Thursday, September 20, 2007

Goodbye <3

Well, dear readers, it's time to quell the rumors and shed light upon the latest news on the JHaJ front. After a lot of deliberating, vacillating, and kind of freaking out, I have decided to put Just Haircuts and Jackets to rest. It's been a phenomenal year, above and beyond what we could have ever expected from a tiny fan-blog, but times are a'changin' and it looks like this will be the end. As most of you know, Erik recently graduated from MSU, and moved to Austin, TX. I just began my last year of college, with the expectation of graduating and moving to Chicago by next August. This whole “trying to graduate and figure out what to do with life” is actually pretty time-consuming (who would have thought?!?!), and just isn't leaving me any time to put in the work and effort to keep the blog up to the standards I'd like. So, in the anniversary month of our one-year-old blog, it's time to say goodbye.

I don't quite know how to wrap things up in a way that will do JHaJ justice. Do I share my favorite experiences? Do I individually thank all the people who have made such an important impact on my life? Do I make a top 10 list of my favorite MI songs (oh god, I don't even think I could do that, WAY too difficult...the only song guaranteed to be on the list would be Hearts and Flowers!)?

I think instead, I will leave some parting words in hope that my discoveries and experiences this year might inspire action in others. I learned two big things during my work with JHaJ. The first, and most obvious, is that there is a HELL OF A LOT of great music in the state of Michigan. But it doesn't stop at just great bands...there are wonderful musicians, awesome venues, and a huge audience-base.

Which brings me to the second big thing I learned this year: The amount of passionate people who are willing to work hard to keep the Michigan music scene alive is staggering. For me, ELFest was the perfect example of this. So many people came out of the woodwork to help create a monumental weekend of music. The kindness and generosity brought to that tiny backyard was overwhelming, all with the desire to foster a kick-ass musical environment for 2 days.

For reasons like this, I really believe we have a unique and wonderful indie music scene here in Michgian. “Scenes” grow and change and develop and move on, but the little time I've been able to spend as a part of it has been life-changing. I can only hope that the music of our home-state will encourage others to take part in promoting these musicians and to keep the scene thriving.

Thank you all for the support you've given to Erik and I during this crazy blog endeavor. We never expected JHaJ to grow in the ways it did, and we never could have been successful without the support of both musicians and music appreciators. Although there will be no more blog, all of the MI music I've grown to love will still be very close to my heart. I will still be star-struck by GLMS, I will still have a tiny heart flutter when I hear 100 Years, I'll still scream like a little girl when I hear Zach Curd sing, I'll still get emotional when (dreamy) Bathgate plays “Last Parade on Ann St.,” and don't worry: I'll continue to see Canada at every possible chance.

I hope to see you all at our showcase this weekend at the Elbow Room (info in the post below). We'll drink to the bands that we love, Just Haircuts and Jackets.

Annie Moss

Our Final Shin-Dig

JHaJ Birthday Showcase, featuring:
Zoos of Berlin
Starling Electric
Elm From Arm
Sycamore Smith

The Elbow Room, Ypsi
Doors at 9:30

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Onion?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

September Concert Calendar


Yes, it's true...we've been your Michigan blogging neighbors for an entire year now. What a lovely year it's been! We're trying to expand our horizons here at JHaJ for our second year, so there will be a whole new group of musicians added to the concert calendar and show coverage. As always, please feel free to leave comments with amendments/corrections. Happy Autumn!
annie moss

Sept. 1
-Tone and Niche, The Wednesdees at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit
-The Sights in Pontiac

Sept. 2
-Thunderbirds are Now!, Sunday Painters, Marissa Guzman, The Amino Acids, Desolation Angels, Serenity Court, Ghost City, Johnny Headband at Detroit News/Comcast Stage in Pontiac
-Head and Toe, Drunken Barn Dance, That's Him! That's The Guy!, Chris Bathgate at the DAAC in Grand Rapids

Sept. 3
-Canada, Patrick Elkins, Lieutenant Nun, Kevin McGorey, Alina Simone, Mason Proper at Canada House South in Ypsi

Sept. 4
-Brandon Wiard and the Saviours at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor

Sept. 5
-Chris Bathgate, Misty Lyn, Matt Jones at the Lager House in Detroit
-Dirt Road Logic at the Intersection in Grand Rapids

Sept. 6
-Zoos of Berlin, Citizen Smile, The Go, The Singles at Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak

Sept. 7
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Frontier Ruckus, Head and Toe, Dirt Road Logic, The Bell Tree at Mac's Bar in Lansing
-Mason Proper, Perhapsy, The Coast at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Tone and Niche live on WDET in Detroit
-Tone and Nice, Murder Mystery at TC's Speakeasy in Ypsi
-Woodman, The Wildbirds with Hotness, Ben Cyllus at the Magic Stick in Detroit
-The Sights, Dan Neal at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit

Sept. 8
-Great Lakes Myth Society at Barnes and Noble in Ann Arbor
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Chris Bathgate, Creaky Boards, Ching Chong Song at the Elbow Room in Ypsi
-The Pop Project, Eons, The Hard Lessons at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Frontier Ruckus, Combat Corduroy, Asphodel Fields, Fernelity, Olivet, Day Walker & The Skychild, The Giving Tree, Eyes of an Enemy, Hollow Heroes, Common Shiner, The Kinds at the Kalamazoo Theatre in Kalamazoo
-Head and Toe at Good Beans Cafe in Flint
-The Bell Tree at East of Averill in Flint
-The Sights, Dirt Road Logic, The Darts, Minor Planets at Mac's Bar in Lansing

Sept. 9
-Brand Wiard and the Saviours at Serendipity Cafe in Canton
-The Novel Citizen at Arts and Apples Festival in Rochester
-Misty Lyn at The Elbow Room in Ypsi

Sept. 11
-Frontier Ruckus, That's Him! That's The Guy! at Scene Metrospace in East Lansing

Sept. 12
-Chris Bathgate, Canada, The Cotton Jones Basket Ride, Andrew Dost at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor

Sept. 14
-Head and Toe at Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City
-The Hat Madder, The Royal Affairs, Relapse (opening for Oh My God!) at Mac's Bar in Lansing
-The Oscillating Fan Club at the Belmont in Hamtramck

Sept. 15
-Frontier Ruckus, Flatfoot at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Head and Toe at Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City
-The Darts, Lay of the Cid, Hollow Point at Replay Entertainment Exchange in Lansing

Sept. 16
-Annie Palmer at the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsi
-Tim Monger at the Old Town Tavern in Ann Arbor
-Head and Toe at Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City

Sept. 17
-Wildcatting, Fast Computers at The Belmont in Hamtramck

Sept. 19
-Chris Bathgate at the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsi
-The Great Fiction, Judah Johnson, A Stitch-up at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak

Sept. 20
-Child Bite, Lee Marvin Computer Arm, Juice Boxxx, Bonde do Role at the Magic Stick in Detroit
-Chris Bathgate at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor
-Sycamore Smith at Red Eye Cafe in Saginaw

Sept. 21
-Johnny Headband, The Hard Lessons, The Noisettes at The Magic Stick in Detroit
-NOMO at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Chris Bathgate, Ellery at Lemonjello's in Holland
-Sycamore Smith, Clear Days Always at the DAAC in Grand Rapids
-Head and Toe, The Bell Tree, Daniel Roth at Replay Entertainment Exchange in Lansing

Sept. 22
-Zoos of Berlin, Starling Electric, Elm From Arm, Sycamore Smith at JHaJ's Birthday Showcase at the Elbow Room in Ypsi
-Mason Proper, The High Strung at CAID in Detroit
-The Darts, Brandon Wiard and the Saviours, Sh! The Octopus at the Painted Lady in Hamtramck
-NOMO at Festival of the Forks in Albion
-Chris Bathgate, Frontier Ruckus, Head and Toe at the DAAC in Grand Rapids
-Beilby's Ball, The Bell Tree, Stargazer at A.J's cafe in Ferndale

Sept. 23
-Breathe Owl Breathe, Frontier Ruckus, Chris Bathgate at the Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo
-Tim Monger at the Steak Hut in Detroit
-Sycamore Smith, Dondo Rappleyea at Amsterdam Espresso in Detroit

Sept. 28
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Frontier Ruckus, Deastro at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Drunken Barn Dance, Brandon Wiard and the Saviours at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room in Ann Arbor
-Sh! The Octopus at The Union in Clarkston

Sept. 29
-The Hard Lessons at Red Ink Studios in Flint
-The Darts, Liam and the Sinners at Nunica Cafe in Nunica
-Wildcatting at the CAID in Detroit

Sept. 30
-The Oscillating Fan Club, Wildcatting, Qui at the Magic Stick in Detroit

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mick Bassett, Berr Kerkey Sessions Volume II. December, 2006

(photo by Chris Bassett)

Bassett's Berr Kerkey Sessions Volume II, begins with some tinny percussion that fused into a dirge-like opener, “Baby, I'm Just A Man A' Means.” I was kicked off my seat when the first song started gaining momentum. Weird, non-melodic piano licks threw me off in the beginning, but finally a jazzy piano theme began to meld with the staunch percussion. Honestly, a bit awkward to hear at first, but I couldn't stop listening!

