Friday Five: Lauren Blackford, Mordake, nelson, DJ FLP & Monsuun, Maddy Ringo


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 pop from Lauren Blackford, black metal by Mordake, retrowave by nelson, electronica by DJ FLP and Monsuun, and Americana from Maddy Ringo.


Lauren Blackford, One Too Many Times
Milan's Lauren Blackford is likely a Taylor Swift fan. (And I'm not just mentioning Tay-Tay for the search-engine-optimization hits since this column comes out on the same day as The Tortured Poets Department.) Blackford's fantastic six-song debut, One Too Many Times, mixes guitar pop and a studio producer's sheen for a Swift-ian romp through relationship travails. She's a strong singer, too, which means Blackford sounds great in any setting, from the reverb-drenched acoustic song "Wasted Potential" to the pop-radio-ready "Reset Button."


Mordake, Mordake
Mystic Conquest is a Ypsilanti-based cassette label that focuses on black metal—the chaotic lo-fi version of it that was exported from Norway in the late '80s and early '90s. The label's third release is Mordake's self-titled five songs mini-album, and it will have your gripping invisible oranges as you apply your corpse paint.


nelson, Dancin' In the Moonlight EP
The Ypsi artist formerly known as Gentleman Nelson is back with a new EP, and while he may have an altered moniker, the type of music he's been releasing for the past decade remains the same. Dancin' In the Moonlight is a chill drive through retrowave with a hint of smooth jazz—and even drum 'n' bass as on "Let's Dance!"


DJ FLP & Monsuun, "Undercover"
These two Ann Arborites have teamed up to create this beautiful anthem. DJ FLP and Monsuun built the song on a lovely, fluttering melody and underpinned it with nervous drums, giving the track the same sweet and savory tension that will be familiar to Aphex Twin fans.


Maddy Ringo, "Kenosha" and Wake Up Woman
U-M School of Music, Theatre, and Dance student Maddy Ringo hails from Toronto but her new single is pure Midwestern Americana—and not just because the song namechecks the Wisconsin town on the banks of Lake Michigan. But even with the roots-rock vibe, floating over the tune's folk-country arrangement is a voice that could easily be singing a different genre of music: opera. I'm not sure what Ringo's focus is at U-M, but she has a background in classical singing, which gives the sound of "Kenosha" and last year's album, Wake Up Woman, a different twist. Singers who came to mind while listening to Ringo's music are Joan Baez and The Seekers' Judith Durham. While Baez was naturally blessed with a strong, almost formal voice, but Durham, like Ringo, had classical and jazz training and gained fame fronting the Australian folk-rock band The Seekers. Ringo's music is less saccharine than that of The Seekers' and less rooted in classic folk songs than Baez's, but her mixture of the earthy and the divine offers a similar spirit to that of her 1960s predecessors. 

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