Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank You (video) - 12/3 Magic Stick

Baltimore has birthed an intriguing post-rock trio that sounds like it'd be more attuned to the atmospheric synth-and-guitar rock up in New York or the more deconstructionist, rhythm-based experimentalists over in Chicago. In any case, Thrill Jockey has picked them up for their forthcoming Golden Worry LP.

Here's a tune from that record - "Birth Reunion" (below) - which starts out with minimalist electro-haze (resembling their contemporaries, Beach House, in that regard), but then the drums start picking up, pummeling louder and faster as the guitars ferociously pur through Fender twin reverb amps (and this could reflect their collaboratnig with J. Robbins of Yeasayer or their work with producer Chris Coady who galvanized past Yeah Yeah Yeah's records). And those drums never stop - just continue their tumbling forth, trancelike, with those shooting start guitars bending and swaying gracefully on top.

Enjoy watching 3 cute girls get ready for their own private dance party.

Thank You - Birth Reunion from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

More info on Thank You here.
They perform Friday night at the Magic Stick - with freak-jazz collective Junger Witt and Cotton Museum.

Tyvek - Nothing Fits

This month saw Tyvek, Detroit's celebrated lo-fi noise-pop collective, unveil it's In The Red Records debut LP, Nothing Fits.

Previously a more illusive band, record-wise, you had to catch them at their merch tables to peruse whatever the latest limited 7" (or tour-only CD-R) they had recently whipped up. Now, however, in a little more than a full calendar year, they've got two proper full length albums buzzing and screaching out into the general air - last year's self-titled, and now, this latest release on In The Red.

Renowned for their vigorous, spilled-out live shows and their grating guitars - the band seem to be successfully translating all their loose/loud punk-dented-new-wave noise into comprehensive album-sized presentations.

Take a listen to the opener: Tyvek - "4312"

Head to their myspace for more listening (or Stereogum, for even more...)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mittenfest V + Top 36 Locals

Mittenfest comes but once a year - ...usually the end of the year. The full line up for this Ypsi-set celebration of all-things-Michigander-Music - was announced last week (info here).

Savoy / 23 N Washington St / Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Thu Dec. 30th, 2010 - Sun. Jan. 2nd, 2011

@4PM Every Day

Music from 5PM to 2AM + Late Night Dance Party on NYE

$7/night or $25 for 4 Day Wristband

All Proceeds Go To 826michigan's Programming in Washtenaw County.


and, since it is that time of year again - that end-of-year time... my mind has already shifted into "year end list-"-mode. And I started thinking back on all the great songs coming from artists 'round SE-Michigan...

As I attempted last year, here's this year's "top songs" from local artists... and by "top" I just mean those songs that were particular favorites of mine... - So,...yes, highly subjective, (or, just random...sometimes its just the luck of the show, the serendipity of catching some of these songs live and thus having my ears turned...)

DC's Favorite Locals - 2010 Red #'s = Scheduled Mittenfest Performers

(i love all these songs - this list coulda been way above 50... good work detroit)

36. Slowdance - Matthew Dear
35. Zoos of Berlin - Movie On August Ray
34. Mister - That That

33. 52-Week High - Market Dictates

32. Juliets - Evolve Into

31. Fur - I Want to Let You Down
30. Dutch Pink - Corn Palace Heirs

29. Red Iron Orchestra - Song for the Unnamed Band

28. Frontier Ruckus - Silverfishes

27. Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas - Neck Tattoo

26. Conspiracy of Owls - Raving Mad

25. The Ruggs - Savage Henry

24. Pewter Cub - Wallflower Mourner

23. Breathe Owl Breathe - Dogwalkers of the New Age

22. Robin Goodfellow - Susannah You See Beyond

21. Electric Lion Soundwave Experiment - Vote @ 7-11

20. Lettercamp - First Kiss

19. Child Bite - Odd In

18. Legendary Creatures - It's Got Soul
17. Drunken Barn Dance - A Winter's Tale

16. Rogue Satellites - Mix Tape Club

15. Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr - Vocal Chords

14. Fawn - Hip Parade

13. Deastro - Genesis Weapon

12. Illy Mack - Squirrels

11. Oscillating Fan Club - Hide & Seek

10. Silverghost - D.N.A.

Pure kinetics - a propulsive tune showcasing the duo's vascillatings between new-wave and post-punk with Mothersbaugh/Newman recalling monotonish/robot-y vocals painting ominous dystopias of technological advancement gone wrong (all with a shredding guitar and whirring spaced-out synth).

9. Marco Polio & the New Vaccines - Ghost

A mesmeric synthesized bass line washes over the listener and locks them into a house groove as acerbic, theremin-mimicing guitars haunt the nooks and crannies. "If I were a ghost," as the chorus goes, "I wouldn't even want to haunt you."

