Friday, June 29, 2007

Matt Jones, Misty Lyn, Carol Catherine in Houghton 6/26/07

Hey! My name's Kevin and I live in the Houghton, which is a small town in Michigan's UP where some really incredible things happen. I volunteer for WMTU, a pretty sweet college radio station (4.4 Kilowatts!), and we like to throw sweet concerts. Were you at Keweenawesomefest? I hope so. Houghton is the best small town in Michigan to hear and play music.

Last Tuesday, WMTU brought Matt Jones, Misty Lyn, and Carol Catherine right downtown to the Keweenaw Brewing Company. We set things up on the deck out back, moved some tables, and our ridiculously courteous and talented sound dudes fixed all the feedback so it sounded near-perfect.

Misty's set was beyond belief. Her arsenal of beautiful, heart-rending songs seemed infinite, and the audience loved her; groups emerged from bar seeking the creator of the songs that drifted into the KBC. She finished with an Elliott Smith cover, Biggest Lie, and it was all too much to handle.

Matt played next, with only a small intermission due to the looming gray clouds. I can't believe it didn't rain; I had ELFest flashbacks for the entirety of the night. Matt's dreamlike poetry kept us dry though, and he played way more new ones than I expected. Who's excited for that reportedly half-finished new album?

The after-party consisted of embarrassing drunk things, a wrestling match between me and Matt Jones, the singing of Great Lakes Myth Society songs, other memories I was not involved in or can't recall now, and UP-famous (Michigan-famous?) Tyler D. rap battling himself. The UP is this fun all the time, and you should come visit. We can find you a couch.

Thanks to WMTU's summer staff, the KBC, Matt, Misty, and Carol for creating one of the most memorable summer nights I've ever had. The town is still talking about it, and my favorite thing that's come out of it is my friend Adam's tribute to Tuesday night. What a state.



Matt's Set

Rap Battle


-Kevin Eder

Monday, June 25, 2007

Strawflower's Waltz, No. 2

I grew up in Kentwood, a typical suburb about 15 minutes south of Grand Rapids. My best friend Tim and I started getting into music, specifically punk and ska, in the 8th grade. Grand Rapids is not really a "tour" city...ya know, like a city that bands plan on going to while they're on tour. So we had to either drive a while to see national acts, or settle for local stuff. Settling for local stuff meant you couldn't be too we went to metal shows, punk shows, ska shows, and shows where bands played a weird mixture of all these styles. This was in the late 90's. One of the best places to see shows in GR around that time was in the basement of Vinyl Solution. Vinyl Solution was an independent record store. Herm Baker worked there, he now owns Vertigo and he's a stand up guy. But I didn't know him then. Anyway, they had shows in the basement. It was usually the same people at all the shows and you got to know people. You had the people you disliked because they danced like assholes. You had the girls that you never talked to, but always kinda looked for. It was a pretty tight community.

I have a lot of fond memories of that place. This one in particular was a Bounty Hunters show. they played really heavy ska, it was pretty weird. There were probably 25-30 kids in this little basement, almost everyone in the mosh pit (it was the 90's and mosh pits were considered totally bad ass). Someone got the idea that I should crowd surf (also considered cool at the time), so I did. But crowd surfing wasn't allowed and they were pretty strict about it. So when the guy doing security saw me, he pulled me down by my neck. It kind of hurt, but what i was really upset about was that when he pulled me down, he grabbed the neck of the shirt I was wearing that night...which just so happened to be a Crass shirt I stole from my brother's room without asking him. So there I was, in a sweaty (mostly other people's sweat) ruined shirt that wasn't mine. I was a little worried that my brother would be pissed about it. There was this dirty punk kid sitting outside wearing an Operation Ivy t-shirt and he offered to trade shirts. Since mine was all wet and stretched out I took him up on the offer. My brother never found out about the shirt and I still have the Operation Ivy shirt, but it's pretty beat up.

