Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009: Spring is the time for Music

As I'm sure you're aware, it's getting warm out. And you know what that means? It's time to get out there and see some bands! You won't need to worry about running ten blocks in 20 degree weather with no coat because you don't want to hold on to it all night. Simply put your rocking clothes on and go.

I went to the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor this Saturday to see Prussia, Matt Jones and Great Lakes Myth Society. It was kind of an eclectic line-up, but the energy of playing on a warm night was felt in everyone's sets.

I had never seen Prussia (well that's kind of a lie. I saw them play as The Smiths at the Crofoot last Halloween), and really didn't know what to expect. I really loved their percussion-driven music. Two drummers and a bassist really make for some driving beats. A few of their songs reminded me of Vampire Weekend, which is a good thing. Ryan's unique voice contrasted nicely with the music. I'll be catching them again.

Matt Jones decided at the last minute to have Carol (who usually plays violin) sing with him and it made Matt's set that much sweeter and more interesting to watch. It always amazes me to see how small a guitar looks in Matt Jones' hands. And he's all over that thing. Matt and Carol's voices were in top form, and you could tell they were feeling the love in the room. They also played Misty Lyn's "MPLS II" which was quite a treat.

I was desperate to go to this show for one reason: It was going to be one of GLMS's last for awhile. They're going to be spending the bulk of the summer in the studio (yay!) and their bassist, J. Scott McClintock is moving to Virginia (though they assure everyone that he'll still be in the band).

I have been to my fair share of GLMS gigs and I can say that this was one of the most energetic sets I have seen them play. The crowd was on fire, and the band was clearly responding to that as they played all their rocking songs, joked and had accordion battles. Judging by the first few new songs that I've heard them play, this album is going to be great.

Enjoy some pictures:


Matt Jones & Carol Gray

Great Lakes Myth Society

What You Should See This Week

Tuesday 4/28/09 -- Timmy's Organism -- Greg Ashley -- Wizzard Sleeve -- Kelly Jean Caldwell @Lager House (Detroit)

Wednesday 4/29/09 -- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- Zaza -- Friendly Foes @Pike Room (Pontiac)

Thursday 4/30/09 -- Troy Gregory -- VulGarrity -- The Vezinas @Belmont (Hamtramck)

Thursday 4/30/09 --My Dear Disco -- Chris Bathgate @Magic Bag (Ferndale)

Friday 5/1/09 --Howling Diablos -- The Rumpshakers -- Doop & The Inside Outlaws @Magic Bag (Ferndale)

Friday 5/1/09 -- Sik Sik Nation -- Carradine -- Wicked Hemlocks -- Qualia @The Lager House (Detroit)

Friday 5/1/09 -- Crappy Dracula -- The Dial Tones -- Dutch Pink -- The Rocks @Painted Lady (Hamtramck)

Friday 5/1/09 --Shooting Stars (CD Release) -- Charlie Slick -- Kinetic Stereokids @Elbow Room (Ypsilanti)

Saturday 5/2/09 -- Peelander Z -- Champions of Breakfast -- Mahonies @Magic Stick (Detroit)

Saturday 5/2/09 -- ThesePeople DVD Release w/ Millions of Brazilians -- Lightning Love @Belmont (Hamtramck)

Saturday 5/2/09 -- Mick Bassett & the Marthas -- Divine Comedians -- Nathan Kalish @The Lager House (Detroit)

Saturday 5/2/09 -- Mahoney -- Sik Sik Nation -- 2 Roads 2 Mexico -- Wicked Hemlocks @Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)

Sunday 5/3/09 -- Four Hour Friends @Cliff Bells (Detroit)

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 20, 2009: We're Open! Check out these CDs!

After six weeks of organizing, packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking the Ferndale Public Library is open again! Please stop in 642 E. Nine Mile Road and see our great temporary quarters.

Also, I got a whopping ONE response as to what else the library should get for its local music collection, so do be a dear and stop by here and let me know. Ok, here's a secret that I'm willing to tell you if it'll make you help me out: I'm working on a grant. If the library gets that grant, I'd like to know what to spend the money on. So there, tell me what I should buy for this collection.

Today I'm going to highlight some of our new local music acquisitions. These CDs will be in our collection within the next couple of days, so consider this a sneak peek!

