Mick Bassett & the Marthas dropped one of the best releases out of Detroit this year. The self-released Here's the Whirlwind EP not only announces the arrival of a great new songwriter (up there with Chris Bathgate and Matt Jones) but also a great new band's debut.
It's very Dylanesque. That said, there's a lot more here than mimicry. Former Dollface Bassett is more likely to cite Ray Charles' "Drown in My Own Tears" or Charles Mingus' The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady as inspiration for his songwriting than Blonde on Blonde. As Bassett says, "I want things to be eccentric but melodic." And the Marthas, who are incredibly tight in their looseness, add a beautifully eccentric touch to the tunes.
For such a wonderful songwriter, University of Michigan student Bassett lives in an incredibly typical Ann Arbor student apartment. His sparse bedroom sees a mic, a Mac and a mattress. The common space he shares with three roommates is a quintessential example of dude-group housekeeping; but when you're 20 with a great band, who the fuck cares?
"I love the view here but I hate how it was decorated to look like it was decorated by a pillaging army," Bassett says. "My room is good enough for me though — but it needs more pictures. People who read this should draw me pictures to put up. Can we make that some kind of Metro Times contest? The winners get their picture in my room and a free copy of Metro Times!"
You can send pictures for Mick Bassett's bedroom to Metro Times, attention Mick Bassett Decorating Help. We'll be sure to forward them along.
Mick Bassett & the Marthas play Saturday, April 26, at the Lager House (1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668) with Great Lakes Myth Society.
Mick Bassett performing "You're My Chaos" in his Ann Arbor bedroom, 4/15/08.
Mick Bassett does "Give You the City" in his bedroom.