The untimely demise of the Bohemian National Home got me to thinking how fickle the world of performance venues can be. Anyone who's done any time knocking about the music scene in this town (hell, any town) has a tale or two that ends with a wistful "Man, that place was awesome. Too bad they had to ..."
The realm of nonmainstream, non-beer-sponsored venues is even trickier and full of DIY nostalgia. In just such a mind-set, I was a-Googling the other day when I stumbled upon the old website for one of the late, great fringe music houses — namely, the Detroit Art Space. It was similar to the BoHouse in that it was curated by a passionate fan of left-field music (in the Bo's case, it's Joel Peterson; in the DAS' case, it was Ben Hernandez, now a programmer at MOCAD). Here's the thing, though: DAS existed in a time when recordings could be captured quickly and thrown out online. Lucky for us ...'cause now we have raw (some very raw) documents of jams concocted by defunct and still-rocking groups alike. Bands such as Human Eye ("This one's called 'Gag on Popular Culture.' 'Gag on my bacon!'" shouts Tim Vulgar to kick things off), Larval (a lovely quieter jam), Viki, Mammal, Eastern Seaboard, InDoor Park, the Ultimate Lovers, THTX and many others get the soundboard recording treatment. The result sounds like you'd expect — a mic in a room full of sonic adventurers, recorded for posterity if not release. Might make a good retrospective if it could get mastered and such. Each track is accompanied by a bit of explanatory text that recounts the lineup and factoids that place the band in context. Oh, and there's some fun videos too, if you want to get a sense of the space.
It's a bittersweet trip down memory lane and a reminder that as one door closes, others open, the weirdness seeks a new roof under which to operate and, hopefully, someone's got a live mic and has hit "record."
Set to Shuffle
The fine folks at Pitchfork have thankfully agreed to host the download space for a new jam from the Dearborn duo of Windy & Carl. It's titled "My Love" and springs from their upcoming album, Songs for the Broken Hearted. It's a hushed, haunting and hypnotic (let's hear it for alliteration!) valentine of sorts.
Now, if you're feeling up for some shit-kicking country jams, do yourself a favor and truck over to smallstone.com. That's the online spot for Small Stone Records (still a consistent beacon for those looking for a melding of passion and realistic business acumen). Once there, dig into "Crazy," the new cut from Whitey Morgan & the 78s, off the Detroit outfit's upcoming SS release, Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels.
It kicks off with the country-classic line "I woke up this morning and realized I didn't sleep at all" and rambles on in fine classic country barroom form through a tale wherein the narrator is defined (by his friends, by his girlfriend, by talking to himself in the mirror) as "crazy by any other name."
The full-length is out Sept. 23. BTW, also on the SS online jukebox is many damn fine examples of the label's core raison d'etre — heavy-as-fuck stoner rock.
That is all for now. See you on the Internets.