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.


Movement Electronic Music Festival 2015

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The Phase 2 line-up includes:

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313 The Hard Way (DJ Seoul b2b DJ Psycho b2b T.Linder)

ADMN

Al Ester

Andy Garcia

Annix

Anthony Jimenez

Ben Christensen

Brodinski

Bruce Bailey

Calico

Carl Craig featuring Mad Mike Banks – live

Charles Trees

Classixx

D.Wynn

Darkcube – live

Dilemma

Dink & TK

DJ Godfather featuring Good Money

DJ Head

DJ Minx

Earl “Mixxin” McKinney

Eddie Fowlkes

Gaiser – live

Galaktis

Greg Gow

Heathered Pearls

Hudson Mohawke

Jay Daniel

JETS (Jimmy Edgar + Machinedrum) – live

Josh Wink

Joy Orbison

Keith Kemp

Kenny Larkin – live

Kerri Chandler

Kevin Saunderson b2b Derrick May

Kimyon

Korrupt Data

Lee Foss

Loner.9 – live

Maceo Plex

Marissa Guzman – live

Mark 8EN Moss

Marshall Applewhite

MCs Bombscare & Flow

Method Man

Milan Atkins

Model 500 – live

Neil V.

Nick Speed

Octave One – live

Oliver Dollar

Paul Woolford

PHUTURE – live

RayBone Jones

Rick Wilhite

Shawn Rudiman – live

Sian

Sinistarr

Squarepusher – live

Steve Dronez

Terrence Parker

The Saunderson Brothers

The Valley and The Mountain

Thread

Urban Tribe

Waajeed

movement-phase1

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:

 


Bands You Need to Know: The Native Howl

The Native Howl

Folk-rock bandits, The Native Howl formed less than 2 years ago when singer-songwriters Jake Sawicki and Alex Holycross finally joined forces after years of making music in close proximity to one another. Since coming together the duo have self-released The Revolution’s Dead EP, and used their combined business acumen to launch Clean As Dirt Records, out of Leonard Michigan’s CAD Studios.

In the year that followed, the group proceeded to play stages throughout Michigan and began writing and recording their debut full-length album, Inukshuk, due for release by early October. An Inukshuk is an Inuit cultural symbol made up of a pile of unworked stones often used to designate safe travel passages.

This Wednesday, June 30, you’ll be able to see The Native Howl perform two 50-minute sets at Detroit’s Campus Martius as part of the Lunchtime Concert Series hosted by 93.9 The River. The guys will be handing out demos of Inukshuk with purchase of anything from their merch table.

You can get your hands on The Revolution’s Dead at The Native Howl’s bandcamp, and stream the music video No Chance (For My Soul), below:


PHOTO GALLERY: Temples @ Magic Stick

It was a great Sunday evening in Detroit.  We were invited to check out the band Temples, and they really knew how to draw a crowd.  For a Sunday night the Magic Stick had a very nice crowd.
While we were there, we of course snapped some great photos.  Check them out below!

For more about Temples check out the link below!

Temples (Facebook)

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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.


DSLT: Best of 2013

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Since we are new in town, we decided not to do a traditional list, that being #1 is the best and #25 being the bottom.  Instead we have compiled a list of 20 Artists/Bands that really made their mark in 2013, within in the city and our ears.

Our list will include electronic artists, indie bands, punk music, jazz, psycho billy and many other artists you may recognize and others you may have never heard of before.

Lets begin:

1. KYLE HALL – 2013 Release: The Boat Party

In electronic music, this was the year of Kyle Hall.  I recently had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with him and our Media Director, Roger Castillo.  Kyle Hall is a well spoken, intelligent, down to earth guy who shared with us stories about his travels, his influences, and even had a laugh as Roger and I attempted to guess samples he used in “Crushed.”  The Boat Party was definitely a favorite among many in 2013, with Kyle Halls dirty r&b samples with a blend of Detroit style electronic, this LP was unstoppable.  You can find this LP among many lists such as NPR, Resident Advisor, and XLR8R.  At the start of 2014, please check back for an exclusive Detroit Sounds Like This interview with Kyle Hall.

