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

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.”


Back To The 80s With Angry Red Planet

In the 1980s, in Michigan and elsewhere, the punk and hardcore music scenes were developing heavily thanks to a relentless group of bands who were forming and playing in any venue that would host their style of music. In 1981, Angry Red Planet was formed by brothers Tim and John Pakledinaz and Vince Delisi, and like other hardcore groups coming onto the scene during that time, they frequently played gigs at some of the fantastic bar venues of yore, such as Traxx and The Mystery Lounge. They even scored an opening slot for the Dead Kennedys at Harpo’s back in 1984. They gained a reputation as being one of the more accessible hardcore bands around at the time with a twisted, melodic sound that resulted with a less brutal crowd than at similar hardcore and punk shows. Their popularity grew around the Detroit area, and Michigan-originated Touch and Go Records (co-founded by Tesco Vee of The Meatmen) released a 4-song, 7″ EP titled Gawker’s Paradise in 1985. Our Throwback Thursday for this week is the 3rd track on that EP, “Sun Goes Down.” With it’s dark and scratchy styling and lyrics pointing to doomsday with an ironically upbeat feel, this Angry Red Planet track as well as the entire Gawker’s Paradise EP is a great listen for when, to borrow from the lyrics, “The noise on the streets is one big pain/Like a gall digging down into your brain.” Currently, Tim Pak has transitioned his music style and is in a Bluegrass band, The Salt Miners, and started Woodshed Recording Studio in Michigan.

Enjoy the track “Sun Goes Down” by Angry Red Planet below.


MUSIC VIDEO-Mexican Knives “Killer Snake”

Last Thursday Mexican Knives released their new music video via Noisey for their track “Killer Snake,” from the 2013 EP “Other Tramps.”

Want more Mexican Knives? Check them out here:

Facebook
Bandcamp
Souncloud

Filmed, Directed and Edited by Wesley Levise
Additional footage shot by Esme McClear
Song by Mexican Knives


Mexican Knives “Killer Snake”

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”

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


Best Coast to Play with Local Dead-Surf Band Mexican Knives

Best Coast is an American indie rock band based in Los Angeles, California, and is often categorized under the subgenres of garage rock, surf pop, and lo-fi. The members are frontwoman/songwriter Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. The band is recognizable for their fuzzy, low-fidelity sound in the vein of surf rock.
They write one hell of a melody!

Attached below is a video from Best Coast, take a look!

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Mexican Knives are a local dead-surf group from Detroit Michigan.  The band is lead by Zachory Weedon, and consits of Ruth (Vocals), Blair (Drums) & John (Bass).  Want to know more about Mexican Knives, check out their interview with Detroit Sounds Like This here!

Below is an exclusive track performed live at the Detroit Sounds Like This studio in Eastern Market.

Click here for more event info!

$16 in advance


The Gutter Ghouls

I was 24 when my psychobilly cherry was popped. When people talk about the Detroit music scene these days they’re usually referring to mostly electronic, garage punk, or hip hop. Psychobilly, for those who aren’t familiar with the genre,  is made up of elements of punk then mixed with pieces of horror (usually from old horror movies). The shows are very fast paced and the bass players usually prefer to play with an upright bass as compared to most rock groups who use a standard bass guitar.

Check back soon for an in depth interview with the Ghutter Ghouls!

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