by Jeff Milo
Some of these bands are the usual suspects -as X! Records (administered in endearing-DIY-style by Frustrations drummer/singer Scott Dunkerley) has been going for nigh-on-10-years now, coagulating a thick vein of punk camaraderie betwixt local icons like Tyvek, Timmy Vulgar and Heroes & Villains. The Beekeepers will weird-things up a bit, as will Johnny Ill Band, but lots of ears, lately, are on the forceful four-piece Protomartyr.
With the blossoming of this latest class of young pop peddlers, I thought we'd finally reached a post-Jack-White era in Detroit music. They were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed in their unique ways, but they had talent, they had harmonies, they could write some fine indie-pop tunes. And it wasn't a rehash or a resurrection of gritty-garage rock, that oil-splotched style of swaggering-rock-n-roll that once seemed prerequisite for cred in this town.Now, we had the HandGrenades singing unabashedly girl-I-love-you pop songs - way more Beatlesy than Buzzards-y, and we had Citizen Smile embracing fresh ideas on the possibilities of pop-song composition- way more Silent Years than Soldead Brothers.The Pathetic Sounds of Detroit is a multi-pronged documentary - calling back to a compilation that Jack White curated in 2001 (Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit) - featuring 11 new-er musical outfits (named above) recorded on 1/4" 8-track vinyl. Eight hours of footage, featuring the bands recording said-songs, will be shorted into a proper documentary feature (or, at least, a compilation of music videos).The idea:
Pay homage to some of the most exciting times in the Detroit music scene (i.e., the 2001-era, the "garage-era"-- Watch: White Stripes' "Red Death at 6:14" - or, while you're at it, Watch: Soledad Brothers' "Shaky Puddin'")Pathetic Sounds, this "new era," if you will, is also showcasing some of the best talent in the scene and setting an example for bands to work together for the good of the Detroit local music scene.
And the fests keep coming after that!
A sonic taste of one band on its current line-up: