Friday, July 31, 2015

Ghouls & Bombshells’ Dual Release Party

When the throwback-pop specialists Blaire Alise & The Bombshells and their fellow Detroiters the spectacular spasmodic garage rattlers the Pretty Ghouls decided throw a party in Ann Arbor for their respective new albums, they knew they had to invite a pair of distinct and dynamic groups to elevate the evening. The Current was excited to see they chose the horrorshow fuzz-pop trio Prude Boys and Ann Arbor’s own blues-wrung psyche-rock outfit Buffalo Coven Party to complete the lineup at the Blind Pig (August 15). We checked in with all four bands to discuss their latest works and the importance of bridging the music scenes of Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Milo: What’s new? What are you working on? How are things coming along?
Blaire Alise (of THE BOMBSHELLS):
Another Day is a new four song 45” and I just signed a deal with a music publisher in Nashville called Carlin, who represent catalogs of James Brown, AC/DC and my favorite singer, Little Willie John! I’m honored to be part of such an impressive catalog! I’m going to be recording new songs for them very soon.
Matthew Snyder (of BUFFALO COVEN PARTY): Well, Jeff, the year has had a lot of changes, Aurora Adams left our band to have a baby. And guitarists Jad Dino Raad left the band to move to Ferndale for work. But we are soldiering ahead, currently with a new vocalist, Ariana Hedrick, and just keeping the music to a three piece (with Dan Gosnell). We’re working on new tunes that go back to the BCP roots, having departed our bluesy-psych style for more of a garage-y surf-y psych feel. We plan to have new songs ready by the end of the month but, we are musicians…so, we’ll see how those best laid plans work out.

Milo: Ghouls…Blaire…tell us about your new stuff.
Mz. Mockery (PRETTY GHOULS):
To me, this 45 represents our growth; these songs time-stamp our progress as a band. I never really came into this expecting anything beyond loud crazy fun and I guess it’s still loud crazy fun, but we keep growing.
Li’l Queenie (GHOULS): “Outlaw Blues” (a Bob Dylan cover) is my favorite. It’s one of the first we practiced, with just TJ and I and the mic hanging from the ceiling because we had no stands yet. Our (version) is insanity. I love it.
Blaire Alise: I recorded with Jim Diamond at good ol’ Ghetto Recorders, which is great because we're always on the same wave length and can communicate through telepathy.  This time, I played all of the instruments except for drums (the Bombshells were busy that day).  The songs definitely have a different vibe than my first album.  As I've been writing more and more, I've been coming into my own as a songwriter and I feel like I'm getting in touch with my own sound.

Milo: Prude Boys, you’ve been releasing special cassettes as a series. Tell us about that and the experience of finding inventive new ways to release music.
Quennton Thornbury:
I mean, really…these days, the prospect of being a big name seems out of reach and, also, undesirable, ya know? And lots of bands get that these days so it’s less D.I.Y. and more D.I.T(ogether). The cassettes were just the cheapest way we could put out music, physically, and you just really have to have stuff out there. It's funny how small of a scene independent music is because we all have to support each other. We’re definitely looking at working with a local label to put out the tracks we recorded recently. We just finished four songs with our friend and musical engineer Ben Collins.

Milo: This show really bridges the scenes together, talk about how that adds to the celebration.
Dan Gosnell (BCP):
We played our first show with Prude Boys, actually, and I feel like they just keep getting better and better. Pretty Ghouls really leave it all on the stage. Blaire Alise is just so solid. This is going to be killer.
Blaire Alise: Ann Arbor and Detroit can almost feel like two different states, sometimes. We wanted to make sure everyone, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Hamtramck, were included in all the record release fun! On the surface, we (Pretty Ghouls / Bombshells) seem like such different bands, too. But we come from the same source of inspirations; we just do different things with it. It oddly works!

Milo: Ghouls, you bring a lot of…let’s say infectious intensity…to your live performance. Can you talk about your approach to your stage show?
Mz. Mockery (Ghouls):
Performing live is like creating a tornado.
Perfectly put…!
Mz. Mockery:
Yes. The energy of what you're creating is the vortex of these palpable and tangible winds swirling around you. I love when people are dancing and sweating so close you can taste them. It's kinda the best shit ever.
Li’l Queenie (Ghouls): I never thought I had the guts. Turns out I do. I have it easy, I usually feel as if most people are focusing on Asia and I'm free to space out or strut out depending on my mood.
T.J. Ghoul (Ghouls): I tend to zone out when we perform. I'm not very conscious of the crowd or what the girls are doing. I'm just conscious enough of the music that I stay with it and endure the speed and energy at which we play. Afterwards I usually have all sorts of questions for the girls like, "What was the crowd like? What did you guys do? Was it any good?" as if I wasn't even there.

