Monday, December 29, 2014

Tuesday: Grand Design Release Party: Mic Phelps & DJ Kage

"I'm not what you think..." 

The Grand Design Release Party: Mic Phelps (of hip-hop quartet Cold Men Young) has stepped up to the mic as a solo MC, backed by producer DJ Kage

Phelps, with his guttural voice and blistering delivery and Kage, with his knack for classy throwback styled production with modern flairs for heavier electronic atmospherics, have certainly forged a fine album and it’s been a longtime coming for both to step into their own spotlights. 

The stand-out track for me has to be the ferocious and stark electro-rap exposition of "Reparations," with Kage affecting a nervy, nocturnal vibe with percolating synths striking ominous, hollow chimes over a grinding buzz that evokes a building tension; following are individual cameos from  Passalacqua. 

A demand for fairness, for collective enlightenment, for reparations and for a "new administration..." These "are blood songs...buried in our bones..." for a time when nothing else seems to work, for when impunity from corruption and abuse of power is the status quo...  A dropping of tired rhetoric and a call for a chance, a real chance, to change things. With each guest rapper sounding enlivened by Phelp's passion and in-tune with his restlessness and his resolve and matching his characteristically fast and fierce delivery. 

This release party, produced by ASSEMBLE, is an excellent showcase for Detroit's contemporary hip-hop scene, with Guilty Simpson, Erno The Inferno (with Lisa Stocking), Macs The Realest, LaRon Ronco, DJ No Chaser, light shows by The Prince of Darkness and visual art by Ashley McFadden.

Indigo Black and CrackKillz Da God will be co-hosting with WDET's Travis Wright. 
8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Tangent Gallery, 715 Milwaukee Ave, Detroit.

More from Microphone Phelps

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Secret Friends Fest (Part Deux) Spotlight: Valley Hush

The Secret Friends Fest Part Deux is a two day music festival hosted at The Loving Touch on Jan 9th & 10th 
Featured bands include: Twin Peaks, Nigel & The Dropout, Mexican Knives, Blaire Elise & The Bombshells, Vamos, Siamese, Little Animal, Eleanora, Max Jury, Moonwalks, PONYSHOW, Cold Blood Club, Nox Boys, Dead Broke, Darn Wishes, Pines, Mover/Shaker, Valentiger &...
Valley Hush (Interview, below)

Doors @ 8 PM Friday / 6 PM Saturday
Full Line Ups

Valley Hush 

Valley Hush wanted to keep things minimal. The very first song on the Detroit-based duo's debut EP started with just a vocal melody and the intent, inspired from how pure it sounded at the outset, was to keep true to the sweetness of spareness. Melody is "extremely important" to both singer Lianna Vanicelli and producer Alex Kaye. Even if they're a duo and even if they're going for a minimalist trip, they're still spreading on a mixed milieu of genres and sonic shades, from dream-pop, to acid-lounge to a bit of laid-back space-rock.

The pair started collaborating two years ago on a previous project of Kaye's inside Rustbelt Studios, happening upon a natural chemistry. Valley Hush, predominantly charmed by the melodic curling of Vanicelli's fine and formidable voice, finds Kaye melding the cool, fuzzy hums of synthesizes, intricate percussive possibilities of drum machines, warming bass and a gloss of guitars.

The evocative title, To Feel Small, combined with the daunting imagery of those majestic trees looming large amid a green-curtained forest bathed in celestial sunlight, suggests a proclivity towards the outdoors and a consciousness to be present, in the moment, experiencing the world around you. The sublime splash of major keys, soulful bass, ethereal synth chimes and soaring guitars under Vanicelli's airy vocals and contemplative lyrics, along with the word "Valley" appearing in their name, further invites an embrace of an appreciation of the organic world.

"Much of our inspiration comes from the contrast of our presence within nature to our existence withhin present-day society," Vanicelli said. "Our intent is to bring these ideas togehter with much in a form that's ultimately accessible to many people."

