Collective Consciousness – Slowfoot Reveals Personal Thoughts and Mantras on ‘Something Good’ Album

DSC_8668 2
Slowfoot’s Tony DiDio, Frank Grimaldi, Kris Greig, Mike Conley and Peter Zajicek bring “Something Good” to listeners with their debut album. Photo courtesy of Slowfoot

For Slowfoot, Something Good captures a collective inner monologue from past to present.

The Waterford blues-rock quintet’s debut album reveals personal thoughts about loss, growth and ambition, especially from lead vocalist-guitarist Frank Grimaldi and organist Peter Zajicek.

“I wrote ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ when I was 17 after my first bad breakup. It’s just a heartbroken kid who thinks he’s never gonna fall in love again. ‘Long Road Ahead’ was me trying to write a song that sounded like a Jimi Hendrix song,” Grimaldi said.

“What comes out from me lyrically are things that I don’t have the courage to say directly to people, or they’re something I just wanna get off my chest. They’re also mantras, even if they’re negative. I feel like Pete [Zajicek] writes out of frustration as well.”

Those shared experiences from Grimaldi and Zajicek truly produce “something good” for Slowfoot listeners.

With bandmates Mike Conley (guitar), Kris Grieg (bass) and Tony DiDio (drums), they present a profound release filled with soulful vocals, introspective lyrics, vintage Hammond organ solos and bluesy instrumentation.

“If you asked all five members of the group, you would get five different favorite bands. There’s a lot of different stuff melting into our sound, and you know who wrote what song,” said Grimaldi, who’s influenced by Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin and Derek Trucks.

“It’s only me and Pete who have been writing the songs, but you can feel my writing tendencies versus Pete’s. He has a lot of words in his songs … and my songs are more Hemingway in their approach.”

Continue reading “Collective Consciousness – Slowfoot Reveals Personal Thoughts and Mantras on ‘Something Good’ Album”

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

Strange Heart 3x
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

Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album

wavelength_cover_v011 2
Eric Ripper features exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes on his new album. Artwork – Dean Ripper

Filled with emotion and adventure, Eric Ripper rides the wave of new possibilities.

The Ferndale, Michigan acoustic pop-rock singer-songwriter boldly journeys through the peaks and valleys of growth, love and aspiration on his latest revelatory album, Wavelength.

“I traveled out to Utah to start this project, worked on it while I was out there and continued it after coming back. I’ve seen many beautiful things and spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts,” Ripper said.

“Those thoughts come together when you finally sit down with a guitar in hand. I’ve learned that I need time to write and need to explore myself if I am to continue writing and producing music.”

With self-discovery top of mind, Ripper soars alongside Wavelength’s exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes. The album’s nine contemplative tracks instantly invite listeners to accompany Ripper on his introspective, cathartic odyssey.

“Traveling is a big part of my inspiration as well as having good and bad life experiences. All elements toward this album have been therapeutic: writing, producing, recording and releasing – all of it,” he said.

“I feel as if I’m sharing a big side of me with others on this release, and I just hope people can hear the work and dedication put into it. Everyone is growing as a person … they all have their own direction. I’m riding this wavelength, and I hope others can hear their purpose and find themselves.”

Continue reading “Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album”

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”

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”

Remote Start – Otto’s ‘Still Picture You’ Debut EP Born from Virtual Songwriting Sessions

Otto_Press Shot3
Otto’s Nate Dornfried, Chesney Walters, Jonny Walker and Austin Howard create an ’80s-inspired pop sound on “Still Picture You.” (Not pictured: Ryan Freitas) Photo – Brooke Tiller

For Otto, a series of virtual songwriting sessions provided unexpected creativity and camaraderie.

The Detroit indie-pop quintet of Chesney Walters (vocals), Jonny Walker (guitar), Nate Dornfried (keys), Ryan Freitas (bass) and Austin Howard (drums) instantly gelled while penning new tracks over Zoom for their infectious debut EP, Still Picture You.

“In 2019, I was ready to call it quits with music, and then two weeks later, I just changed my mind. Austin and I decided to start doing our own project, and we started writing with no end-game in mind. And I knew Nate from where we grew up, and I ran into him and asked if he wanted to be a part of it,” said Walker, who previously played with Howard in another project.

