Friday Five: Idle Ray, Post Nasal Drip, HUES, Oblivion Heirs, northbad


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 indie rock by Idle Ray and Post Nasal Drip, hip-hop by HUES, electro-punk by Oblivion Heirs, and electronica by northbad.

Since this is the "I'm on vacation" edition, the write-ups are short, and I'm gonna let the music do the squawking. 

Friday Five: Blind Liars, Same Eyes, Head Full of Ghosts, Turtle Heist, Suzuka


Art for the albums and singles featured in this week's Friday Five.

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

This week features indie rock by Blind Liars and Same Eyes, acoustic-leaning grunge by Head Full of Ghosts, and vaporwave/synth-pop by Turtle Heist and Suzuka.

Full of “Wonder”: The debut album by Ypsilanti’s Cracked & Hooked came together quickly


Cracked and Hooked group photo with the four members standing their practice space.

Left to right: Alistair Dickinson, David Freund, Brad Perkins, and Andrew Peck are Cracked & Hooked. Photo courtesy of the band.

David Freund didn’t mean to start a band; he just wanted to learn how to play guitar during the pandemic.

“I’d bought my first electric guitar, having very limited ability to play guitar at all, and within a couple of months, I began to sound like I had some idea of how to play it,” Freund said.

The Ypsilanti resident posted his playing progress and nascent songs on social media and jokingly gave himself the band name Cracked & Hooked.

“I fully believed that it would only ever be just that,” Freund said. “Just me at home making a racket and sharing it online. Essentially, it was a game of pretend where I’m in a band and my home is my studio.”

What started as a personal project for Freund evolved into a full band in late 2022 when he had the opportunity to play live and was joined by friends Alistair Dickinson (lead guitar), Andrew Peck (bass), and Brad Perkins (drums) for the shows. Cracked & Hooked’s musical camaraderie developed so quickly, on Christmas day the band headed to Ypsilanti’s Grove Studios to record the album Wonder Out of Your Mind, released in February.

Friday Five: Henri Bardot, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, The Evil Doings of an Intergalactic Skeleton, Jib Kidder, Gvmmy


Art for the albums and singles featured in this week's Friday Five.

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

This week features delicate dream-folk by Henri Bardot, instrumental prog-metal by The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, altered tuning computer music by The Evil Doings of an Intergalactic Skeleton, tweaked tunes by Jib Kidder, and a brief techno-house jam by Gvmmy.

Sites and Sound: The Regenerate! Orchestra aims to fill the Ypsilanti Freighthouse with community-made music


A black and white photo of J. Clay Gonzalez standing on top of a mountain with a river down below.

J. Clay Gonzalez's The Regenerate! Orchestra encourages music-making, no matter your skill level. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Ypsilanti Freighthouse was built in 1878 to host train-bound goods.

On April 26, it will host 85 musicians in The Regenerate! Orchestra for a performance that's part of UMS’s new concert and event series at the venue.

The ensemble will perform four or five works created by J. Clay Gonzalez, a composer who leads the orchestra. All of the music is improvisational to a degree and arranged specifically for the unique ensemble of 85 musicians, nonmusicians, and children that Regenerate! assembled for this event.

To accommodate the personnel's varied skill sets, and to achieve the freely structured sound that typifies Regenerate! Orchestra's aesthetic goals, Gonzalez prepares intricate sets of guidelines and instructions for each performer. These range from traditional music notation to text and images demonstrating how someone may make noise with a piece of paper, egg shaker, or found object. Flutists Michael Avitabile and Justine Sedkey, both University of Michigan alumni, will also appear as soloists for a new concerto-like composition.

All of the pieces in this concert were created specifically with the Freighthouse in mind.

“We will present a large number of musicians spread out in the 360-degree field and they will create these wild soundscapes that a lot of people will find immersive," Gonzalez says. “During the big piece, the audience will be invited to move throughout the space."

For Him the Bells Toll: Wild Up performed Julius Eastman’s "Feminine" at Rackham Auditorium


Black and white side portrait of Julius Eastman.

Julius Eastman on the Stay On It album cover. Photo via Week—End Records.

The sound of countless bells, gentle and cloudlike, opened Los Angeles-based chamber ensemble Wild Up’s presentation of Julius Eastman’s Feminine in Ann Arbor’s Rackham Auditorium on the afternoon of Sunday, April 17, as part of UMS’s 2022-23 season.

