Friday Five: Melody Korkmaz, Jess Merritt, Jim Cherewick, Michael Skib, Bekka Madeleine


Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features R&B by Melody Korkmaz, soul-pop by Jess Merritt, indie-country-folk by Jim Cherewick, metallic shoegaze by Michael Skib, and folk-pop by Bekka Madeleine.


Melody Korkmaz, I Didn't Know You Didn't Ask
Ann Arbor's Melody Korkmaz made I Didn't Know You Didn't Ask with the assistance of Fifth Avenue Studios, which was created by the Ann Arbor District Library to support "local podcasters, musicians, and audio creators." Korkmaz celebrated her six-song mini album of R&B, pop, and ballads with a concert at AADL on February 17, which you can watch below. (The introduction starts around the nine-minute mark.) And if you're an AADL cardholder, you can download MP3s of the album.


Jess Merritt, "Lakeside" demo and "im(Permanance)"
Jess Merritt was Jess McCumons when she sang in the longtime Ann Arbor band The Understorey. But while life changes necessitate name changes, it doesn't mean you need to flip the script on your art—especially when you're so good at what you do. Merritt's first two solo singles continue her exploration of R&B-infused pop and jazz-tinged balladry, with her big voice front and center.


Jim Cherewick, Good News
When I saw Jim Cherewick's new album, Good News, was out my first thought was, "I thought it was already out." The Ypsi singer-songwriter recorded these indie-folk-country tunes in 2021 and put out some singles, but the full-length seemed to be caught in limbo. I'm sure he'll talk about the process of making and releasing this album in the upcoming feature we're doing on him, but for now, I'm glad this record has seen the light.

There's something about the slice-of-life lyrics on the opening track "Frosting on Fire" that reminds me a smidge of Mark Kozelek's work over the past decade. The difference is that I want to listen to Cherewick's music again and again whereas the majority of Kozelek's songs in recent years make me want to stab pencils in my ears. The rest of Good News has similar heart-on-the-sleeve sentiments, with acoustic guitar and Cherewick's croaky vocals—think Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis—as the focal points alongside minimalist overdubs by a few of his musical pals that give the whole album a stripped-down, bedroom-demo flavor. (Cherewick's also a mega-talented visual artist, and his watercolors are featured on the cover of Good News.)


Michael Skib, This Bewitching Season
Ann Arbor's Michael Skib makes music that straddles genres like a gymnast. On his new album, This Bewitching Season, the guitar riffs sound like those from a person influenced by heavy metal but the production leans more toward the haziness of shoegaze, and Skib's ethereal vocals are at the opposite end of the Cookie Monster's. Other than some backup vocals by co-producer Kate Wakefield, Skib played everything on The Bewitching Season, further showcasing the hugely talented music-making skills I first heard in Mirror Monster, his similarly eclectic duo with David Minnix.


Bekka Madeleine, "Jar of Sand"
Bekka Madeleine is the nom de plume of Bekka Port, a 15-year-old at Huron High School and budding singer-songwriter, who recently released her first single, "Jar of Sand." Ann Arbor Public Schools followed that up with a full-length feature on the sophomore.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.