Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Local Humans and the Things they Do with their Faces, Feet and Hands

Here's some stuff about records.

Pewter Cub
is pretty alright in my book (see page 78, rethink.d: The Early Years) and they had a party at Smalls some months ago for their LP, The Door Opened; You Got In. I enjoy the appropriate use of the semicolon in their title. I also enjoy the tracks, which range from the very Black Angels-ish opening song "As You Were" to the noisy pop of "Surface", though they linger toward more the former, black psychadelia. I find the recordings to be very good, however I don't feel that the band is quite as moody as this EP implies. When I've seen them live they've been more flippant/fun/raucus, or at least have presented themselves in that way. Perhaps in the recordings they showed more the reality of their lyrics? Drum-heavy and deep, the tracks have a vast spacial resonance, with vocals that shine but lack the same depth as the other instruments. Regan, Dave and Scott have quite beautifully fitted talents, though, and the dirty guitar melds with the syrup-sweet voice and booming toms in an unexpectedly full-sounding 8 song album.

Here is an awesome video of the aforementioned "Surface". It's really great because 1. The director did a wonderful job; and 2. It hearkens to the less dark (at least musically and performatively) aspects of the band.

Macrame Tiger was all a-buzz around these parts this summer and into fall. I work with 2 of their members, so I get an exclusive inside scoop and I'm going to tell you all the juicy details of their torrid affairs (devastate the details, get it? Ha... ha... hm). Just kidding. But I do know that they are ready to move forward with a ton of new songs; it seems they were over their EP as soon as it was released. No one else has been dismissing it as much as the band themselves, whose final track "Lucy Sue" was named the #1 local song of the year by the respected Jeff Milo. The consensus seems to be that the record is awesome, though from what I hear from Pedro and Kerry, all of the new material is far more comprehensive and involves Marilu and Kerry in more integral ways. Each of the tracks on the EP is a solid single, yet a single idea they do not make. Somewhat disjointed, they dance between spacey prog-y post-punk bars andfolkey honkey-tonk campfires. Both styles are executed well and sound fantastic on their own. Together, they can become a little patchy. And what's with the super-Frank Zappa feel of "Sparklewood Friendship Society Club"? I'm not complaining about any of it individually--all the songs are catchy and smart--I simply hope they weren't trying for continuity. This EP is, to me anyway, a show of power, to say, "Not only can we do this, but this and this too! So watch out, motherfuckers." And I do love those weird and layered vocals and shimmery effects; it's as if Animal Collective was a band I liked. I'll be on the look-out for Macrame's new stuff.

Fur just recently released another EP. In the same fashion as their debut EP, they released it online and you can get it for free. This one is called Devastate the Details and has a similar sound to the first, though longer. After listening to the EP twice, I felt like I knew the songs from somewhere else--their hooks are brilliant enough. I've said before that this band has a great way of fusing the same ol' garage rock with a heavier and darker pallet. However, it has the opposite problem that Macrame Tiger's does, in that its tracks sit in a small margin of sound. Each song becomes similar to the next when the mood of cathartic anger prevails. There's nothing wrong specifically with the songs; they just could use some variance to avoid loss of interest. I'm looking forward to more of the unconventional way that Ryan plays with vocals. He really does see his voice as an instrument within each song, and yet he doesn't draw attention away from the equal amazingness that is happening with the other three members of the band. Johanna (keys) is featured more on the album, and I really like it, though my Killers-saturated mind keeps hearing "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" everywhere. Drum sound is fantastic, with Zach's organic breakbeats rich and dynamic, and Mike's stellar work on bass is more prominent this time around than it was on the debut. With all the fuzz cutting through the songs, there is a slight expectation that the formats and lengths will devitate, but they are all under 5 minutes. The last track seems to me to be the best single and also the most standard, forcefully energetic and a great last impression. The use of guitar effects could be played with in terms of integration with songwriting; I think that might be a good step for the sound to go in.

So there's my triple review. I hope I still have friends.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Things that would be really cool if they happen in 2011

Let's play time vault! It's where I am ambitious near the demarcated end of the calender year, and so I imagine 2010 as a really bad crabcore band (let's say for shits and giggles this one) that has taken over my apartment and forced me to drop anything productive and, how do you say, good to clean up after said spoiled 17-year-olds, but they made a drinking game of it (beverage of choice is Sparks, bro, mind you) that every time I scrub a glob of hair gel from the wall they each take a crap on the floor. And then I imagine 2011 as the symphonic punk band that runs in (unbeknownst to the brats, known to me) in the middle of the night, overturns the couches and tables they are sleeping on, and stabs them repeatedly with violin bows, strangles them with guitar strings, electrocutes them with huge bass amps, stuffs them into kick drums, and then hands me a nice, cold beer. And then I look at this list in a year and see if I did this stuff and then cradle my head and cry.