Milo: Anyone wanna talk some more about merging these scenes together, what unites them, what distinguishes them, from your band’s perspective?
Caroline Myrick (Prude Boys):
We respect and love much of the music coming out of the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area, but it was just never really our niche. Detroit has really accepted us with open arms, and the people we've met and have worked with in the area have been insanely supportive and helpful. Hamtramck so quickly became a home for us, and our music has had such room and ability to grow here, that I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. We've lived a lot of places, but nothing has ever felt so right as being right here, surrounded by this city filled with our favorite people. It's fucking great. 
Quennton Thornbury (Prude Boys): Plus, we live off pierogies, Indian food, Timmy's Tacos, and cheap beer, so we probably wouldn't survive anywhere else.
Dan Gosnell (BCP): These past few months (Buffalo Coven Party) played Echo Fest, Hamtramk Music Festival, Metro Times Blowout , Fuzz Fest, and a handful of other shows along the way. It’s great to see Detroit, Hamtramck, Ferndale, and Ann Arbor sharing a scene and getting lots of bands together. It’s like getting together with all your friends.

How have your projects been changing or evolving, lately….or is there anything new that you’re particularly stoked to work on?
Gosnell (BCP):
Recently, we had the departure of a guitar player, a lot of the time is now exploring what we sound like with different people, and as just three piece. We have brought in Ariana Headrick on vocals, to round out our sound and she has been doing a fantastic job. EP and the future? It’s hard to say on exact time. I would love to say we have a double LP out tomorrow, but realistically I think we are just trying to write the best songs we can possibly write and find a place to record.
Caroline Myrick (Prude Boys): What we're focusing on right now is putting our new songs out on vinyl. We have so much material. There's no doubt we'll be putting more and more out once we have the resources, you know, like money.
Quentonn Thornbury (Prude Boys): Yea, definitely. We actually just got a new drummer too (Mac Starr) since Sadie went to be with her family in Alaska indefinitely. So I'm thinking we'll do some demos with him soon and finish the cassette series after we put out this EP of songs we recorded with Ben, just to keep momentum rolling. We come up with new songs just about every week and I think we're really growing as song writers and a band, so putting out songs that we recorded a year ago and have since scrapped seems useless right now.

How about you T.J.? How have the Ghouls grown?
T.J. Ghoul: Well…my mantra, when starting the band, was to strip rock and roll down to its most pure and minimalist form. I always talked about how the term "rock and roll" was used in old blues songs as code for "dancing and fucking". To me, that is the sole purpose of rock and roll music, to inspire people to dance and fuck. If you strive to do anything more than that with rock and roll music, then yer doing it wrong. That hasn't changed with me, that is still my intention with the band. The only difference now, after a couple years, is I think we are better at it. Matt Smith from Outrageous Cherry, who is one of my heroes, once told me, "When I first saw you guys it was just sheer insanity, like the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. But now you got melodic with the insanity, it's like Darby Crash recording for Motown!" I can dig that.

 Dual Release Show for The Pretty Ghouls and Blaire Alise & The BombshellsAug 15th at The Blind Pig – featuring Buffalo Coven Party and The Prude Boys 9:30 pm / $7 ($10 for ages under 21) Visit for more information.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

King Eddie

King Eddie's gone through it's two-year chrysalis stage so that they could burst out with their debut album, fully formed in all its multi-hued, genre-defiant dynamism. The Detroit-born music collective is currently based out of Iowa but it's a sure thing we'll be seeing them soon... Their proper debut album comes out this week....

I wanted to say it sounded like Of Montreal until it sounded like Electric Light Orchestra...until it sounded like Tame Impala...until it sounded like Olivia Tremor Control or Traffic, or Black Mountain...

Cuz why just be a fluid, feathery psych-pop when you can really wail it out and dabble into a bit of heavy-metal soul? Why just go for that melodic-centric indie-pop whimsy when you can bring in some eerie/beautiful synths and organs and jettison a low tide beach stride up into the rainbow-bolt struck stratosphere of trippy/paisley baroque-bliss.... 

Follow along the breezy strums and soaring motifs of "New World" until you get to the cusp of the bridge... "In the new world, who's wrong, who's right? / As the new girl under wallpapered sky..." Sounds like we're in pretty typical psychedelia locales with those lyrics, until... "In the new world, they cut off hte head....and they serve it in rounds like the baker's bread...."
Stream it along, I'll wait, it's about at the 2:32 mark... 

...And did you get a load of those guttural barks during the first four measures of the solo? Something interesting is going on inside of the heads of King Eddie's four members and it pours, bleeds, bursts and radiates onto the recordings of their debut album, which comes out August 14th.

