This week, we have a variety of Detroit artists for your listening pleasure! We’re here to bridge the gap between artist and listener, so bands like these can get the recognition they deserve. Lend us your ears for just a moment and let the sounds of Detroit flood you with joy. We don’t mean to be corny, we actually can’t help it. It’s in our DNA.
1. Desires – “Safe Haven”
Desires debut release, Safe Haven, is an epic and brooding, melodic hardcore album with heavy lyricism in a speak-singing style that really drags you into the narrative of the song. After breaking into the first verse, all bets are off and you’re on a rollercoaster ride of hammering guitars, bass and drums. The track boomerangs between melodic and soft to gritty and menacing. The vocals scream out like an emotional plea and it’s pretty heartbreaking, but that’s what this genre is for, right? They may have an emo-rock vibe, but don’t let that trick you into thinking they can’t rock out.
2. Doctor ILLingsworth – “Sheen”
Instrumental music doesn’t have to be boring (really, we promise). Just ask instrumental hip-hop artist, ILLingsworth. His beats are soothing, yet focused, with a rejuvenating experimental vibe that comes off as playful. There’s plenty of instrumentation to keep you occupied, even without lyrics. It’s better this way because sometimes you just need to hear the sound and not feel inclined to interpret what the artist is saying with their words. It’s a beautiful mash-up of keys, horns, aux percussion, synth, bass, and probably everything in between (like video game sound bytes). If you’re looking for a way to stay focused on a task, yet be entertained, ILLIingsworth is for you.
3. The Wrong Numbers – “I Found A Love”
The Wrong Numbers are a fun, soulful group of blues rockers that really know how to hit you in the feels. Their sound is old school and energetic with rippin’ guitar riffs and heavy rhythm. It’s exciting to come across bands that relish that Motown sound and really grasp at your heartstrings with their bluesy lyrics and effortless delivery. You can tell these guys know their stuff and we’re eager to see them play live!
4. Mac Starr – “The Trip”
The fuzziest and most lo-fi electro-pop your ears have ever wanted to experience is where it’s at with Mac Starr’s Birthday Letters. Released last week, this album is surreal and ethereal with heavy electric guitar and booming bass. Mac Starr is a multi-instrumentalist and impressively so, as this entire album was written and recorded by him alone. The vocals echo slightly under the music, which lets you focus on his voice and the chant-like harmonies that play nicely with the distorted guitar. There’s a west coast vibe to this release that makes it a pretty great listen for this upcoming warm weather.
5. Jayme Orr – “Love Is A War”
Jayme Orr’s debut EP Healed is set to release at the end of this month, but she was kind enough to have her single “Love Is A War” for our listening pleasure. Orr’s voice is powerful yet delicate with a natural soulfulness that resonates from a deep place. The music is angsty, alternative rock without any unnecessary frills that often accompany pop music these days. It’s refreshing and emotional with lyricism that projects heartbreak and resilience. We’re looking forward to more from Jayme Orr and can’t wait for her EP to drop.
6. Mod Orange – “Nowhere Town”
Jam heavy, indie rock band Mod Orange are driven by catchy melodies, groovy rhythm and smooth harmonies. The sweet and airy guitar riffs are the first thing you’ll notice when cruising through the tracks on their 2014 release, Dusk. The bass and percussion drive the beat with noticeable precision and effortlessness. There’s hints of psychedelia and blues that make this album uber-groovy and low key. The vocals ride high with story-like lyrics that bode well with the instrumentation. The outro is a perfect way to close the listening experience with what appears to be the calming sound of a rain shower.
7. American Mars – “If I’m Gonna Get Old”
American Mars has been on the Detroit music scene since the late ’90s and never disappoint with their folky, reminiscing tunes. Their Americana, roots-rock style is heartbreaking and also uplifting as you sample their discography, but their 2012 release Chasing Vapor is emotional and cathartic with vibrant guitar riffs and warm bass runs. Their style seems to pull from multiple musical genres, making each track its own mini-masterpiece. The lyrics are poetic and visual, painting a picture for the listener to explore and recreate. American Mars falls on a broad spectrum that makes their sound uber-familiar and perfectly crafted for introspective listening. We’re lucky to still have them here persevering in Detroit.
8. Touch The Clouds – “Crazy Dreams”
Alternative group Touch The Clouds’ four-track album, Baetyl is a brash flurry of guitars, bass and drums that fill every last second of this recording. It’s thick and reflective with gritty lyricism and war-cry vocals that don’t seem to waiver. The guitar riffs are dark and wicked, while bass lines ramble on with the rhythm of the drums. It’s just non-stop rock that gets your blood pumping. The multi-layered vocals add depth and breadth to the forward-focused music. It’s as if the vocals hold the melody on a leash and draw it back effortlessly, making the tracks both fast-paced and drawling at the same time.
9. John Holk & The Sequins – “Sea Shells”
Who knew that folk and psychedelic tunes could cohabitate in the same album? You may think it impossible, but John Holk & The Sequins will quickly prove you wrong. Their 2010 release, If You See Her, is a staple country jam, but you’ll be surprised to hear psychedelic folk and power-pop characteristics with trance-like vocals and sweeping, ambient instrumentation with multiple string instruments. The sound is warm and full with pedal steel guitar and auxillary percussion that rounds out that honky tonk twang, making it easily accessible to listeners who may not enjoy traditional country music. It’s a smart mash-up that is far from predictable and Holk nails it.
10. Orange Areola – “Cyanide Coolade”
Thick guitar, anthemic vocals and just an all around raging listening experience. Orange Areola is an energetic and rockin’ group that reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. Their gritty guitars and raging drums give off a punk essence and it’s definitely something you’ll want to headbang to. The vocals are intense, but so hard not to sing along to. These guys make rock n’ roll fun.
Check back next week for some more Detroit bands and don’t forget to give us your thoughts in the comments below! We love to hear from our readers!