Monday, February 28, 2011

But it bears repeating - 53DT Cassette "Hello Operator" - Track List - available free throughout Blowout (Mar 2 - Mar 5)

Frank Woodman of Woodman - "(Wife) Shelley and I stumbled into the Gold Dollar on a night in Feburary, 1998 and fell in love immediately. So raw, the guitar was huge! We thought he sounded like GeddyLee, ha!! I have not missed a Detroit show since. Seen 'em in Toledo, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, Bonnaroo. The DIA show was the shit. My son (Woodman guitarist Derek) covered the Stripes at his 9th grade formal. (Singer) Hillary was 10 at the DIA show. So, we were very honored to be apart of this project. We hope you like our different take on "Dead Leaves... ...We wanted to change it up but keep the melancholy. It's no secret that the Third Mans' brother recorded our single. He takes a lot of shit from Detroit, but he's been nothing but sweet to my family. Five pretty amazing records. Long live the White Stripes!"

Continuing from a previous post regarding news of Detroit-based Five Three Dialtone's cassette, compiling more than a dozen area musicians and a few groups south of the Mitten State, reinterpretting White Stripes songs (in the wake of the renowned duo's recent break-up announcement). Hello Operator is available throughout this year's Metro Times Blowout. (Mar 2nd - Mar 5th in Hamtramck).


1. Aquarius Void - The Big Three Killed My Baby (Live)
2. Lettercamp - The Denial Twist
3. Chris O. – Screwdriver
4. Lightning Love - Red Death at 6:14
5. Carjack - Sugar Never Tasted So Good
6. The Kodaks - I’m Bound To Pack It Up
7. The Satin Peaches - Bone Broke
8. Darling Imperial - I Can’t Wait


1. Chapstik - Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine
2. Illy Mack - My Doorbell > Fell In Love With A Girl > When I Hear My Name
3. Child Bite - Blue Orchid
4. Will Yates - I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman
5. Woodman - Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
6. Anonymous - The Union Forever
7. Mick Bassett - Hotel Yorba
8. Human Reunion - The Big Three Killed My Baby
9. Marc with a C - You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)
10. Summer Lungs - The Nurse

Let's hear a bit more from the bands who worked on this...

Lo-fi-Bri (of Carjack): "Personally, I have a lot of respect for Jack White. I've always been imperssed with his vision as a musician, a song writer and performer. He's always dones things his way on his own terms, whether you like it or not. He's the one who originally championed Detroit when he got attention, then the scene got a bit greedy. But--Anways...Jack continues to this day to keep people guessing and becoming an even better musician. ... ...I wanted to do one of the first songs Jack used to play at the early shows. ("Sugar Never Tasted So Good") was almost like a local hit at the shows, before it was recorded and that single ("Lafayette Blues / Sugar Never Tasted So Good") still holds up. I thought it'd be fun just becuase that song is so stripped down (recorded with just one mic, an acoustic guitar and one cymbal)."

Pan!c (multi-instrumentalist and drummer of Lettercamp): The devil asked me to produce "The Denial Twist." He said '...let there be side-chaining!...' and so there was! It was excited to produce this track and I'm glad some people might get to hear it. It has a certain R&B feel to it so it was really easy to expand upon, and it's something I am really into. Analog synths and 808's are a pretty simple formula when you have a well written song and a great vocalist like Liz; it's super easy. Liz and I did this on a Sunday afternoon at Mansion Studios; we played it for the band, who always have clever ideas for edits, made a few changes and sent it off. I'm happy the direction this went in and I think it hints towards some of the sounds that will be on the next Lettercamp album.

Mick Bassett (singer/songwriter, leader of the Marthas): "The White Stripes meant a lot to me coming up and still do now. Whatever the feelings people have for (White) around Detroit, I personally consider him one of my musical idols and respect what he's done, especially in his work with The Stripes. I hope (Hello Operator) turns out to be a tribute. If any of us that have been apart of the Detroit scene can't recognize the Stripes' contribution then there's something wrong. That being said,...this was fun and I think it should be fun. It shouldn't take itself too seriously...I think more Detroit artists should collaborate together. ... ...I really wanted to try reinventing ("Hotel Yorba") rather than imitate it. I think in Jack's writing and especially in (Yorba) it's part of a musical tradition of influence and expansion and I wanted to show that there's more within the song than meets the eye. ... ... The way I chose to record brings (the lyrics) out in a different way what Jack was writing. It's not the goal to just be different for the sake of it, but I was inspired when I started working on the song because within great songs there's so many dieas that can be expressed and I wanted to key into some of them and take it in a direction that not anticipated. ... ...Working on it inspired me a lot to start working on re-imagining more songs and possibly putting out a cover EP or something. I've been wanting to do an Elvis album for sometime so we'll see..."

George Jacobsen (of Darling Imperial): "We are mainly in it for the fun of it, but on another level I've always enjoyed Jack White's White Stripes songs. So do a number of Darling Imperial members. 53DT has been pretty good to us and having projects is always a good thing... ... We chose "I Can't Wait," really, based on what song wouldn't be obvious or whatever, as well as what worked best for (singer) Sarah (Sandovsky)'s voice as decided by her. Wasn' ever one of my favorites, but it was fun to make a more acoustic-oriented song out of it."

Shawn Knight (of Child Bite): "None of us are heavy White Stripes listeners, but I do remember really liking "Blue Orchid" when it came out. I was thinking of doing "Conquest" originally, but we didn't want to do a cover of a cover. We recorded our tune with Zach Shipps from the Electric Six. His was the only studio in town that had rototoms, so it was an easy decision..."

Chris O. - singer/songwriter (from The Recital/Mas): "I'm excited about the project and about tribute albums in general. It's always interesting to hear what musicians can do with a specific 'assignment.' ... ...The song I chose ("Screwdriver") and recorded, was suggested to me, and to be honest: it's not a song of theirs I particularly enjoy. But I figured it would be a fun challenge to take a song I'm not really into, and make something out of it I really do like.

