Super dreamy and almost trippy shoegaze, make out to Living Hour

Shoegaze. The term is one of many that recently has me thinking whoever names marijuana strains must also name music genres. Lately, it seems like music genres and sub-categories surface by the minute, whether they are new experimentations or nostalgic resurrections.
Coined after slow paced indie-rock bands that spend much of their set ‘gazing’ at their effects pedals, shoegaze is closely related to the sounds of dream pop, chill wave and psychedelia… see what I mean?

“When it comes down to genres those are all somewhat fitting but I think there are a few unique elements that wouldn’t necessarily fall under a specific genre,” said Living Hour’s Gil Carroll, before their set at Detroit’s Marble Bar on Sept. 20.

Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Living Hour released their debut full length earlier this year on Lefse Records (Portland, OR). The self-titled record featured songs that began as ideas in Carroll’s notebooks six years ago, as well as tunes that the quintet approached more collaboratively since forming two years ago.

“I think there’s new (genres) just because there’s so many different sounds you can make now with digital equipment and different instruments that there’s so many influences coming together that it forms different sounds that haven’t been heard before,” said guitarist/back up vocals Adam Soloway.
“It’s super hard to characterize that under indie-rock for example, but were also super dreamy and almost trippy at times so you kind of have to tell people that because they might think that we’re like Pavement but we’re more like Slowdive,” said Soloway.

Living Hour’s first ever tour was two years ago last week and with little time to showcase their comfortably noisy debut, their current tour includes dates in the states, Canada and Europe and the U.K.
Aside from their non-stop self promotion on Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets, the band attributes their respective niche style for garnering geographically widespread audience in such little time.

“I think we also need to credit the shoegaze community,” said Soloway.
“Just because it’s so tightly knit across the world that if one person hears something and they post something in an online forum or shoegaze facebook page, tons of people will listen to it and it doesn’t matter how big you are because people get super into it because its… shoegaze.

Living Hour’s Marble Bar set included slow outros that felt like sun-set glistening ocean waves crashing at your feet.
Female vocalist Sam Sarty’s soothing vocals filled the room like a cool September night’s window breeze. Her nurturing melodies directed the rest of the members as they swayed with eyes closed, joining the audience.
“We want people to make out to it… If they want to,” said Sarty.
“Sex music,” added Sarty.

And just like that… another genre floats to the surface.


The Dream Is Over, PUP begins touring for their second album in Pontiac

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The life of a contemporary touring musician includes an abundance of grueling hurdles. Obstacles that paint life on the road differently than the lavished fame and fortuned experience that music striving millennials may have dreamed of.  A more realistic example of the experience is meticulously chronicled through the perspective of Canadian punk quintet Pup in the music video for their song, “Dark Days,” released last July.

The video is an animated glimpse of the band’s touring life. While tirelessly driving a tattered van through snowstorms and flashing passports, the late-twenties Torontonian buddies Facetime significant others on shattered phone screens and puke in empty dive bars from too much boozing between playing gigs and sleeping upright. Their journey has high moments as well, though it is hard to overlook the rock star dream’s inevitable “disillusionment,” as singer and rhythm guitarist Stefan Babcock would call it.

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“I started realizing in my mid twenties that you’re faced with some sort of disillusionment at a certain point where you’ve grown up being told you can do anything you want and you think that, ‘when I grow up this is what I’m going to do,’ and at a certain point you face up to the fact that… man… you’re pretty much grown up!” said Babcock.

“And maybe those dreams were not realistic or not compatible with your lifestyle or your skill set,” he added, “but you just have to learn to adapt and it can be a pretty cold, hard reality check but that’s called growing up ya know?”
In hindsight, the video for Pup’s “Dark Days,” which is an uplifting, catchy punk anthem and highlight of their self-titled first full length, accurately depicts their last two years of perpetual globetrotting. That record earned plenty of critical praise including Rolling Stone’s Break Out Acts of 2014.
“Part of the success of that record probably was us just writing for ourselves,” said Babcock. “We didn’t expect the first record to be anything.”
On May 27, Pup will release their sophomore LP, which has many similar themes of “disillusionment and disappointment and frustration.”
It is theoretically titled, The Dream Is Over.
Babcock, who suffered a band—threatening vocal injury last July, titled the new record after a conversation he had with the doctor who diagnosed his hemorrhaging. His screaming style is one of the factors that forced Pup to drop out of several tour dates with Modern Baseball, Jeff Rosenstock and Tiny Moving Parts.
“I don’t think there’s a technical way to do what I do,” said Babcock.
“The way I sing is technically incorrect but it sounds the way it does because I do it and I’m not really willing to forfeit that,” he added.
The band’s constant gigging was the contributing factor.
“There were times when we did thirty some shows in a row, which is a lot for your voice without a day off and then there would be days during those thirty days where we’d play a show and someone would ask if we could play their house party after the show and we’d say sure, fine, why not?” said Babcock.
After two weeks of vocal rest, Babcock was offered the option of surgery, which would have cost him have six months to a year.
“I kind of got this once in a lifetime opportunity and I don’t know if it’s still going to be around in a year,” said Babcock.
Recently, Babcock has been exercising his voice to rehabilitate it and is looking forward to getting back on the road after just a handful of stationary months.
“I’m a little nervous but I feel a lot healthier than I did going into our last tour,” said Babcock.

