The Record Lounge’s top records of 2011

Heather Frarey, owner of East Lansing record shop The Record Lounge, was kind enough to provide us with her lists of favorite local and national records of 2011.

Local:


1. Frontier Ruckus- Dead Malls and Nightfalls: This was just a great follow up to the 2008 release The Orion Songbook. From the music that just blows you away with the arrangements as well as the stellar song writing. In this short span of time they have went from a great local Michigan folk band to a worldwide success in the Americana/Folk genre. (This album was re-released on vinyl in 2011 by Lower Peninsula Records)

2. Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers- On Being: This came out later this year and Joe really showed what a great song writer he is.
This music is indie at its best and I expect them to really blow up in 2012.


3. Gifts or Creatures- Pilot House: Husband and wife Brandon and Bethany Foote along with the likes of Seth Bernard and Trevor Hobbs and many other contributors really blew me away with this awesome folk cd. The production as well as all the different instruments that was used in this just shows that attention to detail results in a great cd!!

Here are her national picks for 2011:

Top 10 lp’s 2011

10. Toro Y Moi- Underneath The Pines : One of chillwaves best artists. This lp has great upbeat tracks that almost sound as if they were taken from some of the best pop songs of the 70′s. Great lp to put on, on that great summer day!

9. Battles- Gloss Drop: From the members Helmut, lynx and Don Caballero, brings their 2nd lp that blend great experimental rock w/ some math rock and New Wave thrown in. Fantastic lp!!

8. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues: These guys kept their blend of Folk/Americana rolling with this album. Although the first lp was better all around this does not disappoint.

7. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks- Mirror Traffic : Singer / Songwriter of the band Pavement brings us yet another indie / alt album that is great and this was also co-produced with Beck.

6. Kasabian- Velociraptor: 1st Full length since 2006′s Empire( also had an ep in 2009) This lp brought them back in a major way, in the UK but failed to chart here in the States.reat mix of Brit-pop/synth and new wave.

5. Tame Impala- Inner Speaker:Australian psych/chillwave band who’s awesome lp got me through the long slow summer!!

4. The Horrors- Skying: UK band who takes 80′s/90′s goth, garage and shoegaze to another level!! These guys are huge in the UK and are just starting to break through here in the States. For fans of The Kills, Vaccines, Editors, also Joy Division and Bauhaus.

3. Black Keys- El Camino: This follow-up to 2010′s Brothers lp keep their brand of lo-fi garage with catchy hooks alive well into 2012.

2. Mastodon- The Hunter: Prog-Metal Gods bring it with this tribute to guitarist Brent Hinds brother who died unexpectedly while hunting. I never really listened to this band until this lp and have since made them one of my faves.

1. Tom Waits- Bad As Me: This was Waits 17th lp and the first that consisted of completely new material since ” Real Gone” in 2004.
This lp really brought a great gritty , bluesy vibe and showcased his unique vocal style.

Rants by Ryan Horky: “Self-Titled” by Edible Intention

Edible Intention: S/T
(Good Time Gang records/Silver Maple Kill records)

Ryan Horky comes back to LMTV with a review of Edible Intentions’ posthumous self-titled release. Check it out!

This is a posthumous release from a Lansing, MI band that was active from roughly 2007-2010. Once they got outta the practice space they were basically the house band for the Lansing art-space/all-ages show collective Basement 414. If you lived in Lansing at the time and were remotely plugged into the local punk scene you probably saw these guys a thousand times. I’m not sure they ever got outta town. They played a pretty intense mix of free-jazz informed Stooges wail and Minutemen anything-goes stomp. This album was recorded near the tail end of when they were active and sat on the shelf for a while until the all-around good folks at Good Time Gang Records decided to release it (and Lansing label Silver Maple Kill records pressing it up). I was pretty curious to hear this. As much fun as an Edible Intention show was, they could turn into a hot mess of noise pretty quickly. (Not an insult, by the way….) I wasn’t sure their sound could be translated to disc. Producer Tommy McCord did a great job of making them palatable without sacrificing the noise quotient. The vocals are definitely an acquired taste (and they’re mixed suitably low) but I dig ‘em anyhow. Even if you can’t take the caterwaulin’, the guitars are pretty raunchy in a Melvins/Nuggets kinda way and the songs are short and varied enough to hold your attention. The cover artwork totally reminds me of an early 90′s SST release. (You know, it looks sort of awesomely terrible.) I don’t think this CD would necessarily have the same impact on anybody who wasn’t around to catch ‘em in their prime, but it’s still well worth checking out if you’re into more adventurous (but still way rockin’) sounds.-

Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing CD Release Show

The Secret Identities CD will be released on Friday January 6, 2012 at Mac’s Bar at 9pm with an exclusive release show.

Admission is $7. CDs will be $8.

Each band that performs will play their respective cover during their sets.

Bands scheduled to perform include:

Frank and Earnest (playing Mystic Shake’s “Woman Like That”)

Cavalcade (playing Small Brown Bike’s “The Cold”)

American Gothic (playing The Fix’s “Signal”)

Small Houses (playing Jen Sygit’s “Marshall St.”)

Tommy “Plural” McCord of The Plurals (playing Flatfoot’s “The Crawl”)

LMTV interview with Opeth’s Fredrik Akesson

Lansingmusic.TV’s Sean Bradley talked with Opeth guitarist Fredrik Akesson before their show in Detroit at St. Andrew’s Hall on Saturday Oct. 29.

We talked about Heritage, his role in the band after 4 years in the band and more!

