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Honah Lee “Life Won’t Let Me” Review

The newest addition to the Good Time Gang roster, Honah Lee, are back from the swamps of New Jersey with a new album, entitled “Life Won’t Let Me” (Good Time Gang Recordings). Having put out a split with The Plurals last year, do they go in the same epic and catchy direction or somewhere else entirely? Here’s a review.

This is pretty mid-tempo, catchy and overall good power chord driven punk. The guitars, as on “Bobby’s Dead” and “Leave It to my Goddamn Brain” are sharp and concise. Power chords are their best friends. Played by vocalists/guitarists Tim Hoh and “Dim”, they drive the melodies and add extra an extra kick. The occasional guitar solo is Ramones-esque where it stays within the songs key and melodic range without being too outlandish (they would do Johnny Ramone proud). The bass is punchy and sometimes fuzzed out. It helps enhance the rhythm from just a typical punk rhythm to something else…probably something like if Martin Hannett tweaked a few knobs here and there during production. The bass plays it’s part but also has its own space.

I really like the vocals and the lyrics on this album. Singer Hoh has a hookiness in his raspy voice that’s undeniable. Songs get stuck in your head with nicely placed melodies and “oh ho ho” vocables that make the record such a return listen. The lyrics are great here too. Lots of singing about beer, parties and mid-20s life. On “Bobby’s Dead”, Hoh sings “Gimme something with a badass tempo, gimme something that’ll stick in my head/Gimme something with some real emotion/Gimme something so I know I’m not dead”. This coupled with the “nah-na-na-nah” choruses are great party anthems. I can only imagine a room full of sweaty punks screaming along. This song will be a great live crowd pleaser.

If you’re looking for something that’s mostly uptempo, catchy and a great overall listen, I recommend this. Go pick it up.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: The High Strung and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers

Here is another edition of Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown with The High Strung and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers.

Photo Credit to: http://frequency.blogs.bendbulletin.com

Detroit’s The High Strung have been on the rise in the last few years. Their song, “The Luck You Got”, is the theme song to the Showtime series “Shameless”. They opened for Guided By Voices in Grand Rapids and have been constantly playing shows since their inception. Keep an eye out for them at Midwest Fest as it will definitely not be the last time you hear about them.

Photo credit to: http://www.facebook.com/joehertlermusic

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers have a lot going on as of late. They’re currently recording their new album, due out later this year. They recently recorded a new song, ” that was filmed by LMTV at Elm Street Studios in Lansing that you can see here (along with a few other bands too). Expect Joe and the Rainbow Seekers to blow you away at Midwest Fest.

Lansingmusic.TV and Elm Street Recording Sessions

A few weeks ago, Lansingmusic.TV and Elm Street Recording filmed a slew of bands including Jason Alarm, The Hangers On, The Rival, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers and more. Here are the first batch of videos, edited by Ryan Wert (Elm Street Recording) and filmed by Lansingmusic.TV. We will post the rest of the videos when they become available.

Jason Alarm – “Doppelganger”

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers -”We Are Everything”

The Hangers On – “Abuse Me, Use Me”

Philthy and Amature – “Nate’s Back in Town”

The Rival – “Speedy Gonzales”

Archana – “Getting Away With Faking a Friendship”

Josh David and the Dream Jeans “Can You Believe We Landed On the Moon?” review

So, it’s been a little while since the album release for Josh David and the Dream Jeans‘ full length, “Can You Believe We Landed On the Moon?”. Here’s a review of said album.

The immediate difference between Josh David and the Dream Jeans and every other Lansing band that I’ve encountered is their front man, Josh David. When he performs with the band live, he goes wild, strangling himself with the mic and running around in his underwear. This live presence translates well to the record. David screams at the top of his lungs (and surprisingly) has the occasional bit of melody seeping out, like on “Tall Paul Rides Again”.

I really enjoy the lyrics on this album. They’re quirky yet meaningful. “Aware of the Riverman”, about fellow Lansing-via-Seattle friend and musician, Johnny Unicorn, mentions Unicorn by name. “His name’s John Benjamin Adams but you can call him Johnny Unicorn” David scowls. It’s really great that David is paying tribute to such a great friend in song. “Capitol City 2-Step” is about David’s hometown of Lansing, MI and the pride he has for the city and the mitten state. “Lansing Michigan’s where I call home” he screams.

Guitars here are noisy, dissonant. Blasts of noise and feedback occur frequently as well as power chords that chug throughout the album. Guitarist Nich Richard shreds with little regard for the well being of the instrument (or his own well being for that matter). The occasional solo happens but they’re kicked out fast. The bass, played by Michael Boyes, is audible and usually follows the guitar lines. Boyes reaches toward the top of the neck occasionally, adding a bit of dissonance on the low end too. The drums (played by Christian Urabazzo) are tight and fast. Usually following the hardcore 1-2 snare downbeat, they keep things moving.