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He added, “And it’s always nerve racking after spending so much time off but you just gotta get back on the horse and do it and I’m confident. I’ve been working hard on recovering so I’m confident that everything is cool.”
In June Babcock and friends Steve Sladkowski (lead guitar), Nestor Chumak (bass guitar) and Zack Mykula (drums) will be back in their element, their van. They’ll be headlining the “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” tour with Rozwell Kid. Charly Bliss and Pkew Pkew Pkew will be splitting the opening duties.
The tour opens at the Pikeroom in Pontiac.
“We’ve never played in Pontiac so I’m not exactly sure what to expect but I’m looking forward to it,” said Babcock.

“From what I know there’s a pretty solid punk rock scene out there and we’ve always had pretty good luck going to new towns and Michigan and our Ontario stomping grounds are pretty similar so hopefully it will be good,” he added.
“Our last Detroit show was a lot of fun so hopefully this one will pick it up a notch.”


Detroit natives, The Social Bandits, are toying with live music platform, and it’s working

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Detroit natives, The Social Bandits, are toying with live music platform, and it’s working.

In the hodgepodge of colorful characters and versatile sound that has become Detroit’s music industry, there is said to be an overwhelmingly saturated rock and roll scene. This statement made last year by Dave Zainea, owner of Detroit’s Majestic Complex in midtown, was a foreshadow of his future business plans.

Zainea teamed up with Amir Daiza, owner of Pontiac’s Elektricity nightclub and the former Clutch Cargos venue. Together they renovated the Majestic Complex’s iconic rock venue, The Magic Stick, and turned it into a stomping ground for electronic dance music events. One year later, the red ribbon cut and decades of rock band stickers and delusional scriptures scraped from the restroom walls, the city has only the ghostly memories of a monumental atmosphere for Detroit rock and roll.

bandits-msu-moody-10What happens when a band breaks the traditional tropes of bar gigging and creates an innovative platform for the delivery of their live music marketing? The Social Bandits take the stage.

From OU to every other U

Detroit’s alternative quartet, The Social Bandits, pin their original sound on many influences aside from rock and roll.
“There are a lot of solid 70s and 80s cover bands that make a good living and there is a huge metal and hard rock scene, not my vibe, but it’s cool they still play so many shows downtown,” said Brad Rude, co-lead vocalist and bass playing bandit.
“But I would say there’s not a whole lot of ‘rock and roll’ that is current and original in Detroit right now. There are few bands like this and I would consider The Social Bandits to be one of them,” Rude added.

“But I would say there’s not a whole lot of ‘rock and roll’ that is current and original in Detroit right now. There are few bands like this and I would consider The Social Bandits to be one of them,” Rude added.

With a broad range of influences including The Beatles, Bob Marley and The Killers to name a few, The Social Bandits have an innate love for Detroit’s historically staple sounds of funk and jazz. Oakland University’s jazz program was a catalyst in bringing out the boys’ Motown inheritance.

“I was pleasantly surprised when they came in; I nicknamed them the Swing Brothers,” said Sean Dobbins, OU’s jazz combo coordinator and assistant program instructor, about Rude and drumming band mate Dylan Walsh.

There are a lot of solid 70s and 80s cover bands that make a good living and there is a huge metal and hard rock scene, not my vibe, but it’s cool they still play so many shows downtown

Brad Rude, co-lead vocalist and bass playing bandit

“They had this connection they could play with and it was obvious from day one that they could have careers as musicians and go far,” added Dobbins.

According to Dobbins, studying jazz teaches musicians a sense of subtlety and introduces musical texture. Rude, who believes jazz is the root of all modern music, says that jazz is a big part of his musical life especially from an educational standpoint.

When the Swing Brothers aren’t busy playing jazz combos at Detroit’s Cliff Bell’s and other smokey landmarks of the city’s musical authenticity, the Social Bandits are making entrepreneurial moves. They are currently making a conscientious aesthetic change in formats through which they deliver a live set. Although the band play their fair amount of bar gigs, the traditional route up the ranks, in recent months they have been taking advantage of an environment that draws a particular fan base: college parties.

“There are a lot of good venues that support local music but if you’re [the band] not bringing out enough people then it’s hard to make matters worth-while,” said Rude.

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He added, “So we’re going right to the source which is college kids at parties. They’re going to be at parties anyways, they might as well listen to the Social Bandits while they’re there.”

As a band with a desired demographic of younger listeners, there seems like no better setting to cater to than college parties. Rude says the response has been beautiful.

“We’ve had parties at MSU where the basement is packed wall to wall. You couldn’t fit more people in there with a shoehorn.”

Thus far, the band has traveled to The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.

The Social Experience

The element that separates the aura between the binary of a Social Bandits bar gig and a college house show is the level of crowd interaction that the band is able to participate in, coupled with the deliberate differences in song choices. Spencer White, frequent Bandits show attendee, said that being able to get strangers dancing is one of the hallmarks of being a “good band.”

