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Inflatable Best Friend “DMT Bike Ride” review

Kalamazoo’s Inflatable Best Friend are releasing their first full length soon, called “DMT Bike Ride”. They’ve been on a few tours and plan on going out west again this summer. They’ll be releasing the album with a couple release shows around Michigan. Check this release show out in Lansing soon.

Here’s a track-by-track review of their record.

Inflatable Best Friend is: Ian Howell (drums), Austin McQuarter (bass) and Tanner Boerman (vocals/guitar)

Spiritual Journey to the Gas Station: With a constant, droning fuzzed out guitar raging for the majority of the song, I get strong Sonic Youth vibes from this song. I like the production on this. The drums are up front in the mix so the guitar isn’t overbearing. Smart move there. The drums play the same beat over and over (for the most part). They’ve studied post-punk a bit. Interesting lead-off here.

I Wanna Ride a Sabertooth: The fuzz continues among a dance beat now. The vocal is very clean. Contrasts with the noisy guitar. The only lyrics are “I wanna ride a sabertooth” (or some variation on this). More lyrics please. I like the beginning of this song with the driving beat and fuzz bass. That’s cool. But it’s just kind of repetitive.

Moon Flower Soul: A guitar line that’s not overly noisy? I like it. But then it goes back to it’s old ways and definitely sounds just like a Sonic Youth swirling, flailing guitar. Nothing new. Boerman sounds a little like SY guitarist Lee Ranaldo when he sings. The guitar, even with all the noise, has a bit of melody coming out of it. It’s not all just noise (sometimes).

Blood Surf: Sounds a lot like the previous tracks. I get a bit of a goth/post-punk vibe from the vocals this time. Still the same fuzzed out bass and noisy guitars and cycling drum parts. More instrumental on this track than vocals. A subtle difference but not really enough to keep me interested.

Apis Mellifera: A clean guitar intro. Just as I thought it was staying the same as before, I changed up a little bit. Good to hear. Sounds a little like Lansing’s Cavalcade. Maybe in the same headspace. They’ve played shows together so maybe their sound rubbed off on IBF’s a little? Too much reverb on the vocals. Can’t really understand them. This got weird real quick. Sounds like they literally are messing with the tape speed on the guitar. Really cool move there. Almost down a similar path but took a few interesting turns.

My Dead Bird: Fitting. Begins with sounds of chirping birds. A lot more lo-fi this time around. I can actually hear the vocals: “His face was melting/flew into the sun/A thousand miles per hour/I heard him scream: ‘this feels like fun’”. A slowed down part with a reverberated “Now He’s Gone” plays side-by-side with a clean guitar part and marching drums. I’m starting to hear a bit of diversity on this album.

Brisk Steel Sun: With a psych-rock intro and a slowed down tempo with noise flashes here and there, it sounds like Blue Cheer with Thurston Moore on guitar. Noise yet rocking. Steady tempo on the drums. Vocals are too reverberated and far away in the mix to hear them intelligibly. The noise seems to be contained in a steady, hard rock mode. It’s easy to follow as opposed to other tracks. Another bit of diversity.

Swiss Cheese Brain: A clean, melodic guitar intro?! With a Dinosaur Jr.-like distorted and melodic guitar. More fuzz bass. The vocals don’t kick in until almost half way through the song. Again, more instrumental than vocal. Same old, same old.

Circus Dog: Sonically different than the rest of the album. Everything sounds like it was recorded separately (as opposed to the in-the-same-room feel as the rest of the album). Overall a lot more clean. Vocals have a lot of reverb on them. “Circus dog/you are my circus dog” Boerman sings. No fuzz bass this time. Reminds me of Kool Thing by Sonic Youth. These guys loooove Sonic Youth.

Thistle Girl: By far the noisiest track on the album. A cacophony if there ever was one. Then a tempo and mood change. Classic rock and ’80s alternative rock seeping through here. Kind of a tiring experience now having to listen to so much fuzzed out bass and noisy guitar. One track to go.

Worm Battle on DMT Mountain: Again a noisy track. Noisy guitar. Fuzzed out bass. Pounding drums. Same. Again.

Overall Thoughts: I got tired of the noisy guitar after a few songs and the production (in particular, the drums) never really changed. The places it did, I liked. I liked the occasional venture into clean guitar parts and some of the singing was alright. Next time, a bit more lyrics (and more thought into them) would be better. Experimenting with that on their next record might be the way to go while still harnessing their noisy exterior. I like what I hear but it can be a bit repititive and combersome. If you’re a fan of ’80s alternative and noise rock (Sonic Youth, Big Black) or even Lansing, MI band Cavalcade you might like this. Check it out here and go to their album release shows.

 

 

 

 

Lots of shows coming up in Mount Pleasant

Sean here.

I’m back in Mount Pleasant for school and there are a ton of shows coming up in town over the next few months I’m really excited about and you should be too.

