IPO Detroit 2014
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Artists From Detroit
Blaire Alise & The Bombshells – Aged only 17, Blaire Alise has been hailed as “the next generation of music in Detroit,” and with her band The Bombshells, as one of five bands to watch in Detroit on NPR’s World Café…and we couldn’t agree more! Her style has been described as a combination of ‘50s pop and garage rock with an old school girl-group feel (think The Ronettes with a Detroit edge). Her influences include artists such as Lesley Gore, Patsy Cline, Nancy Sinatra, as well as the Detroit garage rock bands who have embraced her as their own. One listen to their recent single, Run & Hide, and we think you’ll agree the future is happening now! Check them out!!
The Blue Squares – Freakbeat garage in the grandest Detroit tradition of such bands as The MC5 meets Nuggets-style British Invasion influences a la The Zombies and The Kinks. Their recently released self-titled album remains loyal to the band’s garage rock roots, but the additional instrumental stylings and fuzz pedal experimentation under the direction of producer Jim Diamond contribute to its more refined and dynamic quality. Check it out (or better yet, come to their IPO showcase), and you’ll hear what we mean!
The Bruised Reed – Led by husband-wife duo Josh and Kirsten Wheeler, the band manage to weave dreamy layered melodies and Kirsten’s ethereal vocals together with angular chord changes in a way that is mellow and rocks at the same time. Their New Words for Old Desires EP will appeal to fans of Elliott Smith, Pedro The Lion, and fellow Michiganians (and sometimes IPO players) Glowfriends.
Chris Degnore and the Black Drops – A trio who combine sweet powerpop vocals with crunchy rock guitars and a touch of blues. The results will stick in your head for days! Their debut self-titled CD is one of the better ones we’ve heard in awhile, and has us eagerly awaiting their next one!
The Dives – Taking cues from their past lives in The Junk Monkeys, The Black Mollies, and The Sunday Painters, as well as great rock and punk band influences including The Stones, The Who, The Clash, The Stooges, and The MC5, The Dives have crafted a sound that weaves driving riffs and compelling, sometimes irreverent, lyrics into a gritty but honest musical tapestry that is distinctly rock ‘n roll. The songs on their recently released debut album, Magnificent Desolation, are proof that rock isn’t dead, and that sometimes all you need is three guys and a great hook!
Matt Fig – Hailing from the suburb of Wyandotte, Fig (and his eponymous band) combines some in your face powerpop with the in-your-face rock n’ roll influence of Aerosmith and the breezy folk rock of Buffalo Springfield. Their latest CD, The Medicine Isn’t Helping, is their best yet! Fig (the man minus band) has also been doing shows with Enuff Z’nuff; how cool is that?? Don’t miss your chance to see him in this rare solo performance!
Greater Alexander – Main man Alexander Vlachos currently makes his home in Detroit, but his varied roots (from Binghamton, NY to Athens, Greece!) show through in his music. His songs blend influences from ‘70s-styled European sof tpop with traditional American folk and harmony pop, spiced up with a dose of modern indie folk-rock. Come check out Real Detroit Weekly’s “Best Local Singer Songwriter of 2013” and his band, and pick up a copy of their Positive Love CD!
Andy Klingensmith – His latest EP, “…Bright Again would signal the arrival of a major artist had the full-length Pictures Of not already done that in 2013….” (PurePop Radio) The EP is a heady mixture of psychedelic pop jangle, complex shifting chord structures, and shimmering layers of soft pop melodies. Fans of Brian Wilson, The Byrds, The Smiths, and XTC will eat this up!
The Legal Matters – Formally The Phenomenal Cats, this is a rockin’ pop project containing equal parts Chris Richards, Andy Reed and Keith Klingensmith. A band featuring any one of these notable popsters is bound to be good, but all three joined together…you know you don’t want to miss this!
The Paper Sound – A band who blend equal parts indie rock, powerpop, and Americana to great effect, and who are generating an even greater buzz over their most recent CD, The Struggle With Light. “Honest lyrics, killer vocals and a classy rhythm section were just the beginning of this inspiring album. Killer guitar work, filled with wonderful tremolo swells and ‘get out of my head you bastard’ riffs, made me want to pick up my own guitar and jam out.”
(thisiswhatyourbandsoundslike.com) ‘Nuff said!
The Pounders – If you like high energy pop with a dash of jangle, you will LOVE The Pounders! Their sound draws comparisons to everyone from Elvis Costello to The Who to The Romantics and MC5, to name but a few, and their CD, You And What Army? will also appeal to fans of Tom Petty and Neil Young. The Pounders live show is a musical experience not to be missed…so don’t miss their IPO showcase!
The Romeo Flynns – Heavily influenced by the British invasion of the ‘60s, a time when it was all about the song, they learned how to do one thing well: compose songs that people want to hear! Combining their British influences with a sound reminiscent of the powerpop scene of Detroit in the ‘80s, The Romeo Flynns’ latest CD, Masque of Anarchy, is a perfect example of what Detroit powerpop once was and is once again!
The Secrets – The Secrets carry on the tradition of creating the kind of smart-catchy-fun pop songs that made Detroit famous! Blending soaring harmonies with sweetly singing guitars, and adding a dash of Saturday morning cartoon whimsy with a touch of Motown production, any of their CDs will fit perfectly in the collection of many a pop fan!