2. THE GUTTER GHOULS – 2013 Release: Motor City Murderbilly 

The Gutter Ghouls had a wonderful year in 2013, playing shows throughout Metro-Detroit, even being the highlight of the Motor City Nightmares horror movie convention.  I have never met a band that works as hard as these guys do, even with a lineup change mid year, they still show that they are capable of giving you a great show.  These psychobilly maniacs even released a brand new video for their track “Corpse Bride,” in early 2013.  Recently being signed the Splatterhouse Wreckords in Washington, we at Detroit Sounds Like This cannot wait to hear what is in store for The Gutter Ghouls in 2014.

3. MEXICAN KNIVES – 2013 Release: Other Tramps & Nightmare b/w Down To Hell

Mexican Knives were without a doubt becoming one of Detroits most looked at and talked about band.  Mexican Knives achieved so much this year not only at shows but gaining a wider audience.  Just by attending other shows around the Detroit area, we always hear the name Mexican Knives being talked about and how they opened for touring indie bands such as Best Coast, and The Fresh and Onlys.  Mexican Knives not only wowed us with killer unforgettable performances but they released not one but two amazing EP’s in 2013.  With Nightmares/Down To Hell and Other Tramps being released in 2013, Mexican Knives are definitely a serious Detroit band.  Lead vocalist Ruth the Truth, lead by lead guitarist Zach Weedon are a duo on stage not to be toyed with.  Lets not forget their amazing bass player John Salvage, and their amazing drummer Blair, who are the perfect additions to Zach and Ruth.  Enjoy their new music video for “Killer Snake,” from their 2013 release “Other Tramps.”

Mexican Knives-Killer Snake from Mexican Knives on Vimeo.

4. ROGUE SATELLITES – 2013 Release: Other Angels

Rogue Satellites never disappoint.  Their style, rhythm, and production is something so elegant, most ears are probably not even ready for it.   Rogue satellites provide you with dark synths, electric guitars and beautiful lyrics with support from soft yet deep driven vocals.  Playing a daytime show at this years Dally in the Alley, Rogue Satellites really stood out with their hour long set and amazing sound.  Enjoy and purchase their album “Other Angels” below, and make sure to follow their facebook page and check out one of their shows!

5. OMAR S – 2013 Release: Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself

A release that went almost under the radar unless you are a huge Omar S fan is one to have for your library.  This is a MUST listen to if you have any respect for Detroit Electronic Music.  Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself is a deep house master piece which displays influences of early Detroit electronic music.  This album also made many lists across many blogs and news outlets around the country.

6. BRANDON WILLIAMS – 2013 Release: Stronger & Godsend

If you have been to MotorCity Wine more then once, then you have definitely seen Brandon Williams or the B.Williams Experiment.  Brandon Williams is one guy who definitely loves his fans, he is one to always thank and give the love back to his fans.  You can see him at various spots around downtown, and make sure to check out his upcoming album XII (coming soon).  In addition to his playing he has worked with many major recording artists and he has a 2009 Grammy nomination under his belt, this is one jazz cat not to be messed with.

7. SAXAPPEAL – 2013 Release: Singles: It’s You, Time Flies, Catch the Rhythm & I Can Be

Detroit Sounds Like This had the honor of sitting with SaxAppeal (LaDarrel Johnson) to really get to know how he creates, and how much Jazz music means to him.  Johnson handles his alto saxophone in the same fashion in which he plays his music — with attention, pride, and a graceful passion.

8. Dustin Alexander (Dayda, Sexual Tension Detroit)  – 2013 Release: Bootlegs V.1

The name Dustin Alexander can be heard in two realms of electronic and house music in Detroit.  Dustin is a man with two hats, one being that of Bass heavy ghetto tech playing loudly and unmistakably from The Works.   He is also 1/2 of Sexual Tension Detroit with friend Jerry Downey Jr..  With the Bootlegs V.1 release, Dustin clearly showed the city what he is capable of and how knowledgeable he is in the bass scene and with his disco grooves.  Dustin Alexander was a name to watch in 2013, look out 2014, I’m sure this DJ/Producer has way more in store for Detroit as he is making a name for himself.

