Friday Five: Kingfisher, Riot Course, Kai West, Hues, Anhedonia
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features large-ensemble indie rock by Kingfisher, polished punk via Riot Course, guitar ambiance from Kai West, hip-hop by Hues, and genre-agnostic electronica by Anhedonia.
Kingfisher, Grip Your Fist, I’m Heaven Bound
I've written about Kingfisher in the past two Friday Fives without knowing much about this Ann Arbor band or what its excellent singles might be leading up to. Happy to report it's this full-length LP, Grip Your Fist, I’m Heaven Bound, which is one of the more accomplished and fully realized debuts I've heard in a long time. I'm not going to write too many words right now about this album—have to save them for the feature I write after interviewing the band because there are only so many ways I can say "awesome album." Orchestral indie pop that sounds big but projects intimacy, with eight to 11 players contributing to the lush sounds. Also, The Michigan Daily reviewed the album here. Link for the Spotify listeners here.
Riot Course, Skin Deep EP
This Ypsilanti trio's second EP is a little crisper and a little more produced than its predecessor, but that suits a band that probably counts early Paramore as an influence. Riot Course's songs are a little darker than those of Hayley Williams and Co., drawing from the 1990s alternative metal scene as much as from emo and pop-punk. Here is a February 2021 interview with Riot Course, conducted after the release of its debut EP, Maybe I'll See You Next Year.
Kai West, Lament for the Information Age EP
Ann Arbor guitarist Kai West runs his instrument through a multitude of effects pedals to create warbly soundscapes that sound like glaciers breaking apart. This two-song EP follows the recent Spontaneous Organism, which was in a recent Friday Five. RIYL: Robert Fripp, James Plotkin, and Loren Mazzacane Connors.
Hues, Beyond (MadMan Edition)
Hues is an Ann Arbor hip-hop producer who creates fantastic beats with off-kilter syncopations and glitchy sound effects. He enlists several terrific rappers for several bangers—never heard of any of them but I need to seek them out—and the instrumentals are equally compelling. Hues describes Beyond as a "cinematic, sci-fi-themed journey through the cosmos of space!" and I'll just go ahead and co-sign that description.
Anhedonia, "Snail Girls" & Failure by Design EP
This Ann Arbor-based electronic-music project displays elements of 1990s IDM (intelligent dance music) and downtempo grooves but it also nods to hip-hop and breakbeats in subtle ways—or not so subtly as on the snare-snapping single "Snail Girls," which also appears in a different version on the Failure By Design EP.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.