Lead guitarist Justin Maike draws a vivid picture and his collaborators help color it all in with their own unique vibrantly tinted tones. Maike recorded the record himself, between his time spent in Denver, Sioux City (IA) and Detroit. Adam Cox helped mix and master the self-titled album. Maike currently resides in Sioux City where the band is currently composed of Angela Lambrecht, Velvet Adams and Les Rahns. The release show is tomorrow night, actually, at the Sioux City Music Conservancy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fangs and Twang

Metal bands sing about Viking lore while goth bands dabble in Witchcraft...

Why can't you get a country band singing about Vampires? Horror hoedowns, if you will? Or, maybe if the Munsters lived in Nasvhille?

Andy Benes (guitar, vocals), Billy LaLonde (drums, vocals) and Joe Bertoletti (bass) form Fangs and Twang

Ypsi trio Fangs and Twang whip a stripped down roots-rock blend of indie-kicks and swinging bluegrass with theatrical, croony lyrics that are half Monster-Mash cartoonery and half Mummies-esque retro-revivalism of B-movie horror tropes. For as fun as that formula is, it should be underlined that these three, who cut their teeth in the formidably forceful (and comparably genre-mutating) Black Jake & The Carnies, take their musicality as well as the performance, pitch and tone of those campy lyrics, quite seriously. But listen to the hearty backing harmonies of "Undead and Unwed" and how it leads into that snaky and nimble solo...

Head over to their bandcamp and try out "Part Time Vampire" for an example of fine folk-style storytelling twisted into midnight macabre world of Vincent Price...

Thursday, Jul 30 @ The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor: Fangs and Twang release their debut album, performing with Modern Lady FitnessLoose TeethViolin Monster
$8 (or $11 for under 21)
Doors: 9:30 pm

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Landmarks - "All For The Best" [Video]

You remember The Landmarks, right?

The Ypsi-based quintet is getting their fleet footing onto the rocketing board of a surfy kind of post-punk. They put out an EP last year and have been doing their darndest to get their guitars onto Detroit stages at a more regular click... In the meantime, they've been honing their craft, bolstering their chemistry and confidence and writing more songs. One of their newest, "All For The Best," was turned into this charismatic lo-fi music video, splashed with pixelated home-movie aesthetics. 

The charging riffs, the vibrant colors, the kicking beats, the grass-fringed playgrounds, the soaring vocals, the coasting skateboards, it pops, it bursts... It's an ideal summer anthem! Check 'em out. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Seraphine Collective: BFF 2 - This Saturday at MOCAD

Double WinterChild SleepDeadly VipersLittle Animal, and, recently... Cheerleader, Wild Bore
& now...Jenny Junior. All part of my local playlist lately, each putting out some of my favorite songs of the year...

In fact, several spectacular bands, those above included, have had the spotlight widened enough to include them thanks to the democratizing efforts of the Seraphine Collective. The list rattled of above are not only some of the bands that have joined the Collective (by way of supporting and performing at consistent curated concerts and having works featured on a handful some of the initial SC mixtape compilations) but they also are some of my favorite bands amid the contemporary Michigan music scene. And I, we, have the Seraphine Collective to thank for that...

Each of these bands, from Casual Sweetheart to Rebel Kind, Dear Darkness to Moonwalks, feature women or female-identifying musicians in some capacity, be it as a full ensemble, as as instrumentalists on guitar, rhythm section or as lead vocalists. Beyond that, the Seraphine Collective prioritizes the participation of people of color and LGBTQIA performers, as well as women, with an ever progressive mindset when it curates its showcases and mixtapes.

Seraphine Collective, started by musician/writer Lauren Rossi in late 2013, works to affect an environment of inclusiveness in the music scene, particularly through the diversification of genders represented on the stages, in the spotlights. The idea, inspired by the feminist ethos, has spread into encouragement, to undermine the typical boys club trend of rock clubs and bring more female-identifying talent into that same spotlight, be it in music, performing, graphic designing, event organizing or, someday soon, label heads and venue managers.

It's been building steadily over the last 18 months and ever since last summer's inaugural BFF Fest (Best Friends Forever), it seems they've reached a point where there's no looking back... The music comprising Seraphine Collective and its overall mission seem to have reached an outstanding momentum. The spirit of welcoming, diversifying and encouraging...sparks brighter each month, with each new showcase, with each new compilation, with each new zine.

They'll reach a new level this weekend with BFF 2 at MOCAD - sponsored by the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affaris
Saturday, July 25
2:00pm - 12:00am
All ages
"BFF Fest is a SAFE SPACE and a supportive environment free from any discrimination or oppressive actions of any kind"


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

High Arrow - Hot Love (available July 31)

High Arrow's new one sounds like it’s coming from out of a cave or a vortex… It sounds like it’s something being unleashed. 

