Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

Deadbeat Beat slowly took shape as the natural extension of a friendship begun in high school by drummer/vocalist Maria Nuccilli and guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Alex Glendening. Always at shows, hanging out, killing time and absorbing music, the two moved through early projects and various members coming and going before solidifying Deadbeat Beat with the inclusion of bassist Zak Frieling. By that point the band began finding their legs at shows in Detroit and through a series of sporadically self-released demos, EPs and singles.

In a scene of restless loners, everyone’s in at least a couple bands. While Deadbeat Beat actively percolated, Maria’s lockstep drumming kept time for long time candy-psych heroes Outrageous Cherry and Alex played with trashpunk stalwarts Tyvek and filled in on bass and guitar for Saddle Creek’s Stef Chura and Richard Davies’ recently reformed iteration of The Moles. Even immersed in a wildly creative community Deadbeat Beat stayed on a different path, set apart by complex song writing that drew from more internal perspectives.

While taking notes on the blacked-out guitar scuzz of their friends and neighbours, there was equal time spent dissecting key records by Kevin Ayers, La Düsseldorf, Joni Mitchell, Julian Cope, The Clean, and a whole litany of rainy pop music. Musically varied and lyrically congruous, “How Far” finds the band at the strongest voicing of this strange nexus, one spawned from rough nights at shitty dive bars as the emotional foundations for soaring pop songs that nervously bump into one another. Largely a reflection on asserting and maintaining a queer identity in an almost completely straight crowd, Glendening’s songs hit at the gut level — either doused in syrup like the harmony-heavy “You Lift Me Up” or stretched into an anxious infinity like “Tree, Grass & Stone,” the album’s extended freak out jam that still feels like a confessional indie pop song.

Released August 2nd, 2019

Best Songs 2020 - Dogleg

There’s a moment in “Bueno,” one of the standout tracks on Dogleg‘s excellent full-length debut, “Melee”, where it feels like a ceiling is crashing down on your head. The song starts off all fire and brimstone, surging punk guitars and slammed drums, before settling into a groove — a funky one, possibly? It’s punk, it’s loud, but the melody is undeniable. It’s a full-on party … but then, halfway through the song, they slam on the brakes. The guitars ease up, leaving a simple bass line. You catch the touch of a cymbal. You think, for a second, that’s it, but then you realize Oh no. They’re just catching their breath. The guitars surge back in, and then the primal scream: “Little brother, was I ever a part of it?” Well, it’s screams — they take turns yelling the line, then, one more deep breath … and the explosion. It’s noise, and chaos, but it’s gorgeous, and perfect. The drums roll. Everyone screams. You’re screaming, too, and wondering: Why can’t all music sound like this?

Dogleg “Bueno” from the full length Melee

Band Members
Alex Stoitsiadis – guitar, vocals
Chase Macinski – bass, vocals
Parker Grissom – guitar
Jacob Hanlon – drums

A sting in the summer blossom, “Ultimate Success Today” is Protomartyr’s fifth full-length album. Following the release of Relatives In Descent, the band’s critically acclaimed headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017, Ultimate Success Today continues to further expand the possibilities of what a Protomartyr album can sound like. The album was recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios, a late 19th century church, in upstate New York and co-produced by the band and David Tolomei (Dirty Projectors, Beach House) with mixing by Tolomei. Featured guest musicians on the album include Nandi Rose (vocals), jazz legend Jemeel Moondoc (alto sax), Izaak Mills (bass clarinet, sax, flute), and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello).

Ultimate Success Today is Protomartyr’s fifth album. Following the release of Relatives In Descent, the band’s critically acclaimed headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017, Ultimate Success Today continues to further expand the possibilities of what a Protomartyr album can sound like. Another perfect Protomartyr album that somehow manages to explode past its predecessor.

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So excited for this! Best rock lyricist out there today, Ultimate Success Today – three words that barely would have crossed one’s mind when thinking about Protomartyr. In those three simple words though, they once more managed to outline a certain state of being and feeling, many of us are constantly confronted with: The societal imperative of winning. Where modesty, failure and perspective are met with suspicion, contempt or at least ridicule. Protomartyr are at a point at which they masterfully match and simultaneously break with expectations. Post punk is definitely still one way to describe it. Musically though, they transcended that description long ago and this record is just as much rooted in a drone and free jazz framing. A frame in which Joe Casey’s lyrics nest like a nervous, meandering flicker; a moth circling the light.

