Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

The band is back with ‘She Makes a Great Parade’, the first single from their upcoming album ‘Good Goddamn’. Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor‘s new album ‘Good Goddamn’ is a poignant reminder of the truly bizarre times we are living in.  It explores the belief that one can be thrilled that they are physically alive but emotionally they are entirely astray in the world.

Detroit, Michigan — The tension left behind by Sean Morrow’s agonizing screams of “Good Goddamn” can be felt through the entire album. The COVID-19 locked down halted early progress on recording and the band was forced to work on new approaches to writing and collaboration.  The result led to the band’s most poignant and melodic record of their career.  The uncertainty of this time seeps into every track, setting up an emotional rollercoaster that can be introspective and sublime at times, and anxious and psychotic at others. 

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The album’s first song “She Makes a Great Parade,” sets the stage with a hypnotic synth that floats you down a stream of consciousness that you never want to leave.  The groovy bassline and catchy melody, that conjure memories of 70’s era Wings, anchor you while the swirling synths float you into a much-needed blissful escape from the world.

The song is a poignant reminder of the truly bizarre times we are living in. It explores the belief that one can be thrilled that they are physically alive but emotionally they are astray in the world. The hypnotic synths and groovy bassline float you down a stream of consciousness you never want to leave. While the catchy melody conjures memories of early 70’s era Wings.

The well-crafted sound that is very much Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s own is the perfect soundscape for an emotionally manic story that continues through the entirety of the record.

“It’s Good to be Alive” comes crashing in to bring you quickly back to reality.The pounding drums and fuzzy guitars (in the vein of the Stooges) only add to the tension that reoccurs multiple times throughout the rest of the record. Effortlessly the band somehow swings from pounding fuzz into a laid-back soothing grove with the lyrics “It’s good to be alive” echoing in your ears.These stark and unconventional changes are as natural to the band as their use of trippy effects and memorable melodies.The well-crafted sound that is very much Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s own is the perfect soundscape for an emotionally manic story that continues through the entirety of the record.

Though from Detroit, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s reach is long. They have built a solid fan base in Europe over multiple tours.

‘Good Goddamn’ drops June 4th on Little Cloud Records (US) / The Acid Test Recordings (UK)

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The band’s masterpiece was undoubtedly 1971’s ‘High Time’ LP. Stung by the failure of ‘Back In The USA’ and with no viable commercial future, the MC5 made it on the verge of disintegration. It’s the only MC5 record to contain individual song writing credits, but it still manages to fuse together all the disparate elements of their sound. Its wired twin-guitar assault and riotous free-jazz detonations (check out the nervy repetition of the two Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith contributions – Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)’ and ‘Over And Over’) ensured it was the one true encapsulation of the MC5 aesthetic. 

“High Time” sounds like MC5’s relative equivalent to the Velvet Underground’s “Loaded”, their last and most accessible album, but still highly idiosyncratic and full of well-written, solidly played tunes. Fred Smith’s “Sister Anne” and “Skunk (Sonically Speaking)” bookend the album with a pair of smart, solidly performed hard rockers (bolstered by fine horn charts), and Wayne Kramer’s “Poison” ranks with the best songs he brought to the band (he later revived it for his solo album The Hard Stuff). For a group that was apparently on the verge of collapse, MC5 approach this material with no small amount of skill and enthusiasm, and Geoffrey Haslam’s production gives the band a big, punchy sound that suits them better than the lean, trebly tone of Back in the USA. It’s interesting to imagine what MC5’s history might have been like if High Time had been their first or second album rather than their last.

Unfortunately, ‘High Time’ was an even bigger commercial disaster than their previous two albums. The group’s espousal of left-wing political doctrines meant that they were not only treated with intense suspicion by corporate record labels, but that their righteous rock’n’roll energy was greeted with distaste by the prevalent flower-power movement of The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane on America’s West Coast. Thirty years on, it’s only now apparent that this ultimate defeat was really victory. Unbeknown to them, they’d become one of the best rock’n’roll groups of all time.

Lenny Kaye, then writing for Rolling Stone, called the album “the first record that comes close to telling the tale of their legendary reputation and attendant charisma”. In his retrospective review, Mark Deming of AllMusic called it MC5’s most accessible album, but still highly idiosyncratic and full of well-written, solidly played tunes. While less stridently political than their other work, musically it’s as uncompromising as anything they ever put to wax and would have given them much greater opportunities to subvert America’s youth if the kids had ever had the chance to hear it.

