, the festival has returned to the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit each summer, often around the peak of its bubbly, lava-blast humidity of gasped breaths, sweat-speckled brows, swarming bugs and visual undulating heatwaves – either the end of June or beginning of July.

This year’s trounce marks its fourth year, seeing a slew of offshoot-bands that have morphed out of previous groups from previous year’s line-ups, as well as the quasi-return of perennial poetic psyche-blues band the Questions and the still sturdy upswings of many others like The Electric Lions, Blasé Splee and Satin Peaches. And, as they say, many more.

This year, (like “year 3”) there will be two nights of music: Friday (6/18) features the new rejuvenated and newly-recorded raw beauty of The Questions. along with Hi-Speed Dubbing (lead by singer/guitarist Justin Walker, a persisting “side-man” from previous groups like Siddhartha and contemporaries Electric Fire Babies and Isles of E.S.P.), and The Satin Peaches (whose newest (re-)-addition, guitarist Jesse Shepherd-Bates came from a long stint with Mick Bassett’s Marthas). Also Friday – the always spectacular and splattering Marco Polio & the New Vaccines, the charming rootin-tootin psyche-pop soiree Blasé Splee, the head-swimming transcendent tones and drones of Electric Lions and

Saturday (6/19) will be lead by the soulful sweat and post-punk fervor of Black Lodge along with the bendy surf-flared psyche-surge of Devilfish (which features guitarist Pierce Reynolds from The Oscillating Fan Club). F’ke Blood is lead by stalwart underground artist/musician Dion D. Fischer (co-founder of UFO Factory and affiliate of various sense-stretching projects like Princess Dragonmom, the Wolfmanband, Invisible People and many more), but features the singing/guitar talents of Steven F. Darson, paired with a rhythm section otherwise recognized as the Silverghost duo, Marcie Bolan and Deleano Acevedo. Earlier Saturday evening you taste the delicious 60’s raucous rock meets 90’s american-underground via Ypsilanti’s own Jehova’s Witness Protection Program (who, by the way, will be celebrating the Loco Gnosis release of 3-song single that weekend). Ola Ray is also on that night’s bill.

With more than a dozen bands to document, DC reached a handful to get some updates:

The Questions
have welcomed James “PookieGrech into their fold, having the bassist now swing double duty between them and another Blue Moon contributor, the Electric Lions. The Questions started as a three piece a handful of years ago- with Drew Bardo (pictured above with Wildcatting), Will Linna and bassist Matt Kleinhenn (currently of the Rue Moor Counts). “At the time of our going separate ways,” Bardo said of the Kleinhenn collaboration, the music felt a bit too predictable and “affected too heavily by the desires of the night life—if you know what I mean.”

When the band became a two piece around the mid-00’s and through 2007, “things accelerated into a very organic and primordial state. We consciously decided to make the project very improvisational and raw. It dipped into the philosophical attitudes of people like Vonnegut and Kerouac, well, the majority of the beat scene for that matter, that art and music only thrives in the current moments’ energy and thoughts...that it should be created and then left alone to float into space, never to be developed any further.”

In this period, the duo, with their raw energetic performances, focused on humanitarian efforts through fundraising shows and connecting deeper with the nonprofit and counterculture populace of Detroit. They also connected with myriad musicians from around town, feeling like “the community essence of our songs were creating a nice cosmic spider web.”

To avoid any stifling or stagnation, they started bringing people in to help evolve their musical landscape for future recording, particularly more instrumentation, via the bass (or second guitar). One year and more than two dozen experimental auditions lead to Jessica Sacks, who brought a music degree from U-M and traveled frequently in the Jazz circuit, “and a complete sweetheart, as well,” Bardo added, “a fabulous musician.” Sacks helped develop “a more mature sound” from the “junkyard stomp of the two-piece. We got some academia and she got some Rock ‘n’ Roll, it was mutually rewarding.”

