Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Matthew Dear doesn’t call himself King Chameleon lightly. The Texan-born producer, DJ, sometime University of Michigan lecturer and leftfield electronic artist has spent almost 20 years operating under a range of pseudonyms – Audion, Jabberjaw and False. The fifth album under his own name is no different, but mostly he channels an eclectic range of loosely post-punk-era styles into heavy electronics. Cranium-shattering dub, Nitzer Ebb’s electronic body music, Wire’s angular tunefulness and the Pop Group’s depth-charges of dub and punk are hurled into the mix.

“Some bands have retired and come back in the amount of time since my last album. Hell, I’ve even played a part in making two more humans since Beams. But hey old man, why aren’t I rested? .Well, I DJ’d a lot, put out an Audion album, and submitted a DJ Kicks mix to some time capsule confused aliens will crack open somewhere far down the line. Throughout it all, as has been the case since I was 14, I made loads of weirdo music. If it weren’t digital, there’d be boxes of tapes and tapes and tapes. See, that’s the thing. I’m a tinkerer. I’m a loop obsessed sound hack. The process is what I get out of bed for.

“‘I make music for people who like my music’ is something I recently tweeted. There is something I’ve come to love about my career. I really can do whatever I want. So long as I feel it’s the best use of time, or yields results that translate into good music later. That’s where you’ll find the music dad. It’s in my head. It’s on my hard drives. It’s in my car driving the girls to school in the morning. They even asked me how Tegan and Sara snuck in and out of the house without them noticing to make those songs with me. The music is always there. It’s just a matter of time before it starts to bubble over and finally get stamped ‘property of the people.’

“I’m calling this one ‘Bunny’ dad. As always it’s got a little bit of everything that makes me who I am. Why Bunny? Fundamentally, I love the way the word looks and sounds. I love the way it rolls off the mind and onto the tongue. It’s a funny thing too. Bunnies are cute. Bunnies are weird. They’re soft. They’re sexy. They’re lucky. They wildly procreate. They trick hunters, but get tricked by turtles. They lead you down holes. They adorn the headboards of children’s beds, lined up meticulously just as mom did when she was your age. Bunnies are seemingly with us from birth, and probably skitter past on our way out the big door.

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“So here is my album. Already a fading stamp on the passport of a time traveler. I do it all for you. I couldn’t quit if I wanted to. I’m only getting started.” – Matthew Dear

released October 12th, 2018
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Fred Thomas had been making music nonstop for years when a seismic shift in his creative process happened in 2013. Something mystical opened up in the fall of that year and the prolific songwriter moved from his already emotionally open style into an unprecedentedly direct and vulnerable lyrical approach as well as new levels of detail-fixated production. The songs took on ​a ​new urgency​, inspired by a feeling that life was beginning afresh while at the same time a lifetime of experiences were cementing into worlds of memory.​ ​The results of that creatively eruptive time began with 2015’s critically hailed album All Are Saved, continued into the turbulent pop of 2017’s Changer and now ​float​ into Aftering, a record that feels like the final chapter of an unofficial trilogy.

Just as the two before it, Aftering was produced, mixed and assembled on location in a close collaboration between Thomas and Athens, Georgia based engineer Drew Vandenberg. All cut from the same cloth, Aftering ties the knots that connect all three records. Where both All Are Saved and Changer flitted nervously between moments of jangly power pop,​ electronic​ interludes and experimental acoustic weirdness, Aftering maps out a far more intentional arc, burning through a first act of ​speedy​, hook-h​e​a​vy guitar ​rock before taking a sharp, brutal dive into an abyss on the album’s second half.

Modeled loosely after Neil Young’s On The Beach, the nine songs here move from ​jumpy ​two minute blasts into a suite of ​four ​protracted​ and​ moody ​interconnected ​pieces​.​​ At first, ​Thomas‘ signature mesh of soaring melodies and experimental pop keeps things upbeat even when burying intense topics on songs like “Alcohol Poisoning” or in the post-election unrest of “Good Times Are Gone Again.” ​Beginning with 8-minute fever dream “House Show, Late December,” the ache​ that sits ​in the core of the ​album comes to the surface completely. From here guitars almost vanish from the instrumentation​ and​ the focus shift​s​ to tightly arranged strings, ominous synth​s​, ambient waves and ​spoken ​lyrics somewhere between poetry and desperate confession​. ​These longer songs drift in and out of each other slowly, drowning into their own lush darkness and heavy observations on anxiety, family and emotional abuse.

