Friday Five: Raw Honey, Nadim Azzam, Atlas the Kid, Canada, Alison Albrecht

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 11-19-2021

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

This week features indie rock from Raw Honey, hip-hop soul by Nadim Azzam, rap by Atlas the Kid, folk-rock by Canada, and a performance by singer-songwriter Alison Albrecht.

 

He Just Wants to "Fly": Ki5 ponders escape and possibilities in his new song and video

MUSIC INTERVIEW

A still from Ki5's video for his song Fly

Escape was on the mind of Kyler Wilkins when he wrote the lyrics for his new a capella single and music video, “Fly.” Using only his voice for the melody, harmonies, and beats, the Ypsilanti-based artist known as Ki5 croons the song's chorus, “Can we fly?” with the sort of passion that can make listeners' souls take flight.

Wilkins said the track makes him dream about traveling and the lyrics capture that sense of anticipation, possibility, and geographic movement. The song's lyrics were inspired by the feelings of isolation at the height of the pandemic, and Wilkins' descending vocals during the chorus are meant to mimic the sensation of freefalling in a dream.

The track was co-written and co-produced by Tom Valdez and Janet Cole Valdez, who Wilkins met last year at an online songwriting class. He says “Fly'' was one of the first songs written by the trio, which has written seven total tunes together.

“The funny part is that after the first scratch recording I made the day we wrote some lyrics, I forgot about the song for a few weeks,” Wilkins said. “It was only after coming back later that I was struck by how inviting and enchanting the original idea was. I really began to believe in its magic then.”

The music video for “Fly” features Wilkins' niece, Maxine Wilkins, who choreographed the video and recruited two dancers, Celia Embry and Vee Brzoznowski, to move alongside her. The dancers correlate with the gradual unfolding of the track: in the beginning, there's just one dancer, but as the song blossoms, all three are doing moves together.

You can find the song on Bandcamp and Spotify; catch the music video below:

Where We Land: Catching up with post-Michigan Electronic Music Collective (MEMCO) projects in Ann Arbor and Abroad

MUSIC

MEMCO alumni update

The Michigan Electronic Music Collective (MEMCO) started as a small community of techno-loving college students and has shifted and expanded throughout the years into a cultural force and community within the Ann Arbor and Detroit music scenes.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m the organization's current president.

Started in 2013 as Michigan Electronic Dance Association, or MEDMA, the now MEMCO allows University of Michigan students and the local community to learn about the Detroit origins of techno and creates safe spaces to listen to and dance to this music and teaches members how to DJ.

Even when MEMCO members leave Ann Arbor, there is a bond that connects them to the town forever, and these alumni take their experience and knowledge from the collective into their own new ventures. Over the past year, past MEMCO members have started labels, continued music projects, and involved themselves in their new communities while always remembering where they came from.

On November 20 at Club Above in Ann Arbor, the current MEMCO crew is throwing its annual Triple Threat party with Maize Collective and WCBN-FM featuring Shigeto, Paul Simpson, Miguel Cisne, and Kilala in the DJ booth. 

But first, here's another kind of triple-threat: an update on a trio of post-MEMCO projects:

Friday Five: University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, We're Twins label, Charley Cardboard, Kat Steih, Aunti

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 11-12-2021

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

This week features the classical from the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, an exploration of the We're Twins label, twangy lo-fi from Charley Cardboard, power-pop from Kat Steih, and industrial techno mixes by Aunti.

 

Journal Entries: Cashmere Washington's reflective new collection provides a therapeutic outlet for the Ypsi singer-songwriter

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Cashmere Washington

Cashmere Washington carves a personal pathway to healing on their latest EP. Photo by Mikael Dunn.

Cashmere Washington’s The Shape of Things to Come serves as a vulnerable, poignant journal for releasing painful feelings, memories, and experiences.

The Ypsilanti indie rocker eloquently tackles the challenges of relationship abuse, childhood trauma, gender, and identity across six insightful, therapeutic tracks on their new EP, which is part of an ongoing series of journaling-like songs that started as ‘therapy homework’ from my therapist to just write six letters to the people who hurt me and I wanted to let go of," said Washington, aka Thomas Dunn, who is also the hip-hop beatmaker guero. "After I wrote the first four in a week, I liked them so much I couldn’t stop writing."

