Weird Science Q and A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Above) The flyer for the most recent Weird Science show at mac’s bar.

Walter Lucken and AJ Glaub, founders of the Weird Science concert series, talked with me about the series origin, what they hope to accomplish and the diversity of the lineups. The next Weird Science show will be May 5th, 2011 at Basement 414. More details will follow soon.

Q: How did you come up with the concept for Weird Science? How did the
name Weird Science come about?

Aj: Me and walt had a baby, walt gave it a name.

wl: Yeah the concept for the shows pretty much came out of the fact
that I wasn’t really getting a lot of shows and neither were a lot of
acts I knew, and I thought the problem may have been that there just
wasn’t an outlet for music outside the margins of what people in
Lansing are used to, or maybe there was an audience there already but
nobody was filling that void of the intersection between rap,
electronic, and experimental music. So we gave it a shot and it worked
out way better than I expected, at least.

Q: Who else helped develop the concept? Did you have any input from the
musicians you were booking? Or did you already have a clear idea of
what the show would be about?

Aj: The og concept was developed strictly by walt and I as a way to
promote our solo sets with the potential for packed shows with diverse
audiences/line-ups. Jesus Crisis is our personal savior, #1 collaborator an allstar Weird Sci guy.

wl: Yeah, we have input from pretty much everyone who we book on the
show, a lot of people have said they wanted to perform at the next
Weird Science because they were into the concept, which pretty much
confirmed what I thought about a lot of music not having an outlet.
Originally like AJ says it was pretty much just the both of us booking
people who do stuff we like in our respective genres which ended up
kind of putting those two groups together which was great. A lot of
people are supporting the shows and giving us constructive feedback,
for example we’ve made mistakes and been instructed on how to correct
them so it’s not just AJ and I, a lot of people are involved.

Q: The first Weird Science show was last month and since then, there have
been 3 WS events so far featuring artists like yourself (Big Walt),
Jesus Crisis, Loop Goat and more.

What were some of the goals you have from a booking standpoint for the
shows? Do you want to have a consciously diverse lineup or did it
evolve naturally over time as you were booking the artists? How do you
find the musicians that you book for the shows?

Aj: Yes, the mixing of genres is the most important part. It is also
evolving, we are looking to feature more live bands, but rap +
electronics in all their forms is our top interest.

wl: Yeah, for me at least the most important thing is not that we
present music that sounds at all similar but rather music that’s made
with a certain mindset, and that we cultivate a following that listens
to music the same way. So we can put experimental or even more
traditional hip hop in front of people who like noise music and vice
versa and people end up appreciating things they otherwise wouldn’t
have paid much attention to. That’s my focus really, just getting
people to give music outside their comfort zone a chance. To answer
your questions about finding artists it’s mostly people that we’ve
known forever but we definitely look out for people in the area or
even beyond it that would fit, Jesus Crisis helps us out with that a
lot.

Q: From a show standpoint, what were your expectations for the first
show? Did you meet them? Did you surpass them? How have those
expectations changed in the short time WS have been active?

Aj: What I didn’t expect, which is so great, is that everybody’s
always really happy with the diversity and new faces. It feels like
going to a show out of town. As far as expectations changing, WS is
always going to be changing.

wl: We had had a show at Basement 414 which was mostly just all of our
friends hanging out, that was a really great time so the first Weird
Science, which was at Mac’s, mostly had me expecting another smaller
but positive and relaxed kind of thing, but way more people came than
I expected and it was actually pretty hype which was a really big
surprise to me. I would say that my expectations have changed in that
I probably have slightly more positive expectations now than I did in
the beginning because we’ve had such a great reception.

Q: How do you think the audience reacts to shows with diverse lineups
such as WS? Are they intrigued and interested in the show as a result
of the diversity? Or are they kind of perplexed as to its diversity? I
personally think it’s really cool that the lineups are so diverse.

Aj: The best is seeing experimental acts with rowdy crowds, or touring
favorites who normally play for the same people getting a great
audience. No complaints yet.

wl: There’s definitely an open minded contingent of people who pretty
much check out whatever is on, some people come to see one particular
act and go outside to smoke a cig or whatever but as long as they
physically witness the other performances even if they aren’t up front
going nuts I think it’s a step in the right direction. So to answer
your question, definitely both. We try to make the lineups diverse
like I said to get people to consider stuff outside of their comfort
zone.

Q: Do you see WS becoming a staple in Lansing as a showcase of the city’s
musical diversity and artists in general? What do you hope to
accomplish with WS?

Aj: I want all these amazing bedroom musicians and real deal intense
artists to be the NEW HYPE SHIT!!! eastside lansing 4ever baby shout
out to tape woooolff!

wl: I sure hope so, my goals are to scout out more talented people and
also raise the profile of the event so we can attract larger acts
which of course translates into more exposure for the smaller but
talented acts that we look for. I guess to sum up how I feel about
Weird Science I’ve been doing music for a while and a lot of times the
atmosphere is really negative, people are self centered, and the whole
thing just seems really intimidating and hostile. So to me Weird
Science is mostly just a vehicle to help people out and give them an
outlet for their creativity. We’re all friends you know, it’s not that
serious.

