In the Moment – Kyle Mikolajczyk Captures Creative Spontaneity for ‘Echoes in Eternity’ Single

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Kyle Mikolajczyk brings soothing Motor City sounds to his latest instrumental single, “Echoes in Eternity.” Photo – Karen Ritchey / LUX Artist Management

Kyle Mikolajczyk credits a looper guitar pedal and “The Office” TV series with inspiring his debut solo single, “Echoes in Eternity.”

Back in 2019, the Detroit hard-rock guitarist summoned those creative influences for his serene instrumental and fully embraced the moment.

“I was trying to find different chord patterns and landed on the acoustic/rhythm guitar pattern that you hear in the song and then recorded what I was doing on my phone,” Mikolajczyk said.

“During the moment I was recording it, I had ‘The Office’ on the TV in the background, and right before I started playing, the character Dwight yelled, ‘Whatever you do in this life echoes in eternity!” Every time I would play it back, that’s what I would hear first. It seemed like a sensible working title, so thanks, Dwight, or Rainn Wilson!”

That unexpected artistic fusion resulted in the soothing sounds of “Echoes in Eternity.” Everlasting waves of bluesy electric guitar, radiant acoustic guitar, humming bass, shimmery synth, soft drums and ticking percussion immerse listeners in unexpected bliss.

“After years of putting out music with different groups, it’s been a totally different game releasing music as a solo musician. I’m able to go any route I like, and that’s a great feeling,” said Mikolajczyk, who plays in about a dozen different Detroit bands.

“Listeners have been extremely receptive and supportive … since I’m usually known for straight-forward rock ‘n’ roll. Within the construction of the song, I made sure there was an undeniable sense of comfort, care, love and beauty.”

To bring the track’s tranquility to life, Mikolajczyk worked with Dearborn engineer Robert Cadena and Detroit drummer/percussionist Garrett Ramsden.

“I’ve been developing the song over the last few years, and I finally got into the studio this [past] fall to get to work on releasing it,” he said. “They were both able to add so much to this track … very professional and thorough.”

Continue reading “In the Moment – Kyle Mikolajczyk Captures Creative Spontaneity for ‘Echoes in Eternity’ Single”

The Detroit Sound – New Live Roots Music Series Debuts Jan. 27 at Aretha’s Jazz Café

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A new live music series aims to showcase the musical “roots” of Detroit.

Known as The Detroit Sound, the quarterly roots music concert series debuts Jan. 27 at Aretha’s Jazz Café with singer-songwriters Jennifer Westwood, Jimmie Bones, John Bardy and Tino Gross.

“There are so many people here that I know who make music, and they never do shows together, and they’re from different parts of the city. We have fantastic music here as good as any other music city, and we need to champion that,” said Westwood, who curates The Detroit Sound with WhistlePig Music Group producer-engineer-mixer Bunky Hunt.

“It’s like, ‘Well, what is the Detroit sound?’ Some people just think it’s garage rock, some people just think it’s Motown, but really what’s happening right now? It’s a lot of things, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be one thing, but for our intents and purposes, it’s going to be more roots-based.”

To amplify those roots sounds, Westwood and Hunt selected a lineup artists and musicians who advocate Detroit’s independent rock, country and blues music scene. They also assembled the all-star Motown-Shoals house band of guitarist Dylan Dunbar, bassist Chuck Bartels, drummer David Below and keyboardist Bones.

“They’re all uniquely Detroit, and these are people who are carving their own path. They’re not listening to the people who run the tech media giants … they’re sticking to their art. These guys all fall in that category,” Hunt said.

“We’ve also got this great house band. These are guys that both play in Jennifer [Westwood’s] band and support me in the studio as well. I kinda use them as my wrecking crew. It’s gonna truly be a Detroit experience, and that’s what we’re gunning for.”

Continue reading “The Detroit Sound – New Live Roots Music Series Debuts Jan. 27 at Aretha’s Jazz Café”

Seriously Funny – Danny VanZandt Balances Wit and Sincerity on ‘Music to Your Ears’ Album

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Danny VanZandt breaks code of taste on “Music to Your Ears.” Photo – Kris Herrmann

Danny VanZandt doesn’t take himself too seriously on Music to Your Ears.

The Detroit indie-rocker strikes an optimal balance between wit and sincerity on his refreshing new album.

“I’m a really goofy guy in my personal life, and I love making jokes and stuff. I wanted this album to be goofy and funny, but I still wanted the subject matter to be important,” VanZandt said.

“For artists, especially early on, everything can feel like it’s the art school film where it’s black and white and super serious. The big lesson I learned between the last album and this one is that a lot of my favorite serious art still has a lot of humor in it … and some of my favorite comedies are tearjerkers and have a real serious side to them.”

That ideal mindset flows throughout the 11 authentic tracks featured on Music to Your Ears. Filled with vivid tales of youth, nostalgia, and the passage of time, the album whisks listeners along from one memorable VanZandt adventure to the next.

Zany escapades occur at rock ‘n’ roll history museums, Wendy’s, Bruce Springsteen on ice shows, the Stranger Zone, mountaintops and other locales. Collectively, those stops provide greater insight into VanZandt’s past, present and future.

VanZandt also features brands and music artists as his ironic sidekicks throughout Music to Your Ears. These “pals” include AC/DC, Guitar Center, Jamba Juice, Eagles, Vineyard Vines, Enclave, Cat Power, Google Earth, McDonald’s and others to distinctly set each track’s scene and mood.

“When you go outside, it’s not like forests and rivers anymore, it’s Subway and Domino’s. If you’re going to do a modern-day landscape painting, like Jake Longstreth, it’s a painting of an abandoned Circuit City,” said VanZandt, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in art history from Wayne State University.

“I wanted it to have that feel and also in a pop-art way, like ‘What do brands mean and signify?’ That’s a big 21st century anxiety that we all deal with. I wanted it to feel true to actual modern life, and there’s something I love about how banal all that stuff is.”

Continue reading “Seriously Funny – Danny VanZandt Balances Wit and Sincerity on ‘Music to Your Ears’ Album”

Double Duty – Lily Talmers Explores Humanity and Spirituality on ‘Hope is The Whore I Go To / It’s Unkind to Call You My Killer’ Album

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Lily Talmers performs at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo – Lori Stratton

Editor’s Note: This article features a portion of the Ann Arbor District Library’s Jan. 5, 2023 Pulp interview with Lily Talmers.

Lily Talmers fully embraces her authentic self on “Birthday Song.”

The Brooklyn, New York indie-folk singer-songwriter gets vulnerable and introspective on an intimate track from her latest double album, Hope is The Whore I Go To / It’s Unkind to Call You My Killer.

“It’s definitely kind of like a prayer and an asking; I wrote it on my birthday, which is kind of funny,” said Talmers, a University of Michigan alumna.

“But I think the central image of the song is thinking about unfolding as a human … and it’s very vulnerable to be a human. It’s just admitting that and feeling often like when we bring our full selves to other people it’s hard to do that and not be embarrassed.”

Surrounded by wistful nylon guitar and strings, she sings, “So please excuse the hardness of my softening / If I’m unworthy, Lord, I swear I’ll fake it good.”

“It’s this image of wanting to be your full little sweet self and feeling ashamed of that,” Talmers said. “It’s also oscillating between those two things, like ‘I want to go back into the womb, and I don’t want to interact with anyone,’ and wanting to fully be with people and be loving and brave.”

Talmers beautifully illustrates that relatable dichotomy alongside poignant reflections about hope, humanity, spirituality and growth across the 21 tracks on Hope is The Whore I Go To / It’s Unkind to Call You My Killer.

Within those tracks, she shares haunting tales wrapped in emotive string-brass instrumentation and pensive folk-jazz and Latin-Mediterranean soundscapes.

I recently spoke to Talmers about her background, ambitious double album, prolific writing and recording process, and upcoming plans.

Continue reading “Double Duty – Lily Talmers Explores Humanity and Spirituality on ‘Hope is The Whore I Go To / It’s Unkind to Call You My Killer’ Album”

To Be Continued – In a Daydream Finds Catharsis on ‘I Was a Victim of a Series of Accidents’ Single

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In a Daydream’s Bryan Porter addresses the realities of recovery on “I Was a Victim of a Series of Accidents” with bandmates Jake Rees, Poppy Morawa and Adrian Clark. Not pictured Danny Van Zandt. Photo – Kris Herrmann

Bryan Porter sees life as an ongoing work in progress on “I Was a Victim of a Series of Accidents.”

The In a Daydream lead vocalist-guitarist candidly addresses the everyday challenges of recovering from addiction on the Detroit emo/indie-rock quintet’s latest single.

