Sunday, March 30, 2014

So, about #CoOwnaz

Anthems champion common causes. They stoke solidarity. They're rallying cries, they're mission statements put to melodies and marching beats - They form the line and they push things forward.

Anthems energize not a singular singer, but a collective -

A dozen rappers around the Detroit area working with a handful of different producers, each eking their way through their upper 20's and some flirting with 30, churning through the day jobs to get back to the pen and the paper and the laptop and the sampler... and the mic...

This album embodies an adhoc community of next-gen MCs who came of age in an age of cynicism, seeking new places and fresh projects in an era of endemic been-there-done-thats. Nostalgia for the delicious junk from the 80's blends with subtle winks of their literary sensibilities while also distinguishing itself in their arcs toward the more audacious - the otherworldly, the underworldly...Like the quirkiest, coolest, loudest, quietest, dorks and diffident creative types seated at each respective table inside the hip-hop cafeteria, each trying to figure out how to make it on their own, started sitting at the same table and swapping their snack-packs and ecto-kooler boxes and began putting their heads together.

They built their own language and their own icons (a tall cylindrical candle, a tall, long-haired, bearded bon vivant and a hashtag-able phrase mangled into slangy accentuation).

#CoOwnaz... with their Big $$$ Candle and the tireless promoter of each MCs respective pursuits - Mr. Claude Merriweather (the subject of this vivid collage).

What's interesting here is that you don't get any braggadocio raps about what these guys own and how cool it is because of how much money those things cost - but you also don't get melodramatic raps about how dark and disenchanting the day to day bump-and-grind-and-bullshit can be, weighing them down and keeping them from the good life and parties and bullshit. These are also not raps about parties and bullshit.

It's a dozen different narrators telling slightly different versions of a still-ongoing story.

Blowout (in the Library)

This is what Blowout in the Library looked like, last year.

Ferndale Public Library... on it's way (if it isn't there, already), to assuredly being The Rock n' Roll Library!

Let's do this again...

Stay tuned over at this other blog that I write...

Ought - More Than Any Other Day

This band's name begs bloggers like me to make a pun... But seriously:
Check out this up and coming band out of Montreal that we've got our eyes on...

Take a listen ...and stay tuned

The Paper Sound (Trajectories preview) "Empty Chest"

Local quartet The Paper Sound turn the next page - pumping out another record (their third) of guitar-swelling, space-rock-fused indie-folk. The album release show is April 18th at The Loving Touch in Ferndale. Ronny Tibbs & the 305's are also playing that show (along with Radio Burns). While The Paper Sound celebrate the release of their full-length album Trajectories while the 305's start their springtime with a new EP. 

(They'll also be playing at the Ferndale Library's First Stop Friday, this month).  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Marching Out (Detroit: The Album, new Human Eye video + New Bums)

Let's start off soft and sweet and then we can get strange and slimy...

First, one of this blogs' favorite voices in post-millennial psych-folk, Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards) with that raspy, resplendent whisper delivery of his, has found a fine harmonic partner in the just-slightly lower hum of Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance), blending dreamy chimes and softly breezing acoustic guitars - taking you right out into the meditative fields and high arcing trees shading carpets of blossoming ghostflowers.

For your listening pleasure, this Friday (3/28/14) at Trinosophes, down in Eastern Market, at 1464 Gratiot. This new collaborative pair is calling themselves New Bums with Voices In A Rented Room available from Drag City Records (more info here).

And now, let's get strange...
Timmy Lampinen (i.e. Timmy Vulgar) is, let's say, unassumingly... one of the most visionary artists we have in this town; the Kresge Foundation recognized this two years ago, rightly so.

With The Clone Defects, Timmy's Organism, Timmy's Tacos and Reptile Forcefield - the constant creator has substantially fleshed out his own alternate universe haunted with snaky, slimy, strange cephalopods and mad molluscs, bum-rushing their way into a groovy, fuzz-heavy, darkly psychedelic room of Rock n roll, tentacles and mandibles all flailing in the air...