Backed by raw electric guitars, thumping drums, and roaming bass, The Shape of Things to Come is a powerful outlet to show Washington's inner strength and powerful voice while acknowledging and shedding long-term guilt and shame.

Friday Five: Timothy Monger State Park, Doogatron, Galen Bundy, Indigo Virus, "Finlan's Fabulous Yooper Rock & Roll Fundraising Compilation"

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 11-05-2021

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

This week features jangly pop from Timothy Monger State Park, electronica by Doogatron, experimental electronics via Galen Bundy, drum 'n' bass by Indigo Virus, and various artists coming together for Finlan's Fabulous Yooper Rock & Roll Fundraising Compilation.

 

All the Pretty Things: Mirror Monster combines electronics and acoustic instruments to soundtrack cathartic personal journeys

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Mirror Monster

Mirror Monster’s Michael Skib and David Minnix provide an insightful personal response to lingering social and political tensions on Pretty Things Made With All Our Love. Photo by Judy Nanney.

Mirror Monster’s latest EP, Pretty Things Made With All Our Love, extracts the hidden emotional beauty from the bleakest of times. The seven-song collection by the Ann Arbor electronic-experimental duo of David Minnix and Michael Skibis is a cathartic, reflective journey that thoughtfully processes internal growth amidst a turbulent external landscape.

Mirror Monster’s enchanting folk-electronica odyssey glides through contemplative tracks about personal losses, the swift passage of time, ethereal encounters, and vivid memories. 

“In my view, if you can grow as a human being through the act of creating music, even if nobody buys or listens to it, you’ve still gained something incredibly valuable," said Skib, who formed the project with Minnix in 2019 and named it after a Deerhoof track. "In that sense, I feel a tremendous amount of this success from this project.”

From the Roots: Chris DuPont's heartfelt "Floodplains" explores raw emotions without dwelling in darkness

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Chris Dupont

Chris Dupont photo by Christina Furtado

When Chris DuPont released his latest album, Floodplains, earlier this year, it would have been easy to assume the themes of isolation and loss grew out of the pandemic. Yet all the songs were actually written pre-COVID, the Ypsilanti-based musician explained in a recent email interview. 

The album continues DuPont’s remarkable run of thoughtful, heartfelt songwriting brought to life with impeccable singing and musicianship. The album has an intimate feel, highlighted by DuPont’s expressive guitar playing and flawless supporting accompaniment. “Retrieve” leads off the album, musing about how new relationships can heal broken ones, with guest vocalist Olivia Dear enriching the sound.

Several songs have an undercurrent of regret, and there are plenty of examples of DuPont’s knack for arresting lyrics. “Start Again,” featuring Rin Tarsy on vocals, is particularly affecting as DuPont sings, “I have never faced so steep a valley / As the center of the mattress in a wedding bed.” The album closes with touching “In the Lap of the Mountain (Benediction),” concluding that ultimately we all need someone else.  

DuPont recently answered some questions about Floodplains:

Friday Five: Scissor Now!, Jolly Jack and the Jazz Flutes, The Wastelanders, Sean Curtis Patrick, MEMCO, and a bonus video from Same Eyes

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five: Scissor Now!, Jolly Jack and the Jazz Flutes, The Wastelanders, Sean Curtis Patrick, MEMCO, and a bonus video from Same Eyes

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

This week features No Wave new wave by Scissor Now!, metal from Jolly Jack and the Jazz Flutes, hard rock via The Wastelanders, spooky sounds courtesy Sean Curtis Patrick, two MEMCO techno/electronica releases, and a bonus pick: Same Eyes' "Such a Shame" video.

 

Friday Five: Kawsaki, Laurel Premo, Same Eyes, Safa Collective, marto.matic

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five cover art featuring Kawsaki, Laurel Premo, Same Eyes, Safa Collective, marto.matic

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

This week features retro-futuristic vaporwave by Kawsaki, droney folk-blues by Laurel Premo, synth-pop by Same Eyes, environmental sounds by Safa Collective, and indie-folk by marto.matic.