“The bar gigs are great but there’s a certain disengagement you can have at a bar gig where you can wander away, grab a drink, things like that,” said White.

“But at the college shows you’re packed into a room and it’s a party ya now? You’re committed. You’ve got your booze with ya, you’re with all your friends, you’re hoppin’ around in a tight space. Regardless of the setting, the Bandits have great command of the room but it shows so much more in a tight place like that” White added.

the-social-bandits-central-4oAs a live concert guru, White explained the best type of live interaction is “in-song” interaction. Something that a band can afford much more of in a house show due to the band’s relative proximity to the band.

“The Bandits never miss a chance to have you clap, or yell with them, or sing their lyrics or even hop on the drum kit for a little bit during the drum solo whereas at the bar gigs you can’t always do that type of stuff” said White.

“It’s that kind of stuff that makes people involved with the music, makes the experience more than just songs that are being played at you,” he added.

Playing to a crowd rather than at them is what Dobbins considers being the most important part of catering to a live audience.

“Act like you’re taking apart a movie and make sure your repertoire has all of the emotions there can be,” said Dobbins.

“Happiness, sadness, drama, comedy, everything that you could think of that would go into a movie should be in a set because you’re trying to get your audience members on every emotion possible,” Dobbins added.

As for variations in song choices, the Bandits typically play their originals everywhere, however different platforms get different access.

“We play a lot of original songs,” said Jesse Medawar, who handles half of the band’s vocal and guitar duties.

“We definitely play original songs at a bar gig but we play all of our originals at the house shows where we’re trying to market ourselves as The Social Bandits rather than just receiving a paycheck,” Medawar added.

Cover songs, on the other hand, vary between show platforms because of relative target audience. Bar covers include Pink Floyd’s “Money” or Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads”, where covers on a college set list include Sublime’s “Santeria” or Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop”. The fact that Miley Cyrus can’t stop the band sheds light on their aesthetic diversification and perseverance in giving audiences a memorable emotion to take away with them as Dobbins claims vital.

On The Horizon

Moving forward, The Social Bandits have a spring college mini-tour coming up. They are booked to play college house shows through April and May in Lansing and Mount. Pleasant. Audiences at these shows will hear a taste of original songs from the band’s first full length LP, which is set to release this August. After the release of the record, the band plans on taking a two-week east coast tour.

“We’re bringing out other musicians to feature on it and its very diverse,” Rude said about the currently untitled, upcoming record.

“I think there is something for everybody on it. It’s about half way done and I think it’s going to be huge for us.”


Ryan and His Abundance of Arms

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“If I’m given the chance to eat at McDonald’s or eat a healthy balanced meal, I’ll choose the healthy one even if it takes longer to eat,” Ryan Allen describes to me as I quickly type up his words next to a broken tape recorder. I do a double take as I realize what I just typed. “Is this guy talking to me about food right now?” I ask myself. Then I realize that Ryan Allen isn’t just telling me what he had for lunch, but is instead making one of the most significant analogies to the way people listen to music that I have heard in a long time as a music journalist. So I laugh out loud.

See, Ryan Allen is trying to explain to me that he believes people don’t really savor music like they used to.

Most people just want their fast food sort of music just served to them in an easily digestible way

– he says, and explains that he would prefer for the music he makes to require several listens in order to gain approval form his listeners. He will later compare his music to “a good book,” which one “wouldn’t want to finish in one sitting.”

Metaphors aside, Ryan Allen does exactly what he came to do with his new recording project, Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms. After participating in many different bands so far, such as Thunderbirds Are Now!, Destroy This Place, and Friendly Foes, Ryan decided to step away from his collaborative arts and do something altogether individual. In creating the solo albums for Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms, Allen was able to use all of his experience in bands to his advantage, because, as he says, “the longer you spend doing it, the more honed in you can become on how you want the sound to get across.” But he wanted to produce something completely different from anything that his bands would put out. He describes his band Destroy This Place as loud and somewhat aggressive, and says that with his solo music he wanted to “dial that back.”   That sound ended up being what he calls “smart, personal, and emotional lyrics [coupled] with melodic pop music.” Don’t let the term ‘pop’ turn you away from the album, though, because he uses it in more of an old-fashioned, British invasion, sort of way. This sound comes naturally to him, and his listeners will not be disappointed by its execution.

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I listened to “Heart String Soul” for the first time on one of those snowpocalypse mornings in which one is able to relax for lack of obligations, but pretty quickly feels the sting of cabin fever. This album is much like that feeling, because while it is extremely catchy (I mean take-up-arms-against-this-melody catchy), it also exudes such strong emotions that it is somewhat cabin-fever-like in its desperation to be heard. Allen explains this idea, saying that he wanted to go for something that is “power pop like Fountains of Wayne,” but veers away from that music in that it is not “very surface level.” He wanted to create songs that would “combine something that’s very unique to listen to with lyrics that are maybe not shiny happy people songs, but songs about being jealous of your friends who are more successful than you and stuff like that.”