8. Prussia - Sister

"Sister" starts minimally, a curling melody over curtseying string pizzicatos, but the bass and drums start hammering under a keyed-up piano and soon the snare starts getting chopped up and suddently it's movin' and morphin into a fractured flamenco, roused nicely with some brass.

7. Black Lodge - Paper Money
With an indelible bass line shimmying in an almost ESG-flavored hybrid of garage and disco, "Paper Money" is like the post-punk version of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" - with a viscerally motor-mouthed regaling of "a day in the life of a dollar bill..."

6. Bars of Gold - The Husle

Yes, in fact, a banjo and a scream/sing throaty vocalist can facilitate a dance song... and yes, this is...well, almost...a dance song. (In fact, the devestating beat, made almost industrial sounding with its relentless march, is actually a match of the beat from the classic disco single of the same name.

5. The High Strung - Barn Party
There are nights where I feel I attend "parties" similar to the one described in this spooky, tall-tale-ish indie-rock shuffler.

4. 800-Beloved - 1992

The shimmering guitars seem descended from Cure's "Pictures of You," but once you get past that, perhaps you'll realize this is an endearing homage (perhaps aiming towards that year as a fateful marker of the certain endpoint for the goregous, gooey, austere and jangly pop/rock that sustained us through the 80's, from the Smiths to the Sundays... ("Sunday, baby, is the name I give to you / later, maybe, after 1992...")

3. The Satin Peaches - Red
Their best song to date. As Jen David (of Illy Mack) put it, it's almost like a resurrection of that atl-rock glory from the early-ish 90's, - elaborate riffs, driving drums, soaring guitars and vocals that cut into both nostalgia and cathartic release. (think "Cherub Rock" with a lot more fire and 90-mph drums)

2. Secret Twins - Dead Heart

A running beat and a jittery yet melodic guitar make a graceful grind - plus that melody after the second tempo-shift has been stuck in my head for 300-days straight. Songs like this assure me that these two understand what Lou Barlow was going for (be it Sebadoh or whatever) of blending beautiful melodies and heartfelt sentiment with a healthy amount of shambolic rock and noisy shredding.

1. Macrame Tiger - Lucy Sue
It starts out simple, a twangy country sway that takes its time, like its waiting for the rabble of the crowd to simmer down. Then Pedro's vocal melody with its lilting, rubbery vibratto hovers over a waltzing beat and we all get comfortable. Then the synthesizer comes in and links up with Lu's hazy "oohh oh oh wooh oh" and you have what might be the most indelible chunk of musical magic my ear's have heard thus far this year... so simple, so pretty - and then it builds....and builds... reaching a Hey-Jude-ian sing-along that's wound up assuring that I listen to the full 7 minutes each time I spin it...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Oscillating Fan Club - Album Release - 12/11

@ the Loving Touch in Ferndale

With Wildcatting (a loosely defined 'reunion...' that may or may not wind up as a performance by Bars of Gold).

~ ~


The Oscillating Fan Club - with Bellyache Records' 20th release. Preview songs here
On another classy episode of 'Dinner with the Oscillating Fan Club'


Pierce: “We’ve got a lot of gift horses…”

Milo: “I see…”

Pierce: “And, the cost is astronomical…that’s why we’re trying to get people to buy our gift-horses…”

Milo: “You’re talking about the vinyl records of George Washington’s Teeth, coming out next week?

Pierce: “No, I’m talking about horses. Horses that we’ve been keeping in Rob’s backyard.”

Ray: “We’ve kind of decided to get back together as a band just to launch our new stable.”

Pierce: “Yeah, we’re breeding horses. It’s a first…it’s man-horse…relations…”

Milo: “A man is involved in the breeding?”

Ray: “Mainly just Pierce…”

Pierce: “Allow me, later, to introduce you to my son, Horse Jr….”

John: (to Pierce) “I could see you having a horse. Seriously.”

Pierce: “A horse/man/boy… (mimics eerie mutant ninny sound)”

John: “…or a pony.”

Ray: “What if it was a horse, same shape, but it didn’t have the front legs, just the two back legs, that were human legs, and it would constantly be slumped forward grinding his face in the round and would have to walk backwards just so it wouldn’t be as painful…? This is what you came over for, right Jeff?”

Milo: (nods)

John: “I’m sure you had nothing better scheduled.”

The Oscillating Fan Club, after a shaky year that included a quasi-hiatus and considerably raised inter-band tensions, are, for lack of a more nuanced descriptor, “back together” and releasing their 2nd full length LP, - George Washington’s Teeth on Bellyache Records, this week, at the Loving Touch in Ferndale.

