Music of Mount Pleasant: Newday Dreamers

So, I (Sean) have been in Mount Pleasant going to school at CMU since last August. In my time here, I’ve discovered a few great bands worth talking about. Mount Pleasant isn’t a town to sleep on. Although the scene may be small, it has some great artists and musicians. I’ll be doing a weekly series profiling local musicians here.

First up is Newday Dreamers.

The band is: Micah Bracken, Cody Armstrong, Ryan Heisler and (recently added member) Adam Marth.

Forming in 2008, the band has been making more waves in the last couple years. They played Mount Pleasant festival Midwest Fest last year at Rubble’s Bar. They’ve also played countless gigs at Rubble’s as well as Kaya Coffeehouse and Tea Co. With a sound encompassing indie pop and rock, the band can pull off a slower song but can also crank it into high gear. They played the 2012 edition of the Middle of the Mitten showcase and, at another show, an entire set of Talking Heads songs in East Lansing recently. Their song, “Cars”, is an excellent example of their technicality and skill as songwriters as well. The band have been playing more and more gigs outside of Mount Pleasant at places like Mac’s Bar in Lansing and even playing a gig soon down in Ypsilanti at Woodruff’s Bar. “Cars” is also in rotation on 91.5 FM in Mount Pleasant and 88.9 The Impact in Lansing as well. Expect great things from this band in the future.

Check them out on Facebook, Tumblr and Bandcamp.

Cheap Girls “Giant Orange” review

Cheap Girls released their newest album, “Giant Orange”, in February on Rise Records. Here’s a review of the album, also available to read via Central Michigan Life.

The third time seems to be the charm for Lansing’s Cheap Girls, releasing their newest record “Giant Orange” on Rise Records in February. Using that phrase, “third time’s a charm,” implies they missed the mark on their first two albums, 2008′s “Find Me a Drink Home” (Quote Unquote records) and 2009′s “My Roaring 20s” (Paper and Plastick records), but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Produced by Tom Gabel, frontman of Florida punk band Against Me!, immediately makes a difference on the band’s signature brand of power-pop. On their first two albums, everything about the music sounds a bit flat in comparison to the recordings on this new effort. On “Communication Blues,” guitarist Adam Aymor uses power chords to his advantage. The single note crawl heard throughout the song sounds just as crunchy as the power chord barrages during the choruses. Every guitar riff on the album sounds crisp, loud and heavy like a bag of bricks.

The rhythm section, via brothers Ben Graham (drums/backing vocals) and Ian Graham (lead vocals/bass), is incredibly tight and efficient. Ben uses each hit to push the song forward to its natural conclusion. The cymbals sound fresh and inviting, and the kick drum and snare add a subtle but powerful punch. The bass is a little low in the mix for my tastes. It’s there, but it’s sneaky — pretty swallowed up by the guitars.

Wordsmith Ian Graham uses a bit too many on this album. On previous efforts, Graham wrote a lot of shorter verses with shout along choruses that are a blast to belt away to live. Here, the lyrics can be quite a mouthful. The chorus for opener “Gone All Summer” is “I’ve been gone all summer and I think it’s for the great good.” Not necessarily a bad thing, but different from Ian’s previous lyrics, which takes a bit of getting used to. I’ve been listening to the album non-stop for a little more than a week and still don’t have all the lyrics memorized. I will soon though.

All in all, Gabel’s production brings out the best in the power trio. Aymor’s guitar sounds incredibly powerful and is a perfect transition to what they sound like live. The rhythm section is extremely tight, yet has a natural swagger. Ian’s bass is quiet, almost too much so, but it works. His lyrics are a little wordy, but worth the multiple listens to decipher. I highly recommend this.

First update in a while.

Hey all,

We apologize for the lack of updates in a long while. We’ve all been really busy with school and work but we plan on getting some projects going for the summer. We’re still working on our public access show, airing on Comcast Lansing channel 12 if you wish to check it out. If you miss it on TV, you can also check out our most current episodes here:  http://vimeo.com/channels/266805. Those are some excellent pieces of work featuring bands like Year 200X, Way To Fall, Elliot Street Lunatic, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers and a lot more.

We will be getting a lot done this year. Keep your ears and eyes open for us.

Sean Bradley

-Lansingmusic.TV

‘Secret Identities’ CDs now in GTG store; New Quilted Attic session online

“Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing” is now available in the Good Time Gang Records webstore for $7 ($5 + $2 shipping). If you missed out on the release show, this is now your first chance to pick up the album. Do so here.

In other news, a new clip from last year’s Bigger Brush Media-Lansingmusic.TV collaborative Quilted Attic Session is now online. This clip features Philthy performing his song “Sometimes” in the Quilted Attic. View it here:

Sometimes – P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. – The Quilted Attic Sessions from Bigger Brush Media on Vimeo.