I dug this album because it reminded me of the soundtrack to one of those 90’s films with very little plot, met with actual real life adult issues. It struck me as sort of Motion City Soundtrack meets early New Pornographers meets The Who. Is that a thing? If it is a thing, it’s this thing for sure. And for all of you who were saying to yourself, “Hey, this sounds a little like Big Star to me,” not to worry! Because Allen himself declares that they were one of the biggest influences on the album. He also adds in a little Teenage Fanclub and Tom Petty to the mix of inspirations for good measure. So I suppose, not for lacking of trying to narrow it down, we will have to call it a hybrid of all six, but not in a too-many-cooks sort of way. Phew. I’m exhausted.

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And where did such goodness come from? Ah, well, in this case, “Heart String Soul” was inspired by the past few years of Ryan Allen’s life, including stories about his wife and his three-and-a-half-year-old son, Emitt. He loved playing in bands for years, but was inspired to go solo on this project because of these stories and their extremely personal nature. He explains that this does not mean that he felt himself unable to write passionate songs in a band setting. In fact, he says, “I don’t think I could make music and call it solo music without the experiences that I’ve had playing in bands.” He just means that when he writes songs he is able to see whether they would best be created with others or alone. Furthermore, because Allen has actual adult stuff on his plate, he doesn’t want to just “go to band practice and sit there and bullshit and get nothing done.” He says, “If you’re twenty-three that’s awesome because it’s not a waste of time,” but if you are thirty-five, “you better do something productive.” This combination of planning and focus behind “Heart String Soul” place each track on the pedestal of being carefully considered and deliberately crafted for this specific purpose over many years. These qualities are not as common as one would hope in the music industry.

The honesty of the album doesn’t necessarily separate it from albums being released by other Detroit artists today. But the stories themselves do. Years ago, Allen would have told his simple tales over loud speakers, wanting only for flannel-clad hipsters to bounce around on creaky wooden floors in response. But Allen has realized that his stories have expanded a great deal over the past few years. And when his three-and-a-half-year-old son looked up at him upon seeing the album cover appear on the computer screen and said, “Dad that’s your CD! We should listen to that!” he realized his target audience had expanded quite a bit as well.

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Ryan Allen will perform songs from his album live at the album’s release show, which will take place on March 28, 2015 at the Berkley Front. He will play with Sean Sommer on drums and Michael Majewski on bass, and the band will follow two others, Love Axe and Javelins.

 


Introducing: Touch Somebody

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Allow me to introduce Sterling Heights-based Touch Somebody; a pop-infused quartet with an attitude. If you’re a fan of Blink-182 or Say Anything, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned.

After some less than successful experiments, the guys of Touch Somebody finally came together for the purpose of writing what they really feel, rather than conforming to a particular style. Last year Touch Somebody recorded and released a DIY album entitled Is it Wrong to Say I Love You?  and begun to play shows around the Metro Detroit area.

Lead singer and guitarist, Thomas Dameron, spent his fair share of hours behind the board before heading off the recording and producing the band’s debut album. Previously, he spent many years writing and recording electro-pop tunes under the moniker, Audio Summer, while he was only in high school. Now working with a full band, he upped the home-studio ante to produce the first Touch Somebody album. Dameron explained that the greatest challenges in producing a record in his basement came from recording live drums with his brother, Jon. Through a number of technical issues, delays, and unfortunate mishaps, the guys were finally able to release the album approximately 1 year ago via Bandcamp. The album is free, and I encourage you to check it out right away.

In more recent history, the group has recorded a few singles with legendary producer, Rob Freeman, of Hidden in Plain View- who is know best by his work with Gym Class Heroes, Hit The Lights and Armor for Sleep. We’ll have to wait to see when those singles appear, but in the meantime the boys are making some additions to the home studio as they prepare to hunker down and record a wealth of new tracks that have been written since the release of the first album.

Get to know the band by checking out the first video from a two-part series about the band, produced by Habitat Media Group:

 


The HandGrenades Release New Video for “Wrapped in Plastic”

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Detroit favorite, The HandGrenades, just released the best (more like whatever the superlative of bomb-ass is) video I’ve seen come out of Detroit in a long time.   This eye/ear-gasm for their track, “Wrapped in Plastic” off of their awaited EP, 52, was directed by their very own, Jesse Shepherd-Bates.  The crew lets us sit-in on a rustic black-and-white concert, which quickly becomes as personal as a basement jam session with close friends.  Each character in the story transforms from blurry to sharp as we get to know them.  Meanwhile, the video gradually becomes more chaotic with its soundtrack, as images layer on top of one another and the band members’ faces grow jumbled.  So, in the glorious end, we are left with the real madness of things once, but no longer, wrapped in plastic.

 

Check out their video below and get stoked for their new EP, which comes out May 13.


Education Sounds Like This

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I sit here in this brightly-colored classroom, as my teacher pulls up a file on his computer screen and suddenly he asks, “Do you see that big phallic thing at 200?”  My eyes focus on the projected image before me. “Yeah, we gotta get everything out of its way.”

