Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: The Shoutaways, Newday Dreamers and Morseville Bridge

Finally…the week of Midwest Fest has arrived! Get your tickets here. We finish up our countdown with The Shoutaways, Newday Dreamers and Morseville Bridge.

The Shoutaways

Photo courtesy of The Shoutaways Facebook page

Midland’s The Shoutaways are making their first appearance at Midwest Fest. With an indie swagger and a ’60s bubblegum pop swing, their songs, like “Deep” are infectious. They’ve played shows all across the state this summer. You can find songs like “Deep” on their self-titled EP available here.

Newday Dreamers

Photo courtesy of the Newday Dreamers Facebook page

Mt. Pleasant’s Newday Dreamers have unique sound, which combines a powerpop energy with blues, jazz and swing. I recently got the chance to see them perform at Rubble’s and it really enjoyed what I heard. This three piece are also young, having graduated high school earlier this year as well. Look for them to wow you at Midwest West.

Morseville Bridge

Photo courtesy of the Morseville Bridge Facebook page

This one man band from Flint is making his first appearance at Midwest Fest. His lo-fi recordings and his indie/punk live shows should be a great and unique experience for Midwest Fest goers. He also incorporates folk elements into his tunes. Check him out at Midwest Fest.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Yoke and Ghost Heart

Midwest Fest is less than a week away! Get your tickets and have a great time. We’re profiling Yoke and Ghost Heart this time.

Yoke

 

Courtesy of the Yoke Facebook Page

Midland’s Yoke (aka Andrew Tamlyn) produces ambient, “chillwave” music but the difference between Yoke and all the others is that he uses a guitar and a few effects boxes and processors and not a multitude of synths. I saw him perform with Wavvy Hands at Rubble’s a while back and I liked that he uses his instrument in a unique way. Making his first appearance at Midwest Fest, his ambient drones and laid back “surf” guitar waves should not be missed.

Ghost Heart

Courtesy of the Ghost Heart Facebook page

 

Friction Records’ four piece Ghost Heart, from Grand Rapids, are making their first Midwest Fest appearance. Songs like “No Canticle” from their album “The Tunnel” are tribal and pulsating on the drums and guitars. Feedback drones as vocal harmonies intersect the instrumentation. You can hear more from them and their album “The Tunnel” on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Bloomill and Ratboy

Short and quick Midwest Fest 2011 previews today (lack of time is the culprit). Bloomill and Ratboy get the Fest-ing treatment here.

Courtesy of the Bloomill Facebook page

Detroit quartet Bloomill have a spontaneous attitude about their music. Sometimes they jam and other times they rock hard but they have a unique chemistry. They put on a great live show, which you can see at Midwest Fest 2011.

Courtesy of the Ratboy Facebook Page

Notre Dame, IN’s Ratboy are newcomers to Midwest Fest. This minimalist two piece consists of vocals and guitar (and, according to their facebook page, “everything else” too). Their blend of summertime folk pop will leave you wanting more.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: The Crane Wives and State Bird

Midwest Fest is coming up in about two weeks and we here at LMTV are extremely excited. Get your tickets here. More counting down with The Crane Wives and State Bird.

The Crane Wives

Photo Credit to Tom Valdez

Grand Rapids’ The Crane Wives are making waves with their infectious brand of indie-folk. Formed in August 2010, they released their debut album “Safe Ship Harbored” on May 12, 2011. Utilizing harmonies and multiple instruments like banjo (which the Grand Rapids press calls the “catchiest banjo you’ve ever heard”), they have been touring non-stop since their formation. Catch them Friday night Sept. 30 at Rubble’s with Bloomill, Empty Orchestra, Jetpack On! and The High Strung.

State Bird

Photo Credit to the State Bird Facebook Page

Hailing from Dover, OH the band relies on heavy and in-your-face guitars with ample feedback supplying the textures. The bass is also just as distorted, adding to the textural rock and roll. The drums are pounding and the vocals are distant yet catchy. Songs like “Ready to Die” are catchy and powerful. Check them out with Yoke, Lightning Love, Phantasmagoria and Stepdad on Thursday Sept. 29 at Rubble’s.

 

LMTV and Bigger Brush Media sessions with Small Houses and Gun Lake

Back in May, we filmed a night’s worth of sessions with Bigger Brush Media filming bands like Elliot Street Lunatic, Gun Lake, Small Houses and a lot more.

The first batch are from Small Houses and Gun Lake:

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Jetpack On! and Elliot Street Lunatic

Midwest Fest 2011 gets more coverage from LMTV with Jetpack On! and Elliot Street Lunatic getting the treatment this time around.

