Cap Off – Stormy Chromer Hosts New Year’s Eve Show with Chirp, Biomassive at The Blind Pig  

This is the first installment of a three-part series profiling Michigan bands hosting a New Year’s Eve show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.

Three Michigan bands will bring an eclectic array of improvisational rock, jazz, funk and electronica to Ann Arbor Monday night.

Stormy Chromer, Chirp and Biomassive will host a turbo-charged, fluid night of live music at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., for New Year’s Eve. It’s the third year Stormy Chromer has organized a New Year’s Eve show in Tree Town, and the second year they’ve held the event at The Blind Pig.

“We’re going with all live bands this year, and it’s a three-band night. Chirp and Stormy Chromer have a long and awesome relationship, and we’re all from Ann Arbor. Biomassive is a band that we just really hit it off with when we played with them two years ago,” said Amin Lanseur, Stormy Chromer’s drummer and vocalist.

“Chirp’s Jay (Frydenlund) and I decided to go with a three-band bill because we want to see how much we’ve grown as far as what we can do. It’s going to be an awesome feeling to look out there and see all these people who are here to see my buddies and me do what we love to do.”

The New Year’s Eve show will include a ball drop set with Stormy Chromer improvising on stage and counting down with the crowd to 2019. Members of Chirp and Biomassive will join the band to ring in the new year.

“We’ll pick a song that has a tendency to have an upbeat, dancy jam, and then I’ll get us as close to 120 beats per minute as possible so that every two beats is a second,” Lanseur said. “Then, we’ll just have a timer up there, and we’ll be doing our thing.”

Stormy Chromer also will share some covers and feature a new song to keep the show fresh well after midnight. “We’re going to be debuting a new song that I’m really excited about and that’s been conceptualized for a really long time now,” Lanseur said. “I think people can look forward to a handful of new material that they’ve never gotten out of us before.”

Continue reading “Cap Off – Stormy Chromer Hosts New Year’s Eve Show with Chirp, Biomassive at The Blind Pig  “

‘Home’ – Rochester’s Christian Ohly to Open for Seth Glier Tonight at 20 Front Street

Indie folk singer-songwriter Christian Ohly

Christian Ohly will bring his Americana-influenced indie folk to Lake Orion’s 20 Front Street tonight.

He will open for critically-acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Seth Glier and play tracks from his 2017 self-titled debut EP. Andrew Harness will join Ohly on guitar and piano while Megan McKay will provide vocals.

“We’re going to do some new songs, some old songs, and we’re going to do a cover as well,” said Ohly, who originally hails from Rochester and currently attends the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. “It’s going to be pretty moving, so I’m really looking forward to it. A little bit of everything.”

Ohly released his heartfelt six-song self-titled debut EP last October and included an emotionally-charged, introspective package of musical tales focused on relationships, loss and growth.

“There’s a lot of songs about my family on there. I wanted to do more of an acoustic folk sound, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a whole band,” he said. “It was a cool start, and I’m glad some people like it. I’m excited for the next stuff I put out there.”

Ohly EP artwork

Ohly penned the EP’s tracks on an acoustic guitar in his Jackson College dorm room and teamed up with producer John Katona to add drums and beats. He’s especially proud of “Home” and “Thursday Night.”

“‘Home’ is probably my favorite because that’s had the most success. I feel like it turned out the way that I pictured it the most,” said Ohly, who’s influenced by his older musical brothers as well as The Head and the Heart, The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.

“‘Thursday Night’ is the other one that I like a lot because it’s probably the most unique, and based off other music blogs I’ve spoken to, they agree with me. That’s actually the producer’s favorite song.”

Ohly is writing new material and getting ready to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also plans to play some local shows with his Hilo-based band and will eventually return to metro Detroit to record his next project.

