Born in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood in 1952, Carl Carlton spent his childhood in a city that was on the verge of a new musical revolution. When Motown was founded in 1959, the signature “Motown sound” soon became a model for what everyone aspired to sound like. Carl Carlton began singing and recording in the mid 1960s after a fed-up neighbor who lived near a field used for baseball by the neighborhood kids heard Carl singing and initially thought that the kids’ radio was turned up too loud. When that neighbor was told by the other kids that it was actually Carl, he was taken to the Lando Records studio to record his soulful voice under the moniker “Little Carl Carlton” – a play off of the popularity “Little Stevie Wonder” was achieving at the time. He recorded the songs “I Love True Love,” and “Competition Ain’t Nothing,” the latter going on to achieve some popularity in the area and catch the ear of Don Robey’s Back Beat Records, located in Houston Texas. Carlton moved to Houston and throughout the 1970s, he recorded for Back Beat and achieved modest success, but it was a collaboration with soul-singer Leon Haywood and a contract with 20th Century that would lead to his biggest success as an artist. In 1981, 20th Century released “She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)” which went gold and stayed at the #2 spot on the charts for eight straight weeks (ironically it was another Detroit native, Diana Ross, who kept him out of the #1 spot on the charts with ‘Endless Love’). Carl Carlton appeared on Solid Gold, Soul Train, and American Bandstand, but always made it a point to stop in his hometown of Detroit to play whenever the opportunity would arise.
Go back to 1981 and groove with Carl Carlton on his biggest hit, “She’s A Bad Mama Jama” below!
Eric and the Vikings added soulful flavor to the Detroit music scene via Soulhawk records in the late 1960s and 1970s. The Soulhawk label was owned and operated by Richard “Popcorn” Wylie, who had been influential with Motown from the beginning and now operated as a producer, songwriter, and supporter of Northern Soul. Members Eryke McClinton, Cliff Moore, and Phil Taylor recorded their biggest hit for the Soulhawk label, titled “Vibrations (Made Us Fall In Love)” which was released in 1970 to large success in the city of Detroit and around the metro area. The single released by Eric & The Vikings helped propel the group, as well as the Soulhawk label, to achieve success with local Detroit radio stations and “Vibrations” was steadily featured on WKNR/Keener 13. Eric & The Vikings even opened up for Isaac Hayes during a performance at the University of Detroit event center back in 1970, cementing their local influence and their smooth soul success.
Take a listen to Eric and the Vikings with their best-known hit, “Vibrations (Made Us Fall In Love)” below.
Originally formed in Detroit in 1958, The Contours started out as a quartet consisting of lead singer Billy Gordon, Billy Hogg, Joe Billingslea and Sylvester Potts. Their original name was The Blenders, but after the addition of guitarist Huey Davis and Hubert Johnson (cousin of Jackie Wilson), they became The Contours and auditioned with Berry Gordy at Wilson’s suggestion and were signed to Motown in 1961. Most Motown acts at the time upheld an image of style, sophistication, and smooth choreography…which is why The Contours, with their leaps, splits, rowdy R&B style, and refusal to contain their energy during performance, fell out of sorts with Motown early on and were most known for their 1962 hit “Do You Love Me?,”originally written by Berry Gordy for The Temptations. “Do You Love Me?” was the only Contours single to hit the top 40 on the Billboard charts, however, the single achieved this feat not once, but twice — for the first time in 1962 when the song was released, and again in 1988 thanks to Patrick Swayze and a film called Dirty Dancing.
Throwback Thursday on our site honors the originators and innovators who paved the way for other contemporary Detroit artists to explore their sound and vision, and thanks to true visionaries like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, Detroit has a signature techno sound that has reverberated throughout the music world. Kevin Saunderson met his best friend Derrick May in Belleville, MI after an altercation that left May unconscious and ultimately led to a relationship that would pave a new path for electronic music. Saunderson observed the months-long process that Juan Atkins and Derrick May were going through to create “Let’s Go” under the pseudonym X-Ray, inspiring Saunderson to produce his own work. Inner City developed as a collaboration between Kevin Saunderson and Chicago native and vocalist Paris Grey. Grey and Saunderson produced the single “Big Fun” in 1988, and the single quickly became a hit in the U.S. as well as the U.K. With the positive buzz that began surrounding “Big Fun” and other subsequent Inner City releases, Saunderson soon became a commercial and critical success, helping to pioneer the sound of Detroit techno on dance floors around the world.
Enjoy the 1988 music video below for Kevin Saunderson & Paris Grey’s hit, “Big Fun.”
Jimmy and Frank Bryant were two brothers from Detroit who worked as session musicians and created a dance-floor hit so groovy, it has been sampled over the years by the likes of British DJ hit-maker Norman Cook (known by most as Fatboy Slim) to create an iconic Northern Soul sound that people for decades have been able to dance to. After working for a long period of time recording music as a session musician for artists such as Gino Washington and J.J. Barnes while his brother Jimmy was completing service in the military, Frank Bryant was asked to do session work for Winifred Terry of The Drifters, and upon Jimmy’s return, the two brothers began to work and record together. While recording a session that was intended to produce a single and a B-Side, the Bryant brothers used the opportunity to show Terry their skill as not only musicians, but vocalists. Subsequently, the original vocalist hired for the songs was taken out and The Just Brothers were able to record their own singles and B-Side. The songs “Honey,” “She Broke His Heart,” and “Things Will Get Better” featured the vocals of The Just Brothers, and the catchy, surf-rock-meets-soul-power B-Side “Sliced Tomatoes” became an iconic tune sampled over the years by Motown and soul-enthusiast DJs and producers. “Sliced Tomatoes” was recorded in 1965, but became more widely known in 1972 when the song was re-released on the Music Merchant record label, reaching a new group of listeners who became fascinated and receptive to the up-tempo beats that all at once showcased the best of Northern Soul, influenced by the Tamla Motown sound.
Check out a video below featuring Frank Bryant and drummer A.J. Sparks, playing “Sliced Tomatoes” as a tribute to the late, great Jimmy Bryant.