But I guess my favorite memories from Michigan shows, or involving Michigan music really revolve more around the people. They were people from a certain place and time. I still see some of them, and we don't really talk, but we recognize each other. Tim and I usually hung out with kids we met at shows, we dated girls we met a shows, we got drunk for the first time with kids we met at shows, we smoked our first cigarettes with kids we met at shows, we didn't really hang out with kids from our high school. It was a pretty cool time and place to grow up.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

things to be excited about

I’ve frequently acknowledged that my favorite concerts are those of the small and intimate variety. I like being able to stand at the edge of the stage, singing (ok SCREAMING) along with the band and cheering my heart out when I hear live music. So when I started to hear rumblings along the MI-music rumor mill about a new Lansing neighborhood music venue, I was intrigued. By day, The Replay Entertainment Exchange is just what the name entails- trade old DVDs/CDs/Comics in for credit towards new forms of similar entertainment. By night, they open up a decently sized back-room venue for local and touring bands. I caught Child Bite and Sink With me at Replay last week, and I had a very enjoyable evening. The sound was quite decent (if not a LITTLE too loud…but the very kind Replay staff had ear plugs on sale! 50 cents might just save my ears yet…), there was plenty of audience space, AND they had film clips silently projected on the wall behind the bands. Let me tell you, watching Leave it To Beaver silently rolling behind Sink With Me was pretty kick-ass. Replay has nearly 5 shows a week booked through the summer, so this is a place to keep your eyes on. Not only an exciting venue for Capitol City locals, Replay boasts a couple of great summer lineups that are worth a little travel to mid-Michigan!

Replay Entertainment Exchange

The Neutral Zone’s doin’ something new! Check it:


June 6, 2007 (Ann Arbor, Michigan) –Blind Pig beware, there’s a new kid in town. While the Neutral Zone has been giving teen bands the opportunity to perform on a real stage for years, thanks to their recent move, the teens are reinventing their venue to unveil The B-Side, a 400 plus capacity all ages concert space in the heart of downtown. Like other all-ages venues around the country, The B-Side will reach out to booking agents and touring bands in hopes of becoming a regular stop for artists like Ian McKaye (The Evens/Fugazi) or Brother Ali (Rhymesayers), who are known for playing to all ages crowds. Teen performers will still have plenty of opportunities to play at the B-Side, and there will always be an opening spot reserved for youngsters when touring acts are headlining.
For more info and a complete schedule of upcoming shows, check out”

Who has a plethora of seasonally themed, house’n’chimney clad buttons, and dressed as a SubSprawl cheerleader for Halloween?
It’s no secret that JHaJ LOVES Livonia based record label, Suburban Sprawl Music. Which justifies our geeked-out excitement for the upcoming Suburban Sprawl Summer Showcase ’07. 8 SubSprawl affiliated bands will split a two night bill in the Ann Arbor area next weekend. This is an event you don’t want to miss. Major details on the bitchin’ poster below, but check out SubSprawl’s myspace or website for more info.

Annie Moss

Monday, June 18, 2007

Strawflower's Waltz, No. 1

It’s a well-known fact that Annie and I like to talk, but we thought it’s time we gave you the readers a chance to speak up and share your favorite Michigan music moments. We’re calling it Strawflower’s Waltz, appropriating the title of a Chris Bathgate song about a particularly memorable music-related moment. Here’s the first Strawflower’s featuring …


I saw your call for Michigan song stories.
So here's mine.
It's a classic Michigan song which, other than the "here, dog, come on,
dog, want you to go to Telegraph Road, right now, get a good deal," is
probably the best known by all people who grew up around here.

In seventh grade we had to sing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
And, being seventh graders, we couldn't help filling in with "neeer, neer neer, neer neer neer neer neeeeeer" between the verses, which made our teacher steaming pissed. She was a turquoise-knit-suit-wearing social studies teacher named Ms. Bozek, and I don't think she quite enjoyed having to teach classes full of snotty-ass Ann Arbor middle schoolers year after year.