Next, they added multi-instrumentalist Chris Krez, who grew up in Europe actually, traveling with his Opera singing father and learned music at a very young age. Though a six-stringer for the Questions, he started out on jazz trumpet. “He brought a whole new energy and added fresh idea’s immediately,” Bardo said, considering him a “perfect counterpart.”

Schedules conflicted and stylistic growth diverted somewhat, leading to Sacks’ amicable departure. After Bardo (and “Pookie”) and the players from the Electric Lions finished a stint as WONDERLAND-musical house band the Glass Orphans, “we decided,” Bardo said, “to kick start the Questions back up from a nice long vacation by recording 13-songs in the studio. Pookie and I hit it off very naturally. He is a brilliant bassist and a super cool cat. He started rehearsing with us and it came together instantly. It’s still early but it feels like he’s been in the band forever.”

Up next – The Questions have a 4-part album, likely titled “Directions.” They’ll release 4 Eps called North; South; East; West, over the next 6 months leading up to a double-vinyl full-length of all the songs on one album.

A year or so off doesn’t necessarily make this a comeback – though, Bardo said, in that time, not only did he and Rabeah Ltief collaborate for the Glass Orphans album, but he finished up a book he’s planning for a summer release on Richie Wohlfiel’s Lo & Behold publishing label. “I started out as a performance poet and aspiring writer (from here) so finally publishing one of my many manuscripts is long overdue and exciting.”

Bardo described the now-4-part collaboration as a “coming out of the chrysalis thing,” still “founded on sincerity and pain,” but “not quite as sporadic and improve based sloop down from the junkyard howling hour.” When pushed to conjure a few moods and sensibilities surging through their new stuff, the tract included “classic rock 1967-1980, including the great 70’s punk movement and early 90’s Seattle…” even to “that kind of DC skate scene shit of the 80’s—Minor Threat, Black Flaggish Fugazi kind of songs.”

He assures that Pookie’s transition was quite swift, and also really natural. “A wonderful musician and a fun personality,” Bardo said. “We feel like we’re just getting started really; this isn’t the same band it was two years ago at all, just as it wasn’t the same then as it was five years ago.”

“If you never seek change, you grow stale and old spirited. I don’t force change but I don’t resist it either, like a tree that bends in the breeze.” Referencing their digging through what might be considered “classical” styles (even the Black Flaggish stuff,) Bardo quips, “it’s safe to say we still haven’t started writing songs on a computer yet. But who the hell knows what we’ll feel like doing next. Rest assured, it’ll be whatever the fuck we feel like doing. –Do what the hell you wanna do—just don’t harm that which surrounds you. (Unless, you’re surrounded by a pack of raging Pitbulls).”

Bardo said the time off proved beneficial to the Questions’ creative process. “The musical landscape has grown into a place where we can now truly write and perform anything we want to, without limitation or growing pains. We are fully surrounded by vibrations from the heartbeat of our planet and it still makes sense to share these strange translations with one another.”

“I don’t feel any pressure to achieve fame or fortune – in fact, i feel a polarity between our ethos and the pursuit of such trivial and material things. We began this project on a different type of sailing vessel! It has and always will be about the vision quest.

...as long as humanity is asking questions about our mysterious experience in this upside down dimension, we will have a reason to throw color onthe canvas.”


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oil and Butter

I'm listening to Delorean right now. It's a grinning, glistening, beat-heavy whirl of airy echoed vocals and it bubbles up to my mind like some pretty pink lemonade dance effervescence. I'm also listening to Janelle Monáe. And that's just a plum tidal wave of styles, ideas and inspirations - fast, slow, quiet - symphonic, dance/house, rap, hip/hop, soul - whoa... you gotta cover some of it with foil and save it as leftovers...come back to it at midnight for a post club refreshment.

But then, you know...I'm listening to all this great music - and I'm watching video like this:

and I can't get the water off my mind....

And then I think, (as we are all constantly thinking) of the Gulf.