“The three of us wrote together for a year and a half and auditioned 10 different singers, but couldn’t find anyone we were happy with. I was ready to call it quits (again) because we just couldn’t find anyone, and then Chesney just came out of nowhere. Austin and I also have known Ryan for a while. He ended up playing bass with us for one show, and now he’s here.”

With the right lineup intact, Otto started compiling a new batch of earnest tracks in 2020. Walters met regularly with Walker to write and refine the ‘80s-inspired, synth-pop songs that would become Still Picture You.

“I was living with my family at the time in the suburbs, and I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere except to Jonny’s house to write music,” Walters said. “We would just write and write for months while there was nothing else to do.”

During their writing sessions, Walters and Walker collaborated remotely with other Otto members until the pandemic subsided. It would be another six months before the entire band would meet in person.

“I hadn’t met them for months once we started, and we would all rotate at Jonny’s house and be there at different times,” Walters said. “But the first time we were all together in the same place was when we went to Nashville in March 2021 to record.”

Continue reading “Remote Start – Otto’s ‘Still Picture You’ Debut EP Born from Virtual Songwriting Sessions”

Pithy Tales – Blank Tape Tax Chronicles Self-Empowerment on ‘Plastic Vapid Sexual Cool’ Album

Blank Tape Tax 2022 1
Blank Tape Tax’s Hayley McNichol and Ben Yost overcome adversity on “Plastic Vapid Sexual Cool.” Courtesy photo

Ben Yost thoughtfully constructs personal vignettes of self-empowerment.

The Detroit punk-rock vocalist-guitarist-drummer vividly recounts past struggles to overcome adversity on Blank Tape Tax’s new pithy, punchy album, Plastic Vapid Sexual Cool, via Kickpop Records.

“There’s a quote from Ezra Pound where he says, ‘The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy.’ The mission of my writing is to use imagery,” said Yost, who’s inspired by the late 20th century American poet’s development of imagism, a movement that stressed the precision and economy of language.

Alongside Blank Tape Tax bassist Hayley McNichol, Yost employs astute, concise lyrics and raw, brisk instrumentation to address internal challenges with mental health, relationships and loss. While only 21 minutes long, Plastic Vapid Sexual Cool provides a detailed analysis beneath the surface.

“‘Hospital’ is about me having a mental breakdown, but it’s also about a number of other things,” Yost said. “I have my interpretation as the author, but you, the listener, may have another interpretation based on the words, and your interpretation is just as valid an interpretation as mine is.”

Continue reading “Pithy Tales – Blank Tape Tax Chronicles Self-Empowerment on ‘Plastic Vapid Sexual Cool’ Album”

Recovery Time – Linen Ray’s ‘On the Mend’ Album Brings Comfort and Closure

LR_OTM_COVER_Final-3000x3000 V2
Linen Ray’s “On the Mend” reveals a majestic, internal transformation fueled by love, hope and gratitude. Photo – Mike Frieseman/Package design – Stephanie Eatherly

Linen Ray slowly breathes a long-awaited sigh of relief.

The Nashville, Tennessee married folk-rock duo of Rebekah Craft (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Gabriel Craft (drums, backing vocals) releases deeply buried tensions and inner struggles on their latest cathartic album, On the Mend.

“We’re in a full-circle moment now … there’s been some closure and healing in different areas. We’ve never written anything more meaningful to us that’s so close to our hearts,” said Rebekah Craft, who relocated to Music City from Ypsilanti with her husband and children in 2018.

“When we were moving to Nashville, there were so many unknowns, but we knew we had to do it. And, now looking back, we can see that this move has been really good for our family. We got to step away from some of those situations to really look at it and see the whole picture now.”

Inside that new On the Mend picture, Linen Ray finds comfort and rejuvenation after weathering personal stress and pandemic challenges. Each therapeutic track reveals a majestic, internal transformation fueled by hope, love and gratitude.

“We can see more clearly now because we’re all human, and we all make our choices,” said Rebekah Craft. “Now … we have way more grace, compassion and understanding than we had before when we were living through those moments in Michigan.”

Continue reading “Recovery Time – Linen Ray’s ‘On the Mend’ Album Brings Comfort and Closure”

Sage Advice – The Steve Taylor Three Finds the Right Balance on ‘Travel Light’ Album

IMG_4514
The Steve Taylor Three’s Carey Waver, Steve Taylor and Bryan Frink share gratitude, wisdom and honesty on “Travel Light.” Photo – Daniel Roth

Steve Taylor follows a valuable piece of advice from his father.