Released July 17th, 2020

2020, Domino Recording Co Ltd

One of the most exciting rock bands of the last decade, the Detroit-based post punk band will release its fifth album, “Ultimate Success Today” July 17th. The word prophetic isn’t a stretch. With its references to disease, institutional brutality, and gross inequality—symptoms of “a cosmic grief, beyond all comprehension”—the new record matches the apocalyptic mood of the US, and much of the world, in 2020. But it also speaks to the continued growth of the Protomartyr aesthetic, pairing guest vocals and contributions by players associated with free jazz and experimental music with reverb-drenched guitars and brittle rhythms.

Writing about the album, Ana da Silva of the Raincoats says: “Our world has reached a point that makes us afraid: fires, floods, earthquakes, hunger, war, intolerance…there are cries of despair. Is there any hope?” . Protomartyr’s artistic growth, the uncanny influence of Robocop, and other doomed and damned topics.

In stark contrast to its title, Ultimate Success Todaythe fifth full-length from Detroit’s lugubrious post-punks Protomartyr—is a deeply dark album riddled with chaos, neurosis, illness, angst and anger about the state of the world. And rightly so. Yet while these songs are a fitting reflection of an America that feels like an empire on the verge of collapse—with an explosion of documented police brutality and murder, and the subsequent riots against the systemic racism that drives it, and the utter mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to spread at alarming rates across the country—they were all written before that stuff really started spiralling out of control.

In fact, the initial inspiration was frontman Joe Casey’s own physical ailments, coupled with the usual existential dread that tends to reside within him. The result is a harrowing record both sonically and lyrically, one that sounds as much like the product of a terrifying David Lynch nightmarescape as much as it reflects the actual horrors of the real world—a far cry, as Casey explains, from the “happy” record he hoped it might have been.

It’s a weird time, because you learn not to dwell on the past, but you’re also frightened of the future, so all you have is the present. Which is why it’s “ultimate success today.” And at  the end of it you hope that you can seize the day, as corny as that is. With “Worm In Heaven,” the music sounded so beautiful, I felt if I’m going to write a swan song or a farewell address, I might as well do it now and get it off the books, so I don’t have to worry about that later on. They can play this song at my funeral now, so maybe I can think about other things. It’s a way to confront these weird feelings, get them down and then hopefully I won’t dwell on it—and the next album will be the happy one!.

Bridging the gap between one post punk era and next, these Michigan anti heroes influence is as clear and loud as is their bombast and rage. Album number 5 proving that the possibilities are unbound by any constraints or expectations.

“Angry and exhilarating. In short—dissonant angst delivered with precision.” Socialist Worker

“The soundtrack of an uncertain future, capable of unleashing pulverising guitar noise, but not reliant on it.” The Guardian ★★★★

“Harrowed, humane and stout-hearted, Protomartyr hold out for hope to the end and beyond.” Record Collector ★★★★

Tomorrow we are releasing a digital single on Bandcamp, featuring two older songs: “Born To Be Wine” and “French Poet.”

We will be splitting 100% of the money received on Bandcamp between the Freedom Fund and Detroit Justice Center. Both organizations are posting bail for protestors while fighting to transform the justice system.

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If you prefer to stream the songs and contribute money directly to these invaluable organizations, we encourage you to do so through the links below:

LGBTQ Freedom Fund: https://www.lgbtqfund.org/donate-1
Detroit Justice Center: https://www.detroitjustice.org/donate

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One of the greatest casualties of no-tour 2020 is that Dogleg was just in the process of launching their career as a chaotic live act outside of their native Michigan, their debut album Melee serving as their treatise for world domination in the same way PUP snatched up an enormous following seven years ago by relentlessly introducing their self-titled LP to audiences on an almost-nightly basis for years to come. Fortunately for Dogleg, Melee has plenty of traction regardless of their abandoned tour alongside Microwave—and much like PUP, the record nearly provides the live experience despite listeners’ pandemic-inflicted confinement to their homes.

With “Fox” as an intro—and “Kawasaki Backflip” as confirmation that Dogleg would, in fact, be very much a thing—it was such a joy watching the Detroit punks unveil their record over the course of a few turbulent months. They rapidly became every music publication’s Artist to Watch, legitimizing them as a fully-fledged AOTY contender by mid-year—and, more importantly, legitimizing the anxieties pumped into each of Melee’s ten tracks as near-universal pressure points brought to the surface in the weeks that followed the record’s release.

