Monday, December 29, 2008

Warm Fuzzies.

I made my way back to the Elbow Room last night and my head exploded.

I went to see Joseph Scott Band (The Joseph Scott Band? Joe Scott and his band?), an 8-piece mega ultra super group. Matthew Milia, Davy Jones, Scott Sellwood, Chris Bathgate, Dan Von Erck, just to name a few. Oh, and Joseph Scott. It may have only been five or six songs, but it was an experience to behold. Some of the dudes even had to introduce themselves onstage because they had never met prior.

Mittenfest was pretty effin' sweet. I am sorry you missed it, but chances are, you wouldn't have gotten in anyway. This is where a blogger might complain about something that happened that was small and insignificant. But I can't. I feel full of feelings. Feelings of warm fuzzy happyness. It feels sooooo goooood. Even with a hangover. So good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things have been slow. Whatever.

Mittenfest III at the Elbow Room, day two: It looks like this whole thing has already been a great success. 826Michigan is deserving of it, and I was so excited to see a line 20 deep outside the Elbow Room. Maybe I should see if they can help me become more literate and use bigger words correctly. Hardy har har.

In all seriousness, seriously, my blogging time has come to an end for the time being. I have other things to focus on. There are more important things in life than blogging. OMG I KNOW RIGHT. It's weird, but I think I will adjust. I am sure you readers will adjust as well. I hear there are a lot of new blogs and bloggers in the area.

I apologize in advance for the length of this blog, but I have a lot of things that I feel I need to say, things that I think are important, things that I think you need to all talk about more or think about more. If you don't agree, than I really don't give a shit.

I have felt more submerged than ever this year in the "scene." Or "scenes" if you really think there is a need for distinct separations. I have spent an absurd amount of time watching bands play, talking about bands, writing about bands, etc. As I am sure most of you have. I can safely say that I am very happy with the way things are, and that I look forward to more bands and new people joining the scene. I think a lot of you are opposed to that. Sometimes, I even get a little bored with the little corner of the scene that I hole myself up in most of the time. It's nice to see some fresh faces. Open up your hearts, Detroit. I know this is a really tough time, but we cannot let the times defeat us. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep moving forward.

And now... For what you have all been waiting for (or not), my top whatever songs of blahblahblahblahblahblahblah (yes, this list is very narrow in the entire scope of the "scene" but I like what I like):

The Shaded Forest --- Deastro

I think this made it on 75% of my mixed CDs this year. "I told you we're gonna be fine, I t-t-t-told you, we're taking our time." Yes, we are. And things are going to be OK. How could they not be OK? Randolph is alive and putting out amazing shit at breakneck speeds. Fuck yeah, everything is gonna be fine.

The World's Worst Birthday Gift --- Silent Years
Epic, tender, dynamic. When they play this live, I still get a shiver up my spine.

Warmer Days Ahead --- Lightning Love
This song also has my pick for best lyrics of the year: "When winter's this cold I freeze every kind part of me, and I swear it's never planned, but no one understands. And when we gain some degrees, I'll come crawling on my knees, and you'll love me again."

Unicorn Bible --- Champions of Breakfast

It was hard picking my favorite, but this is one of the first songs I remember hearing.

That entire CD Pas/Cal released
I don't think I need to go into much detail. It was just really really really good.

OK, I am really tired and sick of writing, so here are some other songs (there were more, but I am lazy) I liked in no particular order:
El Dorado --- Javelins
Get Ripped --- Friendly Foes
Fog --- Mason Proper
Yes, I'm Cold --- Chris Bathgate
Snakeskin Hymnal --- I Just Wanted a Bite of Your Cookie (you have never heard of them, but go to and download their entire discography, by the way, it was all recorded this year)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You wish your cat could do this.

Coming soon:
++my Top Ten of 2008 list of songs by Michigan bands
++more cats sliding in boxes

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I know, he's a politician, just like the rest of 'em

...but you should watch it anyway.

Shall we start a bread line?

Dear readers and friends and creatures;

As you already know, the auto industry did not get the loan they have been asking for. This has so many implications, not just for Michigan (although we have the most jobs at stake) but for the entire country, and perhaps the entire industry worldwide.

I know you all spend a long time on your computers everyday, checking out Myspace and Facebook and blogs and your bank statement. What I am asking you to do is to send an e-mail to the Bush administration, asking them to take action. It won't take long. All you have to do is open up your gmail account, and send a message to Tell President Bush how important it is that the auto industry gets a loan of some sort. Explain how your job will be affected by it, if not now, but in the next few months. I know my job will be. I know so many of my friends who have already lost their jobs. This will take a shorter amount of time then it did to read this blog, for goodness sake!!!

once again,
or send one to Cheney at

Even the fiscally conservative folks that I know are doing it. So, why aren't you?



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks for reading.

Lightning Love CD release tonight at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. $7 gets you in, and you get a FREE CD! How exciting. It's good, folks. Real good.

I will most likely end up at a bar in Ferndale. I don't like driving in snow. I will attempt to hit up Noel Night in midtown. I hope there are roasted chestnuts. I know there will be crafts for sale as well as free shows (MOCAD, Scarlett Oaks!). I think the festivities start at 5. I could be wrong. Look it up and see for yourself, HERE.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Oh no! Jasper over at Eat This City already posted this today. Bummer. I'm going to repost it anyway.

The Word Play - "Three" from Suburban Sprawl Music on Vimeo

You didn't check out those band links I had up yesterday. And that's too bad.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bear Paws need mittens too.

Here are some bands/artists you should check out:

Christine Hoberg has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a very long time. You can download her LP, "Nice" for FREE! According to Brandon Wiard of Pretty Suite Recording in Ann Arbor, most of her vocal tracks were down without accompaniment, and she was never off-key. I find this INCREDIBLY hard to believe, but I don't think Brandon Wiard would lie to about that.

Bear Paws is the project of Fernando Solis out of Flint. Very pretty and very acoustic. Bear Paws will be playing at The Factory in Rochester on December 21st.

This is Deer Country should be creating more buzz, but I can understand that living all the way in Houghton probably doesn't help them much. They will be kicking off Mittenfest III on the 26th of December at the Elbow Room.

You haven't heard about Mittenfest?? Here is the schedule. Yes, Creaky Boards will be playing. You haven't heard of Creaky Boards? Here is a little something about them. Eighteen hours worth of music for $12. You just have to be OK with hanging out in the Elbow Room for eighteen hours, I guess.

This is for your viewing pleasure:
I have my hand up a shark's ass.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Here is my Christmas present to you. A lump of coal.

I was going to do a review of every single song by myself. This task proved to be epic beyond proportions I am normally used to. I enlisted the help of Jeff Milo, fellow blogger and real journalist. I am sure you can figure out which reviews were written by him, and which ones I wrote. I swear I did not write my own review. And I did not pay Jeff to write that either.

1) Jailhouse Angels - Adam Kempa --- A sweet, surfy mash-up of two classics.

2) Stood Up on Christmas - Arranged Marriage --- Lot of flavors here, from father-son duo, Brad and Scott Allen – kinda got a country-tinged bluegrass thing going on…but also a bit of a piano-pranced waltz with wispy heartfelt vocals that swirls into a cornucopia of synthy/jingle-bell/backwards-guitars-and-a-bit-o-brass towards the finale.

3) Third Grader Confronting The Possibility That Santa Doesn't Exist - Will Yates --- This song might come off as silly, but it begs for some debate: will anyone ever catch the real Santa Claus on their Webcam?

4) Meet Me On Christmas Eve - Sea of Japan --- Ahh, sweet shoegaze-y atmospherics, set to a rolling expressive drum beat that pulls the song into interplays between feedback flares chugging under gossamer choruses that hang like tinsel over excited hearts falling in and out and back-into love…

5) What Child - Daniel --- A beautiful take on a standard Christmas carol. Way more laid back and less dramatic than what you are used to hearing in church, if you even go to church. The stripped-back feel to the song is a lot more humble, and it's lovely.

6) Le Manteau de Noel - Honest Man --- Synth-pop may have chilly perceptions, but this echoey, punchy ballad feels (and somehow tastes) just like a marshmallow-laden mug o' hot cocoa…albeit sipped while wearing sunglasses at night, at a stand-up keyboard, tapping one foot while wearing shiny pants.

7) Mele Kalikimaka - Mr. Sprinkle's Fabulous Cupcakes --- Funny. With a robot voice. Haha. Cupcakes.

8) All I Want For Christmas is What I Can't Take Back - Love Axe --- Another amazing contribution from Love Axe, whose "Happy New Year" song from last year's comp got played year round on my computer.

9) Red Nose Leads the Parade - Dave Lawson --- Rudolph's got a tough gig, and Lawson is on the nose with his plight: "they can't see without me, without me, they can't see."

10) School's Lights - Em News --- Drum master Rickle and sequenced-drum-n-synth master Naud with master-hypnotic-wispy-heartbreaking-vocalist Bracken – end up forming something that truly feels like 3 distinct flavors surging all at once – but in a beautiful, lulling euphoria, never dissonant.

11) A Kenberton Christmas - Korin, Augie, Dave And Emily --- Leave it to these four stars to have one of the best vocal arrangements out of all 44 songs.

12) Wonderful Christmastime - Cale Parks --- Another X-mas song I can't stand, but it is made more palatable by one of the biggest names on this compilation.

13) Gifting - Friendly Foes --- I've got no money, but I'm not freaking out because I got the Friendly Foes album for free.

14) The Ghosts of Christmas Whenever - Andrew Dost --- This song reminds me all the things wonderful about Christmas: hot cocoa with tons of marshmallows, roasted chestnuts, drinking heavily, and reminiscing about past Christmases. Soothing vocals and a pretty piano carry the song.

15) I Saw Kwame Kissing Santa Claus (Live On Dick Hurtin's Morning Show) --- Downriver Dan --- Watch out, Santa! Christine Beatty looks crazy enough to kick your ass.

16) Holidays - Lightning Love --- Dear SubSprawl, How did you get Zooey Deschanel to contribute a track? AWESOME! (Leah Diehl is a doll.)

17) We're a Couple of Misfits – Shawn Knight & Christian Doble --– Jeff says: I could see the Muppets interpreting this…certainly a new jam for the next generation of carolers. Elle says: A song from one of the best Christmas movies of all time recreated by two of the nicest bearded dudes in Detroit. Burl Ives would be proud.

18) The Death of Santa's Farrier – Silverghost --– nice and surfy sway going on here with Marcie's oh so pretty vocals…with some piano freakouts, a bit of an R.E.M.-ish chorus and a bit of Marcie on the trumpet at the end wiggling away to the heart-beat sampler…

19) Jolly Man - Zach Curd --- Zach Curd using autotune is completely unnecessary, but this could very well be an R&B hit. Watch out, Akon!

20) Letters to Santa (From Four Real Girls) - The Next Door Neighbors --- When I heard the concept, I lol'd. When I listened to it, I awww'd.

21) Midnight Visit - K & Ju –-- kind of a funky/soul drum beat in the background with sunny guitars mixed with feedback fuzz – and dreamy crooned vocals…what can we say? It just sounds real cool.

22) Oh Dear - Kiddo --- Freaking precious! There is nothing more to say. I'm going to listen to it again. And again. And again. Christian and Lizzie's vocals go together like candy canes and hot cocoa.

23) Happy Xmas (War is Over) --- Jon Cendrowski & the Nine Mile Choir --- How did you find people to hit those high notes, Jon? Was there castrating involved?

24) Deadbeat Christmas - Everthus The Deadbeats –-- dig the bewitching choir opening, and all those rousing get-up-and-go-guitars…a sad swooner of a ballad, that, by its title hints at a bit of theme-song-ness for the band…great atmosphere, a nice spread…they better be joining us at Christmas dinner, especially with that saxophone! ("You should feel guilty for not buying me a present...!")

25) Christmas Vacation - Blase Splee --- Randy Newman's Christmas Special.

26) Procedural Claus - The Paincakes –-- best way to close out disc one: ultra-heavy metal-punk-spaz-freak-out! Incomparable...and kinda scary!

27) Happy Xmas (War is Over) --- Teleportation Please – solemn and exceptional cover of a vital song. Can't say anything cocky...I dig it! A fine, poignant, boy-girl duet. War is over if you want it…

28) I Hear Angels - Jeremy Vallender –-- Oh man, to be in a tinsel-laden, light-twinkling-giant-mirror-on-the-wall, soggy floored, wooden-walled bar on Christmas eve, on my 5th Strohs, with Vallender as a veritable crooner on a tiny stage at his keyboard – so romantic.

29) Give It To Me on Chrismas - Superfast --- I don't know who Superfast are, but I want them to give it to me, Christmas-style.

30) Jesus – Prussia –-- ohhh Prussia...reverb-loving, all-over-the-map-rock-quartet sneaks their way into a Beatles cover by strategically replacing the name...splendid and atmospheric with fuzzy enthralling vocals and sweet chimes and a devastating acoustic strum.

31) The Freudian Gift – Daditudes –-- one of the more unique entries, to be sure…opens up quiet but slides quickly into booty-rap about food and diapers...and potty training...and name dropping Big Bird...and diarrhea...

32) I Heard the Bells --- Allan James & the Cold Wave – sighs and lovelorn reflection and great vocals over minimalist guitar-and-(synth?)-churns. Can't find the mistletoe fast enough for a cheer-up-peck.

33) Christmas Mist - Timmy Tumble –-- wavy vocals over guitars that sound like a burnt-out spark spurting music box…vocally it feels almost like an epic hair-band ballad at points – counteracted by the minimalist instrumentation.

34) Something Something Christmas - Elle and the Foe –-- I get goosebumps from these vocals and it makes me sad, then it makes me wanna hug…from anybody…even from the dude who sells the walking/barking/battery-operated dogs at Somerset! Sweet and sad like crumbled gingerbread over melted candy-canes.

35) Large Christmas - Eat Sleep --- Here we jump from Brad Elliott to Ryan Clancy (Silent Years)... I guess drummers really are musicians after all! Heartfelt and realistic. That's what everyone loves about Ryan Clancy.

36) It's a Dr. Pepper Christmas, Charlie Brown - Fun With Teeth –-- Easily one of the top-2-best-titled songs on the comp, but also with a fantastic Tom Waits-fronting-Beat Happening vibe (with maybe some Ween?)...zigzaging melodies and verses!

37) Zach Curd and Santa - Joe Ging –-- "I saw Zach Curd take a turd on Santa…they were totally boning under the Christmas tree…" "Zach Curd like to turd on people…" I'm not sure how much I can add to this review in order to give you a better picture…a herky-jerky-pop-classic! This'll be you put on when you're decorating the tree with grandma nearby in the rocker.

38) Christmas Surprise - The Magic Tones --– awesome robot-vocal-effects…rambling about things it(he/she) likes…with fuzzy drums and bass…somebody pull its batteries out, its creepin' me out.

39) Warm it Up - Hugs and Kisses –-- wouldn't a band named thusly just have to have a song…also named thusly? One of the hotter dancefloor tracks on the comp. Crank it up and turn the black lights up…slam some egg nog and start grinding…hopefully not at the family gathering…

40) Christmas Cookie Capers - The Cartridge Family --– this band is pure fireball energy, and they deliver on this one…hardcore punk dressed up in frilly green and red, bringing the mosh-pit into the living room, leaving no great Aunt un-offended and no remote control car un-stomped.

41) Sore Afraid on the road to Bethlehem – Flatfoot --– Spanish guitar? Man, this slow shaker-sprinkled, accordion squeezed, acoustic ballad puts you right in the manger…like, I feel like Jesus is right next to me…and he needs to be changed. I'm not touchin it!

42) I'm Not As Drunk As Santa - The Darts --– this is nice. Feels like 90's sugary pop revivalism – while echoing a very identifiable sentiment…I think we'd all want to get drunk with Santa, at least once…who knows how many more presents you could scam out of him. But, oh shit…what if he's an angry drunk? What if he starts talking shit about you – but to your face, instead of just to the sweet little elves when you're not around. Elle says: I got drunk with the Darts once. I hope getting drunk with Santa is funner. jk lol.

44) Feliz Navidad de Ridiculoso - Oscillating Fan Club --– build it up with clashing symbols and calypso clickety-clackers…then let the feedback, pick-up-laden surf guitars rise up with the drums. The Fan Club closes it with an instrumental that just grows more and more cacophonous, with this beautiful, oozing guitar that transports us out into the desert on Christmas eve…hanging ornaments on cacti and gazing up at shooting stars.

It's here! It's here!

There will be a review posted later, but for now, you may bask in all it's glory:

The 2008 Suburban Sprawl Music Holiday Compilation!

Exciting. Now, please, go blog about it. Or blog about my blogging about it. Or you can just listen to it, enjoy it, and stop complaining that your band isn't getting enough coverage.