“I think I’ll have a single out this spring. I really want to make sure that the next EP or album that I release is kind of the way I want it rather than the previous EP, where I had to play the drums and throw a lot of stuff together over a year,” he said. “For the next EP or album, I’d really like to have a band that knows each part, so they can go into the studio and record in a couple of days because we’ve already practiced and played shows previously.”

Show details:

Seth Glier with Christian Ohly

20 Front Street in Lake Orion

8 p.m. tonight

Tickets and event info

Sonic Jungle – Grass Bat’s Noel Herbert Swoops Up ‘80s Synth Pop, Electro Rock for ‘Mistake’

Mistake single artwork

With thumping bass lines, catchy drumbeats and bright synths, Grass Bat is swooping up a new era of ‘80s-fueled indie pop through his latest single, “Mistake.”

Released in November, the glistening four-minute track explodes with refreshing synth pop sensibilities reminiscent of The Human League mixed with the experimental psychedelic electro rock of MGMT and Animal Collective.

“For some time now, even in my previous band, the reviews I had gotten were ‘You sound very ‘80s,’ and I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of ‘80s music,” said Noel Herbert, aka Grass Bat. “It was something was that never really piqued my interest at the time, and I kept on getting this review. I was like, ‘If this is what I’m going to sound like, then I might as well go all out.’”

While writing and recording “Mistake,” Herbert quickly absorbed ‘80s pop rock and adapted the song’s melodies, structure and synths to recreate the era’s sound with a modern flair. It also features Adventures with Vultures’ Matt Sauter on guitar and Kayo Musiq on bass.

“Part of it being modern is the structure of the song, there’s an intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge and a double chorus at the end,” said Herbert, who grew up playing piano and guitar and was inspired by Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Joan Baez and Celtic folk music. “Part of the reason I did that was for sync licensing, it makes it easier if the song is ever going to get played in a commercial or on a TV show.”

For Herbert, the song’s lyrics take on a personal meaning about a past failed relationship and allow him to process the whole situation. They’re written through self-awareness and his internal experience of the outside world.

“I wasn’t sure what the song was about when I first wrote it. It wasn’t until probably a month ago that I was listening to it, and it finally clicked in my head where it came from,” he said. “It can be interpreted in so many different ways. It’s so important that each person interprets it in their own way, and that they can have their own feelings toward it.”

Continue reading “Sonic Jungle – Grass Bat’s Noel Herbert Swoops Up ‘80s Synth Pop, Electro Rock for ‘Mistake’”

‘Just Like the Sun’ – Indy’s From Elsewhere Make First Detroit Appearance Sunday Night, Release Brilliant Debut EP

Indy’s From Elsewhere released their debut EP, “Just Like the Sun,” on Friday.

 

Indianapolis’ From Elsewhere will bring their vibrant indie rock to the Motor City Sunday night.

The burgeoning trio will make their live Detroit debut at Nice Place, 70 Glynn Ct., starting at 6 p.m. with Merga, Anomaly and Carter Erickson. The show also will feature artwork from local visual artists.

“It’s going to be a mixed genre show with some hip hop,” said Nikhil Ramani, From Elsewhere’s vocalist and guitarist who originally hails from Chennai, India. “I’m really excited for Sunday because it’s going to be a good community of artists.”

Along with bandmates Travis Lee (bass) and Luke Duckworth (drums), Ramani will share tracks from their sparkling debut EP, “Just Like the Sun,” which dropped Friday.

The shimmering six-song EP features an eclectic mix of shoegaze and alternative rock – think Death Cab for Cutie, Smashing Pumpkins, Slowdive and Snail Mail rolled into one. The band recorded the EP over three days in late August, early September at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Ind., with Ben Lumsdaine.

With shiny guitar tones, solid bass lines and pulsating drumbeats, “Just Like the Sun” illuminates the dreariest Midwestern winter morning and creates a vivid, laid-back summer afternoon in the mind’s eye. From Elsewhere’s first two brilliant singles, “The Color Yellow” and “Collective Thoughts,” dropped earlier this fall.

