We can't bear this Detroit weather much longer (we're highly sensitive to cold, snow, clouds, dreariness - anything that isn't sunshine and margaritas, really). So to cheer ourselves up and hopefully do the same for you, we whipped up an energetic playlist that will lift your spirits and get that thick, winter blood pumping.
1. Two Way Petting Zoo - "The Gang Copes With Crippling Depression"
Punk rock jam band Two Way Petting Zoo released their Burn Here Forever EP almost a year ago. It's a lively and somewhat sarcastic release, with biting lyrics and hammering guitars that chime over thick bass runs and shrill, cymbal-heavy drums. Every track has a bit of a punch to it, making this a fun, carefree EP to jam to when you really just don't care about anything other than soaking up some good tunes that brighten your meaningless existence (if you're into that sort of thing).
2. Javelins - "The Pounding"
Spunky and enticing, indie rock trio Javelins takes on a dream wave-style ride with this single, "The Pounding". Opening the track on an exuberant note with plucking violins and cello, they gracefully transition into an addictive guitar riff that explodes towards the chorus with thick fuzz effect that opens the lid on the track. Their sound swells with rhythmic bass, and the addition of some keys in the backdrop that peeks through here and there is a nice surprise. The vocals are distinct and harmonize subtly in the forefront. The vocal style meshes well with the echoing guitars, giving it an almost lo-fi experience, but maintaining that high production value.
3. Size Queen - "Love, Work And Suffer"
We're just going to call this some of the most tasteful skate punk music we've ever heard. Even if you're not a huge punk rocker like many Detroiters are, Size Queen puts a unique spin on the style that keeps its original roots, but plays with a more melodic sound instead of the repetitiveness we can sometimes expect from the punk genre. The vocals are intense (you can practically hear the spitting), but once again, they're far from unsettling. Their recent 2016 God Hates Size Queen is far from monotonous or predictable. They surprise the listener with every track and will keep you on your toes throughout every song.
4. Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms - "Keep Me Around"
Heart String Soul is a power pop, punk, indie release by Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms that could easily be a summer anthem because that's exactly what it sounds like. The vocals are energetic and hyper-authentic with lyricism that's endearing and relatable. The collaboration of musicians from similar post-punk, grunge backgrounds gives a slight edge to the sound, but keeps it light for upbeat listening.
5. Betty Cooper - "Phone Song"
Betty Cooper is a pop/punk, alternative group with catchy lyrics, surfy guitar and entertaining harmonies. You'll have one or all of their songs stuck in your head for the rest of the day once you take a listen. There's a hint of '90s grunge that keeps their sound laidback and casual. Each track has a slightly different spin to it, but still maintains their cohesive sound. Clever and sprightly, Betty Cooper gives us something fun to listen to, sing to and even reflect on.
6. John Speck - "Northward"
Stripped down and raw, John Speck's 2015 single "Northward" is a barebones release with heartbreaking lyricism and simplistic vocals over an echoing acoustic. There's nothing overly spectacular about the recording, but that's what makes it perfect. The vocals soar over each strum of the guitar, keeping the lyrics in the forefront, because they're definitely worth contemplating over. The acoustic is untouched and in its most original form, which is how we think all acoustic should be when they're played with a precision and effortlessness. We don't know where this project is headed for Speck, but we sure hope to hear more in the future.
7. Voltage - "Feel Alright"
Hearty and gruff, Voltage has broken into the scene recently, but their experience here is far from novice. Their self-titled EP just dropped this month and it's a throwback to all that sexy rock n' roll our elders cherished. The tracks are catchy and anthemic with nasty guitar solos and a ramped-up rhythm section that puts the pedal to the floor. It's wholesome, original and just fun to listen to, and Voltage may have just reinvented the wheel with this feel-good rock n' roll release.
8. Lemix J. Buckley - "Where's Gage?"
Remember that post-hardcore stuff back in the early 2000s? Yeah, this isn't that. It's better, or as Lemix J. Buckley classifies it: professional emo. That's hard to argue with because their single "Where's Gage" is an elaborate alternative rock, emo, pop-punk concoction that brings back old memories, but creates a new, musical landscape to explore. Their alternating guitars and off-the-rails bass engulf any inkling of silence and immerse the listener in an all-encompassing experience that transports them through time and space. It's a walk down memory lane for many of us, but with a set of matured ears. The complexity of their music is entertaining and keeps the listener awestruck at any given moment. Where's the debut album?! We're ready!
9. The Luddites - "The French Song"
The never-boring, always bombastic Detroit band, The Luddites, invite us to dance and revive the ska, jazz, and swing genres with their single, "The French Song". It's a horn-heavy, acoustic groove that will make you want to dance and amble about giddy with energy. Big band arrangements are always the most fun to observe with a myriad of wind and string instruments. The Luddites reek of enthusiasm and passion, which is so obvious when listening to their music. It's campy, original, but most importantly, just plain fun. These guys and gals are a Detroit staple, and you probably won't see many bands like them. So don't miss their show on April 30th at PJ's Lager House with All-Seeing Eyes!
10. Rebel Spies - "See You In Hell"
Alternative, punk rock group Rebel Spies take on that old school sound with ramped-up drums, punchy guitar and energetic vocals that manage to keep tempo with the rest of the music (it's pretty darn fast). Their style is explosive and easily digested by the listener because of the quick-jam tracks that will easily call for more. Rebel Spies grind out some great rock music that makes your head pound, but fills your heart with punk rock bliss.
Check back next week for another Detroit playlist!
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