Spring Migration – Chirp Moves from Stage to Studio for Self-titled Debut Album, Hosts Release Party Tonight at The Blind Pig

Chirp has released their self-titled, full-length studio debut album today.

On their melodic self-titled, full-length debut studio album, Chirp knows how to magically capture and beautifully deliver the sweet, groovy sounds of spring.

Today’s release of “Chirp” celebrates the Ann Arbor funk, prog rock and jazz fusion quartet’s creative migration from improvising on the stage to nesting in the studio.

“Those songs turned out how we really envisioned them because we were able to take a long time to plan everything out as well as record and mix,” said John Gorine, Chirp’s drummer. “When we play those songs live, we know what we want to do, but it’s different when we have a lot more time to plan certain things out and just get what we want out of those songs.”

As a follow-up to last year’s “Live at Ann Arbor Summer Festival” release, the new studio album’s nine genre-hopping tracks take listeners on fleeting sonic journey filled with upbeat, danceable mind trips to “Dickerville,” “Greener,” “Planet Groove,” “Cozy,” “Pig Beach” and other joyful auditory destinations.

Chirp does their share of genre-hopping by blending catching progressive rock, funk and jazz originals with majestic reinterpretations during the high-energy, dynamic shows. Though their music incorporates many technical, well-crafted elements, they’re committed to grooving with a solid, dedicated fan base.

For dedicated Chirp fans, the album is a direct sonic flight through their eclectic catalog without any layovers or turbulence. While hearing “Chirp,” listeners travel smoothly through a series of glistening grooves, riffs and beats eloquently condensed into a brilliant studio package.

“You want to trim the fat a little bit, even though most of the songs are on the longer side of what people are used to hearing. I’d say the average song length on the album is five and a half minutes while our average live song length is between eight and 10 minutes,” said Jay Frydenlund, Chirp’s guitarist and vocalist. “As a songwriter, for me, it’s always difficult figuring out what we want to cut down and how we want to cut down the length of a solo section or maybe take parts out.”

Continue reading “Spring Migration – Chirp Moves from Stage to Studio for Self-titled Debut Album, Hosts Release Party Tonight at The Blind Pig”

Knock, Knock – The Sneeks Drop New ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ EP Today

The Sneeks have released their fun-filled “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door” EP today.

For The Sneeks, opportunity knocks with a new five-song EP.

The East Lansing alt rock quartet has delivered their latest release, “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door,” today via streaming services as a fun, breezy follow-up to their eight-track 2017 debut album, “Sneek Attack.”

Through “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door,” Niko Matsamakis (vocals, guitar), Kevin Neumann (vocals, bass), Alex Olivero (vocals, guitar) and Houston Smith (drums) create a laid-back summer sound filled with shimmery Mac DeMarco-inspired guitars and wrapped in personal tales of fleeting relationships.

It’s the musical alter ego to “Sneek Attack,” which follows a “rad rock and troll” sound born out of the band’s Michigan State University (MSU) party days and garage punk rock shows with Twin Peaks at The Loft in Lansing.

“The different approach for ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ is definitely the songwriting and recording style,” Matsamakis said. “We recorded it in my house upstairs in four different rooms at the same time, and we tracked it all together. Houston was in one bedroom, I was in another, Kevin was in the other bedroom and Alex was in the bathroom.”

Neumann and Olivero also contributed tracks to the “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door” while Matsamakis wrote the material for “Sneek Attack” – his personal journey through post-breakup single life.

“We used some different effects on our guitars that we don’t normally use, and some of those ‘Sneek Attack’ sounds are harder in general, but ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ is definitely a softer sound,” Matsamakis said. “I wrote a few of the songs, showed them to Kevin, and Kevin put his touch on them, and then vice versa. I would say Kevin’s songs are definitely the softer ones.”

Continue reading “Knock, Knock – The Sneeks Drop New ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ EP Today”

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.”

The End – Black Sabbath Tour Returns to the Beginning before Bidding Adieu

Editor’s Note: My husband Brian writes his first Stratton Setlist blog post about Black Sabbath’s final Detroit area show in Clarkston, Mich. Wednesday night.

Black Sabbath displays “The End” tour logo.

“Is it the end, my friend?” sang Ozzy Osbourne during the opening song of Black Sabbath’s final show in metro Detroit.

Sadly, it was the end, but it’s hard to say goodbye, especially to old friends. Six years ago, I had to say goodbye to Ronnie James Dio, and last year, I most likely said goodbye to Rush. And now it was time to say goodbye to Black Sabbath.

I’ve been a fan of Black Sabbath since middle school. My brother had introduced me to Led Zeppelin and Rush, and I loved them both, but Black Sabbath was the first band I had claimed as my own.

They felt like a secret that my friends and I shared, and we had fun exploring and debating the different lineups. Was Ozzy era Sabbath better, or the Dio material? What about the Tony Martin incarnation of the band?

The truth was I loved all the lineups. Black Sabbath was like a saga that kept going on and changing over time, and they never disappointed.

Continue reading “The End – Black Sabbath Tour Returns to the Beginning before Bidding Adieu”