Friday Five: Same Eyes, Mike Vial, Brendan Ige, The Only Love Gods, Squid General vs. Otherseas
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features new wave by Same Eyes, folk-rock by Mike Vial, tuba/euphonium art song by Brendan Ige, an Ann Arbor Civic Theatre cast recording of original songs for Much Ado About Nothing, and the latest MEMCO mix by Squid General vs. Otherseas.
Same Eyes, "Venice" and "Two Drinks In"
Ann Arbor new wavers Same Eyes continue on with their monthly single series, including June's "Two Drinks In" and July's "Venice." Because the band releases so much music and I always write about it, I've temporarily run out of words for Same Eyes. But just because my thesaurus is a desert right now, my heart is an oasis for this music. I really, really like Same Eyes, and if you like 1980s-inspired synth-pop, you'll like them, too—how about that? You can read an interview I did with them in January 2021, soon after the release of their debut album, Parities to End.
Mike Vial, "Verona"
Ann Arbor's Mike Vial writes that "Verona" is an "allusive, nostalgic flashback that takes the speaker and listener back to a 1990s summer of three settings: a Dearborn Heights party store, a local concert at the Token Lounge, and an answer machine message on his 16th birthday." But the song had me thinking about a different era and a different area— specifically early 1970s Los Angeles. That's because the chord change that relieves pressure from the verses' two notes, as well as the lyric phrasing, evokes Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Tiny Dancer" to such a degree that I wondered if the song is a subtle tribute to that tune. But Vial, who is a writing teacher at Community High, seems to be exploring another love story—this one likely gone wrong unlike Taupin's impressionistic ode to his girlfriend. The stripped-down instrumentation and overall structure of "Verona" is more reminiscent of the 1980s college/roots-rock scene that mixed 1960s-style guitar pop, earnest folk, and country twang rather than John's piano-fueled mini-epic.
Brendan Ige, Conviviality With Electronics EP and Carnival of the Animals: A Dichotomy of Music
Dr. Brendan Ige is a U-Mich grad and a tuba/euphonium instructor at Eastern Michigan University, but his two 2023 releases pass right past those instruments' repertoires for some highly original originals. The new four-song EP, Conviviality With Electronics, mixes ambient sounds, electro, and a phase experiment. February's 12-track Carnival of the Animals: A Dichotomy of Music with vocalist-pianist Amy Ige mixes poetry and art song. (Ige is also a member of Men Wearing Dresses.)
The Only Love Gods, Much Ado About Nothing EP
This is a fun six-song document of the cast from Ann Arbor Civic Theatre that performed William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in November 2022, singing the original folk-rock music they composed to words from the play. Read our review of the production and how director David Widmayer took up Benedick's order: "Therefore play, music."
Squid General vs. Otherseas, Exposure Mix 057
Where most of the MEMCO Exposure mixes are geared toward the dancefloor, Squid General vs. Otherseas' entry into the series sounds more like hyperpop radio show, one more interested in exploring the deejays' broad tastes rather than trying to build a mood. A little rap, touches of reggae, some gabba, a bit of techno, and a whole lotta vocoder.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.