Scissors & Suckers by Mick Bassett and the Marthas
This is the latest from Mick Bassett and the Marthas, an EP that came in the coolest handmade packaging. Yeah, Bassett sounds a lot like Bob Dylan. But that's only the beginning. This is unique and interesting music. Enjoy the quirky, slightly dark sounds of jangly piano and trombone.

My Northern Voices by Michael Beauchamp

I snagged this at Keweenawesomefest last weekend after enjoying his beautiful set. Beauchamp was once in a band with Chris Bathgate and their influences on each other are clear. If you like singer/songwriter stuff with a touch of country, check this disc out.

Self-Titled by Elle and the Fonts

If you like a powerful female vocal, than Elle's your woman. Her lyrics are the centerpiece on this self-produced record, backed by acoustic guitar, simple instrumentation and the occasional background vocals.

Idylls of the King of the Road by Gerard Smith

Smith grew up in Emmett, where he undoubtedly acquired a love for Celtic music. On Idylls, you'll hear the Celtic influence in the beautifully produced songs. Smith's clear voice and crisp guitars draw you in to hear the stories he has to tell.

Self-Titled by Bill Grogan's Goat

Gerard Smith is also a member of this Celtic-influenced punk/rock band made up of five guys who've been playing music for over twenty years. This stuff is just good fun, played by accomplished musicians. I suspect they are great to see in a pub!

Ypsi-Songs by Various Artists

In this love letter to Ypsilanti, musicians with a connection to the city sing the praises of the river, the cheap housing and the atmosphere. Dave Lawson of The Pop Project, Fred Thomas, Drunken Barn Dance, Charlie Slick and more have tracks on this limited edition CD.

K-Fest 2009 Tour EP by Drunken Barn Dance

Apparently, DBD puts out a special tour EP every time they go on tour. It's homemade and a limited edition, and we have one! It's composed of all live tracks, which in my opinion is perfect, because Drunken Barn Dance is best when heard live. Track 4 is one of my favorites.

Songs from the Upcoming Album Et Cetera by Blase Splee

This one is a preview of the band's upcoming CD that was handed out like crazy at the Blowout. I'm sitting here listening to it for the first time, and you know what? I really like it. It's well-produced, and I like the lead singer's voice. Plus, there's a horn section. I'll get the full-length CD when it comes out!

What you should see this week

Monday 4/20/09 -- SSM -- Movie Star Junkies @Lager House (Detroit)

Tuesday 4/21/09 -- Great Lakes Myth Society (Acoustic SHOW!) -- Justin Townes Earle @The Majestic Cafe (Detroit)

Wednesday 4/22/09 -- Detroit Rock Lottery @Magic Stick (Detroit)

Friday 4/24/09 -- Croff Family Band -- The Beggars @Belmont (Hamtramck)

Friday 4/24/09 -- Flight of the Conchords -- Eugene Mirman @Fox Theater (Detroit)

Saturday 04/25/09 -- The Pat Zelenka Project -- Banana Convention -- Plastic Shapes @The Belmont (Hamtramck)

Saturday 04/25/09 -- Great Lakes Myth Society -- Matt Jones -- Prussia @The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)

Saturday 4/25/09 -- Terrible Twos -- The Birthday Suits -- Javelins -- Teen Anger @Lager House (Detroit)

Saturday 4/25/09 -- The Hentchmen -- Fortune & Maltese -- The Meltdowns @Painted Lady (Hamtramck)

Sunday 4/26/09 -- French Kicks -- Mason Proper @Pike Room (Pontiac)

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 2009: Keweenawesomefest Recap

So, this past weekend, 550 miles from here, a great thing happened. Keweenawesomefest is an annual indie music festival in Houghton, MI. Where's Houghton, you ask? Well, it's the home of Michigan Technological University and their great college radio station WMTU. It's in the heart of the Keweenaw Penninsula in the UP.

This was the second year I've ventured the 10ish hours upstate for Keweenawesomefest and I have to say, part of the magic of it is the trip. Taking the time to travel in this great state, especially to the UP is therapeutic. I could feel a mix of relaxation and excitement wash over me, particularly after we made the trip across the bridge.

This year's bill had fourteen bands, mostly from Michigan, but with some from Minneapolis, Wisconsin (which is not too far away when you're that far up north), Omaha, and Chicago. Friday's line-up was downstate heavy with Lightning Love, Greg McIntosh and Drunken Barn Dance. I assure you that my friends and I served our purpose as a downstate cheering section very well. Let me pause here a moment and say that the audience was fantastic. Kids that I could tell hadn't seen nor heard of these bands were dancing, standing right up front and generally simply enjoying live music. It made me realize that I take the glut of live music to be had in the Metro Detroit area for granted. I will definitely remember this the next time I'm out...which will probably be tonight!