 

Photo courtesy of the Jetpack On! Facebook page

Jetpack On! have pop hooks a plenty, with a radio-ready rhythm section on call. This band, who are reuniting for Midwest Fest 2011, are pop rock at its finest. A little jagged around the edges but not enough to turn away your ears. Songs like “Do It Again” emphasize the poppy experimentation that the band blends together so well. For being a three piece, they have a huge sound. Be sure to see them at MW Fest this year.

Photo by Christian Frarey

Elliot Street Lunatic have had a wild 2011 thus far. They’ve played countless shows across Michigan, including opening for Atomic Tom back in February. In May, the ventured out to Colorado and Arizona for awesome shows. In June, they recorded their second album with Casey Crescenzo of the Dear Hunter, which will be released later this year. Having seen the band multiple times, each time has gotten better and better. If you have yet to see them, please do yourself a favor and see them on the last night of Midwest Fest.

Honah Lee Q and A by Claire Lea

This Q and A, by local writer Claire Lea with Honnah Lee, comes a few months after the band released their newest album, “Life Won’t Let Me”, on Good Time Gang Records.

The lights arise and the band starts playing the crowd erupts in cheers that sounds as if they had been old friends when really this music belongs to the growingly popular Trenton New Jersey band Honah Lee.
With a new CD released in collaboration with Good Time Gang records, they are turning heads and gaining more recognition for there upbeat, slightly bitter lyrics.
Honah Lee has been a band since 2008 however the individual band members have held a residency since long before then. Tim Hoh lead singer of Honah Lee along with Anthony Catanese drummer (also known as Tony or Goggles) have been in many bands together since 1998. The pair had been in the band Philo before forming Honah Lee. while touring with the band they had met and became great friends with Lansing locals The Plurals, in which they had stayed in touch with for many years.
Also while in Philo they had obtained bass player Jim who they found while playing with his band Moscow girls. Jim stayed with the guys through the change of name, new lead guitarist Dim, and a revamped sound. What the name Honah Lee had meant to the guys hadn’t been clear. However, when looking up the definition of it, urban dictionary had given a very helpful explanation of what Honah Lee meant and it seemed to explain the band very well in a few mythical words: “The land that is home to Puff the Magic Dragon”.

How was the name created?

Tim Hoh: we had our first show booked as the new band but still had no name after two months. one day ant showed me a paper plate that he had wrote HONAH LEE on and I immediately loved it!! but I was the only one, and when it got down to the wire and we needed something to put on the flier I convinced everyone to be on board with the name.

Anthony: Beer

So you guys have been to Lansing a few times.. how are your feelings on our great city?

Anthony: If it has a vagina or, and this a big or, had a shaved a-hole…. I’d bang it

Tim Hoh: We consider it our home away from home!!! by far the most welcoming city we travel to!!!

Dim: I have been in Lansing about two or three times now with Honah Lee. Every time is awesome almost as if it were a homecoming hosted by some of the friendliest, most appreciative, and independent- minded folks Iv’e ever had the distinct pleasure of knowing.

Where would you like to go with the band?

Anthony: The bar.

Tim Hoh: Everywhere.

Dim: I would like to take over the world if that’s possible!

How do you feel about the new album compared to other ones?

Tim Hoh: I think this album is the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, I feel that for the first time someone managed to capture Honah lee on record, for the first time our live energy shows on a record.

A few last notes from some of the guys:

Jim: I let these guys answer the questions, and they did a great job, so I’m going to treat you with a haiku:

Honah Lee’s in town!
Shit, god damn! They fuckin rock!!
Better recognize.

Anthony: p.s. I’m not on five hits of acid right now.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Phantasmagoria and Empty Orchestra

LMTV’s Midwest Fest 2011 coverage continues with profiles on Phantasmagoria and Empty Orchestra.

Photo Credit to Doug Coombe

Phantasmagoria are a indie/electronic band from Detroit that The Metro Times of Detroit says are “hard to pin down”. In preparation for Midwest Fest 2011, the band will be playing Rubble’s Bar in Mt. Pleasant on Aug. 25. They are making their first appearance at Midwest Fest.

Photo Credit to the Empty Orchestra Facebook page

Empty Orchestra, from Flint, are making their third appearance at Midwest Fest. Meaning (literally) “karaoke” in Japanese, the band brings a raw, Tom Waits-esque blues/indie mix to the Mt. Pleasant festival. The band recently completed a new 7″ record. Be on the lookout for these guys. They’ll impress you.

Electric Six headline The Loft on 9/16

I conducted a Q and A with Electric Six front man Dick Valentine in preparation for their headlining show at The Loft in Lansing on Sept. 16 with Kitten and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers.

From the Facebook event page

Q: Electric Six are going on tour in Sept. to support the Oct. release of the new album, “Heartbeats and Brainwaves”. You’ll be playing Lansing on Sept. 16. The band originated in Detroit in the mid-90s. Is this the first time you’ve played in Lansing? What is Electric Six’s history with Lansing and mid-Michigan.

