Formula 734’s “Volume II” Album Documents Post-Pandemic Perseverance for Washtenaw County Men of Color

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Formula 734's AnimeKing performs at a Re:Claim event in September.

Formula 734's AnimeKing performs at a Re:Claim event in Ann Arbor. Photo taken from Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper's Facebook page.

Formula 734’s Volume II chronicles the ongoing perseverance of Washtenaw County men of color in a post-pandemic world.

The hip-hop collective’s second community-based album features insightful tales of self-determination by lyricists confronting daily struggles and aspiring for future change.

“Coming out of COVID, we’ve had to appraise our value of everything. In listening to the young guys, they’re using music to appraise their thoughts about relationships, school, and mortality,” said Rod Wallace, who co-executive produced the album with Jamall “Buff1” Bufford.

“We always say that kids are a lot more resilient than adults are … but in the same token, when they look back and when we look back at this time, it was a time the entire world transitioned in a way. This music is them making sense of that transition.”

To ease that transition, Wallace and Bufford reassembled an intergenerational team of men to write and record 10 cathartic tracks for Formula 734’s Volume II.

They created the album in partnership with Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper, the Ann Arbor Community Foundation, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, Project Plugin, and Creativity Fluidity Productions.

Friday Five: Kenji Lee, Moorhaus, Ekanti, Othercast, Arthur Durkee

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features jazz from Kenji Lee's Fortune Teller Trio, indie-folk by Moorhaus, dance jams via Ekanti, dark-ambient by Othercast, and reinterpreted seasonal classics courtesy of Arthur Durkee.

 

Fine Tuning: Martin Bandyke says goodbye to his morning radio show and hello to having even more time for music

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Martin Bandyke's morning show on 107.1-FM in Ann Arbor is wrapping up but he'll still be on the station every Sunday with his Fine Tuning program.

Martin Bandyke's morning show on annarbor's 107one is wrapping up but he'll still be on the station every Sunday with his Fine Tuning program. Photo by Christopher Porter.

It always seems like Martin Bandyke is smiling on the radio.

A grin doesn't make a sound, but the way Bandyke enunciates his words and presents them to his audience every morning on 107.1-FM gives listeners the impression he's speaking through a smile.

A recent visit to the WQKL studios near Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor confirmed as much:

He actually is smiling as he speaks.

Whether reading traffic updates or music news, Bandyke projects the sort of positivity people appreciate when they're trapped in their cars during a morning commute or settling in for another day of the 9 to 5.

The DJ's convivial charms have radiated through the radio for 40 years—starting in 1983 on WDET 101.9-FM in Detroit—but on December 22, Bandyke is stepping away from his morning-drive show and entering semi-retirement at age 68. He'll still host his long-running Fine Tuning program every Sunday afternoon on the station, still choosing every song that's played on the show, just as he did during his public radio days.

Bandyke's first stint on the air was in 1983 co-hosting WDET's Monday night show Dimension. He had been trying to get his foot in the door of Detroit radio ever since graduating from the University of Michigan in 1976 with a bachelor of arts degree in radio, television, and film. His on-air opportunity came when he was a music buyer for his hometown Dearborn Music record store. Bandyke, a drummer, and Ralph Valdez, his longtime friend and frequent bandmate, were invited to co-host Dimension, which they did together through 1990. While Valdez continued to host Dimension, which moved to Sunday nights, that year Bandyke was hired full-time as the assistant music director, and in 1991 he took over Judy Adams' on-air shift from 10 am to 1 pm. He later moved to afternoons and in 1995 added music director to his duties at the station.

This is the part of the tale where Bandyke's voice and expansive music tastes entered my life.

Pull up a chair and let grandpa tell you a story.

AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage

AADL's 2022 staff picks

Don't ever write a year-in-review intro before you've had lunch. See below for reasons:

2022 is Pulp’s sixth year of compiling a delectable list of Ann Arbor District Library staff picks, featuring a smorgasbord of media to review and devour. With an insatiable hunger for books, films, TV shows, podcasts, music, and more, our AADL staffer suggestions will whet your appetite for anything you may have missed in 2022—or from previous years.