Freda Payne was born in Detroit in 1942 with Motown soul in her genes — both Freda and her sister, former Supreme Scherrie Payne, were blessed with the gift of vocal prowess. Freda Payne attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts when she was younger and grew up with the influence of female jazz vocalists. She entered and won many local talent shows around the Detroit area, persuading her to take her voice to New York City to strike it big. Funny enough, it was the famed trio of Motown writers, Holland-Dozier-Holland, who put Payne on the map by offering her their song, “Band of Gold,” for her to record in 1969. At the point that Holland-Dozier-Holland offered Payne the song, she had already had 2 jazz albums, a part in a theatre production, and an appearance on The Tonight Show under her belt from the past six years she had been in New York. Payne recorded “Band of Gold” for Holland-Dozier-Holland’s newly formed label Invictus, and it became her first song to reach a #1 spot on the charts in the UK (the song reached as high as #3 on the US charts). It was also, appropriately, Freda Payne’s first gold record.
Please enjoy Freda Payne performing her most beloved hit in the video below!
The Eastown Theatre went from being an opulent, family-friendly movie house in Detroit around the 1930s, to a rough-and-tumble rock-and-roll rave spot plagued by bad luck in the 1960s. After being shut down for a brief period in the early ’70s, the Eastown was renamed the Showcase Theatre and opened up for another run in 1976. In a record-breaking turn of luck for the theatre, James Brown brought his “Body Heat” Tour to the Eastown for a 6-day stint which included 14 performances by Brown within those 6 days. Due to consistent crime in the area, high drug-dealing traffic, and little to no security at the venue, the “Showcase Theatre” did not long survive the late ’70s. Brown’s string of shows would be one of the last great performance runs the Eastown Theatre would see, but even those performances were by no means smooth sailing — a dispute between James Brown and the theatre over rent money almost cost James Brown over $50,000 in equipment. The Eastown Theatre may be cursed, but still it provided Detroit with some of it’s purest rock and roll moments as well as, if you can even imagine it now, a place for families to take in a 15-cents-per-ticket film surrounded by elegance.
New Bethel Baptist Church, located on Linwood St. and previously located on Hastings, was founded in 1948 by the Reverend C.L. Franklin. In the 1960s, Franklin was recording sermons from New Bethel Baptist on the gospel label Chess Records, becoming one of the first ministers to do so. He was known as the man with the “million-dollar voice.” That vocal prowess would be carried down through the Franklin family, as evidenced by Franklin’s daughter Aretha. Aretha Franklin made her vocal debut singing solos at her father’s church when she was only 10 years old. By the time she was 14 and under her father’s management, she was out on the road singing with gospel caravan tours, building her reputation as one of Detroit’s most radiant voices of all time.
Enjoy a performance by the legendary Aretha Franklin from 1970 below.
In the 1980s, in Michigan and elsewhere, the punk and hardcore music scenes were developing heavily thanks to a relentless group of bands who were forming and playing in any venue that would host their style of music. In 1981, Angry Red Planet was formed by brothers Tim and John Pakledinaz and Vince Delisi, and like other hardcore groups coming onto the scene during that time, they frequently played gigs at some of the fantastic bar venues of yore, such as Traxx and The Mystery Lounge. They even scored an opening slot for the Dead Kennedys at Harpo’s back in 1984. They gained a reputation as being one of the more accessible hardcore bands around at the time with a twisted, melodic sound that resulted with a less brutal crowd than at similar hardcore and punk shows. Their popularity grew around the Detroit area, and Michigan-originated Touch and Go Records (co-founded by Tesco Vee of The Meatmen) released a 4-song, 7″ EP titled Gawker’s Paradise in 1985. Our Throwback Thursday for this week is the 3rd track on that EP, “Sun Goes Down.” With it’s dark and scratchy styling and lyrics pointing to doomsday with an ironically upbeat feel, this Angry Red Planet track as well as the entire Gawker’s Paradise EP is a great listen for when, to borrow from the lyrics, “The noise on the streets is one big pain/Like a gall digging down into your brain.” Currently, Tim Pak has transitioned his music style and is in a Bluegrass band, The Salt Miners, and started Woodshed Recording Studio in Michigan.
Enjoy the track “Sun Goes Down” by Angry Red Planet below.
When Detroit Sounds Like This sat down with LaDarrel Johnson for an interview, one of the first things to happen was a show-and-tell about his instrument, custom made and engraved with his ‘Saxappeal’ emblem. A wealth of pride was evident on his face as he carefully handled his saxophone with loving attention and beamed with happiness as he talked about how it was made just for him. Johnson handles his alto saxophone in the same fashion in which he plays his music — with attention, pride, and a graceful passion.
Saxappeal does not exclusively work alone; his part in the local Detroit music group Collective Peace allows for him a place to collaborate with like-minded musicians to produce spirited jazz and soul as a multifaceted unit. Describing Collective Peace in our interview as “a nucleus . . . [members] can go out, record a solo project, then come back home and do a group project.” Saxappeal has received international recognition in the contemporary jazz world for his brand of “SaxSoul,” a mix of jazz, soul, hip-hop, and R&B.
You play it…and you can feel it [soul music].
Get to know more about Saxappeal and how Detroit, his experiences, and Lisa Simpson influenced him to produce the experimental, up-tempo style of sound you will hear in his performance at our Detroit Sounds Like This studio.
Did you ever hear the one about Paul McCartney dying and being replaced by a doppelganger in 1966? The “Paul Is Dead” controversy than began as The Beatles were in their final years as a band together was fueled right here in Detroit, MI. Russ Gibb, WKNR-FM Detroit DJ and Grande Ballroom Godfather, received a call to the station on October 12, 1969 from Tom Zarski at Eastern Michigan University, asking Gibb if he had ever listened to The Beatles’ White Album backwards, in particular the song “Revolution 9.” Zarski explained the controversy in depth, telling Gibb about the hidden clues in the song that Paul McCartney was actually dead and replaced by a look-alike, including the cryptic “turn me on, dead man” message you could hear by playing the record in reverse. Gibb played “Revolution 9” backwards on the air — listeners in Detroit were stunned, as was Russ Gibb, who was soon receiving hundreds of calls and clues from all over contributing to the runaway train that Paul McCartney was no longer with us. Gibb even aired a 2-hour special on WKNR-FM on October 19, 1969, “The Beatle Plot,” discussing all of the clues and evidence found by listeners and analyzing the conspiracy. Detroit; home of the greatest rock-and-roll rumor of the 20th century.