That was fun. Now, concrete things I would be pretty okay with happening this coming year.
  • I get a freaking car already
  • The apocalypse (surprise, motherfuckers! Early bird consumes the Earth!)
  • The best song ever in the world ever is written
  • I get a record player (a thousand friends sneer and guffaw, "you don't have a record player?")
  • Two words: Road trip
  • Two words: Professional massage
  • Two words: Free beer
  • Something that involves Pomeranian cats, space helmets, and Medieval iron swords.
  • Release a solo record
  • Release an Eleanora record
  • Reverb, distortion, looping.
  • Poof! I'm a freshman in art school again
  • I get out of this fucking state for the first time in 2 years
What are your hopes/cynical projections for the big 11? What is your best personification for 2010? What are you getting me for Chrimbus? What do you want for Chrimbus? What band sucked the worst this year? What extremely genius and secretive tool do you want me to employ in my solo album?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 8 Things That Have Happened This Year So Far

I have one of the worst memories of anyone I know. But who knows, there could be a herd of amnesiacs wandering around that I have forgotten about (get it?). In any case, I figure I should record some of the things that happened this year. In personal history, this one was pretty "meh" on the forgettable scale. More super exciting end of year listing things to come!

No order here, order's for people who make money.

3. Playing with Forget at the Ferndale Library. So good, this one.
4. Being able to walk and ride bikes everywhere from April to October. (I still have to walk, it just sucks a lot more during winter.)
8. Eleanora's first show. We were cute little babies then, and now we've got enough material for 2 full length albums.
1. The moment my boss at Sakana decided that club music might not be superior to indie for a sushi bar.
6. I rediscovered Thee Silver Mt. Zion, after hearing them (and cringing) first 5 years ago. And I saw them, and my ears were kissed by glorious choirs of horses in the sky.
5. When I found out that the oil that was pumped into the Gulf Coast was really just chocolate and the problem could be solved by everyone taking turns licking pelicans and drinking the ocean like a malted milkshake through striped straws.
2. No one close to me died.
7. My show at North End Studios, and the party that followed. I like the way it turned out, and I love my friends, and I love roofs.

Boy, that was actually stretching it. Here's to waaaay more excitement next year!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Picking Confetti out of My Belly Button

Saturday night there were a lot of shows going on. A lot of big shows. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas performed at the Bakery Loft for a CD release, Silverghost released their first LP at The Magic Bag, and Marco Polio and the New Vaccines recorded a live record and DVD at the Belmont. I went to the Marco Polio show. It was a lot of fun, beyond the craziness I always experience at their performances, because I helped my little sis document it on video and interview people before and after the show. The final product(s) will be unimaginably Imaginatronable.

Humpday just so happens to be Hanukah, and it also happens to be Duendsday at Club Bart. Which is where I will be, because I have a band, and we are playing there. Here is the flyer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I'm focusing more on music now. That little college-educated snot inside my head sneers and says, "Join the club, you idiot. Have you seen Detroit?" I know, I'm pretty sure at least 70% of people in the Detroit/Hamtramck/Ferndale trifecta "play an instrument" or are "in a band" or "play" an "instrument" or are "in" a "band". I've been on that list for a little while now, but for once I'm making it more of my focus.

Hey, have you heard Eamon McGrath? He's pretty cool. He had nothing to do with Detroit, I just like his music. Here's a video. I thought he was way older, I love his voice. He's written and released 26 albums in 4 years.

What is with me and my love affair with the Canadians lately?

Also, go to my show on Wednesday, at Club Bart. We have new songs!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Revelations 57 and 58.

Stuck in between collage and create, compose nestles. And I must compose something. This time, written and unwritten sound. It’s important. So really it cannot pertain to the whole of humanity, because that would be guesswork. I can only write about what I know, as the weary saying goes. And I can learn anything, but the point is that what I create has to be intrinsically me, and saturated in things I know about. What do I know about? I know about winter. I know about cold and fire. I know the smell of wet freshly burned wood. I know the feeling of drunk, and the feeling of high. I know the feelings of panic and guilt--I know those feelings very well. I know certain scenes, ones that have been captured in my visual memory since I was a child. I know orgasms. I know disgust. I know moderate content. I know bitterness. I am much, much more bitter than I appear. I know the shadows cast by headlights on a ceiling fan at night in summer. I know the plastic glow in the dark stars that are stuck to that fan with tacky putty that is so old it must be cement by now. I know the angel that is hung on the wall by the bed and the shell necklace that is hung on the same hook, framing it beautifully. I know early winter evenings spent with three women and one man around the loved piano that rests on the opposite wall. I know show tunes. I know crying in my mom’s arms late at night because I can’t stop thinking about all the suffering that happens all over the world and wondering why such awful things happen. I know the kitchen radio. I know about putting blank tapes in the front and washing dishes with a sister and hitting record when I hear a song I like. I know the way Christmas songs sound in June. They sound similar, but with a tinge more masked depression.

