Monday, February 9, 2009

February 9, 2009: Lightning Love!

Edited to add: Apparently, every local band in the Metro Detroit area feels the need to play on a Friday the 13th. I've added The Friendly Foes show at Small's in Hamtramck to my list.

You came back!

A few words before I move on to today's CD. Did you go out and see any music this weekend? Leave me a comment if you did! I made it to see The Mahonies and The Frustrations at the Lager House on Thursday and The Eat This City Acoustic show Saturday. Two completely different shows, which is the thing I really love about Michigan music: the variety.

Today's CD is Lightning Love!'s November Birthday, which came out in December.

Leah Diehl's vocals are the first thing you notice, arresting you with their child-like quality, and sometimes etherealness. The next thing you notice is that this sweet child seems to be singing about alienating her friends, drinking and the coldness of the winter destroying her ability to love. This juxtaposition is what makes November Birthday a great album. Catchy songs that you find yourself singing along to before you really realize what's invaded your psyche. Case in point, "Good Time". The hook, "I can't help havin' a good time," is begging to be drunkenly hollered at their shows, yet listen closely, and you'll hear, "Guess I'm too young not to mess around/It's just what happens when you're out of town". This makes for a much more complex "story" than a simple sing-along.

Paired nicely with the sweet-as-sugar vocals are lo-fi keyboards, simple plinking piano (although on the track "November Birthday" you'll hear that Leah Diehl is quite an accomplished pianist) and happy guitars. This is the formula for infectious songs that are much more melancholy and dark than they seem on the surface. Yet this juxtaposition is not merely ironic, it feels more like a device to make us all face the things about ourselves that aren't too pretty. If you declare that you're no good, you might as well have some happy music as your soundtrack.

"Friends," a funny-but-sad ditty about drunken antics bad enough to keep your friends away, feels like what you would say to yourself if you sat around for two weekends with no phone calls after acting this way. It doesn’t feel self-pitying, really, it’s more like fairly accurate account of events and the feelings associated with them. This is yet another great feature of November Birthday; the sentiments are honest, there's no shying away from the embarrassing or ugly here.

Another track I'm in love with from November Birthday is "Girls Are Always Wrong". The tune is fairly forceful, and it's got you bobbing your head before the vocals even come in. Also charming is the boy and girl verses, the boy verses sung by Ben Collins, whose voice is a perfect complement to Diehl's. By the time they're singing together, you feel as if the battle of the sexes has ended in a truce; two adorable indie rock kids meeting in the middle and declaring, "I am always wrong, but I've known it all along...and it's so great." Keeping us all dancing along is Aaron Diehl (he and Leah are siblings), with his quick, and cymbal-laden drums.

Albums like this make me wish more Top 40 listeners would venture out into their local venues to hear music. You can dance to it, sing along with it and form crushes on the band members; why does it have to be released by a major label? So, the moral of the story is, there's great, poppy music being produced all around you. Sometimes next door to you! Go out and see it! Or, check it out from your library!

Lightning Love! have a ton of shows coming up in the next few months. Do yourself a favor and check one out!

Feb 21 2009 9:30P -- Blind Pig (Ann Arbor) w/ THE VON BONDIES
Feb 28 2009 9:00P -- Smalls (Hamtramck)
Mar 7 2009 8:00P -- Belmont (Hamtramck) -- 2009 METRO TIMES BLOWOUT
Mar 27 2009 9:30P -- Blind Pig (Ann Arbor) -- THE SATIN PEACHES CD RELEASE
Mar 28 2009 9:00P -- The Heildelberg (Ann Arbor)
Apr 4 2009 3:00P -- RELAY FOR LIFE -- Ann Arbor
Apr 11 2009 9:30P -- Elbow Room (Ypsilanti) -- DAMON’S "FAKE" BIRTHDAY

November Birthday can be found in the library's CD collection, it's CD-1381.

Visit Lightning Love! at their myspace:

Things you should see this week

Monday 2/09/09

Tuesday 2/10/09 -- Magic Stick (Detroit) -- Von Iva -- Semi Precious Weapons

Wednesday 2/11/09

Thursday 2/12/09 -- The Lager House (Detroit) -- Tyvek -- The Johnny Ill Band -- FREE SHOW
This is the second week of the month-long set of shows promoting X! Records' Shiftless Decay: New Sounds of Detroit" compilation. Each band will do two different sets. I've been assured that I will love Tyvek, so you should come out and we'll discover them together! Plus, X! Records is based in Ferndale. Gotta support the homeboys!

Thursday 2/12/09 -- The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor) -- Champions of Breakfast -- Howlies -- H.O.M.E.S.
Although I'll be at the above show, I can't, in good conscious, not recommend that you see Champions of Breakfast. You will have the opportunity to see them again Friday, if once isn't enough.

Thursday 2/12/09 -- Woodward Avenue Brewery (Ferndale) -- Wildcatting -- Oscillating Fan Club -- Running With Panthers --Hello Commander -- "The Sweethearts of Ferndale Show"

Wanna keep it really local? check out a Ferndale band in a Ferndale bar! In fact, you could hit both the library and the WAB in about 3 minutes. Oscillating Fan Club is bassy, with sparkly, surf guitars. Wildcatting's fuzzy guitars and 60s/70s rock flavor will have you thinking about heading out to see them the next day, too!

Friday 2/13/09 -- Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (Detroit) -- Sea & Cake

Friday 2/13/09 -- Small's (Hamtramck) -- Friendly Foes -- Fur -- The Calls
I'm not sure how I missed this one when I first posted, but it's one of MANY shows this Friday. The Friendly Foes are always fun, so it would be a good choice.

Friday 2/13/09 -- The Lager House (Detroit) -- Wildcatting -- The Howlies -- Champions of Breakfast

Were you conflicted about what to see Thursday? Go to the Lager tonight and hear Wildcatting AND Champions of Breakfast together!

Saturday 2/14/09 -- The Lager House (Detroit) -- Electric Fire Babies -- The Nice Device -- Goudron -- NikTronic

I'm a big geek for the Electric Firebabies. Spend Valentine's Day dancing with them. That's better than any romantic dinner and chick flick.

Sunday 2/15/09

Have a good week!


1 comment:

  1. Alright, so November Birthday wants me to listen to it...I feel as if I can hear it already based on your description...and the coldness of winter SO DOES makes it hard to feel warm love.
    I want to sing along now.