And... - The Oil. Our lifeblood. The sword we live by and all too obviously, fall upon. The golden shackles that yank our society along on some deluded perception of progress as represented by metal smoke spewing cages locked into rolling parking lots on cement highways leading to clustered buildings with punch-in/time-clocks affixed at their entrances.

We're now just as exhausted by similar enviro-soap-box haranguing as we once were by the dastardly corporate destructo-sprees that steadily inspired them to amplify through the 2000's -and yet we continue to guzzle, to drill, to fuel up, to refuel up and to putter and spew our way back to our day jobs.

As while Delorean is propelling some pretty and pleasing dream-pop hurrahs and Janelle is spinning my head into a tangle of my headphone cord with her dense palette, I can't help but continually return to my spirit sulking, from the parasitic drain, the open wound, the acidic blood that envelopes sea-set fish and cripplingly stains the shore-set birds; jellyfish get filled like waterballoon (er, oil-balloons) only to be eaten by sea turtles....and then...

What do we want from the people, the others around the country up in their northeastern/midwestern/west-coastal suburban havens who only have the guilted and infuriating bruise of hearing the steadily worsening news reports from their evening broadcast relays restruck and re-purpled each day. Eight weeks now, this bumbling corporation has tried, time and again, to repair something they'd claimed all along for which to be more than prepared, the plan was in hand, they were on it.

I'm sitting here feeling some kind of inexplicable guilt at trying to digest yet another string of albums and then splatter out some words on this ethereal page and this fleeting site - am I trying to justify it - to say, yes, I am writing about what can bluntly, or vulgarly, be pared down to a distraction. But maybe not.

At this point, more so, music and art should become, not escapism, not some sort of tuning-out of the world, but a therapeutic element. Get on those damned search engines of yours and find ways you can help. Donate. Or buy carpool in a hybrid or an electric car with six of your friends and take the 31 hour road trip down there to help out. Instead of giving up, yes, continue to get mad, get angry - yes, that whole "mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore" mantra, but use the music as a therapy, a salve, a refilling, refreshing thermos full of inspiration.

To keep you going.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Monáe and Metropolis

I was thinking about writing about her too - then just decided to cherry-pick, a wee bit, from Seth Colter Walls' recent Newsweek feature on said musical artist:

"...every once in a while we come across an album of such thuddingly obvious quality that writing a straight-up review seems boring. When a release is heralded by so many outlets—in print, on television, through the blogosphere—sometimes all that’s left to say is, yes, the subject under consideration really is fantastic: ho-hum, end of story..."

That is, I must say, painfully endemic to bloggers, or, rather, music writers or music journos out there turning in stuff for print, and competing with former referenced bloggers. "Faster..." as the thinly stretched, swiftly driving funk ballad of ArchAndroid goes...

This is where I'd like to embed the video for her single, "Tightrope" - but I couldn't find one to run that wouldn't subject you to a commercial... (oh, the future we live in...) - so just check out her main site to view...(here)

But, to Walls' credit, he ties in Monae's fixation and thematic album dressing born from the 1927 German expressionist film, Metropolis.

Plenty of others will already tell you about Monae - and I'm merely writing about it because I, like lots, am also listening at this moment.

But, it's timely - considering our own Detroit Institute of the Arts' Film Theatre is featuring the newly restored film (with 30 extra minutes) tonight (6/11) through June 20.

Spur of the Moment

My current favorite band existed in 1968. Maybe that "current favorite" slot will change in the near future, perhaps to fit some new hot shit, or maybe I'll slide back even further to a rockabilly crooner named Crazy Pete, from 1957.
Or, I could strive, -could spend my fleeting minutes on Google making sure no one else has written about whoever else I want to nonchalantly slide 'cross the table to you in proper bloggy clever clog exhibition, then blow that up for a few moments.