Connecting all three albums to an even deeper degree, Aftering finally realizes loose threads that began on earlier records, and calls on special guest​s​ from all phases of ​Thomas’​ life. Anna Burch returns to sing on ​buoyant ​single “Altar” and longtime friend and collaborator Elliot Bergman helps sculpt the ​crystalline​ vibe of album closer “What The Sermon Said.” Newer friends show up as well, with members of Bonny Doon, Common Holly, Deadbeat Beat and other artists ​Thomas connected with through years of touring showing up in supporting roles over the course of the record. Wolf Eyes member and noted memelord John Olson even contributes some fried horns and electronics.

More than anything, Aftering calmly sets down the restless questioning and turmoil of the trilogy. Instead of landing on any tidy conclusion or neatly wrapping up a thesis, the album illuminates the themes of observation and acceptance that have run throughout ​Thomas’ work for the last five years. Aftering reflects on an answerless and uncertain future, trying to make sense of it through scattered memories that flash like mental postcards. A sense of larger, universal ​dread ​refracts through these moments of searching. Ultimately, it’s not the dark times or bleakness that lingers, but a sense of connection and hope that comes from trying to communicate them as honestly as possible. Aftering, like the chapters that came just before, can feel sometimes​ painful, but there’s a clarity and beauty that’s always there as well, equally bright in even the darkest moments.

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released September 14th, 2018

Heaters are back! And on this, their fourth LP in as many years, we find their sound has aged like a fine wine. The evolution of Heaters over those 4 years has been a thrill to hear, from the original sonic maelstrom of three young men to a seasoned 4-piece unit totally finding its groove and its voice the further it ventures on. It’s also true that Heaters have grown exactly 4 years over that time, which is quite substantial when you’re talking about dudes in their twenties. “Suspended Youth” is the first album where Heaters lived in two different places, Grand Rapids and Montreal, and couldn’t just come up with songs while hanging together in their GR jam space. This time, ideas were cultivated in separate places and then stitched together when Nolan (Krebs) would fly to Grand Rapids to record in guitarist Ben Taber’s studio. Nolan says it was a longer process, but ultimately just as rewarding.

“Suspended Youth”: is it a full dissolution of youth, or youth put on the back burner till we’re old enough to appreciate it, or is it the actual physical suspension of youth? Youth levitating, if you will. Many of the songs have an overarching theme addressing the march of time and getting older, and valuing peace as much as chaos, the yin and yang that is life; something that comes through in the overall sound, too. You have never heard a Heaters quite as balanced as on “Suspended Youth”; balancing their whirlwind sonic rave-ups with steady motorik lock-ins. For example, marvel at Nolan on bass and Josh (Korf) on drums completely in swingin’ robots mode on the last 3 minutes of ‘Venus,’ a track full of texture and synth vs. guitar compositions from Ben and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Hagan. Never have you heard Heaters vocals as clear as they are here (dig ‘Lysander’ and ‘Monolith’), harmonies so dreamy (hear Nolan and Ben on ‘Highwind’ and ‘Dandelion’), and melodies so beautiful throughout. And Heaters are no strangers to bringing the bizarre vibes, just check out the closing 11 and a half minutes of the album, ‘Nova Prime’ and ‘Lunar Creep.’

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This is the sound of a band making the conscious decision to age gracefully and to grow artistically…and on their own terms.

Releases November 2nd, 2018

Throwback rock quartet Greta Van Fleet made their Tonight Show debut on July 26th, playing their new single “When The Curtain Falls,” and eliciting a standing ovation from the studio audience.
And while their Tonight Show performance saw the band at the top of their game, a few days later the quartet was forced to cancel their performance at the Panorama Festival due to a persistent hand injury by drummer Daniel Wagner.

