Southern Gothic – The Prickly Pair’s ‘The Long Parade’ Single Celebrates Tennessee Williams and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

long parade
The Prickly Pair channels the heartbreak and betrayal of “A Streetcar Named Desire” on “The Long Parade.” Photo – Caity Krone & Artwork – Spencer Shapeero

For The Prickly Pair, a pandemic-induced film immersion provided an instant gateway to 1950s-era New Orleans.

The Nashville, Tennessee alt-country duo of Mason Summit (vocals, guitars, keys) and Irene Greene (vocals) landed in the throes of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and penned their latest Southern Gothic single, “The Long Parade,” as an ode to Tennessee Williams.

“We actually wrote that song for a Tennessee Williams tribute my mom was putting on as part of her literary series, Library Girl,” said Summit about the 1951 film based on Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

“We often get inspired by dialogue or visuals in movies, and we were taking notes while watching the film adaptation of ‘Streetcar.’”

Throughout “The Long Parade,” The Prickly Pair become entangled in the heartbreak and betrayal of Blanche, Stanley, Stella and Mitch. Twangy lap steel, nonchalant acoustic guitar, strolling bass, somber keys, steady drums and glistening cymbals plead for serenity and closure.

Summit and Greene sing, “Pearls before swine/Pull the wool over my eyes/‘Cause I can’t tell the truth/From my own lies.”

“It’s more of an attempt to capture the overall vibe, but I think people see themselves in these characters,” Summit said. “I hope people can relate to the song in a similar way. I personally find the chorus very cathartic to play.”

Continue reading Southern Gothic – The Prickly Pair’s ‘The Long Parade’ Single Celebrates Tennessee Williams and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album

Allye Gaietto promo photo portrait
Allye Gaietto revisits her past self on “Hoping for More.” Photo – Rolando Ybarra

Allye Gaietto candidly shares an internal monologue with her younger self.

The Detroit indie folk-pop singer-songwriter and pianist reconciles past expectations, relationships and interactions on her perceptive new album, Hoping for More, which drops Aug. 26.

“It’s so much discovering of who you are, what your beliefs are and where you stand on all sorts of different things. I think, for a lot of us, our identity is about who’s around us and how we interact with people and how they see us,” said Gaietto about previous life experiences in her early 20s.

“I think for this record there are a lot of things … like I had my first serious relationship and then got dumped for the first time, and that’s one of the songs on the album. That was huge for me.”

With Hoping for More, Gaietto provides a huge release of deeply buried emotions that still feel tender and raw. Whether encountering relief, heartache or courage, she beautifully documents those experiences through contemplative lyrics, haunting melodies and lush instrumentation.

“It’s this funny contrast of me trying to reconcile like, ‘What do you think about me? What do I think about you? How do we feel about each other?’ with friendships, romantic relationships and parent relationships,” said Gaietto, who also released the single, “I Guess I Don’t,” earlier this year.

“After the album was finished, the new stuff I’ve been writing … sometimes I have to put myself back in that early 20s, new relationship mindset because it’s a goldmine for feelings and content.”

Continue reading “Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album”

Solo Journey – Olivia Van Goor and William Bennett Advocate for Self-Love on ‘My Lonely Heart’ Single

Olivia Van Goor and William Bennett immediately welcome lonely souls.

The metro Detroit jazz vocalist and jazz pianist relish the importance of self-love on their latest cathartic single, “My Lonely Heart.”

“I think we all have experienced poor timing with relationships or life in general. I definitely drew inspiration from the feeling of being in between healing and having to say no to take care of myself,” said Van Goor, who co-wrote the track with Bennett.

“Will had given me the working title, ‘My Lonely Heart,’ and I knew I could either take it literally and write about being sad or try to put an alternate meaning. The second option was more enticing, and because I like a challenge, I came up with a positive spin on being lonely.”

Throughout “My Lonely Heart,” Van Goor strongly upholds the positive side of being single while Bennett responds with wistful piano.

She sings, “But for now it’s spared from needing repairs, my lonely heart/Do not try to sway, my mind has been made up/How can I give love from my own empty cup?/Love feels like a trick, I can’t take the risk/I’ll keep my lonely heart.”

“I hope it helps people not feel alone in the struggle of wanting to jump into something exciting, but knowing that it’s best to wait until you’re ready,” Van Goor said.

Van Goor and Bennett sought inspiration for the track after learning the 1937 Billie Holiday-Teddy Wilson classic, “Foolin’ Myself,” during the pandemic lockdown. With creativity flowing, they penned “My Lonely Heart” and took it to producer-engineer Josef Deas at Ann Arbor’s Big Sky Recording.

