Friday Five: Ki5, Turner Luce, Studio Lounge, kaito ian, Mree

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

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 a cappella techno by Ki5, Americana by Turner Luce, quirky pop by Studio Lounge, electronica by kaito ian, and dream folk by Mree.

Friday Five: Prism Quartet, Jib Kidder, Virga, Blowhole, Frontier Ruckus

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

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 classical/jazz/new music by PRISM Quartet, glitch pop by Jib Kidder, indie rock by Virga, thrash-punk by Blowhole, and indie-folk by Frontier Ruckus.

This Is Your Song: Jeff Tweedy's New Book Makes Us Think About How We Connect With Our Favorite Music

MUSIC WRITTEN WORD REVIEW

Jeff Tweedy stands with April Baer of Michigan Radio's Stateside.

Jeff Tweedy hangs out with April Baer of Michigan Radio's Stateside. Baer spoke with Tweedy about his latest book, World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music, last month at U-M's Rackham Auditorium in partnership with Literati Bookstore. Photo taken from Jeff Tweedy's Facebook page.

Back in 2009, I actually heard Wilco for the first time.

It’s not that I didn’t know the band’s music, but it was the first time I had developed an emotional connection to one of their songs.

It was “You and I,” a heartwarming duet with Feist from the band’s self-titled album. The track addresses two lovers trying to preserve a relationship as Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy sings, “You and I, we might be strangers / However close we get sometimes / It’s like we never met.”

While I’ve never met Tweedy and or any of the other Wilco members, “You and I” emanates a comforting familiarity in terms of its memorable lyrics, bittersweet harmonies, and smooth bassline.

There’s an unexplainable pull I feel to it, and it’s something Tweedy easily masters after nearly three decades of writing Wilco songs.

“I’m much more fascinated by the blurry area between a song and the mind that receives it, puts it back together in a shape that fits their own life, and allows the heart to take ownership,” writes Tweedy in his latest book, World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music.

That statement nicely encapsulates the key takeaway from Tweedy’s third book, which highlights the memorable connections—both positive and negative—he’s made with 50 different songs throughout his life.

Friday Five: Joe Hertler, Modern Lady Fitness, DFRNC & Alexa Kenny, zagc, BigPlanet

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

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 an Ann Arbor-filmed video by pop-rockers Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, artsy indie by Modern Lady Fitness, hip-hop R&B by DFRNC featuring Alexa Kenny, percussive techno by zagc, and hip-hop by BigPlanet.

Along the Way: Ypsi singer-songwriter Adam Plomaritas returns with his first new release in a decade

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Adam Plomaritas wears a white fedora hat, a gray scarf, a purple shirt, and a navy blazer.

Adam Plomaritas gets introspective on his new EP, Old Time Love. Photo courtesy of Adam Plomaritas.

Adam Plomaritas’ new EP reflects on his personal journey of love and growth.

It provides the Ypsilanti pop-soul singer-songwriter with an emotional outlet for exploring the opportunities and challenges that come with being loved and loving others.

“These tunes are about finding a balance between wondering if you’re loved enough and if you’re loving enough in the best ways,” said Plomaritas about Old Time Love, his first collection of new songs since his 2013 album, The Hard Way. “As a husband, father, son, brother, and artist, it’s natural to seek approval, if not always healthy.”

Plomaritas beautifully captures that sentiment on Old Time Love, which features five infectious tracks filled with heartfelt vocals, vibrant horns, and upbeat pop-rock instrumentation.

“The EP is a little bit of introspection, even though the songs are generally light and fun in nature,” he said. “You seemed to have pierced the hard candy shell and gotten to the ooey, gooey chocolate inside—it’s about feeling like you’re enough.”

I recently spoke with Plomaritas about growing up in a musical family, solidifying his writing and recording skills through earlier releases, anticipating his first new release in 10 years, sharing select songs from Old Time Love, and preparing for a December 1 show at The Ark.

Friday Five: Kelly Moran, OVVR, Mirror Monster, Electrifying Audiences, Dre Dav

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the music featured in this Friday Five.

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

This week features emotive piano by Kelly Moran, R&B hip-hop by OVR, electronic instrumental pop by Mirror Monster, post-punk synths by Electrifying Audiences, and rap by Dre Dav.

That Old Boom Bap: The Prop Shop's DJ Chill Will has been spinning bangers on WCBN for 35 years

MUSIC PREVIEW HISTORY INTERVIEW

A fan looks on as Chill Will deejays in a club.

Photo courtesy of DJ Chill Will.

