Posts Tagged ‘punk’

Review: Frank and Earnest – Modern Country

After a long hiatus between albums, Lansing pop punks Frank and Earnest are releasing their new album, Modern Country, with a release show on Saturday Sept. 6 featuring Able Baker Fox, Summerpunx and Braidedveins.

On record, Frank and Earnest is Ben Hassenger (guitar, vocals), Paul Wittmann (bass, vocals), Ryan Horky (drums) and Nick Pierce (guitar, vocals).

Here’s a review.

"Modern Country" cover, with artwork by Craig Horky.

With their brand of gritty, witty Descendents-esque pop punk, Frank and Earnest hit another home run. There might be a few straggling moments, but they pass the finish line with another great record.

“Paul 5″ is an energetic, bar-room-brawl of an opening track. With a country twang — the intro’s squealing notes, Wittmann’s natural drawl of a vocal and lyrics dwelling on missing an opportunity to meet a girl — the pumping drums, churning rhythm guitar and shouted backing vocals make this a fist-pumping stand out.

“Body Parts” feels a little clunky to me.  The quick, choppy dueling guitars and the solo toward the end feels a bit chaotic. Everything else in the song works just fine.

The lone song featuring Pierce on lead vocals, “This is Why I Don’t Party”, is one of the album’s couple standout tracks. Strummed electric guitar chords lay the backdrop while Pierce sings “…Spent all night staring at the ceiling, toss and turn the night away” and it immediately hooks you in. Then the rimshots on the snare come in and it gets better and better. The shout-along chorus — “I remember shaking, all throughout the night/I remember dizzy eyes and crooked sights” is great stuff. Its quick pace and high energy will make you sing along.

“Drink About It” is also a great track. High speed, ringing guitars, tom-tom heavy drums, excellent, hook-laden backing vocals and lyrics about drinking make this a nice track. Good stuff.

“Take the Back Road,” which is musically no different than many of the other tracks (loud guitars, pounding drums, energetic vocals), has something about it that gives it an extra energy. I’m not sure what it is. I guess the quick, driving acoustic intro hooks me in. It’s just a classic F&E track on par with “Mr. Holland’s Otis” or “Addictionary”. I love it.

The album’s last few tracks take the band in a few different directions.

“New Traditions” has a storytelling quality about it. Lots of lyrics, relatively quiet verses with chugging guitars and pounding tom-toms. “I examined the pages of those history books/every speck on the timeline, all the heroes and crooks/but I found a missing figure, a relic overlooked,” Hassenger sings, effortlessly pulling off the first of many wordy verses. The chorus is great with high energy instrumentation and backing vocals. Another catchy, anthemic singalong.

“Paul 6″ is the most country song on “Modern Country” complete with piano, slide guitar, acoustic guitar and topped off with Wittmann’s drawl played up for full effect. The song has a hopping drum beat, lyrics about not going to work — “Bossman calls to see if I’d go to work/Let me think about it/I don’t think so jerk,” and others about drinking are espoused. On one hand, it’s a bit gimmicky but on the other, it’s really genuine. A left turn but a neat and experimental one at that. Thumbs up.

Overall a good LP. Lots of anthemic choruses, loud guitars and just generally good punk rock. If you’re a fan of Descendents or The Gaslight Anthem-like punk rock, this will be right up your alley.

Check this out via their Bandcamp once its released on Saturday Sept. 6.

Stream Fisherking’s Ghost on Spotify

Album art for Ghost, the latest LP from Fisherking.

Ghost, the 2012 LansingMusic.TV Album of the Year by Lansing’s Fisherking, is now available to stream on Spotify.

The Lansing hardcore band — which began demoing new songs and playing more shows beginning last summer, including a show with The Suicide Machines at a sold-out Mac’s Bar — released Ghost in the fall of 2012.

REVIEW: Small Parks – “Meet Me In Cognito”

A while ago, Lansing band Small Parks released their first EP “Meet Me In Cognito”. Since then, I’d been wanting to see them play and I finally did at Mac’s Bar. Opening for Lemuria at the end of June, they played an energetic set to a great crowd. Here’s a review of their EP, released on Triple Deke Records.