“My Orange Love” by High Arrow opens up their latest album and it thrums with a cavernous sounding feedback from the guitar as a chest-thumping drum beat starts busying itself with antsy/angsty fills. Instilling the sense of climbing, of breaking out, of something to surge towards…the intro continues to build until the guitar crackles into a snaky psychedelic swirl and lead vocals come in, guttural, big, almost breathless


And the drums keep pounding. The soundscape keeps filling in with greater amounts of bass and fuzz and strangely beautiful echoes.


You feel yourself losing your own voice just listening to those vocals and it feels fulfilling in a primal way.

This Detroit trio show a sharp sensibility for balancing the wild-eyed energy and entrancing billowy tones of psychedelia with a darker, unknowable dread manifested in a gritty, garage-stomp minimalism; they know when to fire every ultraviolet rocket at once and soar off into the stratosphere (as with “My Orange Love”) but also when to dim the lava lamps and black out the windows for a sparer, spookier séance of a rock slogger with “Wishing Well.”

But there’s also a substantial burst of motor-murk rock like “Plastic Heart Man,” with guitars that growl as though they were emitted from white hot exhaust pipes set to the steady jangle of a tambourine that sounds like it’s going to break at any measure. Or, take a song like “Behind The Warpaint,” opening just with vocals and a drums, the latter a furious/graceful spill spiced with frenetic accents and fitful fills while the latter, that scintillating voice and its hypnotic chants, starts to feel like it’s casting a very real spell.

 Hot Love was mastered by Jim Diamond and recorded over at Woodshed Studios in Ferndale. With Tracey Thompson on lead vocals and bass and Adam Thompson on lead guitar, it features the drumming work of their usual rhythm ally Scott Boyink, along with Mark Tabor and Charlie Mccutcheon

Artwork by Red Sonjia

Online on 7/31 via:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ancient Language releases Folk Songs July 25

When Ancient Language started performing, some asked “…who?”

Then, once they understood that this was the next project from electronic music composer Christopher Jarvis, previously one-half of Detroit’s once-highly-buzzed Phantasmagoria… Then they got it. Then they started listening…

But then they had to be down with the fact that this was instrumental music. It blended elements of trip-hop, ambient-pop and re-stoked the cerebral crackles of IDM, veering from the earthier acoustic textures of Phantasmagoria and past the ultraviolet veils of a dreamier, cinematic realm.

Then Ancient Language became known as just Christopher Jarvis for a bit… In fact, the local composer even released a full length record under his true name.

Then, if you were keeping up, he changed it back to Ancient Language. 

“Because I wanted (Ancient Language) to become more than just the music, to, hopefully, become more of a multimedia thing. And…I don’t wanna sell a t-shirt with my name on it. That’s weird.”

Jarvis pauses when asked about influences. “I don’t wanna talk about that and come off sounding pretentious or heady. I’m really just trying to tap into my emotions. It almost comes from somewhere else, like a form of meditation… I’m fully present when I’m writing and playing it but I’m not intentionally making a song that will sound a certain way.”

Jarvis works with Abelton when he’s recording. When you see Ancient Language perform you’ll see a laptop on stage. But Jarvis isn’t just programming a beat or a trusty loop; this isn’t push-button turntablism.

“I’ll put out a track and someone says: ‘Oh, that sample you used is so dope!’ …But, it’s like: ‘No, I actually played that!’ I don’t use samples. I play everything live on the keyboard or the guitar. I don’t always play drums live, but some, like in “The Sky Opens Up” are live. But I play everything else live in real time.”

Jarvis has been working on Folk Songs for the last two years. It’s going to be a relief to get it out but, more than that, he’s hoping this is really the moment people start listening closer to his music, even if it doesn’t have lyrics. Because the guy doesn’t wanna sound cocky, but he feels like he’s reached another level, that it’s evolved since Clairsentient (the previous record released under his own name).

“I wanted to simplify what I was doing,” said Jarvis. “Just, to get to the very basics: just good melodies, not overding it with all this production stuff. Lots of the chord progressions I’m using here are very traditional, almost folky type progressions, but I’m using it in a different context, obviously, with electronic music.”

Jarvis says it feels good to be done and to have reached a new level but that Ancient Language still doesn’t feel fully realized. It might feel fully realized in his brain but, as he puts it, it’s hard to get people really engaged with instrumental music.

“I’m cool if people listen to it as…like…studying music or whatever, I’m glad my music helps you relax and do your thing but when I write it it’s way more engaging and energizing to me. So I want it also to be engaging to you…Listeners too often latch onto vocals…”

He worries he might not be able to incite the same kind of hype or party-starting bombast as his contemporaries like Passalacqua or James Linck. “Because…” he pauses. “Sometimes an audience needs a personality behind the msuci and I’m not really about putting a personality behind a song.”
Ancient Language is self-effacing by design. There’s no photos on their Facebook. His brother Zach, an electro-composer in his own right, joined him to fill out the live performances with electric bass, but you won’t see his or Chris’ name noticeably emblazoned anywhere. “We’re just trying to make this all about the music…”

The music without lyrics…

“Still, I do feel like I wear my heart on my sleeve when I write this music. But, the question is whether that comes across to other people. ‘Cuz without lyrics, that’s harder to do with people.”