I know about the way things were for me and I know about the way things are now. I know about most of the time in between those. I know about a thousand drives between Detroit and Howell, and some parts in between. I know about cold walks. I know about cold everything. I never thought I was a true Michigander and I thought people exaggerated the coldness of Michigan, until I experienced cold as it really is. I experienced it down to the marrow of my bones.

Marrow. That’s a good word. I need a piano and a music notebook.

I have goals, but goal is such a trite word. I have feelings, but feel is such a trite word too.

Soundscapes is also a stupid word. But it’s one of those stupid words that’s just become stupid from overuse. It was worn down by thousands of clueless musicians and limited writers. Yet, what other word can I use to describe what I want to create? Most words tend to sound pretentious now, simply due to overuse or sophistication (sophistication being quite different from pretense). But I think I should probably try to find a word, or make one up. Basically, I've been creating art ever since I was little, but never thought to realize my artistic vision in any way other than through conventional and unconventional visual art means; yet I know sound really well; I can understand the poetry of sound and language far more easily than line and form. And I've realized something recently: I don't enjoy making visual art. What I enjoyed about it when I was in school was the community surrounding it, and it's come to me that temporal mediums are the only ones that are productive and bring me happiness. When I'm playing violin or singing, I am free, I can actually communicate with people, which for me is usually so, so hard. Sound needs to be my medium.

So I'm going to try to write an album.

Because I'm starting to think that I should have been in music composition all along.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This One's Personal

I feel so out of the loop sometimes with things going on very close to me. About a year and a half ago, I had the idea to scatter seeds in the courtyard of my once-home, Forest Arms. It never came to fruition. I found this video today, and ghosts I thought I'd exorcised were resurrected. The video is beautifully done.

The Forest Arms Hanging Gardens FEATURE from SINGLE . BARREL . DETROIT on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I'm sitting at the Emory drinking alcoholic root beer in a bright blue flowered sundress while a woman who tried to kiss Scottie one night waits on us. We're listening to my picks on the Jukebox:
  1. "Soft Shock"-Yeah Yeah Yeahs: This was my first one, my "I like this song and it's kinda chill" pick. Nice and floaty.
  2. "Slate"-Uncle Tupelo: I almost always pick this when I'm there. The violin part is great, it's a well-built song and one of the best opening songs to an album I've known.
  3. "Spiderbite Song"-Flaming Lips: Steven Drozd is a genius, on a song about his addiction. I think his genius will be appreciated down the line.
  4. "Blue Ridge Mountains"-Fleet Foxes: Perfect Saturday noon song.
  5. "Manoogian Zoo"-Hard Lessons: This song has more historic value to my life than any other, having lived through the Forest Arms fire and having dealt with the aftermath. This song could be pretentious, considering they didn't live there or anything, but it's too sad and true to really have that effect.
  6. "So Lost Now"-Silverghost: Great melody, catchy guitar line, and I'm friends with them. Not to mention they segued into this from a Vaselines song at the New Center.
"Science makes us all its bitches."
Now I'm talking about drifting events and New Order with my new friend Joe. And now I'm drinking a Great Lakes amber. I have to go to work in less than 4 hours. Lord, I hope my power is on soon. But the A/C in here is so nice and I'm hearing things I've never heard before and I just ate half an avocado with an omelette and right now I'm thinking I could live here, sleep right in the leather booths. That's the stuff of fantasy, though, and there's a reason a lot of the best writers die of cirrhosis. Like it was reading my mind the jukebox picks Elliot Smith's "The Morning After", sending me into reprises of car theft and summer hangovers from three years past. I sit back, recounting muggings and their strange nostalgia, sip the meaty Guinness to my side, and think that I must be home. Everything's going to be okay right now. Even though it never will be.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I've been conjuring ideas for various art projects lately, finally nailed down a Marco Polio t-shirt image, and gathering resources for my solo exhibition in September. So now that I have two weeks off of my main job, I get time to actually work out these ideas. I just have to make sure I don't waste all that art time on America's Got Talent if It Has a Sob Story. I'm meeting tonight with my friend Ashley from North End Studios/Sparklewood, and Steve from Black Lodge, to discuss a collaborative installation project for the Aestival Festival. Cool.