That’s when I realized this was no ordinary classroom.  This was what the guys at FyouNK Collective in Royal Oak call a “Meat & Produce” session: an event in which musically-minded people come together to discuss the production process.  As the Facebook page says, “Producers of any genre are welcome – electronic, hip hop, pop, rock, etc., as long as you are open-minded.  Musicians, singers, and rappers who are looking to collaborate are also very welcome to join in on the fun.”  Essentially, as the men in charge state, “Anyone with a dedicated interest in music production is welcome to join.”  Such a vast invitation can properly explain the fact that when I walked through the doors at FyouNK Collective, the place was pretty nearly packed.  And rightly so.

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The professors on the eve of the twenty-first day of October were some of my favorite musicians in Detroit, so I simply could not miss my chance to explore this learning opportunity for myself.  This faculty included Detroit’s very own guitar-driven-bass master, OCTiV, the Detroit-raised beat manipulator, Freddy Todd, and the electronic mastermind/party-starter, ill.so.naj.  I was a little late for class and I dropped my pencil twice, but my teachers made me feel right at home and worthy of their profound lessons.

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First, OCTiV came up to the desk at the front of the classroom and told us all about the importance of equalization, or balancing sounds in music.  He summarized much of this tweaking mechanism, saying that what was most important was “getting unnecessary things out of the way of stuff you want.”

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He then explained that, though some sounds need to be made less powerful for the sake of more important ones, all is not lost in doing so.  In fact, often times those sounds that are diminished for the sake of others can still be felt in the song and have an enormous presence in the overall vibe of the piece. Thus, OCTiV showed the importance of knowing the difference between hearing sounds and feeling them.  As OCTiV revealed, however, extra sounds can sometimes be distracting.  “You need to make sure people can pay attention,” he declared, reminding composers to make cuts whenever necessary for the listener’s benefit.  Of course, it is okay to be sad about these cuts for a bit.  I mean, we are all still mourning for those sounds which were demolished by the aforementioned “phallic thing.”

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After OCTiV offered a new perspective on making positive changes to songs, Freddy Todd took the reigns.  The musician began by highlighting his philosophical approach to music, a quality which separates him from many of his composing counterparts.  Todd told his students that when you are creating music, “step one is your brain.”

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For Todd, focusing on one’s mindset is an essential part of what he called, “starting right and starting proper,” and it is a step in the music production process which simply cannot be skipped.  Todd then detailed what that meant for his own music, telling us that he needs to be inspired and in a clean room when he begins to create his sounds.  He encouraged students to develop their own rules for getting in the correct music-making mindset.

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Todd admitted that producing quality music, however, ultimately requires more than just a positive mental state.  “You can get inspired and write a whole track on your headphones, but typically if you want to put out an album you need a good pair of studio monitors.”  Thus, while the mind is the strongest tool at a musician’s disposal, it is also critical that he or she has the necessary tools available to them and knows how to use them properly.

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After explaining the process for beginning a song, Todd left the floor open for ill.so.naj to give some technical advice for the later parts of production.  The electronic artist focused his lesson on the idea of personalizing the musical experience.  He did this by showing students how to use programs, such as Ableton Live, to make improvised edits to tracks.  He encouraged everyone to take their iPods, iPads, or other beloved gadgets and “then assign them customized ‘MIDI mappings’ and touch screen layouts, creating unique ways to trigger effects or blend sounds.”

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This process allows performers to create their own unique set-ups, which cater to their individual needs and styles.  Ill.so.naj told us that, with these tools, he was even able to use a Guitar Hero controller to perform his songs on stage at one point.  The musician proceeded to play many of his own clips for the students to give them an idea of where improvisational tools might be applied.  Though he emphasized using the computer programs to be prepared for any show, he declared that:

Most importantly you gotta leave room for those happy accidents to happen. That’s where the magic is.

Here, the artist’s technical approach highlights both the immense dedication required to produce such music, and the importance of allowing for freedom in its performance.  Ill.so.naj showed us that even this freedom, however, requires much focus and effort beforehand.

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The three musician/producers took their students behind the scenes into many aspects of their artistic processes, and it was truly an educational experience for all involved.  The teachers were able to reach both the dedicated producers in the crowd as well as the beginners who had just fiddled with their friends’ computers during study hour.  In fact, each speaker made the intricacies of his musical processes seem approachable and comprehensible, even for any woefully ignorant music journalists in the building.

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All of that, of course, is to say that the environment at this Meat & Produce event was ideal for many different people with vast ranges of experience and interests.  Obviously October’s teachers brought a great deal of information to the table, and for that we were sincerely grateful.  But I know for sure that all other producers who take the time to share their wisdom in the future will do so just as admirably.  For my part, I know that I will be back at the FyouNK Collective often for more music education, and I am certain that the seats will fill just as quickly with musicians who are eager to learn.

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George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus

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One minute and forty-eight seconds into a video for George Morris’ song, “Fuck It,” directed by Jesse Shepherd-Bates, the singer can be spotted standing in front of a wall, staring intently at the camera, and holding a baby in his arms.  I have seen this video probably 6,000 times and I have always been overwhelmed with confusion about this paternal scene.  That is, until I saw Morris perform at The Magic Stick on Saturday, September 28, 2013.

