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

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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.”

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New Stratton Setlist Singles – Quick Tiko’s ‘Virus,’ and We Three’s ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’

 

Timo Radwan and Niko Matsamakis of Quick Tiko. Photo courtesy of Niko Matsamakis

A surge of emerging artists has become “immune” to the coronavirus.

That “immunity” arrives in the form of new music inspired by or released early to cope with the ongoing pandemic. This week, Quick Tiko and We Three combat the coronavirus on different ends of the creativity spectrum. Here are two freshly-pressed singles repeating in our ears, minds and hearts.

Quick Tiko – ‘Virus’

Quick Tiko, a new punk-garage rock duo comprised of The Sneeks’ Niko Matsamakis (guitars, vocals) and Timo Radwan (drums, bass, guitar), recently dropped a new raw, propulsive banger called “Virus.” It’s akin to early Kings of Leon, think “Aha Shake Heartbreak” and “Because of the Times” with extra spunk and rough edges.

A feisty two-minute track, “Virus” erupts into whirring, echoey guitars, pounding drums and driving bass as Matsamakis rowdily sings, “And now I’m petrified/La la la, don’t go outside/Whoa ho, I will stay inside/I ain’t going out to say goodbye/And now I’m super-duper high/Feelin’ kinda paranoid/Thinkin’ if I go outside, maybe I’m a catch a virus.”

“Stay inside people! Save lives! I was singing about exactly what was on my mind. I’d rather stay inside than possibly die. Timo and I wrote that song in one day, roughly a week ago. We wanted the recording to capture the energy and anxiety we’re feeling as best as possible,” Matsamakis said.

Luckily, Quick Tiko effectively practices social distancing with Matsamakis residing in metro Detroit and Radwan hunkering down in Toronto. The duo met at Michigan State University and wrote and recorded a ton of tracks when they were roommates back in 2016.

“Now we both just have all the time we need to chill in our respective home studios and record. For ‘Virus,’ I recorded some guitars and vocals, sent it to Timo, who then laid down the drums, bass and another guitar part. We’ve already been working on a couple more songs with this method of recording – hopefully to be released soon,” Matsamakis said.

Quick Tiko also plans to release a video for “Virus,” which will include separate quarantine video footage of Matsamakis and Radwan that’s compiled by artist and friend Colin Knighton.

We Three – ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’

We Three’s Joshua Humlie, Bethany Blanchard and Manny Humlie. Photo courtesy of Palawan Productions

We Three eloquently embraces the dark side of loneliness on their lighthearted new single, “I Wanna Love Somebody,” which dropped Friday via Palawan Productions.

The McMinnville, Ore., pop-rock sibling trio of Manny Humlie (guitar, vocals), Bethany Blanchard (bass, vocals) and Joshua Humlie (keys, drums, vocals) tackles the negative, troublesome thoughts that wreak havoc on lonely, anxious minds.

I Wanna Love Somebody” allows We Three to proudly raise their sonic lightsabers in retaliation against incessant worries of lingering solitude and paralyzing self-doubt. It’s time to silence the “sith” of pessimism and welcome the “jedi” of optimism.

“This song is about the feeling in the pit of your stomach as you are going to bed where you feel like you are unworthy and never will be loved. The concept of ‘I think I’m gonna die alone’ is a feeling we have all had. It is a really dark thing, but we wanted to convey it in a lighthearted way that connects people when they are feeling like that,” said Manny Humlie, who originally appeared on “America’s Got Talent” with his siblings in 2018.

The track soars with vibrant electric guitars, quick finger snaps and bouncy synths that harmonize instantly with Manny Humlie’s quick, cheeky vocals, “I figured it out while I’m in the ground/There’s no kinda lining/Just laying around and counting the cracks/All in the ceiling/Just fooling around and breaking it down/To find a meaning.”

Continue reading “New Stratton Setlist Singles – Quick Tiko’s ‘Virus,’ and We Three’s ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’”

Farewell AF – Wilson Hosts ‘Thank You, Goodnight’ Shows Saturday at The Crofoot

Wilson will perform their final three shows Saturday night at The Crofoot.

Wilson will take their final bow of fuckery Saturday night in Pontiac.

The Detroit multi-genre quartet will host three farewell banger shows filled with debauchery and shenanigans for longtime, hardcore fans at The Crofoot.

“The shows will be closure for us and everyone who’s been involved. It will be emotional, but relieving at the same time,” said Jason Spencer, Wilson’s co-founder and guitarist. “We’ve always been transparent with our fans, that’s always been important to me, but all in all, the fans have been polite and supportive.”

Along with bandmates Chad Nicefield (vocals), James Lascu (bass) and Matt Puhy (drums), Spencer announced Wilson’s indefinite hiatus and “Thank You, Goodnight” farewell shows Nov. 6 via the band’s Facebook page. After a decade filled with in-your-face rock, hip-hop and all things ‘90s, the band will celebrate an explosive era three different ways:

1.  A “Wilson’s House of Fuckery” 4:30 p.m. pre-party in The Crofoot’s Vernors Room with band conversations and a past, present and future walk-through as well as a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Lighthouse of Oakland County and MusiCares.

2. A 6 p.m. performance of “Tasty Nasty” and “Right to Rise” in their entirety on The Crofoot Ballroom stage. The Messenger Birds, Red Stone Souls and Ladysse will provide support.

3. A 10 p.m. performance of “Full Blast Fuckery” in its entirety on The Pike Room stage. Strange Magic will provide support.

Each show will encompass part of Wilson’s history at their “hometown” venue and allow devoted fans to engage one last time with these genre-bending titans. In a sense, it will be like viewing the exhilarating and exhausting journey through each band member’s eyes.

“The Vernors Room pre-party will consist of props/outfits from old videos, stage props and a bunch of visual aspects. Our fans have always loved the gimmicky parts of the band, so we figured this could be a fun way to obtain items for their Wilson collections … no joke, we have fans who have made entire rooms out of Wilson items,” Spencer said.

“The Ballroom will be a standard Wilson headliner with some visual aspects. But the final show in The Pike Room will be the most intense show because it’s the type of room that has played a big part in our history. You know, punk-rock club style … just wild.”

Continue reading “Farewell AF – Wilson Hosts ‘Thank You, Goodnight’ Shows Saturday at The Crofoot”