The band gathered (at their practice spot in drummer Robin Veresh and guitarist Pierce Reynolds’ residence) for an interview to discuss the tunes they recorded at Jim Diamond’s Ghetto Recorders through the late summer/early autumn of 2009. Singer/bassist John C. Fairweather chimed in with some sober and sane surmising of their year, while guitarist/singer Ray Thompson discussed the exploring of “extremes” – from rawer, more shambolic shreds to poppier, more delicate amblings. Reynolds embellished the potential flabbergasting absurdities sprouting upon each ellipsis…

Milo: “After you let these horses out into the wild, what next?”

Ray: “I don’t think we’re gonna release the horses. Just the album.”

Pierce: “They need to stay under ground for their entire life…they’ll never see sunlight.”

Rob: “Like mole horses?”

Pierce: “Dance! Dance, Mole Horse! (claps hands).”

Milo: “These horses probably aren’t very happy…”

Ray: “They have not voiced displeasure. Once we get them a healthy dose of Xanax.”

Pierce: “And, they also watch a lot of ‘Yo Gabba Gabba.’ It’s good for young horses.”

This devolves into their mad scheme to steal enough electricity for the television sets entertaining this army of underground horses (who, it later is revealed, are actually blind-folded) and then into their methods of covering up the smell wafting from mine shafts by cooking pungent blends of food, (food that may or may not have traces of dead horse and more Xanax mixed in…)

When I turn the tape recorder back on, John calmly, in a soothing singing voice, assures: “Everything was great…we’re all totally sane!”

Started in late 2004, the Oscillating Fan Club have blended sensibilities for 60’s Brit-Pop and British garage with inclinations toward gruff, kaleidoscoped experimentalism, sublime obscuro structures, and raucous/kinetic rock n roll. Reynolds’ tinnier, surf toned Fender glides gracefully with Fairweather’s steady bouncing bass, balancing with Thompson’s lower, snarling Rickenbacker and Robin’s tumbling drums’ formation of a more shambling, almost-off-the-rails propulsion. A spastic pop that marries surf rock to art rock.

2008’s Feverish Dreams, As Told By… that beautified the grime of frazzled psyche-pop with intricate production, eclectic instrumentation and sunshine bursts of twangy surf and head-swimming swarms of spaced-out atmospherics.

Ray: “(George Washington’s Teeth) is kind of all over the place. We have some regal songs. Some are regal. It’s a little more manic than the last album. This one feels a little more accentuated. These songs would have been a bit more ‘of the moment’ if we had put it out when we were ‘back in that moment,’ when we were still a band and then not a band and then a band again.”

Pierce: “We had some technical difficulties.”

Ray: “Let’s just say, these guys didn’t like me or the album. I drank and yelled and through bottles.”

Pierce: “Then we drank.”

Ray: “They drank together as I drank somewhere else and then we met again…”

Pierce: “And drank together, some more.”

Ray: “Then we played the Blowout…This all happened in early February, when we had our own blowout.”

Pierce: “The thing is, any time you do something for five years, that’s a certain milestone and you need to tell everybody involved in it that you hate them and not see them for a month.”

John: “And…simultaneously…(that you) love them.”

Ray: “You need to get it all out, so it’s cathartic. And then take an Epsom salt bath with everybody.”

They continue unpacking George Washington’s Teeth, which was recorded with much less instrumentation and culled songs that had more adrenaline and more of a lo-fi, blemish-baring grimace.

Ray: “This album is a little bit more bare. Songs are more mature, well, some of them.”

Pierce: “In the loosest sense, it’s a concept album.” (Rob shakes head, mouths the word ‘No.’)

Ray: “The album was written a year ago, before the title even happened!”

John: “It’s more than a concept album… Really, it’s about the early years, Washington’s early years, pre-revolution.”

Ray: “Most people don’t know that when we refer to George Washington’s Teeth, we’re talking about his original teeth, not the ivory. Post-baby-teeth, pre-ivory-teeth. His middle teeth.”

Pierce: “He always looks so stern in those paintings, post-ivory. It’ s because he has so much teeth pain.”

Ray: “T-Pain?”

Pierce: “(Washington) listened to a lot of T-Pain.”

Ray: “The album is based mostly on T-Pain.”

Pierce: “And colonial fruit-baskets.”

Milo: “What was it like being ‘a band apart?’”

John: “… Sad.”

Ray: “Well, Pierce was doing DevilFish, Rob was doing Scare Bear and I was doing Pigeon, so we each at least had an outlet. John had a desk job, so that’s where he got to release his full creative juices.”

Milo: “What brought you back together?”

Ray: “We were bored. Just kinda wanted to make music again.”