The raspy-voiced renegade from Lincoln Park, Bob Seger, has a thousand tracks we could feature for Throwback Thursday on Detroit Sounds Like This, but we’ve chosen the first track off of his debut album for not only putting Bob Seger’s name on the map, but also for it’s energy, authenticity, and organ riffs. The Bob Seger System was not Seger’s first gig on the Detroit music scene — prior to The Bob Seger System releasing their debut album in 1969, Seger played in The Decibels (his first band, a 3-piece outfit), then The Town Criers, then shortly after joined Doug Brown & The Omens, then finally The Last Heard. It was after leaving Doug Brown & The Omens to record a song called “East Side Story” (which Seger wrote for another band, The Underdogs, but didn’t garner any attention) that Seger tasted success around Detroit thanks to recording the song with Hideout Records. After getting attention from other record companies (and turning down a contract with Motown to record for Capitol), Bob Seger & The Last Heard became The Bob Seger System and recorded “2+2=?”, a song which carried a strong anti-war message and gained the band moderate success around Detroit, Canada, and New York. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” was the next song released from The Bob Seger System, and it instantly gained the band even wider recognition and made it to #17 on the charts. The title track to the album was released as a single in 1968, and due to the success of it, the album was recorded shortly after and released in 1969. Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man put Bob Seger’s name out there as a genuine and distinctive voice in rock and roots music, and it was only the beginning of the legacy he is still continuing in Detroit and around the country.
Enjoy a video featuring The Bob Seger System’s biggest hit along with a performance by “Legs & Co.” on Top of The Pops…you’re welcome, guys!
The Who are a legendary band in rock and roll history known for their contributions to the music world just as much as, like most significant rock bands, they are also known for their antics and debauchery. There was no member of The Who more notorious than original drummer Keith Moon, and on his 21st? birthday (there is still rumors that it was actually Moon’s 20th birthday party, but he figured if the public was convinced by the press that he was 21 he could drink anywhere he wanted) The Who were slated to be in Flint to play a gig with Herman’s Hermits at the Atwood High School football stadium. The Who frequently made tour stops in both Detroit and Flint throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but this gig in particular would lead to the Flint Holiday Inn’s most destructive rock star incident. After being drunk most of the day and posing for a photo in front of the motel’s sign, Moon truly knew how to turn his birthday party into chaos as only he could do — among a food fight at the motel, fire extinguishers, and Moon getting one of his teeth knocked out and having to have it removed without anesthesia due to his inebriation, the legend is that Moon drove either a Lincoln Continental or a Cadillac (or both?!) into the swimming pool by going over a small fence from the parking lot straight into the water. Subsequently, The Who were banned from The Holiday Inn for life and Michigan gained one of the greatest and most outrageous rock stories of all time.
The 1968 sweeping psychedelic opus we’re going back to for this week’s Throwback Thursday is ‘Crimson and Clover,’ from a Michigan band who started off their careers singing snappy bubblegum hits which transitioned to influential psychedelic soul when the band took creative control over the sound of their music. Tommy James and the Shondells are a perfect example of how a band can discover their pure original sound when there is no outside influence. When Tommy James was freed up from his ties to the band’s principal songwriters, Ritchie Cordell and Bo Gentry, he discovered how to melt tremolo-styled vocal effects with floating, woozy guitar to create a classic tune dedicated to his favorite color and favorite flower. The ambient echoes of ‘Crimson and Clover’ hit number one on the Billboard charts in February of 1969 and became an instant classic in the psychedelic genre as well as the band’s biggest success. Please enjoy a live performance by Niles, Michigan’s Tommy James and the Shondells with their biggest hit below.
If you were a kid who spent most of their TV watching time obsessed with the old Nickelodeon lineup, you most likely made the tune-in for ‘The Adventures of Pete & Pete,’ a classic which harbors a laundry-list of cameos and guest starring roles, including Donovan, Debbie Harry, LL Cool J, Michael Stipe, and more. Perhaps one of the most memorable guest appearances came from none other than James Newell Osterberg, Jr. (known by most as Iggy Pop), who played the role of James Mecklenberg for five episodes of the series. James Mecklenberg was the father of Michelle Trachtenberg’s character, Nona F. Mecklenberg (who loved her itchy cast and wanted to change her middle name to ‘Forklift’), and proved just how much of a bad-ass dad he was when he sang to Nona at the school dance in the memorable episode clip you can watch below. It’s no ‘Raw Power,’ but it is fantastic none-the-less.
There are multiple musical groups that write and perform under the name, “The Reflections,” but there is only one of those groups with Detroit roots and a catchy hit from 1964 that remains the group’s signature number when they perform to this day. “(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet” was penned by songwriters Bob Hamilton and Freddie Gorman (who wrote another classic Motown song performed by The Marvelettes, “Please Mr. Postman”) and when sung by the five members of The Reflections, injected a heavy dose of upbeat, harmonious top-and-bottom Doo-Wop into listeners which resonated and drove the song to classic status. The Reflections were among several “Blue-Eyed Soul” R&B groups signed to the Detroit label Golden World Records in the early to mid 1960s, but only The Reflections achieved the #6 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with one of their singles. Lead singer and original member of The Reflections Tony Micale and Detroit-born bassist John Dean still tour as The Reflections to this day and frequently visit the city they achieved their stardom in, playing at several shows and festivals throughout Michigan and keeping the spirit of oldies and R&B available to all generations of music fans. Terry Stewart, President of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, summed up the impact of The Reflections and their staying power very well when he said, “These guys could sing the phone book and still bring the house down”.
Please enjoy the classic “(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet” by The Reflections below.
