Friday Five: The Biscuit Merchant, Audion, Noah Fishman & Baron Collins-Hill, Time Creep, The Mercer Patterson Quintet
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features melodic death metal by The Biscuit Merchant, stripped-down techno by Audion, bluegrass by Noah Fishman and Baron Collins-Hill, indie rock by Time Creep, and jazz by The Mercer Patterson Quintet.
The Biscuit Merchant, Phobia
Justin Lawnchair is The Biscuit Merchant, a one-man melodic death metal artist whose music sounds like the product of a full group playing in real-time, not that of a single person layering each track. All eight songs on Phobia, the Merchant's seventh album, are tighter than a medium shirt on a heavyweight fighter, which is a testament to Lawnchair's ability to play drums, guitar, bass, and sing with confidence and skill. The Ann Arbor artist alternates crooned choruses with Cookie Monster verses while delivering heavy riffs that touch on thrash and prog-rock flourishes all while maintaining the relentless chug of death metal.
Side note: Phobia is one part of a planned 26-album run whose titles will correspond with each letter of the alphabet. I don't know if there's an overriding theme to the project, but I salute the go-big-or-go-home approach to music that Lawnchair executes with The Biscuit Merchant.
Audion, "The Return of Losing It" and "Anything Else"
Some things are just meant to be: peanut butter and jelly; pancakes and syrup; Matthew Dear releasing progressive techno jams as Audion on Spectral Sound, the sister label of Ghostly. It seems like Dear has focused chiefly on the gloomy pop side of his songwriting in recent years, but these two songs—released to correspond with his recent appearance at Detroit's Movement Festival—by the Ann Arbor producer are slowly evolving electronic epics that would sound equally at home on the dancefloor and in your headphones.
Noah Fishman & Baron Collins-Hill, Safe Harbor
Ann Arbor's Noah Fishman can pretty much play any instrument with strings—or so it seems based on my perusal of his webpage, which shows him in a variety of settings, from classical to jazz and folk, playing guitars, bass, mandolin, and cello. For his latest album, Safe Harbor, Fishman teamed up with another any-and-all-strings artist in Portland, Oregon's Baron Collins-Hill. The duo—along with Portland fiddler Lillian Sawyer on three tracks—runs through seven traditional bluegrass- and Americana-based songs along with three originals and a cover of Jim Mullany and Rob Pine's "Sweet Neil," which might as well be an old-timey tune. There's virtuosic playing throughout Safe Harbor and this project would be a surefire hit at The Ark.
Time Creep, Demos and "Hiawatha"
Ypsilanti's Time Creep plays a stripped-down indie rock that's loosely—very loosely—akin to The Feelies and Violent Femmes. It would almost be power-pop if there was more crunch on the guitar tone, but Time Creep keeps things minimalist and clean throughout the new Demos EP as well as on "Because Hiawatha," an ode to the great Cult Heroes singer Hiawatha Bailey.
The Mercer Patterson Quintet, Eternity Switch
This jazz quintet grew out of friendships made between students in the University of Michigan's SMTD program. Keyboardist Mercer Patterson composed all the music on the group's debut, Eternity Switch, which traverses post-bop tinged with fusion, and was recorded at the Duderstadt recording studios on U-M's North Campus.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.