Rob: “I don’t think we ever really ended. I remember it just became awkward and not as fun.”

Ray: “There was no Yoko. We were still writing.”

They concluded that this album could be a “grower.” A “return-listen” kind of album.

Pierce: “I think we were going for a really strong, psychedelic pop leaning on the first record. Almost a Nuggets-style compilation and I feel like this album is a whole lot more of a varied mix-tape. It’s really exciting to get re-excited and rejuvenated about the band and realize that not only is the band doing it again, but we’ve got an even stronger, more exuberant collection. We’re actually releasing a 2nd record, on vinyl!”

More info

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Tomorrow, as legend has it, is "the busiest bar night of the calendar year."

Which, given Detroit's deluge of willing and able musical talent, can mean a calamitous, splendidly nerve-wracking evening wrung with that itchy and exhilierating vibe of: everything going on everywhere at the same time.

Well - yeah, for tomorrow, per usual, that's true. There's plenty to see and hear as we all whirl our ways out to the bar on this night of nights for spirited self-destruction (unless you're the one prepping the tofu-friendly items at the crack of the next dawn).

But it seems, more than before, that the majority of the suitable shows are taking place after the fateful day of football, gluttony and Hallmark-hued grinning pilgrim cartoon masking roots of imperialism.

Friday night, of course, one of our most highly renowned local incarnations, the Gories, will reuniute (for a second time in a calendar year) to perform at the Majestic Theatre.

The next day, Silverghost will celebrate the release of their first proper full length LP at the Magic Bag in Ferndale.

And... on top of these and a handful of notable nationals rolling through town this week, we've also got an ambitious line up at the Belmont, Saturday, in Hamtramck, featuring the inimitable Marco Polio & the New Vaccines (pictured). They welcome Bars of Gold (with their D.C.-set drummer back in town) along with the up-and-coming gypsy-freak-soul collective Pink Lightning and the Flint-based americana act Empty Orchestra.

Don't blow yourself out on Wednesday. Eat somewhat hearty but somewhat light on Thursday. You'll need a few wits and brain cells to operate and propel thy self to a bunch of shows over the weekend.

Take a nap.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fleurs du Mal Fest - Questions - Gardens - Rue Moor Counts - PJs Lager House - 11/27

The Lager House hosts the Fleurs Du Mal Fest, Saturday, featuring an intermingling of live poetry readings and live musical performances. The readings, "...an assortment of musings from the Detroit poetry underground..." will range from reverent interpretations of Charles Baudeliare (the French symoblist who inked the twisted, beautiful, indecent and ingenious text for which the 'Fest' is named, -seen right) as well as readings from the works of Baudelaire's successor of sorts, Arthur Rimbaud.

A handful of poets will take the Lager stage to do these readings betwixt live sets from Gardens (bottom right pic) and the Rue Moor Counts (who have a full-length LP wrapped up and almost ready...) - The Questions (bottom left pic) are also on the bill, a recently reinvigorated band framed more as a traditional guitar-bass-drum rock n roll quartet - and it might be wise to mosey down to catch their set since they might be taking a winter's hiatus from live shows.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Switchblade Justice - Album Release 11/26 - Corktown

One of Detroit's preeminent purveyors of punk, Switchblade Justice, invite you to Detroy the World with them. The day after you give thanks for everything, commence then, to give into that spasmodic tazmanian devilish punk inside of you to riccochet all 'round a cacophonous barn, spurred on with the sinister charm of these veteran rockers and the tunes from their new LP.

The one-two punching bag drums and chugging bass most effectively connect these trounces to the punk aesthetic, but the vocals are some kind of mutated Elivs-y bubble-gum croon and the swaggering guitars ring so closely to a classic rock swing and shamble.

Blend a few dabs of hardcore headslamming catharsis, with teaspoon stiring of nostalgic comic-book cracked revivalism, and boil it in a pot bubbling with the vigor and vile of straight up rock n roll - spill it into a bowl, slam it down with a whiskey chaser and get your ass back up and moving with those tumbling drums.
Take a listen:

Derelikt Kraft (Jaye Thomas from Rogue Satellites) and HiFi Hellcats join the party...

Pre-sale available through Real Punk Radio

More info on Switchblade Justice's Facebook

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fare thee well, New Grenada

One of my "first favorite" bands "on the scene" was this shredded up shunt of sunshine muck called New Grenada. They were an ideal blend of pop and punk - an experiment of stirring sugar with strychnine. They had a lot of heart and they howled it all out for much of the 2000's, releasing a half-dozen recordings until finally fizzilng into a bit of an amorphous existence through last year. Well... the last chapter is wrapping up - and the group plays their final show (reuniting with former/longtime member Shawn Knight) for Saturday's Lager House performance.