9. COSMIC HANDSHAKES – 2013 Release: 2 Delicate Details

One part Todd Modes, one part Blair French (Dial.81) and you have Cosmic Handshakes.  Maybe house and most forms of electronic don’t fit your style.  Cosmic Handshakes have elements of electronic, but infuse parts of jazz, skilled drums, and very high end production.  The very chill EP release 2 Delicate Details really takes the listener on a journey on the joyous parts of life, the album makes you want to hang out, see old friends, and of course makes you hope for Detroit.  Cosmic Handshakes have never performed together, but maybe if were lucky in 2014 we can see something amazing happen at a local venue.

10. MONTY LUKE – 2013 Release: Lonely is the Night

Lonely is the Night is probably one of the strongest deep house releases of 2013.  Monty Luke and his label Black Catalogue are putting out some of the heaviest and hard hitting grooves that are getting around the world.  Seeing him this year on my birthday at MotorCity Wine was definitely a treat, he is a vinyl only professional, dont expect to see a laptop at his show.  Monty Luke will spin the night with the rarest grooves and get everyone dancing.  Make sure to check him out for NYE at MotorCity Wine for only five bucks!

11. NIGHTMERICA – 2013 Release: The Waiting Room

Those seeking hip hop refuge from the current ramblings and nonsense of the current trend of hip hop, Nightmerica is the answer.  In addition to these 6 amazing artists, they each display a very strong solo presense with their solo projects all over soundcloud, as a group though…perfection.  This is definitely one of the best Detroit hip hop albums to be released in a long time, and they definitely need the love.

12. CLEAR SOUL FORCES – 2013 Release: Gold PP7’s

Finally a group to fill my void of A Tribe Called Quest era style hip hop with an additional 2013 production.  These guys have an unmatched flow and unreal production.  Clear Soul Forces have definitely made a dent in the hip hop circuit having recently toured Europe and getting their name out there.  With the release of Gold PP7’s, put your copy of Yeezus down and listen to hip hop the way it was supposed to be listened to.  Make sure to check them at their Ugly Christmas Sweater Concert at The Shelter.

13. JERRY DOWNEY JR. (Sexual Tension Detroit) – 2013 Release: Bad Motor Folk (Jerry Downeys Motor City Dub)

Having interviewed Jerry Downey Jr. earlier this year was a great experience not only getting to know him, but he shared his knowledge of anything disco in Detroit.  2013 was a big year for Jerry Downey as he played many Sexual Tension parties, including his North End Studios Two Year Party, with Secrets and Dr. Disko Dust.  He has slowly been releasing his own edits and they are definitely being noticed.

14. SECRETS (Gary Springs Hunting Club) – 2013 Release: Real Life – Send Me An Angel (Super Trance Edit)

Matt Abbott aka Secrets is one man who is always playing at every sleezy bar and wharehouse in the city.  His fans/party goers know him for his wild parties with Gary Springs Hunting Club and as one of the best disco edit DJ’s in our city.  He performs many live edits during his sets and always awes the crowd or gets them singing.  While his edits range from disco, to soul, and some 80’s new wave you can always find a way to get sleezy when you hear a Secrets Edit.

15. SHIGETO – 2013 Release: No Better Time Than Now

Our first Shigeto show was at the Laneway Music Festival this past September.  Shigeto did nothing but awe his crowd and played a show which showed his precision and how he treats electronic music like a craft.  His album No Better Time Than Now became a hit across the world after its release on Ghostly.  Listen below on his track “Detroit Part 1,” for his mind blowing drum sequences, eerie sounds while it takes a walk with an unimposing bass.

16. JAMES LINCK – 2013 Release: Fortress of Solitude

The first time we encountered James Linck was when the office staff and I went to check out Mexican Knives at St. Andrews, and James Linck was one of the opening acts, our ears were blown away.  James Linck and Doc Waffles took over the stage and made sure they were heard.  James Linck has worked with many other Detroit musicians such as Dial.81, Doc Waffles, Eddie Logix, and Christopher Jarvis (Phantasmagoria).   With his 2013 release Fortress of Solitude, James Linck pop vocal skills really add to the production of his tracks, whether it be electronic, hip hop or any other sub genre.