Human Eye has a new album out (4: Into Unknown on Goner Records). Now they have a new music video (below). 

Local filmmaker Nick Lloyd worked with the band to form this utterly dazzling video where the skies, city streets and buildings are imposed with fever-dream imagery, as well as the players own purple-tinted images. 

Take a look...

I'd like to invite you to a listening party

This was technically inspired by a late night conversation about how interesting it was, seeing metal legends Black Sabbath get back together last year and, (at their age, even, after the time spent apart, t'boot), get a whole album together in a considerably short period of time.

But it was also inspired, as it came together, by just how much talent (and range of musical styles) percolates from the players in this scene. Why not play a bit of "mix-and-match..." Take 40 local musicians, form them into 9 new groups and have them each write and record a song inside a short window of time. Schedules were balanced, songs were written, and each player, whether on keys, bass, drums or guitar, whether a vocalist or a producer, whether they were into new wave or post-punk or whatever, had to find a way to collaborate, essentially, on the fly.

This album shows the results of this experiment.

Pictured: Frank Woodman (of Caveman), George Morris (of The Gypsy Chorus) and Leann Banks -recording their song with their makeshift band
 Listening Party & Release of "Detroit" theAlbum 
6-9 pm at The StoreFront Gallery 477 W. Marshall in Ferndale
 1 Album called "DETROIT". 
Take a listen 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blowout XVII

Metro Times Blowout 17 tickets on sale now
Early pricing $20 through April 2.
Purchase your tickets for a weekend long music experience April 30 - May 3
in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale.
Kick off party April 30 at The Majestic   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

About the music....

So, about the music...

The music's is where and when and how you can reveal a great many or to a great few or to no one at all. It is an art form equally invigorating when experienced as a group as it can be experienced in solitude. It can augment solitude, it can affect a feeling of transcendence - you are no longer just in your bedroom... It affects the narrative drama and adventurism of great novels - to give you escapism into a world that feels all your own - but it also affects a communion, a ferocious and felicitous expressionism (often through dance, i.e. dancing in a group), letting off steam in such a way, in such a place (with low lights and no sound but the beat and the melody and the groove smooshing into your ear holes to a dazzle you and drive you), like you've found your tribe and they speak the language you've been humming-in-your head all day and here you all are with a chance to shout this language together and no one will care how loud you are. Louder the better.


It's fantasy. It makes you feel cool. Helps you appreciate what actually IS cool. It gives you catharsis. It gives you a chance to contemplate. You can grieve to it as much as groove.

It is your theme, your march, your own last slow dance in the spotlight when the dance-floor's cleared just for you.

It's your ballad, it's your dirge, it's your anthem, it's your headbanging, fist-pumping, don't-care-who's-watching chance to freak-out... Some people call it a jam... They used to call it a joint... Some just call it "tracks..."
It's yours, for you, your transport...
It's your transport...
But, ya know, I woke up thinking about this, wanting to employ the phrase "transfiguration..."

Where you achieve a radiance - something declarative and dynamic that finally glows about you. Am I far off on this? Call it the soundtrack effect - but that song you love so much is taking you to where you want to be -at which you'll arrive looking just how you want to look, moving just how you want to move. I'm not saying that I'll see this radiance, I'm not saying you're crazy (or that I'm not crazy); I'm mostly saying that this is where you'll go, in your head, to an emotional epicenter, some cerebral cave where you reboot and readjust and, hell, maybe even regenerate... Refuel, perhaps. Replay. Record. Remix. Replay. Replay. Replay.

But this isn't a book and it's not a film and it's not a frame of canvas with dried acrylic paint... These are intangible, indescribable sounds, tantalizing timbres, charming reverberations and plucky, riffy, twangy notes that resonate against your heartstrings - the warm and fuzzies, the goosebumps, the hair on the back of your neck, the ringing in your eardrums... the  melody that will not leave your head... These aren't set stories, a set strip of film with unchanging images or a painting that will always have the same face on it - that guitar will sound different to you tomorrow morning and it will actually take you to a new place, a different place, almost every time.