The Cold Wave opens up and the band will have a DVD of live footage from their 10 year "reign of terror."


Also goin on around...

The Sights
release their long awaited LP at the Loving Touch in Ferndale, Saturday, with Prussia

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Join the Broken Dreams Club - - Currently Listening: Girls

I've been eager to see where this band would go, following their exceptional debut's blend of hazed-out neo-psychedelia, a light milling of indie-punk gravel and unabashed sun-toned early-60's pop. The SF-based duo were like the less droney, less gloomy, equally existential alternative to Deerhunter ("who wants something real when you can just have nothin?")
Forget about cuts like "Big Bad Mean Motherfucker's" fast grind or "Hellhole Ratrace's" woozy, druggy slow dance transendence - these, save the feedback flares of the closer, are straighter guitar pop songs, with keener, even dreamier melodies with a slow twist steadily digging its heels firmly into the early 60's sounds. Less strident and a bit more of a gothic country twang sprinkled in, complete with wavy surf guitars, brass touchings and shimmying percussion.
Head over to Matador Records to get a free mp3 ("Heartbreaker") and get a taste of their new, janglier, sunnier spills.
More info from Girls - and from True Panther Sounds

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Currently Listening: Twin Shadow

Catch up on George Lewis Jr., known as Twin Shadow, and currently shooting sparks across many o' music-blog these days. Growing up the son of a hairdresser in the suburbs of Florida, Lewis migrated to New York to allow its labrynthine lay of multifaceted musical veins surge through him as he set down to create what would become Forget. The record's songs were further melded by Lewis' trip to Europe, a stay in Berlin inevitably helping to add a bit of Bowie-tinged euro-pop elegance to his already firm penchants for New Wave. Get info from 4AD.


And listen to this remix:

The Drums - Me And The Moon (Twin Shadow Remix With No FX):

Forget is out now. more info from Terrible Records.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Currently Listening: Pas Chic Chic

Pas Chic Chic are a Montreal-based collective spawning orchestral synth-rock. Their latest, 12" came out just last week.

Bolstered by members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am and Set Fire To Flames, they join hands betweeen distinctively French-and-German sensibilities - whether it's the effervescence of French Pop, as experienced on "Allez Vous Faire Influencer" (hear-it-here) with it's gurgling synths evoking some intergalactic lounge of go-go dancing romantics and tall, dark mysterioso anti-heroes, or on the even more gaping, motorik-beat shunted space-out of "Premier Souffle" conjuring the darker, almost trance like jam outs of Neu-esque golden-age Krautrock.

More info from Semprini Records.

Get some visual ideas:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Currently Listening: Valleys (Stoner EP)


((Montreal based trio gets heavy on haze... (read a recent Pitchfork post about them and follow up on them from Semprini Records. ))

...at it's atmospheric layers, the imposing whir and roar of synth and fuzz-pedal guitar drones could facilitate the discorporating laser light show scene from 2001;

...at it's dream-pop layers, the feather flicked melodies through celestial, airy vocals beg to dim the lights and calm the rabble of any room or urge to drive on down empty, rain soaked freeways under light-pollution defying stars and a smirking crescent moon.

and upon it's indie/art-rock layers, the shuddernig guitars echo over deceptively intricate bass grooves and driving beats, leaning and strutting forward into otherwise instantaeous hooks curtained with coarse and bemusing noise effects.

It is romantic and haunting... Soak up the dreamy/dreariness as best you can in these waining autumn nights.

take a listen to their single, "Ordinary Dream" via Pitchfork or Semprini

Their tunes are decorated with steady, almost XX-feeling grooves under timorous teasing vocal melodies slide into the more shambolic plodding of feedback manipulation taking the form of some cathartic cliffside howl into the ether; at other points it drifts into a continous looping guitar drone under shimmering synth hums - like some kind of a Frippy/Eno type slow march.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"What I Do" - Interview: Mister

“I’m not the metal guy.”

Bryan Lackner is charting his influences and past penchants, naming Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Primus; a glint in his eyes showing he’s conscious that it’s not helping to clarify his submersion into hip/hop music. “I’d love to be in a metal band, but that’s just not me. It just comes out the way it comes out.”

“The way it comes out,” for Lackner, is via rap music. With inclinations towards Northern Soul, acid jazz and spaced-out funk, the pale, bearded, lanky Lackner finds his voice through the swift incantations of hip/hop poetry.

Raised in Rochester, Lackner was the shy 6th grader, off in the corner, jotting down lyrics (some of them already with a death-metal sensibility). Then, being uprooted to Maryland for junior high, he was sequentially molded by the teen-attuned catharses of grunge rock and soon after the more fantastical goof-venom of horror-core.

