Posted by: on September 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm

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Posted by: on September 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

Unless you’ve been sequestered at summer camp, you know that Detroit bands have put out some stellar records of late. For those of us in Washtenaw County, it’s sweet to see Ann Arbor keeping pace.

“I’ve been here seventeen years and what’s been going on just in the last two years is the real thing.” So says recording engineer Jim Roll about the current state of music west of I-275. And we’re not going to argue. From his Ann Arbor-based studio, Roll has had a front-row seat, recording many of the best local releases over the past year. Several more are on deck for the fall. His studio is booked solid for months purely on word of mouth, mutual interest and a crop of record-ready acts. “I think I would go nuts if I had to record bad bands, but I’ve just got one after another coming through that are Read more

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Posted by: on September 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

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Posted by: on September 16, 2008 at 11:14 am

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Posted by: on September 16, 2008 at 10:00 am

Calexico, Carried To Dust (Quarterstick, 2008)

MP3: “Two Silver Trees”

When a band is said to have “defined their sound,” this is usually a public relations savvy way of saying they’ve hit a plateau and gotten boring. But on Carried To Dust, Calexico take the lessons learned from their 2006 effort Garden Ruin –- considered a more straightforward rock record (or as straightforward rock as Calexico can be) –- and build on those strengths while circling back and returning to form. The results, though more subtle in their delivery of beauty and complexity –- are certainly not boring. Rather, this time around Joey Burns and John Convertino might find they’ve pleased both those who lamented the change of pace offered by Garden Ruin, and those who welcomed the growth in scope. The Southwestern roots on which Calexico has built its sound have been strengthened by touring, collaborating and most importantly, seeking out and experiencing music from all over the world. Stylistically they’ve never sounded so melded, yet Carried To Dust is a story of adventure and spontaneity. A genre Calexico hasn’t exhausted just yet. — Laura Witkowski

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Posted by: on September 15, 2008 at 10:00 am

Damien Jurado, Caught In the Trees (Secretly Canadian, 2008)

MP3: “Dimes”

For his eighth album, Seattle’s Damien Juardo has gone from a solo artist to being a band. This is made clear in the “About Me” section of the blog I Am Caught In The Trees which states: “Damien Jurado is a band. This is our blog. Secretly Canadian puts out our songs. We love cooking.” His hauntingly beautiful confessional sound is now rounded out by the addition of band mates Jenna Conrad and Eric Fisher. Interestingly enough they come on board for Jurado’s most lyrically personal record to date. Best known for his largely fictional, yet seemingly personal narrative accounts of love and loss, this time around Jurado’s narratives really are glimpses into his psyche. “The floodgates are open and you’ll see me running back,” he sings on “Dimes.” Alongside a wash of strings, driving snare and lush piano, it seems like he’s talking about his own reluctance to be so personal. Throughout the album Jenna Conrad’s background vocals and harmonies add a beautiful contrast to Jurado’s starkness and when together they sing, “I’ll be sailing on your deep blue eyes,” it’s audible proof that regardless of the vulnerability, he’s clearly no longer sailing alone. — Laura Witkowski

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Posted by: on September 12, 2008 at 5:31 pm

This Saturday at the Lager House — oops, our bad…PJ’s Lager House –  is going to feel a little bit like 1999, and a little bit like 2008, all rolled into one rippin’ night. Why, you say? Well, Detroit rock heavyweights the Hentchmen, the Muldoons, and garage rock newbies the Dial Tones are all releasing hot slabs of vinyl on the same night, courtesy of Bellache Records!

Now, we all know Hentch and the Muldoons have more than a few releases under their belts, but this evening will bring the very first offering from the Dial Tones. The 6-song debut EP comes correct via 33 RPM 7″, which is totally badass, but if you’re all new-school and don’t have a record player for some stupid reason, we’re going to do ya’ll a favor and give you the A-Side to what the Dial Tones like to call The Hot Dogs! EP. Eat ‘em up!

MP3: “Lost Love”

MP3: “Numb”

MP3: “Ghetto Bird”

– Ryan Allen

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Posted by: on September 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Remember that scene in Dig when the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe kicks that dude in the head? Well it’s entirely possible that some of the members of Spindrift — who play Saturday, September 13th at the Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit — were there to witness that type of insanity.

You see, Spindrift feature members of the BJM, as well as peeps from the Warlocks, so you know you’re going to be in for some drug-induced, psychedelic, freaky pop music. And if the fact that their new album, The West, is on the Dandy Warhols’ Beat the World label gets you excited, or if the knowledge that one of their songs will be featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Hell Ride tickles your fancy…well, we’re pretty sure we know where you’re going to be on Saturday night. Friends of Dennis Wilson and Bird Dogs are also on the bill. — Ryan Allen

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Posted by: on September 12, 2008 at 10:52 am

Okkervil River, The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar, 2008)

MP3: “Lost Coastlines”

Offered as a sequel to 2007’s The Stage Names, Okkervil River’s fifth full length album The Stand Ins further mines the subject matter of its predecessor: the trials and tribulations of life on the stage. Although thematically meshed with The Stage Names, The Stand Ins works on its own to further showcase one of indie rock’s top lyricists. Will Sheff is at his best when interweaving inner-dialogue with a well-set scene, and the subject matter herein should be something he knows a thing or two about. The album opens with “Lost Coastlines,” a duet between Sheff and his recently departed band mate Jonathan Meiburg. The parting was amicable, but the deeper anxiety is apparent throughout the song’s unfolding (“Sit down on the prow to wave ’bye,’ because there might not be another stop farther on the line”). The behind-the-scenes uncertainty and underdog status of The Stand Ins’ main players pulls you in with a literary intensity that few songwriters can muster. Combined with well-crafted melodies, forward propulsion and driving builds, the music keeps up with and perfectly compliments each story line. Despite the lack of any showstoppers like The Stage Names’ opener, “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe,” The Stand Ins sneaks its way into your consciousness. And when Sheff sings, “I’ve got my ear against the screen. I feel your feelings crackling through every single inch of me. I’m going to make you mean it” it’s clear that he can, and even clearer that you will. — Laura Witkowski

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Posted by: on September 11, 2008 at 12:25 pm

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This song reminds me of summer 2000 when at least three of my friends had younger sisters who were fucking guys from the Suicide Machines. Oh, and it also reminds me that this band was friggin’ roids and we should reunite them for our next festival. You down? Tell Royce every time you attend a show at the Stick to make it happen. And also tell him to turn that shit down; Jimmy Fallon’s ears are still ringing from the Go! Team show.

– Harry Caul

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