Friday Five: Miller Twins, Adam J. Snyder, Studio Lounge, Vitamin TI, Dykechow, Bubu
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features modern classical / exploratory jazz / power pop by Benjamin and Laurence Miller, folk by Adam J. Snyder, quirky pop by Studio Lounge, retrowave by Dillan Pribak, and dance mixes by Vitamin TI, Dykechow, Bubu for the ongoing Immaculate Conception and MEMCO series.
Miller Twins, Early Compositions 1973 - 1976
The Eleventh Hour, live videos
Laurence Bond Miller, Ouchtakes
The Miller twins, Benjamin and Laurence, make regular appearances in the Friday Five because over the past few years they've been mining their extensive archives to create new albums or to reissue older ones. But the duo, now 69 years old, continues to make new music as well—together and apart. (If you're unfamiliar with the work of these Ann Arbor area mainstays— who have played everything from psychedelic rock and children's music to free jazz and modern classical—we've written about their extensive history of music-making several times.)
Cuneiform, one of the world's foremost progressive rock / jazz / classical labels, put out two archival albums by the Miller twins' Fourth World Quartet: 2021's 1975 and 2022's Grand Bland Vapid Rapids. The label has stepped up again for Early Compositions 1973 - 1976, a 30-track compilation of lost recordings by the Miller twins. The music on this comp presages the Fourth World's exploration of chamber jazz and 20th-century classical music, mixing Benjamin's saxophones and Laurence's clarinets along with a few guest players and overdubs by the brothers playing drums, bass, and more.
The Millers are exploring some of these early works as well as some Fourth World pieces in the new Benjamin-led band The Eleventh Hour, which has posted a few live recordings on YouTube. One version of this group debuted at Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor last month, and a different edition, with double bassist Annick Odom and drummer Jonathan Taylor, is performing at the same venue on Thursday, July 27, 8 pm.
Laurence spent much of the pandemic combing through his vast collection of demos and recordings—some of which ended up on the aforementioned releases—and consistently posted what he found on Bandcamp. The music on the recent Ouchtakes is, to borrow a phrase from The Who, an odds and sods collection of tunes made between 1987-1996 that didn't quite fit on the many other releases Laurence put out. In a complete 180 from the Fourth World, Miller Twins, and Eleventh Hour releases, the songs on Ouchtakes are almost Guided by Voices-style power-pop. Just one shoulda-been-a-hit tune after another.
Adam J. Snyder, Down From the Mountain Out to the Sea
Ypsilanti singer-songer Adam J. Snyder has a nice, breathy singing voice that he double-tracks throughout the five folk-pop songs on his new EP. He's also a talented guitarist, using alternative tunings and alternating percussive rhythmic strums with bluesy, Celtic-meets-bluegrass-influenced lead lines. Earworms abound. RIYL: Beck and Bon Iver.
Studio Lounge, Sunshine LLC
If the musicians in Ann Arbor's Studio Lounge were out hiking, it's almost certain the foursome would be off the trail within minutes, exploring random desire paths made by animals and, even more likely, forging their own ways through the woods. The group follows last year's Amateur Hour album with a four-song EP that has a logic all its own, combining funk-fused pop, quirky synth workouts, and a mix of polished and unpolished sounds. RIYL: Ween, Frank Zappa, and The Frogs.
Dillan Pribak, "Ascension" b/w "Singularity"
When not working on his computer science and math studies at U-M, Ann Arbor's Dillan Pribak makes vaporwave synth tunes like "Ascension" and "Singularity."
Vitamin TI, Fruits of Our Labor, Mix 05
Dykechow, Fruits of Our Labor, Mix 06
Bubu, Exposure Mix 058
Three more great mixes put out by two Ann Arbor collectives—Immaculate Conception and MEMCO—who are doing amazing work to encourage DJs and foster the current and next generation of creators and promoters in the local electronic music / club scene.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.