Toward the end of the 2004 smash “Time’s Up” by Jadakiss, a voice came on the radio as a familiar new beat was blended in:

“World-famous Prop Shop. DJ Chill Will in full effect. That’s how it goes down. Saturday nights, 9 to 12 o’clock Eastern Standard Time right here on WCBN-FM Ann Arbor. You can also check us out live on the world wide web at WCBN dot o-r-g and radio dot net backslash WCBN. It’s Saturday night, y’all. We got about an hour and a half left in the show. Sit back and relax, you know we got the classics coming. Prop Shop. Chill Will. Let’s get it.”

I was tuned into 88.3, the University of Michigan radio station, while driving down a darkened stretch of Island Lake Road outside of Dexter. It was a little past 10:30 pm on September 9, and as the DJ concluded his talk-up, I got goosebumps when the bassline thumped.

It was EPMD’s 1988 jam “You’re a Customer,” which has that “Fly Like an Eagle” sample from the Steve Miller Band, but the head-nodding beat is built off a drum sample and bass riff from ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses”—and it’s deep.

I leaned over and turned up the volume, feeling the vibration rattle my windows. The temp was hovering around 60 degrees, and with nobody else on the road, I opened the sunroof and rolled down the windows so the song could fly from my car and fill the late-summer air.

The Prop Shop has been rattling glass since 1988, and “Chill” Will Higgs has been at the helm for almost the entire time. 

It’s also one of the oldest continually running hip-hop radio shows in the world.

The nearly 55-year-old Higgs mostly plays slappers from the late ‘80s through the mid-2010s, with occasional splashes of dancehall reggae—and virtually nothing from the post-trap world of hip-hop and its cymbal-driven songs with light snares. To quote A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 song “We Can Get Down,” The Prop Shop is all about artists who “with a kick, snare, kicks and high hat / [are] skilled in the trade of that old boom bap.”

For the commercial mixes Higgs sends out to radio clients such as KRYC and KPAT in California and WJZE in Toledo, Ohio, he does play contemporary rap.

But for The Prop Shop, it’s strictly classic hip-hop for the heads from the eras Higgs loves. Other artists I heard that night include Smif-N-Wessun, Run the Jewels, Jay-Z, The Diplomats, Baby Cham, Dr. Dre, Paul Wall, 50 Cent, and Jeru the Damaja.

The true window shakers. The essence of hip-hop. The real boom-bap.

Friday Five: Nadim Azzam, Oren Levin, Fangs & Twang, Erin Zindle, Annabella Paolucci

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the music featured in this Friday Five.

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

This week features hip-hop pop by Nadim Azzam, a silly song by Oren Levin, a roots rocker by Fangs and Twang, a ballad by Erin Zindle, and Latin folk-pop by Annabella Paolucci.

 

Natural Tendencies: Chris DuPont Shares Honest and Vulnerable Stories on “Fragile Things” EP

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Chris DuPont sits against a black background and wears a yellow T-shirt underneath a red button-up shirt.

Chris DuPont explores the trajectory of relationships and the vulnerability, honesty, and wisdom that comes with them on Fragile Things. Photo by Robby Fisher of Dogtown Studio.

Chris DuPont didn’t go into making his new EP with a plan.

Instead, the Ypsilanti indie-folk singer-songwriter opted to write and record what came to him naturally.

“I just thought, ‘These songs are close to me.’ I didn’t have as much of an elevator pitch this time. It felt like a relief because sometimes I hide behind the elevator pitch. Sometimes I hide behind [this idea of], ‘Oh, this is what I’m about as an artist, and this is what I’m trying to say,’” said DuPont about Fragile Things.

“And instead, I just decided I’m gonna cut the crap and let people have it, and I hope they respond to it. If they don’t, then I will still know that those stories needed to get out of me for me to be OK.”

What resulted are five intimate songs about the trajectory of relationships and the vulnerability, honesty, and wisdom that come with them. On Fragile Things, DuPont shares those tales through emotive vocals, atmospheric folk-pop instrumentation, and ambient soundscapes.

“When I play them and share them, the consensus tends to be like, ‘Someone’s going to get something out of this,’” he said.

“When I play them live, they connect quickly—usually better than I expect. One thing I’m learning is that I think it’s just my job to create and not treat them like they belong to me as much.”

I recently spoke to DuPont about writing songs for his new EP, creating videos for the title track, recording the EP at multiple studios, preparing for a November 17 EP release show, and collaborating with Kylee Phillips on a duet EP.

Friday Five: JTC, Tyvek, C.R. Odette, .SSJ, Zilched

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

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 leftfield acid house from JTC, garage-punk by Tyvek, quiet synth psychedelia by C.R. Odette, forward-looking R&B by .SSJ, and noise-pop via Zilched.