But more than making you feel cool...

There's the "stress hormone," identified by psychologists, that being Cortisol. Think of everything stress does to your body and how you operate - its coming from this "flight-or-fight" hormone released by your adrenaline glands when you get scared or anxious or worried.

Psychology Today: The Neuroscience of Music, Mindset and Motivation 

Identify the target mindset you want to click into and then use music to tap into this conscious state-of-mind by entering 'up' through a "trap door" buried at a sub-conscious level.

And then there's its power to heal:
Los Angeles Times - Looking Into The Healing Effects Of Music
"There's tension in music...and then it resolves. When you have these tension releases, they hit us in our brain, and they make us feel good. We can play with that in the future. This is just the tip of the iceberg." Neurosurgeon Christopher Duma, a musician (also) who started Foundation for Neurosciences, Stroke and Recovery in California, found that, experimenting with  music as therapy: triggered the memories of Alzheimer's patients. And Parkinson's sufferers could better accomplish a physical test to put pegs in holes while listening to the music.

I've got nothing else to add.
I just wanna put some headphones on and listen to some music...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Anywhere up, everywhere down, somewhere still...

In the age of the internet…

Anywhere is up and everywhere is down. Musicians are so existential these days… But, then, who can help not being an existentialist when we constantly awake with our eyes hurting and our ears ringing, flailing for glowing talismans with screens showing us how we’re going to spend each day.
Re-buffering. Skip this ad. Internal errors. Reset your alarm for next week. Look up on Google to remember last week. Your hippocampus is kaput. But the beat is still there. The melody still charms. The sound of guitars is still so goddamn cool that you’ll never be able to put it into words without sounding like a fool for even trying…

But, talking to them, they seem so certain of failure and even that’s not the right word for it, reader, but I know it’ll hit you just right in the stomach or the heart. The, yes, failure, or, perhaps: futility of expectation… that is so part and parcel with their chosen pursuit, their passion, that they barely regard it any longer, like the thunder clap after a flash of lightning… That’s a fitting image to play with, even – the lightning being their flash of brilliance, their vision of inspiration, the striking of a chord and the foreboding, baritone coughing fit of clouds crunching back together, that thunder like fate’s reminder that you’ll never be….this or never reach….these heights… Or will you? Oh, shit, you know…? You just might! What will you do then?

Go out. Make it. Put it out. Bring it to people. You made it. What is it? What do you want it to do, when you’re done with it? Have you answered these questions already, before you press: ‘record?’ Have you answered the question of whether you could survive a day without your phone? Could you survive a day without thinking up a new line of lyrics or a new melody? Could you survive a day without going somewhere, a basement, an attic, and turning a volume nob up until it almost snaps or just hitting stretched skin on a drum harder than you’ve hit anything in your life… Could you survive a day, that day… Are you just surviving-along-here, until you “make it big?” Or do you just want to “make” it, any it, just something, some kind of “it,” that you had to get out of yourself…

Do you want: making music – to become like your job? What if it did?

And what about that phone? And, what time is it? What are you missing, right now?

Oh, that we know so much, so schooled are we on the past and who won and what worked for them and why they were great. So it always returns to the reflection upon the self: who am I and what am I doing and how do I sound and what’s my style, what will determine me, what will be my signature, my mark?

All these questions haunting us because we’re deceived by a past flush with successors who grappled different mountains with different tools in a different environment.

We’ll see what happens, is a constant refrain – a quick way to quell immediate demons and push them off to an indeterminate tomorrow.

Or, don’t quit your day job… is another refrain. Because that gives you money to buy a better sequencer, or amp, or more pick-ups, a new pedal, a better bass drum…a new van. Because it’s all you. Doesn’t that make it more pure, more exhilarating? Isn’t that rewarding? The achievement of expelling music, your  music?

Yeah, sure. I guess.

Existential as all hell. Sometimes, loud as hell. Sometimes, music’s the only true heaven on earth, right?