...For some strange reason, several unusual and unexpected computer/software problems arose during the recording process. Which is ironic..."

(or is it a bit eerie?)

"...considering the White Stripes notorious, adamant stance against recording methods."

(cue ghostly moan)

"...Sorry, Jack, did what I could do..."

Illy Mack: Jen David: "We tried to do it exactly like the recordings but still make it fun and surprising. That's where the whole medley came from ("Doorbell / "Fell in Love with a Girl" / "When I Hear My Name").

Steve Kendzorski: "We wanted to do a devolution, where you heard three Stripes tunes in reverse sequence of release. And, we tried to sonically get the song so that when the tune started, hopefully you wouldn't even know it wasn't the Stripes until the vocals started."

JD: "The devolution is also a clean to dirty sound, not only back in time but it shows a band's progression, dirty and raw to cleaner and poppy. The hardest part was trying to sing like Jack White, his unique pronunciations, he doesn't just sing "disappear..." it's hard to do it like him without sounding like an idiot."

SK: "It's timbre vs. delivery; some people's voices have different timbres, shapes and colors, that's uncontrollable...If you listen to Jen's voice, it's very clean, becuase we did these vocal takes over several days. I made Jen work, Jen was begging me to stop making her do takes. I kept on, 'please Jen, one more take, one more take, one more take...' And this is the 'one more' take."

JD: "I doubted it at first...that I could pull it off."

SK: "...and there's real anger in her voice, coming through, because I made her do so many takes..."

More info here

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hello Operator - (5-3-Dialtone's new Cassette - available in /at /during /throughout Blowout)

"I just don't think that this band is ever gonna be that big..."
-Jack White - Interviewed for VPRO Dutch Detroit Rock doc

"You start asking yourself: 'What are we getting from this? What are we destroying by doing this? Does it mean anything?'"
- Jack White, 2002 Interview with SPIN-- Post: REMEMBER: The White Stripes by Chuck Klosterman
...inside this nine year old article, Klosterman uses the phrase "cultural phenomenon," in his description.

"The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want..."
--segment from the White Stripes farewell message more than a month ago.

Now, eighteen bands, majority of them based around Detroit, have... done what they want, by covering a range of White Stripes songs, captured onto a limited cassette release on 5-3-Dialtone Records.

This may well be the Detroit-based label's masterstroke - (heretofore thriving on limited 7" singles and b-side cassette comps) - here, culling a decent sampling of contemporary Detroit talent to put their signatures on their favorite Stripes songs, from hits ("Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," "Hotel Yorba"), to 7" singles ("Big Three Killed My Baby," "Red Death at 6:14"), to older and subtler ditties ("Sugar Never Tasted So Good," "When I Hear My Name")...

There's a buzzsawing jangle recalling some Neutral-Milk-type trip upon "Finding It Harder to be a Gentleman"; - we tromp through a murky "Big Three Killed My Baby" with a fibrous blues-metal; - "Denial Twist" sounds a bit more like saucey synth-pop, but maintains the original's soulful strut; - "Hotel Yorba's" intro morphs into an atmospheric waltz before cutting back on the fuzz and launching into its characteristic keyed-up toe-tap trounce. And - there's a sublime shade, some spooky, nocturnal folk mist drapes gracefully upon "Dead Leaves & the Dirty Ground."

And on and on... It is, frankly, a bit exhilerating (or maybe surreal), to know all of these voices from Detroit so well for their own specific styles, sensibilties and signatures, whether it's noisy, dancey, bluesy, cute, grimey, august, folky or freaky... to then hear these voices reinterpret the very distinct, well-known voice of the White Stripes.

These comps will be available, some way, somehow, somewhere - throughout the venues of the Blowout, dependent upon the plans and personal trajectories of the 53DT label heads. Keep your eyes and ears peeled... (Metro Times Blowout XIV happens this week/weekend throughout Hamtramck, Mar 2nd - 5th). INFO here.

So, then,... what is this? A tribute transmitted from the little room of Detroit, ten years after the fateful White Blood Cells? Or could it potentially be, more so, at least on some level, a eulogy?

No,...more "like a thanks," said Illy Mack's Jennifer David. When asked if there was a level of intimidation whilst interpretting a White Stripes song... David: "Duh!! Je-zuss!"

I bring up my own meandering thoughts of this potential euology, as myself being a pseudo music journalist in a post-Jack-White Detroit, it's felt that the man's self and the man's songs hovered like a phantom upon the contemporary group's songs and shows. Or, perhaps, that his voice, belting about whether we "want an explosion," still echoed, ghostly, like the after-rumblings of an actual explosion.

David's sole bandmate, Steve Kendzorski, said, thinking out loud, that, since the mid-00's, "Jack White has moved out of Detroit. He kinda left the scene, our community. And White Stripes, being apart of that band, was really the last thing connecting him to Detroit. Now that that's not there's like... he's gone! So the ghost thing feels true..."

David, as blunt, raw and beautiful with her metaphors as she is with her singing voice and lyrics, slides in quickly, saying no...that it's more like the late scene in The Big Lebowski...
"...where they throw the ashes over the cliff and it comes back and hits them in the face, how the breeze brings the ashes back...and we're covered with the ashes."


more info

Further Reading:
The Union Forever: 10 Great White Stripes Deep Cut(z)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Debuting at Blowout: Magic Jake & the Crystals

DC: No one seems to know that much about this band, except for those most closely connected to it; likely your most reliable source is someone who's been in the room as it's steadily...well,...crystalized.

Magic Jake on guitar...Robert Harlow on guitar...Justin Walker on bass...Ben Luckett on drums...