Sadly, High Time’s 1971 release represented the end of the line for MC5. Hard drugs had entered the band members’ lives, and within a year they’d split up, drifting off into various other configurations. At least two members wound up in federal prison on drug charges, and they never did reunite before the untimely death of Rob Tyner in mid-summer 1992

MC5, 
  • Michael Davis – bass, vocals, 
  • Wayne Kramer – guitar, vocals, piano 
  • Fred “Sonic” Smith – guitar, vocals, harmonica
  • Dennis Thompson – drums, vocals 
  • Rob Tyner – vocals

Released July 6th, 1971

Back In The USA: How MC5 Invented Pop-Punk Ahead Of Schedule

The LP was no longer just a collection of songs, it had a purpose, a message – and fans triumphantly carried their favourites from party to party. Connecting rebellion with the counterculture, and blazing a trail for punk rock years ahead of schedule, were MC5, the Michigan band whose second album, “Back In The USA”, hit the shelves smack-bang at the start of the decade, on 15th January 1970.

Released a year after their frenetic proto-punk debut, “Kick Out The Jams”, Back In The USA marked a new direction for a group whose opening call-to-arms caused no small amount of controversy. A mixture of pop tunes and deep blues riffs, it found them matching their rebellious stance to catchy song writing, becoming the blueprint for something else entirely: pop-punk. The opening track is a cover of the classic hit “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard. “Let Me Try” is a ballad. “The American Ruse” attacks what the Detroit quintet saw as the hypocritical idea of freedom espoused by the US government, and “The Human Being Lawnmower” expresses opposition to the US involvement in the Vietnam War. The last song on the album, which is the title track, is a cover of Chuck Berry’s 1959 single “Back in the U.S.A.”

Every strain of this combination of punk and pop music has produced some of the most iconic party tracks in history while offering an aggressive release that skirts some of punk music’s more anti-social aspects. It’s a deadly combination, and one that MC5 lit the touch paper for with Back in The USA.  What distinguished the band was not only its fiery political content-inspired by the militaristic, anti-establishment ideology of manager John Sinclair’s White Panther Party-but the furious, free-jazz energy of the music. Guitarists Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith engaged in long exchanges that suggested Sun Ra and John Coltrane.

Where Kick Out The Jams was a fast, messy live album that felt experimental while heralding the punk scene to come, Back In The USA was immaculately recorded, with a tight production suggesting how much rehearsal time must have went into creating it. They hadn’t let go of their revolutionary aesthetic, they’d just acquired the musicianship to match. With short, memorable riffs and a greater use of vocal harmonies, Back In The USA showed the world that a radio-friendly rebellion could be a great recipe for success. With lyrics that combined themes of partying with those of finding confidence as a teenager, it captured the spirit of youth in revolt, while the use of pronouns in the lyrics ignited a feeling that the album was written for the listener alone.

Producer Jon Landau doubtless had a hand in the band’s new direction. A former music critic who would go on to work with Bruce Springsteen, Landau had a natural instinct for pop-rock; dissatisfied with psychedelia’s lack of focus, he was drawn to MC5’s raucous energy, helping them channel it into a bluesy, catchy bubblegum-pop record that rolled party and rebellion into one. 

The problem was: the audience. MC5 had already announced themselves as punk trailblazers almost a decade ahead of schedule. Their turn towards a cleaner, more mainstream sound turned off a fanbase interested in revolt over record sales, peaking at No.137 in the US – over 100 places lower than Kick Out The Jams. Long-term, however, Back In The USA opened up a world of airplay and mainstream acceptance, if not for the group (who split in 1972, after the release of their third album, “High Time”), then for anyone willing to combine anarchy and danceable pop music in the years that followed.

The MC5 also happened to be making some of the greatest rock’n’roll music ever committed to tape. Post-Elektra, the band managed to record two raucous LPs for Atlantic. The first, ‘Back In The USA’, is often considered to be their weakest – and while it suffers both from a dearth of political focus and a thin, edgy sound (it was recorded by rock critic Jon Landau, who’d never produced a record before), its concise, commercially skewed sound was a profound influence on punk groups like The Clash, while songs such as ‘The Human Being Lawnmower’ offered a radical rewiring of the old bubblegum rock blueprint.

Though the album was viewed as a flop early on by most fans, and lacked the commercial success of their previous release, it would later be considered highly important due to the album’s absolute projection of MC5’s core sound and earliest influences.

In hindsight, MC5 were greatly ahead of their time in terms of both the radical changes they made to their sound and template they laid for a whole new musical genre. The group have been nominated – and overlooked – for entry into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on numerous occasions, but their true reward is that the collective consciousness of the pop-culture-loving world now know them as this: punk pioneers who became something so much more – a band that showed the way for forging aggressive catharsis with infectious pop music.