– Well, the original lineup of Electric Six played Mac’s a couple times in like ’97 and ’98. I remember thinking that I was “on tour” because I was finally playing a show that wasn’t in Detroit. And once we got going as a professional touring outfit, we’ve played several shows over the last 7 years or show either at Temple Club or at Small Planet. Lansing’s always been good to us.

Q: The new songs like “Hello! I See You” and “It Gets Hot” show a lot going on musically. The drums are really dance-able, the guitars are heavy and rocking and the synths add a disco-like texture to the songs. What was the goal, musically, for this album?

– We set out to make a much more synth-heavy album and that was really the only idea we had going into it. This is the first album we’ve ever done where every single song was written as we recorded it. Every other album had at least one song that was written before the recording started. So this one was really just a fun process of throwing a bunch of stuff out there and seeing what stuck.

Q: How did the songs come about this time around? Was the songwriting a collaborative effort?

— Everyone in the band submits demos and I go through them and see what I gravitate towards lyrically. That’s one way of doing it. Other songs come about by just fusing ideas between two or more band members. The song “Eye Contact” was a total collaboration between me and Johnny Nashinal that basically just happened out of the blue and within 15 minutes we had a song.

Q: What inspired the lyrics this time around? Were there any particular events in between albums that inspired the lyrics?

– Inspiration for lyrics is completely random and unfocused. For Psychic Visions, I just happened to be walking by a shop with a bright purple neon sign that said “Psychic Visions”. And the lyrics were written within 10 minutes. Songs like French Bacon and Food Dog were written because I said to myself, “I’m gonna write a song called Food Dog. Then I’m going to write a song called French Bacon.” And then “Hello! I See You!” is a song about realizing the ecstasy of accepting Satan as your master. Which for the record, I don’t. But it’s written from the perspective of someone who has.

Q: In 2003, your song “Gay Bar” became a hit. It’s been about 8 years since then. Have fans and journalists moved past Electric Six being a supposed “One Hit Wonder”? Or do you think people are more receptive to the band than ever before? How do you look back on the song and how it helped you?

– Well anytime we pick up the local rag in the town we are playing, more often than not they reference us as disco sleaze lords or something clearly based on our perception from the first album. But that’s just how it goes. And there are more and more people coming to the shows who are very familiar with our last 6 albums post-Fire, so I would say we are slowly growing out of that perception. Two steps forward, one Gay Bar back.

Q: Your band member John Nash produced the new album. How did he influence the production here? Did you all know what you were looking to create and having a band member producer, only eased that process?

– John’s written the music to some of my favorite songs over the years….Slices Of You, Randy’s Hot Tonight, Table and Chairs. And lately his demos were starting to show that his recording/producing chops were growing exponentially. It was just the right time and right album to give him the reins.

Q: Some of the song titles are bizarre, like “French Bacon” and “Interchangeable Knife” along with the title track. You’ve previously commented that, in most cases, your songs are about nothing. Is this the case here? Do any of the songs have any particular meaning?

Again, the only song really about anything concrete is “Hello! I See You!”. It’s about the ecstasy of accepting Satan as the master. The rest of the songs are loose sketches symbolizing sound and fury and being nothing.

Q: Your live shows are characteristically wild; a big dance party. Do you always try to bring a “party” atmosphere to your shows or does that atmosphere happen to follow you?

– That atmosphere happens to follow us. We don’t bring shit.

Q: The record will be released on Oct. 11 with a world tour starting in Sept. in Lansing, MI. What’s it like to play in smaller, more local venues than you’re accustomed to after all these years of touring the world?

– We’ve played venues of all sizes this whole time. Even when were playing festivals and crowds in the tens of thousands in Europe, we’d still find time to play a 200-capacity toilet and “keep it real”. But sometimes we end up keeping it real too many shows in a row and at these times I resume working on my time machine.


Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Lightning Love and Nathan K.

LMTV is back with another Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown, here with Lightning Love and Nathan K., both of whom are making their first appearances at the festival.

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathankmusic

Having seen Nathan K. earlier this year for the first time at Middle of  the Mitten 2011, I was immediately awestruck by him. I loved the live sampling, where his instruments (including a floor tom, tambourine and other instruments) were strewn about, resembling the sprawling chaos that became Nathan’s set that night. Not a bad chaos, however, but a chaos of melody, instrument layering and an eventual noise that engulfed the room. Expect the same kind of visceral excitement at Midwest Fest 2011.

Courtesy of the Lightning Love Facebook page

Lightning Love, out of Ypsilanti, are a three piece indie pop band. Earlier this year, they were selected by Billboard to participate in Billboard’s Battle of the Bands in Las Vegas. The band has been playing gigs all year and hitting up the Midwest. Be sure to check them out at Midwest Fest 2011.

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