Posts Tagged ‘Cavalcade’

2013 Michigan music roundup Part 3 of 3

The final part of the Lansingmusic.TV 2013 Michigan music round up is here! Check out part 1 here and part 2 here. Here’s to a great 2014 in Michigan music.

Small Houses “Exactly Where You Wanted to Be” LP

Now a resident of Atlanta, Ga., previously a resident of Philadelphia, Pa. and before that, a resident of many Michigan cities, Jeremy Quentin, aka Small Houses, released a great followup LP to 2011′s North this year. Similar to Frontier Ruckus or Chris Bathgate, Small Houses carries a midwestern ethos wherever he’s located.

From my Central Michigan Life review: ““Oh, Hiding Out” starts the record off with lush guitars, sharp harmonica and unusual anthem-like vocals during the verses. “Saint Louis isn’t gone/No, it’s hidden and waiting in my voice,” he sings with volume and conviction.

Without any drums to be heard on the record, Quentin relies on instruments such as an acoustic guitar, piano and his voice to effectively tell the stories his songs convey.

“Sarah’s Song” is a standout track. With the piano providing the hook, it’s reminiscent of New Jersey, Springsteen-influenced punk band The Gaslight Anthem. It has memorable vocals and powerful piano chords that stick in your head with a heck of a hook.

“You were exactly where you wanted to be,” he sings on “Our Sweet,” a track which has storytelling at its finest.”

Frontier Ruckus “Eternity of Dimming” LP

Metro Detroit’s Frontier Ruckus released the massive and expansive “Eternity of Dimming” 20-song album back in February. They then toured the U.S., Europe, played many a summer festival including Lollapalooza then toured again, this time in the midwest and east coast. Ever the workhorses, they’re already working on a followup LP.

Full of intimately specific lyrics (all 5,500 or so of them), this is a great record if you just want to get lost in a sea of localities, memories and emotions. Songs like “Dealerships” and “Eyelashes” show why this band will continue toward more and more success.

Jahshua Smith “The Final Season” LP

Now living in Washington, D.C., Jahshua Smith, a member of Lansing-based hip hop collective Blat! Pack, released a great hip hop LP called The Final Season in February. With high chart performances on the CMJ hip hop chart, look out for more from him in the future.

From my Central Michigan Life review: “With cameos from a who’s-who of Michigan artists from Joe Hertler (on lead track “Seven Year Itch”) to fellow BLAT! Pack members Philthy, The Amature, Yellowkake and Red Pill, the diversity shown in the featured artists is just as diverse as the production on the tracks themselves. “Seven Year Itch” features Hertler’s soulful crooning on the chorus, while “Carry On/The Ark” features Philthy’s lisp-laden flow.

Smith’s lyrics range from the political to the personal, with a party track thrown in here and there. On “Censored,” he raps about making it to college “but still had to wait for Uncle Sam to split the bill.”

It’s a bit of a stream-of-consciousness, pointed diatribe with a bit of hope tied to it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel here.”

Cavalcade – Dear Entrails LP

After founding vocalist Zak Warren parted ways with the band and recruited Wastelander’s Sean Peters to take on vocal duties, Cavalcade, Lansing’s “weird metal” champions came back in May and June in full force. The band had a busy second half of 2013: They released two albums worth of material (“Dear Entrails, …” and “15 Year Dog Plan“) on their Bandcamp and, later in the year, played the Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, Texas and released a 7″ record, their first physical release in half a decade.

If I were to pick an Album of the Year for 2013, this would be it.

Here’s a little bit about their “Dear Entrails, …” record, from my (quite lengthy) LMTV review:

“An album about failure never sounded so successful in its vision. The self-described “weird metal” band have been combining disparate genres like avant, jazz, sludge, doom and even traditional instruments like tuba and saxophone since at least 2006 and here, after releasing their debut album a few years ago, finally show what their twisted vision is capable of.

“Agents of Bolivian”, with a backwards guitar effect in the intro, puts Cavalcade’s sound in an angular, skewed template. Guitar solos that could fit on a modern day thrash inspired-metal record clash with tuba and glockenspiel, although the latter is minimal while the overall tempo here is sludge and doom-inspired but maybe a little bit faster.”

Cavalcade “Dear Entrails…” review

After almost two years of languishing in development hell after being recorded for release on Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records, Lansing’s Cavalcade have finally released their second studio album “Dear Entrails…” on their Bandcamp page.

Cavalcade, on this release, is: Zachary Warren (vocals), Cale Sauter (guitar), Craig Horky (bass, backing vocals), John Bruce (drums) and Brad Van Staveren (guitar).

Here’s a review of their long overdue sophomore LP.

An album about failure never sounded so successful in its vision. The self-described “weird metal” band have been combining disparate genres like avant, jazz, sludge, doom and even traditional instruments like tuba and saxophone since at least 2006 and here, after releasing their debut album a few years ago, finally show what their twisted vision is capable of.