MC5 
  • Rob Tyner – vocals
  • Wayne Kramer – guitar, vocals on first & third chorus of “Back in the USA”, guitar solos on “Tutti Frutti”, “Teenage Lust” and “Looking at You”
  • Fred “Sonic” Smith – guitar, guitar solo on “The American Ruse”, lead vocals on “Shakin’ Street” and second chorus of “Back in the USA”
  • Michael Davis – bass
  • Dennis Thompson – drums

Citizen have always eluded definition. The Toledo, Ohio-based three-piece have been making dynamic, wide-ranging guitar music for over ten years, challenging expectations with each new album and refusing to fit neatly in a box. On their fourth full-length, “Life In Your Glass World”, Citizen have crafted their most singular work to date completely on their own terms—proving that only the band themselves can define their identity.

Since forming in 2009, Citizen—vocalist Mat Kerekes, guitarist Nick Hamm, and bassist Eric Hamm—have endlessly pushed themselves with each successive release, actively resisting the comfort zones that often plague bands as they grow. The band has fearlessly taken risks with their sound on each new album, and shown themselves capable of exploring impassioned post-hardcore, raw noise rock, shimmering indie pop, anthemic alternative, and more—often on the same album, and sometimes even the same track. But growth isn’t always painless, and the band has been navigating the fraught music industry from a young age—learning as they went and sometimes feeling pulled in different directions at once.

When it came time to make Life In Your Glass World, Citizen’s need to continue moving forward creatively went hand in hand with their desire to be fully in control of their creative destiny. Nick Hamm explains: “I don’t have a lot of regret but there have definitely been times when we felt powerless during the band’s existence. This time we really owned every part of the process. It’s easy to feel like you’re on autopilot when you’re in a band, but that’s not a good place to be this far into our existence. We consciously knew we wanted to break free.”

For Citizen that meant taking the entire album-making process home to Toledo (the Glass City) and creating everything in-house. Kerekes built a studio in his garage, a project that was both empowering and practical. “It’s super easy and convenient,” he says. “But I also felt like building the studio was a way to prove we don’t need anything but ourselves.” Hamm adds, “This is the first self-sufficient Citizen record. There was no pressure at all and moving at our own pace allowed the songs to be a little more fleshed out.” The looser recording process afforded the band time to focus on each song’s individual mood, making their signature blend of aggression and melody all the more pronounced, and even capturing appealing imperfections. The result is an album that represents the members’ vision in its purest form, something that feels distinctly Citizen while also marking the start of a fresh chapter.

One of the most immediately striking elements of Life In Your Glass World is the band’s attention to rhythm. Many of the songs feature undeniably danceable beats and sharply grooving guitar lines, which give both the barnburners and the brooding atmospheric tracks a pulsating heart. “When you write songs the same way for X amount of years, you start to want to try something new,” Kerekes says. “These songs were mostly built from drums and bass first, which was different for us. I’d start with a completely different beat every time to get a certain energy.” The band’s desire to assert themselves is palpable both in the music and Kerekes’ lyrics, mirroring not only their creative frustrations but also a long year of personal upheavals. “There’s a lot of anger in these songs and we wanted the music to communicate that,” Hamm says. “I think a lot of people expect bands to slow down or chill out when they get to where we are, but we consciously didn’t want to do that.”

The opening one-two punch of “Death Dance Approximately” and “I Want To Kill You” exemplifies the acerbic-yet-buoyant feel of Life In Your Glass World, and the latter sums up the album’s defiant themes. Kerekes puts it plainly: “Sometimes you feel like you’re being used. A lot of the lyrics are liberating, they’re reclaiming control.” The band wastes no time in showing their range, pivoting to the melancholy haze of “Blue Sunday” and the bounce of “Thin Air,” both of which meditate on the struggle to invest so much in something only to be let down and retreat inside oneself instead. Elsewhere tracks like “Call Your Bluff” and “Black and Red” showcase Citizen’s knack for big choruses, while “Pedestal” features towering drums and a distorted bass line that’s as malevolent sounding as Kerekes’ vitriolic words. “Fight Beat,” with its tense mix of otherworldly menace and memorable hooks, takes the band’s rhythmic-centric writing to its furthest point yet; lyrically, the song grapples with the realization that one has passed a point of no return, a sentiment that permeates the attitude of Life In Your Glass World. “This isn’t a baby step,” Hamm says. “It’s exactly what we want to do.”

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Much of Life In Your Glass World deals with the bleak and challenging aspects of being human, and the album often feels like an exorcism of pent up negative feelings. But those feelings give way to a sense of hope with the closing track “Edge of The World.” Interweaving guitars rise around Kerekes’ voice as he considers past pain with the kind of clarity that can only come from time and distance—and finds promise in looking towards the future. The song builds to a soaring finale as the clouds part and Kerekes declares, “At the end of the day there was beauty in tragedy.” It’s one last turn, the kind of affirmation that makes you re-examine everything you just heard with a newfound perspective. It’s a fitting conclusion for Life In Your Glass World – borne of the confidence gained through years of trials, tribulations, and self reflection – and one that asserts that Citizen’s true identity is rooted in the raw energy of constant evolution. 

