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.”

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Riding High — The Lows Perform Saturday at Inaugural Motor City Muscle Festival

 

The Lows will play Motor City Muscle on Saturday.
The Lows will be riding high this weekend with a coveted slot at the inaugural Motor City Muscle festival.

The Detroit-based hard rock band will join more than 120 artists, including Ace Frehley, The Dead Kennedys, Belinda Carlisle and Sponge, during the free festival, which includes seven stages of music and a muscle car showcase today through Sunday in downtown Detroit.

The Lows will take the stage in Detroit’s Hart Plaza at 3:15 p.m. Saturday for their hour-long, 15-song set. Fans can expect original Lows’ tunes and covers from Detroit music legends, including Alice Cooper and The Stooges, as well as ‘90s grunge classics.

For Angelo Coppola and his Lows bandmates, the festival is an incredible chance to help revive the rock music scene in the Motor City.

“Basically, I think there’s not enough of the straight-up rock sound going on anymore,” said Coppola, frontman for The Lows. “There are some great bands like Greta Van Fleet and some others from Detroit doing it. I think the world needs more of it, and I think tons of people personally want something to change with mainstream music. We’re just trying to hopefully be part of it carrying the torch and bringing it back around.”

The Lows EP
Coppola learned his band would join the all-star rock music festival lineup after he submitted “Road Trippin’,” a track from The Lows’ 2017 self-titled debut EP for a 12-song Motor City Muscle compilation album.

“The criteria for that was the song had to be about cars, and it had to mention Detroit in the song,” he said. “I went back into the studio where I recorded the EP, and I just changed one line of the first verse with producer Chuck (Alkazian) to include a reference to Detroit in there, then I submitted it, and they picked it for the album.”

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Jena Irene Asciutto Ascends to New Musical Heights with ‘Cold Fame’

Jena Irene Asciutto

With her rich, soulful voice, Jena Irene Asciutto sings of a life lived well beyond her 22 years.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., singer-songwriter shares tales of personal growth and self-reflection in her debut album, “Cold Fame.”

Released in June 2017 on Detroit’s Original 1265 Recordings, “Cold Fame” solidifies Asciutto as a powerhouse vocalist and composer who mixes elements of pop, rock and alternative against a cinematic backdrop.

“I wanted it to be a little bit of a story, like a complete chapter of my life,” she said. “A lot of those songs were written in the same period of time so I wanted to take the listener on a little bit of a journey when they listen to it from start to finish.”

Deconstructing ‘Cold Fame’

Hearing “Cold Fame” from start to finish allows fans to delve into Asciutto’s artistic metamorphosis from American Idol runner-up to burgeoning songstress.

“I just want to make people feel something when they listen to my music,” she said. “Some of (the lyrics) are super close-knit because you know exactly what I’m talking about, and some of it’s a little bit more generalized.”

“Cold Fame’s” 14 raw, emotional tracks propel listeners on a sonic journey through self-exploration in “Song of Myself” to the dark side of life in “Black Magic” to peppy “no f*cks given” in “White Girl Wasted.”

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Science for Sociopaths — Detroit’s Maggie Cocco Gets Personal on Upcoming ‘Love & Life’ Double EP

DETROIT – For Science for Sociopaths, writing and singing about romance and growth is a labor of love.

The Motor City indie pop-rock singer-songwriter, aka Maggie Cocco, digs deep and gets personal on her new nine-song double EP, “Love & Life,” which drops June 1.

On “Love & Life,” Cocco’s inspirational lyrics and soulful, powerhouse voice are reminiscent of Carole King, Patti Smith, Kelly Clarkson and Emmylou Harris rolled into one. Her richly-layered songs unravel relatable situations for fans who have experienced the trials and tribulations of life and love.

Cocco is releasing her first single, “I See You,” today from her upcoming double EP. “I See You” brings an acoustic foot-stompin’, finger-snappin’ tale of an unexpected love facing personal triumph despite life’s ongoing challenges.