Dogleg “Fox” from the full length Melee
Band Members
Alex Stoitsiadis – guitar, vocals
Chase Macinski – bass, vocals
Parker Grissom – guitar
Jacob Hanlon – drums

Unreleased David Bowie concert tapes will be dusted off after 45 years in the vault and released for Record Store Day 2020, Parlophone has announced. “I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74)”  puts the spotlight on the period between Diamond Dogs and Young Americans as Bowie began embracing the sounds of Philadelphia and emerged with a new reconfigured group, new stage design, and new songs to perform.

The 2-LP or 2-CD set draws from recently discovered tapes of performances at the Michigan Palace in Detroit, recorded in October ’74, and Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium the following month. The setlist covers the full range of his career to date, including tracks that would eventially be released on Young Americans, plus songs from Space Oddity/David Bowie, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Pin Ups, Diamond Dogs, and a handful of covers.  The music has been sourced from the best available tapes and while the press release notes that the tapes at times sound their age, the quality never detracts from the performances and the historical significance of these recordings outweighs any possible sonic imperfections.

I’m Only Dancing – Taken from recently discovered sources in The David Bowie Archive, “I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74)” was recorded mostly during David’s performance at the Michigan Palace, Detroit on 20th October, 1974, with the encores taken from the Municipal Auditorium, Nashville on 30th November, 1974.

The Soul Tour was a radical mid-tour departure from Bowie’s 1974 Diamond Dogs theatrical extravaganza. During a three week break in late 1974, the Diamond Dogs Tour’s elaborate six-ton Hunger City stage set was drastically stripped back, and the tour’s set list overhauled to include as-yet-unreleased tracks from the Young Americans sessions at Sigma Sound in Philadelphia. The Soul Tour also featured a revamped band, augmented to include musicians and vocalists from those sessions, and rechristened The Mike Garson Band.

I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) follows on from the previous Record Store Day 2 LP release Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) and is an incredible historical document of a performer and band at the height of their live powers. The artwork for both the 2 LP and 2 CD releases is based on the original design for the programmes available at venues for dates on The Soul TourThe Soul Tour has taken a on mythical status among Bowie fans, as the tour only visited 17 cities in the East and South of US. This is the first time that any audio from this incarnation of the tour has ever been officially released.

You’ll only be able to find this set at your favourite brick-and-mortar shop as part of the Record Store Day celebrations.  And, don’t forget, you can also pick up CHANGESNOWBOWIE,  a 1996 acoustic radio show .

The Band:
David Bowie – Vocals, 12 string acoustic guitar, harmonica

Earl Slick – Guitar
Carlos Alomar – Guitar
Mike Garson – Piano, Mellotron
David Sanborn – Alto sax, flute
Pablo Rosario – Percussion
Emir Ksasan – Bass
Dennis Davis – Drums
Warren Peace, Anthony Hinton, Luther Vandross, Ava Cherry, Robin Clark and Diane Sumler – Backing vocals

recordstore day

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Iggy Pop turned 73years of age on Tuesday and he celebrated by unearthing a cover of the Sly and the Family Stone classic “Family Affair” that he recorded with funk icon Bootsy Collins back in 1985. “I’ve always loved this song; it came out when I was kinda on the ropes in 1971,” Iggy told the BBC. “There’s a lot of truth in it, especially in the second verse, about all sorts of questions that are coming around again now.”

The song has sat in his archive for the past 35 years. “Then one day recently things had quietened down in daily life for everybody and for me, too, and I listened to it by accident,” he said. “It just made me feel good and it was good company and I hoped that I could put it out and it would be company for somebody else, too.”

Pop’s most recent record, 2019’s Free, is a mellow, jazzy collection of songs he created in collaboration with trumpeter Leron Thomas and guitarist Sarah “Noveller” Lipstate. “The only difference from this Iggy and the one who founded the Stooges is the album’s jazzy horns, synthy backdrops, and greater emphasis on Sinatra-style crooning,”

To all Poptimists! “[this track] made me feel good and it was good company and I hoped I could put it out and it would be good company for someone else too” Featuring: Bootsy Collins on bass

Recorded and engineered by Olivier Ferrand, Studio Los Angeles Produced & Mixed by Bill Laswell

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Written by Sylvester Stewart

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Protomartyr are back with news of their fifth album Ultimate Success Today, and have shared the lead single “Processed By The Boys”. the first single from Protomartyr since re-releasing their debut LP No Passion All Techniquelast year.