They play the 14th Metro Times Blowout on Friday, 11pm, in the Gates of Columbus Lounge.

Magic Jake (Culkowski) needed a backing band. He recruited his roomate (Luckett), and his nearby neighbor (Walker). Harlow joined to roundout The Power Crystals.


Communique recently received from Harlow has shed some light on the bands' origins and the status of their recorded expositions (out next month on Burger Records).

Robert Harlow: "Magic Jake conjured us through telepathy, I think. ...I can't remember.

This happened about a month, or so, ago.

Magic Jake's sound is real heavy. You know, he's all bass so it's a subsonic thing. The Power Crystals bring the lightening to Jake's thunder. That's our job.

This is a tight group. We've just finished our first, full length album. It was written and recorded in 6 days. Then we took a break.

Magic Jake's a tough guy to work for. Not everybody could make it in his band. He demands perfection. He wouldn't let us eat while we recorded the album. He said that he didn't want the fat in our brains. He told us that the parts had to be real lean. No pork, no sex, and we couldn't wear shoes.

He kept us in the cellar and summoned the devil. Then he beat the devil. He just beat him around the basement for a while. Then, we laid down some tracks.

All four guys, The Power Crystals and Magic Jake, have a lot of style. The first time we plugged in our instruments and played together, all of the power in the house went out. We got that sorted. Then we plugged in again and sucked all of the power out of the block. We had to get the city of Detroit to come and hook up special generators just so we could play one song. After they heard our song, the mayor gave us the key to the city. We're not gonna use it for evil, though..."

more info

Hunky Dory

A new culture blog has sprouted - and it's administered by actual musicians exuding genuine enthusiasm, curiosity and reverence for the verdant, knotty undergrowth of this town's underground.

The Hunky Dory Music Hour posts new episodes (podcasts) each week + one new article (sometimes a man-on-the-street type live review of a local show, or an album review a local band's recent release)

...four examples of each (including a podcast that features Red China) are up, now on the site - HERE.

Get to know the pair of Hunky Dory doers... Keith Bedore (pictured - currently of Sound & Fury) and Tom Bahorski (who can be heard below... of The Ashleys).

Who knows where it'll go or what it'll do...but I like what I see and hear so far...

Get to know 'em more:

Listen: The Ashleys - "Ain't Right"

In similar podcast-y news -

ItAllStartsUnderground documents the work of Detroit-based Groovebox Studios (which is helmed by Jeff Wenzel of The Sugar People). Check out the site for free streams of dozens of MP3's featuring local artists who have recorded under GBS's roof - "one band, one room, one take philosophy!"

more info here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Most Important Albums

Lists are ludicrous. But I'll give this a try. (And I'll even feature some other folk's lists in this particular category).

Important Albums... > Subjectively/personally speaking... As in, albums that were veritable guide posts, or door-openers...or albums that helped you make your mind up, helped lead you to other resources, helped you define yourself... Not "favorites" ...though it can include favorites.

RadioheadKid A – 2000

I’ll get it out of the way; perhaps my most clichéd response, right?

But I think I had the right (magical) experience with this album – in that, I actually submitted myself to staying up to the wee hours listening to it. Imagine “Treefingers,” on headphones, while sitting on a lawn chair in your backyard at 1 a.m. …but without any psychedelic drugs.

I can say that it opened me up to the grand world of electronic music. It’s still, somehow, my favorite Radiohead album, and really, it's probably their most distinct (and certainly most provocative…considering the pared-back guitar and sparse live drums). Of course Amnesiac stumbled…how in the hell do you follow up this record?

Sitting through the strangeness of “Treefingers” or the haunting chill of “Morning Bell” or the disorienting clatter of the last three minutes of “National Anthem,” stretched my senses and opened them up to new levels of appreciation, particularly for experimental music (and that led me, quickly, into Eno and later on Deerhoof) and deeper into electronic music (which led quickly into Kraftwerk, and then into Krautrock and quickly—Neu and Faust, oh boy!)

Troy GregorySybil – 2002

This “schizophrenic” collection of songs proved to be my gateway into the Detroit music scene.

I know that sounds melodramatic, but aside from that, it is quite a strong collection of spooked-up-psychedelic pop ditties. Pierce Reynolds (DevilFish/Oscillating Fan Club) passed me this record with the preface of: “…I work with this guy at Harmony House.” That was 2002 and the lead songwriter/performer was day-jobbing at (at now defunct) Harmony House.

Troy Gregory fronts 13 different Detroit bands (¾ of which are disbanded or inactive now); it’s an interesting and entertaining record, to experience different bands’ interpretations of the songs and sensibilities of a single songwriter. But more importantly for me, cliché as it sounds, it wound up being a guide of “bands to get into-next” – Sights, Dirtbombs, Outrageous Cherry, Volebeats. Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon? Oh, he has a studio? Who else has he worked with? Oh!! And...The Wildbunch? Who are they and what ended up happening with that band? Hmm. So it was my down-the-rabbit-hole album! That – and Troy Gregory has such a confounding sense for making clattery grime sound poppy.

TelevisionMarquee Moon – 1977

I spent my summer of 2002 riding an adult-sized tricycle through an underground tunnel beneath a hospital between 1am and 5am transporting various laboratory specimens and blood samples between buildings. This album was my soundtrack.

I listened to it six nights in a row, front to back, twice, for a total of twelve whole listens. I still listen to it incessantly, as equally enamored as before. I found it two weeks after I had gotten into the Strokes; “Huh,” I said.

The album communicated to me the staggering influential power of that storied CBGB’s scene. It opened up worlds, as the cliché goes…as it educated me upon the artier side of punk rock – inevitably leading into the Talking Heads (and thereby somehow making me shift quickly from Sex Pistols to Public Image Limited). And utilization of guitars as a complete antithesis to the masturbatory arena-rock of the 70's - masterfully displayed here - that lead me into the new wave - and quickly into The Smiths.

