When Jake Simmons gets home from his day job at a family-owned scrapyard, the Kalamazoo-based blue-collar rocker goes down to his basement, plugs in and continues to work. The dim basement is where he labors over his signature brand of Springsteen-spirited Americana songs, and his time in the cellar has paid off. His new Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts LP, “No Better,” is testament to his diligence — the disc is hooky and sonically ambitious.
The origins of Wayland’s Big Dudee Roo read like something you might hear in a folk song. Years ago, in a small town on the banks of the Rabbit River in Allegan County, three string-pluckin’ kids tapped into their love of old-timey tunes with the help of their next door neighbor on skins.
Those looking for a taste of feel-good tunes a la Kings of Leon, The Killers or other alt-rock heavy hitters would do well to check out American Wifi’s release show.
If you look up Conklin, Mich., on Google Maps, you’ll see a post office, Fenian’s Irish Pub and not a whole lot else. Tucked between some utilitarian-looking shops and a dusty grain elevator, Fenian’s isn’t really where you’d peg a celebrated West Michigan synth-pop group to have come to life.
Call it garage rock, noise rock, psychedelic punk or even just experimental. Whatever the label, the young trio out of Richland that makes up Inflatable Best Friend is preparing to unleash their sophomore record and set out on tour in support.
Being a big fish in a small pond can have its upsides. Eclectic rock 'n' rollers The Fever Haze hail from Zeeland, which, as you may have guessed, doesn't boast much of a (read: any) music scene. Even the scene in nearby Holland has witnessed better days.
The husband-and-wife duo known as Jucifer lives and breathes music. If anyone needs proof of this notion they need only to look at the band's tour schedule, which has been nonstop since they took on a nomadic lifestyle in 2001. Since then, they have made quite literally made their tour RV their permanent residence with no regrets.
The Joe Marcinek Band is an ever-evolving musical entity. Front man Joe Marcinek loves to bring in his uber talented friends to get in on the action, much to the delight of an eager audience starved for an off-the-cuff jam session. On March 6, the Crown Point, Ind.-based funky jazz group will return to Kalamazoo.
Technically, Luke Nowland is a one-man band, but don't expect him to take the stage with a bass drum strapped to his back, kazoo in his mouth and cymbals between his legs. He's no that kind of one-man band. Nowland is currently the sole musician behind Grand Rapids-based indie rock outfit Good Day Good Sir. Luckily, he knows plenty of wildly taltented dudes to back him up when he takes the stage.
Klay Fennema doesn’t mind letting people in on his dirty little secret. “I am not even ashamed to admit that we all have shopped in the ladies department for clothing before,” he said with a laugh. That’s just one of the prices that Fennema and his band have paid to resurrect the hair metal of yesteryear.
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