Friday Five: Martes Martes, Tanager, Benji Robot, The Missing Cats, Totalitarians
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features quirky sounds by Martes Martes, indie pop by Tanager, downtempo electronica by Benji Robot, fusion-jazz pop by The Missing Cats, and pure noise by Totalitarians.
Martes martes, Dragon cat fox cat scn (Expanded Edition) and Rock of Animals
Editions JAV is the latest record label by Jason Adam Voss, a Pittsfield Township resident and longtime supporter of all things creative DIY in Washtenaw County (and beyond). The label's mission is to reissue "underground music from SE MI in a variety of physical formats," and the first two releases feature names that might be familiar if you were part of the early 2000s indie music scene in Ypsi and Ann Arbor: Patrick Elkins (2006's Fruits of the Spirit) and Martes martes, a home recording project by Jeffrey Nolan Carey.
On October 13, Editions JAV is reissuing an expanded edition of Dragon cat fox cat scn, a 2007 release that now includes 2004's Dragon Cat EP. Martes martes has the description "lo-fi new age" on its Bandcamp page, and I'll have to trust that's the case because I'm not familiar with the project and there's only one song streaming off the reissue right now along with a track from Rock of Animals, another Martes martes album that's set to come out on October 13. Neither tune is particularly lo-fi or new age-y; it's more like quirky circus/folk music. But you can get a sneak peek of all the music on Dragon cat at the Editions JAV listening party for the Martes martes reissue on Tuesday, October 3, 5-7 pm at Ziggy's in Ypsilanti.
Ypsi's Tanager returns for the first time in five years with a terrific new single, "Haunted," which evokes the best moments of 1990s indie-leaning guitar pop. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Elly Daftuar is joined by her husband, Rishi, on guitar and Mary Fraser on drums. "Haunted" is a song that Daftuar has been kicking around for a decade, and she credits her bandmates for booting it into shape. RIYL: The Breeders, Juliana Hatfield, and Belly.
Benji Robot, A Dose of Melancholia EP
Ann Arbor's Benji Robot (Benjamin Roman) returns with his second EP of 2023, and it's another dose of crisp, downtempo electronica.
The Missing Cats, Vestibule
This Ann Arbor sextet, led by guitarist Brandon Mitchell, is back with its second album of the year. Like Adrift, The Missing Cats' new Vestibule exists somewhere between fusion jazz and instrumental pop. There's some funk, some sweet solos, and a whole lotta vibes.
This Ypsi trio makes noise to play at the end of a house party when you want everyone to leave. Immediately. Even Merzbow would be like, "Yo, smell ya later!" Totalitarians' debut features two explosions of power electronics designed to be played at maximum volume—as if there's any other way.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.