Captain BeefheartSafe As Milk – 1967

Of course the Velvet Underground made my short list, and their 2nd self-titled album would, without a doubt, be the 7th album on this list.

But, in a way, Captain Beefheart had, for me, the same effect that the Velvet Underground did for many – a veritable mind-expanding experience. And, yes, this record’s importance is overshadowed by what it led me to…namely the surpassingly strange and exhilarating Trout Mask Replica. But Beefheart’s weird blend of twanged-out psychedelic blues, garagey-bluegrass-stained Beat poetry and gruff growling exertions just knocked me on my ass and opened up my palette immeasurably. Once you can handle Trout Mask Replica, you can handle anything – and I wouldn’t have found that, technically, without this record.

The KinksKinda Kinks - 1965

This is a weird one, somewhat, to list. It’s not a record I’ve necessarily worn out – though maybe I’ve come close.

Around sophomore year in high school, as I was getting deeper into the Beatles (beyond the innocuous classic rock radio singles and into the depths of the side-two’s of MMT and Sgt Pepper respectively), I was implored by Ray Thompson (Oscillating Fan Club) to get into the Kinks, asap.

So, in essence, this is the record that simultaneously led me to become illuminated on the “British Invasion.” As I badly, badly…wanted to include Odyssey & Oracle on this list, the truth is I wouldn’t have found Zombies without this record truly setting me off—and onto the Pretty Things, and from there the Sonics and even the Yardbirds, etc etc etc… Not to mention the vitality of realizing the ability and allure of Ray Davies’ pop-songmanship.

I can even stretch it to say that it led to my appreciation of “garage rock” –to find the beauty in the shambles – and that leads into the Stooges…and who knows where else that leads… Anyhow…this was my first Kinks record, chosen, essentially, at random, from the record shop – and it wasn’t long before I uncovered the Kink Kontroversy and the personal favorite: Something Else.

PavementWowee Zowee – 1995

The first Pavement song I heard was “Rattled by the Rush.” It would prove to be generally considered one of their more underwhelming singles. Still, I was in a behavioral pattern, in those days, of finding a song I liked by a band and then seeking out the album of said-song’s origin and subsequently digesting that…

Pavement fans are a curious bunch – and made more indefinable by the “must like Pavement” clichéd prerequisite for any indie rock blogger out there, whether truly or not – but it seemed that in the heat of it, through the 90's, this was regarded as the flopped follow up to their attention-seizing dynamic 93 album Crooked Rain Crooked Rain.

Delivered right in the middle of their career’s trajectory, it epitomizes their character as a deceptively talented sloppy lo-fi rock band…noisy and rough around the edges, poetically lackadaisical, acerbically confrontational and yet catchy in delivery. Charmingly alienating. It made me appreciate noisiness… (and obviously I could have written Westing by Musket and Sextant into that as well… but ah well.)


Let's round it out to a proper top 10 - with "four honorable mentions" or -those who made the short list but not the final.

Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground - 1969

Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes - 1995

Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - 2002

Pixies - Doolittle - 1989

...and a very special nod, the 8th slot, perhaps - to the Ventures' Play Telstar and the Lonely Bull. This is likely my first favorite album, on a real level, and fostered my undying love for surf rock, fender guitars, and, really, guitar-heavy music in general.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My favorite band

I was speaking with Bryan Lackner (a.k.a. Mister) and Brent Smith (a.k.a. Blaksmith) when I realized that I might not actually have a favorite band. Did I grow out of something? Or do we just not clutch so certain ages?

Lackner and Smith, on their collaborative EP, Passalacqua, combine and play-off of each of their distinctive styles (in the realm of hip/hop). The six tracks are energized by their respective influences and personal inspirations, brought to this sonic table, per se, where they align, swap and mash together separate (yet complimenting) journal entries of lyrics that muse upon their own experiences and perspectives.

They have a song called "Tom and Bootsy," where each presents their own set of lyrics that pay homage to two renowned artists/performers, Tom Waits (from Lackner) and Bootsy Collins (from Smith). Are these two referenced artists the particular "favorite" "all-time" artists for each of these two local rappers?

Well, no. Not really.
Each of them talk about their personal backgrounds - specifically, the bands and the artists they listened to growing up; that they listened to recently; that they listen to now... In neither case does what they end up making as their own art (on Passalacqua and elsewhere) necessarily directly/distinctly reflect the other artists that they're "into..."

Tom (Waits) and Bootsy (Collins) are given nods by these guys mostly as a showing of respect for their iconoclastic careers. Lackner and Smith... just like all of you out there are influenced by myriad artists and works. No one just loves the Beatles. Beyond stratospheric icons and bygone legends, Lackner and Smith are also , here-now, on this level, influenced by each other - it's probably the biggest reason they made the EP (as Passalacqua).

Here's the thing I'm musing on: Take Rob Fleming from Nick Hornby's High Fidelity: "It's what you like, not what you're like..."

- Your favorites...your "influences" inevitably define you. But I think, in a very healthy, and no longer so much cliche manner, we are moving beyond "favorites." I am, at least.

Tom Waits is one chip of one iceberg for Lackner (he used to be huge into metal, and now he does hip/hop). Bootsy is just one facet of Smith (who also performs with Cold Men Young).

Constantly refer back to the sanctity of your favorite and it ends up as a sort of religious experience.
Not "religious experience" in the way some people talk about seeing Godspeed You Black Emperor live, or hearing "Space Oddity" for the first time... but religious in sort of a perfunctory/submitting repetition of the Rosary... and that leads to the risk of cribbing, potential mimicry... (You can tell when a band or songwriter is (or was) really into Weezer...etc etc). Why risk that?

Think of what happens to you, or how you react, when you're at the bar, at a coffee shop, or meeting someone new, and they ask you: What kind of music are you into? What are some of your (all-time) favorite bands?


