Revue music writer Eric Mitts lists his favorite albums from this year, including The Go Rounds, Vox Vidorra, The Fever Haze, and Lady Ace Boogie.
The Go Rounds, Don’t Go Not Changin’
The Go Rounds never tread the same musical path twice, even after five years of rock ‘n’roll under their belts. With strong ties to both beloved Michigan-roots label Earthwork Music and Kalamazoo’s own legendary Double Phelix collective, the band makes music that simply brings people together.
Naturally the Don’t Go Not Changin’ LP is a heady, outright groovy record. It’s stocked with their most danceable rhythms yet, while showcasing the spellbinding power of singer/songwriter Graham Parsons, who continues to lead his band — and listeners — on one unexpected sonic adventure after another. Can’t wait to see what this Kalamazoo-based outfit will do next.
The Crane Wives, Coyote Stories
Five years into their career, The Crane Wives have leapt in with both feet on Coyote Stories, an ambitious and deeply personal release. The indie-folk outfit has turned a successful Pledgemusic campaign into something that will stand the test of time — and should help catapult them onto even bigger stages, like the one they shared with The Avett Brothers at ArtPrize this fall. For those of you already wanting new material, this LP is the first of two volumes — a forthcoming companion release scheduled for early 2016.
Vox Vidorra, Promise Land
Grand Rapids’ most unique sound got the perfect treatment on this beautifully-recorded LP. Lush, soulful and surprisingly fun, the Promise Land LP shows off Vox Vidorra’s serious chops without sacrificing the heart and vibrancy that beats through every track. Fronted by virtuosic vocalist Molly Bouwsma-Schultz, the band has made a huge splash in just two short years and if this full-length is any indication, they could change the very landscape of music in West Michigan for years to come.
The Fever Haze, Dear Fate
This prolific rock band from Holland has released two LPs since starting in 2012 and has upped the energy with each one. A churning, yearning mix of punk and folk, The Fever Haze make more than enough noise to put their hometown on the musical map. Yet it’s the high-wire tension they string across their sophomore album’s nine tracks that keeps it compelling. Dear Fate drifts between the stuff of dreams and nightmares are made of — without succumbing to the gravity of it all.
Lady Ace Boogie, Feel Good Music
One of the most gifted emcees in West Michigan’s sadly underappreciated hip-hop scene, Lady Ace Boogie got the year started on a very positive note when she released her solo debut back in January. A party-starting classic in the making, Feel Good Music is the latest from the veteran rapper (who had previously worked with the Midwest group OhMi in the 2000s) and just one of the dope releases from Hot Capicola Records, a busy Grand Rapids-based label.