His release came in the form of rhythmic renditions from his poetry-packed notebooks. After high school, in 2004, he moved back to the Metro area. This would begin his transition from the darker, more industrial-leaning material of his intial project Brain Sick, to a more bebop and brass inflected East Coast flavored shuffle, which became Mister.

(above photo: Trever Long)

With his buoyant, rounding baritone flow, a lingering Midwest drawl wrung with accentuated articulation, Lackner, as Mister, warms the arrangements with his relatable character eking, prevailing and endearing, through densely spewed narrative verses of heartbreak and empty pockets that somersault into swaggering, anthemic pop choruses.

Mister’s breakout show was 2010’s Metro Times Blowout where he opened for a heavily indie-rock line up, Fawn, Carjack and Zoos of Berlin. Since turning a lot of heads that night, most of them accustomed to seeing those types of bands with that type of sound, Lackner has seen a surge of enthusiasm and camaraderie from “the rock crowd,” be it Marco Polio & the New Vaccines to the various bands throughout the Loco Gnosis label family. He considers that to be his “most important” show to date. Up until now he’s taken whatever he can get, from a Port Huron party house basement show set between an Anime cover band and a death metal band, to rapping on the main stage at the Crofoot. Though his live appearances have remained sporadic he’s still slid at least halfway through the door of Detroit’s hip/hop community. His collaborations, with engineers and fellow rappers include Brent Smith (Cold Men Young), Que C and Elemental (both on UK’s Funky Dialect label) and also Devi.

“I just never felt that: ‘Oh I’m totally-with the hip/hop crowd or I’m totally-with the rock crowd. I’m just doing what I do. I like being able to bridge that gap.”

Lackner had been developing his freestyling chops since he was 15, mingling in between Goo Goo Dolls covers at acoustic-heavy open mic nights with his sinuous wordage surging humbly over scratchable CDJ accompanying beats. Feeling a bit of inertia with his darker, caustic Brain Sick side, he jotted down one word after a set… ‘mister’ and started chuckling to himself. Following that gut reaction, he renamed the project. “The horror-core stuff just wasn’t me anymore,” says the soft-spoken lyricist of his scream-heavy past.

Lackner would start to flourish in 2007, before Myspace became a ghosttown and still facilitated networking. He linked up with UK-based hip/hop artist Dr. B. who provided him with a bevy of beats and samples to build off. Free. No questions. Just a heartening help from across the pond. Lackner felt that the tacit impression from his UK allies was, “…’we know what you’re capable of, we just wanna help make great music.’” Plus, “they (UK) know the Detroit hip/hop scene. They know Dilla, they know Slum Village. They wanna get over here as much as I wanna get over there.”

“I’m glad it sounded the way that it did,” Lackner says of the samples’ brazen brass, mystic flutes and musing strings set upon arresting beats. The smoother, more soulful palette he acquired from Dr. B and later evolved through work with Que C and Devi, was integral in growing out of the darker, edgier sound of the mid-00’s. “I’m not one to just rap the same way on anything, whatever the music’s giving me, that’s what I’m putting out. This allowed me to get calm. And, I’ve been listening to Motown my whole life. I want the sonic palette to keep getting bigger; I’ll add backing vocals, more background stuff, different elements, just so you’re getting more out of it.”

Beyond the sonic palette, Lackner said he wants “to have as much going on as possible,” in his live shows; to be “as entertaining as possible.” He dresses mostly in two pieces of a three-piece suit and spends little time up on the stage or in one spot. He regales a set he did in North Carolina where one audience member kept beseeching him for the chance to jump up and beat-box alongside him. Once he lassoed the kid up on stage with him, another attendee pulled his collar and asked to freestyle with him. Mister pulled him up too.

“I like taking down the wall; if I’m on stage, I like jumping off the stage right in front of people. I want people to have a good time. I want people laughing. I want people to just dance or whatever. So, now, I’m more comfortable with doing the shows. Because now, I can see it, that people are really enjoying themselves.”

Since he sort of stands upon a sort of fence post, its significant when Lackner reports back upon “this massive Detroit rock scene and this massive Detroit hip/hop scene” and how “there’s such a tiny overlap, or not much at all” between them.”

While he built contacts in the hip/hop community through 2008, it’s this year, really, where Lackner’s personal momentum and connectivity to the community have both considerably been ameliorated, thus spurring him onto an even deeper reverence for his fellow locals, be they of the rock crowd or of the hip/hop crowd.

“Maybe people take it for granted. Those same kids that’ll spend $35 at a show at the Fox for somebody that’s already far beyond-well-off, you can go just down the street and see a band that might blow your mind even further and they are struggling every day.”