George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus drape themselves across the stage and let their sound follow suit by unraveling its delicate fabric upon our ears.  I hear everything at once and am at a loss for words.  The band performs such stellar songs as “Nine Lives” and “Girls on Parade” with such vocal crispness and rhythmic perfection that they seem too good to be live.

Even for a band with a stated “leader,” as it were, this group contains members who could very easily be making their own agendas.  AJ Nelson, the bassist, carries the pulse on each track, adding passionate motion to stage right.  The keyboardist extraordinaire Helena Kirby pours her entire being into the keys before her with grace and diligence on stage left.  Behind them, Zach Pliska casually puts every drum to use with intense precision that is simultaneously impressive as all get-out and super annoying (because it’s as frustrating as someone beating you at a videogame while eating Cheetos and petting their dog at the same time).  I imagine each of these three could be performing alone on this stage right now and doing a bang-up job at entertaining the audience.  But instead, they choose to fulfill a greater musical role by supporting one another and the man behind the words.

choose to fulfill a greater musical role by supporting one another and the man behind the words.

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And there he is, of course, standing firmly at the front of it all.  Morris moves about in subtle surges, proving himself to be one of those singers whose voice comes from his toes and rises up out of his pores without asking.  But the surges are less forceful than they are gentle.  Morris’ voice is uniquely angelic and as serene as a lullaby, even at its most outraged.  All of that is to say, snaps for Jesse’s video production.  I would love to have George Morris hold my baby.*

Periodically on stage the bandmates will look at each other whimsically.  Kirby will flash her dazzling smile to Pliska and Nelson intermittently, and they will smile back.  Then, after “Girls on Parade” she will look to the crowd and yell, “We love love! Don’t you love love?”  Finally, a few songs later Morris will walk up to Nelson and hug him in front of us all without saying a word.  While at this point it appears as if the crew has spent their entire childhoods on the same couch watching “One Saturday Morning” before playing laser tag, it turns out that they didn’t all know each other that well before uniting musically.  Morris sits me down after the show (not really, but I like to think this is actually how the story went) and tells me that this band is only three or four months old (which is astounding to me), and that before that he had only worked with Nelson and Pliska on other musical endeavors.  Prior to creating the Gypsy Chorus, Morris was, in fact, going solo much of the time and exploring his own musical identity.

“I’ve been trying to write music since I was probably ten years old,” Morris explains.  The musician grew up in the Waterford and Commerce areas, where he explored music at a young age by trying to collaborate with cafeteria mates as early as his middle school years.  “My first real band was in high school,” Morris declares upon noting my obvious awe.  Morris is modest.

Though he says he hopes his music style has changed a great deal since the cafeteria days, there is one sentiment that will forever thrive in his music: “My philosophy has always been just to try and concentrate on writing good melodies.”  From the complex phrases of “Call Girl,” to the more calming predictability of “Old Friends,” Morris’ Magic Stick set shows this auditory foundation.  The artist makes these varying melodies the basis of his work, and, as he further states, “I’ve always tried to do that no matter what type of music I’m trying to make.”

geroge4Morris’ writing process thus begins with a prominent tonal expression.  But how does this melody come to life?  “It’s spontaneous,” Morris reveals.  I imagine the singer/songwriter kneeling on a knoll somewhere in England (in proper poetic fashion), feeling the wind upon his cheeks and the grass between his toes.  Suddenly, Mufasa appears (this is where it gets less clear, as I’m not sure why Mufasa would need to urgently speak with Morris) and says, “Look inside yourself, George,” and then suddenly Morris’ pen is on the staff paper and he can’t stop writing.  Within minutes, the page is filled with notes that traveled to his soul because they wanted to.  I could be wrong about this scene, but it does seem plausible.  “After that moment, though,” he continues, “then I sit down and just flesh it out.”

“My philosophy has always been just to try and concentrate on writing good melodies.”

But once one has found one’s melody, one must always consider one’s television.  What does television have to do with music, you ask?  Well, everything.  Duh.

“Honestly, I’ll write to TV shows, or, I don’t know… Romantic Comedies.  Like, the end of [them], you know, when either everything’s going horribly or everything’s coming back together.”  Yes, that’s correct, readers: George Morris is inspired by the movies you hope no one finds out you watched in your bed while eating Ben & Jerry’s by yourself.  Not only that, he pairs these with his essential ethereal tones to make you regret ever having been embarrassed by your TV-based feelings in the first place!

Morris then turns to me seconds later and says very frankly, “There’s a CSI song.”  And I suddenly get really nervous for the world because I realize that none of us are as awesome as this guy is.  “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” as Dante would say.

Before forming George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus, our fearless leader had actually been doing solo shows for a year or so with these same wonderful tracks.  When asked why he chose to integrate his phenomenal music makers, Morris smirks slightly and says, “Well, I got tired of playing by myself.”  He chuckles a bit, and adds, “And I wanted more energy.”  To me, the word ‘energy’ kind of encompasses the entire idea of Morris and his Gypsy Chorus because it very clearly reveals a mission for the band as a whole to be a living organism.  If the singer had said that he collaborated with these artists in an effort to add more volume, strength, or power to his music, the music itself would be less significant.  He would then be using this band to demand that his message be heard by his audience without any possibility of them misunderstanding.  But Morris’ message is one whose foundation is, and only needs to be, itself.  The band is there to make the message mean something to each listener individually.  “And,” he adds, “they do their own thing; they’re all putting their own twists on it.”  This energy toward the audience and between each other is what makes George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus the jubilant band family that I saw on stage earlier.