“Danny has been playing with injured fingers for the last two weeks, and they have not been able to heal properly,” the band wrote in an official statement. “It has now reached the point where we cannot pick up a drumstick because of it… There’s no greater joy than sharing music, and we are disappointed to miss time spent with you. We promise to make it up to our fans in NYC this year.”

The band is also clear in prioritizing Wagner’s recovery: “It is out top priority for Danny to heal from this injury and be able to play for all of you soon.” Watch the Michigan-based band perform  “When The Curtain Falls” off their untitled sophomore album

Protomartyr – “You Always Win (feat. Kelley Deal)” taken from the new ‘Consolation E.P.’ out 15th June 2018 on Domino Record Co.

Following on from last year’s release of the critically acclaimed Domino debut, “Relatives In Descent”, PROTOMARTYR are happy to announce Consolation E.P., an EP of brand new material recorded in collaboration with Kelley Deal (The Breeders) and Mike Montgomery (R. RING, AMPLINE).
Recorded in Montgomery own studio, Candyland, the EP’s four songs capture the breadth of mood and stylistic variety of a full-length Protomartyr album – from the short sharp shock of the opener “Wait”, through the mutant pop of “Same Face In A Different Mirror”, the epic “Wheel of Fortune”, to the beautiful closer “You Always Win”. Add to this Montgomery’s  recording skill, and Kelley Deal’s unparalleled vocals, and their arrangements that see the inclusion of Jocelyn Hatch (viola), Evan Ziporyn (bass clarinet), and Lori Goldston (cello), and Consolation E.P. becomes a truly unique prospect in Protomartyr’s discography.
Released June 15th, 2018

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Loren Cole is absolutely an artist to watch in the coming months. Her style is unique, her vocal crystal clear, and her songwriting is hopeful in the best way. The optimism in this song is wonderful, capturing a kind of bluesy sentiment with a lilt of hope at the end. The instrumentation is complex enough to pique your interest, but manages not to steal away from the sincere lyricism. This could be a hit in the right markets.

This year, Loren preps for her debut album, For the Sake of Being Honest, scheduled for release 2018, with her first single, “Often” .

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Michigan singer/songwriter Shortly (aka Alexandria Maniak) signed to Triple Crown Records late last year ahead of her set at the label’s 20th anniversary show. At the time, she had just one single out, “Matthew” (which was recorded by and featured Citizen frontman Mat Kerekes), and now she has released her first single for Triple Crown, “Spare Time.” This one was produced by Hop Along’s Joe Reinhart (who’s also produced albums for Joyce Manor, Modern Baseball, and others), and it starts out as kind of a quiet, Julien Baker-esque song, before turning into louder indie rock towards the end. It’s good stuff, as you can hear for yourself below.

Bonny Doon Share Pastoral Video for Their <i>Longwave</i> Title Track

Breezy Detroit rockers Bonny Doon, who will release their second full-length, Longwave, on March 23rd, make the sort of effortless, lo-fi indie that both you and your dad can love.

For their second full-length (and debut on Woodsist Records), the Detroit folk-rock quartet stopped thinking too much and just went to the beach instead. Last month, we dug their earnest “A Lotta Things” single, and now they’re sharing a pastoral new video for their record’s title track. When Bonny Doon began sketching out a strategy to follow up their self-titled debut, they knew they wanted to do things differently. “I think everything’s always a reaction to how you did it the last time and what’s exciting you at the moment,” says Bobby Colombo, who splits vocal and guitar duties in the band with Bill Lennox. While their first record was a strong arrival, Colombo and Lennox characterize its creation as long and arduous. So the band snuck away from their native Detroit and rented a house on the beach in Northern Michigan, recording their next album in just five days, aiming for a looser, more instinct-driven process. “We were just thinking, ‘First thought, best thought’ with this one,” Colombo explains.

The result is Longwave, an album Bonny Doon might still have made if they weren’t holed up on a beach house, but probably not. Delicate and contemplative, the ten new songs feel very much like a product of their recording process—while Bonny Doon weren’t necessarily intent on tearing up the playbook, this record is still a totally different beast from its predecessor. Longwave embraces the stylings of Bonny Doon folk rock with some alt-country sprinklings but the band’s more spontaneous approach lends it a scrappiness that feels fresh. Rather than rein these songs in to the point of suffocation, the band allows them to breathe, rambling and untangling themselves in unexpected ways.