I haven't been reviewing anything, but chill, it will happen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


On Wednesday Eleanora played with Duende and The Wrong Numbers at Club Bart, and everyone tore it up. Through the magic of Jellyroll Joel's fingers, we were able to grasp the sound issues of the place, and though the arrangement of our set was a little more musical chairs-like than we thought it would be, we went over well and finally had copies of our debut EP, Recollective, for sale.

Again, Duende was sweet, and though it was about 253 degrees inside, it was worth being there to hang out with Fur, -jr, Jeff Milo, and Frank Woodman (who was celebrating a birthday!).

During the second song of The Wrong Numbers' set, the power for a few blocks radius was cut, probably due to a power surge. In this troubled time, the drummer, I imagined, thought, "This is it! My big chance! Now they can't stop me!" and it was awesome. Also at some point Frank got on stage and attempted to start a "Give Peace a Chance" singalong. The power started back up just as I left, and then The Wrong Numbers continued the show, now knowing they'd better bring it for all the people who waited in darkness for it. I didn't get to see it because I, again, had to go try to sleep and then go give myself cancer in the morn.

New Center Park Kickoff

On Monday I worked during the day and then was able to skip out to the New Center Park kickoff and saw Jehovah's Witness Protection Program, Duende!, and Silverghost. My, what an adventure. I slouched in near the end of JWPP's set, whom I'd never heard before. The richness achieved through the loops and other layers of sound was really nice, in fact to the point that I think they could be an instrumental band; it seems words might distract from that wall of sound. However, I did like that last song about thinking about freedom--so appropriate for the holiday. "Anthony Anonymous" was pouring his sweat out on guitar/vocals and "Jehan Dough" was solid and heavy on drums.

Next was Duende!, who has been on my radar for a while now, and they are always a pleasure. Like an ecstatic blues-rock bar fight, they bring something new to garage rock (really, they bring garage rock to something new). When I first saw them, I found Jeff's vocals irritating, but they've really grown on me. Jellyroll Joel is just a master guitar whisperer, and Laura is straight and animated behind the kit. They played a really nice set. Frank Woodman was being Frank Woodman, which is always both expected and remarkable. Standing near the front during Duende's set, he was the only one dancing and singing along. Luckily he wasn't alone during Silverghost's portion of the evening.

Steve (from Marco Polio) and I decided to rush the "dance floor" about 2 songs into Silverghost, but it didn't work to get others dancing as we'd hoped, at least not right away. Finally others joined, unafraid to look like drowning victims (me) or schizophrenic professors (Steve). Marcie and Deleano rocked the joint! Of note was the segue of The Vaselines' "Son of a Gun" into their own "So Lost Now". The last song of their encore was refreshingly downtempo, since a lot of their tunes have very similar beats/tempos, but it wasn't their first choice, ending on a low note instead of a rocker.

I went to the Northern Lights Lounge afterward to see The Eeks, who had played in the park earlier in the day. I thought they have some potential, with the singer being very performative, but I wasn't that thrilled with the music itself, which didn't live up to the singer's energy. I look forward to seeing them again.

I got home around 1:30 or so, my head and thighs still burning, crashed into bed, and woke up to go play with toxic chemicals for the day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In Between

Lordy Lordy! Workin' for the man has bogged me down entirely this week. Like, I've been working from 9am to 12am every day this week. Not an exaggeration.

But anyway, I should have some time Saturday to post some things I find interesting. (This doesn't mean you will find it interesting, but I will make an effort.) Coming up, you'll find:
  • Sordid details about my muppet-like dancing at New Center Kickoff
  • A minute-by minute account of my sweaty baptism at Club Bart, and the mass hysteria that ensued immediately following
  • A pretty decent slice of chocolate eclair cake
All that and more!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wait, I have to write in order for it to update?

I've been busy. That's my excuse. Working, eating, drinking, and messing around on the internet has usurped all of my time.

On my end of involvement with music, I've been working with Marco Polio and the New Vaccines on images for shirts and buttons and stickers and all that stuff, which is just as hard to do as it sounds considering the personalities in the band. We have the ball rolling, though, and we're at least going to use every image I've made for something.

On Sunday, I got off work and went down to The Loving Touch, where Isles of ESP were playing. Very improv-based, very good. I got a chance to improvise on fiddle with Eric Dilworth a couple weeks ago at Club Bart, and he's like a mad genius. I like his open chord structure and the way that he changes character in the middle of songs, though there were points in Sundays show where the changes got muddled. The band after them were really good too, but at that point I was half asleep, somehow, and Scottie was freaking out (in a good way) about some cover that they were playing, and there were lights everywhere, and I had to work in the morning and couldn't move my neck because I'm an old lady.