“Agents of Bolivian”, with a backwards guitar effect in the intro, puts Cavalcade’s sound in an angular, skewed template. Guitar solos that could fit on a modern day thrash inspired-metal record clash with tuba and glockenspiel, although the latter is minimal while the overall tempo here is sludge and doom-inspired but maybe a little bit faster.

The album was mastered by Pig Destroyer and AxCx’s Scott Hull and the results fit the band’s sound perfectly. “Bury Sanders” pulls Warren’s vocals into the middle of the mix while guitar effects and pounding drums swirl around his raspy barks. “Cancer Fantasy”, one of my favorite tracks on the album, features guest vocals from The Break Ups’ Francesca Pierce, adding a beautiful, calming effect to the guitars and vocals, which are farther back in the mix. The drums here are fast, driving and fierce; they even have quiet a groove, showing groove metal’s influence here. You can probably dance to it if you wanted to. The mastering fares well, too, on “Untie These Vines” where acoustic guitars in the intro and distorted, white noise-layered guitars later on mix perfectly. Warren’s vocals later take on a spacey effect at points and the bass is punchy yet smooth. The guitar solo is loud and clear.

This band never shies away from horror movie and gore-inspired imagery and sounds. Instrumental “Poltergeists on Motorbikes” is no exception with a zombie groaning “I want your brains!” as sounds of a man being eaten alive by the zombie play before the encounter. The band also never shies away from sheer experimentation, as on “Big Sack of Tspiders” has the most danceable groove on the album. It’s fast, cathartic and even has hand claps, as guitar tones from previous songs make their way back here.

After a few more tracks of similar sounds, vocally and otherwise (“Walk Like a Magician” and “A Lifetime of Sick”), the experimentation takes a turn on the Russian-language titled “Призрак Захария”. With acoustic guitars, brooding synths with sounds recalling “Poltergeists on Motorbikes”, the second instrumental piece gives me the vision of wandering through a 13th century village in Transylvania at night (or something like that, and hey, that’s just me).

The latter third of the album really picks up in intensity and catharsis. “Michigan Winters” has pounding, fist-pumping power chord strikes with more power provided by a tuba in the chorus. That’s my favorite part of the track. “Bolivia Tremor Control” has some of the most powerful guitars on the album. They sound brutal and drenched in death metal fuzz and crunch. Bruce’s cymbal crashes sound bright and powerful and his bass drum kicks add a heavy weight to the song.

The album’s final two tracks showcase a lot of what the album has been about up to this point: bright instruments (bells, tubas, shimmering guitars, etc) and the contrasting, brutal vocals by Warren working together and sometimes clashing (but I think sometimes that’s their point). “A Jillion Years” has a cathartic chorus as Warren belts out the title of the song in only the way he can, then after the chorus, instrumentals take charge. Ringing guitars and bells close out the song to a sort of anti-catharsis.

“Cursing in Binary”, featuring Small Brown Bike’s Mike Reed during the chorus, pulls everything the album has achieved into one song. The guitars are the most powerful they’ve been so far, the drums are powerful and the bass is heavy. The chorus is drenched in layers of guitars as Reed’s yell of “This failure feels familiar” lays across Warren’s rasps of “Cursing in Binary”. The song ends with familiar brass instrumentation heard before and the backwards guitar heard at the beginning of the album.

I said earlier this album is about failure. The band stated in an interview with The Impact 88.9 FM a long time ago that this sentiment carried over the album. “Losing all desire. Losing, losing and losing some more” go some of the lines in “Bury Sanders”. Granted, a lot of Warren’s lyrics are hard to make out due to the rasps but from what I can pick out, there’s a lot of despair here. “What if those stories were right about me? What if those tales were as true as they seemed? What if I’m hating myself in a dream and what if it’s all a lie” Warren asks amid radio-like static coating his voice. “This Michigan winter chills me to the bone,” Warren screams on the track of the same name. The failure and despair culminates on “Cursing in Binary” with the already mentioned, and audible, audible chorus of “This failure feels familiar” by Reed.

Now that this album is out, it’s finally a contender for LMTV Album of the Year. If you’re a fan of sludge bands like Down, Eyehategod or Superjoint Ritual or even experimental bands like Mr. Bungle (or any of Mike Patton’s experimental projects), check this out.

Cavalcade return from hiatus, announce album downloads and live show

Lansing’s Cavalcade have returned from hiatus after original and longtime vocalist Zack Warren left the band earlier this year.

 

Catch Cavalcade with Jucifer at Mac's Bar on Friday June 7. Wastelander's Sean Peters debuts on vocals. Flier by Craig Horky.

Returning to the stage at Mac’s Bar with Jucifer, Shackle the Giant and Dozic, the band return with Sean Peters (of Wastelander, Dark Psychosis and Summon) on vocals and now-permanent drummer Christian Urabazzo. Check out the Facebook event here.