“I wanna see all these people succeed,” he said of his comrades on both sides. “I would love if we could do the whole big Motown bus caravan tour and just drive around and have six or seven bands. Go around and say, this is how we do it here, this is what’s going on in Detroit. And it keeps getting bigger. Certain shows highlight that, like the Blowout, the Fucking Awesome Fest, the DIY Street Fair. And, all these people are really creative and there’s a sense of community- both with the rock scene and with the hip/hop scene too. I can’t even imagine if they came together and made this massive community, right now – the hip/hop guys with the rock guys.”

Over the last two years, Lackner said he’s grown as a lyricist. He said he admires his longlost freak brethren from the rock n roll side, Beefheart or Claypool, who are able to make the most mundane snippets of days into provocative poetry. “I’m not trying to make a really good rap song. “I want to have a good song. I want to have my place in the timeline of recorded music; I want to leave something. I’m not worried about a hot verse or a hot punch line.”

“I want a good song.”

Mister will release his Cookin with Que C EP this winter. (Tracks are available for preview, now, on his bandcamp site (link).) He is also working on a couple other EPs, stay tuned to his Facebook for info on those as well as upcoming shows.

You Can Call Me Mister

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Late post - but, still, if you're around...

Cash Harrison, Chris Bathgate, Hezekiah Jones, and Chris Kasper - ann arbor - @ the blind pig

Monday, November 8, 2010

Listen to Macrame Tiger's album in a sushi bar

This is happening.

Thursday evening, as part of Sakana (in Ferndale)'s weekly musical/dj showcases.

The EP will be ready for public acquisition sometime in early September. But come see, er, hear, rather, how their energetic live show has translated. Down some low-sodium soy sauce chased by white pearl sake as you drift into an ethereal psychedelic daze at the playback of "Lucy Sue"

More info
Macrame's Facebook

11/13 Whitdel Fundraiser - CAID

CAID - Whitdel
Saturday - Seven bands (High Strung / Electric Fire Babies / Questions / Macrame Tiger / Duende / Fur / Beekeepers

Info provided via video interview (below... along with live performances from Fur and the Beekeepers)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Currently Listening: Ghost Stories ((Ben Collins))

I had meant to write about this before/upon Halloween.

About a year ago, Ben Collins (Lighting Love, Hounds Below) leafed through libraries and trolled the tall tales of Michigan's haunted history to mine narrative material for his solo songwriting project.
A very subtle synth adds a bass' atmospheric bellow in the backgrounds and drums are only prominent on the opening track, "Detroit River" (listen here), but the arrangements are given enough character from Collin's mid-high wispy vocals (finding the middle ground between Elliott Smith's ache and Sufjan Steven's lullaby) and sparse, august acoustic guitar plodding along like the just-noticeable pat of an autumn's overcast rain. Though the bulk of it is gray hazy folk, each song reaches pinnacles of warming crescendos and simultaenously can stand alone quite well with their own unique aesthetics (characters and sentiments).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grass - Relaxer

Drum is still not dead.

Experimental in the truest sense... in that this was one of those magical basement jams characteristic to this scene of richocheting obscuro's always ready to play and pound, bleat and bop at a moment's notice - captured and put down to tape as two "statements" (not quite 'songs'), both about 25 minutes in length.

But the experiment, it seems, will likely mature into a steadily recurring live creature. A melding of sound art, fractured bebop, clarinet-squealed jazz freak out, and noisy experimental krautrock spices - it's predominantly drums - with multiple musicians at multiple kits armed with multiple sticks. Howling, yowling, indecipherable human voices whirl atop these disjointed marches and snaky melodies.

Take a listen and buy some mp3s here (though it'd be worth it to track them down for the cassette featuring the original artwork of Godard's iconic anti-hero Michel Poiccard.) The music captured here features members of Forget, Bars of Gold, Electric Fire Babies, Rootbear, Sound & Fury, High Speed Dubbing, Jura, DevilFish and Oscillating Fan Club
Read more on Grass

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Benefit for Robert Wonnacott - 11/7 - with Dick Valentine & "Friends"

Outrageous Cherry
The Electric Fire Babies
Scarlet Oaks
Jeff Tarlton

will join Mr. Dick Valentine the swaggering honcho of The Electric Six (pictured right)

...to perform at a benefit show for said alligned artists' dear friend, Robert Wonnacott as he faces serious medical issues without any insurance.