Because who can keep current with everything on the media menu these days?

The current media landscape is a 24-hour grocery store with everything everywhere available all at once. It’s decision paralysis at the deli counter, so consider us your Instacart shoppers for things to read, watch, play, listen to, and experience. (Apologies if we missed anything on your shopping list, and we hope our substituting a banana for that frozen pizza is OK.)
 
With more than 36,000 words to ingest in the 2022 Staff Picks, we’ve divided everything into four separate courses so you can enjoy each portion at your leisure:

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Words
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Screens
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life

If you feel inspired as you eat up our words, let us know in the comments sections what you sank your teeth into this year. Your tasty tips can be from 2022 or any other era; it just needs to encompass whatever art, culture, or entertainment you enjoyed over the past year.

Now, open up these posts and chow down.

We’re off to make some spaghetti.

AADL 2022 STAFF PICKS: WORDS

FILM & VIDEO

AADL's 2022 staff picks for words

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Screens
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life

 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICKS: WORDS
Books, audiobooks, graphic novels, comics, websites, and more:

 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICKS: SCREENS

FILM & VIDEO

AADL 2022 staff picks for screens

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Words
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life 

 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICS: SCREENS
TV, movies, DVDs, YouTube, streaming, etc.:

 

AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio

MUSIC

AADL's staff picks for audio

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Words
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Screens
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life

 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICS: AUDIO
Music, podcasts, CDs, records, and more:

 

AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life

WRITTEN WORD PULP LIFE

AADL's 2022 staff picks for Pulp Life

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Words
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Screens
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio
 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICS: PULP LIFE
Games, apps, sports, outdoors, and any other kind of hard-to-categorize cultural and life activities:

 

Friday Five: Balance, Hannah Baiardi, Lunch, HUES, Grandmaster Rodimus

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Art for the releases featured in this week's Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features jazz by Balance, soul-pop by Hannah Baiardi, no wave by Lunch, and hip-hop by HUES and Grandmaster Rodimus.

 

Sparks and Sawdust: Erin Hahn's romance novel "Built to Last" reunites childhood sweethearts on a home renovation TV show

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

A close-up portrait of Erin Hahn is on the left; the book cover for Built to Last is on the right.

A house is not the only thing being fixed up in Erin Hahn’s new novel, Built to Last.

Two childhood stars, Shelby Springfield and Cameron Riggs, try to rekindle their love when they are brought back together for a home renovation TV program set in Michigan—though things get off to a rocky start, not unlike how things ended. Lyle Jessup, their other costar and the person who caused conflict when Shelby dated him after Cameron, turns out to be the one who brings them together with his TV pilot proposal. While Lyle never left Hollywood and its gossip, Shelby and Cameron have diverged on their paths and must find out if they can work together again—and even have another try at a relationship. 

During a visit from Lyle, who becomes the showrunner, the now sober Shelby watches Cameron’s longtime friends, Beth and Kevin, at their bar: 

My cheeks hurt from smiling so hard and the fizzy ginger ale does a little swirl in my stomach. These two make it look so simple. You meet, you fall in love, you get married and have babies, and you spend the rest of your life with that one person who likes you best, who you like best. 

Both Cameron and Shelby are wildly attracted to each other, but the question becomes whether they can push past the drama of filming and reconnect. 

Cameron reflects, “Maybe I wasn’t looking for something to tie me down. Maybe I’ve been looking for someone, an anchor. And not just any someone. Not like the proverbial 'someone,' but her. As in, she is the only one.” He senses how important Shelby is, but their relationship could either be just a pivotal part of growing up or a long-lost—and now found—real deal. 

Hahn lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two kids. Previously, I interviewed her about her last book, 2021's Never Saw You Coming. We connected again to discuss Built to Last, Hahn’s fourth book.