“‘Love’s four heartfelt songs explore infatuation, confidence, insecurity, frustration, anger and loss as it pertains to romantic love. I was inspired to draw personally from my own love life and pulled a ‘Taylor Swift’ of sorts,” said Maggie Cocco, who formed Science for Sociopaths in 2016. With ‘Life,’ I dealt with the deep stuff bordering on existential. Everything from self-love and being our best selves to life’s toughest questions and big decisions. It’s real, and so sometimes it’s dark, but it’s always hopeful.”

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Fantastic Four — Adventures with Vultures, 3 Other Motor City Acts Showcase Musical Prowess at The Blind Pig

Adventures with Vultures, aka Matt Sauter, headlines his first show at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Mich.

A new “Fantastic Four” demonstrated their musical prowess Jan. 20 at The Blind Pig.

The “Fantastic Four” – Adventures with Vultures, Brother Elsey, Great Expectations and Honey Monsoon – represented some of southeast Michigan’s emerging musical talent during a 3.5-hour show filled with folk, roots, pop and jazz rock at the iconic Ann Arbor, Mich., 400-person venue.

It also served as the first headlining show for Plymouth, Mich.-based folk rocker Adventures with Vultures, also known as Matt Sauter, who released his debut EP, “Junction,” in October on Original 1265 Recordings.

Sauter’s down-home and fun-loving stage presence instantly connected with the crowd during his 45-minute set, which included the folk rock gems “Okay Guy,” “Skies of Gold” and “I Found a Dreamer” as well as a new track, “Hell or High Water.”

“So many of you f*ckers came to the show tonight. I can’t believe it,” said Sauter, who’s also a student at the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME). “We used to play at coffee shops in Plymouth, Michigan, and all you guys came here, and we really appreciate it.”

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Musical Masterminds – Singer-songwriter, sister duo APLUS prepare to release debut album ‘Pride Liberty Detroit’ Feb. 9

APLUS Press Image 1
Anesha Birchett, left, and Antea Shelton of APLUS

DETROIT – Singer-songwriters Antea Shelton and Anesha Birchett are masters of musical mind reading.

Together, the R&B and pop sister duo known as APLUS know how to compose hit songs without even saying a word to each other.

“Because Anesha and I know each other so well, it’s such a natural process across the board for both songwriting and artistry,” Shelton said. “I think I didn’t value how we have a natural connection as sisters until we started working with other people, and I realized she and I may have our bickering and our battles, but man, like the records get done, and we have a smooth flow.”

That smooth flow and intuitive songwriting process has helped APLUS pen songs for Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Tamar Braxton and a host of other R&B and pop artists as well as music for the TV shows “Empire” and “Star.” Once a producer plays a chord, Shelton and Birchett start their songwriting magic.

“She’ll go, I’ll email her, and we’re literally in the same room while I message her,” said Shelton, 36, who’s head of songwriting at the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME). “I’ll email her a couple of titles, she’ll go into the booth, she’ll sing some melodies, sing the title like I said, and I’ll be like, ‘Yep, I want that one.’ Then, they’ll play it, put it on loop, I’ll fill out the lyrics, send it back to her, she’ll go into the booth, sing it, and it’s done.”

Shelton and Birchett used that same songwriting process while recording tracks for their debut APLUS album, “Pride Liberty Detroit,” which drops Feb. 9 on Original 1265 Recordings. In December, they released their latest single, “Strangers,” a groovy R&B track featuring lush harmonies backed by a piano.

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Detroit’s New Musical Evolution — DIME Sessions Volume 3 Album Spotlights Rising Motor City Artists

DIME Sessions Volume 3 showcases some of Detroit’s best musical talent.
DETROIT — For 13 aspiring artists, a new Motor City compilation album captures their musical passion and growth.

Known as Detroit Institute of Music Education: DIME Sessions Volume 3, the album features 11 original tracks written by DIME students and weaves themes of political frustration, Motor City pride, personal struggle, relationships and musical tributes.

“This is the crème de la crème of our student body who are in a position to write and record at the time or who may have songs even if they’re in the simplest form,” said Sabrina Underwood, label manager for Original 1265 Recordings at DIME. “This is their opportunity to know what it feels like to have a record released internationally on a major label. They can use this as a calling card to open up other doors.”

DIME released its third annual album Aug. 25 on Original 1265 Recordings, which is an independent label owned by CND America, DIME’s parent company, and distributed by Caroline Distribution.

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