The bell choir—made up of Wild Up’s members, local musicians, and students from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance—lined the auditorium’s semicircular back. Set against the room’s painted ceiling, in which a darkening night sky extends outward from an intricately designed sun centered above the stage, the bells became stars. Their ringing emerged from darkness once the hall lights dimmed, and the enveloping sound welcomed the gathered concertgoers to an astonishing performance.

Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was a gay, African-American composer and performer whose career involved collaborations with titanic figures in 20th-century classical music such as Peter Maxwell Davies, John Cage, Meredith Monk, Morton Feldman, and others. Yet Eastman struggled to find sustained support from his colleagues and the musical institutions with which he interacted. When he died in 1990, it took eight months for a public notice of his passing to be published, and his legacy as a composer faced similar precarity.

Wild Up is an international leader in the contemporary effort to revive, record, and perform Eastman’s compositions. The ensemble's performance on Sunday confirmed all the praise it has received for the Julius Eastman Anthology project it launched four years ago. 

Friday Five: The Solution, Telesonic 9000, Saturday's Cab Ride Home, Cat Lung, Dagoretti Records compilation


Art for the albums and singles featured in this week's Friday Five.

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

This week features soul-rock by The Solution, synth-pop by Telesonic 9000, indie rock by Saturday's Cab Ride Home, prog by Cat Lung, and a Dagoretti Records compilation of vintage Kenyan nyatiti music.

Doors of Perception: J. Michael & The Heavy Burden explores folk-rock and winding jams on its debut album


J. Michael and the Heavy Burden group photo.

J. Michael & The Heavy Burden's Chris Peters, Chris Georges, Andrew Pfeiffer, Jeff Brach, and Shannon Lee. Photo courtesy of J. Michael & The Heavy Burden.

When one door closes, another may open.

That was the case in 2021 for J. Michael & The Heavy Burden leader Jeff Brach when he parted ways with one band to start another.

“I’d recently decided to close the chapter on another similar project that went by the name Stella Noon,” said the guitarist and singer. “I asked one of the newer members from that band, [singer] Shannon Lee, to join me in this new project and she soon thereafter introduced me to our drummer, Chris Georges.”

Brach combed through social media to fill out the rest of the band, which includes lead guitarist Andrew Pfeiffer and bassist Chris Peters, and the Ann Arbor area group recorded a few singles in early 2021 at Rooftop Studios in Grand Blanc.

“We fully intended on just having something out there to help garner some gigs until we had more time to record a full album,” said Brach, whose first initial and middle name provide the J. Michael part of The Heavy Burden.

That time finally came toward the end of 2022 when the band returned to Grand Blanc to record its self-titled debut and once again work with David Roof, who ended up joining the band as its keyboardist and plays various other instruments on the album.

Friday Five: Evan Haywood, XV, Lunch, Timothy Monger, "Ypsilanti Folk Singers" comp


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 cosmic folk by Evan Haywood, art rock by XV, no wave by Lunch, folk-pop by Timothy Monger, and a compilation of mid-2000s Ypsilanti DIY artists.

10 Years After: Acoustic Routes Celebrates Decade of Concerts, Hosts Benefit Show with Rosanne Cash


Rosanne Cash performs May 13 at the Michigan Theater to benefit the Breakfast Program.

Rosanne Cash performs May 13 at Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater as part of the Acoustic Routes concert series to benefit the Breakfast Program. Photo courtesy of Jim Cain.

In the late ‘80s, Jim Cain didn’t expect a Midwest tour with his friends’ punk band would lead to a love of acoustic music.

As the band’s roadie and road manager in college, he heard artists like Ralph Stanley, Lyle Lovett, and Bill Monroe while traveling in a crammed Oldsmobile Cutlass with his Michigan State University pals and became intrigued.

“My tastes growing up were more The Beatles, The Stones, and The Who,” said Cain, now the founder and curator of Saline’s Acoustic Routes concert series, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.

“A couple of friends at the same time started exploring more traditional artists like The Louvin Brothers and really went deep into the mix, and that’s just grown over time. I first got exposed to artists like Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt when I got inspired to attempt to learn the guitar. All of these things just kinda dovetailed.”

By 2010, Cain’s passion for country, bluegrass, folk, and other traditional acoustic-based music resulted in curating a live show at The Ark with Bonnie Rideout, Duck Baker, Bill Bynum & Co., and Rev. Robert Jones and Sister Bernice Jones.