Depends on what language you’re speaking…


Because, put simply, it’s music that is the “ancient language,” something universal passed down from our days fresh out of the primordial soup making noises in caves. It’s an ancient or universal form of communication. So, listen closer, and you’ll hear what Jarvis is talking about.

“The songs have verses and choruses, even if they don’t have lyrics…They still have bridges and build-ups.”

Whereas Clairsentient had several collaborators by-way-of vocalists and rappers singing over those compositions, Jarvis took Folk Songs in a purposefully different direction, producing it all on his own and letting the instrumental tracks stand on their own. “In The Early Morning,” which features singer Lily Nyooni, is the only instance of vocals.

After this weekend’s show, Jarvis is going to take a break. He’s earned it. He’s been going to school full time (video production at Specs Howard) and working, along with constant shows with Ancient Language. But eventually they’ll get started on Folk Songs’ follow up. “I think I want to get a full band to play it, with strings and a full brass section….and vocals on almost every song.”

Until then, find Folk Songs online starting Saturday, July 25. (Physical CDs will be available in early August).

You can see Ancient Language performing live at Alstock 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Music: Odd Hours / Tunde Olaniran / JR. JR.

Well, the most recent post was telling you to go to a release show for the State Of Michigan's new album State Your Business. Only thing is, the show was going to be hosted at The Berkley Front.

But The State Of Michigan just posted....

So that's a bummer...


In the meantime

We have a new video Detroit based gothtronica-rockers Odd Hours

Odd Hours' latest album, 
norepinephrine + dopamine, is already available online here & they got write-up in Pop Matters, check it out... 

A new single from Michigan's own Jr. Jr. premiered via Billboard earlier this week. The Detroit Free Press reported on the songwriting duo, formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., finally deciding to change (or at least simplify) their name.  


The phenomenal, kaleidoscopic and kinetic dance-pop balladeer Tunde Olaniran had a song premier via NPR Music recently.  
A potentily propulsive track...great to dance-to, great to bike-to (if you'd like to....)

Tunde Olaniran's album Transgressor is out Aug. 7 on Quite Scientific Records.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The State Of Michigan's "State Your Business"

Local duo The State Of Michigan release their 2nd album State Your Business this Friday night at The Berkley Front
9 PM
$5 gets you in
$10 gets you a CD

That's a modest yet weirdly captivating suburban-chic music video for "Salty Shakes," the lead single from The State Of Michigan's State Your Business... The dual singer/songwriters sandwiching their respectively strange/suave sonic ideas together are Tanner Presswood and Alex Reynolds. They started calling themselves a group in late 2013/early 2014, when they each brought seven songs to the table (...or, to a bandcamp uplink) and called it a record... Those fourteen songs were their humble introduction to the Detroit music scene, but it's really this Friday with this record that we can properly say: How do you do?

There's no use, here, in name-dropping... How about mood dropping? The calming disorientation... The excited bleariness,..The unsettling meditation... The muted cool... The wandering go-getter. 

State Of Michigan sound like a cassette tape excavated from 1994, left beneath a burnt bed in
a studio apartment in Capital Hill outside of Seattle or maybe some basement in Dayton, with flecks of cat hair and a scuff mark from that time it had an errant skateboard wheel dropped on it...

Wait, is that too concrete o' picture? What isn't concrete is the evocations conjured by these purposefully hazily-textured progressions; the duo strum out these subtly trippy odes on these electrically-fuzzed acoustic guitars, set to stroll-able, day-dreamable rhythms and surreptitiously barbed with satirical, nonsensical or dadaist lyrics projected in these wispy voices loop-de-looing with swaying melodies...Every once in a while a discordant minor key punctures the pretty pastel pictures they're painting with their voices and their rustling guitars, but mostly, these are grunge-lullabies or Laurel Canyon-punk...

You'd wanna call it psych-folk because it's a pastoral singsongy sweetness that seems to be frayed at its edges with a potent bit of post-millennial weirdness.

Now, I've thrown a lot of adjectives around here. What I wanna leave you with is how enticing these short, sweet jams can be... A foam of muck and fuzz often flecks the surface of these freak folk ballads ( this NuFreakFolk?),..but at its heart, these are kinetic pop ditties; simple and strummy, sliding and shimmying, strange but sincere!

More sounds from the State Of Michigan here.
Artwork by Matt Lachowski.