Alongside vulnerable synth and courageous electric guitar, bass and drums, Porter sings, “Yeah, I wanna say I’m all right today / But ‘clean’ feels like the wrong word to use / When it’s not just ‘what’ but ‘who’ you abuse.”

“I wanted this song to be the first one I put out after the last record, so I wanted to directly reference the last song on the last record. Toward the end of ‘Everything Hurt Beautifully (So It Goes),’ I sing, ‘I wanna say I’m alright today,’ and so I use those lyrics again in this song,” he said.

“The part where I say, ‘But ‘clean’ feels like the wrong word to use,’ means I’m not using drugs, like I’m technically clean, but that it doesn’t feel right still, and my work isn’t done.”

To learn more about In a Daydream’s strong work ethic, I chatted with Porter about his background, the band’s last full-length album, his road to recovery, the band’s latest single and their plans for the future.

Continue reading “To Be Continued – In a Daydream Finds Catharsis on ‘I Was a Victim of a Series of Accidents’ Single”

Eternally Grateful – Tom Alter Shares Appreciation for Family and Friends on ‘Love and All That Comes With It’ Album

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Tom Alter examines the emotional and spiritual side of love on his latest album. Photo courtesy of Tom Alter

Tom Alter feels grateful for his loved ones, especially during the pandemic.

The Fraser indie-folk singer-songwriter acknowledges the longtime support of his family and friends on his latest album, Love and All That Comes With It.

“It really does come from my past albums and dealing with all the controversy and disagreement in the world. What has gotten me through these last few years has been love and the relationships with my wife, my family and my friends. In a way, while it seems like a departure, it’s really part of the same story,” Alter said.

“How many times have you spent your whole day watching whatever news channel you watch? I did a lot of that, and what got me away from that and allowed me to deal with things emotionally and intellectually was turning back to the people I could count on in my life.”

Throughout Love and All That Comes With It, Alter revisits past and present relationships alongside reflective lyrics and atmospheric folk-jazz-rock instrumentation. Each track encourages listeners to take an emotional and spiritual look at the love in their lives.

“Some of the songs on the album were written a while ago, but a lot of them were rewritten where I repurposed lyrics and things like that. There were songs I wasn’t happy with, but I liked certain concepts in them,” Alter said.

“The first song really written for this album was ‘Love and All That Comes With It.’ It has the line, ‘With love you can deal with it,’ and it’s a continuation of my previous statements.”

To expand on those statements, we recently chatted with Alter about writing and recording tracks for his recent release.

Continue reading “Eternally Grateful – Tom Alter Shares Appreciation for Family and Friends on ‘Love and All That Comes With It’ Album”

Life Cycle – Strange Heart Breaks Old Patterns on ‘Falling Back Again’ Album

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Strange Heart’s Bobby Jankowski, Josh Clemens and Mike Schneider add soulful instrumentation and Motown-rich sensibilities to “Falling Back Again.” Photo – Dave Lamarand

Strange Heart boldly leans into the future on Falling Back Again.

The metro Detroit rock-soul trio of Josh Clemens (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Schneider (vocals, bass) and Bobby Jankowski (drums) share heartfelt truths of the past and find the way forward on their latest album.

Falling Back Again is when you’re trapped in a cycle, and you’re falling back into the same old patterns,” Clemens said.

“In a relationship, it can be like, ‘We’re fine; we’re doing really good,’ but then it’s like, ‘We’re back to square one,’ and finally it’s like, ‘Are you leaving? No, I’m staying.’”

That cyclical nature of Falling Back Again elicits eight personal tales of love, self-acceptance and heartbreak against a backdrop of soulful instrumentation and Motown-rich sensibilities. Each track accepts one circumstance and prepares for the challenges of the next.

“It’s just this vicious cycle, and it never stops. When you’re Falling Back Again, you’re falling back to the beginning of the cycle, which has a ‘with or without you’ vibe,” Clemens said

“That idea also kinda hits throughout the album, and obviously it’s within the song ‘24 Hours (Without Your Love).’ In a song like ‘Good Company,’ it fits perfectly. It fits a lot of places.”

Continue reading Life Cycle – Strange Heart Breaks Old Patterns on ‘Falling Back Again’ Album

Joint Adventure – The Whiskey Charmers Blaze New Sonic Trails for ‘On the Run’ Album

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The Whiskey Charmers capture an adventurous sonic spirit for “On the Run.” Photo courtesy of The Whiskey Charmers

The Whiskey Charmers thoughtfully choose their own adventure.

