Posts Tagged ‘Indie’

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.”

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.

Allison Weiss – Say What You Mean review

So, I saw Allison Weiss at Bled Fest on Saturday. I didn’t know much about her or her music but when I saw her set with her full band, they put on an infectious, memorable and catchy show. I had to find out more about this band, so her LP “Say What You Mean” (released on No Sleep Records on April 16) was added to my Bled Fest merch bag (along with Tigers Jaw, Into It. Over It. and Kittyhawk LPs).

After listening to Weiss’ album over and over again, I thought I’d do a review.

After Bled Fest, I did a little research about Weiss and her musical career. She’s been doing the acoustic singer-songwriter thing for a few years now, releasing song videos on Youtube. She’s put out a few EPs, records and even toured with Lou Reed’s backing band in Europe. So, she’s got some impressive work behind her already.

Some of the songs are catchier than others but they all have a memorable quality about them. Opening track “Making It Up” has the most infectious kick drum-snare beat that will make you dance. The synth line in the song hooks you in. It’s a monster and will get stuck in your head for days. The bass is smooth yet anchors the song even more. Her vocal hooks draw you in too. “Tell me that I’m making it up and I’ll leave you alone” she sings with a confrontational confidence.

“Nothing Left” has a huge chorus too that sinks in quickly. It’s got a indie-synth pop vibe. It, again, makes you want to dance. “When you’re next to me, you get what’s left of me” Weiss harmonizes alongside an acoustic guitar and punching bass drum. It makes you feel like there’s something bigger coming and there is: the harmonies on the chorus are amazing and the drums go into uber-dance mode. So awesome.

“How to Be Alone” has vibes similar to Atlanta, GA band The Wild. The guitar tones feel a bit similar, particularly the power chords. Maybe it’s a coincidence that The Wild are from Atlanta and Weiss went to school at the University of Georgia but the sounds just cross pollinate, I think.  The end of this song is so sad. Weiss sounds like she’s going to breakdown crying as the repeated refrain of “all the time”, complete with great harmonies, comes in. Gets me every time. Later tracks “Don’t Go” and “Hole In Your Heart” (which Weiss calls her “mean song”)  draws more on the indie rocking side of her set. On the former, more jangly guitars pop in during the chorus as light chugging during the verses keeps the electric guitar in check. This woman has an excellent ear for harmonies, as again, they creep into your head. On the latter, the guitars are quiet during the verses but they burst in the chorus and bridge. The fuzzed bass helps add to the rough-around-the-edges feel too.

“Wait for Me” is a lyrical standout. Drawing on a lush and fitting arrangement of weeping orchestral strings and acoustic guitar, she sings with her heart on her sleeve (as she does throughout the entire album). “I’m missing out on all the places I could go, the people I could know, the nights I’m not alone/We’ll never make it and it wasn’t meant to be/But I’ll wait if you wait for me” she sings during the chorus. The ending refrain of “bye, goodbye” is heart-wrenching, honest and full of emotional power.

“Say What You Mean” is another incredibly yet simultaneously sad and upbeat song. A driving acoustic guitar strum dictates the pulse of the song. The sparse electric guitar line and sputtering drums add to the song’s quirk. The chorus is another monster with an great guitar line and harmonies. This is a masterpiece; it takes all of the elements up to this point (loud, memorable instrumentation, bubbly harmonies and personal-as-hell lyrics) and lets it rip. Best line of the album: “Too young to give a f*** and too young not to care and I’m fine with having fun but this is just unfair”. Raw honesty.

Album closer “I’ll Be OK” shows despite all the despair of a break up and roller coaster emotions, things will be alright. With hints of spoken word, Weiss lays it all out there. “I’ve got my guitar and you’ve got your space/I’m stuck in this place/I kind of don’t mind it/I’m losing my mind/Put off what’s important if it’ll buy me some time/Time to get braver/Time to postpone every failure I can’t seem to disown/And I’m still alone”….and that’s just the first verse. The ending refrain of “I’ll Be OK”, complete with an almost trip hop feel and choral harmonies and synths is the perfect ending to this album. For Weiss, it seems, there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s so resonate and bright you’ll definitely go back and listen to the album over and over again.

Next time, she is in Michigan (either by herself or with her full band) I will see her play.

Do yourself a favor and buy this album. You won’t regret it.

Bled Fest set times announced

Premier Michigan-based music festival, Bled Fest, has announced set times for the day. Remember, set times are subject to change.

Get your tickets here and get them early since it’s looking like Bled Fest could sell out for the first time in its history.

