by Jeff Milo
When, really, around Ypsilanti, she's practically already a household name in local music.
Shelley Salant,...local radio show host, consistent performer/song-writer/recorder, label head, record store clerk, and, yes, show promoter. She's the spark-plug, the torch-bearer, the point man (or, rather, point woman), or as AnnArbor.com called her "...the den-mother..." of Washtenaw's local/underground indie/punk/noise/rock scene...
But having now logged more than five years' worth of booking shows (all around Ann Arbor and Detroit, from big theaters to small DIY house parties), she's now firmly propping the banner of Ginkgo Productions (which is also the namesake of her record/cassette label).
It took so long, really, because "...I thought (branding it) would make it more about me and not enough about the show itself or the community..."
"It's almost hard to remember why I was so against that idea for a while, I think it was just instinctive..."
But, ya know... "Sometimes its really frustrating finding a place to host shows..." She admits, this, candidly, at 4 a.m., via email, while concernedly under-slept. But, what she's getting at is, hopefully, establishing her own, or a collectively-run all-ages space for shows...
It's possible. And it's also confounding that she continues finding all the energy and enthusiasm for all this...
"I might also start booking tours for friends bands, I always like to help people out with that."
Currently, Salant is best known for her hosting of WCBN (88.3 fm), U-M's student-run community freeform radio station, along with her main music gig, drumming/writing/performing with surf-noodling indie-pop quartet Swimsuit--which you can listen to here (stream/download: "Sunlight") and see them, live, at the Blind Pig, on February 15th.
At that show, Swimsuit performs with two touring bands off the Slumberland label, both brothers-in-arms in the realms of shambling dream-pop - UK's Veronica Falls and San Fran's Brilliant Colors. Ypsi dance-party hosts the Absolute Beginners will spin records between bands (a DJ crew that Swimsuit's bassist Amber Fellows helped found about a year ago).
Her resume also includes a stint with Charlie Slick and touring as drummer for Tyvek. Last autumn, she released a duet-cassette with singer/songwriter Fred Thomas (the latter bearing the recorded examples of her own guitar-based experimental compositions, which she's performed out live a few times recently).
Salant's been painting flyers for shows as for as long (5 years) as she's been booking them, always implementing the same colors (white, with green, red, and bluish font), hoping, somehow, just maybe, people would see one and think--hey, this flyer looks like that last flier for that one other show...and I really liked that one ...so, this one's gotta be...
Yeah, subtle branding had already started, even back then. "So... saying 'Ginkgo Presents' is just an extension of that now..."
Her reach, promotion-wise (Washtenaw) can sometimes be determined by proximity of her home - her ambition extends beyond: "I tend to view metro Detroit/Ypsi/Arbor as all part of the same extended community, which is why my events-listing calendar/blog includes all those places."
That's right, she also finds the time to administer an exceptional blog (really just her own listings section plucked from any ideal zine) that can help any local music enthusiast plan their whole month's worth of notable music events. Michigan Happenings - Shelly's already marked your calendars for you...
Ginkgo was really just getting its feet on the ground a year ago, but Salant still cobbled together her own Blowout Showcase, back in '11 at the Atlas (which featured Man the Hunter and Fellows' other band Damned Dogs), which could, hopefully, happen again, this year, Salant said.
Until then - take a listen to more Swimsuit songs: Hear: "Evaporation" - featuring the spindly guitar sashays of Fred Thomas (of City Center, Life Like Records and Saturday Looks Good To Me) along with the dulcet coos of singer/guitarist Dina Bankole (of Secret Twins).
And watch the video for Veronica Falls "Found Love In a Graveyard" here.