17. PASSALACQUA – 2013 Release: Eagles Fly

I really hope in 2014 Detroit Sounds Like This can sit down with them and really get to know them.  We have extensively listened to their albums and they leave us wanting more.  Their beats are beautifully done, their style reminds us of Brother Ali, and early Dilated Peoples.  A lot of their tracks are just great to sit and relax to, by relax I mean light up of course.

18. ZOOS OF BERLIN – 2013 Release: Lucifer in the Rain

Zoos of Berlin had a quiet yet tremendous release with Lucifer in the Rain.  If you enjoy the styles of bands like Beach House and Wild Nothing, we would definitely recommend this album.  With beautiful melodies, soft vocals echoing throughout the album you couldn’t ask for a more relaxing and engaging album.

19. THE VONNEGUTS – 2013 Release: Automobile
The Vonneguts lured us in pretty early on this year with their funkadelic rock ‘n roll. From snatching sets at nearly every musical event to just rocking on the street in Eastern Market, this group stole our attention and vowed not to return it. They have a very promising future ahead of them in 2014, but don’t take your eyes off of them even for a second, because these men move quickly!

20. EDDIE LOGIX – 2013 Release: Eddie Logix Plays Lykke Li

Who hasnt Eddie Logix been working with these days?  It seems that I havent heard a remix without Eddie Logixs name attached to it, whether its for Dial.81, James Linck, Doc Waffles, Phantasmagoria, and many more, hip hop and indie musicians of Detroit want Eddie Logix on their projects.

In addition to our top 25, we included a “KEEP ON YOUR RADAR 2014” List

Feral Ground
SIAS
Dutch Pink
Jay Daniel
Golf Clap
Phantasmagoria
Codine

 


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 : Aussies and Electro-Pop

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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.

Chet Faker

  • Taking the Meadow Stage from 2:25-3:10 pm
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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.

CHVRCHES

  • Taking the Pavilion Stage from 3:15-4:00 pm
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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.

AlunaGeorge

  • Taking the Meadow Stage from 4:05-4:50 pm
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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.

Icona Pop

  • Taking the Pavilion Stage from 4:55-5:40 pm
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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.

Flume

  • Taking the Meadow Stage from 7:25-8:15 pm
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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.


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
Sigur Rós at The Fox Theatre, April 1 2013

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.


Robert Glasper Experiment Helping Detroit Sound Beautiful

Robert Glasper

If I would’ve been told in advance, I’m pretty sure I would have been skeptical on hearing a jazz rendition of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” at the recent Detroit Jazz Festival. But then again the Robert Glasper Experiment is known for providing an interesting spin on popular music, check out their “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover if you haven’t yet. The Experiment kicked off the cover super-slowed up, with that melancholic charm and voice a la vocoder they incorporate so well. Genre defying music, jazz is of course the key component, but refreshingly gets edgy in all the right places. From Robert’s website, we’re given a little insight into Black radio 2, that will be dropping in late October, and among a list of killer guest artists, will also feature Detroit’s own Dwele.

“On October 29, RGE ups the ante with the release of Black Radio 2 (Blue Note), another genre-defying effort that takes the Black Radio blueprint and builds to even greater heights. The core remains the Experiment, as astoundingly versatile a band as has ever existed, featuring Robert Glasper on keyboards, Derrick Hodge on bass, Mark Colenburg on drums, and Casey Benjamin on vocoder and saxophone. Providing the vocals throughout is another jaw-dropping roll call of vocalists including CommonPatrick StumpBrandyJill ScottDweleMarsha AmbrosiusAnthony Hamilton,Faith EvansNorah JonesSnoop DoggLupe FiascoLuke JamesEmeli SandéLalah Hathaway, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.”

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Zoos of Berlin “Above the Air”

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Hello Detroit!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day Weekend! Its Monday so that means here is your track of the week!
This track was recently a Rolling Stone download of the day!

Check out “Above the Air” by Zoos of Berlin

For More Zoos of Berlin:
Zoos of Berlin Facebook
Zoos of Berlin Bandcamp


Mexican Knives “Killer Snake”

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Mexican Knives release a brand new EP entitled “Other Tramps”

The two track EP contains the songs “Killer Snake” and “Make This Moment”

Please check back later today for a brand new music video by the Mexican Knives.