The Detroit alt-country duo of Carrie Shepard (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Lawrence Daversa (electric and steel guitars, backing vocals) explore and weather life-changing terrain on their new Odyssean album, On the Run.

“When we were trying to think of an all-encompassing title, we started realizing how much that theme goes through the record, the On the Run theme,” said Shepard about the album out today via Sweet Apple Pie Records.

“We didn’t have a specific theme before going into the record because we actually recorded about 20 songs at once. We picked half that we thought would go well together for this first one, and we have half that we’re hoping to release next year.”

As the first half, On the Run journeys through melodic Laurel Canyon soundscapes, ‘70s-inspired country-rock instrumentation fused with hard-rock, psych-rock, blues and funk elements, and daring tales of growth and reflection. Collectively, the album’s 10 tracks serve as the ideal sonic companion for an open-ended road trip.

“The last two records featured the same guitar and the same amp that I play with live all the time. I just brought different stuff in because I was playing different stuff … and some songs like ‘Billy’ seemed like it needed to be a little more aggressive,” Daversa said.

“I did a whole run-through of that song and sent it to some guitar-player friends of mine and one friend was like, ‘Yeah, I hear what you’re trying to do on that, but that ain’t it.’ At first I was like, ‘Forget you, man,’ and then I started thinking about it. He was right because I changed it to what we do now, and I think it turned out a lot better.”

Continue reading Joint Adventure – The Whiskey Charmers Blaze New Sonic Trails for ‘On the Run’ Album

Active Voice – Mike Ward Encourages Casting Your Ballot on ‘Troubled Times’ EP

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Mike Ward tackles sociopolitical challenges on “Troubled Times.” Photo – Danny Ward

Mike Ward knows the nation’s times are a-changin,’ especially with today’s midterm elections.

In response, the Americana singer-songwriter encourages people to raise their voice and chase their freedom on his latest sociopolitical EP, Troubled Times.

“From my standpoint, I’m hoping it will help people look in the mirror and ask themselves some of these questions in terms of raising your own voice and paying attention to what’s truth and what’s not truth,” said Ward, who’s based in Detroit. “That’s basically the theme of ‘Wishing Well,’ and it’s the subtle theme of ‘WWTFS.’”

The contemplative opener, “Wishing Well,” advocates protecting individual rights and free speech alongside determined acoustic guitar and solemn organ.

Ward sings, “Stand alone, stand apart / Take a deep look into your heart / Because these are troubled times / These lives of yours and mine / So seek the proof in the face of the untruth / In the face of all the untruth.”

To learn more about Troubled Times and his upcoming plans, we recently chatted with Ward at Folk Alliance Region Midwest in Lisle, Illinois.

Continue reading Active Voice – Mike Ward Encourages Casting Your Ballot on ‘Troubled Times’ EP

Cautionary Tale – Edison Hollow Combats Destructive Forces on New ‘Body’s Guest’ Single and Video

Edison Hollow sternly warns about a pending demise on “Body’s Guest.”

The Detroit hard-rock quartet of Tyler Chernoff (vocals, guitar), Jordon Stockdale (lead guitar), David Vida (bass) and Aaryn Lindow (drums) confronts a friend about destructive behaviors on their new cautionary single and video.

An impenetrable force of steadfast electric guitars, bass and drums protect Chernoff as he sings, “Your pride will be what kills you / You just can’t let it go / Oh no time left to convince you / You got nothing to show / So much time spent / Your body’s guest.”

We recently chatted with Edison Hollow about their new release as well as their background, previous album and singles, live shows and upcoming plans.

New Single and Video 

TSS: Your new single, “Body’s Guest,” chronicles a person’s unwillingness to face the consequences of their actions. What initially inspired this track for you sonically and thematically?

Edison Hollow: Musically, “Body’s Guest” was a step forward for us as a band and as songwriters. We had a riff from Jordon [Stockdale], and we built the rest of it together, just doing what felt right to us. Lyrically, the melodies flow with the dynamics of the music, the verses are very remorseful and express feelings of pity and regret, and the choruses are defiant and strongly proclaimed like the music that lies beneath those sections.

From the get-go, we wanted a Halloween-adjacent release for this [track] since we recorded it. It just has that feel to us, and we had a clear idea of how we wanted the release to go and the video that accompanies it.

Continue reading “Cautionary Tale – Edison Hollow Combats Destructive Forces on New ‘Body’s Guest’ Single and Video”