Check it out:

Rubble’s Bar is located at: 112 W. Michigan St., Mount Pleasant, MI

Hunter’s Ale House is located at: 4855 East Blue Grass Road, Mount Pleasant, MI

 

Thursday Jan. 17

Thursday Jan. 24

Saturday Jan. 26

  • Detroit indie-dance band Flint Eastwood play Hunter’s Ale House with Farwell’s Delightfuls and Mount Pleasant’s Benthos opening.
  • 9:30 p.m./FREE for 21+ and $2 for anyone 18-20

Friday Feb. 8

  • Grand Rapids ska band Mustard Plug play Rubble’s Bar with Lansing’s Decades and Mount Pleasant’s Ugly Broads opening.
  • 10 p.m./21+/$7

Saturday Feb. 16

  • Grand Rapids band The Soil and the Sun play an all-ages show with Mount Pleasant’s Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Moses and Newday Dreamers opening.
  • 8 p.m./Ticket prices TBA

Friday March 22

  • Detroit indie band Bars of Gold play Hunter’s Ale House with Grand Rapids band Empty Orchestra and a local band to be determined opening.
  • 9 p.m./FREE for 21+ and $2 for 18+

Be apart of the Lansingmusic.TV Band Database: Here’s How

Bands, singer-songwriters, rappers, instrumentalists from all genres in Michigan! I (Sean) am updating and expanding the LMTV Band Database page and want your band or act to apart of it.

Here’s how you can get your band listed on our site:

Send an email with the following information to lansingmusictv@gmail.com. Please include in the Subject Line the following: LMTV Database and your band’s name

1. Please attach a most recent photo of your band

2. The band’s genre (please do not say “Other” or something similar)

3. The first and last names of members of the band along with the instrument and/or vocals each member plays

4. A few of the bands your band has played with (can be both local and national acts, and preferably bands similar to your style)

5. Links to your band’s social media sites and/or band website

 

Thanks!

Decades release new music; Bermuda Snohawk 2012 compilation released

photo courtesy of Decades' Facebook page

Lansing, MI powerpop band Decades have released a couple new songs entitled “Grand Haven” and “Come In” on their Bandcamp. Check them out and download them for free.

Elsewhere, the 2012 edition of the annual Bermuda Snohawk compilation has been released by Bermuda Mohawk Productions and Good Time Gang Records. Featuring parodies of Carly Rae Jepsen (by none other than Foxy Rae Jepsen), the recent Paul McCartney and Nirvana collaboration “Cut Me Some Slack” entitled “Smells like Wonderful Christmastime List” along with a few traditional Christmas songs and a few covers, this compilation never disappoints. Check that out here.

2012 LansingMusic.TV Album of the Year

Sean from LMTV here. This year has been quite the busy one for Lansing music (and Michigan too). Now it’s time to choose the Album of the Year for 2012 (maybe the last one ever (if the Mayans are to be believed). Well, here it goes: The LMTV 2012 Album of the Year is….

Having reviewed Fisherking’s past releases (2 Songs and the Forget It EP) and seen the band play a few times, I’ve followed the Lansing band’s progress in the last two years. Finally releasing their first full length album entitled Ghost independently earlier this year at a rare small club show with Ceremony at Mac’s Bar, the album does not disappoint.

From my Central Michigan Life review earlier this year:

“I am the ghost/The lonely soul,” are the opening lines of their first full length album, which is being distributed primarily through their Bandcamp page but will have a limited physical release at their show with California punk band Ceremony in Lansing at Mac’s Bar on Thursday Sept. 20.

Those and other honest, emotional lyrics make this record stand out. On tracks like “Conflicts Reside” Holmes sings “I don’t speak my thoughts/instead I bottle them up,” and “I know I can’t hide forever/I just don’t know what to say.” On “The Difference,” he yells “You know, you don’t really have to scream/You know you don’t really have to be the center of attention.”  I love his lyrics. I think many of us can relate to them.

The music, though, adds a backbone to his lyrics. That’s not to say the music here is boring. Quite the contrary. On multiple listens, there are many time changes, a couple slow and quiet sections and even a bit of experimentation. On the track “Giver,” where Holmes’ vocal sounds like it was recorded through a bullhorn. There’s also a guest appearance by Zach Smith, of Kalamazoo band “Ackley Kid” on the track “Defeat Me”. Smith’s voice takes the anger and amplifies it to the maximum. When both of them scream along to a chaotic aural scene of crashing blast beats and guitars, it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Even the track list itself is subtle. Listening to the album from beginning to end, the listener hears a bit of musical continuity, which has made me keep the record on repeat for days. Listen to it from beginning to end and you’ll know what I mean.

I love this record for its under-the-surface musical complexity. The album makes subtle, successful attempts at breaking away from the hardcore mold, while staying within it. Post-hardcore tendencies abound here. It satisfies a strict hardcore listener while giving other more adventurous listeners a treat too.

Three months later I still find everything I said above to be true. The record resonates with me on a personal level, but it’s the intensity, hidden experimentation and brutal honesty I love about this record. Vocalist and bassist Ryan Holmes lays it all out lyrically, exposing his innermost thoughts in a form in which he’s most comfortable. He comes across as getting these thoughts off his chest rather than scared to do so. He’s yelling most of the time and it fits the music perfectly. Guitarist Ben Jenson adds to the intensity all the while being creative in certain areas too. Post hardcore isn’t lost on this trio. Even if the hardcore tendencies shine through, the post hardcore leanings are just below the surface.