Small Parks is James Radick (vocals, guitar), Josh Talo (guitar), Danny Petrilli (bass, vocals) and Matthew Restorff (drums).

Cover photo by Hayley Lamb and layout by Corey Bickford. Photo courtesy of Small Parks' Bandcamp page.

Slow and dreamy opens up “Undone”, the EP’s first track, but a steady rock beat and chugging power chords take over, laying below Radick’s somber recollection of a failed relationship. “I sank into comfort and I got used to the end,” he sings. Later bassist Petrilli adds shouted, distant backing vocals. Going into overdrive, twinkly guitar lines play over a pounded drum beat and pumping bass. A great start to this record.

“Parallel Thoughts” has such a Gin Blossoms vibe toward the beginning, especially recalling their early 90′s hit “Hey Jealousy”. Talo’s distorted, intricate guitar picking gives the songs another tip-off to emo; noodley and textured like Connecticut’s The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die or Rockford, Illinois’ Joie De Vivre. Radick shows honesty and sadness in his lyrics: “You’re no longer with me when I sleep but your body still haunts me in my dreams/We could be onto something here/But I’m too afraid of failure to find out” and “yes it is true I once loved you/And at one point I loved myself too”.

Even though Radick’s old band, Howell post rock band Good Weather for Airstrikes has long been gone, I still hear some of the band’s sound carrying over (and hey, maybe it’s just me..I do love that band). During parts on “Shifting Positions” I hear some of the same tones and sound worlds his old band used to occupy. Both bands do have a connection: Radick’s personal and confessional lyrics, at the very least. The obvious difference is the song lengths (I once read on Facebook they posted: “This aren’t post-rock songs. This won’t take nine minutes of your time”…or something like that. I thought that was a funny way to contrast the two bands). Both bands, though, adequately occupy their respective song lengths in sounds and experimentation as well as lyrics too.

My only complaints with this EP are when Radick gets into his more screaming side of his vocal delivery, it does get a little grating at times. Also, and this is a minor nitpick, but this EP might end on a better and higher note if “Retrogression” and its soaring backing vocals, pounding drums and overall epic feel, closed out the EP. The finale in “Everything is Part of It” does have loud, soaring parts too but it’s a little busier with “bop-bop-bop” backing vocals as well as lyrics by Petrilli and Radick running simultaneously. A bit too much going on. Plus, the song moves back to the arpeggiated, spacey guitar lines like the song’s intro at a rather awkward pace and the song just ends. Kind of anti-climactic. The spacey, twinkly lines at the 1:54 mark, though, are super catchy and easy to hum along to.

Overall, this is a great release from this Lansing band. Despite some kinks in the track sequence and some missteps in the songs, they are off  to a great start. They’re playing gigs all the time and, having seen them play once already, I can say they sound confident in their songs and live show and will only continue to improve. Get on board with this band now. Download “Meet Me In Cognito” for a pay-what-you-want price here and check them out live in Lansing on Saturday July 20 at GTG House with Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts, So Long Naota and Brown Bottle Flu.

Lemuria interview: Band talks new album, upcoming Mitch Clem collaboration, Michigan and more

 

Lemuria: Sheena Ozzella (far left), Max Gregor (center) and Alex Kerns (far right). Photo by Ryan Russell.

After Lemuria’s show in Lansing, Michigan at Mac’s Bar on Sunday June 30, I (Sean) conducted an interview with the members of the band on a drive in their van. We talk about their new album “The Distance is So Big” (out now on Bridge Nine Records), collaborating with Mitch Clem on a new 7″, favorite things about Michigan and more. It was a really fun show and great, entertaining interview. An interview I did with them in 2011 is referenced. Check that out here.

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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

Mr. Fox and the Hounds Self-Titled album review

Lansing hip hop group Mr. Fox and the Hounds put out their debut self-titled EP last week with a show at Mac’s Bar.

Mr. Fox and the Hounds are: Andy Fox (vocals), Aaron Simon (supporting vocals), Matt Waterman (guitar), Alex Rosendall (guitar), Pat Hogan (bass) and David Del Cid (drums).

Here’s a review.