Music and boxing may not quite go together like peanut butter & jelly, but in Detroit’s long history of both, there is one figure who became a legend in music and fought on the same bill as a legend in boxing. Berry Gordy Jr. is the name that put Motown on the map and brought the soul and spirit of Detroit music to the masses, but before he founded the Motown sound, he tried out a career as a professional boxer. Dropping out of high school in eleventh grade to pursue this dream, Berry Gordy Jr. was in the featherweight division and fought 17 professional matches, winning 12 of them with 5 KOs total before he ended his boxing career in 1950. In 1948 at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, Berry Gordy Jr. fought on the same bill that another well-known Detroiter was on, “The Brown Bomber” Joe Louis. Following his boxing career, Berry Gordy Jr. joined the Army and served in Korea for 3 years, and then returned to the U.S. to pursue music and songwriting…the rest is Motown history.
In 1967, East Lansing natives The Woolies recorded a cover of the classic Bo Diddley tune, “Who Do You Love?” This would prove to be the group’s biggest hit, and with many covers of “Who Do You Love?” out there by bands like George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Woolies’ version still comes out on top. Formed as a band in Dearborn in 1964, vocalist Stormy Rice, keyboardist “Boogie” Bob Baldori, guitarist Jeff Baldori, bassist Ron English, and drummer Bill “Bee” Metros got their first taste of success before “Who Do You Love?” winning a Vox-sponsored “Best Band In The Land” contest which won them a set of speakers, as well as a trip to Los Angeles and a recording contract. It was Lou Adler of Dunhill Records in LA who first ushered The Woolies into the recording studio after hearing their demos to create their first record, “Who Do You Love?,” split with an original song by the group, “Hey Girl.” Soon after recording in Los Angeles, The Woolies were on their way back to Michigan at Russ Gibb’s request to open The Grande Ballroom on October 6, 1966 along with the MC5. The fast-paced punchy rhythm of “Who Do You Love?” caught the attention of radio DJs and promoters upon its release, and remains their biggest success as a band.
Enjoy The Woolies’ classic, energetic cover of “Who Do You Love?” below!
In 1971 over a 72-hour period of time, a band comprised of 3 musicians from Flint, MI managed to completely sell out their show at Shea Stadium in New York City. Ticket sales from this event grossed over $300,000, and at the time, The Beatles held the record for the fastest sold-out show in the stadium’s history. It was none other than Michigan’s own Grand Funk Railroad who crushed The Beatles’ attendance record. This was also the first time that one American group had ever headlined at Shea. Approximately 12,000 fans camped outside of Shea Stadium in order to secure tickets the morning they went on sale, and another 9,000 fans showed up early to get their Grand Funk. Grand Funk Railroad’s incredible victory is still held in the record books of Shea Stadium to this very day.
One day away, friends! We’re up to the end of the week and that means tomorrow September 14 will be the event this has all been leading up to. St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival has landed on U.S. soil for the first time, and we as Michigan residents have to thank the festival organizers and promoters for choosing our state to showcase such a diverse and talented lineup of artists from the music world. All 24 of Laneway’s artists have been profiled by us during this past week with the conclusion of this article. We’d like to thank our readers and supporters of Laneway for taking a glimpse into the hard work of these artists and why their contributions to Laneway are significant (and of course, why you are going to have so much fun tomorrow!). Let us now look at the last six artists from the indie genres of rock, folk, electronic and hip-hop…
Taking the Derrick Stage from 1:25-2:10 pm
Trevor Powers has been recording under the alias Youth Lagoon since 2010, and since that time he has concocted a neo-psychedelic type of haze that has produced 2011’s The Year Of Hibernation and most recently 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse. The themes in Youth Lagoon’s music have always had an air of loneliness, partially due to the fact that Powers grew up in Boise, Idaho, a city that isn’t as impacted by music culture the same way a city like San Diego, California is (Powers’ birthplace). Youth Lagoon hits on many levels to draw listeners into his work — the ambiance, the electronics, the emotion — get caught up in it all starting at 1:25 on the Derrick Stage.
Taking the Roscoe Stage from 2:15-3:00 pm
Phosphorescent is a name fairly new to the music game, but the musician behind Phosphorescent is no amateur. Matthew Houck has been working as a singer-songwriter since 2000. He first started off with the moniker Fillup Shack and released a limited album pressing titled Hipolit. Starting in 2003, Houck took the Phosphorescent name and has released 6 full albums and an EP, with his most recent work being 2013’s Muchacho on Dead Oceans records. Phosphorescent’s mellow indie-folk sounds will be highlighted on the Roscoe Stage from 2:15 until 3 pm.
Taking the Roscoe Stage from 3:55-4:40 pm
Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit are an indie folk/rock band who have been active since 2003, but were never conceived originally as a band. Frightened Rabbit’s lead singer/guitarist Scott Hutchison planned for a solo project, but gained 4 more members down the line to turn Frightened Rabbit into a fully realized band who have released 4 full albums, 5 EPs, and a slew of singles in their careers. 2013’s release from the band Pedestrian Verse has had them touring harder than ever, and they will be welcomed to the Roscoe Stage by Laneway starting at 3:55 pm.
Taking the Roscoe Stage from 5:35-6:25 pm
Deerhunter are a band known for their image almost as well as their music. Leader of the pack Bradford Cox has been notorious for wearing sundresses on stage and smearing his skin with blood, which makes us as an audience wonder what we can expect from their set at Laneway. With a dash of Sonic Youth-style lovely noise, a little disco, and a pinch of bubblegum pop, Deerhunter create a style of indie rock which doesn’t sound typical for this time. Unusual as they are, Deerhunter have still managed to garnish praise from dozens of publications, media outlets, and of course, fans of their eccentric style. Catch Deerhunter on the Roscoe Stage at 5:35 pm.
Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike)
Taking the Meadow Stage from 5:45-6:30 pm
Both EL-P and Killer Mike are tremendously bad-ass on their own, but together, they have spawned Run The Jewels, a collaboration a long-time coming. Back in 2012, EL-P produced Killer Mike’s album R.A.P. Music, which received universally positive reviews for Killer Mike’s lyrical prowess and EL-P’s synth-boom production. Killer Mike then made an appearance on EL-P’s album Cancer 4 Cure, and their next pursuit together became this year’s Run The Jewels, made available through a free digital download for anyone to pick up. The intensity and sense of humor will make for a fantastic show beginning at 5:45 pm on the Meadow Stage.