This goes down Sunday evening - at the Crofoot in Pontiac (doors at 6pm)

My one bloggy comments - would be to snipe about the still highly disconcerting state of health care in America - with no encouraging signs ahead what with all the gridlock likely to collide ceaselessly throughout a split house and senate. (Health Care Industry Still Bracing for Change -

Secondly, Wonnacott has been a close ally to the Six since the mid 90's and a contributor to some early Wildbunch demos - and thus the Six, or at least some-and/or-most of the Six will gather, alongside a crowded line up of fine local groups, to help him out in his time of need.
E6 are currently touring on their 7th studio album, Zodiac - more info here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Citizen Smile CD Release - Saturday - Crofoot

This Detroit-area quartet graft a sleek sunny pop sound atop a big booming rock oomph -
Mellifluous lead vocals shift from a quirky-charmed sing-speak to a soaring anthemic call alongside, lead guitars dance and entrance with instantaneous hooks, while a subtly intricate wavy bass line slaloms beside tight pounding drums, all in all bringing more of a more glowing pop/punk hurrah vibe to the old indie-ethos of quiet-loud-quiet song structures (see: "How See Disappears.")

Certainly they draw from indie rock, but there's nothing lo-fi about this sound. It feels they're meticulous in effectively crafting both the -quiet- and the -loud- aspects of each of their pop ballads (see the jolting, keyed-up vigor of those firestorm guitars of "Dead In My Tracks" only get pulled back for the endearing serenade of the vocals setting the scene atop quieter, breath-catching instrumentation) - and then of course it all gose out the window, the guitar solos, the drums explode and we build it all up to a closing crescendo.

Plus, they make sure to match the dynamism of their arrangements when they bring 'em out live.

So give it a chance - Saturday - at the Crofoot - when they release their 4th proper recording, Keepsakes - paired with The Ashleys, Patrick Davy & the Ghosts and the Handgrenades

Citizen Smile

Pigeons - Liasons

Pigeon's sparse, haunting pop is like the syrupy cerebral residue of a fading dream left upon your pillowcase as you slowly rear your still swirling head up and into the orangey glow of a freshly ignited sun.

Oozing with the air of languid strolls with no destination through murky, rainy-day realms, this Bronx-based duo blend the brood of Neil Young to the tranquility of Beach House - delivered through minimal, melodious sways of smoky flutes, shushing-clattering drum machine beats and a vocal/guitar pairing that rival each other in snaky mesmerism. Less the more psychedelic leanings of their previous records and more of a candle-lit freak folk seance - it's something that demands return-listens (and headphones) to apprecaite or become aclimated to its nuanced charms.

Take a listen: Pigeons - "Race" MP3

Liasons - out on Soft Abuse
Watch: - "Paradise"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Darling Imperial - Takotsubo - 11/13 - Berkley Front

Darling Imperial make pop/rock with a bit of a caustic cut to it. Their last record (09's I Know Everyone You Know) negotiated the potential evolutions of garage rock into a more melodious, less-stumbling sort of drive - while mixing in plenty of psychedelic pedal fuzz and an almost new-wave sort of swaggering groove.

Takosubo retains the chemistry and tightness of their compositions - arresting rhythms and snaring riffs continue to set a steady punch of jangly all-shook-up-ness ("100xSpun"). This time around, working with Jon Weier, they flesh out some more bluesy material (the shimmying march and fiery guitar howls of "You Told Me") that reveals a sensibility for delegating atmospheric sparseness and shambolic, riff-roar-the-walls-down crescendos. Sutured throughout the EP are those striking displays of dueling guitars and soulful vocals, the former coming off like a raucous waltz between psyche-shredded space rock and growling, blues garage, the latter balancing a more delicate, indie-rock air with a stop-you-in-your-tracks belt that stands and struts right alongside all this hard rock rousing.

Their joined by Macrame Tiger and the Beggars to celebrate the release of said-EP, 11/13 - at the Berkley Front.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Violens - 11/6 - (Magic Stick)

This is a fun, engaging pop record...at certain points. It's driving, jangly, good-time shambly college rock riffage. It's also a head-swirling lava-lamp odyssey of manipulated feedback howl and synthesizer showers. Guitar-roaring, echo-wrung psychedelia. It's also a fine example of dream-pop revivalism with it's twinkly synth effects and dizzying, looping harmonies. It's also organ-humming, groovy back-beat pounding 60's Brit-pop send up.... It's even got some weird mutant cross breeding of those faux-operatic 80's pop male crooners dipping into ultra-fuzzed goth trips.


I really don't know where to start. It's like a pop-record Twister matt, with each of the trios hands and feet stuck into different sensibilities and time periods. This is Violens first proper LP after an EP, a handful of mix-tapes and a handful of remixes (MGMT) - and it feels like, with their pleasing schizophrenic balance, that they're on their way to being the true inheritors of the strange love-child betwixt Roxy Music and the Smiths.... but with much more fuzzed-out-noise-pop-psychedelics.

Listen: Violens - "Acid Reign"

Band's Site

Friendly Fire Recordings