But I'd rather write against that and continue listening to Spur - some longlost Belleville IL based quintet of cowboy psyche-pop confoundables.
"(Buired) Treasure" will be the cliche most likely thrust upon any forthcoming written accounts of this Drag City re-issue of here's and there's from their studio sessions; but perhaps the bigger point could be that even though we have so much to look forward to, have so much surging through our screens on each new morning's troll and scroll of the daily blogo-hipsto-hype and blasted out ballyhoo...even though there's always something new - it becomes doubly overwhelming (and in fact, invigorating) that we can look back and find so much more that fell betwixt the cracks, while our society rode on, on it's own distracted, negligent tear through the amorphous early 70's' album rock malaise and into the gas shortage backgrounding mainstream Disco's bourgeoise blitz and then leaving those "treasures" wholly forgotten and covered in dust by the time the 80's arrived.

That's what happened to so many bands - Spur among them. To live for the next-hot-new-thing means that all you're really ever doing is compiling a killer (and I'll give you that, absolutely killer) Top/Best-Of/End of the Year list that assuredly compiles the coolest and most impressive musical entries of the passing calendar year...

But you weren't living in the moment - you were only just-waiting for that next new....new new new: Crystal Castles, Ratatat, The National, the next whoever, the new whatever - and here it comes and no, no time to enjoy it because you have to pounce on the next one.

All the while, Spur collects more dust.

That is, until another element that we have a plethora of (in this internet age of everywheres and everythings): Record Labels...specifically, Drag City - goes back like musicphile archeologists and uncovers these things for us.

Well, enough of that rabble...about the future, and nextnewthingiosis, (cough cough).

Spur is a magnificent listen for all appreciators of the gravelly guitar tumbling psyche-pop of Byrdsian rodeo-psyche rock. The rich (but hazily fuzzed) sound billows forth with a sometimes-three-strong guitar gallop of surfy Fenders and jazzy Gibsons...as though the Ventures are next door neighbors with Wes Montgomery and the Flying Burrito Brothers are manning the grill for their communal potluck.

Spur of the Moment zings with that ethereal high harmonized hippie-nomad chant that could have slid in with impeccable comfort onto the Easy Rider soundtrack, yet it's meandering melodies and heady, teased out riff shuffles could likely bend the ear of the more esoteric or opaque-sounding freaked-up folkies of early Zappa or the more pallatable Captain Beefheart - but rake all the rest of that slightly adnauseum pop-worshiping, psychedelic-inclined, guitars-n-harmonies groups, from Traffic to Big Star or....well...name-dropping is weak. There's a bit of an dark and fantastical, urban-scuffed edge to some tunes, but then an all out effervescent rush of varrying flavors, frying jazz, country, rockabilly and power-pop till the juices all blend together - serenely sating all you sweethearts of the rodeo.

More new stuff soon.
More info from Drag City

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CAVE Reminder - 6/20 - Old Miami

This is Cave.

They made one of my favorite recordings of the year...not just the entirety of their 12" (Pure Moods on Drag City), but the magical "Teenager" and all it's 7-minutes of glory: sensational/nonchalant ballad of climbing drums, wavy over-caffeinated riffs, UFO exhaust splays and monotone-to-bawled out vocals.

Fervent drives; all kinds of coalescing craziness and in fact captivating teased out noise and ever-present grooves - plug in whatever you want from their early write-ups, if it's their post-punk DEVO thing or their Faust-ian krautrock outer-limits caution to the wind opuses - whatever gets you.....'cuz they're coming to town and it's not the hipster Stick, or the BBQ-bolstered Lager House - it's The Old Miami. (with Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat)

Things to Watch - Winnebago Man! (Do you believe any of that sh*t?) Plus: Happy Summer Vacation

This is like my dad's longlost alternate-universe cousin - or something - he's the only other guy I can imagine getting more (somehow hilariously) angry over the most mundane things...from faulty cupboards, to hot sunshine, to fucking flies...