You might know what you want to say.

But, it might also depend on your age (or your upbringing, or current status). Maybe you don't even like music? Maybe you're 17 or 18 and you're highly impressionable and you just discovered The Smiths... the Smiths will likely be your answer. Or, maybe you're 59 or 60 years old and the internet isn't necessarily part of your daily life and you have no idea who Radiohead is... you're answer might go back to the stand-by's of your vinyl-spun youth (Beatles...or something off of 94.7 WCSX).

If you're like many contemporary music are in that endemic state of treading wave after wave after shifting wave of musical water cresting (mighty and fickle) across the internet. The internet has assimilated the underground; has decimated the record store; has redefined, and re-redefined the hipster. "Relevancy" and who (which bands) fall under that classification, seems interchangeable with "flavor of the month."

The Gen Y music clan seems to be growing further apart from having a "favorite." You have the ability to listen to a new band every hour for the rest of your life...if you just keep clicking forward through the doors of the internet. If you do find one, find a new potential favorite band - how sure can you be of the strength or legitimacy of your passion and appreciation...when you know another blog will pop up with another artist for you to check out, thus undermining the zeal you held, just the day before, and giving you the itch to then catch up on the "next" relevant band. But that's a bit melodramatic.

Still, it feels quite a bit ludicrous now.

Anyhow. Influence is one thing... "favorite" is another. In the High Fidelity case, "favorite" is used as a means of, essentially, finding a mate. Like you wait for that one fateful day where you're lucky enough to start hitting on the girl who also likes Pavement and Kurt Vonnegutt and Jean Luc Godard as much as you do...

No. We're beyond that now. Lackner and Smith influence each other - but their bond, as it is on Passalacqua, seems to be born from the fact that they are able to show each other different stylistic and perspective landscapes...whilst simultaneously inhabiting ostensibly the same "world." (Hip/hop).

The longer we keep building up our favorites... like, oh, I'll only listen to Techno... we put up barriers. Why should Passalacqua only be for the hip/hop fans? Why should I find the girl who's seen Royal Tenenbaums as much as I have, how much more breadth could she give me?

Now, it's like we're drowning in breadth. And any "music" talk we can have with friends, catching up at the bar, or with strangers out at a shop, could present (or cause the collision of) two different worlds' worth of culture.

Favorites are the realm of the green, still-naive, not-yet-jaded, map-readers ...or... the traveled, significantly well-read and well-listened, whose minds are likely made-up.

In the middle-- in your 20's, your 30's, your 40's --favorites might mean you're 'set in your ways.' Or it might pigeonhole you.

I like Vonnegutt. Oh? You're a humanist? You're an Aetheist? You're quirky?

I like Pavement. Oh? Are you one of those Pitcfork snobs? You like lo-fi, sloppy indie-rock?

No! ...and Yes! But mostly... "Sort of...but not strictly! Not strictly! Not only that."

There's so much music. There's no more underground (per se). Soon enough, taste-making will be obsolete. "Favorite" is one thing... "Inspiration" is another. Genuine inspiration... but where will it come from? Gen Y-ers have grown up having the heroics of trailblazers lke Ian MacKaye and the DIY of hardcore punk shoved at us; or the conception of punk rock via luminaries like Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls - and new wave/experimentalists like The Talking Heads ...and foreward onto The Flaming Lips, Pavement and Radiohead... new icons and massive canons... inimitable music hero types...and on and on. The game changer, or "new thing."

What we recently had, to parallel that, was the "bedroom composer" wave- that gave us Caribou or Wavves or Toro Y Moi so many others... That inspiration, look what they did. What can I do? What can I do next? Put these inspirations on the pedastol of "favorite" and you risk wanting to copy them. Put it in perspective and you're assured that you can do something also, that's wholly unique. Thus, inspiration.

No band I interview ever willingly offers: "Well...we really love Radiohead, and that usually comes out in the songs..." should come out in the songs.


What kind of music do you like? Well... I'll tell you what I listened to... today and yesterday... and that will give you a glimpse.

Stick around and I'll show you more.

...What kind of music do you like?

Monday, February 21, 2011

JSB's Blowout screed - "The TSM-2k11"

Special to DC - Correspondent Jesse Shepherd Bates shares his thoughts, plans, philosophies and reflections on the forthcoming week of musical madness known as the Metro Times Blowout.

I highly appreciate the man's visions of a mad invention to overcome the gotta-see-it-all jitters with which some 0f us become stricken - at Blowout. Particularly, that "sticky" Friday.

So, read a screed from one of the hardest working songwriters in town... or as the Ghost Family Collective deems: "musician, artist extraordinaire, creative thinker, kind man..."

"...This is the first year of Blowout that I will be playing in multiple bands, (The Satin Peaches, JSB Squad, Perennials), and luckily enough it is also the first year I will have a fully functioning teleporter / self-multiplier (hereby referred to as TSM2k11). I will finally be able to catch every band I want to see without missing a chord.

On March 2nd I plan to watch everyone at The Magic Stick. The lineup is incredible.

I first saw Secret Twins at Blowout last year and have been in love with them ever since. I’ve only seen Lettercamp at the Loving Touch, and look forward to hearing their awesomeness through an actual PA System. FAWN I have not yet seen, but they’re all so damn nice. My friend Jacob tells me The EEKS are great (and has been telling me this even before he joined the band), and I’ve always enjoyed Darling Imperial. Should be a good night, and I’ll be able to leave my TSM2k11 at home...

March 3rd is when things start getting sticky. I will start off the night at 9:00, watching Beekeepers at The Belmont. I haven’t seen them in quite some time, but went to high school with the guys and trust them implicitly. I will activate TSM2k11 at precisely 9:20, sending one of my selves (hereby known as JSB-B) to New Doge to catch what I’m sure will be the best Prussia set ever, seeing as they’ve just completed that tour of theirs.