Yeah, sure. I guess.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lights On Rider Anthem

Funny enough, the thing that throws me off the most is the orange juice...

Anyhow... THIS....
Lights on Rider Anthem [Official] from The Right Brothers on Vimeo.

Leads into THIS...

Portrait of a Gentleman - Eddie Logix, Doc Waffles, Passalcqua, Mr. Chief, James Linck, Christoper Jarvis, Goldzilla, J Walker XVI, Mic Write, D. Allie, Benjamin Miles, Dante LaSalle, Kopelli, and Fat Ray. 

A compilation - a summit of local talents in the areas of hip/hop, electronica, rap and glitzed esoterica

Celebrating the life of CF Hustle - the man, the mythmaker, the legend of the legend-spreader
April 5th at Trinosophes - 1464 Gratiot Ave in Eastern Market - 9pm

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"...once enough people were discussing: doing something..."

"There's people OUT in the STREETS..."

-Frank Woodman, after we both catch ourselves in a man-hug embrace primarily to stead ourselves as we both slipped on a patch of curbside ice...
 On to the next venue. 

That old slushy, skittish whimsy, that impulsive, excitable feeling - came back.

The tradition of the Blowout, that wide-eyed, wild-minded vibe that it struck throughout its first 15 years, sparked inside several venues throughout Hamtramck last night. YUM...pictured above...rocked The 7 Brothers Bar to a packed house.

And, now my ears are hurting. And, I'm slow to rouse on this morning.

I've often wondered aloud what a proactive, collaborative music community could accomplish together... That inspiration to, vaguely put, build something together, was always there, so the inaugural Hamtramck Music Festival is not the start but it's definitely a pushing-things-forward moment.

That this response -musicians aligning together to plot-out their own festival, so quickly, so organically...and then to have it pulled-off with support from the venues and every volunteer working the doors, working the sound, donating their gear for the night...all in the name of that special sort of solidarity stirring inside any healthy music community - Detroit...Hamtramck...Ferndale...Bay City - Musical revelry from all around the area.

"There’s a large history of having a music festival in the first week or second week of March.  It was a kickoff for the festival season in Detroit....I think when it wasn’t there anymore, there was this void that was felt." --Read Lee DeVito's interview with the man who spearheaded this event, Eugene Strobe via the Metro Times. 

Anti-Metro-Times-Blowout? Not so. Strobe knows that everyone will form their own opinions but, he clarifies: 
"We aren’t “anti” anything. We just want to have a great festival, and people are passionate about it."

So the third night of the Festival. 

Let's see what happens next. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hamtramck Music Festival

"They're super-organized....
 ...I'm surprised."

Frank Woodman is commenting on a few of the meetings he's attended, hosted at Cafe 1923 by the Hamtramck Music Festival Committee. I can't do emphasize enough how swiftly his reaction is blurted out.

We have a good laugh about it. But then, things got serious.

Because this time, forget the typical perception musicians and bar bands - that they're often disorganized, at best... this time, there's a fresh sincerity, a seriousness, to giving the city of Hamtramck it's very own Festival. With Eugene Strobe leading the way (and collaborators like Andrew Hecker, John Bissa, Steven Cherry, Jeff Fournier, Dan Carey, Matt Luke and many others, including Ben's Encore, 1610 Hamtramck and more), Strobe...and Woodman, are sharing an infectious enthusiasm for creating a music festival for musicians. Something pure and simple - with the "sponsors," this time, being the non-profit charitable organization Ben's Encore, in the name of the late Benjamin Borowiak, helping provide opportunities for aspiring musicians in the metro Detroit area.

Line up

"They've tightened the screws," Woodman said, of the Committee. "They're making sure shit's right and having fun doing it too."

That it came together "so fast" and "so smooth" and yet, also, so grassroots, is the most heartening aspect of The Hamtramck Music Festival.
You can read more about it, this week, in the Metro Times - a Q&A with Frank about the Fest and his project: Caveman Woodman & Bam Bam Moss.