“A lot of the EP is about finding yourself, your self-identity and a little bit of loneliness and sadness, just all human emotion basically,” said Ramani, who formed From Elsewhere with Lee and Duckworth in June. “Each song on the EP isn’t about strictly one particular theme or thing, it’s kind of a mix.”

Continue reading “‘Just Like the Sun’ – Indy’s From Elsewhere Make First Detroit Appearance Sunday Night, Release Brilliant Debut EP”

Jam Session – Desmond Jones Promises Unique Set for Thursday’s Headlining Show at The Blind Pig

Grand Rapids funk-rock-jazz fusion quintet Desmond Jones will perform at The Blind Pig Thursday night with Pajamas.

For Desmond Jones, no two setlists or shows are alike.

The Grand Rapids funk-rock-jazz fusion quintet relies on skillful improvisation, sophisticated musicianship and scintillating compositions to capture a crowd’s attention. Each show brings a unique vibe and sonic quality depending the band, audience and venue.

“The more cut and dry structured songs we don’t take out at all in terms of improvisation and jams,” Even if we write a setlist out before a show, which we don’t always do, a lot of times on stage we’ll pick what songs feel right or naturally transition into them,” said John Nowak, Desmond Jones’ drummer, vocalist and guitarist.

“Lately, we’ve been mixing in a sense of humor in terms of making weird or spacey noises. We’re deliberately trying to shock the audience, be as weird as we possibly can and see how they react.”

That ingenious live approach has connected Desmond Jones to thousands of fans at more than 500 shows over five years nationwide. The band also has a sprawling online archive of 300-plus shows available for streaming on their website.

Luckily, Ann Arbor fans will be able to visit the Desmond Jones online live archive after Thursday’s show at The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., with Pajamas, a Tree Town rock-funk fusion trio.

“When you get a good opening act, I think that vibe is strong with the crowd because it gets people moving and ready to go. Then, we’ll come on, and we’ll rock out,” Nowak said. “We love playing The Blind Pig. I think that venue offers a certain one-of-a-kind dirty, grungy, fun atmosphere, which is where we’re also at with our music.”

Nowak and his Desmond Jones bandmates – Isaac Berkowitz (guitar, vocals, drums), Chris Bota (guitar, vocals), George Falk (saxophone, vocals) and John Loria (bass, vocals) – will play new material and older improvisational jams from their extensive catalog of 50-plus tunes.

“We’ll be playing a wider range of things, some new songs that aren’t on any of the albums. It’s always fun because unless you’re listening to the archives or have gone to a lot of shows, then a lot of the songs will be new to your ears,” Nowak said. “Expect a lot of different feels, but definitely some improvisational jams and opportunities for dancing.”

Continue reading “Jam Session – Desmond Jones Promises Unique Set for Thursday’s Headlining Show at The Blind Pig”

Olivia Millerschin Performs Holiday Show Tonight in Howell, Hosts ‘Cactus on a Ledge’ Book Signing in Saline Saturday

Olivia Millerschin performs at the Detroit Mason Temple’s Chapel theater in November.

Olivia Millerschin will perform a holiday-themed show in Howell tonight and sign copies of her new children’s book, “Cactus on a Ledge,” in Saline Saturday afternoon at McPherson Local.

The Auburn Hills indie folk singer-songwriter will share her renditions of holiday and jazz standards while playing selections from her own catalog at 7 p.m. tonight inside the Howell Opera House, 123 W. Grand River in Howell.

Built in 1881, the Howell Opera House is a historic landmark in the city’s downtown, and the iconic venue’s first floor was renovated in 2006 for live shows and events.

For her Howell show, Millerschin will be joined by musicians James Pyne (trombone), Brian Riley (guitar) and Bob Mervak (keys).

“I have a couple of original songs and others that have been done by some of my favorite artists that are lesser known,” said Millerschin, who’s performed at the Howell Opera House twice before. “We’ll have some holiday classics by The Carpenters, and then we’ll play some of my own stuff.”