The duo are currently wrapping up their second EP. More info:

Valley Hush performs @ Secret Friends Fest Part Deux on January 10

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Scene Histories: Chapter 3 - The Beggars (Playing NYE @ Loving Touch)

No more clichés, no more cynicism. Rock’s not dead. Never was. The Beggars are here to save the day. Rock’s redeemers, Steven Tuthill, Jim Faulkner, Pookie Grech and Chris Krez… each understand that rock n’ roll can be more than just music, it can be something to live for…

Photo by Bob Alford
(L-R)  Jim Faulkner, Pookie Grech, Steven Tuthill, Chris Krez

And don’t you dare doubt their powers. Attendees of Beggarsconcerts are often quickly converted by their charms: a combination of the wild and the raucous with the wholesome and the nostalgic; it’s head-banging, fist-pumping, guitar-shredding, ballad-belting music, but it’s done with this charismatic grin and studded with a classy (if half-crazed) showmanship that conjures the most glorious of rock’s glory days.

The Beggars perform on New Year’s Eve at The Loving Touch with Broadzilla and White Shag. Doors 8pm – more info at: /

Last month, the Ferndale quartet released their second full length record, a self-titled album produced by a powerhouse team, Eddie Spaghetti (of Arizona garage rock legends The Supersuckers,) Andy Patalan (guitarist of Detroit-bred alt-rock group Sponge) and local producer Tony Maisano.

The album is their most definitive work to date, with the versatile Faulkner’s driving backbeats, the dynamics of Krez’s cascading riffs, and Grech’s subtle coiling bass licks. It’s a rock that has a lot of heart and gets a floor shaking, rattles windows and brings bodies to move, dance or jump, spurred on by Tuthill’s trilling baritone lead vocal.

“Genuine rock and roll,” Tuthill calls it; “…the Good-Time Rock.”

That means drums that get you moving, blurring guitars bellowing those electric growls and bass that sweetens with a soulful crest. Tuthill, meanwhile, a former football player and wrestler, is keen to throw his whole body into his performance and that’s key to the infectious energy of the Beggars, assuming a larger-than-life presence on stage, ready to back flip off of turnbuckles, if they could. 

When rock n’ roll can seem heroic, like its participants, the performers on the stage, evidently appreciate that certain kind of caution-to-the-wind sacredness that rock deserves…that’s when you know you’re at a Beggars show.  

“We’re normal guys, most of the time,” Tuthill says, as he digs a Frisbee out of the bed of his truck. 

“But, when you get on that stage,” he stops to set his coffee down at the foot of an oak tree, “then it’s no time to be normal. At that point it’s like…” he tosses the Frisbee over to me, “…like you’re from a different planet, ya know?”

He nods, his long curled hair blown back by the late autumn breeze. “Not a better planet! Just…a different planet. It is a lot of fun.”

Tuthill meets me on the last beautiful day of the season, strolling through Geary Park in Ferndale on a weekday morning. “I couldn’t find my football,” he admits. “That’s like a low point, for me. I have to use my Frisbee…”

The Beggars have been a Ferndale band for a longtime now. Tuthill’s second show with the band was performed at Club Bart’s (where John D now operates). “I always love bringing up Club Bart’s cuz I have such fond memories of that bar, so many great shows, particularly with Duende.”

Indeed, Tuthill, and the entire Beggars alumni go way back… The band was started in the early 00’s by Jonny Wilkins, Jim Hansard Joe Senac, Jon Epstein and Keith Thompson. That’s right; the current line-up of the Beggars technically has no original members. Though, to his credit, Tuthill, the longest-serving Beggar, joined the band ten years ago. The album’s liner notes give respectful shout-outs to all former members, including Johnny Miller, Jim Hansard, Jeremy Cybulski and Rod “Pool Party” Jones.

“Awesome dudes all across the board,” says Tuthill with his characteristically easygoing exuberance. 

“And everyone still gets along great. All classy dudes, from start to finish Everybody’s still a family, it’s good. And that’s rare (for bands).” I can see a glint of contented nostalgia in his eyes as he pauses, “Man,” he says, “it’s been nuts, all of the great venues we’ve played at through the years. The Majestic, The Magic Stick, The Magic Bag…a Woodward Dream Cruise Party back in 2002,  a Homecoming Dance or on a Pontoon boat, or the Pig & Whiskey and DIY…”

“We plan to rock from here to eternity,” Tuthill assures.

The Beggars are performing at the Loving Touch on New Year’s Eve. How perfect: the ultimate Good Time Rock band performing right down the street from most Ferndale music fans to facilitate what should be the party of the year!