Friday, July 10, 2015

New Music 4 Now & Later: Analog Lights and Rufio Jones

Greg Aubry had been mining the post-grunge gulch when he was fronting the rock trio Superbomb. Over the last year, he got involved with a handful of cover shows, including one particularly transformative dive into Nine Inch Nails' seminal songs, seeming a bit possessed by a Reznorian spirit... ...which leads us into The Analog Lights.

Aubry, who's always had a powerful voice, pare things back with this solo outfit, utilizing synthesizers in a way that subtly spotlights that melodic roar of his, scoring arrangements that blend his proclivities toward a heavier, dark, brooding rock with the sleek yet clangorous movement and presence of post-industrial, there's a bit of that heart-on-the-sleeve balladry of new-wave pop (percolated by the sequenced beats) but its definitely a lot more cerebral and a bit more pissed off than any of those 80's new romantics...

Take a listen:

And then...

Yes,....and then there's Rufio Jones, who will be releasing his first full length solo album on bandcamp this Wednesday (July 15).

Jones is one-fourth of the hip-hop collective Detroit CYDI, along with fellow rappers Stryfe, Sean Uppercut and Doc Illingsworth, the latter of which produced the beats for Jones' solo outing titled Loot Suit. 

Jones isn't interested in the cliched braggadocio baggage of half of mainstream rap music, with its swaggering bellicosity and boasting... He's more cerebral than that. But then... he's still playful, still nostalgic, still surging with a sense of humor, keen to inject thoughtful satire into some of substantially heavy conversations he's aiming to start with his lyrics. In fact, he could have a second career as a serial writer of retro sci-fi novellas... Great sense of metaphor, yes...but also with a propulsive vocal delivery (looped to mesmerizing and theatircal effects by Illingsworth) that keeps you constantly hooked, dodging strange synth sound effects standing in for UFO's, comets and myriad other fantastic noises.

Take a listen:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Prude Boys - "In The Alley"

 We're "In The Alley" for The Prude Boys new single, which premiers tomorrow at 9 a.m. here:

It's a great track... And you'll be hearing it in a matter of hours...
Giddy up drums and a cresting wave of guitar fuzz shoots down into this croony-garage-hop boogie of a number, where images of grease-stained white T-sleeves rolled up to hold cigarette cartons muscle into a muck-spackled bass slapping like sliced cardboard against the backdoor of the club where these "boys" are throwing their own party...or at least just loitering. It's probably my favorite Prude Boys track to date, bright and frolicsome here and there yet discordant and gunky in all the best spots, and a steady smoldering of tape-buzz under the dual boy-girl chorus.

"In The Alley" will eventually join up with three other new songs that the Prude Boys finished up recently, part of a forthcoming EP recorded with Ben Collins on an analog 8-track reel-to-reel out in Ypsilanti. As has been their MO since they started recording, the trio finished these songs in less than two takes, each; the idea being to capture the essence (and the shambolic spill) of the signature uninhibited energy in their live performances.

Like an old loved-wrong country ballad, "In The Alley's" singing about a pair of hell-hitched honeypies who just can't seem to stop cheating on each other. They take what they call "corny callbacks" to 50's rock and 60's girl-group vocals and shock it all into the future with a contemporary punch of oozy surf and psychedelic swing.

The Hamtramck-based trio are going to release their new EP themselves, keeping to their independent operating ethos, with hand-produced cassettes coming soon... For now, if you'd like to see them live, they'll be performing at BFF Fest II on July 25 at the Mocad. More info on that show here:

And more Prude Boys songs here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Doc Waffles: This Week In Baseball

"Gentlemen....let's broaden our mind..."

Newness from Doc Waffles: This Week In Baseball

A new Doc Waffles album is an event. It's a happening, a strangely transcending happening...

Put the headphones on, kid, and just relax. Let it sink in. Let it twist up your thoughts. Let it happen. Take a dive and swim through some old highlight footage, some frayed baseball cards...some squashed, sticky cardboard formerly housing some microwaveable dinner items... All in all, you'll find some shreds of existential illumination ...

Every third word outta the rap bard's mouth excites a singular synapse in the brain, a flurry of sensory descriptors flair into vivid life as his slip-slidey shuffle-style vocals spill over you, an abstract sandwiching of sounds, smells and sights, foggy memories and strange triggerings of coulda-sworn-I-was-there deja-vu... "The hypothetical drugs that they give to the kangaroos...if you see a real penguin on tv, eat a gummy one..."

It's signature motifs and themes persist any great autuer would continue throughout a canon of work...