Ultimate Success Today will be Protomartyr’s first set of new songs since 2017’s Relatives in Descent. They recorded it at Dreamland Recording Studios in upstate New York. It’s co-produced by the band and David Tolomei (Dirty Projectors, Beach House), Guest contributions on the record include Nandi Rose, aka Half Waif (vocals), Jemeel Moondoc (alto sax), Izaak Mills (bass clarinet, sax, flute), and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello).

Lead vocalist Joe Casey says of their forthcoming album, “The re-release of our first album had me thinking about the passage of time and its ultimate conclusion. Listening to No Passion All Technique again, I could hear myself hoping for an introduction and a long future, but also being cognizant that it could be ‘one and done’ for us. So, when it came time to write Ultimate Success Today, I was reminded of that first urgency and how it was an inverse of my current grapple with how terribly ill I’ve been feeling lately. Was that sick feeling colouring how I felt about the state of the world or was it the other way around?” . Casey adds, “This panic was freeing in a way. It allowed me to see our fifth album as a possible valediction of some confusingly loud five-act play. In the same light I see it as an interesting mile marker of our first decade of being a band – a crest of the hill along a long highway. Although just to cover my bases, I made sure to get my last words in while I still had the breath to say them.

The new single arrives with a video directed by David Allen, and is inspired by a clip of a Brazillian TV presenter being trolled by a puppet.

Protomartyr – “Processed By The Boys”, taken from ‘Ultimate Success Today’, out May 29th, 2020.

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A stunning snapshot of the Tunnel Of Love Express Tour in its purest form, Detroit 28/3/88 serves as a showcase for the album’s key songs including “Two Faces,” “All That Heaven Will Allow, “Spare Parts,” “Brilliant Disguise,” “Tougher Than The Rest, “One Step Up,” the title track and most notably the first live archive release of “Walk Like A Man.” The 30-song set also features a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” and the “Detroit Medley,” plus a bonus soundcheck performance of “Reason To Believe,” a song which never appeared in a Tunnel show.

The 1988 Tunnel of Love Express Tour was marked by material changes to the Springsteen concert baseline in place from 1978-1985. The band changed on-stage positions, setlist warhorses like “Badlands” and “Thunder Road” took a breather, and Bruce drafted in a horn section for the first time since 1977. But the true differentiator separating the ’88 tour from every other is its original narrative arc. A Tunnel performance was a blend of song selections, sequencing, and even on-stage elements that took the audience on a journey through the complex and nuanced world of adulthood and relationships: romantic, fraternal, and familial.

Bruce started Tunnel shows with an invitation along the lines of, “Are you ready to ride?” The visual metaphor on stage was that of an amusement park, implying a night of thrills, chills, and spills. Marketing for the tour intoned “This is not a dark ride,” but as Bruce wrote in “Tunnel of Love,” “the house is haunted and the ride gets rough.” Does it ever.

The Tunnel set, in story and song, explored adult life’s emotional ups and downs and the hard questions that arise when you recognize being in a deep committed relationship requires acknowledging your doubts and vulnerabilities. At the time, the tour’s setlist rigidity raised eyebrows from longtime fans, though it did loosen up as the tour wore on. But in hindsight, the initial core setlist in the tour’s first several weeks can be seen one of Bruce’s most fully realized artistic visions. Detroit 3/28/88 captures the Tunnel of Love Express Tour in its purest form.

The first set in Detroit borders on perfection, opening with a stellar version of “Tunnel of Love” into “Be True,” the latter released as a live b-side from this performance. The River-era selection serves as a showcase for the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, who was at the top of his game on the tour and blows “Be True” beautifully. Patti Scialfa’s vocals are also on point.

The resurrection of “Adam Raised a Cain” for the first time since the Darkness tour is a long-awaited return, especially with the Tunnel of Love Horns adding heft to the performance and Bruce’s guitar pushed to the fore. In terms of familial relationships, “Adam” is one end of a father-son thread that will come back later in the show with “Walk Like a Man.” But before that there is other provocative ground to cover: introspection (“Two Faces”), companionship (“All That Heaven Will Allow”), oppressive outside forces (“Seeds,” “Roulette”), shelter from those storms (“Cover Me”), self-doubt (“Brilliant Disguise”), a mother’s doubt (“Spare Parts”), and lastly the lingering impact of the Vietnam War (“War,” “Born In the U.S.A.”).

