There's too much good local music to pass up
Some of you might be in for insulated autumns: long nights cramming macroeconomics and Cuban missile détente discussions into your brains; dreary weeknights with meager iPod-docks or sputtery-laptop-speakers providing your solacing soundtrack.
You’ve got to GET OUT. And I’m happy to say there’re plenty of provocative mic-clutched freaks, loud, valiant riffers and various other specimen of engaging avant-garde musician primed for caution-to-the-wind performances to help you shake away the soul-crush of homework-drudgery.
I’ll (ludicrously) try to keep this comprehensive yet concise. Y’see, there are mainstays and local music institutions that one simply must encounter and acquaint.
Black Jake & the Carnies’ chaotic/classy tilt-o-whirl of torrid bluegrass-by-way-of-a-crossfire-hurricane; they’re regulars at Woodruff’s in Ypsi but also make the rounds at bigger Michigan music festivals.
Black Jake & the Carnies'
Frontier Ruckus are devastatingly evocative Americana poets, singing-saws, twangy-guitars, percolating banjos and nasally croons in a rustbelt accent warbling temples/courtyards of soul-searching nostalgia.
Charlie Slick & Thunda Clap are not a rock-n-roll band, but more a dance-reverent tribe from the future: synth, sax, funk-frolicked serenades and a dazzle of lights, no attendee should be idle. (Spot them at Woodruff’s or a range of charming house parties or more “alternative” veues).
Lightning Love are aerodynamic pop, sunburst shake-ups with down-to-earth poignancy; keys/guitar/drums/vocals and hooks you won’t get out of your head for days-after-hearing-‘em.
These four bands, along with the neo-psychedelic/quasi-Brit-pop-wringing space rockers Starling Electric (who share two members with Lightning Love) are often headliners around town, regulars at big local events like Mittenfest. (see also: Matt Jones & the Reconstruction, Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful, Timothy Monger, Chris Bathgate, Swimsuit…please take good notes).
But new breeds have grown legs and teeth. Chit Chat blends riled-up seminal-pop shuffling’s with fuzz-fried surf-rock and often rattle-through the more underground joints. Congress is a wonderful-wake-up-caller of bullhorn-bolstered early-90’s-era post-punk, tough and tumbling, elegant guitarsmanship and knee-to-shoulder rhythmic propulsions. (Their EP was released Sept 2 at Woodruff’s). Lawless Carver, mostly instrumental, heady guitar hailstorms, intricately layered guitars and wicked-rapid-paddling percussion; it’s a freer jazz-sensibility pulverized through post-rock and jettisoned through the stratosphere. (They go all around: the Ann Arbor Art Fair and Pontiac’s Pike Room two months’ back, even Grand Rapids, but you can likely catch them at Woodruff’s).
If you want a more quirked-throwback to Americana-twang and bluegrass boogie, there’s Appleseed Collective, or murkier/mesmeric/minimalist folk-reinventions through the Vagrant Symphony… I could go on… Something looser? Try the “junk-punk” of The Real Spicolis.
One of the newest bands, The Disinformants –is muscled with a trio of amped-up/punk-spurred sonic somersaulters who evolved out of their eureka-moments-mined in a Jesus Lizard cover band they played in last Halloween. This band features Anthony Anonymous, a character you’ll likely come to know well – curator of the annual YpsiFest this October, which features Lawless Carver/Congress and others I’ll include on my “musts”: Ann Arbor’s Blue Snaggletooth, Waterford/Ypsi’s All The Wild Children, and Ypsi-psyche/folk-poets Ferdy Mayne.
~YpsiFest 2012 – October 11 – 13 @ Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti.