Friday Five: Same Eyes, prod. P, Color TV, autodoom., Otherseas
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features synth-pop by Same Eyes, beat sketches by prod. P, bedroom indie-folk by Color TV, lo-fi hip-hop shoegaze by autodoom., and an emotional MEMCO Exposure mix by Otherseas.
Same Eyes, Victory EP
"I was drinking on a southbound train / and caught you staring" is the opening line of Same Eyes' new four-song EP, and it immediately transported my brain to traveling by rail through Europe in, like, 1987. This Ann Arbor duo's '80s synth-pop is so authentic to the era that if I didn't know this song "Schism" was recorded in 2022, I would think it's a lost new-wave classic. The whole EP follows in a similarly intoxicating and dark Europop vein, one that I associate with The Human League's sweet spot: catchy but mildly menacing melodies topped by stentorian vocals. Another great release by Same Eyes.
prod. P, Someone's Trying to Kill Me
Pranav Surendran is prod. P, an Ypsi native who works with R&B singer Where She Creep, producing half of his fantastic Feels record and collaborating with him in Chill Place, a band/record label/party-throwing project. Someone's Trying to Kill Me consists of 12 sketches, almost all under two minutes, that mostly explore chill hip-hop beats. It almost feels like a demo album, a teaser that could be fleshed out by rappers and singers. And based on how great Feels turned out, I'd love to hear those results.
Color TV, Witching a Well by Color TV
Color TV is an Ypsilanti-centric collective that records the songs of Mark Teachout, who I believe is the same person who owned the late, lamented Ollie Food + Spirits and now helms the combo record store and drinking joint Wax Bar in Depot Town. Thomas Dunn (aka Cashmere Washington), Ian Saylor (The Rants), Craig Johnson (Goodyhead), and others join Teachout on nine wistful bedroom-folk tunes that will take listeners of a certain age (me) back to the early 1990s when bands like Sebadoh and Guided by Voices wrote fantastic songs and recorded them on less-than-professional gear. There are several other older Color TV albums on the Bandcamp page for the Ypsi-based Animal Tapes label that I'm eager to check out as well.
autodoom., Misc. Home Recodings
This seven-track album by Ypsilanti one-man band autodoom. is a low-key wonderful amalgamation of lo-fi hip-hop and bedroom shoegaze. There is no doubt in my mind that Lofi Girl would have Misc. Home Recodings pumping through her headphones as she approaches year six of studying for that damn exam. Also, I can't say for sure if this record was recorded on four-track cassette machine versus on a computer, but there's enough warmth and hiss in the mix to make me believe that was the case—and belief is sometimes all that matters. A most-promising debut.
Otherseas, Exposure Mix: 50
I wrote about Tom "Otherseas" Maher's Air album in the July 29 edition of the Friday Five and mentioned how much his electronic music reminded me of Tycho's, whose songs are effervescent and bright. But I neglected to point out one of the most rewarding traits about Tycho and Otherseas' music: emotion. Electronic music can often be cold and practical by design—it's for the dance floor or chilling out—but rare is the time it puts you all up in your feels. Mixes are especially utilitarian, made to pump you up in the club or to put a pep in your step via headphones. But at the four-minute mark of Otherseas' Exposure Mix for MEMCO's essential spotlight series of up-and-coming DJs from the Ann Arbor area, he drops a tune that's possibly his own—he has a knack for sensitive melodies and stirring counterpoints—with pitched-up vocals that don't sound trite and jokey; they add to the otherall happy-sad feel of the mood. And damn if the track didn't put me right into a state of saudade. How dare my dude insert some nostalgic longing in a mixtape! But in fact, much of Exposure Mix: 50 alternates between carefully exultant and optimistically melancholy, and it's that tension between two things that can't simultaneously exist that makes Otherseas' musical and mixing skills so captivating.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.