Olivia Millerschin’s “Cactus on a Ledge” book

Millerschin also will celebrate the release of her new children’s book, “Cactus on a Ledge,” with a free signing, meet and greet, and performance at McPherson Local, 105 N. Ann Arbor St. in Saline, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Guests will be able to purchase the book at the gift shop.

“This is the first official store that’s going to be carrying the book, and it’s owned by these incredible people,” Millerschin said. “It’s all Michigan made products, so we just thought, ‘What better place is there to do this?’”

Millerschin didn’t initially plan to write a children’s book. Instead, she wrote an introspective ballad of the same name about a cactus who wants to become a tree, but soon realizes it’s cooler to be herself. After writing the song, family, friends and fans encouraged Millerschin to turn it into a children’s book.

She teamed up with a Matter of Fiction Publishing and artist Kathrin Honesta to compile and illustrate the book, which also includes a companion CD of the “Cactus on a Ledge” song. Honesta also did the cover art for Millerschin’s critically-acclaimed 2016 album, “Look Both Ways.”

To promote the book and song, Millerschin plans to visit local independent book stores, libraries and elementary schools in the coming months. The book will be sold in local shops, at shows and through Millerschin’s website.

“I just wanted to have something really organic and show the people who have supported me from the beginning first,” she said. “I sold almost an entire box of books at The Scarab Club in Detroit last Saturday during Noel Night.”

In addition to her upcoming book tour, Millerschin plans to record and release a live album soon.

“I’ve had a lot of frustration with making new music, and I’ve always had trouble with getting the right production down,” she said. “I’m at a point where we should just sing live with the full band, get right in the studio and release it that way. We’re going to be releasing a lot of new stuff, but just the live versions of it.”

Smart Pop – John Kay & Who’s To Say Plays Saturday Acoustic Show at Warren’s Dovetail, Follows Strategic Musical Approach

John Kay & Who’s To Say (left to right): Steve Lupinski, Brandon McNall, John Kay, Tamara Marla Laflin and Jason Rauschenberger. Photo by Adam Barnett

John Kay & Who’s To Say will make their Dovetail debut Saturday night in Warren.

The Detroit progressive pop group will perform a free acoustic show at The Dovetail, 29200 Hoover Road, beginning at 8 p.m.

“We’re going to be performing stripped-down versions of our music – no drums, no high-powered amplifiers,” said John Kay, the group’s lead vocalist and guitarist. “We’ll still plug in some instruments, but this isn’t going to be a full-band, over-the-top kind of night.”

Kay will be joined by Who’s To Say bandmates Steve Lupinski (bass, vocals), Brandon McNall (lead guitar) and Jason Rauschenberger (rhythm guitar, percussion, vocals) for the one-hour set, which will feature songs from Kay’s 2016 album, “Dealing with People,” as well as some newer tunes and maybe a cover. Mark Bolohan of Scarlet Lies will kick off the music Saturday night.

“Steve and I visited the Dovetail last month, and the place is clean with an inviting atmosphere,” said Kay, who grew up in Livonia and started playing drums at age two. “It should be an interesting night and allow for meeting some cool new people.”

John Kay & Who’s To Say are building a strong live music presence in Detroit after performing their first show at a sold-out P.J.’s Lager House in March. Kay and his bandmates spent some time building a solid musical and artistic foundation before booking shows.

“We rehearsed for over a year in the dark; we didn’t put up photos, we didn’t put out snippets, we didn’t tease anything,” Kay said. “What we did was we worked hard, and we busted our ass until we had three rehearsals in a row that we thought, ‘Hey, we could have done all three of those rehearsals in front of a paying audience, and they would’ve gotten their money’s worth.’”

Continue reading “Smart Pop – John Kay & Who’s To Say Plays Saturday Acoustic Show at Warren’s Dovetail, Follows Strategic Musical Approach”