Want to learn more? Check out their Facebook here!


From the Meadow to the Lawn: The Pilgrimage of Mack Partin

Mack Partin

Two Saturdays ago, a mass of indie fans filed into the Berkley Front’s euphonious attic to see Meadower play their beloved indie rock ballads. This Meadower show was unique because their openers included Huumans (Detroit) and The Most Dangerous Animal (Flint). This Meadower show was unique because their guitarist, Brent Mosser, made screen-printed posters by hand.

 

This Meadower show was unique because it was their last.

In 2010, the group of four indie rockers (Joel Gullickson, Matt Provost, Brent Mosser, and Mack Partin) leapt onto the scene and has been playing local shows consistently ever since. Mack Partin, the band’s charming bassist and one of those people whose name just sounds better when stated in full, sits across from me in this dim bar on a Monday night and attempts to explain to me just how meaningful Meadower was.

Mack reveals that to him, Meadower made such a strong impact in part because of the surreal alliance of its members. “I had lived with our guitar player Brent for three years prior to him joining the band, I ended up living with the drummer for a couple of years, and the guitar player Matt and I had been in a previous band. So, I had a lot of history with those guys.”
meadowerBeyond just fulfilling his Partridge Family-esque dreams, Meadower also transformed the way Mack considered the art of composition altogether. Instead of having one writer in the group, “Meadower worked as a collaboration, so we would show up to practice and figure out a song.”
“I really liked doing that,” declares Mack, because that way, “We would write the song together.”

Playing shows about thrice a month at places like The Crofoot, The Loving Touch, Small’s, The Belmont, and PJ’s Lager House, Meadower was not by any means struggling to make an impression. So, why did such a unique band conclude what most would consider a phenomenal run? Upon my asking this question, Mack brushes aside his bangs and looks up from his chicken sandwich, trading in his sly grin for a dismal countenance.

“It ended because creatively, I think we accomplished everything that we had set out to do as a band. And we had been trying to write something for a little bit and it wasn’t really coming together the way I think anyone wanted it to.”Mack Partin

Alas, at their last show, Mack confesses that he “definitely got emotional during the set, looking at those guys and thinking ‘this is the last time I’m going to play with them in a long time,’” The devoted musician even shaved his mustache for the performance, in an effort to pay homage to the clean-shaven man who joined the band three years earlier. “I’m a sentimental guy,” he says, with the addendum, “or mostly just an idiot.”

Overall, Mack appears both sorrowful over Meadower’s conclusion and proud to have been in such a close-knit group in the first place. He also knows that the future is uncertain, and the band is devoted more to the music than to daily routines that may get in the way. “You know, I might get a phone call from Matt of Brent or Joel being like ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea: let’s work on a Meadower song.’” He adds, “If one of our closer friends were to ask us ‘ Hey, come play this show,’ we’d do it in a heartbeat.” For now, Mack is eternally grateful for the time he had with his talented and dedicated bandmates.
“You got me all choked up,” he concludes. “I love them. I love those guys.”

Though pained by the conclusion of this awesome foursome, Mack has by no means put an end to his career as a devout bassist. He has, in fact, been pleased to spend time veering in different creative directions. He has found time now to focus on jamming out with 500 Club at PJ’s Lager House, like he did last Wednesday, and writing new music with a groundbreaking punk rock band, Lawnmower.

lawnmower

Lawnmower itself was born in 2010, but Mack Attack added his name to the triumvirate one year ago. At the time, Mack says, “Me and the drummer of Meadower had been kind of messing around with stuff on our own time and looking for different people to play with just for fun,” because, he concedes, “We legitimately just love playing music.” So, it’s no surprise at all that when Travis (Lawnmower) approached Brent (Meadower) at a Meadower show in Flint, saying, “Man, we just need to find a guy who will play the bass for us,” Brent knew the perfect man for the job. “‘Mack will do it. Mack has nothing but free time.’”

So, with that, the bass man joined Travis Bravender and Aaron Quillen, and has since been mowing lawns like he’d never mown lawns before (that is to say, he has been driving to Flint a lot for band practice). When asked if he was at all concerned that he was burning the candle at all possible candle’s ends by performing with three bands over the past year, he confirms that it was nothing to fret (lol, music pun) about at all. “Lawnmower was different enough, so creatively it was moving in another direction,” he explains.