The Dismemberment Plan
Taking the Derrick Stage from 6:30-7:20 pm
Back in 2003, The Dismemberment Plan called it quits. They had released 4 albums and a couple of EPs up to that point, but the band made no future plans for anything musical. In 2007, they played a one-time reunion show in Washington D.C. which started a tease that lasted up until the release of their latest album of new material in over a decade. The Dismemberment Plan defined the genre of dance-punk and brought new wave back from the 80s, and it’s a fortunate thing that they haven’t been gone for good. Uncanney Valley is full of the confident sound that the band has rightfully earned starting out in the early 90s and reuniting to a larger audience of fans than ever. In their past live performances, The Dismemberment Plan have been known to get the crowd involved and up on stage, so make sure you are in a great place in front of the Derrick Stage at 6:30 pm to catch this show.
We hope we will see you at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival tomorrow at Meadow Brook Music Festival in Rochester Hills! Gates are at 11 am, be sure to check Laneway’s official website for any last-minute information and download their festival app for your phone to set up a personal itinerary for yourself with start times and alerts. Read about the other 18 artists performing at Laneway here at Detroit Sounds Like This, and visit us next week for more photos & articles pertaining to Laneway after it’s all finished!
Festival organizers are already busy at Meadow Brook Music Festival setting up for this Saturday. We are continuing to give our readers coverage on Laneway which profiles the artists on the bill and what you might expect to see from their sets on Saturday at St. Jerome’s first Laneway Festival USA. Today we look at five artists on the roster who have one important common tie — they have women in the band who take the stage by storm. Yesterday we took a look at amazing women such as Aluna Francis (AlunaGeorge), Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES), and Caroline Hjelt & Aino Jawo (Icona Pop). Today we continue with another group of women who will get you get you rocking, carry you away, and leave you in awe.
Taking the Roscoe Stage from 12:40-1:20 pm
Haerts are a 5-piece outfit from Brooklyn who are very new to the scene, but already drawing in listeners with a likeable, nostalgic sweetness that kicks off Laneway on a very good vibe. Nini Fabi has a voice that glows with every lyric she sings, set against a glossy instrumentation that if you close your eyes, could be playing in 1993 just as well as 2013. Haerts have not confirmed any set dates on a debut album yet, but after taking a listen to Laneway’s first artist of the day, you might be waiting with anticipation as well.
My Brightest Diamond
Taking the Pavilion Stage from 1:35-2:20 pm
Shara Worden scores for Laneway right away for being the only artist on the lineup from Detroit who isn’t on the Movement/Ghostly Stage. Furthermore, her superb talents as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will treat her Laneway audience to a set filled with indie rock, chamber pop, folk, opera, and more. My Brightest Diamond does not just put on a concert — they put on an entire production. After working with fellow Michigander Sufjan Stevens and his Illinoisemakers project and going on tour with them as a cheerleading captain, Worden came back with the idea to develop My Brightest Diamond and record in the summer of 2006. Since then, My Brightest Diamond has impressed in person around the world, and we can expect the same with a hometown Laneway performance.
Taking the Derrick Stage from 3:05-3:50 pm
Warpaint are four women from Los Angeles who craft psychedelic-laced indie rock with delicate vocals and full-bodied serpentine guitar goodness. Since their formation in 2004 they have release an acclaimed EP (Exquisite Corpse, 2007), as well as a full-length album (The Fool, 2010) of their artful sounds. Current members are Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa, who replaced original drummer Shannyn Sossamon. They have acknowledged themselves that in their sound, they are going for an “underwater” feeling — a description that, if you’ve listened to Warpaint, puts together an accurate picture in echoey deep blues & greens.
Taking the Derrick Stage from 4:45-5:30 pm
Savages broke out of London onto the music scene this past year injected with the attitude, talent, and gripping post-punk sensibilities that have made them one of the most praised and respected bands to come into indie rock. Jehnny Beth’s deep, passionate vocals roar over Gemma Thompson’s rough-in-all-the-right places guitar playing, Ayse Hassan’s throbbing bass and Fay Milton’s stormy drumming — watching Savages perform live is a submissive act, all we as an audience can do is shut up and let their powers take us over, and be better for it when we realize afterward what hit us. This can’t-miss set will begin on the Derrick Stage at 4:45 pm.
Taking the Pavilion Stage from 6:35-7:20 pm
Solange may carry the “Knowles” last name, but don’t let that fool you — Solange has stepped out on her own with a retro, funk-infused R&B sound very apparent in her 2012 release True. Her infectiously upbeat stage presence, knack for bold styles, and soulful singing will give the crowd at Laneway a performance guaranteed to leave a smiling impression when it’s over. Solange has come a long way in her musical career since the very early 2000s, and now that she has come into her own style of poppy indie R&B, she can own it and show us all why her musical path lead her right here. Get down with Solange on the Pavilion Stage starting at 6:35 pm.
Only one day of artist profiles left to count down! Check back to Detroit Sounds Like This tomorrow for the last group of artists on the lineup and what you’ll expect for Saturday. Visit Laneway’s official website for even more.
When the Motor City Metal record label released Don’t Metal With Evil by Detroit band Halloween in 1985, the glam and hair metal genres were just on the verge of exploding larger than too much hairspray near an open flame. Halloween had every quintessential element to make you love their 80s metal schtick…they had the cheap horror-show theatrics, falsetto-howling vocals, and the raw, don’t-give-a-shit attitude about their whole presentation which metal thrives on at its core. The video for the week says it all — “What A Nice Place” is the 7th track from the album Don’t Metal With Evil, and once you get past the cheese-tastic D-list horror movie credits (there is definitely some intrigue when a music video thanks Elmwood Cemetary in the opener), you get to reapers, pyrotechnics, and Bill Whyte using a couple of femurs(?) as drumsticks. When you get down to the actual music, Brian Thomas, Rick Craig, George Neal, and Bill Whyte know how to mix speed riffs and punch-in-the-face bass drumming to create really authentic metal, even if some of their imagery would lead you to believe they are mostly appearance and not much substance. The fact is, Halloween never broke through into the mainstream as the story goes with many Detroit bands, but they are still together and now 3 decades later recording their latest album without ever being signed to a major label…and that’s fucking metal.
