So far so good

. May 29, 2013.
Ann-Arbor-Current-Jan-Music-feature-jpeg

It's never too early to make a best-of list. the year is halfway through, and already people have front-runners and dark-horses for their album of the year contenders. Current sought to compile a list of hopeful contenders with a little local celebrity help from various shining beacons of the busy scene, those players and promoters riding the tide of the various new Washtenaw music waves. Our list of guest judges?

Shelly Salant (Swimsuit / Shells / WCBN / Ginkgo Records):
Amber Fellows (Swimsuit / Damned Dogs / Kumi Tapes / Ypsi Music Shelf),
Alexis Ford (Sex Police / Eat Meter / Artist / Booking Agent),

These judges are locals who create their own music (or contribute to a range of other’s projects), and are also some of the core supporters of the scene, overall, either through consistent concert attendance, concert curation, or concert performance, as well as regular scans of local record shop’s shelves. “Coming up with a Best of 2013 music list from Washtenaw County could sound ridiculously difficult,” says Fellows, “if it weren’t for how prolific the artists are in this area.” Without further ado, the lists:

Fellows:

  • Fred Thomas Kuma (LP, Polyvinyl)  “So much has been said of (Thomas)’ work and it may never be enough. Kuma captures a distant intimacy, with reference to places far away that invoke up-close loneliness, which comes through the close-mic’d style, hushed vocals and full orchestration.
  • Rebel Kind Some Things… “…these beautiful and macabre odes were my winter study-break jams.” (Milo: Full disclosure, Fellows/Salant currently perform with the live incarnation of this band, which is Autumn Wetli’s solo group. But, for what its worth, it made my list too.)
  •  Babydown (babydown.bandcamp.com –singles streaming)  “I came across this recording the other day and really enjoy the gauzy, minute-length pop songs.”
  • Shells  (Coming soon- Life Like Records)  “I’ve heard it (Salant) made the record of the year.

 

Salant:    

  • Radiant Marks’ Ominous Feeling (7”/EP)  “This band’s based in Detroit/Ann Arbor, featuring members of Bad Indians, Chit Chat & The Rippers.   
  •  Rebel Kind Some Things Were Just Meant To Change (Cassette)  “Autumn Wetli’s (of Bad Indians) solo project; I’ve always been a huge fan of her songwriting. After this cassette, she has an LP coming out soon on Life Like Records.   
  •  Lidless Eye Escape from Split Screen (LP)  “After numerous cassette-releases, it’s great to finally hear Ypsi’s Knox Mitchell (of Green Records & Tapes) on a proper LP!”  

 

Ford: “I’m not really sure who all has had recordings come out recently, but…

  • Minus 9  “They released Drown at last month’s Totally Awesome Fest (curated by singer/songwriter/puppeteer Patrick Elkins) and I’m sure it’ll be a highlight of my year.
  • Patrick Elkins & Chelsea Jordan Pills In My Pocket (CD)  
  •  Ritual Howls (Cassette on (Salant)’s Ginkgo

 

 

Records
So, there’s a fine scan of the underground. Some of my picks likely struck louder radar pangs:

Saturday Looks Good To Me released their first album in six years (One Kiss Ends It All on Polyvinyl) but showed no sign of rust. Kiss' summery jams epitomize pop effervescence surfed seamlessly over complexly composed, richly rendered recordings.

Frontier Ruckus reached new heights in lavish, literate folk-rock splendor.

Eternity of Dimming made breezy/fuzzy 90’s roadtrippy-reels sound like operatic pop, conjuring mesmeric waking-dreams (and waking nightmares), poetic and knotty but at their core, still catchy.

A bunch of goodies came out in late April: Black Jake & the Carnies Watching, Waiting EP was all too brief of a serving of their steadily-perfecting spicey/sloppy-joe bluegrass-punk.

Nightlife unveiled blissful, glitz-ful synth-pop dance nocturnes with their latest Days In Other Days and I’d be remiss to omit Chit-Chat’s gloriously chuggy/fuzzy surf-rock quickie via their 4-song 7” that came out on New Year’s Day.

And Rebel Kind’s lo-fi folk traipses along the bittersweet borders of rainy day music, but striking an uncanny, nonchalant beauty that brightens more than dims. Hopefully these lists helped you out.

Check back in December for a list.

Trending

Frances Luke Accord @ The Ark, Feb 6

There’s a renaissance in folk music that’s been germinating around the southern shores of Lake Michigan over the last five years – and Frances Luke Accord are a vibrant component to a gallery of contemporaries that include The Accidentals and The Crane Wives. Their new EP comes out January 25 and its titled Silver & Gold; here’s

Throwaway at the Blind Pig with Louis Picasso and Scissor Now – Jan 24

We’re all weirdos or strangers or awkward stumblers in this life… Throwaway faces that inherent eccentricity and denies it any ability to make one feel alienated by dramatizing alienation by way of accentuation: like a paper bag over one’s face. You might call this guitar/drum duo punk, or noise-rock, but that’s a result of your

Shaggy 2 Dope Talks About His Blind Pig Show, Dropkicking Fred Durst, and Going Solo

(Full disclosure: Jason Webber is a former employee of Psychopathic Records) Shaggy 2 Dope is the George Harrison of Insane Clown Posse. He’s the quiet one…at least until you get him talking about things he’s passionate about—ICP’s Juggalo fanbase, music, and the Dark Carnival mythos that runs throughout ICP’s body of work, which—sorry, haters—is now

Cardamom Owner Binod Dhakal Q & A

A peek into the minds of Ann Arbor’s culinary arbiters and their unique perspective on Washtenaw County’s dining and hospitality culture.