Releases March 26th, 2021

Life In A Glass World is the new LP from Ohio-based four-piece Citizen. Really tight production, this is proper playlist guitar bangers. Very limited Blue & Green Galaxy Swirl Vinyl.

Iggy Pop has shared a new song about the novel coronavirus. The song, called “Dirty Little Virus,” begins, “COVID-19 is on the scene.” Other lyrics include, “Grandfather’s dead/Got Trump instead,” and “She’s only 19, but she can kill ya.”

In a video about the song, Iggy Pop explained, “I was moved to write a direct lyric, not something too emotional or deep, more like journalism.” He concluded, “If there was still a Man of the Year, it would be the virus, so I wrote the lyric.” Iggy Pop co-wrote “Dirty Little Virus” with Leron Thomas, who also edited, arranged, and played trumpet on the track.

For those who need an escape, want to travel without moving and altogether keep their ears and minds open.

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Chris Berry – Drums (Home Studio)
Ari Teitel – Guitars and Bass (Home Studio)
Leron Thomas – Editing, Trumpet work and Arrangement (IMI Studios NYC)

Written by Iggy Pop and Leron Thomas

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The Underdogs were early adopters in the Michigan rock and roll scene, a bunch of high school students led by bassist and vocalist Dave Whitehouse. An American garage rock band from Grosse Pointe, Michigan who were active in the 1960s. They became a regular attraction at the Hideout, teen dance club that was an early venue for acts such as Bob Seger, Glenn Frey, and The Pleasure Seekers, featuring Suzi Quatro, and it also served as the home to the Hideout record label, which released several of the Underdogs’ singles. The group enjoyed success in the region and came close to breaking nationally with two records released though a joint deal on Reprise Records

The band only released four singles, of which ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ was the last. Their earlier singles were released on the Hideout club’s own record label, and distributed by Reprise, but ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ was released by Motown. This song IMMEDIATELY transports us to the Hideout and the pandemonium when the Underdogs came on stage!. They were reportedly the first white band to sign to Reprise, and they were given ‘Love’s Gone Bad’, a Holland-Dozier-Holland song that had previously been recorded by another white Motown act, soul vocalist Chris Clark.

I read about the passing of The Underdogs drummer Michael Morgan in 2008. Not many times in rock and roll does a blue-eyed version of a Holland Dozier Holland outshine a soul version, but in this case I have to say it’s awfully good. RIP Michael!

Before he became Patti Smith’s bass player, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years from 1965-1968, and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. 

Love’s Gone Bad by The Underdogs
Release Date: 1967

thanks so much to a wonderful site Aphoristic 

Heaters from Grand Rapids, Michigan In the year 2015, it may be that only foolishness or forgetfulness can excuse being surprised by the pace and power of a rock and roll machine coming out of the holy state of Michigan. Yet such is the power of the perpetual energy expressed throughout “Holy Water Pool,” the new full-length album by Heaters on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records.

If there’s an offer of salvation within “Holy Water Pool,” its one that comes with a catch: you have to risk drowning. Drowning in this case brought on by the rapid-rush of these eleven songs over forty-one minutes, creating an album that consistently offers explosion while also always keeping its fuse lit. “Kamizake” is the suitably deadly opener, as much an invocation of the ghosts of reverb past as it is a song. Broken shards of the Bo Diddley beat, detritus left behind by the three-eyed men of the Elevators, the amplifier-abuse-turned-illumination of The Warlocks – all feed the rich soil from which “Holy Water Pool” emerges. And perhaps nowhere on “Holy Water Pool” is the fruit of that soil better served than on “Master Splinter,” an instantly-under-your-skin gallop of greatness that lays bare both the unbridled joy and teeth-gnashing distress of what we like to call rock and roll.

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Moments of “Holy Water Pool” threaten to turn into a wave pool, holy or not, given Heaters almost incongruous surf-city leanings. Sonically, this is more than the sum of its parts (and more than the sum of second-hand Ventures records, too) in the way it colours the band’s sound, with their relatively defined palette expanding to a depth that’s deceptively broad and ultimately breathtaking. “Gum Drop” is perhaps the albums sweetest treat, here the pace slowed to a somnambulistic shuffle, with the band threatening to disintegrate completely into the sound that grows ever more cavernous at every turn, tethered to reality only by the siren sound of saxophone. On the album ending “Dune Ripper,” our eyes initially crossed and read the title as “Duane Ripper,” as in the million-dollar twang delivered by Duane Eddy. It’s a ripper, for sure, and leaves little doubt that this dose of “Holy Water,” delivered with chilling efficiency by Heaters, has had its intended impact on our ears.

Onward flows the “Holy Water Pool,” the rambunctious and replenished flow of rock and roll, inviting all for a cleansing, refreshing dip. Jump in.

Originally released September 25th, 2015

 

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

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

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