 

‘Secret Identities’ release a great success; CDs available at FBC, Record Lounge soon

The release show for “Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing” was a great success. Thanks go out to Tommy McCord, Cale Sauter and the whole GTG Records and Bermuda Mohawk Productions crew for putting in the hours of free time and dedication to this project. Thanks also go out to all the bands for just participating; that in and of itself is a great honor.

Thank you to Mac’s Bar for hosting the show and Scott Bell for running the door.

Thank you to everyone who purchased a CD and/or a poster. I greatly appreciate that and the bands do as well. I hope you enjoy it.

The CDs will be available the Flat, Black and Circular and The Record Lounge, both in downtown East Lansing, sometime next week. I will post when they have been delivered to their respective locations. They will be on sale for $5 at these shops.

They will also be available at the Good Time Gang Records website sometime next week as well. I and they will let all of you know when they’ll be available for purchase (and for how much) soon.

Thanks again to everyone and look out for Secret Identities: Issue #2 on the horizon.

“Secret Identities” CD release tonight; Impact broadcast online

The “Secret Identities: Lansing Cover Lansing” CD release is tonight! Be sure to get there early as Tommy Plural is going to be starting right around 9pm. Mac’s Bar. $7 cover. Be there.

Our interview from last night on The Basement is online to listen to at our Press page. The Press page link is found in the upper right hand corner of the homepage.

Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing to be released Friday

This Friday the first compilation (and co-release with Good Time Gang records) from Lansingmusic.TV, entitled “Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing” will be released. You can stream all of the tracks at the bandcamp page.

The release show will be this Friday Jan. 6 at Mac’s Bar in Lansing at 9pm. It’s an all-Lansing lineup with Frank and Earnest, Small Houses, American Gothic, Cavalcade and Tommy McCord (of the Plurals) playing solo. It’s going to be a great night of Lansing music so come on out! RSVP to the show here.

Lansing Noise published a story on the compilation, which can be read here. Thanks so much to Anne Erickson for the write-up.

Sean will be going on 88.9 The Impact “The Basement” this Thursday from 8pm-9:15pm to talk about the compilation. Local music writer for the Lansing City Pulse, Rich Tupica, as well as GTG records co-founder and compilation participant, via The Plurals, the Break Ups and Drinking Mercury, Tommy McCord will also be in attendance to talk about the compilation. Following our stint, Lansing hardcore band American Gothic, who covered the Fix’s “Signal”, will also be on to talk for the latter half of the show.

LMTV Album of the Year

So, it’s been another year of great Lansing music, as well as music from all around the state. As an FYI, this year we will be including other non-Lansing, but mid-Michigan, nominees for the Album of the Year award.

Let’s go through some of the best albums released in 2011 by some of Michigan’s best artists and bands.

Chris Bathgate “Salt Year” (Quite Scientific records)

Released in April, “Salt Year” is a great slice of Michigan indie folk. From my review, “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.”

Good Weather for Airstrikes “To have our hearts emptied, to be left as we came” (self-released)

I absolutely love this album. I love the lyrics, via singer/guitarist James Raddick, which are all-together confident and passionate yet sad and melancholy. I love the post-rock instrumentation. It’s not necessarily the most innovative approach to post-rock but what they play, they play well and with great energy and enthusiasm. From my review in Central Michigan Life (which you can read here): “What I really love about this record are the lyrics written and sung by Radick. He’s honest and heartfelt. He puts real emotion into his voice. On “25 years tomorrow” Radick sings “But maybe this is what’s best for all of us/To have our hearts emptied, to be left as we came” with the most heart wrenching emotion and sincerity you can’t help but sing along. It’s honesty to its core.”

Small Houses “North” (Good Time Gang records)

“North” by Small Houses (aka Jeremy Quentin) is a quiet and beautiful record. The best pure folk record to come out in 2011 by far. From my review: “Less is more with “North”. A song like “Late July” with its subdued vocal by Quentin, quiet acoustic guitar melody, ringing piano chords and lap steel guitar, has more than a few musical elements but holistically they act as one quiet, emotionally subdued piece.

I’ll end my list of the “Best of the Rest” there but certainly there were a lot of other great records that came out in 2011 by bands like Josh David and the Dream Jeans (“Can you believe we landed on the moon?”), Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts’ (“self-titled”), Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers (“On Being”), Honah Lee (from New Jersey but their album “Life Won’t Let Me” was released on GTG Records this year).

….and the 2011 Lansingmusic.TV album of the Year is: The Plurals “The Plurals today, The Plurals tomorrow: A Futurospective” (Good Time Gang Records)

I first saw The Plurals play in June of 2010 at Basement 414. It was loud, chaotic, noisy and funny all at the same time. After hearing their second album “Whatevers Forever”, I instantly loved their pop hooks and distorted,  crunchy guitars melding together to create a humble Midwestern noise-pop fusion indebted to Husker Du and The Replacements but augmented by the boy-girl vocal take via drummer Hattie Danby, Tommy McCord (guitar/vocals) and Nicholas Richard (bass/vocals). I knew this band was something special.