“Will showed me a tune he wrote inspired by that style, and it became ‘My Lonely Heart,’” she said. “Josef totally got what we were going for and even added some effects that gave it a full, warm vintage feel.”

To accompany “My Lonely Heart’s” release, Van Goor and Bennett shared a new live performance video filmed at Big Sky Recording. Director Becca Messner captured the duo bringing an intimate club-style feel to the track.

“Becca had made a video I was in for the Miss Paula Quintet last winter for the tune, ‘Baby’s First Christmas,’” Van Goor said. “I loved how that turned out, and she got the idea perfect.”

In fact, Van Goor and Bennett will share another perfect performance of “My Lonely Heart” and other material at two upcoming live shows in Ann Arbor: Aug. 25 downtown and Aug. 26 at the Blue LLama for Bennett’s birthday.

“August 25 will be very fun playing outside downtown Ann Arbor, which was organized my Matthew Altruda. I think the audiences in Ann Arbor appreciate a variety of music, and that helps our efforts,” Van Goor said.

“(August 26) will be very special because Will is going to be bandleading. I’m looking forward to it, and I don’t get to be a ‘sidewoman’ very much. We will be joined by University of Michigan grad Reuben Stump on bass and Ann Arbor guitarist Jake Reichbart.”

Show details:

Olivia Van Goor & William Bennett: Downtown Ann Arbor

Thursday, Aug. 25 | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Free performance

—————————————————-

William Bennett Birthday Show

Friday, Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Blue LLama Jazz Club, 314 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor

Tickets: $15-$75

Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

Linden Thoburn 3
Linden Thoburn creates a spring-like feel on “When the Sun Comes Shining Through.” Photo courtesy of Linden Thoburn

Linden Thoburn beautifully shines a light on the road less traveled.

The Brighton, Michigan country-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist shares hopeful tales of navigating life’s seasonal changes on her adventurous new album, When the Sun Comes Shining Through.

“There’s a lot of movement, and there’s a lot of leaving one state and going into another state. I write from listening to life and listening to myself, and that’s just what was there,” Thoburn said.

“It’s somebody who’s able to look back and be here, yet still be able to bring some perspective, hopefulness and realism, too. The journey continues, and if you’re really going to live this life and be here, you have to be awake to the journey.”

On When the Sun Comes Shining Through, Thoburn deeply embraces a pictorial journey filled with lonesome AM radio, cherry red vans, summer berries, Mississippi tributaries, bright wings and Avalon forests. Each radiant track leaves a lasting imprint on the heart and soul of bygone eras and unread chapters.

“A lot of 2022 has been getting this album ready to launch … and I keep thinking COVID is over, and the sun comes shining through, and then COVID keeps coming back,” she said with a laugh. “This album is like leaving COVID, and it’s like going from winter and heading into spring.”

Continue reading Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

Second Stage – Fundamental Sound Co. Returns with Fun Fest ‘22 Aug. 6 in Ypsilanti

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Taylor Greenshields believes things are better the second time around.

The Ypsilanti audio engineer, producer and drummer is expanding this year’s Fun Fest ‘22 to include more activities and vendors along with some new artists. The second annual daylong music festival will take place Saturday, Aug. 6 at Frog Island Park.

“I think the first year of the festival is always the hardest. We got the first year out of the way, so this year we can work out any kinks and now people kind of know what to expect,” said Greenshields, who owns and operates the Ypsilanti-based recording studio, Fundamental Sound Co.

The festival will feature an all-star roster of local artists, including new guests The Macpodz, Stormy Chromer, Ki5 and Estar Cohen along with returning performers Dani Darling, Ma Baker and Al Bettis and a secret set featuring some familiar faces.

“This year’s artist selections were based on artists I worked with regularly in the live sound realm or in the studio. I didn’t want to have a complete repeat from last year’s lineup, but I still wanted to have a few of my favorite artists/friends to be involved,” Greenshields said.

“I am honored to have Dani, Al and the Baker boys back in the lineup this year. Honestly, these are bands I just selfishly love, and I am lucky enough to work with them again this year. I think as their second time playing Fun Fest they will know what to expect and bring the vibes!”

In addition to live music, Fun Fest ’22 will include more than 15 local vendors, ranging from Brennan The Bronze to Normal Coffee Co. to Top Dog, offering art, food and drinks. Beats, Brews and Points of View podcast hosts Emmanuel “E-Man” Bates and Neil Richter also will serve as festival emcees.

“This year, it has grown by having some extra activities, like we’re going to have a bounce house for the kids, have food vendors and other activities available in the soccer field. It’s basically just me putting all this stuff together,” Greenshields said.