On the day of the concert, when we sang the song for the sixth graders,
some of us got REALLY into the neer neer neer part, which we had been warned against doing at all. After the show she pulled us into her classroom, red-faced with indignation (I can still remember it against her amazingly bleached and voluminous hair), and shouting "you have no respect for this song! They were sailors, and now they're dead!"
And, because I was a total shit, I actually replied: "well that
wouldn't have been the case if she'd put fifteen more miles behind her."


Even though I’ve always loved music I had a hard time getting into the local music scene. I think part of it had to do with the fact that when I was 21, the age that most kids are going out and drinking their first legal beers and rocking out with their friends, I was living with my older brother. As massively extroverted as I was excruciatingly introverted, he had his own band and a record label that put out albums for bands that I considered to be the coolest in town. In my mind, the local music scene was the combination of coolness, musical knowledge and cute outfits that I was worried I couldn’t measure up to. Sure, I’d go see my favorite national bands when they came into town, and would occasionally go to a local show if someone expressly invited me, but for the most part the scene was outside my frame of reference and I had no idea how to change that.

Still, no matter how introverted I was there have always been things in my life that take me out of myself. Music, especially live music, is one, and Halloween is another. Something about dressing up as someone else is so freeing that it’s always been my favorite holiday, and I took the pressure off the social minefield of my high school by deciding that I would treat every day like Halloween. It’s the one night that I’ll brave a new club or a party full of strangers in the effort to make something happen, something to make that night feel different from all the others of the year. So, it seems fitting that when I first saw what would become my favorite local band they were all dressed up as zombies.

I had been to the Magic Stick on Halloween before and it offered everything I wanted. More than a dive bar but less than a hot club, it’s low-key and fun at the same time. I decided to go to the 2006 Zombie Dance Party without much thought about what bands were playing, so I was blown away when Great Lakes Myth Society took the stage. Right away I noticed Tim’s gravity-defying hair, Greg’s exposed frontal cortex and everyone’s blackened eyes (a look I had perfected in high school, by the way) but mostly I was struck by the music. In addition to the fact that everyone in the band was clearly a consummate musician, they sang songs about events and feelings that were completely familiar. By mining their own pasts and the legends of this state for material they tap into experiences that we can all relate to, to powerful effect.

That was my last show of 2006, but a few months later I made a New Years resolution about music. I decided that I would get serious about learning to play the guitar, try writing my own melodies and lyrics, and branch out in terms of what I listened to. I also decided that I would get over my fear of the local scene and start going to see more live music. Maybe I had finally hit the right age or state of mind because I’ve found it pretty easy to do, made easier by the practically endless number of talented musicians that play in the area. Great Lakes Myth Society has remained my favorite but I’ve added many more to the list, including several bands that they’ve shared the stage with.

I can’t thank Great Lakes Myth Society for this change in attitude but their music has been the perfect complement to it. They capture what it feels like to be invested in a place. When, even though the economy is ebbing ever downward and everyone I know is having trouble finding a job, it’s nice to live in the area that you’ve always been. It’s that continuity that makes changing your life especially rewarding, not that I’m planning on giving up zombies anytime soon.

Send your submissions for Strawflower’s Waltz to, and they just might end up on the Internet!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend of June 8 — Quite Scientific Records Bash at the Elbow Room and Great Lakes Myth Society CD Release Party at The Magic Stick

Part the First:
One of the biggest challenges that comes with being a music fanatic is the battle with familiarity. I’d venture to make a Klostermanian estimate that 85 percent of heavy listeners are quite content with the bands, records and songs that they love. If that is the case, the remaining 15 percent is made up of those who actively seek the new stuff and share it with everyone else; this portion of the population is usually represented by older siblings, recommendation-giving friends, Internet seekers, DJs, rock writers, and — ugh — bloggers.