The Lake Orion Americana singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist carries an optimal load of “supplies” through life’s peaks and valleys with bandmates Bryan Frink (bass, guitar, keys, vocals) and Carey Weaver (drums, percussion, vocals) on The Steve Taylor Three’s insightful new album, Travel Light, out Friday.

“Once a year, my dad and I would go hike the Appalachian Trail in the Appalachian Mountains. He would always talk about how you had to bring everything with you because you’re going to be up in the mountains,” Taylor said.

“You’d have to carry all your water, and you don’t realize how heavy water is until you carry it with you all day. The idea is you only bring what you need. I thought the whole idea of camping and hiking and having to carry everything in your bag is a great metaphor for life.”

Inside The Steve Taylor Three’s Travel Light “bag” resides a comforting assortment of gratitude, wisdom and honesty across 11 transformative tracks. Each one introduces a past, present or future destination along an unpredictable journey filled with heartwarming experiences.

“The older we get, the more reflection there is. I seem to be writing a lot of songs now about the passage of time and what it means. That wasn’t the case when we were younger,” said Taylor, who last released Earn Every Scar with his bandmates in March 2020.

“The simplicity of that phrase, ‘It Doesn’t Take Long,’ I try to take that title or that refrain and just come at it from family, relationships and everything. You realize when you get to close to 50 … I’m going to turn 49 here in a couple weeks and Bryan and Carey have already turned 50. You think, ‘Wow, 50.’ When we were younger, we thought people who were 30 were old.”

Continue reading “Sage Advice – The Steve Taylor Three Finds the Right Balance on ‘Travel Light’ Album”

Going Strong – ATMIG Demonstrates Musical Prowess, Honors Majesty Crush on ‘Avec Muscles’ EP

Atmig(42)
ATMIG’s Drew Borowsky, David Jackowicz, Tobias Lipski and Dan Clark build a robust sound on “Avec Muscles.” Photo – Scott Millington

ATMIG strongly flexes a new creative muscle.

The Detroit indie-rock quartet of Tobias Lipski (vocals, guitar), Drew Borowsky (bass), Dan Clark (guitar) and David Jackowicz (drums) demonstrates their musical prowess with a fresh lineup and a new tenacious EP, Avec Muscles, which drops Saturday.

“A lot of that comes from the current crew. Dave can do the things on drums, Dan can do the things on guitar, and Drew can do the things on bass that I like to hear in the music that I listen to and that I sure as heck can’t do myself. We get each other’s vibe, so it can actually happen,” Lipski said.

Throughout Avec Muscles, ATMIG, or After The Money Is Gone, seamlessly builds a robust sonic system from several digestible, multi-genre “proteins,” including shoegaze, indie-folk, ambient, post-punk, dream-pop and indie-rock. Each “protein” evolves into a mighty, cohesive listen.

“For Avec Muscles, I think we still have variety, but overall, it’s a heavier album. It’s not just hard rock, it’s not just shoegaze, and it’s not just folk. It’s just us trying to put forth what the band and I do best,” said Lipski, who formed the band in 2006.

A follow-up to 2019’s Wishes album, Avec Muscles also pays tribute to Majesty Crush, a highly regarded Detroit dream-pop/shoegaze quartet that formed in 1990. The band featured the late David Stroughter (vocals), Hobey Echlin (bass), Michael Segal (guitar) and Odell Nails (drums) as part of a regal lineup that released their final EP, Sans Muscles, before splitting in 1995.

“It’s supposed to be the reverse of the Majesty Crush EP, Sans Muscles, because ‘Muscles’ was Hobey’s nickname. That was the last EP they did knowing Hobey was leaving the band,” said Lipski, whose new EP, Avec Muscles, means “With Muscle.” (“Avec” is French for “With.”)

“The whole concept is that I’m a huge Majesty Crush fan, and maybe Hobey will play with us. And if he’s going to play with us, then why don’t we name the song and EP after him? Who knows? Maybe he’ll come out to the show and play some Majesty Crush songs with us.”

Continue reading “Going Strong – ATMIG Demonstrates Musical Prowess, Honors Majesty Crush on ‘Avec Muscles’ EP”