Lost amid all the rightful praise and hullabaloo surrounding Randy Chabot's Deastro project is the fact that dude's got two other monikers under which he lets his freak flag fly. The first, Our Brother the Megazord, shared a CD release with Deastro proper, and makes the occasional public appearance. But the third side to the Chabot triangle — or the third leg on the tripod or the third tick toward the magic trinity of aliases — is Jr. Jr. ... That moniker — or JJ, for short — is the unplugged Chabot. And now he's provided us with the gift of complimentary jams to help us dig a little deeper. Head to Chabot's blog and grab the Thistle EP from Jr. Jr. Recorded a few years ago, when Chabot was living in Arkansas, the songs here are tender, hushed moments or guitar and voice that recall Love & Rockets and Bauhaus bassist David J's solo work (i.e., "Song From Another Season"); the distinct pluck of the acoustic guitar provides counterpoint to the echo-laden vocals emanating apparently from some comfy cave. "Nose Picker" is a jaunty strum-along that recalls the Stone Roses' "Elephant Stone" as played by the Magnetic Fields. "The Wolf and the Lamb" starts as a delicate he-and-she banjo duet about long-distance longing before it ends in a shot-kickin' rave-up. Great stuff if you're already on the Chabot bandwagon ... and genuinely good stuff if you're of a mind for imaginative quietude.
Many moons ago, in the tiny hamlet of Grosse Pointe, a quartet of teenagers jumped into the deep end of the Detroit rock 'n' roll scene. They called themselves the Dollfaces — and they traded in a damned enthusiastic and surprisingly well-formed brand of the garage rawk of the day. And it was good. Then, they, like most others before and after them, graduated high school and went on to pursue other things, an apparent footnote in the long history of Detroit music. This has been happening in Detroit since before Dave Leone opened the Hideout ... and it shall happen forevermore. But what no one could have predicted was that one member of the Dollfaces — Mick Bassett, to be precise — would go on to become a catalytic presence in Detroit's current music scene, with the ambitious, haunted big-band folk-rock of Mick Bassett & the Marthas (or "New Marthas," I suppose, is what they're called now). Also, he's a member of Jesse Shepherd Bates' sprawling JSB Squad, even co-starting a record label, Sleekspeak, with Shepherd Bates. And now we have the distinct pleasure of adding the Divine Comedians to that old Dollfaces family tree. Fronted by former 'faces member Nick DuFour, the Divine Comedians come on like a heady collision of Mould, Weller and Black Francis — lo-fi production getting trumped by amped up energy, swing and an excitable literary bent on jams like "Herculean Task" and "Survivor's Guilt." DuFour is joined by Alex Glendening, Maria Nuccilli and Gordon Smith and it looks like they'll be rocking the MT Hamtramck Blowout this year. Chalk another one up for the Pointe's first family of indie rock and lend the Divine Comedians an ear for a few. You'll be glad you did, I bet.
BITS 'N' BOBS
If you haven't already had a listen (and there's no legitimate reason you shouldn't have, but if not, you are forgiven), head on over to Ann Arbor dance-jam outfit My Dear Disco's MySpace page and check out their recent remix of Kanye's "Love Lockdown." It's sexy. Ahem. Or, better yet, hit up the second link below and snag it for your very own. I would be remiss if I didn't mention — while I have your attention — that My Dear Disco is playing at the Factory in Rochester on the Feb. 13. If you go, prepare to sweat.