The Blowout Handbook
Four fab days, a couple hundred bands and shooting stars, previewed!
Published: March 2, 2011
Wednesday, March 2
Blowout pre-Party at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313- 833-9700
1:15 a.m. Secret Twins: Because this two-piece is inked to the Mitten's premier indie (Quack!) says lots. And some ST songs are on hit parade here at MT headquarters; the speedy riff-cranks of "Lazy Cheetah" outdo Kelley Deal, and the tender "Places" reveals a depth that runs far, far deeper than so much faceless "indie rock" of late. Lovely African-American singer-songwriter Dina Bankole is a total original, uncalculated — there's absolutely no one on earth like her: She loves Georgia O'Keefe and Etta James and can manhandle a guitar (a Flying V that she sometimes finger-picks!) better than most white boys; she even sports an Orange half-stack, a Vox amp (such taste!) and a strangely octave-leaping voice that soothes bones and rattles eyelids. Can't forget percussionist Tim Thomas, he's the duo's veritable backbone, an otherwise star overshadowed. Soon to be giant.
11:45 p.m. Lettercamp: Doe-eyed, raven-headed singer Liz Wittman is the personification of adorable pinup; she's equally vamp and reserved, like some naughty nun, and there's real sexual tension (remember when music had that?) for both boys and girls. She's got some inner torch singer too, one who'd occasionally slink behind a backlit screen, go-go dancer style. The trio's live keyboardist and guitarist — and accompanying electronic bass and drums — create a sing-song scamp like some updated Giorgio Moroder; hooks and drone-y melody abound, minus the bad West Hollywood gay disco and convertible Mercedes. And kudos to Five Three Dial Tone Records for close-watched farsightedness. Verdict: "You Won't Want Me," in all of its danceable melancholy, should be a massive hit somewhere, even if only in Mozambique.
10 p.m. Fawn: Alicia Gbur, Christian Doble and Matt Rickle have been in other bands, but who cares? Because the song "Hip Parade" is such a thing of sheer power and beauty that it fooled even the most jaded critics we sent it to into thinking it was some new supergroup featuring a few Manic Street Preachers and Sharin Foo. The song even recalls the better post-punk bands of yesteryear (if you've ever gone back for Penetration or the Skids.) This is a little rock band that could, much bigger than the sum of its parts; there's folk-derived girl-boy harmonies, fist-jacking choruses and anthemic drums, and then there's fetching guitarist-singer Gbur.
12:30 a.m. Moon Pool and Dead Band: Dudes Dave Shettler and Nate Young name tunes after Wire songs and Kerouac novels, and trip the ambient electric with gentle, coffee-bean electro serenades on early '80s synths (Pro One!) like a less pop Our Daughter's Wedding — only without words, coifs and pretense, and in dirty jeans.
11:30 p.m. The Julie Hecker Tribute: This whole thing teems with humanity. Julie Hecker, you'll remember, helmed Punk Fitness Detroit, and was a huge fan-supporter of local arts, music and culture and had innumerable fans and friends to prove it. She died suddenly last summer of a heart attack (at 44) leaving behind a family. The tribute will see a video presentation followed by Detroit's official cheerleading squad, the Motor City Rah Rahs (which Hecker founded), and a collection to start a college fund for her children, Andrew and Zoe.
10:45 The Eeks: At least one person accurately said that their music gets into you "like hepatitis." Well, "She Screams" did exactly that — let the jaundice kick in! — and finger-pistols to the foursome for covering with punk-rock aplomb Nirvana's uncoverable "Negative Creep," and for its raw-boned Lady Kill Award EP, maybe the most overlooked punk rock record of 2010.
9:15 p.m. Darling Imperial: Frolic to the postmodern rock that's part diary entry, part tractor pull, part summery jangle and part busted halo; and then exit thinking you just witnessed a ghost of Chrissie Hynde pass through singer Sarah Sadovsky.
8:30 p.m. to closing. Haute to Death: Booty tang-tag, or spinning the best sides of post-punk softshoe, queer electro and new wave mashup.
THURSDAY NIGHT KICKS
From Lynchian weirdness to post-mod jazz-pop, from buzzsaw butt-kick to sartorially correct fizzy-bang!
by Brian Smith
Midnight — Computer Perfection: Spare the hyperbole: Yes, there's airy pop perfection in Gene Corduroy's combo — songwriting and synthesizers are the skin and bones to which everything clings, and the band wouldn't likely deny an enduring appreciation for Kraftwerk and the Beatles.
11 p.m. — Divine COMEDIANS: Even if old Dante himself had an array of weird indie pop records, he'd never have the foresight to see into the polished world of a 2011 laundry detergent commercial and hear the accompanying song. That's more than foamy praise.
10 p.m. — Timothy Monger State Park: Love letters to the Mitten housed gently in classic pop songwriting — heartbreaking at times.
9 p.m. — Cheat Sheet: The duo's shockingly good 2010 album Music to Yawn To was a beautifully shambolic antidote for these chary and tea-bagging days, and a witty ode to suburban life irritants, as seen through the eyes of Jason Lymangrover and David Serra, who could pass as sonic kid bros to Pavement.
12:20 a.m. — Blue Black Hours: It's a gift to not sound like you're copping another era and do it as if you are in that era. BBH sounds of heavy Brit blues-rock circa '69, when Blue Cheer was acid and Taste went unnoticed, when Free were still pups and Humble Pie began to nearly rule the planet. And then there was Leslie West comin' down the mountain. Yowsie.
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