Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

Review: Flint Eastwood “Late Nights in Bolo Ties” EP

Detroit band Flint Eastwood released their debut EP “Late Nights in Bolo Ties” on their Bandcamp page a few weeks ago.

Check out a review of the EP below.

The best way I can accurately describe Detroit rock-meets-dance band Flint Eastwood is the exact moment before the bullet inside of a gun, spinning furiously, leaves the barrel and just as the gun lets out its ferocious and loud bang. Flint Eastwood’s new EP, “Late Nights in Bolo Ties” (self-released) and their explosive, confrontational (in a more inviting way than shying away) live show both are that exact moment personified. Featuring live staples “Secretary” and “Shotgun”, the four song EP showcases the best of the band.

The drums courtesy of Mark Hartman, bring out their trademark balance of crushing rock and roll heaviness (especially the cymbal crashes on tracks like “Secretary”) with a dance hall swagger that is undeniable and driving. Everything else builds off of this foundation, like Clay Carnill’s omnipresent bass, sometimes pumping (like on “Can You Feel Me Now?”) and other times fluid but always holding down the fort.

The textures on the record are pretty neat. The lead guitar sounds, via Bryan Pope, ranges from wild Whammy pedal dips (“Secretary”) to punishing White Stripes-esque riffs, sometimes all within the same song. The intro to “Shotgun” is a perfect example of this, with almost Tom Morello-esque heaviness and texture all within the same moment. The synth samples like on “Billy the Kid” are the hook of the song, especially toward the end with the broken up bits. It all bleeds into your memory so quick.

Lyrics by singer and rhythm guitarist Jax Anderson range from empowerment like on “Secretary”: “Boy I ain’t your secretary/I don’t please no one but me/Boy I ain’t your female dog/So quit bitching” to old western stories of survival: “Like a spark in the night/he’ll find you/With the blink of an eye/he’ll catch you”. There are even a few nods to cool dudes like James Dean like on “Secretary”: “Boy you ain’t no James Dean/Quit playin’ too cool for me”.

This band has a ton going for it: enough live energy to fill 10 stadiums, a great visual look and scream-along lyrics that you can’t help but oblige to.

Catch them Thursday Sept. 5 with Robert DeLong and Ghost Beach. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the event is all ages. Visit theloftlansing.com for more information.

The Avett Brothers, Frontier Ruckus announced for Commonground; Jahshua Smith – The Final Season review

The Avett Brothers have been announced for the Commonground Music Festival held in downtown Lansing this summer and Frontier Ruckus have been announced to open for them.

Be on the lookout for more performer announcements in the future.

In other news, Lansing hip hop artist Jahshua Smith has released a new album called The Final Season.

Check out a review here, via Central Michigan Life:

Lansing emcee and BLAT! Pack member Jahshua Smith (formerly JYoung the General) released his new album “The Final Season” last week, and with almost an hour-and-a-half musical journey, the listen is a bit long but well worth it.

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.

“The Ghosts of Medgar Evers” is another political track drawing on the mindsets of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

“They take up 130 words to sum up a black life,” Smith raps over a synthesizer and snare beat.

Smith’s flow is confident and powerful. Able to draw upon personal experiences, he channels a pent-up anger on his political tracks, while his laid-back style comes through on “Butt/Don’t Hold Back,” with its soulful guitar lead and interchangeable sample of the word “butt” with “but” cleverly implemented. It’s a party track “for the ladies,” as he says in a skit before the track.

He also takes time to dissect love and relationships with songs such as “Lylah’s Song.”

Smith’s travels down a few different avenues with this record and can cater to different groups. Including a few different bonus tracks, the album is a bit too long to listen to at once. The singles are where this album shines, but listening to the entire album helps the listener learn more about Smith: his triumphs, struggles and life. Regardless of what you listen to, you should pick this up. It’s got a bit for everyone and has Michigan roots.

 

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog Part 6: Home at last

After a week of excellent adventures, great shows and lots of driving, Elliot Street Lunatic and The Cutthroat Drifters played at Mac’s Bar in Lansing along with Detroit’s The Wall Clocks, Lansing’s Commodore Cosmos and Grand Rapids’ Simien The Whale.

Johnathan Mazzei (center) singer and guitarist for The Wall Clocks from Detroit, MI

The Wall Clocks played a damn good show. Lead singer and guitarist Johnathan Mazzei has the look of a ’50s doo wop guitarist with an old-school hollow body (which I can’t name) and microphone plus a full suit. Definitely had the look down. I enjoyed their brand of ’60s-esque psychedelic rock and roll. Their second guitarist even busted out a guitar solo cover of a Pink Floyd song. Good times from these dudes.

 

Simien The Whale and Commodore Cosmos played well too. I (admittedly) didn’t catch much of either set but I liked what I did here. Simien The Whale has a lot of slow, funky jams. Commodore Cosmos (a duo, with ESL’s Jason Marr on drums) with Jon Mickelson on guitar and vocals. I liked the stripped down nature of this band’s songs a lot. Solid drumming from Marr and lots of power chords from Mickelson. Cool stuff worth checking out.

Dave Meyers, guitarist for The Cutthroat Drifters

Later, The Cutthroat Drifters played a pumped, energetic set of rock and roll tunes for the crowd. Over the past few days of touring this band has gotten tighter and tighter and it showed here. Everything was rocked out and on time. Nick Kjolhede has the front man thing down pat. He definitely loves what he does, running around stage and engaging the audience. Definitely entertaining. Guitarist Dave Myers showed his chops, shredding but also jamming the blues. He can play with the best of ‘em.

The Cutthroat Drifters, from Denver, Colorado.

The drumming was great. Simple yet concise. Jeremy Robins (brother of ESL guitarist Eric Robins) played the bass, keeping time and mostly playing root notes. In a rock and roll band such as theirs, root notes and precision are important and the rhythm section do it perfectly.

Elliot Street Lunatic, after a week on the road, played the hell out of their songs. They shows on the road tested them as a band and a unit. They’ve come out of it even better than when they left. The rhythm section of Caleb Knight (drums) and Josh DeBrabander (bass) were tight, bouncy and powerful. Knight has definitely improved over the last week of shows and is definitely home behind the kit. He even sings echoing backup vocals, adding another layer to the band’s sound. Marr and Robins play their parts with a passion and energy that this past week of shows has only helped to increase. One of their newest songs, “Illuminate”, is bouncy and incredibly catchy. The verses will have you hooked.

The band were glad to be back in Lansing after a long week of shows. Here, Josh DebraBander (left) and Jason Marr (right) are featured.

Their set ended with usual closer “Lullaby” but with an extended outro with about 20 people (me included) singing along. With all that momentum, I couldn’t have imagined the band would play another song but they unexpectedly played “Dearly” from their first album “Stories from the Void”. A great end to the tour and a great week that none of us will forget.

 

 

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!

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: 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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