Here's to an age of multiple "internet phenomenons" - I think I'm actually going to see this. (In fact, I know I will)


For the young academics in our readership - enjoy your summer
Classes could be worse...

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs - 6/17 Majestic Cafe

Superb country-blues pop songstress, Holly Golightly, cut her teeth in the realm of gritty guitars with Billy Childish back in the 90's. Detroit-centrics might recall her voice warming the milieu of "It's True That We Love One Another," a track from our town's deified blues-rock pair, the White Stripes. But I found all this out, personally, after I wound up spinning this year's Medicine County three times in a day. This latest release, in a line of 18, has subtly earned a top spot in my rotation. It's playful, theatrical, charming, boy-girl vocals croon and growl; and it's coated with soot and exhaust, as strident sore-throat guitars grumble their way along a chugging foundation spilling into stringy melody-twisting punk-tinged shreds. Pedal steel and organs give it that southern Appalachian scruffiness and their bluesy-warbled yarn like vocals cover each corner of the cottonfield, from cutesy two-step dancing and hat doffed southern charm to more macabre midnight ghost story affairs.

In any case - I think you'd like to hear it -

Paired with Illy Mack - at the Majestic Cafe.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Duende releases a 12" vinyl ("E.P.") at Club Bart's - having a weekday party of space-blues and psychedelic trip-hop with Oblisk and the Sound and Fury -

Lightning Love, meanwhile, will be playing down at the Lager House with up and comers The Daredevil Christopher Wright and the Kickstand Band .

Coast through your Thursday's with bags under your eyes and frogs in your throats...rest up, and then just put off really nailing that big sale at the office for Friday's agenda - it'll work out.

P.S. -
What am I listening to? SPUR - read about it. (Then read about it more, later, when I properly ramble about it).

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I, Crime - 6/11 - The Old Miami

When fixations upon nuanced categorization or trend-lassoing labels grows into some lurching, deformed, burly and boiled, scaley city-devouring beast... it is up to bands like I, Crime to come along - like some sort of proper device be it a laser sword, proton torpedoes or maybe the Glave, and slice, dice and puncture all this overblown ballyhoo by bringing their achingly earnest, seemingly straight-and-simple rhythm-based, harmony-induced, guitar-glory.

- A firm flying no -bones-bout-it fist punching the greyish and coarse organs of gaunt rickety post-punk and splattering it all around a wider stylistic panorama - never tarrying too long in the gutteral and dark metal area or the freewheeling swagger of rockabilly or the bristly poignancy of blues - and yet confidently and gracefully extending themselves equally to all these corners...but never to the point where you'd want to say... "Oh, I, Crime? They're this __-band. If you like ___ or ___, or maybe you like ___'s last record, but not ___'s second record, then, yeah, you'll probably like I, Crime."

And I usually rattle off similar spiels every time I have occassion to write about them...so I think it's officially a truism.

And, ...again, I have occasion to write about them...

Because, after their debut Get The Knife EP and 2008's 7"-single Dove Skin Gloves, this refined rock quartet is releasing their first proper full length: Spread Like Water/Block The Sun on Woodbridge Records.

The performance-laden celebration for said-release happens June 11th - at The Old Miami - with the Oscillating Fan Club and Computer Perfection.

Sunday - Legendary Creatres - Lac La Belle - AJ&DZ

Sunday night at the Loving Touch - take in the soothing soulful folk of Legendary Creatures (lovely lulling boy-girl harmonies, softly blown over country-tinged elements from organ to ukulele) - but able to indulge in a bit of atmospheric-indie rock via intricate instrumentation from a sunny surf guitar to shuffling minimalist rhythms.

Now that we're all conjuring some Blanch-y type flavors - I could also nod to the more Appalachian-twanged traditionalists of folk, Lac La Belle - who will join LC....at the LT--in Ferndale.

Allan James (of indie rockers The Cold Wave) and Daniel Zott (of beat-lead space poppers Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr) will join forces for a set, as well.