Greenshields started Fun Fest last year after wanting to showcase local artists he engineers and records through Fundamental Sound Co. studio and stage projects. He’s currently working with Ma Baker on their first studio album, Na Bonsai on their debut EP and Dani Darling on her new single.

“I have been planning big things for Fundamental Sound Co.’s future. Some are bigger than others, and some are more realistic than others. I am just out here planting seeds and watering these ideas until they eventually start to grow really solid roots,” said Greenshields, who opened his studio in 2018.

“Maybe you’ll start to see them pop out of the ground sooner than later. This festival was one of those ideas years and years ago, and now it’s finally becoming a reality, which is crazy to me.”

Outside of other artists’ projects, Greenshields continues to run live sound for local shows with D.Cipher, a Detroit music mastermind collective, every Wednesday at Dequindre Cut and every Thursday at Detroit City Distillery. He’s also interested in recording his own album soon.

“This year, I have been lucky to be booked and busy all summer long. I have been honored to work with D.Cipher … they are amazing and book some of the dopest artists in the area,” he said.

“As far as personal projects, I have been kicking around the idea of recording a solo record. I love working on other people’s music, but sometimes I can get too far away from who I am as an artist. I think it’s time to make some of my own stuff again.”

Show details:

Fun Fest ‘22

Saturday, Aug. 6 | 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Frog Island Park, 699 Rice St. in Ypsilanti

Tickets: $20 (suggested donation)

Chronological Order – The Blueflowers Process Pivotal Life Moments on ‘Time Didn’t Matter’ EP

The Blueflowers
The Blueflowers examine past relationships, present circumstances and future possibilities on “Time Didn’t Matter.” Photo – Lisa Folcarelli Jansen

The Blueflowers thoughtfully follow their own timeline.

The Detroit indie-rock sextet of Kate Hinote (vocals, lyrics), Erin Williams (backing vocals, keys, lyrics), Tony Hamera (guitar, synths), David Johnson (guitar), Bryan Talaski (bass) and Jim Faulkner (drums) chronicles pivotal moments of growth, heartbreak and change on their latest cathartic EP, Time Didn’t Matter.

“I certainly hope that people can relate to it and have that feeling,” Hinote said. “Any time you’re making music, you hope that people can react to it in some way, and I am considering that when I’m writing, but I also gotta get stuff out.”

As an emotional outlet, Time Didn’t Matter carefully opens the floodgates of past relationships, present circumstances and future possibilities. Six passionate tracks flow alongside introspective lyrics, fiery goth-rock instrumentation and ethereal shoegaze sensibilities.

“That’s just what kind of comes out … I’ve always written that way and still try to write in a way that can be interpreted,” Hinote said. “It’s a little vague, so that it can be left open to interpretation, and there are certainly some specific relationships that are addressed on this EP.”

Continue reading “Chronological Order – The Blueflowers Process Pivotal Life Moments on ‘Time Didn’t Matter’ EP”

Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single

Cece June 1
Cece June finds newfound strength and confidence on her latest single, “Over.” Photo – Adelaide Wilson

Cece June deeply searches for a sense of closure.

The Barcelona, Spain indie-pop singer-songwriter and guitarist thoughtfully addresses unanswered questions, lingering uncertainties and changing relationships on her latest contemplative single, “Over.”

“It just happened, and it wasn’t really autobiographical because I wasn’t dating anyone at that point,” said June, who’s currently an art history and political science senior at the University of Michigan.

“It’s interesting, with so many of my songs, they just kind of happen, and the ability to write ‘Over’ without having felt it personally … I genuinely don’t know where that came from.”                                                     

Throughout “Over,” a tranquil symphony of pensive electric guitar, hopeful cello, crashing cymbals and thunderous drums infuses June with newfound strength and confidence.

She sings, “I can’t help but to let you know/That this is more than intended/I never meant to let you go/I said I loved you and I meant it/It isn’t over just cause you say it is/I’d like to tell you where my ending begins.”

“With the guitar pattern, I knew that I wanted a message, and I wanted it to be really restated. The verses are structurally the same, but obviously lyrically different,” June said.

“The choruses are different, and as that desperation nears the end, that’s when the music starts building up, and the cello gets stronger, and the drums come in. The drums are almost cacophonic, and I wanted them to be loud … like something’s breaking, and it’s not in your control to mend it.”

To create “Over’s” emotive sound, June collaborated with a talented cast of U-M musicians and students, including producer Ethan Matt, guitarist Matt Stawinski, drummer Casey Cheatham, cellist Micah Huisman and mixer Samuel Uribe-Botero.