Nelson saunters up near the end of our conversation and chimes in to help Morris further explain to me the band’s sound.  “It’s tough because I feel like the definitions of genres are always changing,” he explains.  The friendly bassist goes on to illustrate how vastly different the word “indie” is now than it was when he first got into “indie” music.  Morris agrees and the two try to explain how much they don’t understand about music labels anymore and how they would almost always rather listen to The Walkmen than MGMT.  We talk for probably fifteen minutes about this until Nelson finally looks up at me and asks, “What was the question?”

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These guys know exactly what they’re talking about when it comes to the musical world, and for that, I believe they have the upper hand over their “indie” competition.  But they finally agree that their sound is based on a combination of very different musical acts: The Beatles, Radiohead/Thom Yorke, The Walkmen, Jack White, and The Velvet Underground.  “For me it was Beatles, Beatles, Beatles,” explains Morris.  “Then I got really discouraged because I couldn’t write a song as good as any of those songs.  Then I heard The Velvet Underground and that showed me a different way to make music.”  As for their other influences, Nelson declares, “Radiohead is almost like The Beatles, where you just can’t even attempt to do anything like that, and you’re always going to be let down.  But ‘The Eraser’ (Thom Yorke’s solo album) had obtainable melodies.”  Morris and Nelson quite obviously treasure the musicians who came before them immensely and eternally.

The singer takes a break from explaining how the past has affected his cherished Gypsy Chorus to give me some sneak peeks into their very bright future.   “We are putting an EP together that will come out at some point and in some form,” he explains.  “That will all be leading up to a record eventually.  I’m not sure how it’s going to come out or what, but sometime next year.”  Furthermore, the band is also playing one of their tunes at the TEDx Detroit event on Wednesday, October 2 (guys, that’s tomorrow!).  Finally, they plan to open for Jessica Hernandez at St. Andrew’s Hall on November 27, 2013, so you should probably go to this show if you have a brain.

Beyond just musically, the band has been progressing artistically in many ways, as well.  Morris has recently given good friend Jesse Shepherd-Bates the reigns to make another music video for the band’s awesome tune, “Girls on Parade.”  “Jesse just chose it,” he explains.  “He just showed up at my house one day and said he bought a camera and was shooting a video for the song.”  So, of course, Morris simply said, “okay,” and since then the singer explains, “it’s all Jesse.”

Morris did have his doubts about the videos at times, simply because he felt he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to assist with such tasks.  “But,” he continues, “I’m really impressed with how Jesse has just kind of jumped into it.  He learned on the fly and is turning out some really impressive stuff.  All of his videos look spectacular, and this is the first time he’s ever really done it.”  So, with a director like that, Morris feels confident that his creation will be preserved and admired.  Jesse’s video for the band’s catchiest track, “Fuck It,” is a superb example of the director’s mastery.  If I lived in the smart house of the Disney Channel Original Film “Smart House,” I would definitely opt to have this video play on my bedroom walls instead of that one B*Witched video.

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Going back and forth between solo work and close-knit bands with hit videos, Morris’ musical career has certainly been an exceptional, and consequently wild, ride.  He admits that much of the wonder he has experienced as a musician has to do with his place of residence.  While he feels that, at times, “Detroit can be a hard place to make any art,” as, “it’s very critical,” he explains that musicians just need to have a little more confidence here than they might in other places.  “I think the talent in Detroit is incredible.”  He declares, however, that, “because of that, it’s a hard place to play sometimes.  Because even if there are so many musicians around here, at a lot of the shows everybody is standing still.”  While the audience can sometimes seem uninterested, Morris explains, “You have to understand that that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and that they’re just listening to you.”

“It’s when they leave that it’s bad,” he laughs.

Detroit then proves itself not only a teacher of self-worth, but a place where that worth can easily flourish.  “Detroit is unlike the majority of cities,” Morris continues, “and I think everybody takes it for granted because they just assume that it’s like this everywhere.”  Morris explains that “In a lot of places, if you want to see a rock show, you go to one venue.  Then a metal venue, maybe.  And maybe a folk venue, or something.  That’s all you get to choose from.  Here there are tons of places that constantly host different kinds of bands.”  Being in a band whose genre he and Nelson will later agree to call “alternative indie pop rock (with a little electro),” Morris would feel slightly unappreciated in lands of black and white.  Having this realization, Morris talks about his city with an overarching sense of love and sanctity.  He is grateful for this often-dreary place because it has given him a chance to be himself and feel valued as such.

If you are not yet entirely amazed by George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus I must inform you of the two most important facts about them: 1. George Morris plays sports with adults at the YMCA as his day job, and 2. Bassist, AJ Nelson helps his dad make granite ping-pong tables that are worth a lot of money.  Enough said.