The sequencing of the set is so strong that the transitions between tracks are as memorable as the songs themselves. “Tunnel” gives way to the soaring “Be True.” “Roulette” ends but “Cover Me” rises from the mist in the same key. The haunting keyboards that end “Cover Me” flow straight into “Brilliant Disguise.” Every song change has been thought through and rehearsed, or in some cases newly written. The stirring piano and synthesizer suite that serves as the music bed to the introduction of “Spare Parts” is one of my favourite musical elements of the entire tour, cinematic in scope and poignant in expression. Kudos Mr. Bittan and Mr. Federici. The set ends with a brilliant “Born in the U.S.A.,” again showing that 1988 versions of the song are the most potent, driven by Bruce’s additional lyrics and storming guitar solo.

“Tougher Than the Rest” opens the second set on a majestic note and reminds us of its place among the very best songs Bruce has ever written. After a foray into longing via “Ain’t Got You” and “She’s the One,” the mood lightens with the playful and self-effacing “You Can’t Look (But You Better Not Touch)” and Geno Washington cover-turned-original (and ’88 tour exclusive)  “I’m a Coward.” The pairing of “I’m on Fire” with “One Step Up” is a trip into a particular male psyche, perhaps even the same character at two different stages of life.

“Part Man, Part Monkey” offers a humorous take on animal instincts before the overall narrative arc reaches its dénouement with “Walk Like a Man,” revisiting the father and son from “Adam Raised a Cain.” The resplendently detailed yet understated arrangement is augmented by horns and shows off the band’s vocal chops, too. Bruce’s singing stays true to the original, and there’s a real power in the sincerity of his performance.

The set ends with “Light of Day,” in a less refined, more exploratory form than later versions in ‘88. In fact, rather than bring closure, this “Light of Day” seems more a celebration of uncharted waters — the line that really stands out now, “Don’t ask me what I’m doing buddy, I don’t know,” lands like an overall commentary on the narrative that preceded it. Standouts in the encore include “Love Me Tender,” which teeters on wedding band territory until you realize that Bruce is singing the hell out of it, and a free-flowing “Detroit Medley,” with Bruce calling out key changes and the band showing off their turn-on-a-dime prowess. The medley features “Sweet Soul Music,” which gives La Bamba & Co. one of the all-time great horn parts to chew on.

For dessert, we’re treated to the second soundcheck bonus track in the live archive series, “Reason to Believe.” While Tunnel of Love setlists had fewer variants than a typical Springsteen tour, 1988 soundchecks were often wide-ranging affairs, loaded with cover songs (some of which eventually found their way into the set) and other material. As cool as those covers could be, “Reason To Believe” is even more compelling.

The song regularly featured on the Born in the U.S.A. tour but was dropped when the show moved to stadiums. Here, Bruce and the band test drive a moody, horn-accented arrangement that is reminiscent of what they would do with Woody Guthrie’s “Vigilante Man” two months later at Madison Square Garden. Springsteen’s vocals and harp are resolute, the music swampy, and the end product a beguiling alternative take on one of Springsteen’s best and, as later versions attest most mutable songs. Highs, lows, pathos, comedy, sin, redemption—the Tunnel of Love Express tour had it all, and on stage in Detroit, Bruce shared as much of himself in these rich, satisfying performances as he would do three decades later on Broadway.

Thanks Erik Flanagan

  • Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano, keyboards; Clarence Clemons – Tenor and baritone saxophones, percussion, backing vocal; Danny Federici – Organ, glockenspiel, keyboards; accordion; Nils Lofgren – Guitars, backing vocal; Patti Scialfa – Guitar, percussion, backing vocal; Garry Tallent – Bass; Max Weinberg – Drums
  • Additional musicians: Mario Cruz – Tenor saxophone, backing vocal; Ed Manion – Baritone saxophone, backing vocal; Mark Pender – Trumpet, backing vocal; Richie “La Bamba” Rosenberg – Trombone, backing vocal; Mike Spengler – Trumpet, backing vocal
  • Also appearing as the Ringmaster – Terry Magovern