This Lansing/Grand Ledge-based band, who formed last year, combine all sorts of different styles on their debut effort including ska, punk rock, hip hop and even space/progressive rock to mixed results.

Opening song “Lucy” has a Red Hot Chili Peppers-type feel in the verses. Fox’s rapping flow is pretty consistent. The chorus makes the song take a totally different turn with anthemic vocals and more open production style compared to the verses. The vocals on the chorus sound distant and the guitars sound more powerful while during the verses, Fox’s flow is upfront and the guitars are too. The backing vocals add more depth. The production transitions used make the parts of the song feel clunky when listened to as a whole.

“Countdown to Success” features Fox rapping about sophomoric topics like sex, girls and partying. “One, two, three/Where’s the place to be? Four, Five, Six, Let’s drink some fifths with some chicks” are the lyrics to the chorus. I’m gonna say this song, and the atmosphere and idea behind the band, is partying and having fun so I won’t fault them for the content nor the simplicity of the lyrics. Some of his rhymes seem a bit too fast for the drum beat. Former members of the now-defunct band Jason Alarm make up a majority of the members here, so the fast, shredding guitar solo and chugging guitars during the choruses aren’t a surprise.

The song “Demons” has a neat, delayed guitar intro which adds a somber-like atmosphere given the song’s title. “Stuck on a path of self-destruction/I think I’m ’bout to blow/’Cause no one is trustin’ in me’” Fox raps. I want to try and take Fox seriously with this song but it’s kind of hard. The song is about how Fox has dealt with hard times in his life and that listeners “don’t know where I have been, the things that I have seen and all these demons”, as Fox raps in the anthemic and instrumentally powerful chorus. I have never met Andy Fox nor do I know what his life is like. Maybe he has had some rough life experiences, but so has every other rapper. The originality of the lyrics is pretty poor. He does have a great flow though. That’s pretty consistent throughout this entire record.

“Blackout” has standard upstroke guitars common in ska music in the verses with power chords in the choruses. Again, Fox raps about sex, partying and drinking. This song makes me start to realize something about this band: it reminds me of guitarist Waterman’s just-for-fun side project, The Matt Waterman Revival. The following song proves this. “Friends ‘Til the End”, about friends, partying, drinking and just being hoodrats. The instrumentation on this song is clunky, struggles to keep the beat and the guitars can’t seem to keep up at points. It seems a little bit all over the place. The instrumentation makes this song really hard to get into, let alone listen to. The exact same sentiment can be said for the last track, “I’m an alcoholic”. With it’s shotty, Do-It-Yourself beat of clanging beercans, the lyrics again are about drinking and partying. No surprise given the title. The chorus sucks. It’s a joke song. Take it as you wish.

If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, lyrics about girls, sex, partying and drinking, this record is for you. Again, I’m tending to think this EP is a just-for-fun release so maybe my criticisms are looking too deeply into something that’s pretty light to begin with. On it’s face, it’s great party music. More deeply though, there’s little to be desired, even on the supposedly more serious tracks. Check this out for yourself and download it for whatever price you choose.

Link: http://mrfoxandthehounds.bandcamp.com/

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

2012 LansingMusic.TV Album of the Year

Sean from LMTV here. This year has been quite the busy one for Lansing music (and Michigan too). Now it’s time to choose the Album of the Year for 2012 (maybe the last one ever (if the Mayans are to be believed). Well, here it goes: The LMTV 2012 Album of the Year is….

Having reviewed Fisherking’s past releases (2 Songs and the Forget It EP) and seen the band play a few times, I’ve followed the Lansing band’s progress in the last two years. Finally releasing their first full length album entitled Ghost independently earlier this year at a rare small club show with Ceremony at Mac’s Bar, the album does not disappoint.

From my Central Michigan Life review earlier this year:

“I am the ghost/The lonely soul,” are the opening lines of their first full length album, which is being distributed primarily through their Bandcamp page but will have a limited physical release at their show with California punk band Ceremony in Lansing at Mac’s Bar on Thursday Sept. 20.

Those and other honest, emotional lyrics make this record stand out. On tracks like “Conflicts Reside” Holmes sings “I don’t speak my thoughts/instead I bottle them up,” and “I know I can’t hide forever/I just don’t know what to say.” On “The Difference,” he yells “You know, you don’t really have to scream/You know you don’t really have to be the center of attention.”  I love his lyrics. I think many of us can relate to them.