Listen to their music on bandcamp and don’t be afraid to give them ye olde thumbs-up on Facebook!

*If I had a baby, of course.  Which is not the case.


Laneway Festival Artist Profiles : Hip-Hop, Indie Rock, and In Between

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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…

Youth Lagoon

  • Taking the Derrick Stage from 1:25-2:10 pm
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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.

Phosphorescent

  • Taking the Roscoe Stage from 2:15-3:00 pm
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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.

Frightened Rabbit

  • Taking the Roscoe Stage from 3:55-4:40 pm
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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.

Deerhunter

  • Taking the Roscoe Stage from 5:35-6:25 pm
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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
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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
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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!


Laneway Festival Artist Profiles : Ladies Who Will Rock Laneway

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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.

Haerts

  • Taking the Roscoe Stage from 12:40-1:20 pm
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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
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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.

Warpaint

  • Taking the Derrick Stage from 3:05-3:50 pm
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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.

Savages

  • Taking the Derrick Stage from 4:45-5:30 pm
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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.

Solange

  • Taking the Pavilion Stage from 6:35-7:20 pm
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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.


Laneway Festival Artist Profiles : The Headliners

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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.

Sigur Rós

  • Headlining the Pavilion Stage from 8:20-9:35 pm
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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.

Washed Out

  • Headlining the Roscoe Stage from 7:25-8:15 pm
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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.

The National

  • Headlining the Derrick Stage from 9:40-10:55 pm
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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.


Laneway Makes Its Way to Michigan

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Back in 2004, two men by the name of Jerome Borazio and Danny Rogers were steadily booking several up-and-coming indie bands at St. Jerome’s Bar in the Caledonian Lane area of Melbourne, Australia.  The music started out inside of the bar during the summer month series, and after a request from Borazio and Rogers to the band The Avalanches, the music was taken into the street, closing down the lane and beginning the very first installment of the now internationally known St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival.  The spontaneous excitement and organization that was in the air over the very first Laneway in Melbourne is now coming to the United States for the first time, where hundreds of music fans looking to see what is happening in the contemporary indie music scene will come to Meadowbrook Music Festival in Rochester Hills, MI on September 14.

The size of the festivals, the locations and the way we encourage community all form part of the way in which the Laneway team strive to present an urban music experience like no other.

-St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Philosophy Statement

The Laneway Festival began expanding throughout several cities in Australia beginning in 2006, including Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, and now covers Singapore as well as the United States.  The announcement of the festival coming to Michigan came during Laneway’s party at the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX this past March. Not only does this mark the first time that Laneway has come to the United States, it also marks the first time that an Australian music festival has come to North America. When the curiosity began to buzz about why Laneway organizers chose the Detroit area as a sensible location for the festival, Danny Rogers shared that he believes “Detroit is having its rebirth and as Laneway continues to evolve, we can identify with a city that is continuing to evolve as well.”

Laneway has featured several artists vital to the contemporary indie music scene in their past lineups, including Yo La Tengo, Feist, Mumford & Sons, Blonde Redhead, and M83, among dozens of others. The Laneway Detroit lineup features co-headliners The National and Sigur Rós, both of whom released albums earlier in 2013 and are known for their grandiose live performances.  Rounding out the bill are other indie favorites Deerhunter and The Dismemberment Plan, as well as newly teamed Hip-Hop heavyweights Killer Mike and EL-P performing as Run The Jewels.  With a lineup that boasts several acts showcasing sub-genres under the indie music umbrella, festival attendees will get a chance to see some of the newer examples of artists who draw influence from Lo-Fi (Washed Out, Youth Lagoon), Electronica (CHVRCHES, Icona Pop, Charlie XCX), R&B (Solange), and Post-Punk (Savages).  At the end of June, Laneway organizers also announced that they would be adding a stage hosted by Detroit’s own Movement Electronic Music Festival/Paxahau, and Ann Arbor originals, electronic music label Ghostly International.  This new addition to the festival will feature 5 electronic artists on the Ghostly International label, including Matthew Dear, Adult., Beacon, Heathered Pearls, and Shigeto.

Meadowbrook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills will feature four stages total for the September 14th festival; the Movement/Ghostly International stage, as well as two other stages which will be built on the grounds of Meadowbrook, and the main Meadowbrook amphitheatre itself. Specific set times and vendor names have yet to be announced, but festival organizers have promised that spaces will be dedicated to local food, drink, and merchandise vendors. For more information about getting to the festival, purchasing tickets ($79.50 in advance including parking fees, VIP package tickets for $199, and limited 4-packs for $64.50 per ticket are still available), and answers to other questions you may have, visit detroit.lanewayfestival.com.

 

Full Line-Up

Sigur Rós, The National, Deerhunter, The Dismemberment Plan, Matthew Dear, Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike), Adult., CHVRCHES, Savages, Washed Out, Solange, Warpaint, Frightened Rabbit, Phosphorescent, Icona Pop, Charlie XCX, My Brightest Diamond, AlunaGeorge, Beacon, Youth Lagoon, Shigeto, Flume, Haerts, Heathered Pearls, Chet Faker