Friday Five: Blind Liars, Same Eyes, Head Full of Ghosts, Turtle Heist, Suzuka
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.
Blind Liars, "Alarm Clocks"
Being a geezer, I still get a kick out of discovering new music while listening to the radio. That was the case with Blind Liars' "Alarm Clocks," which I heard on WCBN-FM earlier this week. Ypsi's Blind Liars have been releasing music since 2020, but the band has existed longer than that, and "Alarm Clocks" has been kicking around singer-guitarist Jon Root's songbook for a dozen years. Blind Liars could never get the recording right when the band tried to document it during the musicians' college years. So, all it took was the pandemic and the players recording all their own parts separately in the winter of 2021 to nail the tune finally.
"Alarm Clocks" is the first single off the forthcoming album The Ringer, and while there is a home-brew quality about the audio, it serves the song perfectly, sounding simultaneously cavernous and intimate. There's an element of Mumford and Sons' chanty-folk style in "Alarm Clocks," but Blind Liars' aesthetics come more from indie rock than adult alternative. That was confirmed when I listened to some older Blind Liars' tracks, such as 2020's "Immortal Punk," which reminded me of The Only One's spiky power-pop.
Anyway, go ahead and keep using the algorithms we're all slaves to find new music, but turn on the radio, too. You might just discover a great band.
Same Eyes, "Sweet Thing"
The latest tune and video in Same Eyes' monthly single series is the band's most indie-rock-leaning song yet, at least in comparison to the more straight-up synth-pop gold the group mined previously. I've seen this Ann Arbor band play a few times in the past year, and it's a full group with a guitarist and bassist joining founders Chad Pratt (drums, electronics) and Alex Hughes (vocals, instruments) on stage. While those additional live players don't appear to have recorded "Sweet Things" with Pratt and Hughes—or maybe they did and just aren't credited—it feels like their playing with Same Eyes in concert may have influenced the tune's arrangement. Either way, it's another fab slice of pop from these Friday Five regulars.
Head Full of Ghosts, 654 Seconds EP
In my review of this Ypsi band's 2021 debut album, 321 Miles, I wrote, "Head Full of Ghosts likely knows every note in the Candlebox discography." It truly sounded like a lost record from the 1990s acoustic-grunge era. The band's new three-song EP, 654 Seconds, is also full of the '90s, but with a little more of an electric edge. Acoustic guitar and acoustic bass are still at the heart of Head Full of Ghosts' songs, but it sounds like drummer Bryan King has expanded his repertoire from only smacking a cajón to playing a full kit, and the band has added electric guitarist Ken Ball. RIYL: Live and Matchbox Twenty.
Turtle Heist, Minnesota
As a brave amateur herpetologist, I will gladly pick up snapping turts in the middle of the road during egg-laying season—which is now—and place my shelled friends in a safe place. (Do not try this if you value your limbs—or unless you also fancy yourself a brave amateur herpetologist.) So, I was kinda excited when I heard the weird collage track "Lead Me to Water" that kicks off this Ann Arbor project's new seven-song release, Minnesota, because I thought the whole record might be about turtle migration. Alas, t'was not the case, but I did enjoy Turtle Heist's mix of synth-pop, retrowave, glitchcore, and sundry other electronic-music genres.
This instrumental three-song EP is the debut recording by Ann Arbor's Suzuka, and it's a nice mini collection of chilled-out vaporwave synth-pop.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.