Posts Tagged ‘indie folk’

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers release “Ego Loss…” Music Video

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers released their newest music video for “Ego Loss on Grand River Avenue” yesterday. Filmed by MSU student Matt Hallowell during the Michigan State University homecoming parade last year, the video is one continuous take.

The band are currently working on new music, including their newest single “Home For a Funeral”, which is a free download on their website. Catch them opening for The Wallflowers and Lights at Commonground Music Festival in Lansing, MI tomorrow. Buy tickets here.

Nathan K. “Dishes” review

Michigan indie-folk musician, Nathan K. (real name Nathan Klages) is back with a new album called “Dishes”, slated for release on the 26th. He is currently on the Warped Tour as a full-time member of Grand Rapids electro-pop group Stepdad.

Check out this review of “Dishes”.

Recorded the previous winter on a 4-track recorder in the waiting room of the hospital where his grandfather was dying (who has since passed on), “Dishes” has a nervous yet expectant feel to it. On a re-worked version of a previous song, “Ghosts”, Klages sings with a warbly falsetto among drum loops and acoustic guitar chimes. “For your own good”, the album’s opener, he sings “I really should try to relax/For my own good”, has an eerie, self-assured feel to it as knowing the record’s back story. The most personal song on the album, “Hospital Walls”, he sings “I was working on a great big painting to give my grandpa as a gift/But he died one cold, dark evening so I threw it in the ditch”, exposing Klages’ some feelings about his grandfather’s passing.

The instrumentation on the album is a bit repetitive but considering the circumstances in which the album was recorded, I’ll give that a pass. He does his best to liven up the instruments on occasion; on “Leave Them”, there’s a light, omnipresent hand clap that adds a bit of rhythm. “Hospital Walls” is really lush and warm, featuring strings along with his voice and many layers of his guitar. The guitar line on “Criminal” is really cool; it feels like a pendulum, swinging back and forth while a banjo lightly plucks.

This album is only nine tracks and I do think his re-worked version of “Ghosts” should have been left off the album. His backing unbearably high falsetto is something I could do without. I’m sure he’s getting better at hitting the high notes. He just needs a little more focus and he’ll have it down next time. I did like the drum beat on it; shows the influence Stepdad has had on his songwriting. If only he brought a few more of those elements into the album, I think I could discern a few of the songs. A lot of the tracks have the same feel to them; instrumentation, vocals, etc. I guess it’s the nature of the folk/singer-songwriter genre. Good songs but just stuff I’ve heard before from him. A little diversity and/or approach next time would be great.

His lyrics are great, telling stories with a passionate energy. The imagery gets in your head. Great stuff on that front. The instrumentation, while limited, does its best to work with the lyrics. Maybe he’ll stick to a style like this next time (hey, I can’t blame him, he’s great at it), but to push his songs to a new level, a wider array of  instrumentation is definitely needed.

Pre-order the album here. Pick up the album when it comes out at the same link.

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.

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.

 

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.

Frontier Ruckus “Springterror” on LMTV

Davey Jones and Matt Milia of Frontier Ruckus play “Springterror” for LMTV back in March.

Midwest Fest 2011 Countdown: Chris Bathgate and Stepdad

LMTV is back with more profiles of bands that will be playing the 2011 edition of Midwest Fest at Rubble’s Bar in Mt. Pleasant, MI. This time around Chris Bathgate and Stepdad are profiled.

Chris Bathgate

Photo credit to facebook.com/chrisbathgate.org

Having released Salt Year to critical acclaim earlier this year, Ann Arbor based singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate is ready to take Midwest Fest 2011 by storm. He, along with MW Fest friends Frontier Ruckus, are bringing a resurgence to Michigan’s folk scene, adding an indie rock twist to their tales of Midwest landscapes. Before MW Fest, you can catch Bathgate at The Ark in Ann Arbor later this week on Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15.

Stepdad

from Midwest2011.com

Grand Rapids, MI’s Stepdad, with their hit song “My leather, my fur, my nails”, have been on the rise after forming in Chicago and relocating to Grand Rapids in 2009. They have been hard at work on tour as well as just having finished the recording of  their debut full length. Having played Midwest Fest 2010, those who attended will know what to expect from a Stepdad show but newcomers may be in for a surprise.

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