As for the sound of the trio, Mack states, “We’re more of a melodic kind of punk,” and names such influences as Weezer and Super Chunk for the sound. “A lot of my favorite bands were in the nineties,” he explains, “so I definitely take from that.” An ever-loyal Lawnmower fan, Stevie Garofalo calls the band a “catchy, raw, 3-piece punk band with original songs and good vocals and instruments.”

After a year in this punkier indie rock trio, Mack oozes love for the group as if it’s the family he’ll go home to after this interview. He tells me that, “it felt like a bunch of friends that I’ve known forever just hanging out and writing songs.” And although the bassist enjoyed the compositional eccentricities of Meadower, he can’t seem to contain his love for everything about the way Lawnmower operates as well. “What’s cool about lawnmower is that typically Travis will write something, send it to me and Aaron, and then me and Aaron comment… The main idea is kind of there. And from there we work together as a band and figure out how we can make it sound like us.” The band has developed its own unique system, and boy, does the system work.

No novices of the music industry, the men of Lawnmower had released a phenomenal full-length record in 2010, called “Franchise Wings.” Furthermore, just a few months ago, they released the EP of EPs, “Whack Yer Brain.” Both albums offer Lawnmower’s greatest attributes in perfect proportion: unique vocals, complex, but calming melodies, and incredible instrumentalism. That being said, “Whack Yer Brain” is far better than “Franchise Wings,” and I’ll tell you why: Spinner has a mohawk. That is to say, the entire album is based on “Degrassi, the Next Generation,” and if that’s not everything you’ve ever wanted in an album, then your priorities are askew.

As for the future, Mack explains that Lawnmower is only picking up musical momentum in the days ahead. They are currently recording a full-length record that is to be released within the next few months, and will doubtless be monumentally earth-shattering. Beyond that, they plan to take part in two tribute albums, one for The Replacements, and the other for The Get Up Kids. “We’re keeping pretty busy,” he says, detailing the band’s most recent show a few weekends ago at the Soggy Bottom in Flint. “We have played in a variety of different spots around Michigan. Our plan is, especially now that we have the record out, to maybe do some more regional tours.”

Both Meadower and Lawnmower have made enormous impacts on Mack’s life, and for that, he could not be more grateful. As he concludes his epic bildungsroman in this booth across from me, he appears more hopeful than most other musicians I have encountered thus far. Lawnmower is making unmistakable waves, and as Garofalo says, it “is definitely a band that could make it big in the underground punk community.” But this didn’t happen because Mack Partin became hardened by the inherent tribulations of the music industry. It didn’t happen because Mack Partin let opportunities tumble through the wilting leaves of his meadow. It happened because Mack Partin loved music for music’s sake. His future is bright because he made it so.

Come check Lawnmower out tomorrow night, August 23rd, at the Howell Opera House.

Check out Meadower and Lawnmower on Facebook and Like them by clicking the thumb button!
www.facebook.com/meadower
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lawnmower/260677670632599?fref=ts

Also listen to them both on bandcamp and buy their stuff!


Track of the Week – The Gutter Ghouls “Corpse & Bride”

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This week was no contest with the Gutter Ghouls and their recent release of their video “Corpse Bride.”  Its been a favorite of mine for a while now, and the video is amazing!

I have enjoyed seeing them live more then once, and their show is something you wont forget.  It gets your heart beating and wanting more.  These guys really enjoy what they do, and they prove it every time they hit the stage.

It is also great to see a band that put so much time and effort for their first ever music video.  Props guys.

Stay Dope Detroit.

Artist: The Gutter Ghouls
Track: Corpse & Bride
Label: Hell City Records


Laneway Makes Its Way to Michigan

Laneway

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


Track of the Week – Rogue Satellites “Party Angels”

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Detroit Sounds Like This would like to start off your week with some great local talent. Rogue Satellites provide great production and outstanding vocals that will keep you listening. Enjoy.

Artist: Rogue Satellites
Track: Party Angels
Album: Other Angels