Chris Bathgate “Salt Year” Review

Ann Arbor based indie folk singer Chris Bathgate is releasing a new album entitled “Salt Year” soon with a string of shows across Michigan. Find out where you can see Chris and his full live band on his official website.

Here’s a review of “Salt Year”.

Brimming with the same bottled up, lyrically driven but musically dynamic ethos as other Michigan bands Frontier Ruckus and Nathan K., Bathgate’s approach to folk music is a breath of fresh air. He concentrates on the musical side of his songs as much as the lyrical side. On the opener “Eliza (hue)”, he sings “Was it sacred? Did you scream out?” as pianos drip and coalesce into a emotional landscape filled with warbling strings and steady drums. The flourishes of electric guitar are nice to hear as well.

This record is very different than many of Bathgate’s contemporaries. Instead of just relying on the same set of instruments that tend to make up the Michigan indie folk scene (ie banjo, acoustic guitar, saw, etc), Bathgate takes it a step further. He includes those instruments, sure, but he uses them in ways that separate him from his peers. On “No Silver”, a cranking, clock-esque sound pushes along which brings to mind images of the Midwest working class towns of Michigan. “I ain’t got no silver/I ain’t got no gold” he sings.

Experimentation continues with “Levee”. As an electric guitar hum builds, the floor toms are pounded with an almost African rhythm. The drums jump from the left channel to the right and back. This gives the song a push and a feel of intensity amongst the quiet acoustic guitar and drums back in the distance. The use of electric guitar on this album makes it stand out. More often than not do bands try to go for an “authentic” feel by only using acoustic instruments. Bathgate embraces electric guitar as a weapon in his songwriting arsenal. On “Borders” the electric guitars’ textures and bits of distortion are something that I’m glad he put on the song. It gives the song a spontaneity and cleverness.

The production on this album is also something that I really love. As I mentioned before, the mixing is very distinct. Drums float in the background, like a kit is drifting at sea while it’s being recorded. The acoustic guitar and banjo are quiet yet powerful. The use of the electric guitar is my favorite part of this album. It’s very refreshing and its use is very different and nice to hear in a scene dominated by acoustic guitars. I recommend this album.

Coolest Dude In Sunday School Song #7 “Sometimes”

P.H.I.L.T.H.Y is back with his newest “Coolest Dude..” leak with “Sometimes”.

“Sometimes ” is the seventh installment of P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. and KuroiOto’s “Coolest Dude In Sunday School” fan appreciation leak series. The song “Sometimes” is a message to all of us to fight through the dark days and low times we go through, by appreciating the simple things in life. This will not only make us happier but help us in continuing to take strides towards always fulfilling our purpose.

Download here or here or listen below

 

Coolest Dude In Sunday School Song #6 “P.H.I.L.T.H.Y”

In the latest edition for their fan appreciation leak series “Coolest Dude In Sunday School,” P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. eschews elaborate concepts to drop a solid display of verbal gymnastics over a dark banger by KuroiOto. Here are a few words that P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. had to say about the leak.

“While we are on this journey called life, sometimes we forget who we are or what we’re moving towards . This weeks leak covers a lot of the thoughts that run through my mind as I chase my dreams and try to fulfill my purpose. I hope you all enjoy this song, and I hope you all enjoy your Journey.”

Download Here or listen below

 
 

Year 200x – “Life Force Theme” [Metal Cover] at ShutoCon 2011

Here’s another Year 200x video from ShutoCon 2011. Here they cover the NES game Life Force.

Mustard Plug – Go

Day 4 of Video-A-Day brings us Mustard Plug playing to an energetic crowd at Bermuda Mohawk Fest at Mac’s Bar in Lansing, MI. This was Mustard Plug’s 1484 show!

More Mustard Plug available here.

Year 200x – “DuckTales (The Moon Theme)”

We had a great time at Shutocon this past weekend. and Year 200X joins us on our third day of our video-a-day spree with a song from their performance at Shutocon. Enjoy their cover of The Moon Theme from DuckTales.

Lansing bands to keep tabs on in 2011

So, I’ve decided to post up a list of the bands I feel are currently making waves beyond Lansing and will be bands to look out for in the near future.

Cavalcade

Lansing’s self-proclaimed “weird metal” pioneers, Cavalcade, have been making a name for themselves with their psychedelic, sludgy, metal and avant garde stew they call music. The band recently completed a string of shows in Texas with Phil Anselmo’s sludge supergroup Down and plan to release their new album “Dear Entrails” on his HouseCore records. With the metal horns raised, things are looking up for this band of musical misfits (…I mean geniuses).