  • Half-dreary/half-inspirational trips down Golfview Drive persists... do the VHS tapes of hockey tapes.
  • Hot Pockets are a new specter slipping in and out of the verses of each track.
  • OH... and where else are you going to be reminded of those Alan Ford dealership commercials with the cartoon cowboy and his dog?
  • ...and transition right into a song that sings about the Mona Lisa, the history of surrealist painting and eating sushi in your swimsuits...?
  • He's also still on about stealing all the shoes (but not, this time, at the party...) No, he's visiting the Bastille at one instance and then he's conjuring Hulk Hogan and NES Duck Hunt seven seconds later...
  • Shouts outward to the #CoOwnaz collective, as well... 

It's a trip. An event... It's a rap album like an ayahuasca trip is just a stroll through the park. It's a thought-experiment, a word-thundering gaze inward into a soul you'd only slowly start to recognize as your own...

Is it? Wait...

The production (by Eddie Logix) seems to know just what it wants, not anything banging, not anything overly psychedelic, nothing derivative of old soul ballads or funk riffs, nothing contrived...something transcendent, atmospheric, lucid... GROOVY... With the edges fraying together, the vocals samples fuzzed and falling together like fine syrup, the beats arrest a meditative pulse and it accommodates the flexible mindset necessary to lily-pad leap from one symbol to the next, affixing to Doc's inherently wayward word-wanderings....(and wonderings)...

From the fine and to the filth, the high-minded and the low-lying, the aristocratic and the Saturday morning cartoons, the wine and the laughing gas and the bottles in your backseat, half-filled with the essence of summer... 

Friday, July 3, 2015


Frank wouldn't want to be in the spotlight of this essay.

Frank would rather be on the edge of the stage of this blog, shouting along to every word of the essay as he bangs his head and pumps his fists (and likely jostles everyone else around him with a bit of collateral beer spillage). Because that's what Frank does... he reminds us all why we love what we do, he reignites that same, fresh inspiration to do that thing in the first place, whatever it may be that we do, be it singing, drumming, feather-bowling or writing...

When Frank is in the audience for that thing, you're no longer doubting yourself, you're suddenly charged up (because HE'S charged up...). Is he an angel, like this? Like Clarence, a guardian garage rock angel? What if... (continuing with that It's A Wonderful Life analogy)...Frank wasn't here, in this scene...? Imagine every show you've experienced, maybe something he performed or maybe something where he just stood (and jumped and wobbled) beside you... Take him out of that scenario and it's like the vibrant technicolor sunshine is drained and becomes pale, bleak...boring...

No one could pinpoint what it is that Frank gives this scene (and by extension, gives each of us) and the same time... his name could easily be a one word answer to the question: What do you love most about the Detroit scene, right now? Because whatever it is that you're getting at is probably embodied, heart & soul, by this four limbed, orange-haired, wild-eyed Tasmanian devil-tornado-fit of a human being... He could walk into any room (or even the boundless outdoors) and supernaturally emanate the enticing electric clangor of a guitar riffing outward and stimulating the ether... The man is a rock n' roll song onto himself... Egoless, without a mean bone in his body, and talented in his own right...he's essentially rough-hewn muse that this music scene needs ...

If we're all part of a parade, he's the Marshall... If we're a baseball team then he's somehow The Babe and the Phillie Phanatic at the same time! (Blasphemous that I didn't make a Tigers reference here... sorry, Frank...but I'm rolling....and if I'm rolling...then it's because you inspire me....)

Ray Thompson once called Frank "...a one-man audience..." There could be four or maybe five people there when you're set begins and maybe there's only six when the set ends...but if that sixth person wound up being Frank Woodman? It was a good set!

To Frank!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Girls Rock Detroit & Seraphine Collective (Weekend Concerts)

We’re going to start with GIRLS ROCK DETROIT

Starting July 13th, this Detroit-based music education organization will offer its first week-long summer camp for girls and female-identifying youth (ages 8-16). The camp, covering band coaching, songwriting workshops and basic instrument lessons, will be hosted at the Michigan State University Community Music School.

The goal is to inspire creativity, build positive self-esteem and instill a sense of community for young girls interested in learning music or getting involved in a music scene. Each of the instrument instructors, band coaches and counselors are women or female-identifying volunteers (many of whom come with substantial experience in the Detroit-area music scene). There is no requirement of any formal music experience for the Girls Rock Detroit camp. The idea is to provide a safe, positive environment for campers, led by a group of supportive role models.

You can learn more about Girls Rock Detroit here:
They’re still working through the formal application process to become a 501©3 non-profit, but if you’d like to donate, click here:

One of the leaders of Girls Rock Detroit is Ypsi-based multi-instrumentalist/singer Melissa Coppola, who performs with Stefan Carr in JUNGLEFOWL. So let’s move onto some concerts to catch this weekend:

July 3 - JUNGLEFOWL performs at the Crossroads Bar & Grill (517 W. Cross, Ypsi) with The Sugar Bombs and Tesla’s Revenge (touring in from New York). Info:

There's a benefit concert next weekend (July 10). More info

Meanwhile, there’s the Seraphine Collective, a Detroit based music community that is comparably promoting a similar sense of openness, positivity and encouraged cooperation amid a music scene. 

