Thursday, November 30, 2006


Just in case you haven't seen it:

Canada was Spin.Com's Band of the Day!

annie moss

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Rants, Great Lakes Myth Society, Brandon Wiard and the Saviors, The Ultrasounds at the Neutral Zone, Ann Arbor, 11/17/06

Wow, this is long overdue, sorry. Kind of like The Rants new record “Spirit!,” for which lead Rant Ian Saylor and a few choice friends (Eddie Baranek of The Sights and Dave Lawson of The Pop Project, Next Door Neighbors and a million other bands) held a couple release parties over the weekend on Nov. 17.

We were at the Friday show at the newly relocated Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor. Great place, the Neutral Zone, but if you’re not in its target range of clientele (not in high school, as was much of the crowd) it can kind of feel like you’re on the set of “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

Supporting the Rants on this date were The Ultrasounds, Brandon Wiard and the Saviors, and Great Lakes Myth Society. As order of syntax implies, The Ultrasounds played first. They’re pretty young yet (what am I talking about, they’re all my age or a few years under), but there just might be some potential there.

Brandon Wiard and the Saviors followed. Brandon’s got great songwriting chops, but there was a little bit of oomph missing from his set that night. He was probably just exhausted from sickness and putting together the lovingly crafted packaging for “Spirit!,” which is out on his label Cerberus Records.

As long waits seem to be the recurring theme of this entry, let’s talk about how long it was since we had last seen Great Lakes Myth Society — it was two months, which when your blog is named Just Haircuts and Jackets, is too long. The band started things off with “Big Jim Hawkins” and the fiery passion of the battle between Hawkins and Paul Bunyan powered the set. One day I’m going to write an entry just about the voices of the brothers Monger.

Not being familiar with The Rants beyond “Spirit!,” I can’t tell you how much of their set was devoted to songs off the new record. I can tell you that in the live setting, Ian and his surrogate band imbued the songs with a frenzied energy (mostly Eddie’s doing) and a distorted guitar sound standing in for the more subtle elements of psychedelia found on the record. Suffice it say, the version of “Ain’t it a Drag” that came out of my car stereo on the drive home was much different from the one that reverberated through the Neutral Zone earlier in the night, but I liked ‘em both.

"Spirit!" has been limited to a release of 100 copies, so if you haven't got one, order it soon. Recommended for anyone looking for a great record from 2006 that sounds like a great record from 1966.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I need to check my Yahoo! Mail more often

from Monday's message to The Hard Lessons mailing list:
"Brothers and Sisters!!!

There is much to report, and the good things keep coming! For now,
like to address our fans living in the United States of America,
specifically those with television sets. On Tuesday, November 14 our
"Wicked Man" will be featured in the show "Friday Night Lights" on NBC.
The song will be used in the background as "Tyra and Billy Riggins talk
the bar planning a party." Absolutely thrilling! We'll be driving to
York, so let us know how it goes."

What? Whoa! Who? Really? On TV? Too weird. I'm totally taping it though ('cuz I'll be in Jackson seeing Lone Wolf and Cub, Child Bite and Zoos of Berlin, yo.

Other news from The Hard Lessons camp:
"Finally, it looks like our next release will be a special 3-Track
featuring a recorded version of our live staple, "Hey Hey, My My" as
as a pull-out poster! We're going to try to get it out in time to stuff
some stockings, but the official party will be December 26 at the Magic
Stick. Special guests TBA!"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Neil Young Tribute Show at Mac's; Annie Palmer at the Halfass

My apologies for the delay of this post. For some reason, blogger would not let me include photos from Annie Palmer's show, so please visit my Photo Album and take a look.

Thursday, November 9:
Kevin Mahler, The Rick Johnson Rock 'n Roll Machine, Shakey's Revenge, The Losing End at Mac's Bar in Lansing.

This show was organized by John Krohn in attempt to raise money for the forthcoming album, "Headed for the Ditch- A Michigan Tribute to Neil Young," featuring covers by Dave Lawson, Saturday Looks Good to Me, New Grenada, The Hard Lessons and many other Just Haircuts and Jackets worthy bands. More information on the album

Friday, November 10:
Annie Palmer opened for Pedestrian and My Brightest Diamond at the Halfass in Ann Arbor.

Annie added a backing band, and it sounded fantastic. The addition of cello (Kaylan Mitchell) and vocal harmonies (Dave Lawson) went very well with Annie's songs (Drums by "Legs"). The Halfass audience loved Ms. Palmer, and she definitely stood out among the national acts that performed.

Annie Palmer
Upcoming Michigan Shows
Nov. 17-Crazy Wisdom Tea Room in Ann Arbor with Drunken Barn Dance
Nov. 18-Dreamland Theatre in Ypsilanti with Jason Anderson

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Light a lantern at the bar

Well, well, well. The Metro Times music issue is out today, and check out who got the cover: none other our favorite Mitten State tall tale tellers Great Lakes Myth Society.