The standout of the night, in my opinion was The Show is the Rainbow from Omaha, NE. A one-man multimedia explosion, Darren Keen projects home made animation videos, controls a laptop's worth of samples and sounds, plays guitar, sings, and dances, all with an amazing head of hair. I have video but the quality is fairly poor, and can't really capture what it was like. Scroll down a bit for pictures.

Seeing Greg McIntosh solo is a rare treat. His powerful voice and lyrics carry more energy than you would expect from a guy with an acoustic guitar. I got to hang out a bit with Lightning Love, which just served to make me like them more, if that's possible. They dedicated a song to a friend of mine, and the love meter exploded. Good job guys. Drunken Barn Dance, headed by Scott Sellwood is a rocking folk band. I first saw DBD at a house festival in Lansing a few years ago. Scott was by himself, and I fell in love with his music then and always enjoy seeing him and whoever's playing with him. Be sure to check out "We Swimmers" on the special tour EP I brought back with me!

As is often the case with festivals like this, K-Fest was a social event, and therefore, I missed some of the bands, particularly on Friday night. Be sure to check them out, though.

Friday night pictures:

BVH Live (Marquette, MI)

Greg McIntosh

Greg McIntosh

Aaron Diehl

Leah Diehl

Ben Collins

Drunken Barn Dance

Scott Sellwood (DBD)

The Show is the Rainbow

The Show is the Rainbow

Saturday was decidedly mellower. Folk was pretty dominant most of the night. The Chanteymen from Marquette started things off with Christopher Lander Moore's entrance onto the floor, rather than the stage, standing in the crowd singing "Werewolves With Knives". It was quite impressive, with the black box theatre surroundings as well as his unamplified voice being able to reach all the corners of the place. Michael Beauchamp played beautiful, soulful folk and finished off his set with a singalong of his children's song. The Gunshy livened the place up with a harder set of punk/ska/rock as well as an artist painting during their set. The Pale Young Gentlemen out of Madison, WI headlined the night with a kind of haunting, string-heavy orchestra thing going on. Lead singer Mike Reisenauer's voice is great.

Apologies for the lack of pictures from Saturday, my camera died and the a lot of the pictures I did get suffered from the lack of juice.

Special thanks to Daniel Haefs and the rest of the WMTU folks who put on an amazing show!

What you should see this week
Monday 3/13/09 -- The Parlor Mob -- The Satin Peaches @The Pike Room (Pontiac)
Monday 3/13/09 -- Acid Mothers Temple -- Sonic Suicide Band @Magic Stick (Detroit)
Wednesday 3/14/09 -- Murder By Death -- The Javelins -- Brighton, MA @The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)
Thursday 3/16/09 -- Sebastian Grainger -- Flash Lightnin' -- Millions of Brazilians @Pike Room (Pontiac)
Friday 3/17/09 -- JSB Squad -- Darling Imperial -- Teedo -- Mick Bassett & the Marthas @Lager House (Detroit)
Friday 3/17/09 -- Fontana -- Smashed Windows -- Kommie Kilpatrick -- Naw Dude @Painted Lady (Hamtramck)
Friday 3/17/09 -- ( Damon's Fake Birthday) -- Champions of Breakfast -- Chris Bathgate -- Lightning Love -- Drunken Barn Dance @The Elbow Room (Ypsilanti)

Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6, 2009: Weekend Recap & a Request

I hope your weekend was as good as mine. I had a blast at both of the shows I went to and because I'm a nice, generous little blogger, I will be sharing some pictures and video.

But first, I'd like to generate some conversation. I want to know what you think should be in the Library's Local Music Collection. So, take a look at this list and leave me a comment with some things you feel should be on it.