Check out the set times below, courtesy of the Bled Fest 2013 Facebook page:

Stage A
1245-110 Of Virtue
135-200 Endeavors
225-250 Diamond Youth
315-340 Hostage Calm
405-430 Make Do And Mend
455-520 Wilson
545-610 Code Orange Kids
635-700 Pianos Become The Teeth
730-800 Tigers Jaw
830-900 Into It. Over It.
930-1030 Anti-Flag

Stage B
1220-1245 Gift Giver
110-135 Turnover
200-225 Secret Grief
250-315 Masked Intruder
340-405 Hit The Lights
430-455 Daylight
520-545 Mixtapes
610-635 Koji
700-730 Cheap Girls
800-830 Andrew WK
900-930 The Swellers

Stage C
1200-1225 Maybe Next Time
1245-110 Adventures
130-155 Allison Weiss
215-240 Cadaver Dogs
300-325 Sainthood Reps
345-410 The World Is A Beautiful Place
430-455 Flint Eastwood
515-540 Dads
600-625 Joie De Vivre
645-710 Modern Baseball
730-755 Prawn
815-840 CityCop
900-925 Slingshot Dakota
945-1010 Have Mercy

Stage D
105-130 Foreign Tongues
150-215 State Champs
235-300 Xerxes
320-345 Signals
405-430 Caravels
450-515 Empire Empire
535-600 From Rise To Ruin
620-645 Jowls
705-730 Act As One
750-815 You Blew It
835-900 Cerce
920-945 Pity Sex

Stage E
110-135 Steven’s Salute
155-220 The Story Changes
240-305 Small Parks
325-350 American Opera
410-435 A Hero Falls
455-520 Wolves and Machines
540-605 Hung Up
625-650 Aeris
710-735 Giraffe Attack
755-820 Portrait
840-905 Paths
925-950 Conscripts

Stage F
1250-115 Kittyhawk
135-200 All The Presidents Men
220-245 The Red Queen
305-330 The Shack
350-415 Alaska
435-500 The Threads
520-545 Captains
605-630 Way To Fall
650-715 Hampshire
735-800 Explicit Bombers
820-845 The Reptilian
905-930 Wayne Szalinski

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.

 

Lots of shows coming up in Mount Pleasant

Sean here.

I’m back in Mount Pleasant for school and there are a ton of shows coming up in town over the next few months I’m really excited about and you should be too.

Check it out:

Rubble’s Bar is located at: 112 W. Michigan St., Mount Pleasant, MI

Hunter’s Ale House is located at: 4855 East Blue Grass Road, Mount Pleasant, MI

 

Thursday Jan. 17

Thursday Jan. 24

Saturday Jan. 26

  • Detroit indie-dance band Flint Eastwood play Hunter’s Ale House with Farwell’s Delightfuls and Mount Pleasant’s Benthos opening.
  • 9:30 p.m./FREE for 21+ and $2 for anyone 18-20

Friday Feb. 8

  • Grand Rapids ska band Mustard Plug play Rubble’s Bar with Lansing’s Decades and Mount Pleasant’s Ugly Broads opening.
  • 10 p.m./21+/$7

Saturday Feb. 16

  • Grand Rapids band The Soil and the Sun play an all-ages show with Mount Pleasant’s Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Moses and Newday Dreamers opening.
  • 8 p.m./Ticket prices TBA

Friday March 22

  • Detroit indie band Bars of Gold play Hunter’s Ale House with Grand Rapids band Empty Orchestra and a local band to be determined opening.
  • 9 p.m./FREE for 21+ and $2 for 18+

Be apart of the Lansingmusic.TV Band Database: Here’s How

Bands, singer-songwriters, rappers, instrumentalists from all genres in Michigan! I (Sean) am updating and expanding the LMTV Band Database page and want your band or act to apart of it.

Here’s how you can get your band listed on our site:

Send an email with the following information to lansingmusictv@gmail.com. Please include in the Subject Line the following: LMTV Database and your band’s name

1. Please attach a most recent photo of your band

2. The band’s genre (please do not say “Other” or something similar)

3. The first and last names of members of the band along with the instrument and/or vocals each member plays

4. A few of the bands your band has played with (can be both local and national acts, and preferably bands similar to your style)

5. Links to your band’s social media sites and/or band website

 

Thanks!

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.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog Part 5: Toledo, Ohio and back home to Lansing

Elliot Street Lunatic performed at the Ottawa Tavern in Toledo, OH.