The music, though, adds a backbone to his lyrics. That’s not to say the music here is boring. Quite the contrary. On multiple listens, there are many time changes, a couple slow and quiet sections and even a bit of experimentation. On the track “Giver,” where Holmes’ vocal sounds like it was recorded through a bullhorn. There’s also a guest appearance by Zach Smith, of Kalamazoo band “Ackley Kid” on the track “Defeat Me”. Smith’s voice takes the anger and amplifies it to the maximum. When both of them scream along to a chaotic aural scene of crashing blast beats and guitars, it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Even the track list itself is subtle. Listening to the album from beginning to end, the listener hears a bit of musical continuity, which has made me keep the record on repeat for days. Listen to it from beginning to end and you’ll know what I mean.

I love this record for its under-the-surface musical complexity. The album makes subtle, successful attempts at breaking away from the hardcore mold, while staying within it. Post-hardcore tendencies abound here. It satisfies a strict hardcore listener while giving other more adventurous listeners a treat too.

Three months later I still find everything I said above to be true. The record resonates with me on a personal level, but it’s the intensity, hidden experimentation and brutal honesty I love about this record. Vocalist and bassist Ryan Holmes lays it all out lyrically, exposing his innermost thoughts in a form in which he’s most comfortable. He comes across as getting these thoughts off his chest rather than scared to do so. He’s yelling most of the time and it fits the music perfectly. Guitarist Ben Jenson adds to the intensity all the while being creative in certain areas too. Post hardcore isn’t lost on this trio. Even if the hardcore tendencies shine through, the post hardcore leanings are just below the surface.

Check this out here.

Fisherking “Ghost” review

Here’s a review I wrote of Fisherking’s new album, “Ghost” for Central Michigan Life, which you can also read here. Go see them play with Ceremony at Mac’s Bar this Thursday 9/20. Get tickets via Fusion Shows. Pick up the album for a pay-what-you-want price here.

Courtesy of the Fisherking bandcamp page

Lansing’s Fisherking has put out a record I can’t stop listening to. It’s hardcore punk to a tee; singer and bassist Ryan Holmes’ yelling vocals, blast beats and lightning fast one-two snare/bass drum combos from drummer Alex Corey and heavy, crushing and punctuating power chords from guitarist Ben Jenson. The songs don’t venture past the three minute mark. It’s quick and to the point.

And man, does it make a point. A few to be exact.

“I am the ghost/The lonely soul,” are the opening lines of their first full length album, which is being distributed primarily through their Bandcamp page but will have a limited physical release at their show with California punk band “Ceremony” in Lansing at Mac’s Bar on Thursday Sept. 20.

Those and other honest, emotional lyrics make this record stand out. On tracks like “Conflicts Reside,” Holmes sings “I don’t speak my thoughts/instead I bottle them up,” and “I know I can’t hide forever/I just don’t know what to say.” On “The Difference,” he yells “You know, you don’t really have to scream/You know you don’t really have to be the center of attention.”  I love his lyrics. I think many of us can relate to them.

The music, though, adds a backbone to his lyrics. That’s not to say the music here is boring. Quite the contrary. On multiple listens, there are many time changes, a couple slow and quiet sections and even a bit of experimentation. On the track “Giver,” where Holmes’ vocal sounds like it was recorded through a bullhorn. There’s also a guest appearance by Zach Smith, of Kalamazoo band “Ackley Kid” on the track “Defeat Me”. Smith’s voice takes the anger and amplifies it to the maximum. When both of them scream along to a chaotic aural scene of crashing blast beats and guitars, it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Even the track list itself is subtle. Listening to the album from beginning to end, the listener hears a bit of musical continuity, which has made me keep the record on repeat for days. Listen to it from beginning to end and you’ll know what I mean.

I love this record for its under-the-surface musical complexity. The album makes subtle, successful attempts at breaking away from the hardcore mold, while staying within it. Post-hardcore tendencies abound here. It satisfies a strict hardcore listener while giving other more adventurous listeners a treat too.

 

 

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