Weekly What’s Up: Albums Of The Year (Part Two of Five)

. December 11, 2014.
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Blue Snaggletooth – Beyond Thule

Frontier Ruckus – Sitcom Afterlife

Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West – Heartspace Timepiece

It’s that time of year when every music site you click to seems to assail you with LISTS! The Best of the Best of the Best of 2014…

We’re sort of doing the same here at the Current. This column is going into retrospective-mode, counting down several splendid albums produced by artists from the Washtenaw region. Last week we put the spotlight on local trio Rebel Kind’s exceptional LP Today. Well, today we expand that spotlight to three albums from equally exceptional local bands, Blue Snaggletooth, Frontier Ruckus and Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West.

Blue Snaggletooth is an Ann Arbor quartet perfecting a blend of metal, hard-rock and sci-fi psychedelia. Their second full length, Beyond Thule, came out last month; a vociferous excursion between genres and dimensions, with low, fuzz-fired bass, hard-driving beats and star-piercing guitars.

Blue Snaggletooth, “Sleeping Mountain”

Frontier Ruckus have evolved from the beautiful glooms of their initial album’s gothic Americana into a post-millennial incarnation of literate power-pop, somewhat showing their inclinations towards more of a Big Star trope (with triumphant, hooky guitar riffs deployed over a mix of baroque-blends). Singing saws with willowy synths! Sitcom Afterlife is the group’s fourth full length.

Frontier Ruckus, “The Splendid World”

Finally, Alejandra O’Leary &The Champions Of The West explored and stirred all the soulful possibilities mineable within the mold of classic pop styles, bridging strutting beats and zingy flavors of British Invasion icons to the twangier trips of modern alt-rock re-inventors. Whether it had aches of pianobar blues or pastoral sweeps of Americana, it always hung on a sturdy pop hook. Timepiece Heartspace is the singer’s first full length album.

Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West, “Beat Ohio”

Meanwhile:  

Blue Snaggletooth perform Friday (Dec 12) at The UFO Factory in Detroit (2110 Trumbull) 9pm/18+/$5

Frontier Ruckus are currently on tour through the rest of January and into early February. They’ll return to The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor on January 10.

Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West recently had their Kickstarter campaign funded for their next music project – so you can anticipate some new music coming from their camp in the early seasons of 2015.

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Laith Al-Saadi & Friends – Annual Birthday Bash

It goes without saying that Laith Al-Saadi is a treasure of the Ann Arbor music community. But if you haven’t yet experienced this bipedal force of nature with his signature beard, shredding guitar, and astonishing singing voice, then clear your schedule next Saturday… Laith Al-Saadi’s Annual Birthday Bash Sept 29 The Michigan Theater 8pm INFO

Grove Studios Grand Opening

If you’ve been following the pages (printed or online) of Current this past year, then you’ve probably heard a bit about Grove Studios already. Grove is a grassroots effort to provide musicians and artists from all around the Detroit metro area and western Washtenaw County a rehearsal and creative space for their work and development.

Audiotree Music Festival (Kalamazoo) – Sept 22/23

The Audiotree Music Festival returns to Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place next Saturday and Sunday. The lineup features more than 20 artists, including Father John Misty, Khruangbin, Chicano Batman, Diet Cig, and many more! While the names we dropped in the previous paragraph are nationally renowned artists signed on to notable labels like Sub Pop or

saajtak featured among a genre defying lineup at blind pig – sept 13

  Genres are irrelevant. No one proves that assertion better than Detroit’s saajtak. Formed five years ago at U-M’s School of Music, saajtak’s made quite an impression with their stormy fusion of free jazz, noise experimentation, electronica, space-rock and opera. Their newest EP, Hectic, came out earlier this summer. Hectic EP by saajtak Thurs, Sept 13 saajtak