We arrived in Toledo, Ohio at about 2pm after a long night driving through Illinois and Ohio after the show at Reggie’s Music Joint in Chicago. Seemingly arriving in Toledo extremely early, we were bored with nothing to do. We wandered around the city looking for a place to chill and relax but no luck. We went back to the Ottawa Tavern and sat in front of it for a while, chilling and watching Dragonball Z Kai. It’s been a long tour, and by now, the exhaustion has set in with all of us.

Caleb Knight (left, drums) has been playing with Elliot Street Lunatic since the beginning of the year. This show was the first time he has played in Toledo.

Later on, after more killing time, the show finally began at about 11pm with Elliot Street Lunatic. The band, tired like the rest of us, still played an excellent, energetic set although the bar patrons seemed a bit indifferent to them (and the other bands as well). It was definitely a fun show though and reminded us all of what was to come at their show in Lansing. The Toledo show was a warm up for both ESL and the Cutthroat Drifters.

With only three bands, the show would have seemed to go by quickly but it really felt slow and dragged on. Being in Toledo for that long with nothing to do took a toll on us all. The car ride home was a tiring but rewarding one: we were all finally home in Michigan.

Tonight is Elliot Street Lunatic’s return home show with some great bands including The Cutthroat Drifters and Commodore Cosmos.

Elliot Street Lunatic tour blog part 4: Iowa City and Chicago (Days 1 and 2)

Tuesday May 15, 2012 – Iowa City, IA

 

The entrance to Gabe’s. Along with local bands, the venue also brings in nationally-known punk and indie bands.

Tours have their ups and downs. Some shows are great (like in Lincoln) and some shows are not-so-great (like in Iowa City). We rolled up to Gabe’s, which has a lot of pretty big bands roll through, especially punk bands. The Dear Hunter played the venue a couple of weeks ago and one of the locals that played Tuesday’s show opened for them. The show finally started around 9 with the Cutthroat Drifters. As the night wore on and ESL took the stage, a few people walked in a little after their set began. The local bands, Chasing Shade and Zeta June played long sets (which we didn’t expect) and, although they were good sets, they play for a very long time. They did manage to bring some people out though, which was good.

After the long night at Gabe’s (which we hope to be back to soon), we crashed hard at our hotel. Now, we’re on the road to Chicago for an eventful two days. ESL have a radio interview with Fearless Radio and a full band open mic at The Elbow Room. The following night, ESL plays at Reggie’s Music Joint. Looking forward to that.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 – The Elbow Room

We arrived in Chicago just in time for the band’s interview on Fearless Radio. The band’s interview was really good. They were asked great questions and even got a question from a listener in the UK. That was definitely a pleasant surprise. The interview will be online on the Fearless radio website.

Once we met up with their friend Parker (who let the band store their gear in a friend’s practice space), we went to get pizza (again). After some chilling around the city, we headed to the Elbow Room for the band’s open mic. There was a pretty decent crowd and they reacted well to the songs of both ESL and The Cutthroat Drifters. My cousin Chris came out to the show and bought a CD from ESL. The band played great and worked out their songs live even more. We all did a bit of networking at the show too, which is always good to do.

ESL played at The Elbow Room at the full-band Open Mic on Wednesday May 16.

Thursday May 17, 2012 – Reggie’s Music Joint

The next night at Reggie’s was excellent. The crowd was small but the bands were awesome. Alar Wave, who played after The Cutthroat Drifters, were a two piece (acoustic guitar and bass) that really reminded me of Andrew Jackson Jihad. The Chicago band killed their set and kept warming up the crowd. I would definitely see them again in Chicago when I go back.

Chicago band Alar Wave played second, after The Cutthroat Drifters. They play as a duo with Gerard Pannekoek (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Alex Sisto (bass, vocals).

ESL took the stage played the best show of the tour so far. The band were on and super tight. It was a great show for sure.

The Cutthroat Drifters opened the show at Reggie's Music Joint in downtown Chicago.

Elliot Street Lunatic performed at Reggie's Music Joint on Thursday May 18, 2012.

The following band, This Magazine Is Haunted, were awesome too. Playing a brand of power pop like The Lemonheads or The Replacements, they played an excellent set. I loved everyone of their songs. It was too bad they didn’t have any CDs on hand as I would’ve definitely bought one. They said they only play gigs about once a month or so. Hopefully I’ll see them again too.

As I type this in Toledo, Ohio’s Ottawa Tavern, we’re waiting for the show to start. We rolled into Toledo at about 2pm and have had almost nothing to do. Luckily we have each other to keep each other entertained. Tomorrow’s show in Lansing will be great. It will be great to be home. I (and the rest of us) can’t wait.

 

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