Shapes & Colors – Shapes & Colors are looking to captivate listeners with gritty hooks, passionate melodies, soaring vocals, and naked honesty. They’re at an exciting point in their career, recording their new EP with Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Emery, The Almost), and are getting ready to take the world by storm! Fans of Taking Back Sunday, 30 Seconds To Mars, and U2 should check them out!
The Starfire Band – A band of high school buddies drawn together by their love of hard rock and bands like Alice Cooper, Bad Company, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin. Today they draw the inspiration for their music from Detroit’s deep musical roots, writing and performing tunes inspired by The Beatles, Cheap Trick, Marshall Crenshaw, The Raspberries, and Eric Carmen, characterized by good melodies and flowing chord progressions, as exemplified by the songs on their latest CD, Livin’ in the City.
The Static Dial – Coming together as a group of musician friends in Detroit, the band redraw the boundaries that separate indie rock from other genres of music, striving to create music that “should already exist.” The quartet take an indie approach to textures, a love for Mediterranean and African styles (among a wide creative palette), and blend it all with a motor city attitude. Their latest single, “Desert Song,” will speak to fans of Calexico, Arctic Monkeys, and Jeff Buckley, to name but a few!
The Sugar Clouds – Blending psychedelia with synth loops and quirky pop hooks, wrapped in an ambient shoegazer layer of fuzz, they are quite aptly named, as their music will make you feel like you are floating away on a cloud of sweet electronic pop confection. Check out their recent ep, B, and you’ll hear what we mean!
Thumbs Up – Although IPO typically does not focus on tribute acts, when one is as unique and quirky as this one, we’re willing to make an exception! Featuring Todd Breadon of The Sugar Clouds (see above), they do dueling ukulele renditions of Velvet Underground classics! You will not want to miss this!
Vox Vera – “A classic power trio, St. Clair Shores-based Vox Vera has been tearing up the Radio OPIE People’s Choice Countdown since we received their tunes a few months ago. We here at the station have quickly become addicted to their power pop/alternative rock sound. Vox Vera brings back the post-grunge sound of the mid-to-late 1990’s and gives it a modern edge…[T]hey kick ass live, too!” (Radio Opie) Pretty cool stuff!
U.S. Artists From Outside Of Detroit
Fireking – A band sired by former members of Detroit’s own Figures On A Beach, who claim to be the “rock experience of the 21st Century.” The band moved to Boston, and a few years later main men Anthony Kaczynski and Michael “Smitty” Smith formed the great Fireking! The sound on Fireking’s Live A Little, Love A Little CD falls somewhere between Face To Face-era Kinks and The Stooges’ Funhouse, and their performance at The Cavern at IPO Liverpool in 2005 had many of the locals begging for more! Speaking of “more”, look for a new album very soon!
Jeremy – One of the most genuine, nicest people on the pop scene, as well as one of the most prolific pop artists around. His gentle, John Lennon-influenced pop is as spiritual as it is melodic, and you can hear this for yourself on all of his CDs. This Michigander can stake his rightful place in the IPO Hall Of Fame!
Max Pain and The Groovies – A Salt Lake City five-piece who play psychedelic blues influenced rock n’ roll. Their debut self-titled and self-released EP features scorching guitar lines, hypnotic vocals and a woozy beat. It drones at times and explodes moments later. It’s an album you can zone to or dance your ass off to. Check it out now!
The Paths – The Paths use a diverse palate of sounds to construct songs that are expressive and dynamic – songs that take root, grow, and flourish. Their sound, which includes hints of folk, psychedelic, and ambient electronic music, eludes traditional genre labels. Introspective lyrics are delivered through inviting melodies, illuminated from beneath by ambient keyboards, and given a weightless momentum by their rhythm section. Their Carried By Crows EP will appeal to fans of Radiohead, The Antlers, and Grizzly Bear. One of Ann Arbor’s most enigmatic bands!
The Tearaways – They’ve been putting out sweet harmony-filled ear candy and crunchy powerpop gems since 1981, and are still going strong! Their music has been featured on NBC, ABC, and ESPN and several independent films, and they’ve recently finished a 39-song recording project with famed producer Earle Mankey, set for release early 2014. They’ve also recently performed on the Arsenio Hall Show after their 10th year performing at the Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool. Their new single “We’re All Gonna Drink Tonight” b/w the classic Badfinger song “Baby Blue” was just released on Robo Records/Universal Music and is now available on iTunes. Definitely one of Santa Barbara, California’s finest!
Dave Rave – He began popping very powerfully indeed a near quarter century ago as part of the legendary Canadian bands Teenage Head and The Shakers, and has often been referred to as “The Canadian Nick Lowe.” In addition to being one of the most entertaining and hardworking powerpoppers around, he’s also been known to display his jazzy side on several collaborations with fellow Canadian singer/songwriter, Mark McCarron. His recent CD, Live With What You Know, was nominated for a Grammy, as was one of its songs, “Anne Marie”!! He’s played nearly every IPO for over three years running (including as many as 50 in a row!), and we look forward to many more. Thank you, Dave!!