Enjoy Halloween’s magnum music video opus for “What A Nice Place” below.
Wednesday means the middle of the work week and the 3-day-away countdown to the St. Jermone’s Laneway Festival at Meadow Brook Music Festival. We have profiled the headliners of the festival as well as the electronic talents of the Movement/Ghostly Stage, and today we are taking a look at five artists who come from the realm of electronic music. Two of the artists in particular hail from the home land Laneway was born on — Australia. Read more below about who will be compelling your body to break out the dance moves this weekend.
Taking the Meadow Stage from 2:25-3:10 pm
Melbourne Australia’s Nicholas James Murphy goes by Chet Faker and delivers a blend of electronica and soul which has already gained him breakthrough artist recognition in Australia. His 2012 release Thinking In Textures earned him the Rolling Stone Australia award for ‘Best Independent Release’ and his internet-circulated cover of Blackstreet’s classic 1996 smooth jam “No Diggity” saw him garnering dozens of new fans all over the world. His chosen alias is a dedication to one of Murphy’s greatest influences in his vocal delivery, jazz great Chet Baker. Discover Chet Faker’s stirring style on the Meadow Stage beginning at 2:25 pm.
Taking the Pavilion Stage from 3:15-4:00 pm
Glasgow’s CHVRCHES are one of the most buzzed about bands in the indie-pop world right now. Since the release of their 2012 single “The Mother We Share,” Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty have been building social media hype and releasing a string of singles and an EP (Recover) up to the release of their debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, which will drop on September 24. You can hear the post-punk influence of The Cure in the glistening, keyboard-driven electro-pop of CHVRCHES music, which is highlighted by the ethereally pure vocals of Lauren Mayberry. This is a set you will not want to miss.
Taking the Meadow Stage from 4:05-4:50 pm
London duo Aluna Francis and George Reid released their debut album, Body Music this past July, filled with upbeat blends of pop, electronic and R&B that recall what was so great about the 90s decade. AlunaGeorge have stated in interviews with Pitchfork that their sound is influenced by artists like Timbaland and the Neptunes with George Reid quoted as saying that their sound was from a time when “At one point, people weren’t being so afraid to do something a bit weird.” The woozy loops and honey-sweet vocals of AlunaGeorge will be on the Meadow Stage from 4:05-4:50 pm.
Taking the Pavilion Stage from 4:55-5:40 pm
If you didn’t get “I Love It” stuck in your head at least once this past year, you must have been living somewhere other than Earth (although I wouldn’t discount Icona Pop playing on another planet entirely, either). The Swedish electro-house sweethearts Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have been getting people on the dance floor since they exploded in 2012. Their first US release is slated for September 24, and with the duo naming influences on their music such as Robyn, Britney Spears, and Daft Punk, we can only predict that the rest of the tracks on This Is…Icona Pop will get us dancing around a room as hard as their first single. The Pavilion Stage at 4:55 will be the place to be dancing and singing along that you’re a 90s bitch.
Taking the Meadow Stage from 7:25-8:15 pm
Harley Streten goes by Flume and in just over a year’s time from the release of his self-titled debut, he has gained international recognition in the electronic world and received platinum status from ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association) at only 21 years old. Flume creates a dazzling, lush electronic sound by drawing inspiration from every genre sample that he can get his hands on. Diversity is the key to Flume’s work, which has made his electronic genre difficult to categorize yet draws people in to see how the sounds, visuals, and presence all come together in his stage show. See for yourself at 7:25 on the Meadow Stage.
We hope our readers are getting as pumped up about Laneway as we are, check in with us tomorrow for a continuation of artist profiles and check Laneway’s official website for up-to-the-minute information.
Today we continue to profile the artists you will be seeing at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival this Saturday at Meadow Brook Music Festival in Rochester Hills. Movement, Paxahau, and Ghostly International are three names synonymous with electronic music in the Detroit area and known elsewhere around the world for their high standard of quality when it comes to the artists they manage and work with. Ghostly International is actually based out of Ann Arbor, but has strong roots in Detroit working closely with Paxahau, the brains behind the Movement festival in Hart Plaza each May. The five acts on the Ghostly International label chosen for the stage at Laneway represent a full spectrum of electronic styles that fit effortlessly into the indie genres most of the artists at Laneway can be categorized in — think of their stage at Laneway as a miniature Movement.
Taking the Movement/GhostlyStage from 2:40-3:25 pm
Heathered Pearls is the alias of Ghostly International artist Jakub Alexander, who is not only a seasoned DJ, but also a record label founder in his own right with Moodgadget. Disco has always been an influence on Alexander’s style, as his first stint out of Ann Arbor was playing alongside Brooklyn disco duo Worst Friends. Listeners can hear influence from atmospheric rock, synth, and disco in the work of Heathered Pearls, a sure way to get the Movement/Ghostly Stage crowd in the mood without wearing them down right away.
Taking the Movement/Ghostly Stage from 3:30-4:15 pm
Thunderous bass, R&B sexuality, and dark ambient electronics sound like an enticing and appropriate trifecta for a music festival, which is exactly what Brooklyn duo Beacon want to bring to the Movement/Ghostly Stage at Laneway. Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett were studying fine arts at the Pratt Institute and blending their two aesthetics together, created a sound that is one part smooth, and one part sinister. The Ways We Seperate is the latest release from Beacon on Ghostly International, come check them out at 3:30 to see how the songs translate on the stage.
Taking the Movement/Ghostly Stage from 4:20-5:10 pm
Zachary Shigeto Saginaw goes by simply Shigeto, but the sounds he creates are anything but simplistic. The Ann Arbor-born Shigeto plays off of shades of jazz, hip-hop instrumentals, and layered melodies to create a vibrant style of electronic that triumphantly grows bigger as the music plays on (Shigeto translates to “to grow bigger”). Shigeto will provide listeners with a cool breeze of electronic in the early evening beginning at 4:45.