Check this out here.

AMP Magazine artist spotlight: Craig Horky

Check out this artist spotlight via AMP Magazine on resident Lansing artist Craig Horky. He’s designed many a poster for shows across Michigan, nationally and even internationally. He designed the artwork for the Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing album too.

 

Fisherking “Ghost” review

Here’s a review I wrote of Fisherking’s new album, “Ghost” for Central Michigan Life, which you can also read here. Go see them play with Ceremony at Mac’s Bar this Thursday 9/20. Get tickets via Fusion Shows. Pick up the album for a pay-what-you-want price here.

Courtesy of the Fisherking bandcamp page

Lansing’s Fisherking has put out a record I can’t stop listening to. It’s hardcore punk to a tee; singer and bassist Ryan Holmes’ yelling vocals, blast beats and lightning fast one-two snare/bass drum combos from drummer Alex Corey and heavy, crushing and punctuating power chords from guitarist Ben Jenson. The songs don’t venture past the three minute mark. It’s quick and to the point.

And man, does it make a point. A few to be exact.

“I am the ghost/The lonely soul,” are the opening lines of their first full length album, which is being distributed primarily through their Bandcamp page but will have a limited physical release at their show with California punk band “Ceremony” in Lansing at Mac’s Bar on Thursday Sept. 20.

Those and other honest, emotional lyrics make this record stand out. On tracks like “Conflicts Reside,” Holmes sings “I don’t speak my thoughts/instead I bottle them up,” and “I know I can’t hide forever/I just don’t know what to say.” On “The Difference,” he yells “You know, you don’t really have to scream/You know you don’t really have to be the center of attention.”  I love his lyrics. I think many of us can relate to them.

The music, though, adds a backbone to his lyrics. That’s not to say the music here is boring. Quite the contrary. On multiple listens, there are many time changes, a couple slow and quiet sections and even a bit of experimentation. On the track “Giver,” where Holmes’ vocal sounds like it was recorded through a bullhorn. There’s also a guest appearance by Zach Smith, of Kalamazoo band “Ackley Kid” on the track “Defeat Me”. Smith’s voice takes the anger and amplifies it to the maximum. When both of them scream along to a chaotic aural scene of crashing blast beats and guitars, it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Even the track list itself is subtle. Listening to the album from beginning to end, the listener hears a bit of musical continuity, which has made me keep the record on repeat for days. Listen to it from beginning to end and you’ll know what I mean.

I love this record for its under-the-surface musical complexity. The album makes subtle, successful attempts at breaking away from the hardcore mold, while staying within it. Post-hardcore tendencies abound here. It satisfies a strict hardcore listener while giving other more adventurous listeners a treat too.

 

 

Lots of news: New Fisherking album, The return of the Livingston Underground, more

Lansing’s Fisherking have a new album called “Ghost” which is available for a pay-your-own-price download here.

From the Livingston Underground website

The Livingston Underground is reborn in Livingston County. The group, consisting of bands and promoters looking to open a full-time performance space in Livingston County, is re-launching with a show on Nov. 10 at the Howell Performing Arts Center (Howell PAC), the home of Bledfest.

Bands scheduled to play include Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Good Weather For Airstrikes, Endeavors, The Deep End, Quicksand Swimclub and more.

Take a look at this short documentary about the group’s rebirth to find out more about the upcoming show and how you can get involved.

Bomb the Music Industry’s Final Lansing Show Now Available To Stream **Live Set Now Available for FREE Download**


NY punk band, Bomb the Music Industry, played their last Lansing show on Wendnesday. I recorded the show and now it’s available to stream below. **EDIT: The live set is now available for FREE download at the same page**

I also realized something. I think all of the ID tags of the songs’ titles just say “Vacation” and not the actual song titles. Here’s the setlist. Song titles with a slash between the two mean that they are on one track.

Just in case that’s true, here’s the setlist:
Campaign For a Better Weekend
Everybody That Loves You
The First Time I Met Sanawon
All Ages Shows
Sorry Brooklyn, Dancing Won’t Solve Anything
493 Ruth
Vocal Coach
I Don’t Love You Anymore
The Shit That You Hate
Hurricane Waves
Even Winning Feels Bad w/ Bulls on Parade (Rage Against The Machine cover) interlude
Everybody That You Love
Saddr Weidr
Can’t Complain/Wherever You Are
Syke! Life is Awesome!
Don’t Destroy Yourself
Jobs Schmobs

Decades talk touring, forming the band, influences and more

Photo courtesy of the Decades Facebook page.

Decades, a new band formed by Matt Waterman and Damon Depew from the ashes of former Michigan bands Jason Alarm and Clear Blue Ska, respectively, played Bomb the Music Industry’s final Lansing show. They talked with me (Sean Bradley) about their recent 2-week East Coast tour, their songs, forming the band, plans for the future and more.

You can listen to the interview below.

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