Their live show has always been, suffice it to say, a spectacle (sometimes capped with choreography or tricky human pyramid formations). The microphone is swung this way and that and each player’s body, head and instrument is constantly slung, shook or shredded, just the same.

Both Maisano and Patalan helped mix and master this album, with Patalan serving as engineer and Maisano as its executive producer. Tuthill was heartened by the teamwork of everyone involved in The Beggars production. “That’s what I’m excited for, just to feel thankful for that support. (Krez, Grech, Faulkner) and I all had fine performances. We were relaxed 92% of the time…well rehearsed, too. (Maisano, Patalan & Spaghetti) were a super team. All genuine, with one goal: an exciting rock album!”

Finally, we ask about the closing track, a fierce, riproaring rocker called “Good Love,” with breathless vocals and a speedy tempo. The former wrestler in Tuthill nods to the iconic Ric Flair, 
“The Nature Boy,” as part of the inspiration. “He could get his ass beat, thrown around a turnbuckle and flipped over for the sake of show-biz! He did everything he could to make it look great. The last lines of ‘Good Love’ are about new generations coming up, while that passion is still in his heart, that good love. It is about a passion, something to live for…whatever it is…”

Is that what the Beggars live for? Tuthill responds that they live “to remind people that it’s about fun, it is escapism. It’s preserving Good-Time rock. Let’s have some fun. It is a little tongue-in-check here and there but it’s still a serious message.”

The Beggars perform on New Year’s Eve at The Loving Touch with Broadzilla and White Shag. Doors 8pm – more info at: /

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Local List 2014: Michigan Music

So here we are...
A list of close-to-all of the music made by Michigan artists that I really dug... At least 94% of it.
This is essentially a giant thank-you note to all the local musicians/songwriters/bands who produced all these songs. It was never about a ranking, even if I did have a favorite... It's more an expression of gratefulness for how much great music has been made (and continues to be made) from the crop of Michigan musicians (in just one-year-alone...)

Extremely Honorable Mentions! 
(...Because I don't want to turn this WHOLE post into a ratings-game!) 

Varsity Rats – “O.G.” ~ Watermelon Bananarama

Kickstand Band - "Under A Bad Sign" ~Halloween Special

Jim Roll – “For You” ~The Continuing Adventures of The Butterfly Kid

Hollow & Akimbo – “Singularity” ~Singularity Single + remixes)

Beast In The Field – “Wakan Tanka” ~Sacred Above, Sacred Below

Heavy Rotations

25. Voyag3r – “II Guanto Nero” ~Doom Fortress”

24. The Blueflowers – “I Can’t Let Go” ~At The Edge Of Disaster

23. The Beggars – “Your Love Will Rot My Brain” ~The Beggars

22. J. Walker & The Crossguards – “Never Say Die” ~single

21. Caveman Woodman – “Gimme Some More” ~S/T EP

20. Mexican Knives – “Nightmare” ~single

19. Child Bite – “Ancestral Ooze” ~Strange Waste

18. YUM – “YUM” ~YUM

17. George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus – “Girls On Parade” ~Black & White EP

16. No Body – “The Valley” ~The Uncanny Valley

15. Frontier Ruckus – “Darling Anonymity” ~Sitcom Afterlife

14. Gosh Pith – “Waves” ~single

13. Tunde Olaniran – “The Raven” ~Yung Archetype

12. Sleepless Inn – “Karl Simon” ~Rainbow Room EP

11. Johnny Headband – “Leave Me So High” ~single

10. Duende – “Mezcal” ~Mezcal

9. Passalacqua – “The Baptism (w/SYBLING)” ~CHURCH

8. The High Strung – “Point Of View” ~I, Anybody

7. Scott Masson – “St. Vina” ~ Pink Oil

6. Doc Waffles / Eddie Logix / James Linck “Lights On Rider” Anthem ~Portrait Of A Gentleman

5. Protomartyr – “Come And See” ~Under Color Of Official Right

4. Rebel Kind – “You Are Free” ~Today

3. Pink Lightning – “Postcard (Image)” ~Blue Skies

2. Prude Boys – “Piano Keys” ~Cassette Demos

1. Matt Jones & The Reconstruction – “Darkest Things”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Milo's Bests

Get your Spotifies out, folks.

Deep Cutz 
I don't have enough time (yet!!!) to expound further with avalanches of adjectives and descriptive deluges... (I'm sure you've had enough of that from all your other regular stops in your shuffling music blog-feeds).

