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.

 

Open Road: Rod Johnson Relishes Cross-Country Adventures on "Looking for a Perfect Trip"

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Rod Johnson standing in a field with his acoustic guitar

Rod Johnson credits The Who, David Bowie and Roxy Music as his early musical influences. Photo by Greg Croasdill.

For Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Rod Johnson, a rusty, rattling Ford Econoline van serves as the ideal road-trip companion.

The tank-like vehicle represents carefree, youthful jaunts of the past and promising, independent cross-country journeys of the future on “Telephone Company Surplus Econoline Van" from his latest wanderlust-fueled album, Looking for a Perfect Trip

“I had a friend in high school that had a telephone company surplus Econoline van, and it was just a Michigan Bell van with a logo painted on it," said Johnson, a retired University of Michigan College of Engineering professor. "We spent a lot of time in that van listening to Alice Cooper, and that’s the van that I was thinking of specifically."

“When I do that song, people always laugh when I say the title. They think it’s going to be this jokey song, but it’s not. It’s always fun to watch their expressions change as you go through it.”

Friday Five: i-sef u-sef, Zippy Bop, Brian Seabolt, Chien-An Yuan, Fundamental Sound Co.

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 10-15-2021

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

This week features glitchy R&B created entirely on bassoon by i-sef u-sef, a disco mix by Zippy Bop, acoustic songs by Brian Seabolt, a pre-club mix by Chien-An Yuan, and a massive compilation of tunes recorded at Ypsilanti's Fundamental Sound Co.

 

Modern Soul(s): Vulfpeck collaborator Antwaun Stanley connected with former My Dear Disco/Ella Riot leader Tyler Duncan for a new EP

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Antwaun Stanley

Antwaun Stanley's powerful voice sounds like it came from another time, cast from the deep grooves of a 1960s R&B record.

That's why it's always a treat when the Ann Arbor singer appears as a featured vocalist with jam-funk-soul stars Vulfpeck or with one of the other bands for which he's associated.

But a new EP, Ascension, shows Stanley taking a big step forward as a solo artist. The record was made in collaboration with Ann Arbor multi-instrumentalist and producer Tyler Duncan. His impressive resume includes leading the Irish crossover group Millish and the dance-rock project My Dear Disco, aka Ella Riot, as well as producing songs for Carly Rae Jepsen and Lake Street Dive.

The EP isn’t technically Stanley's solo debut—he released a gospel album a few years back—but it does showcase his artistic voice in a new way with a modern R&B sound. 

Ascension features three fully developed songs and three largely instrumental interludes. “Speed of Night” recalls old-school R&B, while “Tightrope” offers inspiration through James Blake-like soul-tronica. “Lost in Translation” is the EP's stand-out with its addictive groove, great singing, strong lyrics, and a crackling horn section.

Stanley answered a few questions about the new EP and his other work.