Whether it’s early in the morning or late at night, there’s a new bunch of tasty tracks ready to sample.
The July edition of “The Stratton Playlist” will whet your musical appetite with shimmery pop-rock, upbeat country, mesmerizing post-rock, metalized modern rock, steamy blues rock, soulful folk, spunky hip-hop, groovy R&B and more freshly-squeezed tracks.
The Ann Arbor pop-rock singer-songwriter ventures beyond the looking glass and reflects on misunderstood life moments in “Illusions,” a spellbinding glimpse into vivid realizations and intense ruminations.
“I was in this relationship for a long time and had felt misunderstood on so many levels throughout that period of time. And not just by that person, but also by my family because they were not super on-board with music. I also lost some friends in a short amount of time due to music and that relationship,” Pierce said.
“I was really reflecting on that time, and I remember exactly what I was doing when that song came out of me. The first line that actually came out was, ‘Painted words on paper-thin walls,’ and I was watching this TV show, and I paused it and went to the piano. That song was written in like 40 minutes, and it was written very easily and clearly, like I knew in me what I wanted to say and what I wanted to get out.”
Featured as part of this month’s “The Stratton Playlist,” “Illusions” blends somber synths, sorrowful piano, shimming electric guitars, soaring electronic drums and throaty bass into a hypnotic, sonic head-trip.
Akin to Vanessa Carlton, Pierce’s soulful vocals implode her romantic mirage as she ponders, “I thought I’d figured it out/Wide-eyed, I mapped it out/But you say I’m too difficult/Honey I know, honey I know/I try to pull back/Quiet the noise inside my head/But you say it’s too difficult/Honey I know, honey I know/I’ll never let this go.”
Pierce recorded “Illusions” earlier this year with producer Jake Rye at Adrian’s Social Recording Company. He helped Pierce crystallize the track’s vision and added majestic arrangements to quickly transform it in the studio.
“We would go back and forth like, ‘What do you hear for this part?’ and he had a good direction of where the production was headed. He came up with an awesome, meaty bassline, and I can’t really say enough positive things about him,” said Pierce, who learned about Rye through his collaborations with Michigander.
As summer kicks into high gear, get ready to test-drive a new batch of tunes from emerging local and regional artists.
The June edition of “The Stratton Playlist” will gain traction with grungy alt rock, lo-fi jazzy soul, inspirational pop rock, indie folk, bouncy pop punk, dancy pop, melodic prog rock, bouncy pop punk and uplifting country.
Doogatron brilliantly channels the artistic spirit and creative legacy of the late Andrew Weatherall.
The Ypsilanti techno duo of Stevie Tee and Kyle (and occasional trio with Michael) seamlessly stitches midtempo acid house, breakbeat techno and dreamy shoegaze into their latest interstellar Weatherall tribute single, “Audrey Witherspoon.”
Out now via all streaming platforms, “Audrey Witherspoon” beautifully celebrates Weatherall’s illustrious career as an acclaimed U.K.-based DJ, producer and artist who remixed tracks by Happy Mondays, New Order, Björk and My Bloody Valentine. He also added samples, loops and mixes on Primal Scream’s 1991 Mercury Prize-winning album, Screamadelica.
“It’s named ‘Audrey Witherspoon’ based on a pen name he used for gig reviews he wrote prior to his production career. The sequenced acid house bassline coupled with the big shoegaze fuzz guitar and midtempo swagger reminded me a lot of the late ‘80s, early ‘90s second summer of love, ‘Madchester’ sound, so when Andrew passed, it felt right,” Tee said.
Together, Doogatron injects the right amount of high-frequency, intergalactic beats and pulsating bass into the energetic, frenzied techno world of “Audrey Witherspoon.”
The nine-minute astral track also beautifully wraps fuzzy shoegaze guitars, scratchy hip-hop sensibilities, jazzy sax solos from Jamie Goldsmith and cosmic, reverby vocals into a nonstop club jam. (Tee also created a groovy “Gazing at Shoes” mix of music inspired by and taken from outtakes while recording “Audrey Witherspoon.”)
“‘Audrey Witherspoon’ was more in the moment with the two of us getting into a new workflow and trying to fill out as much sound as possible. Instead of Kyle just doing the drum machine or drum programming, he was also doing the bassline sequencing, and that freed me up to start playing guitar and getting into some tones,” said Tee, who also did the vocals for the track.
In this April Spotify compilation, you’ll feel rejuvenated with experimental jazz, timeless techno, heavy alt rock, spirited folk rock, uplifting Americana, imaginative Tom Petty renditions and bouncy hip-hop from Michigan and other regional artists.
As a longtime music curator, John Bommarito unearths rare acoustic gems.
The southeast Michigan radio personality will share those priceless discoveries through a new weekly YouTube playlist called “Acoustic Alternatives.”
“Acoustic Alternatives” will debut this Sunday and feature Bommarito’s favorites from the local, national and international music scene. Featured artists will include Caitlyn Smith, Logan Ledger, Ruston Kelly, Chris DuPont, Amy Petty, Kylee Phillips and others.
“I will try to keep the spirit of the Sunday morning mix I’ve been providing for well over a decade on the radio waves alive with this weekly YouTube playlist,” said Bommarito, who’s also a well-known radio personality at ann arbor’s 107one (WQKL-FM). “I’m going to work on figuring out a way to post a video commentary to be included as a separate component of the show.”
Bommarito’s foray into music curation started while working in metro Detroit record stores in the mid-‘80s and early ‘90s. He enjoyed discovering artists across a multitude of genres and sharing recommendations with customers who frequented the stores.
That musical discovery expanded immensely once Bommarito started his own music distribution company and later volunteered as an on-air personality at 89.3 (WHFR-FM), a Henry Ford College freeform radio station in Dearborn . By 2005, he joined ann arbor ’s 107one as a regular on-air personality and soon launched his weekly acoustic morning show, “Sunday Brunch.”
“‘Acoustic Alternatives’ was the name of a show I used to do when I was the Folk Music Director on WHFR. I described it at the time as a mix of modern folk, singer-songwriter and Celtic music,” Bommarito said. “In this new format, I can spread my wings a little bit more with only the limitations of what is available on YouTube.”
With a new incarnation of “Acoustic Alternatives,” Bommarito is eager to expand his musical ears and mind in the vast YouTube world. Artists can submit material directly to Bommarito for consideration at email@example.com.
“It’s nice to hear something familiar mixed in, but ultimately I am happiest when someone discovers an artist because of my program. A typical playlist in the past has been inspired by the answer to the question, ‘Who is playing a concert in the near future that I want people to go to?’” Bommarito said.
“Now, it’s more about simply exposing people to good music that fits that Sunday morning vibe – setting a mood for the listener. I might get into theme shows at some point. I always enjoy doing that. I will also keep the tradition of ‘Radical Revisions,’ an all-covers edition of the show alive on the first Sunday of the month.”
For weekly playlist links and details, visit Bommarito’s blog.