The first song set the tone for the rest of the album- bizarre jazz themes mixed with Bassett's (yes, I'm gonna say it) Dylan-esque voice. Or, to reference a Michigan artist (oh-so-much more appropriate), he has an element of Alec Jensen's vocal trade-marks. There's also a bit of early Pangram-era Jonathan Visgr thrown in the mix.

I sort of get the impression that Mick sat in a studio one day and played around with previously seeded ideas and came up with this ambiguously themed EP. “Haunt Me Clean” stood out as my favorite, and possibly the most accessible track. I'm curious as to the inspiration behind the reoccurring “circus” tracks, comprised of eerily generic organ-grinder melodies. It was a neat addition to the record. The sound of Berr Kerkey was incredibly different from my experience of seeing Mick perform live with a full band. Which, you know, is great. I like musical diversity within an artist.

I'll be honest. Some people won't dig this record. But I HIGHLY recommend tracking a copy down, and at least taking one listen. It was nothing less than captivating. Seriously, this was a refreshing side-step away from my indie-folk roots.

Mick Bassett

Upcoming Michigan Shows
Oct. 4 — Kraftbrau Brewery in Kalamazoo

Friday, August 24, 2007


Guess what, fellow Michiganders?!? September is JhaJ's birthday month! We've been bloggin' our hearts out for about a year now, and in recognition of this, we've decided to put together a showcase of Michigan bands to perform at the Elbow Room in Ypsi. So, mark your calendars for Saturday, September 22, and come check out some lovely music from around the state.

jhaj show
(HUGE thanks to Jon Cendrowski for making this awesome poster. You're gettin' a buncha PBRs from me.)

For our first bar-venue based JHaJ showcase, I wanted to book bands that we really haven't covered much. I dug back into my concert memory reserves and I came up with 4 bands; each that I've only had the chance to see perform once, but who made a really great impression. We're bringing musicians from ALL over the mitten state to the Elbow Room, offering up a smorgasbord of music and performance styles, hopefully providing kick-ass night of music-making awesomeness. A few thoughts and details of our beloved Showcase performers:

Zoos of Berlin (Detroit, MI)
Zoos has thus far been a well-kept JHaJ secret. Erik and I have been huge fans for a while, but haven't had many opportunities to check them out in concert. They've got groovy vocals and keyboards, and the one time I saw them in concert, they pulled out horns and strings and blew me away with their sound. Have you listened to their “Century Rail” Demo? IT IS SO AMAZING. I'm thrilled to have Zoos of Berlin as our headlining act for the JHaJ showcase.

Starling Electric (Ann Arbor, MI)
In no parallel OR non-parallel universe could I out-wit Erik's description of Starling Electric: “Glammed-out baroque and psych stomp of the highest order,” (because, honestly, who could weave words better than that??). These guys decorate their stage with string lights and acrylic foliage, and are seriously engaging performers. Rest assured you won't see another band like Starling Electric unless you get your hands on a time machine.

Elm From Arm (Ann Arbor, MI)
I'm already a huge fan of Matt Jones, and I love his dual personalities as acoustic singer/songwriter AND front man of a synth-flavored jam-rock-band. The one time caught Elm From Arm in concert, right away I knew this was a band to be excited about. These guys are great performers with a lot of energy and their music pulls off unique orchestration and exceedingly interesting lyrics. Also, let's hope they play their full-band version of “Threadlines”- already a great song, but the electric guitar and keyboard rifts take this song to a whole new level.

Sycamore Smith (Marquette, MI)
Sycamore has been entertaining northern Michigan audiences with witty narrative for the past several years after splitting from the duo, The Muldoons. I was first introduced to the music of Sycamore Smith at Keweenawesomefest in Houghton, MI last February, and his kazoo-clad performance was captivating. The artist (albeit in third person) claims, “his scribblings focus on the gruesomely funny exploits of dip-shit characters whose twisted histories unfold over the course of countless interconnected songs.” I've also heard him referred to as “the heart-throb of the UP.” So we're incredibly lucky to have him traveling down to Ypsi for our show.

The specs:

JHaJ Birthday Showcase, featuring:
Zoos of Berlin
Starling Electric
Elm From Arm
Sycamore Smith

The Elbow Room, Ypsi
Doors at 9:30

Bring lots of friends.

annie m.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Has anyone else heard this awesome news about Chris Bathgate getting a UK record deal?!? Bathgate gave a brief interview on MSU's student radio station, 88.9 The Impact, during their local music show and informed Lansing fans of his intended winter tour of Europe AND of the "Cork Tale Wake" UK release. I don't have any more specific info at the moment, but I'll post more as the story develops.
annie moss

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Patrick Elkins