LMTV collaboration with Elm Street Studios on Lansing Public Access

Lansingmusic.TV’s collaboration with Lansing recording studio, Elm Street Recording, will be airing on Lansing public access Comcast channel 12 soon! We’ll let you know exactly what time of day the show will be on the schedule.

 

Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing

Lansingmusic.TV will soon be releasing its first compilation in tandem with our friends at Good Time Gang Records. It’s called Secret Identities: Lansing Covers Lansing. It features The Plurals, The Break Ups, Drinking Mercury, Fields of Industry, Cavalcade and more. I’m working on a release show for the CD. The CD’s Facebook page is here. Please stay up to date on the compilation via the website, Facebook and our Twitter page. Stay Tuned!

Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts “Self-Titled” review

Kalamazoo’s Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts will be releasing their new self-titled album with a release show in Lansing on Nov. 17 at Mac’s Bar with Husband&Wife and Narc Out The Reds. The album will be released on vinyl by Lower Peninsula Records.

The band is Jake Simmons (guitar/vocals) along with Matt Blasco (guitar/keys), Ben Bojanich (bass) and Ian Cooper (drums).

Here’s a review of their album.

I love power-pop and this record splits the word right down the middle. Simmons’ guitar playing is simple yet crushing. The power chords on “The Bridge” punch right through you while the single note slices right through you in the chorus. He’s a regular killing machine with the axe (wow, puns). During the verses the guitars are pulled back in the mix but during the choruses they’re out in full force. The acoustic guitar bits add some texture to a great rock song. That’s what this band does well: good old fashioned rock and roll.

“Chloe” ups the pop factor with high pitched “oohs” from Simmons, showcasing his versatility as a vocalist with a gruff yet soulful voice. His croons get stuck in your head for days. I also love Cooper’s drumming. It’s really fun and simple; gets you moving. “Long Hair” is a fun song as well with its interplay of acoustic and electric guitar parts as well as Simmons’ layered harmonies. The band’s ability to equally complement their pop stylings (Simmons’ crooning and melodies) with the live, electric atmosphere of punk rock (fuzzy, distorted guitars and a great, energetic rhythm section) is astounding.

The production and recording (via John Krohn of Lower Peninsula Records) makes the record have a polish that doesn’t take away from the live, organically powerful atmosphere. The polish in this case reminds me of 1950s doo-wop groups and hit factory record labels like Motown Records. Every instrument has space but not enough to draw your attention toward a particular one. It, again, is a great balance of powerful instrumentation and pop sensibilities.

More LMTV collaborations with Elm Street Recording

More and more videos of our collaborations with Lansing based recording studio Elm Street Recording have been popping up as of late. Here are a few of them.

Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts “The Bridge” live at Elm Street Recording

 

Silk Filled Stilts “Long Live the Miscreants” live at Elm Street Recording

Way to Fall “Last Chance” live at Elm Street Recording

The Thornbills “Square Peg” live at Elm Street Recording

Drinking Mercury “Orcades” review

Drinking Mercury, by far the oldest Good Time Gang records-affiliated project at over 10 years old, has finally put out their first full length entitled Orcades. Here’s a review.

Opener “Grateful Day” has reverberated drums pulsating and guitars that sound like they’re planets away as swathing guitar fuzz dominates the left channel. “Barely Strung”, the following track, features loud (but not too overbearing) guitars and Michael Boyes’ distinct warbly falsetto. He even belts out some screams toward the end. “Pretend” has a Sonic Youth feel to it. Vocalist and guitarist Tommy McCord takes the lead vocal here. He doesn’t sound all that inspired and the track just feels a bit lackluster. I’ve heard a lot of the tones that they’re putting to tape on this track.

“Saydene” is by far the album’s standout track. I love the main guitar line here. It’s the audio equivalent of a Wild West duel. A swagger, sincerity and brittle toughness envelope the track via Boyes’ vocal and the excellent and dissonant walking bassline via Timmy Rodriguez. “Hey, Hey Sally” is also a great track. As I noted in my review of Drinking Mercury’s “Words” EP, I love Boyes’ vocal here. The version found on Orcades a re-recorded version which has a more “live” feel to it and Boyes’ vocal is more intense and dynamic.

Check this out for yourself here.

 

 

Small Houses “North” review

Small Houses‘ new full length, “North”, is a great record to listen to on a walk by yourself. It’s quietly beautiful and subtle, drawing on elements of classic country, top 40 country, indie rock and traditional folk music and even gospel music with a cover of “I and My Maker” by Jeremy Cassar. That’s not to say Jeremy Quentin, the man behind the Small Houses moniker, rehashes these styles. Quite the contrary. Songs like “Country Flowers”, with their whimsical banjo (courtesy of Frontier Ruckus’ Davey Jones) and mandolin (courtesy of Chris Bathgate) compliment Quentin’s choked up yet tuneful vocal delivery perfectly.
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.
Even when more sounds are added, like on the title track, such as cymbal crashes, lap steel guitar or backing vocals on top of banjo, acoustic guitar and slide guitar, everything is mixed perfectly. The cymbal crashes sound off in the distance and the backing vocals are warm and soothing. Just because more musical layers are added, doesn’t mean the music can’t still be ethereal, quiet and beautiful.
The fastest track on the album, “In the Lawn”, draws on hoe down rhythms and a catchy violin melody alongside female backing vocals by Samantha Crain.
I had seen Small Houses perform in Brooklyn, NY in May by himself along with an acoustic guitar. I really enjoyed the intimacy of the performance and the album captures that atmosphere to a tee.

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