I just made some fun mixes for you to stream... At work. At home. Wherever.

The year in music, at least in how it sounded, was pretty invigorating.

........and PART TWO

STAY TUNED....coming up next:
Top Local (Detroit/Michigan) Songs (singles) of 2014

Pink Lightning - Blue Skies

A Murmuration: Beautifully Risky, Madcap Music 
Blue Skies LP : Record Release Show this Saturday
PJ's Lager House (1254 Michigan Ave) with Beekeepers and The Potions, with DJ Bill Spencer

An Interview (of sorts)

 “We often feel we’re creating a new language entirely when we’re writing these songs…”

Pink Lightning’s drummer, Neal Parks calls the band’s latest album “an awesome collaboration between many talented people,” and proclaims how he loves playing music with these four other “great humans” that he calls friends.

photo by Andrea Zarzycki

The Players

Chris Butterfield sings (as much as he surges) up front, slithery and snapping his body as much as he does his voice.

Leo McWilliams’ dynamism on the accordion invites adjectives usually reserved to describe the wild valiancy of punk-rock styles.

Parks, meanwhile, back there on drums, is pure frenetika, keeping time but pummeling in some fierce fills with limbs like a pinwheel, usually overheating himself to the point of necessary shirtlessness.

Tom Bahorski is simply the wizard, a guitar hybrid of blurring punk shreds and oozy blues, psyche-rock sensationalism with tasteful atmospheric distortions.

That leaves Everette Rinehart, on the bass, the heart, the pulse, the soul, standing cool in the eye of the Pink Lightning storm, (with his own eyes behind sunglasses),nodding lightly, focused, deploying the grooviest waves while the rubbery Butterfield pingpongs off of him and into Bahorski.

But what’s it sound like? Tweaked rock. Dark pop. Weird punk. It waves here and there to nuanced extremes of mutated genres: a sound with vigorous rhythms, vibrant guitar effusions, and soaring accordions under warbled falsettos and bellowed crooning.

It’s a sound that only the players comprehend fully. Even if you think you’ve decoded it as you’re 
taken with the tumbling fervor of the varyingly danceable tempos, you still might not speak the special “language” developed between the five players in Pink Lightning.

“It’s constantly challenging, our process…” Butterfield says. “It’s not a paint-by-numbers sound. There’s never conversations about ‘what needs to be there’ in a song, for the sake of the listener or for listen-ability. It’s more intuition; we make it how we intuitively know it should be.”


The signature cohesiveness of Pink Lightning’s collaboration, when writing, recording or performing, is something altogether erratic, forceful and yet, in unison. “Yeah,” Butterfield nods to that as I suggest it to him. “It feels like that…like how starlings get into those massive cloud-like formations that wave here and there across the sky…” He pauses to Google the right word for it: 

“Murmuration!” he shouts.

Murmuration aside, says Bahorski, the album, Blue Skies, went through “…a lot of permutations!” 

Because it took two years to be completed, Bahorski says, that opened the door to “gradually ease in some more ideas,” says Bahorski. The specific “door” that opened was Scott Masson’s door, into his home studio in Ferndale, where the band did post-production work with the certain “permutations” enhancing your listening experience including pianos, organs, mandolins, banjos, along with some saxophone, tambourine and Rinehart stand-up bass.

The listening experience evokes a sense of being right up by the amplifiers, close enough to feel the singer’s sweat or to have to duck a pivoting bass neck. Kinetic and tension-building, as rock should be, rickety and rabid, as punk could be, grappling with catchy hooks, ebullient rhythms and enticing melodies, as pop needs to be…but, just, weirder, wilder. Always in formation, though.  

Canned Energy

“We all write as a team,” says McWilliams, “that’s why things might get really frantic, sometimes. Our process is very energetic to begin with. We’re all trying to get our ideas out and it all comes out at once, allowing for lots of different influences and styles to come out. I think we weave all those things together and it turns into some weird Pink-Lightning-tapestry.”

“It’s definitely a challenge to try to can energy, like that,” says Rinehart.

“We’ll tweak a song over the course of weeks so when we sit down and play we merge ideas,” says Parks.

“Slow…” Bahorski nods, “…long…not painful, though! Just painfully slow, maybe?”

