After making waves with his local band Rescue earlier this decade, frontman-turned-solo artist Alan Scheurman releases his new record, Old Patterns, as a free download this week. What would otherwise be fairly straightforward folk tracks are given far-out treatment, thanks to production from His Name Is Alive mad scientist Warren Defever at Detroit's UFO Factory.
The psychedelic-folk blueprints laid out in Rodriguez's classic "Sugarman" — a musician and his guitar out in front, with art-rock orchestration sculpted around it — basically comprise the foundation of Old Patterns. Scheurman's voice and guitar strumming are fragile and old-fashioned against the record's recurring ominous motifs of bassy horn blasts, reverb and noise. The juxtaposition, as strange as it may sound on paper, makes for a chilly but quite sweet record.
Most of the record's comprised of solid folk with subtle embellishments, although Scheurman, Defever and the backing band take the premise to even weirder heights throughout the disc. "Marco Polo" is clearly the most rocking of the bunch, featuring machine-gun drums and a repetitive, crunchy riff before the whole thing ends with what sounds like a tribal version of the freeform jazz drum solo from a Wes Anderson movie. At the most extreme end of the spectrum is the album closer, "Heat Death" (named after a theoretical end to the universe), which actually concludes with a good sonic approximation of the cosmos grinding to a halt, as well as "New York Underwater," a noise track that could have very much been created by what the title describes.
The recent trend of artists releasing direct-to-download frees them from having to stay inside the box and perhaps even allows them to be a little self-indulgent. (Did anyone other than Trent Reznor's most devoted fans actually need to hear his instrumental albums?) But as experimental as it is overall, Old Patterns is well worth the click of a mouse. In other words, it's quite a trip. Get a taste at alanscheurman.com.
Leyland "Lee" DeVito reviews music for Metro Times. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.