The homemade, found-footage vibe of “Long Wave” is rustic, charming, and the perfect visual accompaniment for the track’s calming influence. BRB, finding a hilltop in nature to roll down this weekend. in fact, Bonny Doon sound like they’re gunning to be spiritual successors to Silver Jews and Neil Young, with a pinch of Summerteeth-era Wilco thrown in. It’s because of this mood that the record never comes across as overly self-serious. The title track, which opens the album, ends in a knowing refrain, zen-like in its conviction: “You are who you’re supposed to be.” It’s delivered with the confidence of a band that believes it, and is comfortable enough in their skin to act accordingly.

The paradigm of live music is so old and stagnant, Colombo laments. “We’re interested in and would like to figure out ways to push us further… We have sort of an unhinged live show sometimes. We play the songs almost like they’re falling apart, but they never really do.” Bonny Doon’s Longwave is out March 23 via Woodsist.

The Band:

Bobby Colombo (guitar/vocals), Bill Lennox (guitar/vocals), Joshua Brooks (bass), and Jake Kmiecik (drums)

Bonny Doon’s Longwave is out March 23rd via Woodsist Records.

Arriving in the early months of 2017, Bonny Doon’s self-titled debut was a warm introduction to the Detroit quartet for many. Hazy and bright, the album’s woozy melodies and swirling webs of summery guitar textures were easily ingested as low-key slacker pop, blissfully awash in lo-fi sensibilities and dreamy ambiance. But the nonchalant breeziness belied a serious attention to songcraft that beckoned careful listening, and hinted at depths yet unexplored. Lo and behold, before the ink was even dry on the first record, work had already begun on its follow-up “Longwave,” a conscious about-face from the sonic experimentation of the first album, and a journey inward.

Opting for spontaneity and simplicity over the exploration of layers and textures that defined the first record, the band architected an incredibly intimate sound for these new songs. The album was tracked with minimal overdubs or production flourishes, constructing a frame that is spare and understated. The songs on Longwave amble through moonlit fields of melancholy guitar leads and self-reflection, the collection unfolding almost as one uninterrupted conversation with self. The session aimed to capture the band at their essence. With the superfluous stripped away, a gentle but steadfast spiritual core is revealed as the backbone of Bonny Doon’s cosmic American music

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Bill Lennox- vocals and guitar
Bobby Colombo- vocals and guitar
Jake Kmiecik- drums
Joshua Brooks- bass

Released March 23rd, 2018

Stef Chura

I really enjoyed Stef Chura’s  excellent debut, “Messes”, last year. Actually, I’m still enjoying it this year as well. She’s currently hard at work on its follow-up, That album is still a ways off, but the duo are giving us a taste of their collaboration with a new limited edition 7-inch for Record Store Day. The A-side is “Degrees,” a contemplative song that flares up into an epic classic-rock rave-up when the chorus hits. Car Seat Headrest Will Toledo produces and plays guitar, bass, and organ,  we’re excited to announce the RSD exclusive 7-inch by Stef Chura, Degrees b/w Sour Honey . “Degrees” and “Sour Honey” were both songs cut from Messes , but revived when Stef crossed paths with Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest and a collaboration was born. Stef says:

“I met Will Toledo in 2016 when we did some touring together with Car Seat Headrest. We chatted at the Empty Bottle in Chicago at our first show and he told me that he found my music on Tumblr via an article that compared us to each other. He invited us on a couple of tours that year before Messes was out and before we had a label or booking agent or release plans or any “stuff.” In May of 2017 we ran into each other again at the Empty Bottle. Will was mixing Twin Fantasy and came out to our gig there with the engineer he’d been working with. He invited us to the studio to check out the record the next day. When we stopped by Will had finished mixing early and asked us if we had anything going on recording-wise. I said I have a couple of songs that got cut from Messes I want to record for a 7-inch and he was like “Cool, wanna record them right now? I’ll play bass.”

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“Degrees” b/w “Sour Honey” is out as a limited edition 7-inch (1000 copies) on Record Store Day, 21st April.