“But even then,” says Parks, “another song was written and recorded in just eight hours…”

“I’m so manic I don’t know what I think about anything,” Butterfield shakes his head at himself. “I work so slow! This album should have been completed last year, but, it is what it is. But, really, there has been an evolution since the last album.”

This band was formed on a baseball field near midtown Detroit. But, really, it grew out of McWilliams, Rinehart and Parks busking as a jazz-trio (complete with washtub bass) on the corners of Eastern Market, where they fatefully encountered Butterfield. The official vows, some Musketeer-like raising of arms and bats to show their commitment, happened later during a pickup softball game. The group, with guitarist Matt Paw, recorded and released 2011’s First Rodeo EP (a post-punk inclined declaration of their angsty-waltzing styles) followed by the somewhat scattershot, if still potent full length Happy To Be Here in 2012.

“I think with (Happy), we were just trying to get it finished so that we could start working on (Blue Skies),” Rinehart says. “Not intentionally, though. We learned a lot making that first record, we were looking for our style and it came through at a few points, but (Blue Skies) truly defines what Pink Lightning is, as a band.”

The tracks were laid down in 2013 at Tapwater Productions in Detroit with Dilan Wade. The energy was then enhanced by Masson with instrumentations later “tinkered” with by Bahorski.

Led By Intuition

Rinehart: “We’ve certainly improved individually as musicians.”

McWilliams: “We’re getting more comfortable as a band with taking risks. We think music is beautiful like that and I think we’re getting better at harnessing those opportunities.”

Rinehart: “And (Bahorski) seems to truly live to create music and that’s certainly challenged the rest of us to keep up.”

Bahorski: “I like to tinker! Song cycles! They’re vital! But, I don’t’ know, I still feel like ‘the new guy.’”

Rinehart: “More importantly, (Bahorski)’s become one of my best friends.”

Butterfield: “I don’t know what else I can say about (Blue Skies) other than what I put into it, what I’ve says on it. It does feel cohesive, the whole thing. Pushing in different directions together to see what comes of it, still being led by our intuition. That’s a good place to be.”

Pink Lightning performs Dec. 13th @ PJ’s Lager House (1254 Michigan Ave, Detroit) with The Potions, Scott Masson, DJ Bill Spencer and visuals by State Bird. 9pm/$8 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Scene Histories: Chapter 2 - Duende (Thee Last Duendeseday - 12.10.14)

Thee Last Duenseday will be THIS Wednesday at the Loving Touch -
w/ The Wrong Numbers, Davila and All The Wild Children. Info here:
AN INTERVIEW with DUENDE's Jeff Howitt on DUENSEDAY (below)

In some ways it wasn't about the music but in another way it was entirely about the music. 

It wasn't about one band, even if one band was always involved. There was never a spotlight. The illumination was throughout the room, shining on every player; a revolving cast of 2-3 new bands every month, loading into a pool hall, just a pool hall (not a concert venue) to commemorate another Duendeseday

It wasn't about a scene, or the scene or whichever scene...even if its existence, it's organic design, it's natural vibe struck a blend of easygoingness edged with healthy-competitiveness, helped to evoke a collective sense of a scene. Duendeseday was like Fight Club for the prog-rock crowd, or a gang for garage rock ruminations, or a symposium on the philosophies of punk and psychedelia. 

Duendeseday became a monthly residency back in late 2009 with local everything-at-once-rock outfit Duende holding court atop the 4ft high pie-piece of a stage in ol' Club Bart's. The band (Jeff Howitt -lead vocals/guitar, Laura Willem -drums, "Jelly Roll" Joel McCune -lead guitar, Scott Sandford -bass,) would perform a set every first Wednesday of the month while inviting 2 (and...eventually 3) new bands from around SE Michigan's musical regions to perform. Free admission. A hat was passed around to collect voluntary funds from generous audience members, busker-style. 

"We just tried to create...a situation..." says Howitt, "that you could walk into... Not many people were doing exactly what we were trying to do, so we had to continue trying to create a certain...circumstance. The situations that we would want to be in weren't being offered to us so now we had to make them up." 

Duendeseday could transform the vibe of the room, be it Club Bart's (or, eventually, The Loving Touch,) into that of a club house. The stage wasn't a stage so much as it was almost a boxing ring or something cruder, purer, sweat-splashed, almost like a splay of mats on a gymnasium floor. It became a place, an event, a night, where a band could step it up - a collective injection of encouragement from the hosts of the night, Duende - for their invitees to either experiment... or go for broke. Try something new. Or try to top anything that's ever been done before. 