My only complaint is with the length of the album. 14 songs at (mostly) under two minutes, with little changing musically throughout the album, can make it hard to sit through. My favorite tracks are “Capitol City 2-step” and “Aware of the Riverman”. I encourage full listen straight through to see what sticks with you but, in my mind, only a few tracks stand out. That’s not to say that all of the other songs are sub-par. It’s just that 14 tracks on a punk rock record is a lot to sit through.

If there’s an album that makes you think of old school Michigan punk (like The Meatmen or The Crucifucks), it might be this record. Regardless of what it makes you think of, check this out here.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Chris Bathgate and Stepdad

LMTV is back with more profiles of bands that will be playing the 2011 edition of Midwest Fest at Rubble’s Bar in Mt. Pleasant, MI. This time around Chris Bathgate and Stepdad are profiled.

Chris Bathgate

Photo credit to facebook.com/chrisbathgate.org

Having released Salt Year to critical acclaim earlier this year, Ann Arbor based singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate is ready to take Midwest Fest 2011 by storm. He, along with MW Fest friends Frontier Ruckus, are bringing a resurgence to Michigan’s folk scene, adding an indie rock twist to their tales of Midwest landscapes. Before MW Fest, you can catch Bathgate at The Ark in Ann Arbor later this week on Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15.

Stepdad

from Midwest2011.com

Grand Rapids, MI’s Stepdad, with their hit song “My leather, my fur, my nails”, have been on the rise after forming in Chicago and relocating to Grand Rapids in 2009. They have been hard at work on tour as well as just having finished the recording of  their debut full length. Having played Midwest Fest 2010, those who attended will know what to expect from a Stepdad show but newcomers may be in for a surprise.

The Plurals/Frank and Earnest “Funemployment” Split 7″ Review

So, the Good Time Gang has finally entered the world of vinyl with a split 7″ featuring The Plurals and Frank and Earnest with two songs a piece. About damn time!

Here’s a review.

The bands alternate tracks here, starting with The Plurals’ “The Best Years of My Life Were in College”. The song features everything you can expect from The Plurals: throaty melodic singing, tight instrumentation, noisy guitars and thumping bass. Bassist/vocalist Nich Richard’s signature line here is “Who gives a fuck about tomorrow?/Who gives a fuck about today anyway”. The song just kind of feels average. Nothing special; a good song but given the band just put out a full length, it just has B SIDE written all over it and rightfully so. Not a good or bad thing. It just is.

The next track by The Plurals fronted by vocalist/guitarist Tommy McCord, “Summary of Your Life”,  has a lot more going on than the previous track. McCord’s vocals are pretty standard. Melodic yet screamy; tuneful yet oddly stoic. Backing vocals by drummer/vocalist Hattie Danby and bassist Richard are a nice layer and counter to McCord. The song features lots of guitar textures from lone guitar notes feeding back to scratchy, high end wails and sawing guitar chords. “I recognize I’m not the one” is the chorus line here.

Frank and Earnest’s side of the split features two of my most favorite live tracks to hear from them at shows, “Turning Pipe Dreams Into Pipe Realities” and “GTG Fest”. McCheese’s humbucker guitar lines slice through the more solid chords of Hassenger. The drums are tight and the bass pushes the song along nicely. I really like the dueling vocal between McCheese and Hassenger as well. Hassenger sings “I don’t want a life of fame and fortune/I just want a world without the torture of politics, overtime, the red and black on the bottom line/World with borders and boundaries out of sight”. Hassenger thinks it could be his “pipe dream” while McCheese counters in shouts, “Fuck your pipe dream/it will never be your pipe reality”. The mental story in the song is really intriguing. It gives you a sense of the second thoughts we all face in our daily lives and our directions in life.

The second track by Frank and Earnest, “GTG Fest”, is a short and fast song about the Good Time Gang festival, GTG Fest. One of my all time favorite lyrics is in this song. The line “forget about tomorrow/this is where I wanna be” describes how I feel when I go to a great show, hanging with lots of friends having the time of my life. It’s that feeling when you walk away from the show just absolutely blown away and you’re living in the moment. It’s that feeling when you know you’ll never forget what you just witnessed. As heavy as I’m describing that one lyric, the song is short and sweet, which is apt. It can’t be too long or it loses its power. The power chords and single note guitar lines crunch and chime along. During the chorus, drummer Ryan Horky kills the bass drum and smashes the cymbals. A great song that describes a moment in time that you’ll never forget.

Overall, The Plurals side is a good set of songs but given that they just put out a full length, the songs have B side written on them. Nothing bad about that, it’s just the way it is. Frank and Earnest’s side features some live favorites on tape. Great lyrics and awesome instrumentation although hearing and seeing the songs live makes them even more special. Go pick this up here.

Lansingmusic.TV’s take on Inflatable Best Friend fiasco

Hi,

My name is Sean Bradley. I am the creator of Lansingmusic.TV. I have read many of the comments on our website and have been keeping up with all of this. The Strutt and No Fun House’s Sean Hartman wrote a very detailed and thorough analysis of how No Fun House as a venue was effected and how he plans to change No Fun House as a result. There are a few things that I would like to offer as advice to you all that has helped myself personally as well as the scene as a whole in Lansing.