Nonetheless, I too can be guilty of wallowing in familiarity, which is probably why I found myself doodling on fliers during The Dead Bodies’ set at the Elbow Room Friday (it was the first time I’d heard them), yet uttering my nine millionth “Woooo!” in response to the opening melodica riff from Canada’s “Look to the Trees” (it was the second time I’d seen them in less than a week).

This being the case, Elm From Arms deserves some delayed applause for placing something we’re well acquainted with — singer-songwriter Matt Jones — in new surroundings. Thankfully, when Jones’ idiosyncratic vocals find themselves in the realm of jam-prone bar rock, it’s more like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and less Black Knight.

And yes, a MySpace favorite = familiar, but hearing a full-band rendition of “Threadlines” was certainly a treat. Electrified, there’s an even greater play between the lumbering verses and spidery instrumental breaks, like a Mr. Hyde who metamorphoses not into Henry Jeckyll but some bizarre arachnid with an affinity for odd time signatures.

The ever-transforming Chris Bathgate showed up in solo-electric-with-the-aid-of-digital-looping mode, proving that if there’s anything better than one Bathgate voice, it’s several layered Bathgate voices.

While the rest of the United States will get to know Canada for the next two months, Ypsilanti got the band for one more night. As exciting as it is to continue hearing newer material from the Canadians, it’s sad to see the free-for-all antics of their late winter/early spring shows have calmed down into a more controlled divide between the songs Joe sings and the songs Steven sings.

I Am A Bolt Of Lightning

The Dead Bodies

Part the Second:
Have you ever taken a long look at the Magic Stick’s ceiling? To me, it seems that during the renovations that created the Majestic Theatre Complex, the only echo of the building’s past spared from the cover of paint or black curtains were these aging overhead slats. Within those boards, there must be some increasingly low-frequency reverberations from the venue’s halcyon vaudeville days mingling with the remnants of some classic independent rock and roll performances. I imagine the “oohs” and “ahhs” prompted by Houdini melting into Neutral Milk Hotel’s only Mitten State appearance.

Count the rumble of Great Lake Myth Society’s Compass Rose Bouquet release party among that which has so righteously shook that lumber. While GLMS may not carry the recognition of the others who have left their mark on The Stick (YET), their Saturday performance was yet another example of why they ought to.

Compass Rose is a major triumph for Great Lakes, and their performance celebrating it’s release to the public cleared the bar that the record sets so high. Fans fed on a streaming diet of “Debutante” (which could launch every show for the rest of the band’s career), “Summer Bonfire,” “Heydays” and “March” eagerly gobbled up the album’s other tracks, even if a faulty direct line prevented Tim from pouring baby makin’ accordion noise over some of the opening tracks.

Yes, there’s an increased energy on the new record, and yes, it’s found it’s way into the live show, but not always in the way you’d think. “Debutante” and “Summer Bonfire” went off like a string of M-80s, but the midtempo sway of “Raindrops and Roses” burned bright, too, thanks to some epic strumming coupled with Fido’s punishing snare and bass drum work.

Though the accordion problems temporarily derailed the set’s momentum, they were a distant memory by the time Greg descended into the audience to deliver the final “Wines” in “The Gales of 1838.” Surrounded by fans and friends, his sad, slow tale of drug smuggling was the last to be lifted towards that hoary ceiling. They may have put a shinier coat on themselves, but Great Lakes Myth Society will always look good in the dimming light of a grimy lantern.

Opening support came from a rootsy Chris Bathgate — who has found an unexpectedly killer complement in Chris Dorman’s dulcimer — and the twangy American Mars, but the night belonged to GLMS.


Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
July 27 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
August 11 — The Elbow Room in Ypsi

Chris Bathgate
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
June 12 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor opening for Memphis and Apostle of Hustle
June 29 — (Scene) Metrospace in East Lansing with Jen Sygit
July 4 — Short's Brewery in Bellaire with Susan Fawcett and Hawks and Owls
July 5 — The Manistee Bandshell in Manistee
July 7 — House show in Marquette
July 8 — House show in Houghton
July 12 — Street Music in Harbor Springs
July 15 — Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo with Frontier Ruckus, Head and Toe and The Plurals
July 27 — The Tap Room Annex in Ypsilanti with The Setup
July 29 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Frontier Ruckus
August 24 — U-Fest at Michigan State University

The Dead Bodies
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
June 18 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
June 19 — The Belmont in Hamtramck with Serenity Court

Elm From Arm
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Show
July 13 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Great Lakes Myth Society and Starling Electric

Great Lakes Myth Society
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
June 22 — The Elbow Room in Ypsi with The Minor Planets
June 23 — Barn show in Dexter with Dave Boutette (see MySpace for details)
July 13 — The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Elm From Arm and Starling Electric
August 30 — University of Michigan Union Ballroom

American Mars
Web site

Friday, June 08, 2007

June Concert Calendar

We're a little late on this one...sorry! Also, it looks a little sparse, so I'm nervous that I've missed some dates. As always, please add a comment with any corrections or additions.
Go, music lovers, Go!

June 8

June 9

-The New Green, Treetown Underground, Bulletproof at The Elbow Room in Ypsi
-Sycamore Smith at Calumet Theater in Calumet

June 10
-The Mighty Narwhale, Jes Kramer at DAAC in Grand Rapids

June 12
-Chris Bathgate at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-Matt Jones at the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsi

June 14
-Matt Jones, Annie Palmer at The Ugly Mug in Ypsi
-Nomo at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor

June 15
-Child Bite, Cages (buffalo) at Replay Comic Shop in Lansing
-Matt Jones, Misty Lyn at The Trinity House in Livonia

June 16
-Child Bite, Benny Stoofy, STNNNG, Kill the Vultures at Scrummage University (not really a university) in Detroit
-Nomo at Top of the Park in Ann Arbor

June 17
-Nomo at DAAC in Grand Rapids
-Annie Palmer, Real Live Tigers at Fifi’s French Press in Mt. Pleasant

June 19
-Natural Monuments, Sayonara Tiger, The Cut Scene at the Elbow Room in Ypsi

June 22
-Zoos of Berlin, Great Lakes Myth Society, The Minor Planets at The Elbow Room in Ypsi
-Jeremy Vallender, Those Transatlantics, Everthus! The Deadbeats at Rubbles in Mt. Pleasant

June 23
-Great Lakes Myth Society, Dave Boutette at the Summer Barn Concert 12075 Island Lake Rd. in Dexter
-Sycamore Smith at Lower Harbor Boathouse in Marquette

June 25
-Frontier Ruckus, Fred Thomas, Drunken Barn Dace, Palomar at the Elbow Room in Ypsi
-This Is Dear Country, Matt Jones, Misty Lyn at Recreation Lanes in Iron Mountain

June 26
-Matt Jones, Misty Lyn at Keweenaw Brewing Co. in Houghton

June 27
-Jeremy Vallender at Scottish Inn in Saginaw

June 28
-Matt Jones at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor

June 29
-The Pop Project, Syscrusher, The Recital, Child Bite at Suburban Sprawl Summer Showcase Day 1, The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-The Hard Lessons at Kraftbrau Brewery in Kalamazoo
-Matt Jones, Annie Palmer at Four Friends in Grand Rapids
-Chris Bathgate, Jen Sygit at Scene Metrospace in East Lansing

June 30
-El Boxeo, Javelins, The Silent Years, The Word Play at Suburban Sprawl Summer Showcase Day 2, The Elbow Room in Ypsi
-Zoos of Berlin, The Oscillating Fan Club, Duende!, Troy Gregory and The Stepsisters, Dutch Pink, Pinkeye, The Misteriosos, The Questions Siddhartha, Ancourage, Wildcatting, The Bored Housewives; Blue Moon Festival at Contemp Art Institue of Detroit

GLMS releases new record TOMORROW!