Along with their live return, the band have released their long-overdue albums Dear Entrails and 15 Year Dog Plan on their Bandcamp page for pay-what-you-want for a limited time. Get their discography, including their debut album Into Bolivian, here.

Look out for reviews of Dear Entrails and 15 Year Dog Plan soon.

Inflatable Best Friend “DMT Bike Ride” review

Kalamazoo’s Inflatable Best Friend are releasing their first full length soon, called “DMT Bike Ride”. They’ve been on a few tours and plan on going out west again this summer. They’ll be releasing the album with a couple release shows around Michigan. Check this release show out in Lansing soon.

Here’s a track-by-track review of their record.

Inflatable Best Friend is: Ian Howell (drums), Austin McQuarter (bass) and Tanner Boerman (vocals/guitar)

Spiritual Journey to the Gas Station: With a constant, droning fuzzed out guitar raging for the majority of the song, I get strong Sonic Youth vibes from this song. I like the production on this. The drums are up front in the mix so the guitar isn’t overbearing. Smart move there. The drums play the same beat over and over (for the most part). They’ve studied post-punk a bit. Interesting lead-off here.

I Wanna Ride a Sabertooth: The fuzz continues among a dance beat now. The vocal is very clean. Contrasts with the noisy guitar. The only lyrics are “I wanna ride a sabertooth” (or some variation on this). More lyrics please. I like the beginning of this song with the driving beat and fuzz bass. That’s cool. But it’s just kind of repetitive.

Moon Flower Soul: A guitar line that’s not overly noisy? I like it. But then it goes back to it’s old ways and definitely sounds just like a Sonic Youth swirling, flailing guitar. Nothing new. Boerman sounds a little like SY guitarist Lee Ranaldo when he sings. The guitar, even with all the noise, has a bit of melody coming out of it. It’s not all just noise (sometimes).

Blood Surf: Sounds a lot like the previous tracks. I get a bit of a goth/post-punk vibe from the vocals this time. Still the same fuzzed out bass and noisy guitars and cycling drum parts. More instrumental on this track than vocals. A subtle difference but not really enough to keep me interested.

Apis Mellifera: A clean guitar intro. Just as I thought it was staying the same as before, I changed up a little bit. Good to hear. Sounds a little like Lansing’s Cavalcade. Maybe in the same headspace. They’ve played shows together so maybe their sound rubbed off on IBF’s a little? Too much reverb on the vocals. Can’t really understand them. This got weird real quick. Sounds like they literally are messing with the tape speed on the guitar. Really cool move there. Almost down a similar path but took a few interesting turns.

My Dead Bird: Fitting. Begins with sounds of chirping birds. A lot more lo-fi this time around. I can actually hear the vocals: “His face was melting/flew into the sun/A thousand miles per hour/I heard him scream: ‘this feels like fun’”. A slowed down part with a reverberated “Now He’s Gone” plays side-by-side with a clean guitar part and marching drums. I’m starting to hear a bit of diversity on this album.

Brisk Steel Sun: With a psych-rock intro and a slowed down tempo with noise flashes here and there, it sounds like Blue Cheer with Thurston Moore on guitar. Noise yet rocking. Steady tempo on the drums. Vocals are too reverberated and far away in the mix to hear them intelligibly. The noise seems to be contained in a steady, hard rock mode. It’s easy to follow as opposed to other tracks. Another bit of diversity.

Swiss Cheese Brain: A clean, melodic guitar intro?! With a Dinosaur Jr.-like distorted and melodic guitar. More fuzz bass. The vocals don’t kick in until almost half way through the song. Again, more instrumental than vocal. Same old, same old.

Circus Dog: Sonically different than the rest of the album. Everything sounds like it was recorded separately (as opposed to the in-the-same-room feel as the rest of the album). Overall a lot more clean. Vocals have a lot of reverb on them. “Circus dog/you are my circus dog” Boerman sings. No fuzz bass this time. Reminds me of Kool Thing by Sonic Youth. These guys loooove Sonic Youth.

Thistle Girl: By far the noisiest track on the album. A cacophony if there ever was one. Then a tempo and mood change. Classic rock and ’80s alternative rock seeping through here. Kind of a tiring experience now having to listen to so much fuzzed out bass and noisy guitar. One track to go.

Worm Battle on DMT Mountain: Again a noisy track. Noisy guitar. Fuzzed out bass. Pounding drums. Same. Again.

Overall Thoughts: I got tired of the noisy guitar after a few songs and the production (in particular, the drums) never really changed. The places it did, I liked. I liked the occasional venture into clean guitar parts and some of the singing was alright. Next time, a bit more lyrics (and more thought into them) would be better. Experimenting with that on their next record might be the way to go while still harnessing their noisy exterior. I like what I hear but it can be a bit repititive and combersome. If you’re a fan of ’80s alternative and noise rock (Sonic Youth, Big Black) or even Lansing, MI band Cavalcade you might like this. Check it out here and go to their album release shows.

 

 

 

 

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”)

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!

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