Go out to shows that you wouldn’t normally go to. If you’re a diehard punk rock fan, challenge yourself and go to a hip hop show. If you’re a hip hop person, go to a punk show.  Go to shows in different cities if you can. Objectively speaking, the scene in Lansing is very diverse and almost every night there is something going on. People in any city, generally, are open minded and nice if you take the time to be personable. All it takes is the effort to want to talk to people and be interested. It’s a lot easier to sit there, arms crossed and be boring than it is to go out and talk to people and make new friends. The payoff with the latter, however, will be enormous for you personally and, if you’re in a band, exponential. You make new contacts, which gets you more shows, which leads to more fans, etc. It can only help you to go out of your comfort zone and meet someone new.

The other piece of advice (and the most important) is this: start something like Lansingmusic.TV in Kalamazoo (or whatever city you live in). We film interviews with bands, film live sets, music videos, acoustic sessions, studio sessions, etc. I’ve met so many cool people and made many new friendships because of Lansingmusic.TV. If something like this were to start in your area, it has to cover ALL kinds and styles of music. No music can be left out. If all different styles are covered and everyone has a chance to shine, it can become a new platform other than the traditional media outlets to show what your city has to offer musically. Invest in high quality equipment, get grants from local arts councils and your city. Any way you can to obtain the resources you feel necessary to convey your city’s music in the most positive light possible.

That’s what it should be about: promoting the scene for the betterment of the scene itself and not about who’s most popular or how to keep your spot or to advance your own career. You don’t get somewhere without the help of someone else. Getting others involved in whatever your passion is, is the best and most positive thing that anyone can do. It’s about community in the most basic sense. Help each other out, because you know you would want the help too if given the opportunity.

Let me know your thoughts on what I have to say. Spread this to your friends. Quit talking about how to change the scene and start doing it.

Thank you,

Sean Bradley

Inflatable Best Friend interview

We interviewed Inflatable Best Friend a while back. Check them out at the Grand Ledge Skate Park Benefit this Saturday with Jason Alarm, The Cartridge Family, Frank and Earnest and a ton of other bands.

 

Lemuria interview with Lansingmusic.TV

In this audio interview, Alex Kerns, Sheena Ozzella and Max Gregor of Buffalo, NY’s Lemuria talk about touring with Against Me!, songwriting, the response to their new album “Pebble” and much more.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Josh David and The Dream Jeans to release full length

Local punk band Josh David and the Dream Jeans will be releasing their first full length this Friday at Mac’s Bar in Lansing, entitled “Can You Believe We Landed On The Moon?”. Frontman (and reason for the band’s namesake) Josh David says there was never a master plan when it came to recording an album or even with the band itself. “ For the album or the band, just keep playing and writing and see where it takes us. I personally wanted to play as much as I could locally and go on tour and record a full length” David said.

The band, which began in 2009, was David’s way of being an active member of the Lansing music scene. “I had wanted to start a band for years, basically ever since high school. There were a few almost-projects that never quite panned out. Eventually I got tired of dicking around and watching all my friends make music while I sat on the side lines” he said. After David asked friend, drummer and “stunt monkey” in local rowdy punk The Cartridge Family, Matt Norton, to start a band with him, Norton had one condition. “‘If you get me Nich Richard, I’m in” recalls David of Norton’s request.

David says Richard, whom at the time he says he “barely knew”, surprisingly said yes to David’s offer. The band became complete when Good Time Gang Records co- founder Tommy McCord’s cousin Michael Boyes joined the band on bass. From then on, once a week, every week was spent jamming and writing songs. “Every week at practice we would come up with a fake working band name to use like “Scream Of The Dog” and “Pointless Dismemberment” (which I liked so much I turned it into our first song). One day The Dream Jeans made it into the rotation and stuck, then Nich added my name to it because they think it’s funny that I have three first names (Joshua Daniel David)” he said.

After playing countless live shows in and around the Lansing area, David and the rest of the Dream Jeans began to cultivate plans to record their songs. These plans were slightly altered when original drummer Norton quit the band, only to be replaced by friend Christian Urabazzo. “ We were going to do an EP since we only had like 8 songs. So we recorded those songs, then Norton quit” says David. After Urabazzo joined the band, demos began to circulate while the band were on tour and at home playing local shows.

Finally, in March, the band recorded their debut album “Can You Believe We Landed On the Moon?”. David says the recording sessions were pretty relaxed saying “it’s just  four dudes hanging out with their friend Tommy, who just happens to be recording them” he said. The sessions had their heated moments but mainly because of David himself. “I’m a little high strung, a little intense. I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to the band” he admits but says the band is about compromise. “I have a vision in my head, but the band isn’t just me. There’s four of us and once you stop being flexible problems arise” he said.

David said that although McCord recorded and mixed the band’s album, he thinks it stands apart from other sounds you might find on the GTG roster. “One of the things I like about GTG is that they have a wide array of bands on their roster, and that no two bands sound the same” he said. David says McCord has a basic recording approach but adjusts it to meet a particular band’s vision or sound they want to capture. David feels that their vision was captured just as equally as other GTG releases.

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