They’re organizing/hosting two local concerts over in Detroit that feature Arbor/Ypsi talent.

July 2 – Best Exes (Jim Cherewick & Linda Ann Jordan’s new group) perform at the new Hybrid Moments space (2144 Bagley St in Detroit) with performances by Haunted, Double WinterK9 Sniffles and Blurb (touring in from Chicago. Info:

July 3 – Rebel Kind perform at Trumbullplex with Stef, Broken Water (from Washington) and Weed (from Vancouver). More info:

Warhorses + VSTRS dual album release show July 10

July 10
Double Release Show: Warhorses Burning Desire 7”  &  VSTRS s/t
The Lager House (1254 Michigan Ave)
ft. Pewter Cub / Rogue Satellites / Night of the Night Bees / Phtalo Sky
$5 (21+)  /  9pm

“The whole trip becomes more interesting when your band is adventurous and takes the long view….”
Michael O’Connor, singer/bassist, VSTRS

“Our direction is only to go where the music takes us….We leave ourselves open to channeling the energy that surrounds us…”
Kristin Lyn, drummer, Warhorses

Two Detroit rock outfits found themselves wrapping up projects at the same time and decided to throw a dual release party… Both Warhorses and VSTRS occupy an indiscernible and vaporous nether-realm of rock, sparked with a pale supernatural glow to their tones and timbers, curtained with spooky distortions and dizzying echoes, propelled by an aggressive rhythmic arrangements and combustible guitar solos… You’d call Warhorses psychedelic if not for their more gothic and cinematic sensibilities… You’d call VSTRS prog, maybe, or even space-rock if not for it being more grounded by its hybrid blend of garage-stomp and post-alt-rock grind.

For Warhorses, there’s certainly a darkness, but something more dreamy or cerebral about it…
For VSTRS (Visitors), there’s not necessarily a concept… (again, not prog,) but it’s definitely aspiring (or journeying) toward something headier than just another rock trip…

Art by Camille Rose Garcia
“Our interest in the dark side is more to shed light on it,” said Warhorses’ drummer Kirstin Lyn. “That takes its power away. We can then harness that power and intensity into creating our heavy grooves. I mean, there’s so much chaos, death and destruction in this world…and although that’s part of life, we use our music as a way to channel those dark feelings and ideas and turn them into something positive.”

The concept for VSTRS, meanwhile, was to work toward building something more organic. Bassist Michael O’Connor and drummer Zach Pliska wanted to move away from the route of their last band, which followed built-in electronics and looping structures. “I was interested in movements of melodic space and aggression within the same piece…(but) without some of the more traditional psych-rock elements…I think that’s one of the concepts that everyone was attracted to (in VSTRS).”

Warhorses features Mike Alexander on lead vocals/guitar, with Lyn on drums, along with Eric “EZ” Myers on guitar and Nathan Miller on bass.

VSTRS has O’Connor and Pliska as its rhythm section, with DJ Sovey on synth, Katie Galazka on vocals and, again, Myers on guitar. Myers serves as guitarist and engineer for both bands.

Among Warhorses most prominent influences, the psychedelic styles are surely stitched into the sleeve, but it’s the grittier, dried-blood brooding energies of the Jesus & Mary Chain, BRMC or Grinderman that growl the loudest… With VSTRS, having started out, essentially, as a Pink Floyd cover band, that spacious, swaying epicness is forms the sonic umbrella for the tightened art-rock flickers of Radiohead and the erratic guitar ballets of Gish-era Pumpkins…

With both bands wrapping up material around the same time, the idea sprung to make a super-sized event out of it, invite as many bands as possible and split the sets between two stages to subtract any downtime.

“We just wanted to put together a fun show with as little pretense as possible,” O’Connor said. “Having been around the scene for a minute, it seems a release show is less about ascension or trying to garner one of the latest buzz-bands and much more about the people who’ve meant something along the way, whose musical and artistic pursuits have, at the same time, been impressive. “

“Camaraderie within the Detroit music scene is very important to us and we do our best to help boost that; most musicians in this town are very supportive of one another. We’re thrilled to have Night of the Night Bees, Pewter Cub, Pthalo Sky and Rogue Satellites join us,” said Lyn.

The Rogue Satellites, it should be noted, make an appearance in the Warhorses new music video for the single “Burning Desire.” The video was produced by Gold House Media (Kevin Eckert & Natasha Beste) and will premier the night of the show.

Stay tuned via the Warhorses Facebook for updates on the video’s premier as well as further info about the show:
Pre order the vinyl 7" (via Escape Velocity Records) here: 

Meanwhile, you can preview the tracks on VSTRS s/t via their bandcamp: