Moss Jaw will invite Grand Rapids fans into their dark, dreamy post-rock world tomorrow night.
The Kalamazoo quartet will perform a Thursday night set at Grand Rapids’ The Snake Shack, a house-based venue that showcases art and music for local and touring bands.
“We plan to play some of the more popular tunes, such as ‘Like a Bug,’ ‘Dry Remains’ and ‘Twigs and Stems’ as a way to plug our recent release and also balance it out with new sonic growth,” said Kayley Kerastas, Moss Jaw’s vocalist and guitarist.
“The venue we’re playing at is a local Grand Rapids house that will provide an accessible way into the music scene, and thus hopefully spread the word of our music further out from Kalamazoo.”
With the recent release of their stellar full-length debut album, “Embody,” Moss Jaw is well-positioned to grow their burgeoning audience statewide and throughout the Midwest.
Their 11-track “Embody” album takes listeners on a dreamlike sonic journey through life-changing relationships, self-evolutions and deep cognitive perspectives cloaked in natural thematic elements. These personal reflections are musically told through enchanting metaphors about trees, insects and other terrestrial terrain.
As an emerging hip-hop artist, Carter Erickson travels between two different creative dimensions – Detroit and Columbia.
In Detroit, he combines catchy beats, raps and melodies with personal experiences to share with growing crowds at open mic nights and DIY shows.
In Columbia, Erickson becomes the main character, Booker DeWitt, from the “BioShock Infinite” video game and battles racism and elitism in the namesake fictional dystopian society.
Together, those two creative dimensions lay the foundation for Erickson’s latest EP, “Columbia,” an immersive six-track hip-hop, role-playing game-like (RPG) experience that dropped last week on all major streaming platforms.
“These songs are based on real-life experiences that I’ve had, but they also coincide with certain elements of the game,” said Erickson, aka Eric Carter. “When you play the game, you don’t know what the character looks like because it’s first-person. For me, this EP is more about how I felt playing this character.”
Immersed in his musical RPG world, Erickson takes Booker DeWitt to another level on “Vanishing Point,” the first sci-fi, synth-filled single from “Columbia.” He combines Booker DeWitt’s persona with Kowalski, the main character from the 1971 cult car film, “Vanishing Point.”
“They both feature two guys who have nothing to lose and are working toward this goal. All in all, they both don’t get there,” he said. “At the end of ‘Vanishing Point,’ the main character needs to get to California by 3 p.m., and he’s got this beautiful 1970 Dodge Challenger. In ‘BioShock Infinite,’ a guy has been tasked with trying to find a woman’s father. He eventually learns he’s her father, but in a different universe.”
Erickson’s sonic travels continue through “The Handbook” and “Cha$e” and allow listeners to draw deeper parallels between his personal experiences and “BioShock Infinite.”
On “The Handbook,” Erickson introduces a slow, introspective jam about how actions have consequences, whether good or bad. “I thought it was something everyone could relate to cause as humans we all have run ‘what-if’ scenarios through our heads regarding one thing or another, and sometimes the perpetual regret we live with and/or die with no matter the outcome we choose.”
For the “Cha$e,” Erickson opens the EP’s closing drack with deep synth beats reminiscent of early ‘80s Atari music. The track was influenced by an earlier portion of the “BioShock” video game series that intersected with Erickson’s life.
“When I first played it, it was almost like a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of moment, which is wherein it intersects with life. You know, one day you’re eating cereal watching Saturday morning cartoons, and the next thing you know, you’re graduating high school and/or college, and then life pretty much happens,” he said.
“When I wrote ‘Cha$e,’ I wanted to define this same approach with the harsh instrumental, but the lyrics sort of glide over it, and this is like a metaphor for life and people. Meaning, life can be tough, but as long as you keep a positive outlook, everything will be OK.”
A new Michigan-based nonprofit will unite activism with artistry Saturday in Detroit.
Title Track, a nonprofit dedicated to clean water, racial equality and youth empowerment, will host a launch party at MusicTown Detroit featuring local artists and speakers, including Seth Bernard; Audra Kubat; Juuni, aka Wayne Ramocan; Vespre; Amber Hasan; Nicole Lindsey and Baldomero Gonzales.
“It gives me great joy to have this Title Track launch party in Detroit where the roots of resistance run deep and the fruits of community resilience are delicious,” said Bernard, a Michigan singer-songwriter and activist who launched Title Track on Earth Day. “This bill is populated with artists, activists, organizers and changemakers, and we’re going to make a joyful noise bringing this new organization into the community.”
Through Title Track, Bernard offers a broad set of programming based on his lifetime of music making, community organizing and advocacy for the environment and social justice.
Saturday’s launch party will echo those causes and creative endeavors while spotlighting emerging indie folk, R&B, soul, pop and world-inspired sounds from the Motor City’s up-and-coming artists.
“Detroit is one of the greatest cities in the world. Home of Aretha, Dilla and Grace Lee Boggs. Epicenter of urban farmers, culture creators and movement builders,” Bernard said. “A soul that can’t be commodified, gentrified, disassociated or appropriated. Detroit is the city of tomorrow.”