(Photo by Kim Nastal)

Elliot Street Lunatic

With new rock leanings and a tighter sound than ever before, Elliot Street Lunatic, are poised to bring their brand of spacey and epic rock to the masses. Having recently announced that Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter will be producing their new album, the band has stepped up their live game. They will be going on a May tour that includes stops in Flagstaff, AZ and Denver, CO. After this trek, the band will head to California to record with Crescenzo. From there, the band’s future will be a bright one. (Photo by Christian Frarey)

The Plurals

The flagship band of Lansing’s Good Time Gang records, The Plurals, are releasing a new album in May and they are currently on a west coast tour. Exposing their brand of noisy and poppy cacophony to new audiences is a goal for this veteran Lansing band. Recent live shows at Mac’s Bar in Lansing and at Mulligan’s in Grand Rapids have shown that their new material is their strongest yet. Songs like “Conifer Oberst” and “Queensy” show their ability to ply hooks to distorted, crunchy goodness. Their noisy side is just as good, with songs like “I May Not Be a Smart Man” featuring the trademark wails of Nich Richard and the let-loose guitar of Tommy McCord. Hattie Danby is on top of her game as well behind the kit. Look for this gang of good timers to hit your ears soon.

Cheap Girls

Catchy hooks, driving guitars and a killer rhythm section are just a few of the things that make Cheap Girls a band to look out for. Recently coming off a month-long tour with punk heavyweights Against Me! and a trip to South By Southwest, their new songs they’ve been playing have ignited this band to near-superstardom. Songs like “Pacer”and “Pure Hate” draw on the influence of 90s poewrpop bands like Superchunk and Buffalo Tom but Cheap Girls are definitely not a rehash of these bands. Guitarist Adam Aymor adds a flare and flourish to his playing that is full of energy. Singer/bassist Ian Graham lays down the nearly stoicly emotional vocal overtop quiet basslines and brother Ben Graham plays the drums with a punk intensity and a pop swagger. The band will be going on tour with Lemuria in July and August to Europe, further solidifying their rising stars. (Photo by Ryan Russell)

The People’s Temple

The inaugural Lansingmusic.TV interviewees, these 60s-inspired garagey kids have been making strides, if not waves, as of late. The People’s Temple and their debut album, Sons of Stones, hits Lansing with a record release show on Saturday April 9th at Mac’s Bar. Swathing with reverb and old-school rock and roll vibes, this album is one not to be missed. The band recently completed a jaunt to Texas for South By Southwest, where they played the HoZac Records showcase. (Photo by Allie Dunn)

Jason Alarm

Coming out of Grand Ledge and bursting into Lansing, these epic and heavy synth-punks mean business. Currently writing their debut album, Jason Alarm are also constantly playing shows to hone their new sounds. Amidst a lineup change in February, the band soldiers on. Songs like “Your Radio” are epic, catchy and complex. Ever since I picked up their debut EP Engage, I knew that this band would have something to offer down the line. With plans to tour in the summer, the band hopes that new listeners will be attracted to their self-proclaimed “power new wave”.

Frank and Earnest

Their EP, “Old Francis”, was named the Lansingmusic.TV Album Of The Year. You might think the band has a lot to follow up on…and you’re right. Catchy-as-hell pop punk is a specialty of these Lansing, MI self-proclaimed “stupid guys”. Their new songs, like “Paul 4″ and “GTG Fest” are super catchy, the guitars are epic and the rhythm section is tight. It’s no secret that I love Frank and Earnest and with shows coming up with Mixtapes and The Smoking Popes, I hope new listeners will fall in love with the band like I did.

P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.

Currently in the midst of his “Coolest Dude in Sunday School” release series, the emcee is redefining and leading Lansing hip hop. Along with his crew, The Blat Pack, he has helped to push Lansing hip hop to new levels. With new songs from his “Coolest Dude..” series emphasizing experimentation with samples and a can-do attitude, these songs are something to check out. He also released a collaboration with The Amature back in August called “Whatupdoe From Blat!”. Keep P in mind when you think of Lansing hip hop. (Photo by Jake McGeorge).

Narc Out The Reds

If there’s one Lansing band on this list that can blow out your eardrums, it’s these guys. Along with the heavy and crushing guitars, the vocals (by singer/guitarist Chris Baratono) are crooner-esque and the rhythm section is killer. The band recently recorded with Detroit music legend Jim Diamond and are working on new songs for future release. I recently reviewed their “…Are On the Run EP” and I hope after reading my review, you go and check out this offering.

Frontier Ruckus

Michigan’s folk troubadours, Frontier Ruckus, are making huge strides across the world. Recently, the band played a coming-home show in Lansing. They will be touring Europe in May as well as the US later this year. Their 2nd album, Deadmalls and Nightfalls, was released last year to critical acclaim. They are working on new songs for later release and we here at Lansingmusic.TV can’t wait for them. I’m sure you can’t either.

Nasty Nyne – “A New Day”

Day two of our video-a-day marathon featuring Nasty Nyne.

You can find more of Nasty Nyne’s music here and purchase this track here.

Frontier Ruckus Unplugged – “If the Summer”

Matt Milia and Davey Jones of Frontier Ruckus perform an acoustic set at MSU’s Landon Hall. This is one of the only performances with Matt playing the piano, so be sure to check it out.

If you missed our interview with Frontier Ruckus earlier this year, you can find it here.

For more info on Frontier Ruckus, check out their website, http://www.frontierruckus.com/

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