Meanwhile, as soon as my original self (JSB-A) finishes applauding the Beekeepers, he will run to the Gates of Columbus Lounge to catch Scarlet Oaks begin their romp through left-handed-guitar-strumming-bliss.

Things start to get even more complicated at 10:00. Hopefully JSB-B will have finished enjoying Prussia’s set in time to run to Smalls, where my good friends Deadbeat Beat will be playing. They are so, so good. At this time, JSB-B will have to activate TSM2k11 TWICE, spawning JSB-C and JSB-D.

'C' will head to the Belmont, which should pose no problems, as my original self will have left twenty minutes prior. At the Belmont, Charlie Slick will be doing his unmissable thing, whatever that entails for the evening. 'D' will head to Atlas Bar to catch the indelible Timothy Monger State Park. I’ve been playing shows with Tim since I started playing music, and have not yet caught his State Park. Should be very exciting!

My original self ('A')’s next step will be catching Italian Picture Factory at Gates of Columbus Lounge at 10:40. I’m not sure if their lineup is secret or public; either way I guarantee you’ll love it. 'C' will remain at the Belmont, watching Cold Men Young pick up the action at 11:00. I hear House Phone is their backing band for this one - I hope that’s the truth! 'D' also gets to stay in one place, remaining at Atlas to catch Divine Comedians at 11:00. I’m not sure who’s in the band at this point, but I trust anything Nick DuFour does.

Meanwhile, 'B' will have been spending time at Gates of Columbus Hall preparing for the looming JSB Squad set. At 11:20 he will take a break from his preparations to catch The High Strung’s set. I’m a big fan of “Dragon Dicks” - these guys are a can’t-miss act. 11:20 will require another activation of the TSM2k11 - JSB-E will amble over to the New Dodge to catch Zoos of Berlin blow everyone’s minds, as they tend to do. At 11:40, my original self will remain at Gates of Columbus Lounge in order to catch Eddie, Gordon, and Skip rock The Sight’s set. I just had a funny idea - wouldn’t it be funny if The Sights all wore glasses? ….. Sorry …..

Image: TSMk211 00-->

Midnight will find 'C' remaining at The Belmont to watch Kommie Kilpatrick (playing the most songs of any band at Blowout? I would would hope so); 'D' will linger at Atlas to watch Computer Perfection (second Stevers McBlowout band of the evening, after my original self’s encounter with Scarlet Oaks). 'B' will leave the Gates of Columbus Hall (a good thing too, as my original self will be arriving there shortly) and amble down to Small’s to catch Illy Mack split twenty instruments between two people.

'E' will be a little too tipsy to leave the New Dodge at this point, so he will most likely fire up the TSM2k11, sending JSB-F over to Mars Bar to catch Marco Polio & TheNew Vaccines. They positively stole Land of NOD this year - honestly, how many people were naked by the end of their set?

At 12:20 it will be time for JSB Squad at Gates of Columbus Hall. My original self will take the helm of this 20+ member band. If anyone finds themselves deaf after the show, will gladly share my TSM2k11 for a minimal fee. You can send your original self home to sleep off a few days, allowing an infinite number of “you”s to explore Hamtramck for the remaining two days. On a very important side note, 'E' (the lush that he is) will be rewarded for his stubbornness at the New Dodge when Child Bite takes the stage at 12:20. I thoroughly enjoy Child Bite, although I must admit that their name has always freaked me out. At around 1:00 the TSM2k11’s timer will begin emitting it’s warning single (obviously the outro to “Hey Jude”), and all my alternate selves will be sucked back in, awaiting activation for Friday night’s adventures.

March 4th has some great action right off the bat. I plan to start off the night at the
Belmont, catching Kelly Jean Caldwell at 9:00. I caught her at Atlas last month. One of her songs (didn’t catch the name) had a super cool “bring the beat in” moment that I’ve been trying to not steal. At 9:20 I will fire off the TSM2k11 twice. 'B' will catch Sharky & the Habit at Kelly’s Bar. I played with them a few times in 2010, watching them get better and better and better and better. JSB-C will fall in love all over again with Phantasmagoria at Paycheck’s. You MUST check these guys out.

At 10:40 my original self will head to Small’s, so that I can get knocked on my ass by Bars of Gold. 'B' will leave Paycheck’s to go check out The Drags at Jean’s. The Drags are some of the nicest guys in town, and I hear nothing but great things about their new lineup.

'B' will remain at Kelly’s, checking out Carjack’s madness at 11:20. My original self will leave Small’s (soon to be replaced), and jog over to Baker’s Streetcar to catch Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program. These guys rock the hell out of their set, and I’m glad to make them my 3rd two-piece of the weekend thus far. At 11:40, 'C' will head over to Small’s to catch The Octopus (making sure Dale doesn’t do anything crazy, i.e. lighting himself on fire or eating his own face, that would jeopardize Perennial’s set the following evening).

After JWPP’s set ends, my original self will go to Gates of Columbus Hall to catch one of my absolute favorite bands in town, The Kickstand Band. I’m the president of their fan-club (or so I keep telling them), so my original self’s presence is a must. They play at midnight, the same time 'B' will dash to the Painted Lady to catch Gorevette - I think The Satin Peaches were scheduled at the same time as them last year, if only I had fully developed TSM2k11 at that point ….

At 12:20 it will be C's responsibility to fire off the TSM2k11 before heading to Baker’s Streetcar to see Duende! and their wonderful weirdness. The newly unleashed 'D' will absorb the wonders that are Deastro at Paycheck’s, potentially slipping into another dimension while doing so. This is not to be unexpected, as it’s common knowledge that spectral projections of ones’ self have a higher susceptibility to dimensional shifts. Duh.