The issue on a whole is a much-needed print chronicle of the current state of Southeastern Michigan music, and also features the first installment of a new Metro Times feature called Grapeshot, which is a rundown of recent local releases. A recommended jumping-off point for anyone who thinks Just Haircuts and Jackets' coverage is too shallow (and a good place for us to find out about stuff, too — I need to get my hands on this A-plus-worthy PAS/CAL EP).

Also, if there's any doubt that Metro Times music editor Johnny Loftus is anything less than the finest sound-analyzing voice in the area, peep the last graf from his GLMS write-up: "And whatever you do, don't call Great Lakes Myth Society soft. Remember, James Monger has wrestled lampreys."

Wrestling lampreys. Hell yeah.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Recital, Zach Curd, El Boxeo at A.C. Rich in Pontiac

It's a good thing that there are at least a few nerds involved with Suburban Sprawl Music. There wasn't a microphone chord at A.C. Rich on Saturday night, so one was improvised. AND it continued to function throughout the evening (which included being knocked to the ground once or twice, NOT be me this time). I was thoroughly impressed.

Saturday night consisted of:
good people
good music

I've never really spent much time listening to The Recital's recorded material, but I really liked hearing their music live. Quirky and fun.

This was the first time I had seen Zach Curd play with a real piano, and it sounded fantastic. The lower end of the piano was just slightly out of tune, and gave the whole performance a kind of saloon-style sound. Very talented songwriter, brilliant voice.

El Boxeo continues to surprise me with their varying performances. Even without their infamous umbrella dancers, these 3 Livonians kept the energy high and played a great set. I am constantly in awe of the level of musical skill in this band, and they are really exciting to watch perform. I once heard a Canadian introduce El Boxeo during a performance by stating, "I have a crush on every member of this band." I totally have a crush on every member of this band.

Intimate, friendly, cozy, etc. I love nights like that. I DO wish that more people would venture out to A.C.'s such a different experience to see these bands play at smaller venues, and it's an experience worth having. So, next time you see a house show or an A.C. Rich function advertised, make the trip. You'll have a good time.

The Recital
Web site

Zach Curd

El Boxeo
Web site

Annie Moss

November Show Calendar

Wanna go see Lone Wolf and Cub? I can give you a ride … on my turkey!

It's a litte late — 6 days, into the month, really? — but here's that comprehensive monthly Just Haircuts and Jackets show calendar, which hopefully covers each of the half dozen bands that we love.

Note that shows happening tonight are indicated with exclamation points and ALL CAPS!!!

Nov. 8 — Annie Palmer live on WCBN in Ann Arbor (88.3 FM or
Nov. 10 — Annie Palmer opening for My Brightest Diamond and Pedestrian at The Halfass in Ann Arbor
Nov. 10 — Frontier Ruckus, The Plurals, Arthur Autumn, Phil Wintermute, Indigo, Jayson Simonson, A Story Told at Magdalena’s Tea House in Lansing
Nov. 11 — The Hard Lessons at The Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor
Nov. 11 — David Martin (That’s Him! That’s the Guy!) at Bayside Beanery in Muskegon
Nov. 12 — Canada opening for French Kicks at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
Nov. 12 — David Martin (That’s Him! That’s the Guy!) at Beanabox in Grand Rapids
Nov. 17 — Lone Wolf and Cub, Child Bite, Zoos of Berlin at the JMAC in Jackson
Nov. 17 — Annie Palmer, Drunken Barn Dance at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room in Ann Arbor
Nov. 17 — Camerata at Vision Dance Studio in Mt. Pleasant
Nov. 17 — Great Lakes Myth Society, The Rants, Brandon Wiard and the Saviors at The Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor
Nov. 17 — Johnny Headband, SSM, The Paybacks at The Magic Bag in Ferndale
Nov. 18 — Annie Palmer and Jason Anderson at the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsi
Nov. 18 — Child Bite, Man at Arms, Abner Trio house show in Royal Oak (contact bands for more information)
Nov. 18- The Rants (CD Release Show!), Zoos of Berlin, The Decks at Small's in Hamtramck EARLY SHOW ALL AGES.
Nov. 19 — LaSalle opening for Make Believe and Ecstatic Sunshine at Mac’s Bar in Lansing
Nov. 21 — Chris Bathgate, A Story Told at Club Bart in Ferndale
Nov. 22 — Thunderbirds Are Now!, Lee Marvin Computer Arm, Child Bite at The Lager House in Detroit
Nov. 24 — The Hard Lessons, Johnny Headband at Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo
Nov. 25 — Frontier Ruckus, Tone and Niche at Cadieux Café in Detroit
Nov. 28 — The High Strung at the Chelsea District Library in Chelsea
Nov. 30 — The Hard Lessons opening for Plain White T’s at the MSU Union Ballroom in East Lansing
Nov. 30 — Chris Bathgate, A Story Told, The Fluoride Program at Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo
Nov. 30 — Frontier Ruckus, Camerata, Segernomics at Mac’s Bar in Lansing
Nov. 30 — The High Strung, New Grenada, The Royal Affairs, Minor Planets at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
Nov. 30 — Mason Proper opening for Tokyo Police Club at The Intersection in Grand Rapids