Now on to the weekend. First, all of you who were worried about me getting a super fancy, extra-special, hand-drawn covered copy of Deastro's Spritle 7" (ha.), you can relax, I did indeed get one. I had a total blast at this show, which filled the Pike Room to capacity! I'm really happy to have finally seen F*ke Blood, who I am now a fan of. Everyone else, of course rocked, too! Here are some pictures from that night:

Lightning Love


JRC, pointing

Then despite feeling sorta meh about the idea of going on a Sunday afternoon, I headed to the Lager House to catch Lightning Love, Big Mess, These United States and Great Lakes Myth Society. Arriving at 4 PM to a venue you're used to seeing in the dark is kind of odd, but the good company and good atmosphere soon made me forget. Lightning Love was good (again). Big Mess is totally worth checking out, especially if you appreciate straight up rock and a dynamite bass player. These United States were mellow and had a lot going on. Great Lakes Myth Society played one of the best sets I've heard from them in a long time. And all this happened before 9 PM hit. It was kinda great. Pictures and video below!

Big Mess

These United States

Great Lakes Myth Society

GLMS's biggest fan

What You Should See This Week

Monday 4/6/09 -- The Codgers @Cliff Bell’s (Detroit)

Wednesday 4/8/09 -- Silverghost -- Tweak Bird -- Aran Ruth -- Marco Polio & The New Vaccines @PJ’s Lager House (Detroit)

Thursday 4/9/09 -- Kelly Jean Caldwell -- Sam Lowry -- The Mantons -- Body Holographic @PJ’s Lager House (Detroit)

Thursday 4/9/09 -- Twistin' Tarantulas @The Berkley Front (Berkley)

Thursday 4/9/09 -- Black Jake & The Carnies -- Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful -- Jennie Knaggs & The Sure Shots @The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)

Friday 4/10/09 -- Ezra Furman & The Harpoons -- The Hard Lessons @Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)

Friday 4/10/09 -- Computer Perfection -- The Pop Project -- Those Transatlantics (International Pop Overthrow) @Paychecks (Hamtramck)

Friday 4/10/09 -- The Frustrations -- White Mystery -- Lee Marvin Computer Arm @Belmont (Hamtramck)

Friday 4/10/09 -- Jason Webley -- Black Jake & The Carnies @Trumbullplex (Detroit)

Friday 4/10/09 -- Powertrane -- The Muggs -- Spitting Nickels @The Elbow Room (Ypsilanti)

Saturday 4/11/09 -- The Wrong Numbers -- Invedr -- Misty Lynn and the Big Beautiful -- Matt Jones -- Incisor @The Elbow Room (Ypsilanti)

Saturday 4/11/09 -- My Dear Disco -- Parker House & Theory @The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)

Saturday 4/11/09 -- (Deep Cutz Revue) -- Electric Fire Babies -- Oscillating Fan Club -- DJ Deastro -- Bars of Gold @The Belmont (Hamtramck)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Should Go to This

This Saturday, you have plans. That’s all there is to it.

Here’s why: Two bloggers have started a record label and you’re going to their release party. For FREE. Jay Carroll and Jasper, who run the popular blog Eat This City cooked up Five Three Dial Tone Records back in February by putting together their tax stimulus checks. Their first release is a 7” of “Spritle” by Deastro. This is really exciting for several reasons. One, “Spritle” is exclusive to Five Three Dial Tone’s release, a deal that is pretty amazing when you consider that Deastro’s upcoming Moondagger (June 23) on Ghostly Records is one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year. The B side is “Tree Frog” which is also the last track on Moondagger. Also, the first 25 records will have hand-drawn covers by Randolph Chabot, the brain/spirit behind Deastro, and until recently, the sole member. They will also be on white vinyl and contain a few extra goodies. All of the records will have a CD inside, as well.

Not only will you get a beautiful piece of vinyl, but the performances are sure to be superb. Deastro puts on a frenetic, fun show, filled with lots of synth and good will. Deastro is: Randolph Chabot on vocals, laptop stuff, etc.; Jeff Supina on drums; Mark Smak on guitar and Brian Connelly on bass and keys.

The Terrible Twos are a raucous punk band sure to have everyone slamming into each other before too long. The Terrible Twos are: Danny Bing, Chris Campbell, Jonathan Arthur, Jeffrey Jordan and Craig Brown.

I’m not super familiar with F*ke Blood but I like the 80s new-wave-inspired stuff I hear on their Myspace. Also, Marcie Bolen (of the Von Bondies and Silverghost) is in this band. They are: Steven F. Darson (vox,guitar), Marcie Bolen (bass, vox), Dion D. Fischer (guitar) and Deleano Acevedo (drums, percussions).

I think we all know how I feel about Lightning Love. You’ll want to see them. Trust me.

So, I can count on you being there, right? Good. See you at the merch table.