Local Spins’ May segment for “Stateside” on Michigan Radio showcased three rock bands with impressive new albums who aim to make a splash in 2019. Listen to the podcast and full versions of their songs.
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Twangy indie-rock, roots rock, psych rock.
Local Spins publisher John Sinkevics and Cynthia Canty of Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” discussed all of those fetching genres during May’s statewide Local Spins segment which Featured West Michigan bands and their new albums: Kalamazoo’s The Go Rounds and Grand Rapids’ Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions and The Howlers.
Listen here to the Local Spins segment on Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” here and check out full versions of the selected songs below.
1. The Go Rounds, “Why Does It Feel So Bad” – I can literally think of no other band locally or nationally that sounds like The Go Rounds. This Kalamazoo group led by the charismatic and somewhat enigmatic Graham Parsons combines a dreamy, reverb-laden and twangy indie-rock with elements of melodic pop featuring Parsons’ captivating, octave-spanning vocals. He uses two microphones during the band’s live shows, which allow him to add exhilarating effects to his vocals. The band’s latest album, “Whatever You May Be,” pushes the envelope of creativity and inventiveness even farther down the road, while maintaining the group’s distinctive, catchy vibe. For this project, they worked with producer Ben Cohen and recorded the album at Chris Koltay’s High Bias Studios in Detroit. What resulted, as Local Spins reviewer Jeff Milo put it, is “the ideal Zen-like combination of meditation and unpredictability.” The band is touring the United States in May, but returns at the end of the month to headline the Bus Benefit festival hosted by Buses by the Beach at Camp Blodgett along Lake Michigan south of Grand Haven on May 25, then plays Short’s Brewing in Bellaire on June 1 and the Riverscene Music Festival in Bay City on June 8 (plus lots more on the summer docket including Parson’s own festival – Farm Block – that takes place in the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P. July 26-28).
2. Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions, “Hey Maria” – This is a Grand Rapids roots rock band that has found a steady and brisk wind in its billowing sails over the past year, and their third full-length studio album, “Bottled Up Like a Neon Light,” is liable to push them ever farther forward in building a fan base in Michigan and beyond. Frontman Jack Droppers, whose performances certainly are uber-passionate and mesmerizing, has surrounded himself with musicians who share his vision for roots rock and Americana music that’s inspired by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and others, but resonates with its own powerful charm, insightful story-telling lyrics and simmering emotions and dynamics. The band – Droppers, Laura Hobson, Devin Sullivan, James Kessel, Garrett Stier and Joshua Holicki – earlier this year performed at South by Southwest in Austin and next play a stadium show in Midland on May 24th following the Great Lakes Loons baseball game, then mount a mini-Michigan tour in June with West Michigan’s Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts and Jake Kalmink & Further Closer, playing Holland’s Park Theatre on June 14 and Shakespeare’s Pub in Kalamazoo on June 15 (with a Grand Rapids date yet to be announced).
3. The Howlers, “The Sun Comes Up, The Sun Goes Down” – Matt Ten Clay is well known and well regarded behind the scenes in Grand Rapids. As a respected producer, engineer and owner of Amberlit Audio studios in Grand Rapids, he’s established a reputation as an in-demand sound honcho – especially with the growing legion of psychedelic rock bands in the region. But like many producers who also happen to be musicians and songwriters, his own music is often under-appreciated and operates under the radar. But he and his band, The Howlers, have created in my view some of the region’s most fetching and distinctive psych-rock in recent years and their latest album is no exception. He himself refers to it as “Poignant, yet hazy and droney dark psychedelic pop that you makes it tough to decide whether to dance to or to stare at your shoes in reflection.” His band also includes Pat Wieland and Adam Cavanaugh from the group Lazy Genius, Sean Stearns from Coffin Problem and Dan Fisher, who performs with I Believe in Julio, Shane Tripp and Fiona Dickinson. (John Harrell also plays keyboards on half of the songs on the new album.) We’re featuring the title track from the new recording – the band’s eighth – which officially gets released on May 18 with a performance at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, along with sets by Blanca Luz (who also have a new album) and FLUSHED.
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