music

. August 29, 2012.

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.

Frontier Ruckus

 

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).

Lawless Carver

 

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.

Trending

Thanksgiving Eve

The night before Thanksgiving is a notoriously busy bar night. Friends are back in town to see their families, but everyone really just wants to utilize a permissively late weeknight jamboree to blow off some much needed steam, before they have to behave themselves at the dinner tables tomorrow in front of grandparents and in-laws.

Mini Moog Fest at AADL

Two things from the get go: First: Your library can be (and always has been) a reliable source of cultural programming that can enrich the community. That can be author talks, it can be craft activities for kids, but it can ALSO engage the local music scene in very interesting ways…What I mean is, the

Discussing the Documentary Art Form with Local Filmmaker Scott Allen

Ann Arbor based filmmaker’s latest documentary features Michigan musician/horror novelist   Scott Allen spent a dozen years in the music scene, primarily with post-punk quartet Thunderbirds Are Now….but now…he’s getting into film. Documentary film, specifically. A Livonia native, Allen moved to Ann Arbor seven years ago to work for Automobile Magazine. While this fatefully aligned

Grove Studios Update

Local musician Rick Coughlin founded Grove Studios in late 2016 with the goal of establishing it as a community space for musicians—by musicians! The Grove team’s idea, with an architectural vision of Breck Crandell, was for a compound of individual artists’ rehearsal spaces comprised of a fleet of shipping containers. Coughlin’s efforts have been aided by the