          Howitt: "It always had a party atmosphere That corner stage of Bart's just invited quirky behavior. It was hard to keep people off of it. Onetime a gal came up and licked our bass players face mid song then did her bet Stevie Nicks into the mic. We started to invite more bands to play and it only brought more people. 
                     "I guess at some point I realized it became our "big gig" each month when owners of other bars would come and check it out and ask "So, how do you set this up?" Or promoters when they started picking up the other Wednesdays between the Duendeseday's because people thought something was happening every week."

This sense to erect a clubhouse, a gathering place, a commons -for other bands- came when Duende themselves lost their practice space. They had cozied into quite a cool little spot in the somewhat ghostlier side of Ferndale where it's old, half-abandoned industrial zoning, sharing a comfortably cluttered up spot with various local groups including Red China, Wildcatting and many more, from 2006-2009. This was horrible timing as the three bands were just about to go on tour together. "Real high drama," says Howitt, recalling the "mad rush to deconstruct and relocate what took three years to horde into that space." 

Duende had started rehearsing twice a week in preparation for the recording process of Remnant Of A Remnant at N.Y. HED in Manhattan's lower eastside six months prior to this and they'd realized how rewarding that intensive regiment had been for their playing. "When we got back from tour we wanted to keep up that kind of 'endurance training.'" 

Club Bart became Duende's personal "endurance training," but it also harkened back to the respectable lineage of rock n roll residencies like MC5 at the Grande Ballroom or The Ramones at CBGB's (...or even McCune's former Phoenix-based band The Hypno-Twists, with their respective weekly residency). 

There definitely was a kick-out the jams ethos to the eventual incarnation of Duendeseday, as it was throughout 2010-2013, as it transitioned into The Loving Touch.
          Howitt: " think every band wants to be the best one on any given night. Most bands are buddies to some degree so it's no ill will. You just are trying to out rock everyone. A good band does that from the inside of their own group first. You have to out rock yourself and your bandmates. If you can get your act together all of a sudden it communicates. The love light is on. With that though we are right up front for each band in support but in hopes also of getting melted!"

THIS IS Thee Last Duendeseday.... WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10TH

10:00PM The Wrong Numbers 

10:45PM Davila


12:15PM All The Wild Children

Even if you never attended a Duendeseday, it's an important part of your local scene's history (and I do mean the Ferndale scene...). 

The Loving Touch really was just a pool hall (that hosted occasional...once/twice-a-year concerts). But with Duendeseday, setting up a stage over by the where the Foosball tables are, now, (with the band providing their own PA....that's right, no sound systems yet), it became a thing... Live music could work inside the Loving Touch on a regular basis. Duendeseday helped prove that... 

          Howitt: "It definitely grew beyond it's intention but always kept the party in it. I think we all at times had hit a wall with it. Suddenly it's the first Wednesday of the month AGAIN and we have to break down our PA, our whole practice room and see about backlining some of the gear. It's snowing. It's raining. It's close to a holiday. But once it's all set up and the bands are arriving and faces you know and don't start smiling in the door, it's really easy to give over to it."

"There is still a back log of groups we never got to, sadly."

It wasn't uncommon for bands, zazzed-up as they broke down their set having just finished a Duendeseday set to say they'd like to get on another one as soon as they could...

"I remember one show with The Wrong Numbers where Woodward Avenue blacked out," recalls Howitt, "and that left them stranded on a dark stage. Adam Stanfel was in his car when the lights came on and Laura got him to come back and finish the set."

          Howitt: "There was also a great St. Patrick's Day show with The High Strung. Stephen Palmer hadn't been in the band all that long and they were almost lifting off that corner stage. Another time Telecollision did their Jon Spencer Blues Explosion set and treated the stage like a killing floor. Hard to follow something like that.....Other great times were when it was someone's first gig. Like Cloud Social or Futurebabes. Both alumni from Beggars. So much excitement like it was their first band even. The Savage Seven and Sharky and The Habit also has their last shows on a DUENDESDAY

No matter what... "All the dates had some flavor. Onetime a couple dudes dressed in Egyptian Pharaoh head gear and walked around. Many times it was someone's Birthday. People would come early then leave or just for last call. But came. Some to play pool and just not know what was happening. Drinks have been thrown in faces. Heads buried in laps. Frank Woodman ending up in the MC role spontaneously...."

You can't force a night like this, with all its energies, into existence and meticulously mold it's vibe to how you want it. As Howitt put it, you just "create a circumstance..." and open a door. The music that's made after that will be steadily inspired by the vibe that naturally emerges... 

{pictured above, Duende at an early incarnation of Duendeseday at Club Bart, circa 2010}

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Albums Of The Year (part one): Rebel Kind

Part of a weekly online column for the Washtenaw-area's ANN ARBOR CURRENT Magazine

Part One of Five:
This local trio perfectly combined noise-pop, surfy-psyche, dark twee and a bewitchingly cloudy paisley-folk balladry. That sounds like a lot for what’s really a quick collection of two-minute ear-worms, most of them lo-fi janglers with playful/wistful melodies breezing looped and lain by a breathy, winsome lead vocal.

Sift through the faint distortions and coarser atmospherics and you’ll find pure, perfect pop songs, tunes to bob and weave to and tap your toes to, songs with melodies substantially sticking in your brain even if they’re just 100 seconds long, like a vibrantly glowing burst of warmly-fuzzed summer-stung nostalgia that’s gone too soon… Some of its most charming moments are simply the contrast of singer/songwriter Autumn Wetli’s wispier voice with the rougher hews of the music.   

Autumn Wetli premiered her initial demos for Rebel Kind about two years ago. For more than a year now, scene stalwarts Shelley Salant and Amber Fellows have joined (on bass and drum respectively). There are numerous stand-outs: the wavy bass grooves and delicately dissonant riffer “Motorcycle Man,” the swiftly swaying up-and-down melody and spurring, eagerly-sped drum hits in “I Wanna Be,” the gritty kick and strut of “All Of The Flowers” with its cool use of minor-keys, flairs of feedbacks and exertive howls.

But I still can’t get “You Are Free” out of my head…

Rebel Kind’s first full length as a trio was recently released as an LP on the Detroit-based label, Urinal Cake Records. Earlier in the summer, they released a music video:

If you’d like to see (&hear) them live, you’ll get your chance Saturday, Dec. 20 at Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit, part of the Found Sound Holiday Revue (a Ferndale-based record store that’s curated the bash), opening for Melvin Davis & Mama Roux. Shelley Salant, meanwhile, will be performing solo (as SHELLS) next Wednesday, Dec.  10 at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor w/ Evan Haywood, Fred Thomas.

More info:

Weekly What's Up

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2014 in 21 songs

A random playlist composed of what I liked most or found significantly good from this year.

Some debate continues regarding the impact of Spotify. Personally, I find the potentially infinite access it grants to music is helping the art and its creators become more -- accessible.

Spare me the conversations on technology, audiophilia and royalties. Pressing play is still pressing play.

~Thomas Matich

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Art Show Six - Dec 6

Art Show Six

A showcase of six Detroit artists on December Sixth
Russell Industrial Center
1600 Clay Street, Building 1, second floor.
 (Gold door across from the stairway when you walk up.)


Detroit- Brush Park -by Brian Rozman

Art Show Six is a multi-media one-night event featuring the work of Eric Geiner, Nico Heart, Mike Ross, Brian Rozman, Scott Sprague and David Winters.
The exhibit opens at 5pm.

At 8pm, there will be a live art in motion performance showcase. Changling: Emotions & Emanations features art on living human canvas by Nico Heart.

Eric Geiner is a mixed-media artist that uses natural materials such as bone, wood and clay to create tribal, earthy sculptures that invoke primal instincts.

Mike Ross is a painter and woodworker whose work explores repetition, patterns and the disruption of patterns.

Brian Rozman is a photographer with an instinct for capturing the energy of a moment in time through Detroit’s music scene and beyond.

Scott Sprague is a photographer with a background in fashion photography. His specialty is capturing the essence of a person in portrait.

David Winters is a painter, illustrator and digital artist whose engaging, thought-provoking graphics cross the boundaries between ancient culture and modern pop culture.

Each of these artists will be exhibiting a selection of their work, as well as providing musical selections throughout the evening. Refreshments will not be provided but patrons are welcome to bring their own.