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's the Great Pumpkin, Just Haircuts and Jackets! (The Pop Project, Chris Bathgate, The City on Film, Those Transatlantics and Child Bite)

Well it would appear another Halloween has come and gone. Candy was eaten, booze was drank and non-creative females everywhere affixed “sexy” to things that weren’t and already were “sexy” (a girl at the Blind Pig totally asked me if she could buy my the hat from my Lincoln Continental costumes so she could be Sexy Abe Lincoln).

To commemorate Just Haircuts and Jackets' first Halloween, here’s the first-ever Just Haircuts and Jackets Halloween Costume Constest!

Most Committed to Costume: Chris Hatfield of Those Transatlantics as Hunter S. Thompson

Dude had the good doctor of journalism’s act DOWN, greeting much of the crowd at Rubbles with a gruff yell of “BASTARDS!” It didn’t carry over to the stage, but if he was acting as twisted as Hunter, there’s no way he could pull off all those keyboard runs.

Most Elaborate Costume: Mike Spence of Those Transatlantics as a ZOMBIE!!!!!

BRAAAAINS!!!! Seriously, I didn’t know who the undead creature hanging around with the Trannies was until he put a guitar on. Extra points for Sam Raimi-worthy use of fake blood.

Best Costumed Cover: Tie, Weezer’s “The Good Life” as performed by The Pop Project and The Beatles’ “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” as performed by Those Transatlantics

When I heard The Pop Project was going to play Pinkerton in its entirety, I flipped out. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say Weezer’s sophomore disc is one of my all-time favorites, and the Pop Project boys certainly did it justice — even while staging an instrumental Chinese fire drill. I shouted along to “The Good Life” like the 17-year-old Rivers Cuomo devotee that I still kind of am.

Don’t know if you can tell it from the guitar breakdown in “I, Avalanche,” the “ooh ahhs” in “To the Editor” or 80 percent of “I Had An Idea, But I Left It At Home,” but Those Transatlantics have a thing for The Fab Four. They opened up their Hallow’s Eve set at Rubbles with not one, but two songs from the mop-topped Liverpudlians’ studio-only days — “I Want You (She’s So Heavy) being the other. So pitch-perfect it was almost a let down when they started playing their own stuff (almost).

Most Popular Costume: Freddie Mercury

A survey Headline News broadcast the other day said this year’s two most popular costumes were witches and pirates. Well, in Just Haircuts and Jackets Land, flamboyant mustachioed frontmen outnumbered sorceresses and buccaneers 2 to 0 to 0.

Not that it was much of a stretch — The City On Film’s Bob Nanna was playing stripped-down acoustic Queen covers, and Child Bite’s Shawn Knight always kind of looks like The Game-era Freddie. Bob’s costume may have hinged on a fake mustache, but fake mustaches are awesome and hilarious, so no complaints here.

Best costume accessory: Light-up Weezer =W=, handcrafted by Adam Kempa

Post-Pinkerton conversation:
Me: Hey Adam, what are you doing with the W?
Adam Kempa: It's going in my basement!

Most Earth-shattering non-costumed, non-cover set: Chris Bathgate

Apparently Chris was saying at the Half-Ass Halloween show that he doesn't know if he'll ever be able to top his Thursday set at The Blind Pig. It was a little slow to start with, but I can totally see where he’s coming from.

Thus concludes the Just Haircuts and Jackets Costume Contest. Congratulations to the winners. I'm sure they'll cherish this honor for years to come.

Heads up for the November gig calendar in the next few days!

The Pop Project
Web site

Chris Bathgate

The City on Film

Those Transatlantics
Web site
Upcoming Michigan Shows:
Dec. 9 — The Magic Stick in Detroit with Anathallo, Page France and Javelins

Child Bite
Web site
Upcoming Michigan Shows:
Nov. 17 — The JAMC in Jackson with Lone Wolf and Cub and Zoos of Berlin
Nov. 18 — House show with Man at Arms and Abner Trio (more info to come)
Nov. 22 — The Lager House in Detroit with Thunderbirds Are Now! and Lee Marvin Computer Arm