From new bands on the brink of stardom to mainstays long overdue for the local spotlight, West Michigan is packed with fantastic musicians who deserve more eyes and ears. We’ve rounded up just a few of them here, spanning the wide range of sounds and styles you’ll find all over the region. Take a listen!
Emma Ward, aka Emma Loo, doesn’t make weird music just for the sake of being weird. She makes it weird because she is too and she likes it that way. This month the singer-songwriter releases her first solo album, Ancient, at the Tip Top Deluxe. The set list is years in the making for a performer who finally found the tools to make the songs in her head a reality.
“Foxlore is the coming-of-age story of The Crane Wives,” vocalist/guitarist Kate Pillsbury told Revue as way of introduction to the Grand Rapids band’s new LP. “We wrote the songs at a time when we were still bumbling through our lives a bit. So much has happened to us between the writing of these songs and the consequent recordings.”
Beginning as a two-album concept as far back as 2014, Foxlore is the sister record to The Crane Wives’ last album, 2015’s Coyote Stories.
Since that time, life has continued unabated for the young indie band.
Fine Fine Titans released its new LP, Renaissance, back in November. This month they’ve unveiled a new video for the band’s latest single, “In All Your Glory.” The video was filmed and edited by Three Goats Moving Pictures, a Kalamazoo-based company. Check the video out.
An abrupt end to touring in 2010 for alleged health reasons was the start of an implosion for the Pennsylvania-based rock band Breaking Benjamin. What followed was a disagreement leading to a legal dispute and ultimately the group’s disbanding. Despite the inner turmoil, founding member and frontman Ben Burnley assured fans it wasn’t the end.
A band doesn’t acquire a cult following overnight. Longtime beloveds of the jam scene, Umphrey’s McGee have played nearly 2,000 shows in its 18-year existence. The diligent band has toured the world, played the first-ever Bonnaroo Music Festival, and even hosts its own Summer Camp Music Festival for more than 20,000 fans each year.
The Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt vividly remembers the first time the Austin-based doom group played here in Grand Rapids. The heavy-as-hell band had just released its 2006 debut LP, Age of Winters, and was playing for a packed house at the legendary Jukes Bar when a fan in the front split his hand open on the stage, spewing blood everywhere. “It was a hallmark of live shows,” Shutt told Revue. “It was like, ‘Wow, how are we going to top that one?’”
When people ask Woodroe Weatherman what kind of band he plays in, the affable guitarist for Corrosion of Conformity describes it simply as a rock group. But really, the Raleigh, N.C.-based COC has long stretched the musical boundaries for hard and heavy music, morphing from a band that lays down blistering one-minute-and-30-second-long hardcore punk, flat-out thrash, southern-fried metal and stoner rock — sometimes all on the same album.
Over the past couple of years, electronic music producer SuperDre has been on a trajectory that has taken her from Grand Rapids to Los Angeles and back to Detroit. These days she balances film and television work with her own recording projects and international gigs at huge festivals.
Buzzing down a long, lonesome highway east of Kansas City, singer-guitarist Nathan Kalish and his upright bassist, Eric Soules, are en route to a honky-tonk bar. The duo, which performs as Nathan Kalish and the Lastcallers, is headed to a bar that’s known as ground zero for Kansas City’s roots music scene, the Westport Saloon. Over the past year, they’ve played the Westport “four or five” times on a tour that has seen them zig-zag across the country several times, performing their unique brew of Americana, rockabilly and outlaw country music. In all, they’ve played nearly 260 shows in about 14 months.
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