At 12:40, 'B' will go to Atlas Bar to catch Swimsuit. I have not yet seen this group, but I have faith in any project in which Dina is involved. 1:00 will provide my original self (and any other selves that manage to sneak in) with a final opportunity to see The Hard Lessons play before Augie and Ko become proud parents! Wow! Congratulations to them! Rock and Roll babies are the best kind of babies - that’s scientific fact. After what I’m sure will be an incredibly heartwarming set, I will pack up my selves and go home, gearing up for the busiest day yet.

March 5th will arrive carrying the duty of playing with two groups. Immediate usage of
TSM2k11 will be necessary, as I have to figure out how to catch Conspiracy of Owls (whose song “Puzzle People” is P-E-R-F-E-C-T) at Gates of Columbus, The Cold Wave (led by mega-badass A.J. Sherman) at Small’s, and Pewter Cub (who are NOT called ‘Pewter Club’, thank you very much) at Baker’s Streetcar, ALL at 10:00. On top of all that, my good friends The Ashleys, another killer two-piece, are playing at Kelly’s at 10:20. I figure I’ll pop off four rounds of TSM2k11 and let my original self take a nap, he’s gonna earn it later.

At 10:40, JSB-B will head to the Belmont for the night. They have a great lineup, and I haven’t got the Displays since Andrew reformed it, so they are a must. He’ll stick around for The Handgrenades (check out their brand new EP, it’s killer) at 11:40, which is the same time my original self has to wake up to play with Perennials at Skipper’s. I will try to not break anything that I will need for The Satin Peaches set I’ll have to escape to immediately after. Also at this time, JSB-C will be checking out Amateur Anthropologist, which is another younger act I haven’t had the chance to check out yet but have heard great things about. JSB-D will already be twenty minutes into Legendary Creatures set, surely heavily wooed at this point by their wily ways.

At midnight JSB-E will be at Baker’s Streetcar to catch Woodman do their thing. On a side note, check out Woodman bassist Adam’s new band Phantom Cats - they’re a little too new for Blowout, but you must catch them soon after. 'D' will head to Small’s to catch Destroy This Place, featuring Ryan Allen, whom I have seen in almost as many bands as I have seen myself (to which I say, “hell yeah,” “props,” and “let’s make a band,....Ryan, together we could rule the galaxy as father and son.”).

12:40 features four of my favorites playing at once. 'B', faithfully at the Belmont, will
rock out to Big Mess (just played with them in late January; they were undeniably sick). 'C' will stay at Whiskey in the Jar, surely enjoying the folk-you attitude (sorry) of Gun Lake, who have some of the coolest songs I’ve heard in a while (best Mittenfest V surprise for me, if I do say so myselves). 'D' will switch places with my original self in order to catch Rogue Satellites, led by pop master Jaye at Skipper’s. 'E' will once again refuse to leave his station, defiantly popping off the TSM2k11 and sending 'F' to Mars Bar to check out FUR, who I’m sure you’ve seen by now . . . you have seen them by now haven’t you? Please tell me you’ve seen them by now . . .

At 1:00 my original self will take the stage with The Satin Peaches at Small’s, hopefully not dressed as my rapper alter-ego this year. I’m sure we’ll have some surprises in store for whoever is still awake and willing to rock. Meanwhile 'E' will stay at Baker’s Streetcar to catch Macrame Tiger play the hits, singing along to lyrics he doesn’t actually know throughout the whole set, before making a break for it, fleeing the city of Hamtramck before being forced back into the TSM2k11. After TSP’s set I will get themselves that understand the rules and boundaries of quantum science to get back in the device, where they will stay till next year’s blowout. At this point I will find my bed and sleep for about a month.

Sound like a plan?

There's my Blowout schedule.

Playing 3 nights out of 4 leaves little time to see your favorites let alone check out new bands... sigh.

I'm super excited though!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Free Jazz Nites - Kenny Millions, Rat Bastard & more at Bakery Loft - Feb 26

Randy Chabot and Nick George along with Bill Corrigan - altogether an assiduous trio of preservationists for noisy/no-wave/psychedelic/punk-and-overall-left-field-experimentalism - are now galvanizing the Bakery Loft (above the Mexicantown Bakery) with their sense-stretching musical revues. 4304 Vernor - in Detroit.

Their latest is Saturday, Feb 26th - and it features "insane heavy psych and free jazz" from the likes of Kenny Millions (a Cass Tech grad and "prolific lunatic" whose been spreading his raucous ruminations down in Miami and has recently performed with notables like Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Philip Glass and many more). Come see and hear what JAZZIZ Magazine called "some of the most exciting and vital music performance art you're likely to hear..."
Check it out:

Joining in on this Bakery Freak Out is Rat Bastard, founder of renowned noise group Laundry Room Squelchers and a commendable accelerator of the "chaotic performance art," (as noted by VICE Magazine).

Also: Pengo is "a three headed avant/drone/noise/psych hydra" + local minimalist free jazz trio Cardboard Sax featuring members of Uneven Universe, Wolf Eyes, and Haunted Castle. Knox Mitchell's Precious Trombley also supports - and Bill Corrigan spins his curiosities in between it all.
More info

Blowout Picks - "Epic Weekend" - "Hope this helps" - "See you there"

Blowout time again

Four Nights +
a hundred or so bands (all local/Detroit/SE-Mid-West-North Michigan) +
15 venues + the streets of Hamtramck =
March 2nd -> March 5th

Each year, DCblog has tried to refrain from splattering these pages with its own subjective favorites and "suggestions" for any reader to consider...

...and instead, has asked musicians from bands on the Blowout bill to lay out their ideal schedule scenarios - of other bands they're hoping to catch, lilypad-leaping from bar to bar to arrive at particular time slots in a madcap mini-marathon (or more attuned to a pinballs hectic bounce/launch/fall-pop-and-re-acceleration)...

