“We’ll come back through next tour, maybe things will be better then.” Sympathy is not something you hear often from a touring band, especially one playing to a dismal six paying audience members. Jordan Hell, synth monkey for DD/MM/YYYY, seems to understand the plight of Metro Detroit, and has high hopes that the shit turnout on a rainy Tuesday evening isn’t what Detroit holds for all touring bands these days. One can only hope that their show tonight at the Elbow Room with Child Bite has better things in store than the baker’s dozen that showed up at the Pike Room Tuesday night. This total includes the doorfella, bottle-getter, barwench, and 4 family members of the band. The shame of it all is that this was the loudest, most crisp, explosive set from a jam-punk band since Malajube in 2007. The show almost didn’t happen. Opener-turned-headliner Red China arrived late, and coupled with the piss-poor turnout, DD/MM/YYYY nearly got scratched. In true punk fashion, the quintent said “fuck that, we’ll play”. Three different band members proceeded to play the drums (one of which may or may not have been wearing green thermal PJ bottoms onstage, saggy crotch included), two played synth, and there was even a brief sax appearance. Black Square, the quintet’s latest release, dropped digitally in February, and will be available everywhere else this St. Patrick’s Day.
800 Beloved, Bouquet (Moodgadget Records)
Uh oh. Looks like Detroit’s got its very own Joy Division. At least that’s what the uniformed will think when they hear the cold, slightly Goth-ish tones on 800 Beloved‘s icy Bouquet. While the monotone vocals, slashing guitar work, melodic bass-lines, apocalyptic synths, and dark tunnels 800 Beloved travel down certainly bring to mind Curtis & co. — and, to a much lesser extent, Interpol, for those without a decent record collection — what the band is really up to seems a lot more endearing. In all reality, Bouquet is a well-crafted continuation of a long-standing Mitten tradition of producing quality space-rock and shoegaze; one that started with groups like Majesty Crush, Windy and Carl, and Asha Vida (featuring a much-less pop inclined Casimer Pascal of Pas/Cal fame), and has continued to this day with sonic shredders like Dark Red (Rob from Paik) and the super-underrated Dykehouse (hell, we could even go out on a limb here and dub Javelins and Deastro branches on the Michigan-shoegaze family tree). So it’s with open arms that we welcome 800 Beloved to the fold. And how could we not, with certified New Romatic-era jams like “Show Me Evil” and “The Skeleton Collection” stuffed up their frilly sleeves? The band is slightly elusive (they hardly ever play around town), but fans of M83, Robert Smith-hair, and City Club will surely find something to adore about this collection. — RA
Julie Doiron, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day (Jagjaguwar)
MP3: Consolation Prize
Julie Doiron’s work with 90’s Canadian favorite Eric’s Trip has certainly helped her build a consistent solo career. More or less until this point she’s delivered solid, but relatively quiet records that only hint at the lo-fi squall of those early Eric’s Trip days. Though the title sounds like a note your adorable stalker might leave inside a mix tape under your windshield wiper, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, also contains some of Doiron’s most fuzzed out and melodic material yet. Thickly distorted, yet melodically solid tracks are interspersed with introspective observations. Her most immediately catchy release yet. — LW
Elvis Perkins In Dearland, Elvis Perkins In Dearland (XL Recordings)
Elvis Perkins sound like the name of a Southern Rockabilly revivalist, but instead, he’s a revivalist of a different sort. For his second album, he’s now formed a complete band — and this additional trio of multi-instrumentalists bring something special to the music of the exceptional songwriter. With a sound reminiscent of classic Cat Stevens and Josh Ritter meets a New Orleans funeral band, Elvis Perkins In Dearland march through the streets in joyous defiance. Bursts of harmonium, trombone, banjo and clarinet punctuate clever and biting lyrics. Songs like “123 Goodbye” and “Hey” wouldn’t sound out of place a Wes Anderson film soundtrack. — LW
From Monument to Masses, On Little Known Frequencies (Dim Mak/Downtown)
MP3: The First Five
Instrumental music is always a hard sell — it’s not like Tortoise are packing out arenas these days, ya know? But, music without lyrics has quite the history. Ever hear of this dude Johann Sebastian Bach? Yeah, thought so. So, in the tradition of ol’ white-wig himself, we give you the occasionally cinematic soundscapes of the vocal-less Oakland trio From Monument to Masses. Combining the bass-heaviness of the aforementioned Tortoise, with the electro-rock of Minus the Bear, and the metallic shrapnel of, say, Mastodon (fun fact: producer Matt Bayles oversaw records by both the latter groups), FMTM often show up their instrumental peers by A) being not boring (unlike Godspeed You Black Emperor), and B) having a tasteful hip-hop influence (think Prefuse 73, not Diddy) featured throughout. It’s hardly a symphony, but this ain’t your older brothers math-rock either. — RA
Handsome Furs, Face Control (Sub Pop)
MP3: I’m Confused
Face Control will quickly become the “it” record for the ironic hipster set, so expect every person who sees gold lame’ stretch pants and rubber wading boots as essential wardrobe pieces to adore this record. But Handsome Furs bring just enough earnestness with their 80’s throwback synth sound to avoid being a flash-in-the-pan trendy favorite. Of course staying power is also improved when one half of your band is Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner. Along with his wife Alexei Perry, the two follow up 2007’s Plague Park with a fuller, more realized set of songs. Gets better with each listen. — LW
War Child presents Heroes (Astralwerks/War Child)
MP3: The Like, You Belong To Me (Elvis Costello)
Did the masterminds behind Urban Outfitters in-store playlists and SirusXMU get together and put together a comp? A quick scan of the artists that make up War Child‘s Heroes collection — the Kooks, Estelle, TV on the Radio, Lily Allen, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, etc. — and it would seem so. Indeed, you could hear any one of these middle-of-the-road alt.rock and pop pansys blasting over the loud speakers while you snatch up your newest pair of skinnies, but this time around, the kids are covering legendary tracks by the likes of the Ramones, Iggy Pop, U2, and the Kinks, amongst others. The catch? The roster was chosen by the legends themselves. The verdict? It’s pretty hit-and-miss, with nu-Winehouses Estelle and Duffy doing predictable “SNL”-esque big-band takes on Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. Elsewhere, the Hold Steady cover Bruce (shocker!), TV on the Radio do Bowie (no shit!), and the Like do Elvis Costello (actually awesome!). Nitpicking aside, it’s for a good cause (proceeds go to benefit children affected by war), so buy it for you dad and feel good about yourself. — RA
Welcome, bitches, to our first installment of the Monday Mixtape — a weekly collection of hot jamburgers that we’re rocking around the office. For our inaugural edish, we’re featuring some new tracks that we missed out on while we were away watching the first three seasons of “Weeds” on DVD.
Max Tundra :: Will Get Fooled Again
Perhaps best known for his remix work, UK digi-pop producer Max Tundra delivers an anthem for our social networking-obsessed society — proving that yes, you can even meet chicks on eBay.
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart :: Everything With You
Did Sarah Records ever go away? Not if you’re a member of TPOBPAH, Brooklyn’s resident fuzz-pop maestros, who lovingly nod to classic cuddle-core acts like Black Tambourine and the Field Mice, albeit at a much quicker pace.
American Princes :: Real Love
American Princes prove that chorus pedals sounds good beyond that of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” pushing it to the forefront of their angular, 80s-informed pop.
Grizzly Bear :: Deep Blue Sea
As anticipation for their new album reaches Merriweather Post Pavilion-like levels of blogsanity, Grizzly Bear try and tide us over with this lulling contribution to the Dark Was the Night compilation.
Wavves :: So Bored
If No Age is the Smell-scene’s resident Guided by Voices, think of Wavves as every other kid in the 90s with a fourtrack and a dream. Think blown-out, lo-fi-as-fuck trash-pop by a skate kid in a oversized flannel and goofy hat, ollying over a pile of 7″ records.
Fucked Up :: Twice Born
Are they punk? Are they hardcore? Shugazi (shoegaze-meets-Fugazi, duh)? Who gives a rip? They’re Fucked Up. Hands up if you think you’re the only one!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs :: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
From the War Child presents Heroes compilation, we have the Yeah Yeah Yeahs doing what they do best — spikey riffs, dirty beats, squealing — by way of this Ramones classic.
Asobi Seksu :: Me & Mary
Their new album, Hush, might be slightly lameburgers, but this breezy slice of dream-pop is remissible enough.
Ida Maria :: Oh My God
Lily Allen and Katy Perry might be all the rage in the mainstream pop world, but underneath it all is the clearly pissed off Ida Maria — heir to the throne that is PJ Harvey and Chrissie Hynde. Oh. My. God is this good.
Gentlemen Jesse :: All I Need Tonight (Is You)
Touring with Black Lips should turn this power-pop unknown into a slightly-better known power-pop uknown. For fans of Elvis Costello, Stiff Records, and staying up all night, drinking tall boys, and smoking weed out of an apple.
What? I had some time to think about this year’s Blowout; it was 4am, and I was waiting for a ride. I figured my perspective is different on the event, nowadays, from my Chi City POV. But what I’ve always loved about it hasn’t changed. We had prime real estate just inside the doors at Belmont, and everyone who came through, it was like I knew them well. Or I did know them well. Or I knew them well by the end of the whiskey. Lightning Love had been hotly tipped, and I thought they delivered: lazer vizion keyboard melodies, pulsing on the top of something I couldn’t place over the hubbub. Hip-hop in my life, too, and Ryan Allen’s dad. And the Friendly Foes, who tore off a bit of 90s indie and fashioned it into a home run. The Belmont was my squad last night, that is until I got to a couch on which to crash, and the texts kept coming. Yeah, crack of dawn breakfast was magic, and I woke up on a different couch. Again. I never made it to the garage rock reunion at K of C but our photogs did; enjoy the pics.