My inbox has been flooded with GLMS press links recently. Take a look at the links below for record reviews, interviews and articles about the much loved GLMS. Also, head over to the Magic Stick in Detroit tomorrow night for their CD release party:
Compass Rose Bouquet Release Party
Great Lakes Myth Society
Chris Bathgate
American Mars
Magic Stick, Detroit

Real Detroit interview with Jamie Monger
Handmade Detroit hearts GLMS
Detroit Free Press
Metro Times record review
MI Daily record review
Web Vomit record review


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

ELFest, one more time

Wow. Whoa. Yikes. Thanks. Seriously, thanks. June 2 and June 3 will go down as two of the greatest days of my life, and it’s all thanks to you the musicians, you the fans. You the people in the blue house who smiled from your screened-in porch at a massive collection of musicians named after a sea mammal. You the people who huddled together in a muggy basement to watch Natural Monuments. You who had tarp water dumped on your head during Chris Bathgate’s set.

And thanks to you, Annie Moss, my lovely partner in blogging, the organized one, the “what-do-we-do-if-it-rains” one, and the only person who could’ve pulled this off.

It may come as no surprise that the Great Lakes Myth Society set was my favorite part of the weekend; it could earn this title based solely on the two terms that it has now lent to the festival-going parlance: “roof people” and “encore possum.” Between the stripped-down tunes and the crowd/band interaction, it was one of those blow-your-brain-through-the-back-of-your-head moments. Who thought you could bring an atmosphere of barroom camaraderie to a soggy backyard? The beer-swilling sing-alongs — and the shouting they inspired — drew the festival’s only noise complaints, but I wish the neighbors would have just come over, tipped back a PBR and joined the community.

Because that’s what this weekend was all about, a celebration of a community. A community so respectful, they’ll shut up for 45 minutes so the precipitation doesn’t drown out Chris Bathgate; so invested in music that they’ll shake to The Novel Citizen, even if they’d never heard of the band before they took the stage; so welcoming that they’d embrace a wannabe rock journalist and a fast-talking shutterbug who just wanted to give something back.

Good lord, this is schmaltzy — I’ve got more Mitch Albom in me than I’d like to admit. And that’s probably why I cried during “Heydays.” But I was feeling a little stirred-up when the Narwhale played “Night Lights,” and the water works started going again during the Canada set.

By now, most of you know I’m moving to Austin, Texas at the end of August, continuing my music criticism pursuits as well as my relationship with the greatest female to ever walk this planet. I like to think that there’s events like ELFest that happen down there, but I know there isn’t, because there’s one thing missing: the Michigan music community. This is a great time to love music in our state, and ELFest is but a tiny — though amazing — part of it.

Damnit, Erik, now I'm all choked up. He said everything perfectly. Thank you all for helping to create one of the most amazing weekends of my life. Thank you all for helping to support the music and community we have grown to love so dearly.

Erik, you are going to be missed. Thank you for being so passionate about music, thank you for BLOGGING, thank you for inspiring me, thank you for keeping me sane, thank you for being such an amazing friend.

So, who wants to play ELFest 2008? =)

Monday, June 04, 2007

ELFest 2007

Hi everyone-

Erik and I are attempting to gather our thoughts, emotions and photographs from the past few days. We’ll be up and running soon with a full blog post about ELFest. In the meantime, please let me pass along our deepest thanks to everyone who helped make this event possible. This weekend surpassed our wildest hopes; audience, musicians, fest helpers, we absolutely could not have done this without you. If you have any ELFest pictures you’d like to share, leave your photo links as comments on the blog or on our myspace.

The Beginning

The End

All the in-betweens will be up soon.
With more love than ever,
Annie and Erik.