Here goes:

Brent "Blaksmith" Smith (of Cold Men Young-- performing Thursday, 3/3, 11 pm at the Belmont)

"I figured I'd break up the nights. The easiest night for me Blowout 14 and the hardest night for me Blowout 14.

Wednesday is easy. . . Darling Imperial (lead singer Sarah Sadovsky and I share the same roots in Rochester Hills). (9:15 pm - Magic Stick's 2nd stage-- Detroit)

Thursday is the tough night. Prussia (9:20 New Dodge) would take my early slot. I would request "Sister" at The New Dodge. . .And pay Ryan from when I skipped out on the bill at Le Petite Zinc.

Then I'd head over to G of C Hall to hear some hippity hop with Smash Television (10:20 pm).

Cold Men Young at The Belmont 11pm? Nah. That's too much rap. Instead let's go with Cold Men Young's boom-bap maker (producer). Sheefy Mcfly and his Deloreans at Baker's Streetcar (11:20pm) will be a nice blend of edge and ego. To close out my night, I will embrace the awkward moments with illy mack (12midnight Small's) and compare how much Jen's singing voice sounds like her talking voice. Her and Steve will be swell multi-instrumentalists at Small's. By now I have lost my glasses or my wallet or both.

Hope this helps..."

Up next: Drummer Scottie Stone (who performs with a few different bands throughout the week: Marco Polio & the New Vaccines; Eleanora; Forget...and, am I forgetting any?

"Night one (Wednesday): Secret Twins (1:15 am) and Lettercamp (11:45pm) are a good bet.

Thursday : Scarlet O
aks (9:40 pm G of C Hall) and Tone and Niche (8:40 pm - again, G of C Hall)are a great starter combo. And for me it's going to be Robin Goodfellow (10pm Mars Bar) - Then, see whatever Banxx is then try to throw (Marco Polio singer) Steven into (Marco Polio guitarist, Michael) Mars. (12midnight, Mars Bar)...

I do want to make a point to watch bands I've never heard. But I will tell you about what I know.

Child Bite (12:20 am New Dodge)
plays at the same time as us.....Fuck......I love those guys. As does illy mack (12midnight, Small's) -double fuck...Two of the main bands I want to watch. Polio has plans: I think we want everyone to just say fuck it and get naked. We shall see how that goes.

Ok F
riday: Honestly think I'm going to spend most of my night at the Loco Gnosis Showcase (Baker's Streetcar) Great line up and it get's hard to leave with those guys around. Eleanora is now a member of the family. Wonderful people to be around. And they got the boom ole ole ole!!!

I haven't heard Conspiracy of Owls (10pm G of C Hall) live yet; we had their tape on tour this summer with Polio and I loved it. Legendary Creatures (11:20 pm Kelly's Bar) and Fur (12:40 Mars Bar) are two sets I will go to great lengths to see. I think the Satin Peaches (1:00am Small's) will round out the whole event for me. See you guys down there!!

Lastly (for today), singer/guitarist Dina Bankole (who also is slated for multiple performances, who knows how much free time she'll actually have to run around to these potential destinations. In the meantime, you can see her with The Secret Twins (Wednesday 1am Magic Stick), and Swimsuit (Friday, 12:40, Atlas as part of Ginkgo Records' showcase).

"MAR 2 (WED)

Pre-party! I've never been to the pre-party, but I have to admit I'm a little relieved the entire night is limited to one complex. Less running about and less missing out on sets. I will be front and center for FAWN! (10pm Magic Stick)
The other bands I've never seen before so I'm happy to have the opporunity to take them all in.


If life was good to me I would be able to camp out at the New Dodge all night to see PRUSSIA/MAN AT ARMS/ZOOS OF BERLIN/CHILD BITE. I wouldn't even leave for a snack. Hopefully I can catch most of it until I head over to the GoC Hall to end the night playing guitar with the JSB Squad (12:20 am GofC)
! I've been in concert bands, but nothing like this before. I'm expecting tenuously controlled chaos. STWINS ended up playing GoF Hall last year for some crazy lucky reason so it'll be nice to return to that stage albeit a little less naked this time.

I will however be sad to miss Illy, (12midnight, Small's) DeadBeat B, (10 pm Small's) Marco P, (12midnight Mars Bar) KomKil, (12midnight Belmont) Royale, (9:40pm Kelly's) and many more Thursday night.


I'll be with SWIMSUIT playing in Shelly Salant's GINGKO RECORDS SHOWCASE at the Atlas Bar Friday night with TURN TO CRIME, MAN AT ARMS, and DAMNED DOGS (Amber Fellows & Fred Thomas) so while my movement will be limited I have no problem seeing good friends at one of my favorite spots in Hamtram.

Once again though I would be happy to spend Friday in one place - at the Belmont for KELLY JEAN CALDWELL/ARAN RUTH/GARDENS/SUGARCOATS. I still haven't seen the Sugarcoats before. This is unacceptable. Maybe i'll get a chance to sneak out and see a little bit of the Belmont show along with Team Ethic (10 pm GofC Lounge), Bad Indians (9:40 pm Jeans), Bars of Gold (10:40 pm Small's) also never/really want to see), Carjack (11pm Kelly's), Deastro, Winter Ruby, (both at Paychecks for VIC Showcase) and the Octopus (11:40pm Small's)


blowout campout
! I do believe I will be spending most of my time at The Painted Lady (tied for favorite Hamsam place with Atlas) to see TIM VULGAR DJ and LIQUOR STORE/TERRIBLE TWOS/HUMAN EYE. I'd like to sneak out to see The Wolfs (11pm Atlas);
and the Butt Babies (1am Atlas). It's be cool to have time to see Bill Bondsmen (9:20 GofC Lounge) and Woodman (Midnight Baker's Streetcar).


More info from Metro Times
Full Schedule Here