Pics: Trever Long
Pics: Bianca Garza
Instant Facebook status update: crapstein, hungover face. Kelly Jean Caldwell was what I walked into first. Whoever put the red gels in had it right — girl was like a young Stevie Nicks under those lights, shambolic and strange, but confident. Have flute, will travel. I kept thinking a stoned, Northern California-stizz Jackson Browne was going to suddenly sit in. Side note from set: Greg Baise’s badass beard.
“This sound is ass, I’m going in the lounge.” That was me to El Jefe during The Uproars. And back over there it was still seventies. Alan Scheurman, like Animal Collective live from the Honky Chateau. And space rock, which to my (wasted) mind kept surfacing over the huddled crowd, during Scheurman and then Aran Ruth, who wore sparkling heels from another planet casually with the vest of a Huron tribe wisewoman. My vision blurred. Someone gave me a hug. The music rose. Was that a Wendigo in the shadows, or Waingro?
In the end, it was the Dirtbombs. The band were on some fury shit from my view at the side stage, through the haze of a thousand bingo games and Pall Malls. Bass line runs like battering rams, and Ben Blackwell’s beard. I was sated.
Our faith redeems us. Oh, and electric guitars.
Pics: Trever Long
Pics: Bianca Garza
First thought: HOLY FUCKING SHIT IT’S NICE OUTSIDE.
Caught the last half of Fontana — one of those X! Records bands people on other blogs seem to really believe in. We believe, too. But we’re not sure Fontana’s puke-punk totally does it for us. Still, we were impressed with their dedication to angularity, and, well, the entire SST catalog. We were also impressed with the bassist’s boots.
Plain Dealers — no “the”, as they pleasantly informed us — were half stand-up comedy act, half 90s post-core assault machines. They had a song that brought to mind Blue Oyster Cult, mashed-up with the screaming hardcore of Swedish experi-metalists Refused. They played their asses off, despite all four band members being on the verge of a massive heart attack. Gotta love that. Oh, and the place was PACKED.
Hopped in the Acura and hoofed it over to the Knights of Columbus, and got the most amazing parking spot ever.
Walked in while Deastro and band were sprinkling their tight-as-fuck electro-pop over a healthy crowd of head-bobbers. Randy wanted more keyboards in the monitor, and we wanted more Deastro in the room (the sound at KofC was less than stellar). On the bright side (literally), Randy’s shirt looked like he swiped it from an LA Lakers cheerleader in 1985, and the drummer played sideways on the stage, which always looks cool.
Ducked into the lounge area to catch most of Zoos of Berlin, who have really come into their own these days. Smoove jazz-pop gems that just don’t quit. A band so classy, their mic stands had cup holders attached to them.
At one point, ran into the now-infamous Bryan Metro of Jesus Chainsaw Massacre, who was wearing a graduation gown, minus clothing underneath, Tommy Lee style. Found out some interesting things about the guy: A) his real name is is not Bryan B) his favorite movie is The Shining C) his knowledge of B-movie actress Shannon Whirry was impressive and D) he carries around bottles of beer in a backpack, and if you ask nice enough, he’ll totally let you have one.
Ended the night catching most of the Silent Years set, which would have been totally amazing if it were at the Crofoot Ballroom. The sound in KofC’s big room is just bananas, and we wish we could have heard more of the horn section they were touting on stage. Still, though, the band seemed like they put tons of work into the show, and Josh Epstein can sing like a motherfucker. He was also wearing a belt that was, we think, made out of a giant toy car. Another thing we noticed was that TSY are a band with FANS. Like, people sing along to their songs when they play, and want them to keep playing, even after they stop. It’s easy to look to them and think, “This is how it’s done.”
Last thought: Could somebody please buy Steve-O a fucking Segway? His feet hurt, and it’s only Thursday.
Pics: Trever Long
Child Bite will soon just be one big beard.
The Octopus look and sound fucking cooler than you, me or anyone we know.
Why is the top of the stairs at the Magic Stick everyone’s favorite place to stand and talk? 200 bodies huddled together, smoking, imbibing and yelling over the music like a herd of hipster Emperor penguins during a snowstorm.
Scarves and military caps are to today’s music scene what jean jackets and white belts were to the garage rock crew.
Sgt. Pepperoni should be demoted to the rank of Private. Not having pizzas ready at the end of the night forces people into awful, late night decisions. Like the decision to inhale three Chicken Ring Sandwiches, a ten piece Mozzarella Cheese Stick and a 32 oz. Orange Lavaburst at 2:45 a.m. Slid. Home. Pants. Foamed.
The new promotions honcho for Metro Times is mega cute; WAY better looking (and nicer) than the last jackass they had in there.
Loftus takes over with coverage from here through Saturday. He has now apparently swapped out his Steve-O mask for a Bill Holdship disguise, complete with Boy Howdy t-shirt and pull-out Ted Nugent poster from 1979.
Pics: Trever Long