“Ethan pushed me to try new things. In the first session, he was giving me auto-tune vocoders that sounded like T-Pain, and I was like, ‘What is this? This is awesome!’ It was such an awesome experience to see it evolve with the mindset of someone who’s really different,” said June, who recorded the track at Ethan Matt’s home studio in mid-February. 

“It’s really just a close-knit community of people who are always willing to help. It’s so incredible because you can be like, ‘Oh, I need a trombone,’ and you have like 70 people available.” 

Continue reading “Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single”

The New Avant-Garde – Nubdug Ensemble and Amanda Chaudhary Share Cerebral Prog-Jazz-Funk Fusion

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two avant-garde San Francisco musicians boldly push the sonic boundaries of prog, jazz and funk.

Nubdug Ensemble’s Jason Berry and Amanda Chaudhary seamlessly fuse esoteric lyrics with experimental synths and cerebral instrumentation on their latest ingenious albums, Volume 2: Blame and Meow Meow Band, respectively.

“These albums have both really been connecting with a lot of people. They really inspire both of us to keep going … and things have been improving the past couple of months. Hopefully, we’ll be moving in a more positive place,” Berry said.

“With my music, I’m not looking for acclaim or huge financial sales. These things would be wonderful, but I just want to connect with people. If it makes somebody happy … then it’s like, ‘Mission accomplished.’”

Both Nubdug Ensemble and Chaudhary whisk listeners along genre-bending adventures filled with precious metals, mechanical wonders, white wine and public transportation. Each Volume 2: Blame and Meow Meow Band track instantly brings a welcome element of surprise and enthrallment and repeatedly plays inside appreciative minds.

“I wanted to try these individual sounds, and if you listen back to something like The Residents, I thought, ‘How did they make those sounds and what could I do with that?’ It’s very late ‘70s things with different kinds of technology to get that sort of raw thing, and they use different instruments here … or use this process or that process,” said Chaudhary, who also collaborates with Berry in Nubdug Ensemble.

“I thought, ‘What if I work with this drummer and this synthesizer player and see what happens?’ It turned out to be great, and that’s the genesis of some of the things like ‘North Berkeley BART’ and ‘White Wine.’ Once I started working with Calvin Weston in 2020, it was like this perfect vehicle for recording some of this music.”

Continue reading “The New Avant-Garde – Nubdug Ensemble and Amanda Chaudhary Share Cerebral Prog-Jazz-Funk Fusion”

Supper’s Ready – Grooblen Hosts Creepy Dinner Party in New ‘Neuroplasticity’ Video

Grooblen eerily throws impromptu, nightmarish dinner parties.

The San Francisco cabaret psych-punk trio of Ellie Stokes (vocals, guitar, piano, synth), Jack Stancik (bass) and William Stokes (drums) celebrates creepy plastic cuisine, nervous guests and ghoulish mannequin hosts in their new immersive 360 video for “Neuroplasticity.”

“It’s all kind of weird CGI people, and you turn around and someone has a plate of eyeballs,” said Ellie Stokes about the interactive video. “The detail in it is amazing, and one guy sitting down has motor legs, and he keeps moving. You’re forced to look at people and figure out what’s going on in their heads.”

One step inside the “Neuroplasticity” characters’ collective headspace reveals the innovative mindset of Honeymoon Supply Co. Grooblen collaborated with the Los Angeles-based visual artist to direct and create the stunning video.

“I told her to include some stuff, but for the most part, it was just her and how she perceived the song,” said Ellie Stokes. “She was like, ‘Well, what about a dinner party?’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that would be so cool, and what if you included some creepy dish that could be misinterpreted?’”

Throughout the David Lynch-esque video, a pair of guests anxiously determines whether to sample eyeball appetizers, bloody cocktails and emerald gelatin molds. Their spooky hosts quietly observe as floors move below and flames erupt overhead.

“She was looking for creative projects, and it took her about a week to put it together,” said Ellie Stokes. “I love that kind of stuff, and I’m excited to put it out there.”

The video also perfectly reflects the spooky, haunting imagery depicted in Grooblen’s “Neuroplasticity” single, which spotlights the human brain and body’s resilience to heal and adapt from past traumas.

“‘Neuroplasticity’ is about how everything can change in a second and how our brains and bodies are so interlinked,” said Ellie Stokes, who was diagnosed with a rare optic nerve condition in 2020, but has since recovered.

“I wrote it from the perspective of the nerve in my brain telling me what was going on. It’s digging deep into this new part of myself that I hadn’t really thought about before.”

Continue reading “Supper’s Ready – Grooblen Hosts Creepy Dinner Party in New ‘Neuroplasticity’ Video”