Taking the Movement/Ghostly Stage from 5:30-6:30 pm
Detroit’s ADULT. have been called electropunk pioneers for good reason — they have been around since 1998, helping to shape the sound that punk rock creates when it fuses with drum machines and dark synths, which resonates with Detroit listeners and fuels their popularity in Europe. Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus have been married almost 15 years, and in their music as well as in their other art-world pursuits (film, painting, photography, etc.) they collaborate to explore every possible outlet for their creative visions. ADULT. will cast their spell on the crowd beginning at 5:30 on the Movement/Ghostly Stage.
Taking the Movement/Ghostly Stage from 6:50-7:50 pm
Matthew Dear is perhaps the most well-recognized artist on the Ghostly International label. Not only did he co-found the label with Sam Valenti, Matthew Dear has also collaborated and produced music for some of the most well-known artists in the contemporary indie & electronic genres today (The xx, Hot Chip, The Chemical Brothers, and The Postal Service to name a few). It comes as no surprise that he was chosen to headline the Movement/Ghostly Stage with his avant-pop sensibilities and affinity to hypnotize festival crowds with distinctive vocals and deep rhythms. Matthew Dear’s finale on the Ghostly/Movement Stage will be a set for electronic and indie lovers alike to come together and groove.
Check Laneway’s official website for more information leading up to Saturday’s festivities and check back here tomorrow for more profiles of Laneway artists!
Saturday September 14 is in our sights, and the Australian-born St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival will be setting up at Meadow Brook Music Festival to bring some of the current apples of the indie music world’s eyes to our home base. This week at Detroit Sounds Like This, we will be taking a closer look-and-listen at the artists who comprise Laneway’s roster and profile why these musicians were chosen to represent the Laneway Festival lineup. We hope our readers will discover more about the artists they may not know much about currently, and that it will inspire excitement and anticipation in those who are already familiar with the greatness of the festival’s chosen 24.
Headlining the Pavilion Stage from 8:20-9:35 pm
Sigur Rós hail from Reykjavík, Iceland where their surreal, intoxicating post-rock developed by Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson, Georg Hólm, and Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson in 1994. With the seven albums they have released (including their latest, Kveikur), Sigur Rós have made a unique mark on the music world with the band’s lush arrangements, Jónsi’s use of bowed guitar, and the vocals sung in Vonlenska (or ‘Hopelandic’), a non-distinguishable language which focuses on melody and rhythm in vocal delivery rather than actual words. Sigur Rós are also known for their monumental live performances where the stage visuals, vocals, and music melt into a pounding wave which, as it crashes around you, envelopes you in a hazy sonic comfort. The band has played in Detroit as recently as April 1st at The Fox Theatre, and has consistently included Detroit as a stop when touring in the past. For those fans who have disappeared for hours in the euphoria of Sigur Rós’ music and have not yet experienced them live, there is not doubt that your schedule should be planned accordingly around their performance. For those curious, be sure to carve out time to bask in at least one of their numbers, the sensory overload may have you staying for several more.
Headlining the Roscoe Stage from 7:25-8:15 pm
Ernest Greene went to graduate school in his native state of Georgia to study library science, but thank goodness for our ears that he decided to create dreamy, drowsy, synth-pop influenced music instead. Washed Out has been associated with the ‘Chillwave’ genre because of the upbeat pop sounds that loop through most of Greene’s work and the lo-fi production influence that give his music a designed summertime sound. Washed Out’s latest work, Paracosm, is a love-letter to the young, naive daydreams of yesterday and fits the Laneway bill perfectly for an end-of-summer treat. Fans of the satirical comedy show Portlandia will recognize Washed Out’s contribution of the theme song, “Feel It All Around,” from his first EP, Life Of Leisure. Washed Out played The Magic Stick their last time around Detroit, and will no doubt leave us until their next gig in town with an impression of endless summer.
Headlining the Derrick Stage from 9:40-10:55 pm
The last time The National was in town was August of 2010, when they played to a sold out crowd at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. If you were lucky enough to be one in the sea of people, or in the crowd at any show The National has put on, the intensity and dedication in their live performances is a standard they live up to each time they take the stage. Their performance at Laneway is guaranteed to resonate with fans of The National and appreciators of stirring, melancholy indie music in general. Over a decade into their careers as musicians, albums such as Alligator, Boxer, High Violet, and most recently Trouble Will Find Me, cement The National as a seminal indie band thanks to the deep baritone vocals of lead singer Matt Berninger, and the musicianship of two sets of brothers, twins Bryce and Aaron Dessner and Scott and Bryan Devendorf. The National have been touring hard to support their latest release and we are thrilled to welcome them back to Michigan.
For more updates on St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Detroit, visit their official website, and keep an eye out tomorrow for more information regarding the artists playing Laneway at Detroit Sounds Like This.
Detroit is a city known for founding and popularizing many influential forms of music (Techno, Hardcore, Motown, etc.), but if you want to get technical, Detroit could also be considered the birthplace of both punk rock and heavy metal. Why? Because in 1969, Barry Kramer and Tony Reay started a rock and roll publication in Detroit by the name of CREEM: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine. The magazine was first distributed in and around Detroit, and it was in this publication that emerging styles of rock were first referred to as ‘punk rock’ or ‘heavy metal.’
To say that Juan Atkins is an innovator in electronic music is like saying Beethoven wrote epic symphonies — it’s a hackneyed statement that becomes clearly obvious once you listen. Juan Atkins was the pioneer in an influential group of like-minded musicians (including also Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May) who dealt with the surrounding artifacts of industrial culture in their neighborhood of Detroit by embracing the influence and spearheading the urban techno movement. Atkins had learned to play bass, drums, and guitar when he was young, but after hearing electronic music for the first time around the age of sixteen, the alien sounds of the synthesizers had worked their mystique on Atkins and he dedicated himself to it from then on. In the early 1980s, Juan Atkins collaborated with Rik Davis on Cybotron, releasing the groundbreaking single “Techno City” in 1984. Creative direction drove a wedge between the two, and Atkins developed the Model 500 alias on his own and founded the Metroplex techno label in 1985. “No UFOs” was the first single released by Juan Atkins under the Model 500 name and on the Metroplex label. The song proved to be a smash around the Detroit area and Chicago as well, inciting Atkins to produce a string of monumentally influential techno tracks which earned Atkins the title “Godfather of Techno.”