When their third album, “Futurospective: The Plurals Today, The Plurals Tomorrow”, was released in May I knew the pop hooks and noisy guitars would still be there. Upon my first few listens, I was torn as to how to think about the album. On one hand, it felt like they were all comfortable with their respective songwriting roles in the band (Hattie singing the quieter songs, Tommy taking leads on the rocking songs and Nich screaming his lungs out on the noisy, short tracks) and it felt like the same old, same old. But after Ryan Horky reviewed the album for Revue mid-Michigan, saying how the album was what The Plurals had been ready to make for years and how it was the record that perfectly translated their live show, I knew he was right.

Horky’s review was the turning point for me. “La la la” is the perfect introduction. It’s fast, Ramones-esque and all consumed by poppiness and hooks. “Crush” continues this pattern. The guitar riff is instantly catchy; you’ll be humming along for days. The noisy guitar tones serve a purpose, helping to conceptualize the lyrics about the mixed feelings of having a secret crush on someone. The best Lansing song of 2011 is “Free Burd” with its quiet and introspective intro (McCord sings “All I can think about is that your guitar is not here for me to play”) then the thoughts burst into song as, later, McCord belts out for a good 10 seconds. This definitely impressed me and it’s a great moment on the record overall. My favorite moment on the record, though, is the second verse section. I love the intensity and energy brought to it. It’s unrivaled and incredible. Richard adds his raspy, gruff response vocal of “I’ll keep you warm” as McCord warmly and assuredly sings “After the storm”.

The album’s closer “Happy Songs” is a wild and adventurous song, to say the least. At first, it might sound like a standard, rough pop-punk song. McCord and Danby’s backup vocals add to the poppiness and the guitars are rough and edgy. Once you get toward the end, though, it changes drastically. Richard goes on a stream-of-consciousness rant, saying “I’m going to go off my prepared notes for this song” and “trying to convey the human spirit, trying to make you understand. Be clever and witty and fun and all at the same time but poignant” he says honestly. As this diatribe is going on, McCord’s guitar is let loose with feedback as Danby keeps the beat. This epic section ends with Richard screaming “I want a freaking pepsi so bad I could die!”. I love that. It’s one of my favorite lyrics ever.

There you have it. The LMTV album of the year. I really enjoyed this year in Michigan music and am definitely looking forward to 2012. See you then.

Sean Bradley

-Lansingmusic.TV

Scotty Bell’s top 5 of 2011

Scotty Bell, talent booker for Lansing punk rock label Bermuda Mohawk Productions, gives us his top 5 national records of 2011.

5: Off! –First Four EP’s.

Track you must hear: “fuck people”.

4: Bomb the Music Industry – “Vacation”.

If you’ve ever written this band off before, this is not the record to continue doing so.


3: Touche Amore  - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me

The intensity of this record and urgency that Touche Amore puts back into hardcore is unparalleled. Made me a believer again.


2:  Waka Flocka Flame -Flockaveli

Did this come out in 2011 or 2010?.. I dont even care.. because “Hard in da Paint” has gotten me through more slow days and situations where I needed motivation than any other song out there. (For the record, Scotty, this came out in 2010)


1:  Young Jeezy’s “Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition”

The most important TRAPSTAR in the game delivers against with the hardest beats and realest rhymes.


Nasty Nyne “Higher Learning” review

Lansing rapper Nate “Nasty Nyne” Winters (now living in Bakersfield, CA) released his album “Higher Learning” almost a year ago to the day. Before he left, he was performing all around Michigan and called Lansing his home. Check out this review of “Higher Learning”.

Starting us off is the slow, R & B tinged “A New Day”. Full of sparse synths and wah-tinged warbles, the drums are mellow and add keep the song grounded. The lyrics here, delivered at an almost talking pace, have a, yet again, chilled and mellow drawl. “Just another day/I make another dollar/Money comes and goes but we livin’ larger” he raps with a naturally gruff yet melodic singing slant. The production on the album varies throughout. Some tracks have an R & B pulsation to them and others have an almost Synthpop production style with horns being used via a synth (“Corners”). Another song, “Higher Learning (Magic)”, uses an acoustic guitar riff loop, which helps keep the listener on their toes.

The lyrics on the record don’t deal with a whole lot, mainly smoking marijuana, drinking vodka and, oddly enough, school. Winters attended Lansing Community College while here in Lansing and it’s had a more real and positive effect on his lyrics and outlook. While the outright lyrics about smoking weed (Winters seems to favor grape flavors) are pretty common within hip hop, the fact that he’s writing about school is something you don’t hear very often. On “A New Day” he raps “I did good on my finals G/two 4s and a 2 but I can’t complain/My GPA rises like gas prices”.

The album seems to wear a bit thin as it moves along as the lyrical content becomes a little tiresome. The production also gets a little tiresome after a while. I do like this record but only if I’m in the mood for it.

You can check this out (and pay your own price for it) here.

-Label: Hot Stacks Music

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