Oh lord, I already sound like Eat This City...

Last night I went to Rock Lobster night at Sakana, where I saw all sorts of people I enjoy being around. I talked about cartoon scuba suits and the contemporary dilemma of unclear communication while Dethlab DJ'ed. And I have to say, that was the most enjoyable DJ experience I've ever had, in part probably due to my recent obsessions with No Age and The Bird and the Bee; in part due to the fact that I've had only two other enjoyable DJ experiences ever before (besides hearing Marcie and Pierce up there every month). I hope to hear Dethlab more often.

This weekend is the New Center Park Kickoff thingy, and I'm looking forward to it. The parts I can see, anyway.

My band has a show with Duende and the Wrong Numbers on Wednesday.

Sorry, I'll start posting more.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I saw Fur at Donovan's in Mexicantown earlier this year as a three-piece and was impressed with their sound. Though there seemed to be a physical/visual wall between the band and the audience, the sound was engulfing. Driven and dark, with lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan O'Rourke's downward slouchy gaze adding to the darkness but defying the drive, the band was connected and full. I really enjoyed what I heard. I downloaded their debut EP last week, and throughly enjoyed what I heard there, too. For a first release it sounded precise, well-mixed and professional--not at least due to the fact that they recorded at Tempermill Studios in Ferndale. Okay, I'm going to forgo the restraint and admit that I think it's one of the best debut releases I've heard from a Detroit band in the past few years. The songs are all energetic and moody, a kind of mix between Black Mountain and Interpol. I love the fact that bass and drums are heavy in the mix, and the vocal sound pushes Ryan's unique voice into an integral instrument instead of a showy top layer (especially in the second track). Drummer Zach Pliska is a very solid player, and the songs emphasize this. He leads in the opening track, "Here's to the Angels (West-Coast Swag)", which explodes into this oddly catchy distorted rock tune. The second track, "Pretty Thoughts", really illustrates Fur's connection to dark psychedelia, tom-heavy and distorted, but then adds this weird Killers-esque synth part (by newest member Johanna Champagne) that I actually really dig as an addition. The closer, "Foxtrotsky", is more atmospheric but builds on the toms again. "Foxtrotsky" is what I think Muse might sound like if Muse had any talent, creativity, rawness and edge. Michael O'Connor's bass lines in this one are spectacular, a saxophone just barely makes it into the raging end of the song, and the music is just well-written all around. Kudos to Fur for putting out an incredible first release. I really look forward to hearing and seeing more in the (near) future!

You can download Fur's EP for free on their website, and you can see them at the Belmont in Hamtown on June 25th (Friday), with Rogue Satellites, Beekeepers, and The Savage Seven. You can also be friends with them on their Facebook.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All Media

Affirmations is an ideal place to display displayable art (if you're not, like, famous yet). It's a community center smack-dab in the middle of downtown Ferndale, it has a positive and art-friendly atmosphere, and has an open, airy, large-windowed edifice. So, if you walk by there, stop in. The shows there have been improving in their curation. While I've always seen an incredibly diverse group of artists (LGBT and allies, of all races and backgrounds) displayed in one place, their level of experience is getting to be more similar, whereas I used to be able to easily spot the gap.

Affirmations largely supports LGBT youth and community, which abounds in Ferndale. When I stepped into the lobby where the art was exhibited, I noticed first that there was a lot of work there (hung salon-style). It was almost too hard for my eye to rest, but there was that huge painting oddly composed in vibrant colors right in front of me, and there were those two smaller encaustics that seemed to bounce joy off the other walls. Ah. And then my interest was held. And kept, for the most part, around the corner where an Ernst-like kettle boiled and men stood in front of their houses in micron pen, past the hand-painted trans women standees that laughed in unadulterated happiness, and across the opposite wall where abstract watercolor shapes created their own terraforms and felted intestines cascaded down the walls. The fixtures for hanging, which I'm sure are very efficient and a functional godsend, were also the only distraction in the show.

Each artist in this exhibition has a unique sense of play. That is what united them. You may not be someone who goes to art shows, but it doesn't take more than five minutes to see what the wonderful people of metro Detroit are up to--and it's pretty amazing.

Friday, June 11, 2010


If you want something of yours reviewed--a record, a work of art, a play, an outlook on Heidegger, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your pet turtle--let me know. I want to write about it.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome Back...

So, I decided to re-vamp the blog, I don't know if anything will come of it, but why not, right?
Here's something. For the Kids.