Listen to “No UFOs” below and check out a video interview at the Submerge Techno Museum from 2012 where Atkins discusses the roots of his music.
As the summer season winds down, the buzz is just beginning in the Cass Corridor. This Saturday thousands will pack the blocks stretching from 2nd to 3rd and Forest to Hancock, to celebrate another year of Midtown Detroit’s culture and talent. Right in the heart of the student center, the neighborhood’s bohemian essence creates an ideal environment to enjoy the best in local indie, punk, hip-hop, electronic and experimental music while quenching your thirst for the best local beers and eyeballing the latest creations by artists who call the area home.
First organized in 1977, Dally has kept it a consistently communal event, surviving with no major corporate sponsorship. It’s a final summer send-off, a chance to celebrate hard with the freshest live talent in the area. This year the four stages of Dally will be vibrant with the sounds of over 45 musicians and bands, starting at noon and continuing on past 11 pm. There is no shortage of variety booked for this year’s installment – each stage features artists exploring multiple variations on relevant genres, giving attendees the best of what Detroit has to offer.
The four main music stages will be spread throughout the perimeters of the festival and will feature a variety of genres on each stage throughout the day, starting approximately one hour after the festival kicks off. The Electronic Stage boasts several Detroit-area DJs, including Tony Ollivierra, Monty Luke, Chuck Daniels, and Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale. The Alley Stage will be showcasing a mix of indie-pop, kicking off with Rogue Satellites at noon and continuing with Kickstand Band, Casual Sweetheart, and Violets, among others. There will also be some hip-hop from Dame Mariatchi, and later Doc Waffles & Eddie Logix. Even later on the Alley Stage, Liquid Monk will be there for “Electronic Jazz Funk Dance” fans. The Garden Stage will feature upbeat indie by Pewter Cub and Secret Twins, dead surf from Mexican Knives, and experimental synthesizers from Voyag3r. Finally, the Forest Stage is headlined by innovative female rapper Invincible, and earlier in the day will feature retro rock from Blaire Alise & The Bombshells, chamber pop from Eleanora, and funk from Atoms and Ease. Each musician and group of musicians playing Dally are helping to keep alive and communicate to new audiences small pieces of each genre of music that Detroit first made relevant, from garage rock to electronic to hip-hop.
Dally in the Alley prides itself on having activities that entice all ages, interests and backgrounds, so if you’re planning to bring the young children in your brood, there will be crafts, face-painting, and puppet-making by PuppetART during the daytime. Food vendors will feature the classic pizza-and-beer options that keep most Dally attendees satisfied, but will also provide a range of delights from vegan and vegetarian, to ethnic and local eateries as well. If hearing from the two men who are vying to become Detroit’s next mayor fits your schedule, you can even head over to the Ann Kennedy Community Stage to hear the platforms of Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon from noon until 3 pm.
Though much of Dally is about the music, there is a strong emphasis placed on the visual arts and the advancement of the surrounding neighborhoods in Midtown. The North Cass Community Union, sponsor of the event, works to improve the Midtown area by donating proceeds to worthy causes, including better security for the area, music scholarships for local children, and more energy efficient street lights. Keeping Detroit’s DIY mantra in its heart dozens of local artists will be displaying and selling their handmade work throughout the day — jewelry, clothing, original paintings and photography are just a few of the offerings attendees can expect to view and purchase. Dally in the Alley’s mission has always proved beneficial to the residents of Midtown and Detroit as a whole, and now more than ever is that sense of empowering the community needed, welcomed, and appreciated.
For full schedule of events, map, stage lineups, and more, visit Dally In The Alley’s official website.
The Lourds were a group of high school kids from Detroit who formed in the very early 1960s, wanting to play some straight-up rock and roll. In 1964, The Lourds had the opportunity to enter a “Battle of the Bands.” When the group went on to perform, they played covers of the songs “High Heeled Sneakers” and “Shake A Tail Feather.” The highlight of the performance came when the band’s 16-year-old guitar player leapt up onto the judges’ table and fired off his guitar solo to the delight of the crowd. The guitar solo sealed the deal for The Lourds, who won an opening gig to play for The Supremes at Cobo Hall. Shortly after their stunning performance, the group disbanded after their guitarist, Ted Nugent, had to move to Chicago with his parents. John Drake, the lead vocalist for The Lourds, would eventually meet back up with Nugent in Chicago to form The Amboy Dukes, where the Motor City Mad Man would first gain great recognition.
Enjoy a performance of The Amboy Dukes from The Detroit Music Awards in 2009, and Nugent at DTE riding a bison onstage in 2001. That’s Detroit Rock City for you!
The song “War” has been through quite a battle itself — after the original Motown recording of the song by The Temptations was deemed too controversial for the group to release as a single (even after fans were writing to Motown asking for that very thing), the song was re-recorded at Hitsville USA Studio A by Edwin Starr. Starr was born in Nashville and moved to Detroit in the 1960s where he was recording at Ric-Tic Records, a label that was eventually bought out by Berry Gordy Jr. and Motown in 1968 and absorbed Starr as a result. Starr volunteered to re-record The Temptations’ song, and the outcome was a version which, unlike The Temptations’ original, was backed by a soulful, affecting power that resonated with listeners. The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown in 1969 as a straight-forward protest song against United States involvement in the war taking place in Vietnam. For as weary as the label was about how the song would mar the image of The Temptations, Edwin Starr reached the peak of his Motown career with the single. On August 29, 1970, “War” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for three weeks.
Watch a video of Edwin Starr belting out his biggest hit, and the number one protest song to ever hit the charts below.